Thursday, 1 April 2021

March................. posted in April

Although official hibernation ended,  March was an odd one, requiring a degree of reflection.


Sunshine a-plenty.

Not too much wind.

Hopes of fabulous germination.

The reality of this dratted virus (TDV) sunk in.

For a slew of reasons, the media generally became an unsafe place.....for me. So no handy radio. Who knew I used the radio that much!

Starting an intentional 40 days of mindfulness (sitting with an image) in another place came Just At The Right Time for me to take my own medicine. Serendipity strikes.

Rather than hauling this out last year, I have just left it be. And look!
There is much to be said for sometimes letting things alone.



Garlic has been bedded in for a while now, surviving the earlier frosts fine.
Trying some Very basic wind shelter to halt the 45 degree bends we had last year!





Carrot seedlings requesting sunshine! Please! Now! Or yesterday for preference!






Claytonia Perfoliata  aka Miners lettuce is a stupendous success, in greenhouse! Only! 
Although in that garlic picture a bit can be seen to the right. That is pure research and will be pulled up before flowers arrive.

Cabbage and lettuce germinated like crazy.

Tomatoes Totally Refusing to play! 
Zero germination. 
Yet aubergine and chilli are going great guns.
What is THAT all about?

Catnip overwintered marvellously and will be stuck into sunshine when aforementioned finally arrives. They NEED sunshine now.


Finally coming to the conclusion that For Us the garden requires some calming measures.

Oh
And we bought a Great Green Joanna!






Think that is all

















Tuesday, 23 February 2021

The growing season has begun!

 


At least, on my window sill the growing season has started anyway. May I introduce the garlic?

My first lot of garlic were rooted in the greenhouse during November, hardened off outside during December and planted out last week. The second lot were rooted on a window sill over Christmas and potted up last week, currently in a greenhouse. Now these beauties!


It is exciting, the beginning of springtime. Tbh I had been utterly unwilling to get out of bed in the mornings for the past few months. That has changed! I ve been in the greenhouse before now  but today saw the studio opened and the woodburner lit. Radio on too as I sorted and catalogued the seed packets.


So, where are we up to from last year's over wintering?

Claytonia Perfoliata, aka miners lettuce. That has done really well, but should have been germinated earlier. These taste great and we have already enjoyed a decent salad from the interestingly shaped leaves, so this pot looks a little depleted. . It will Not be allowed free rein in the garden and for the reason why just Google that plant and click the Images option. Oh my!

The ones outside are looking rough, don't think they appreciate the climate.




Annual cauliflower seedlings in the greenhouse grew Beautifully over winter.  I mean, seriously amazingly great. Not at all leggy, just "solid". ( as a young pre schooler of my aquaintence once described her baby brother!) As ever, it will all depend what happens when these cauliflower are Properly Planted though...




The so called winter lettuce......didn't. Oh, they were There! Just inedible.  A very few Little Gem were left in the cold frame and if picked no longer than one's little finger they are just OK. But the Arctic Winter variety? Oh dear me no.....

**updated in March the Arctic Winter variety rallied and turned sweet. What is That all about? **



I have three beetroot clumps left around the garden, the roots are unexplored but the leaves give a nice addition. They do need to be lifted though.



The last of the spring onions (and what a waste of time was That!) have been pulled, cleaned, topped n tailed and added to the previously mentioned salad. Pitiful really and the more so as helpful Ideas For Gardening With Children usually mention how easy spring onions are to grow. I think not.



Carrots have all been cleared and the Kale uprooted.

(Nothing to see there!)



Sprouting broccoli  isn't sprouting, so has been very firmly staked with it's head in more  sunshine. Jury is out!



Swede? Well, let's just say that I will be leaving swede growing to the farmers from here on out! A whole heap of hassle for.......enough diced swede to fit in a hand.

( nothing left to see here either!)


Onions have overwintered well and just need hardening off slowly before they go outside in I guess April? Going to keep an eye on what others are up to in our area anyway.




There are potatoes sprouting but I am not at all holding my breath on that score.



After one and a half years here, we really do Need to knock some kind of order in the garden. I m going for bulbs, easy to manage perennials,  some sturdy shrubs a few more trees and we desperately require fragrant climbing Things.

Time will tell.

But I am hopeful. 




