Tuesday 29 September 2020

Squirrelling away

 During this spell of dry weather I've been collecting seed and harvesting any ripened produce from the veg garden. Its been a good season over all and it is a bit of a crush finding space to keep things. Most of the squash have been hardened off, but there are a few still growing outside.

The shallots are small but plentiful, but I'm delighted with the red onions, they are the best size that I've ever managed to grow!

There is a promising crop of oranges from the little tree that I bought in Corfu.

Everything looks a bit tired and bedraggled now. (As do I. I haven't had a haircut since last February, but this afternoon I'm going to have a couple of inches of hair snipped off and hope that I'll then look more presentable. Then I'll come back home and do some snipping in the garden.)

The flowers will soon all be over, there are just a few pools of colour here and there.

Cosmos 'Purity' is one of my favourite annuals. It is still performing wonderfully, this mass of delicate flower heads is from one tiny seed.

I've divided the iris from the circle of planting that we refer to as 'the civic garden'. I had stuck in bits of box to form an edging, but as you can see, they didn't all take so I am going to have to fill in the gaps.

The squirrels are being very busy stripping the walnut tree of nuts. Three of them in the tree this morning, giving not a care to me as casing and bits of shell come showering down. The lawn is full of holes where they are randomly hiding the nuts that they intend to keep for later!

Sunday 20 September 2020

Sunday morning walk.


Another beautiful day, so we put on our boots to walk down to the small pond at the bottom of the woods. The blacksmith was passing by as we came out of our garden gate and he stopped for a chat. He was exercising the mare who had given birth to a foal in the summer. She is a lovely horse and she waited patiently while we talked.

We had the lake to ourselves.


It was dry underfoot until we reached the bottom path. here it is generously wide but always muddy in places where water seeps down through the trees to the stream. In winter  the route is often unwalkable. Sound is muffled by the tall trees and all that we can hear now is our boots on the ground and the gurgle of the stream.

At the pond there is a flash of brilliant blue as the resident kingfisher skims away from us over the water. He is a regular sight, but I have never managed to get a photo of him!

The pond feels to be a secret place. It has two small islands on it. There are often deer prints on the path, they must come here to drink.

                                        The filtered light is lovely in the woods.

                              And there were blackberries to pick for lunch!

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Autumn colour


We are enjoying the most glorious autumn weather and stay outside for much of the day, all too aware that a long winter lies ahead and unsure as to what new restrictions and miseries are to come.

The leaves are falling, and as the walnuts ripen they are being carried away by the squirrels

or being cheekily eaten in situ and the shell casings left strewn untidily about.

There is plenty of colour in the garden 

and food to crop.

 A squash has escaped from the compost bay
and is sitting, like Humpty Dumpty, on top of the wall.
We are waiting for the pears to be ready to pick
and the figs to fatten up and ripen.
Meanwhile its still courgettes with everything!

Tuesday 8 September 2020

More spuds


How unappetising do these potatoes look?

A few tubers were given to me at the seed swap day in March to try out as a novelty. They have cropped well and I boiled some in their skins, as I usually do, to find out what they would taste like. My first mistake, to boil them in their skins! The skin would not peel away and the flesh disintegrated. So for my second attempt I peeled them. It is difficult to distinguish peel from flesh. However, that done I boiled them carefully and whipped them off the heat the minute they threatened to collapse.

Here is the result, a strange purple potato salad!

I took it to share with friends on Sunday when we had a reduced number book club meeting and celebrated  the host's birthday. The hostess very obligingly came colour co-ordinated!

I've since googled purple potatoes and learnt that they are very beneficial to health, full of antioxidant, and come from the Andes mountain range of South America. Shall I plant some next year? The jury is out.

Tuesday 1 September 2020


 Back in the spring I had frustrating time not being able to buy my usual onion sets so instead I ordered some extra potatoes from Suttons. I waited AGES for them to be delivered. When the potatoes came they were not the variety that I had specified. How annoying. But the new spuds were called, 'Picasso', surely a good name for a household that has earned its living from art and a good choice also because the resulting crop is clean, tasty and HUGE. Our neighbour's grand-daughter, Connie, has been visiting, She came to our garden to say hello and left with a few potatoes. This weekend she popped in again (she looks like Goldilocks with the most beautiful long creamy-gold hair) to give us a thank-you picture. Mr and Mrs Spud!

The family were with us for the Bank Holiday and our grandson first watched his grand-dad digging in the veg plot 

before setting to work to find the potatoes as they were unearthed.

It has been a good year for crops. The walnut tree is laden with nuts. I am not getting excited because the minute they are ripe the squirrels will probably do their usual trick and strip the lot.

Today we cut back the long grass around the fruit trees. Last year I scarified the ground and sowed wild flower seed there, but had no success so now I'm growing some wild flowers in the greenhouse. I'll pot them on and plant them out next year  as plug plants once they have become sturdy enough to, hopefully, hold their own among the grass.