Monday, 19 June 2006
It is 6.45pm and I have just sat down for some tea – after a really busy day.
We spent two and a half hours up the allotment this morning. Undergardener kindly watered the tomatoes and squashes, whilst I mowed all the lawns.
Naturally my job was harder work and took longer as I have to start with the blades at their highest point because of the weeds that grow through along the fences from the other side, and then I gradually lower and lower them.
I like to give it a shortish cut so that it will last a least a week, and we are actually forecast some rain tomorrow night or Wednesday, so I just had to get it done.
KoKKo, Adelaide and Ginger laid a nice big egg each – so no egg eating has been going on – yippee. I had gone from a glut of eggs to none – everyone seemed to want them at once over the weekend, even the bantam eggs went. The bantams are laying one a day – I think that it is Pumpkin as the other two are broody and Dilly looks like she is moulting as there are lavender coloured feathers in the nesting box and elsewhere.
So back to the allotment talk. The soil is like concrete up there, but somehow the weeds manage to thrive, but I am being sensible and not attempting to dig out the deep rooted ones and hurt myself, so I have given them a hair cut. I use all the grass cuttings – of which there is a lot up there, to mulch as much as I can which helps, and by now I would have mulched a lot more with the horse manure too – but again, I have not been up to it, even with the weeds that I do have (not an enormous amount) it still have far less weeds than all the others.
My next task is to weed around the climbing beans and plant some more, which have failed for one reason or another. I need to sow some more salads and cucumber and other crops – brassicas - that got eaten by the rabbits.
Before I came home I picked some broad beans. It is amazing how they have ‘bounced’ back after their near death experience, being snowed under, hit by perma frost which made them die back, then they got nibbled by rabbits and deer and pecked by pheasants and pigeons. But I picked 18 ½ lbs of lovely big bean pods – which we will be podding most of the evening!
There was one more task before I left and that was to dig up another potato plant. I just love doing that, as you never know how many potatoes will be lurking underneath. I dug up one early Colleen, and harvested 2.5lbs of lovely sized potatoes. I have had big crops from late varieties, but with such little rain, I was really surprised to get the amount I did from Colleen. We have enough for meals for 2 days, and the seed potato was still big and perfect so I have cooked that for the chickens, the leaves went into the compost bin – how’s that for waste not want not?
We had lunch – at 3pm – not a good idea – then had a rest for an hour. The boss mowed the lawns at home which didn’t take long and they are at least flat and almost weed free – just daisies and I like those. Whilst he was doing that I top and tailed the 8 lbs of rhubarb I had pulled – 6lb from up the allotment this morning and another 2lb from a plant I had here behind my shed. So it is now washed and vacuum packed in the freezer, so that I can use it for jam, chutneys, etc during the winter when I have more time. I made some rhubarb crumbles and we have just had some for tea.
My son and daughter in law bought some double cream last weekend when they came, and I forgot to use it. It would expire on 22nd June so I used it to make butter and now have 9oz of unsalted butter and over half a pint of buttermilk. The buttermilk I will use tomorrow either in the bread or I will make scones. I froze half a pound of butter in and the rest I will use.
A while ago I made some cream – face and body cream, and bought the little plastic pots and lids with a view to put the cream in them, but they were too big. I used one though, and put it at the back of the fridge and forgot about it. A couple of weeks later husband made some toast and got a pot of butter out of the fridge – luckily I walked in just in time – he was about to spread my cream onto my toast! I have learnt an important lesson, needless to say.
No photos today, you all know what vacuum packed rhubarb and a large carrier bag of broad beans look like – and my home made butter too!
Off to continue shelling the beans!