Friday, 1 January 2021

I was going to be hibernating during january


First day of 2021 and I am baking while in other parts of the house pictures are going up.
Outside,  the wind is making its presence felt a little and rain is smattering against the north side windows. Sometimes it seems as though the various sides of our home have their own climates!

I will add to this in dribs and drabs during the month, but for now we are all still mid covid and now post b__x_t. I won't dignify that word with a capital letter, nor will I spend anymore time on it.



No sooner do I finish that last paragraph than a week passes and 'innocence is lost' as the tv presenters are fond of saying. Dont know about that, but Certainly I never thought to see senators cowering under seats and rioters smashing windows, heads or hearts on Capitol Hill. 
Across the US relatives and friends are counting the cost of their loved one's hitherto apparently harmless allegiances . And the thing is, when hatred is allowed to course through our veins it Never ends well. 
There are the Other group of family and friends too, those who genuinely wondered if they would see their loved ones again.
 And from both groups, some are bereaved.
No one. Absolutely no one wins.
Everybody looses.  And. Everybody has to be a part of recreating society.

 
(Both from Moston Brook. Manchester . 2016.)



Decided that a settling book was called for so chose a recently resettled tome by BB, aka DJ Watkins Pritchford, the person who did these beautiful etchings in the book. Certainly the very first time I read anything by BB I had no idea who he was. A keen observer of nature is who he was!

"Brandon Chase" is already in our bookshelves, my aunt's copy that was given to her in 1946.  We now have "The Sportsman's Bedside Book" as well.
Both books have an undertone of postwar countryside hunting and shooting but that can be avoided. Threading through both volumes are the observations and descriptions of fish and animal , bird and wind, water and silence, skies and plants. 
In short, everything I love.

At the end of a day it is good to read, to let my mind wander.
 


Sunday, 13 December 2020

A declaration of intent on our front windowsill...........


 

 December 2020 is proving to be rocky 

That Dratted Virus (TDV)........  very practical fallouts across our country as a direct result of TDV ......widespread heightened emotion as a result of TDV .....Brexit itself....... the process of Brexit.....shorter days......less chances for casual catching up with friends and neighbours.......weather finally took a dip......in short, we are all in a bit of a pickle and everyone seems to be reacting to our situation in different ways.


In the past I might have thrown myself into action, those days are long gone now.  The energy to be outraged is absent. There remains sadness that we can find ourselves in this situation, but I have no inclination to take to my keyboard and share my (very strong) thoughts on the leaders in Westminster. Maybe I will leave them to God, history and the universe.







 
A few years back, our local supermarket was selling these off in January and in spite of their probable far eastern origins.......they have grown on me. Eleven months of the year these animals are wrapped up safely in an old wooden chest, but Christmas is their time! Silly really how commercially produced ornaments can produce instant happiness, but there y'go, they really do.

As does 'Poetry Please' on BBC Radio 4 at Sunday tea time and catching Alison Brackenbury reading her poem "Honeycomb" was a highlight today.

Something else that goes into the old wooden chest is our little collection  of Christmas music. So OUT has come some dear old friends- Taverner, Part & Gorecki.......Rutter.......Cliff R.....a 1994 recording of Christmas Around Europe gives an interesting 74 minutes of eccletic music......and I am enjoying looking at the splatter painting covering on a 2002 home recorded section of Christmas music. 







Gosh
So long ago now!


The garden has been quite deliberately left this winter, I'm needing to see what it Might do as well as what it is bluntly incapable of. 

On the veg front, what I grow supplements our bought veg but:
Beetroot are still doing really well.
Carrots are improving. The odd minature is causing amusement though....
Lettuce at the very end, I foresee lettuce soup!
Spring onions are growing in height but not in girth, they will be placed in the greenhouse to sort themselves out.
Greenhoused onions had bird attack, maybe looking similar to worms? I lost three but the rest are OK.
Kale in this garden requires a kaleyard, it is there but threatening to bolt.
Chard I keep forgetting to pick. Next year I am toying with a sheltered space, need a polytunnel but will need to settle for something less spectacular! 
Celery in pots grew but, hey disappointing. We had soup but not at all good enough to eat raw. Some v tasty young leaves were turned into smoothies.
Miners lettuce in greenhouse require potting on, weather has stopped play but at the Very First Chance it will be done!
Swede, well let's just say I have two plants.......
Annual cauliflower tas been started as instructed and blow me down they are doing well. The repotting flurry needs to fall on me, but hey
Contemplating sowing peas inside for pea shoots.





