Deer oh Deer TWTW #35

img_20190911_085309_170Well I think I predicted that this week would be a busy one, and I was right. I had various meetings, phone calls and clients projects to progress, and each night I went to bed without being able to read for very long before falling asleep. I’m not sure whether or not that’s a good thing (I know my reading has slowed).

We’ve spotted various things on our dog walks this week, the deer here were peacefully grazing and didn’t really pay us any mind as we walked on by. They looked as if it was a doe and a couple of fawns, so it looks as though the neighbourhood deer are continuing to thrive.

Later in the week we were over flown by a Green Woodpecker who was alarm calling very loudly. Not far behind (although not I am sure chasing) was a very large female Sparrowhawk, possibly the largest I’ve ever seen.

We also bumped into one of our dog walking friends this week, or rather one of her dogs. She has three and one of them, a Jack Russell, came walking across the playing field when we were there one afternoon. I looked around and couldn’t see either his owner or either of the other two dogs, but he is known to roam, and had assumed that this was what had happened. I bribed him with a gravy bone and managed to get him on a lead and then called his owner – I have her number from a previous time he wandered off. It turns out she had given him another chance off the lead, and he disappeared into the bushes, after hunting for him for a while she’d gone home thinking he might have done the same (he has form for this), was going to drop off her other two dogs if he wasn’t there and then come back and continue to look for him. Meanwhile he’d come out of the bushes and seen us, who he recognised and come over to play. We walked him back towards the edge of the park close to where they live and his owner came and collected him from us. Good deed for the week.


Glacier and me: Amid a stunning landscape, an ailing science journalist weighs his own uncertain life span


As mentioned I didn’t read much last week but I did read this amazing book. My review is on the link.

I’m also working my way through another Maigret novel – Maigret in Vichy.

 

 

 


I was disappointed but not surprised to read this in the local paper this week about our local libraries. Sadly the reason I wasn’t surprised is simply that the politician in charge of this has serial form for axing services and making cuts. When I realised he got the job which includes libraries I was waiting to read this sort of a story whilst hoping that maybe he’d changed his spots. Closing libraries to “save money” is a false solution that appeals to those who can’t look beyond one line in a budget and see the wider benefit that these resources bring.


I’ve been sharing the potting shed with this beautiful lady over the last few months.




Not quite sure how the week ahead is going to pan out. I have a meeting on Monday afternoon that will likely set the direction for the week and it could go either way to be honest.

Whatever you’re up to this week, I hope it’s a good one!

Making Jams and Jellies

It’s that time of year when the preserving pan comes out and I turn some of the produce from the allotment and elsewhere into preserves: jams, chutneys, jellies, and pickles.

I made some pumpkin and ginger jam (which always turns out more like a marmalade) and a first for me, quince jelly. For both of these I made videos of the process. You can watch these below.

Pumpkin & Ginger Jam

 

 

Quince Jelly

Update From The Potting Shed

This is the first update from the potting shed for 2017. My tomatoes are out in their final growing spots, a little earlier than I would have liked, but they were getting leggy and needed to go out, but they are just putting out their first flowering spikes so it’s about the right time from that point of view. Also a quick peek at some of the other seeds that I’ve got germinating.

Allotment Update & Tour 11th June 2016

The allotment is looking good at the moment, there are a few things that aren’t, in particular the radish and turnip, but that’s gardening. I’m already thinking about what I’m going to do with the area that is currently occupied by the broad beans, I suspect some more salad crops will go in one, and the other might just get covered by the courgettes. According to my notes, the early potatoes should be ready around the 3rd July, but they might be ready sooner, as it’s looking like they are starting to die off. I might lift a few soon, just to see.

