Sunday, 25 April 2010

Success & Successional Sowings

I promised to keep you posted on our new Salad Bar, in terms of my non-ability to 'sow successionally', and so here it is kids? Top left, you'll see my experiment with some bought-in carrot seedlings, which I've invidually transplanted like a 5 dice pattern, to see if it alerted The Carrot Root Fly at all. I must just explain, I worded that wrongly, it isn't the 5 dice pattern that attracts the fly?! (DOH!) Which is basically, Wellie flying by the seat of her pants yet again, but in a good cause for future reference. I've already got a trough of Amsterdam Forcing 'finger carrots' growing in the Dutch Greenhouse, up on staging, which is hardly ever disturbed, so as definitely NOT to attract the fly..... so I want to find out, if the salad bar 'Parmex' round carrots will be a success or a failure. and whether they like growing in only about 6 inches of compost at all! If you click on the picture above, it should hopefully enlarge it sufficiently enough for you to scrutinise what's happening there, and actually, I'm not doing at all badly so far with my 'successional sowing'. I'm sure there's room for improvement, but largely, I've been sowing more seed once the last batch has germinated, and that's a megga improvement on what I was doing previously, I can assure you!

The Corn Salad, Radish & Pea Shoots haven't germinated at all well, proving that the seed is way too old now, and needs to be binned. The red Cos seedlings (just out of view) have germinated brilliantly in a short time (new seed this year). And some of the Lettuce seed that Piggie gave me on our Easter After Brekkie Board Meeting, depending how well they do, may just be contenders for my local produce show entry on the 'One Head of Lettuce'. But we'll see what's ready that week!!
(I'm desperately trying not to let my Show Coach: Paulottie down?! "Keep Sowing Wellie, Keep Sowing Luv!")
So much so, that Trousers hasn't even had a whiff of a Vicky Spongecake yet. HaHaHa!

Having grown my first ever Nectarine last year to the stunning size of my little fingernail, before it unceremoniously dropped off (the fruit, not my fingernail), I'm definitely bringing better news to you at the minute? Just look at these babies, aren't they lovely? and there's a whole load more besides? (See Wellie jump up and down for joy at her ability to hand-pollinate for a change.....X) But. With a definite Full Stop. I am not counting my chickens, as it were, until such time as I harvest any of them.

And Wellie's attempt at hand-pollinating The Peaches has also come to some fruition, so we'll gloss over that one as well, until such time as we're getting closer to a Megan advert on the telly, shall we?!

Next up, are my little furry friends, who think their Wellie is incredibly mean to have put those lovely tasty fruit and vegetables in her own garden, and not in ours? "You see that Bored Bean Snowflake? That's got my name written all over it..."..... "No it hasn't Chocolate Chops, it's mine - and I'm in love with it....?."

And here we are then, the first barbeque of 2010, but a good excuse also to show you that I'm making every available space available to me for Growing My Own. Like my Strawberries, and Salad, I prefer to just pick Parsley, not faff around with it, washing and drying it before I do anything with it.... so grow it in a container or two, a windowbox - anything. That way, it isn't spattered with soil after a heavy downpour, and you can just harvest clean handfuls whenever you need to, and just chuck it in the salad, or whatever..... Simples.

With Trousers, Jim (Best Friend In The World) and Harry having gone Detecting 'Over't'Bridge' yesterday, it was really lovely to have my man at home for a whole day to myself today, which was a rare treat for me and The Cat.
Trousers and I had a lie in, which we kind of never do... (now don't go making your own story up Children), and the cat didn't get up till mid-afternoon - completely missing the farm cat that snuck into the kitchen to eat her food about 5am, getting trapped into a corner and upending the entire contents of the precious Oil & Vinegar supplies in a glassy mess all over the kitchen floor.
Happy Sunday Peeps!
Ooh! and Welcome to our newest lovely blog follower.X
Have a lovely week, and see you all next time.X

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Delicious Miss Wellie

I only said to Trousers last evening, as we were watching the Delicious Miss D, that there must also be some very grumpy other delectables in the cooking corners of the TV world, throwing their teddies out of the pram? On a personal level, I viewed the first of her series, and hated it. I watched the second, willing myself to find another negative, and she completely 'hit the spot' for me, and I completely and utterly GOT what the programme wanted to convey. DOH?

I'm sure you'll all disagree with me, but if you take it, as a cookery programme, I think you'll find that it is, rather successfully, playing to camera, a younger and more modern 'You Know Who', but the majority of us are still shopping on a budget, rather than "Ooh! I feel rather melancholy today, so I might spend a fortune on something for Supper?"....