Today I saw my elderly parent and had a chat! OK, not in real life but all the same via the delights of technology we could see each other and talk. This does not usually happen as they cannot cope with screens / mobile phones / ordinary phones even. We ve not seen each other since late February and yet  in spite of this not being arranged and prepared for ( at all), it was good to see them. It will be even better when we can meet up in person again



Oh well. 
It is December and the agreement was to keep a monthly record here








It might be rough for a while.
So lets agree to be kind and gentle with each other.




After all.
Who knows what nonsense others are going through.




















Sunday, 22 November 2020

Autumn just, but veering swiftly into wintertime.......

 Apparently there was ❄ snow!  ❄  just outside the village recently. 


My response has been to:

1)  ensure enough candles in,  (but non scented only as my lungs can't  cope with the beautiful smells that Are out there. )

2) continue stacking wood for next year, hauling forward This year's supply.

3) remind my brain how to cook and especially how to bake and preserve food.




 


The drafted virus is still with us but lockdownproject.co.uk is inviting a  diverting few moments. Will it? Or won't it? I know not. I have sent off an image though. Worth a looksee.?.....


Upon using a bank card ......In A Real Live Shop .......for the first time since March ( hardly unique i think?) , it was declined . To be fair to them, I had to input a code. But as my  memory is an exctinct specis.......plus mask and glasses combine to ensure that I wouldn't have been able to see anything like four figures in the depths of my wallet/ coat pocket / on arm /  even were it there. Which it was not! .......and I was Already flustered. I payed in cash and left at speed.   My husband will have to do the shopping until my nerve is back. Honestly, for two pins I would just go 100% delivery! But I think he likes the whole hunter - gather-er, yellow label Thing!


Then again, he also does this 'ere zoom thing too! Thursday nights and our living room sounds for all the world Just like a room full of people, the air is Full of photographic chatter!  


Live video chat just isn't my thing, so those kind of chats with friends and family is excruciating and reserved for those who can Only communicate that way. Currently less than five! Making and receiving short video s that can be deleted or changed before sending works best with grandchildren too. It has been fun seeing what the little ones get up to and even more fun watching grandchildren who I have never met starting to say their first meaningful words.....


It has got to the point now where I can truthfully say that the current -normal is not exactly to my liking. In all probability down to less light.....and yes my vitamin d tablets are being taken!

Our campervan is still off the road and eight months of mostly outdoors has come to a crashing halt as my Natural Dormouse Tendancies have come to the fore. There is enough excitement in the greenhouse to keep me pottering about though, fussing about the overwintering plants, a pile of tree cutings require attention and there Is the small matter of our garden to sort for winter!

Need to fire up the studio woodburner and get ensconced out there too. There is paperwork to see to. I work best out there.




So far Christmas decorations have been resisted 

But...........maybe it could be a good idea?

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Winter fruits, stewed.
Easily pleased.
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Tuesday, 13 October 2020

October 2020

Life seems to be downright bonkers, but upon sober reflection maybe not nearly as bad as Some other moments in previous years......



Grandchildren have been born and yet not seen in real life. For the first time in years we have not climbed into our camper, exploring & visiting across the country. I don't have the hang of casually-chic mask-wearing as yet + I'm rapidly developing a distinct aversion to supermarkets.







We have reached that time of Getting The Wood In, of knowing exactly where the scarves, hats n gloves are and starting on blessed puddings and custard!



 There are those scurried last moments in the garden, ensuring no lone plastic pots are left out to be blown hither and yon as the winds blast from every angle through the garden. 

 Today the greenhouse was hauled about and the winter seedlings finally have halfway decent shelving - the potting shelves, relocated from next to our oil tank. I certainly have limited time now to make WinterDecisions for the garden, so was happy to note that a handful of carrots were removing themselves from the soil- they really brightened up our greens with tonight's supper. Must check the beetroot, I glimpsed some ruby red flashes in the soil.......






If we can't  travel, we obviously needed a bit of excitement so changed the downstairs rooms around a bit!
Sunroom has been closed down for winter and the telly has moved into our living room. Cosy evenings with fire and TV have enlarged our respective viewing, as we do need to take into account each other's preferences. The Mr is now up to speed on renovating French Ch√Ęteau s, while I found myself sitting through some detective program the other night.

