Tuesday 20 March 2018

A little bit of sun

The snow has hung around for several days, annoyingly not sliding off the roof, which meant that our solar panels have been covered and unable to generate electricity. But a brief spell of sunshine has done the trick and the panels are now clear. The snow on the ground is disappearing rapidly, only the drifts and cold corners remain.
The new front door has proved to be a good buy. The drifts of snow stayed where we wanted them, outside the house! And we are promised warmer weather for later in the week. 
Whisper it - spring?!

Sunday 18 March 2018

Silent Sunday

We woke this morning to another covering of snow. Phone calls came and our plans for the day were put on hold. While the snow fell I kneaded some bread and put it to rise. It is always a good feeling to be busy in the warmth of the kitchen when it is inhospitable outside.
But when the snow eased I put on my boots and went outside.
Spring, eh? No gardening today!
We walked alongside the lake.

The snow is fine and powdery and has settled on the branches and made lovely patterns on the tree trunks.

The leaves are weighted with the softly fallen snow.

There is no-one about but us.
It's cold!

Saturday 17 March 2018

Friday Skywatch in Bournemouth

We've been in Bournemouth this week, looking after our grandson while his parents were working on their house.
Although the weather forecast had been poor, on Friday the sun shone. Time to drop tools and go for a walk on the beach. We watched the paragliders who were swooping along the coastline, taking advantage of the steady updraft. 
A perfect subject for Friday Skywatch.
The beach huts are council owned and are rented out for daily use. On the upper level are the newer lodges that can sleep up to four adults and two children. They are kitted out with bathroom, kitchenette and beds. Although a lot of fun, I think you might feel rather like sardines in a tin with full occupation!
Two of the lodges were being decorated with balloons and banners in preparation for a party.
We had the beach pretty much to ourselves.

Nothing for the lifeguard to do.
(He was sunbathing on his deck!)

Today it's snowing again!

Sunday 11 March 2018

Seed Swap

The local annual seed swap event was held yesterday. This year I had tabletop space to sell surplus plants from my garden. I potted up a good amount of my sturdiest perennial and bi-annuals. Luckily I'd managed to cram all the pots onto the greenhouse floor before the subzero temperatures and snow arrived, so they were in good shape.
Thank goodness I'd thought to print out a few photos of the things that I was selling because people kept asking what the various uniformly green plants would look like in flower! My stand is the one with the green cloth cover.
In spite of miserable weather and a smaller turn-out than last year business was brisk. My pots were priced at £1 each. Everyone loves a bargain! I shared my proceeds with the swap to help with their running costs. It was really heartening to see so many young parents with their children at this event, hopefully introducing them to a life-long interest in growing both flowers and their own organic produce.
I had taken in packets of seeds gathered last autumn, including climbing runner beans, 'Blue Lake' and 'Lazy Housewife', two prolific varieties. I swapped them for the range of vegetable seeds below.
I spent some of my takings on varieties of mangetout, pea and courgette that are new to me. I've bought from this smallholder before and her seeds are always good. She gives very helpful advice. Pick, pick pick the 'Norli' mange tout, she told me, the way the French like to eat them, while the pods are very small. 
I'll do my best!

I also bought a few tubers of potatoes that I've not tried before. I'm always searching for the perfect spud for my soil. So far 'Charlotte' remains hard to beat.
Now I'm itching to be out in the garden, but guess what - it's raining. I've had to stay inside, FaceTime daughter and grandson, eat trifle, drink wine and other wickedness - it is Mothering Sunday after all!
I do hope that you are also being suitably indulged/indulgent!

Tuesday 6 March 2018


Back in late summer I hardened off the skins of the squash crop so that they would store well throughout the winter months.
I was very successful - those skins are tough! I tried all my stoutest kitchen knives on a particularly large specimen last week. Hopeless, as impenetrable as Fort Knox. Himself went to the garage and came back with a saw. That did the trick.
This smaller squash was easier to split open. I'm  saving the seeds to exchange at the annual seed swap this coming Saturday. When the seed is fresh it grows away very readily .
Rather than spend time separating the flesh from the tough skin I remove the seeds and put the squash halves to bake in the oven. Once cooked it's so easy just to scoop out the softened flesh.
It goes in the pot for vegetable soup,
 adding good colour and texture.
It's definitely soup weather at the moment!

Friday 2 March 2018

Minus 6

Looked out of the window this morning. Not much snow, but by golly, it's nippy. The thermometer says minus 6 but that doesn't factor in the wind chill. The snow is very fine, it has blown through the thinnest gaps in the greenhouse and powdered some of the plants.
Time to put on my boots and take a look round the garden.

Nice little drifts.

The new front door is working well. No draughts, no jamming, no drifts in the hall!
I love the way the garden structures look against the blank canvas of snow.

Here's my grey sky for Friday skywatch
We've had a further downfall of snow since I took these photos.

Keep warm, folks.
(Or if you're very hot, keep cool!)