Planting and Harvesting on the Allotment

 

2016-05-28 08.55.40The allotment feels like it’s reached that point in the year where there is going to be a regular supply of veg coming from it. I walked around this morning, and was surprised to see just how much things have grown in just a couple of days. Leeks that were just looking like blades of grass a day or so ago are now looking more like stout reeds, and the runner beans have now all germinated (or at least there is one plant beneath each cane). I decided that I was going to plant out my pumpkins and the remaining cucumbers, as well as some courgettes. They need to go out, they’ve exhausted the compost that they were sown in, and are big plants, but the leaves are yellowing, so they need more nutrients. I gave them a liquid feed last night, but the weather forecast for the next week or so, is for double figure nighttime temperatures, so I’m going to risk it. I’ve kept some of the courgettes back just in case, and the pumpkins have gone in relatively sheltered spots, so I think they’ll be okay.

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I’ve also harvested the first broad beans of this year. There were absolutely loads of pods, and I’ve picked enough for a meal tonight, and I’ll get some more later in the week. These are the ones that were sown last autumn, and I didn’t think were going to amount to much, but oh how they’ve proved me wrong! There are lots of pods, and the ones sown a few weeks ago to fill some of the gaps are coming along too. Hopefully they’ll be well spread out, but if I get a glut, then I’ll freeze as many as I can.

As I’d planted so many plants I also got the hose out of storage and laid it out. I used it to water the plants that I’d put in, and gave the rest of the plot a good watering. It will stay out now until the winter. I’m always a little worried that it is something that could easily be stolen, but in the eight years that I’ve had the plot it’s been left alone, and hopefully will be again this year.

With everything looking so good at the moment, I’m really enjoying my growing year again this year. Sure it’s hard work, but I love being able to feed myself and my family.

If you’re in the UK and have a long weekend this weekend or are off for the half-term school holiday next week, why not get out in your own garden and sow some seeds?

 

Raindance?

IMG_20160409_093813068I received an email from the Allotment Site Manager at the end of last week that said owing to a broken pipe the water at the allotments had been turned off, and would stay that way until further notice i.e. until they can locate and fix the leak. Not a major problem for me yet, as I have two large waterbutts which collect water from my shed roof, so I have some water for the time being. However if the weather stays the same for the next couple of weeks that water will be gone. At the moment the seedlings need something nearly every day, and although we’ve had the odd nighttime shower it won’t be enough. I think I have a solution in terms of how I can get water from home to the site if I need to, but I’ll write about that some other time (when I’ve tested it).

It has sent a few others into a flat spin however in terms of getting water to their plots. Very few seem to have their own waterbutts and are reliant on the tap(s) to keep their allotments watered. Most seem to have taken to bringing water to site in camping containers and other portable water systems for now.

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In other news the plants that I’ve been bringing along in the potting shed have been doing very well indeed (see above, from left to right; cucumbers, pumpkins, sweetcorn & courgette). I’ve started bringing them out into the back garden during the day now, as the potting shed has been reaching temperatures during the middle of the day of 40°C which is great for getting them going, but not so good if they are to go out onto the allotment soon, so I’ll be hardening them off. They’ll go back into the potting shed overnight.

And Finally:

Planning For Next Year

IMG_0727.JPG We had our first frost last night, the signs that autumn is truly upon us.

The allotment is winding down now. There’s still lots to do in preparation for next year, but in terms of crops most things are coming to the end. I’ve still got beans up, but only to let them dry and go to seed, and there are still courgettes, squashes and pumpkins. I’ve also got my garlic in, this needs several consecutive cold nights to properly set bulbs for next year, so hopefully this should have plenty of time.

I’ve sown some overwintering broad beans. I used to do this each year but stopped a couple of years ago, as I lost them to winters that were either very cold or wet. I’m gambling that we will have a mild, and hopefully relatively dry winter, and I’ll have an early broad bean crop. If they don’t survive I’m not too bothered as they’re in an area where I want some winter cover, so they’ll provide that if nothing else. I’ll sow more in spring regardless.

The allotment shop took delivery of its seed order this week, and so I made sure I was at the front of the queue to stock up. The above is just a sampling of what I’ll be growing next year, I still need to get runner beans and a few other things before spring.

IMG_0728.JPG Speaking of pumpkins, I made pumpkin soup last night. It was fantastic, if I do say so myself, and the good news is there was enough for this evening as well. This is what an allotment is all about – fork to fork.

I also had a practice ahead of Halloween.

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