Monday, July 30, 2012

2012 Allotment Diary - Me: 63 hrs He: 54.5.hrs

My, things have changed up the allotment since I last posted photos.  I have been visiting in between rain storms and the odd day of sunshine.

6th July we very excitedly harvested our first potatoes of the year - Rocket - these were from one plant.
I remember how excited we were - you can't beat your first meal with the first new potatoes of the year. Since then we have harvested a whole sack full and they are still as buttery and creamy as these first ones.
In less than an hour from digging them up, I had made lunch with them  Salmon shanties, our own salads, and to this we added tomatoes, cucumber, beetroot,coleslaw and mayonnaise.
 For a couple of weeks we had tremendous downpours every day and storms, and even a hailstone storm with ice balls the size of marbles that covered our lawns!
 So we couldn't get up the allotment, so I kept myself busy
baking yet more bread puddings for the freezer, and 'processing' the harvests of pounds and pounds of gooseberries, blackcurrants, broad beans etc.

Too much stuff to post I'm afraid.    

So, at the weekend after two weeks of blistering sunshine, I went up in the evening to water the courgettes and squash and do some hoeing.
Some of the late sown parsnips have germinated nicely.
 Despite all the rain we'd had - after a few days the soil was parched
 These and the photo below, are the ones I planted surrounded
 by the green 'jackets' which you can see in a few posts below this one
The soil up the allotment goes from rich manured soil to dust
 just in a few days, but I planted the last of my squashes as we were due rain

 I had removed the shredded leaves of the plants damaged by the hailstorm and new ones have grown.
 I know it's a lot of courgettes and squash plants but last year
I had my whole lot stolen when we went away for just a few days, so this year I am planting loads at different times to 'hedge my bet', and have just harvested my first batch as can see in the post below, and made a lovely batch of 5lbs of ratatouille.

I also harvested my onion crop - just in time as they were nice and ripe - and luckily I did as the storm broke the next day.

Hello - I'm back!

I have been a bit lax at updating this blog - I've had so much to contend with - apart from torrential rain, flooding, roof leaks and appointments.

I have been up the allotment inbetween all the above but had either not the time nor the energy to blog - so will be doing some catch up posts this week hopefully now things are calming down.

Yesterday I harvested the first batch of courgettes and squash and onions so did a big batch cook.
 My absolute favourite way of eating veggies - roasted into a ratatouille.
I make pounds and pounds and pounds of it over the summer - enough to last all winter until the new season's crops are ready to harvest again.  I just have one bag of last year's left!
So in the mix goes diced onions, courgettes, marrows, squash, pumpkins when they are ready, tomatoes when I have a surplus, if not then tins of chopped tomatoes, roasted big red peppers - these I buy in jar as they are so delicious and you get loads.  In this mix I have new potatoes as well and some sliced carrots too.

We had a pound of it with our lunch yesterday and here is 5lb which I packed and popping in the freezer this morning.

Yummy scrummy

Friday, July 06, 2012

Willow's makeover

Willow - my tiny weenie white Barbu d'Uccle  bantam, had been looking decidely muddy underneath.  She has long feathers on her feet and underneath her body - so I decided she needed a bath!

I expected her to put up a bit of a fight - hence my towel!
 But she didn't' - she absolutely loved it.   I chatted to her all the time,
And massaged all the mud off her - the water was filthy by the time I finished.
 I took her indoors, and she had another nice rinse in the kitchen sink.  As you can see she looked a  bit bedraggled right after - but a lot whiter! I took her into my garden studio, wrapped in a lovely warm towel, and talked quietly to her while I rubbed her dry.  She chirruped back to me all the time - and didn't even make a fuss when I trimmed her feathered feet and soft 'under carriage' feathers.
Just a word of warning if  you do this at home - be very very careful when trimming feathers - either wings of others.  If you cut into the feather shaft, not only will it hurt the chicken but will also bleed!  And could of course get infected.
So the above is Willow after her trim.

She sat on my lap on another warm towel and ate a handful of mixed corn from my hand and kept chirping away to me, and had a little doze.
Then she heard the rest of the flock so I put her down on the floor and out she went to join them in the evening sunshine!