Actually, I rarely get to watch The Box, as you know, because Trousers has exclusive rites to the tv remote control, and of course, that's why women (allegedly) have such tiny feet, so they can get closer to the kitchen sink.... Laugh? I almost bought a round!

Okay now.... Wild Garlic Leaves only come but once a year my friends, and I missed harvesting them by an Midget's Wotsit last year when we moved?! so this year, I thought I'd take complete advantage of Mother Nature, and make some Wild Garlic and Nettle Pesto.
I can almost hear you all sniggering into your compost encrusted sleeves right now, but I promise you, it is truly, truly delicious. And now that I've frozen little ice-cube portions of it, I can pop one or two into soups or sauces, at my own leisure.

Now I won't tell you again Trousers....
Post the photos up in the opposite order that you think they should be honeybunny, because that gives Wellie half a chance of talking about them properly.
Honestly.... you just can't get the staff round here?!

So....I see we have yet another 'Follower'? Good ON you, and you are most welcome. X

Honestly, you're all completely Nuts, but we do so enjoy you being here.
I have fun writing it, previewing it, editing it, posting it...
Trousers has fun reading it at The Crack of Sparrow 'art the following morning, and you get to read it, at your own leisure, whenever you choose to.

I'm going to leave you with one very important piece of advice, if I may.
And this is aimed at any one of you, young or old, experienced or a complete novice:
Do NOT look at a weed in your garden and just 'walk on by' My Friend.
I promise you.... for every single weed that you pull out of the ground right now, you will save yourself A MOUNTAIN of weeding later during the summer months if you DO IT NOW!, and then when all you want to do is 'Chill' in your own garden space during the hot summer months with a cool Pimms, or a home-made ice lolly, you will, indeed, be able to do that, and just admire your beautiful back yard..

Now then... where did I see that recipe for homemade lollies with Vodka in?! Mmmm.....X

Monday, 19 April 2010

Root'n, Fruit'n, Toot'n My Friends!

Okay, before we start now, let me clear one thing up......
Wellie doesn't have A Hurty Elbow, she has a chipped bone, a dead hurty tendon thingy, and I have to put myself through an extraordinary amount of pain every three or four days now, icing it, massaging it, icing it, and so forth, to heal it. In addition to the chipped bone thingy, the other injury, a few inches away, is a tendon thing, similar to Tennis Elbow.

Don't ya just love it when you go to the osteopath to get 'signed off' for another couple of months?!!

Excellent.... That's sorted then......
When I harvested my red onions, shallots'n'garlics last year (and I did INCREDIBLY badly with them, on account of the fact that I didn't actually have viable vegetable beds?) And now, of course, I've actually had to DIG some!!

I managed to save some of the miniscule ones, and I kind of popped them into some of those cell tray thingies, and, once they got themselves rooted, I replanted them, just now, for a giggle, to see if they amount to anything edible..... And basically, there's no harm in that, if it ends up giving me completely free food.
And mainly, because they were grown here last year, the saved sets/bulbs will have to get used to being grown here now, because every year now, I'm intending to save my own for growing on the following year, whether it be shallots, tubers or seed. Because I kind of want the stuff I grow here to aclimatise to where we live, and grow. Does that make sense to you?
It's not just about the cost of buying new stock, it's also about aclimatising to my 'locale', and growing stuff that's going to love growing where I live, each and every year, and just get better, and betterer.
I'm perplexed now.... Am I growing older and getting wiser, or getting wiser and growing older?

Either way, I shall be a whole 50 this October, and I've been on an incredible journey in the last 10 years of my life, sowing, growing, knowing, and now, who'd believe it, 'Showing'....

At this stage of my 'Wellie Workshop', I make no excuses for Prettiness here with my noo Strawberry Planter for the summer of 2010. This aluminium thing was in amongst a number of other staging items quite a few years ago, when we bought yet another greenhouse out of the paper, and we cobbled it together again just recently, after our move (which incidentally is a whole 12 months ago, doesn't time fly?) and I had yet another of my 'Ping' ideas one sleepless night. Trust Me....I'm sure I'll find a way for it to come together somehow.....

Normally, a Bulb Planter like this is used for planting bulbs, and no mistake. But I always like to push the boundaries and spread my ideas around for free, because if you've got the right toy for the right joy, then this garden toy can also help you to propagate your Raspberry Suckers children. But I'd suggest not leaving it much later than about the end of April.....