Not content with this, a new settee , recliner and footstool and two new chairs were bought locally.  We met some great people, Very Seriously win-win.  Then we swizzed round the dining room; creating a reading nook, more compact dining area and a pleasing helpful bookshelf. 

All in all, i am loving this new home!








If I Do find anymore beet ready for pulling......they Will be turned into cocoa and beetroot muffins. There might need to be chopped up chocolate added as well? Or raisins. Or.........





Update!
There is a new-for-us, leather settee as Well!
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Saturday, 26 September 2020

Autumn!

September round up here, so i can look back and objectively see what has been going on. Because if I rely on my memory.......!



Today we are still in September but  the Very Last of our courgette plants were pulled up. And what have I learned? Why, to germinate earlier and that any gifted Must be sheltered in this garden! Will we grow again? For sure.  




Well this was interesting!  Corn  grown in buckets plus very late to germinate and plant out but in spite of everything I have got to see how these plants grow! That's a very immature husk of corn right there and there are others as well. So, although i won't be getting  proper ears of corn to eat.....i might very well have enough corn silk to make a tincture.








Kale and goodness me doesn't it just keep going! 

We WILL be growing these next year, they Do require more direct light in the early stages than these darlings had and I think this is Not the correct place for them. But overall? Overall massive success!










Achocha and at the moment the fruit are finger-length. Smaller, apparently, they can be eaten raw, but not by me. Larger these can be stuffed, which in the interests of research Might happen.








A type of St John's Wort....that will not be staying....if only because a whole load of grass needs to be growing Right There. (Plus I really do not like it.)



We can Never have too much of this sedum. 

Divisions will continue + new plants Will be bought. 



Outstanding , delivers in buckets but does require some  tender loving care next year so....off to read up about what this involves.



Last year , I would have given this away. I am no longer of the same opinion!

It will stay.......if the slugs can be persuaded to leave it alone...




I ....normally.....adore these. But in This garden?

In this garden , the pink roots go berserk  and within six months are half way down the drive. And the overhanging hawthorns ensure leggy plants with not-at-all pleasing and very droopy flowers.

It can be potted up but will Not remain where it currently is.




When we moved in, I was for removing this, forthwith. Now? 

Now this has earned its keep many times over and i would never be without it. Gorgeous pop of colour on the darkest of days.








What on earth is all this about!
I  present one..... leggy...is it a.... hebe? Whatever it is , a younger me would have uprooted this by now! But, for now anyway, it stays. The pollinators have adored it .








Here we are, end of a second season in Aberdeenshire and what has been learned?
* To be outside if at all possible is a priority. There will always be rainy and windy days, we can do inside jobs Then!
* Germination goes well in this garden, I can germinate most things. It is the growing on that presents a challenge.
* Covid19 was a pain, but for a naturally introverted person not as much of a pain for me  as it was for many others. 
* The overall outlines of our garden Do need to be reinforced as of next year. There may be gaps, so be it. Structure is needed.
* In 2019 , I grew what was to hand. 2020 will require Choice! And planning..

If this sounds as though I was outside a lot, that is because I Was outside a lot!


Did we do much else? Well not really!   
Maybe... we both got a little interested in cooking and baking? It is for sure a blessing to be married to someone who loves grocery shopping. One shed came down this year while another is being made watertight and everso slightly warmer. The year planner didn't happen, the diary kinda did and we have not travelled NEARLY as much as we normally do.  Our camper van is in for substantial repairs, will he stay with us afterwards. We really do not know , yet.


It is mid afternoon, the hawthorn berries are tumbling along sweeping branches outside the window. Our tree mallow is still gracefully collapsed across the lawn!  Garden blackberries that were tied in last year are doing their last big push but for some inexplicable reason this year we have not been out berry picking beyond the front gate.
Stock is boiling down on the stove.  We are out of biscuits but I utterly refuse to Buy any!
There are a dozen lettuces to transplant before nightfall and there is a Mary Stewart on the go......


Covid. Yup. It is affecting us; no visits to other people, no one staying here. Grandchildren I would like to meet! 
But overall? Overall we have food,  drink,  shelter and warmth..... my bar is low. 


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March................. posted in April

Although official hibernation ended,  March was an odd one, requiring a degree of reflection. Sunshine a-plenty. Not too much wind. Hopes of...