Now to the 'Toot'n My Friends', because I had the most wonderful chance encounter with 'Storming Norman' today in the Co-Op Carpark, and spent nearly half an hour talking about The Village Show scheduled for early July.
For those of you not familiar with the situation, I'm wanting to support our local village produce show this year where we now live for the first time, and I had just so many questions as a 'Newbie', and whether I was allowed 'bits' floating in my fruit jelly, and whether I was allowed a this in that section, or a that in this section.....
He was so incredibly open, and helpful, and informative. He even told me that the 'Recipe Provided' classes kind of provided recipes that were not always correct in their proportions.
But I assured him that I'd already 'sussed that out' from last years' schedule.
How beautiful that he parked his car next to mine, that gave us such quality time to talk. We've only met half a handful of times previous to now.
Norman, I salute you Sir.
The news that the show isn't judged on an RHS points system, and thankfully, only on a 'Wot The Judge Woke Up And Liked Today' basis, is just brilliant news, because it means that my local show is indeed, a local, and very 'enterable' show for every bunny that wants to enter?
I can't tell you how thrilled I am, because even my very worst entry will get credence maybe......
Incidentally, Trousers is always one to notice that we have A New Follower, or two, and you are most, most welcome Friends ..X, and thank you so much for joining us.
I'm unclear as to why people like the blog, but I will continue to 'spout on', and seriously, you may switch off at leisure, because I'm of the Gervais clan: I'm me, and my blog is me too.
I like it. If you don't, then you'd be nuts to read it.
I'm going to leave you with one very important thought, as it is FIZZING in my mouth.....
I bought some 'LOVE HEARTS' for Trousers yesterday. and he left them in front of the monitor, threatening to share them with me.....
So far, they've remained unopened.
Wellie just opened the packet, took the first one out, and it said "Dream Girl", so I eat it, obviously... (I've just peeled back the wrapper on the next one, and it looks like it says "Granny". I'm thinking that Love Heart Sweeties have prolly moved on a tad since I was a GirlGuide, or there's someone upstairs having a bit of a laugh and a joke at my expense this evening?
Thank you so much for being here. X

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Move Over Dahling?

Trousers is watching The Golf, and I yelled into the sitting room: "Who sang Move Over Dahling.... was it Doris Day?"
Unfortunately, I can't print his response children, because evidently, he's concentrating?!

But I wanted to bring Wild Garlic leaves to your attention this evening.
I've taken about 500g of them, but only because they are screaming at me underneath a tree in my garden, and I neglected to use them this time a year ago......and once they're gone, they are most definitely gone until the following year, believe me!
But the recipe calls for 50g, and mix them with some roasted pinenuts, or hazelnuts, or walnuts, with olive oil, garlic cloves and lemon juice, and create THE most delicious early spring Pesto. Actually, the recipe says you can use fresh young Nettle tops too, and I LOVE them, so that's a dead cert for a forage around The Funny Farm tomorrow?

If you're going to use it very fresh, stick it in the fridge, and use within a month, if not, freeze it.

Then I thought I might show you how my very new Asparagus Bed is coming on?
And the spears are very spindly and weenie, but I have very high hopes for them next year.

Every person that I've ever spoken to about Wild Garlic, has moaned about how it ruddy well spreads, and I totally, 100% agree with them. But the more I live my life, the more I like to turn any negative into a positive....

(Notice that I haven't ONCE mentioned that Trousers has posted these photos up in a completely Arse About Face Manner that I can't even begin to connect them coherently? See previous mention about making Pesto, and Wellie losing the will to live now....)
And now Wellie has to get her Raspberry Hat on! and actually, she's just loving this!
All of these little Raspberry 'poppets' are completely FREE, new and FREE, FREE, FREE!

And I shall be transplanting them into a completely new Raspberry bed within the week.
Oh, and then wot isn't going on in The Not So Draughty Dutch Greenhouse?

I've got some buckets with a spud tuber in, of differing varieties. I am SUCH a bad liar?!
I'm trying (very trying probably) to steal a few points from Storming Norman in our local Village Produce Show early in July, and I've never, ever, grown/shown tatties before.
If that were the only thing, I'd clearly hold my hand up, but I've got a few Dwarf French Beans in pots now as well?!
Oh, and I sowed some Turnip seeds the other day for the show...
No. I'm beginning to wet myself laughing now?!
Wellie. Take this seriously Dahling..... The Show is in 12 weeks, and not a moment to spare!
I'm up to my armpits in Lettuces (on the advice of my Show Guru Paulottie) who advises that you should sow them successionally, successionally, successionally, because he always has A Lettuce ready before and after, but never when it's needed, and I'm growing some Peas, and Mangetout, and Amsterdam Forcing Carrots (and others just in cases)?
I can't SLEEP anymore? I'm not EATING?
No, honestly, I am joking....
I'm having fun knitting a damp edition of the Radio Times, and in my spare time, I am actually taking the show seriously. At 30p a class entry, I'm wanting to spend my money wisely.
Got a brilliant Jelly for the Jelly Class, provided one's allowed to have 'bits' suspended in one's jelly, obviouly.........
Must join The WI when I have a spare moment in my life....X
Love You, Squeeze You.

If it aint broke, don't fix it....

If it IS broke, that's a right royal pain in the wotsit, no?!
The Decking Screw sheered off, making the ruddy thing collapse.....
How on earth did this little mishap occur, when Trousers so beautifully built it, with skill, and finesse, and everything?!
And Flobby Flobalob sitting there all innocent, promising me that he had nothing to do with it. Naturally, I believe him, because Trousers has blamed it entirely on me, and some faulty Decking Screws, that Wellie bought.
But, then again, I'm finding, that Trousers is very very grumpy at the moment, and that everything is my fault.

Or is there actually, really, positively, such a thing as The Male Menopause ....?!

You see, like me, my cat is a full-blooded female. The two of us get on 'famously', and in my eyes, I'm simply gorgeous, and so is she. Absolutely not one jot of testosterone in sight.... and the two of us have SO much fun, every single day.

Who's Queen?!

I'm sure that the inventors of Environmesh would be prepared to admit 'on camera' that they made it for their cats' comfort, and not to protect crops from pests?!

Where we used to live, I made a lot of mistakes in the design of the garden, not taking account of nature, its seasons, and its beauty? And so I'm very mindful of that in my new garden.

Whilst I want to sow and grow as much of our own food as possible, I also want the garden to look good as much of the time as possible, and not end up looking like an allotment.

And please don't mis-quote me here ( because we had an allotment, and I love allotments). Because I'm growing stuff for us to eat directly outside of every window in the house, I want it to look as attractive as it can possibly be, in order to 'wow' me when I look at it.

For instance, I'm intent on growing Leeks in the square bed in front of my kitchen window, just so that I have something beautiful, rather than a bare square of soil to look at during the winter?....

Having said that, I don't want it SO much of a pretty garden, as to not allow the fruit, veg, and herbs to flourish in their own right. And I'm finding that this time around, I'm doing a pretty damn good job with my planning and planting, even though I say so myself.

Nobody in this life is perfect, and my cat and I are prime example, obviously.....!

Love You, Squeeze You.

Have you got the patience to read yet another blog? I'll ask Trousers kindly to post up the photos for the next one.........

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Easter Funnies from The Funny Farm

Okay, now stay with me children on this one.... Of an Easter Saturday lunchtime,  I drive Trousers and The Piglets to Chris Evans's pub in the Welsh Countryside for a beer.  We've not seen each other prolly since miggle of last year, (not Chris, The Piglets, obviously....) and this is what occurs.  I ask you...! 
It was good, and the staff were friendly, and the toilets were clean, and there was a goodly selection of peoples eating there and having a brilliant time, so we'd thoroughly recommend a visit. Then it was 'back home' and settle down in front of the TV with a bowl of homemade risotto.Actually, that was probably quite rude of me, and I wasn't trying to imply that I didn't want to know Chris Evans..?  Squire, if you ever read my blog, you're more than welcome to come visit us at The Funny Farm too......X.  In fact when you're back on't Radio again after Easter, I'll send you an e-mail.

 And back to the photos, kill the cook by chucking the entire tin of sweeties in her lap.  I always know Piggie's going to do it, and he always knows I know, but it never fails to crease me up all the same.  I admit it, I'm a child, but that kind of fun is completely priceless.... know what I mean?

Until next time:
Love You Squeeze You.X

Easter Bunny Board Meeting

Piggie and Wellie, Easter Sunday morning, after Brekkie, doing a serious Seed Swap.  Piglet gave me all manner of seeds from his stash, and he only wanted Lemon Basil & Big Mountain Parsley from me.  But given that Mrs. Piggie bagged nine Cadbury Creme Eggs in her basket during The Funny Farm Easter Egg Hunt, no-one went home disappointed.

I've seriously got many more photos and much more to say this evening, but Trousers is having a problem posting them up for me to write about, so do stay with me a while if you can, and I'll be back with you as soon as Normal Trousers Resumes, if you get my drift.X