Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Allotment Days

Hello!! I hope you all had a great Christmas?

I'm really looking forward to the new year, I've got some big changes in hand which I'll post about at a later date :)

I'm still full of a cold and now I have a nose that could rival Rudolph's!!  Today, I decided to get wrapped up, and go down to the allotment, though the thermometer on the car said it was 4C (relatively warm compared to the last few days) it was mighty chilly even with several layers on and hat, scarfs and gloves.  I let the hens out and sat in the shed with my books, my brew and radio and planned what to grow this coming year:

I also like to refer to this little invaluable treat:

I always get to this time of the year a bit annoyed with my self that I've not achieved as much as I would have liked on the allotment - and its my own fault, it through lack of being organised.  Obviously this year has been different after having my foot operation but still, if I'd have been better with the hen security I would have had some veg as opposed to none because they ate it all!!

This year is going to be different!

I've drawn out the allotment, and started to plan where things are going.  The strawberries, just next to the hen pen can stay there another year.  They've been in that spot two years now so one more year and I'll move them.  Last year and the year before, there where onions and peas where I think I'll put the cauliflowers this year and where the parsnips are there have been carrots the last couple of years.  Maybe I need to think about putting something completely different in that trough this year - I'll ask Papa O.  I've tried to grow garlic the last couple of years, neither years they have taken well, so this year instead of putting them in a bed I think I'm going to try them in planters, maybe on top of the table near the shed, its gets great sun there all day.

As you can see the from the plan, there are a lot of empty beds both small and large, I need to be proactive about what to grow, and grow things I know we are going to use.

Half of (if not a full) one bed this year will be for 6 Brussel Sprout plants, each large bed is approximately 12 x 5 foot.  I had a ridiculous amount of sprouts off 12 plants a couple of years ago, so 6 will be plenty this year, if I do decide to just plant them in one side I'll maybe put beets in the other.

I want to try and grow celeriac this year, but I've read it needs to be planted in I think a trough or ditches?  I need to check that out for definite.

In terms of flowers, which I love having on the plot, I think I'm just going to go for good old sweet peas again.  I love sweet peas and they look so pretty growing up the side of the hen pen:

One of my favourite pictures of this year of Martha Hen.

Once all the sweet peas flowered, Tracy and Papa O kindly took all the pods off for me (I was laid up after the foot op) and then I shelled them all and got new seeds for next year:

First things first though for the entire of January and February are get the beds prepared for planting this year, clear the weeds, put good manure in and most importantly fence off the ones I'm using so the hens cant get into them!

Finally, Mimi rabbit sadly died on Christmas Eve, I do feel a tad awful after telling her she belonged in a cooking pot, but to be fair after my post about her trashing my entire house, she went all out on the christmas lights!!!   

We were all very sad,  and to be honest, I have enjoyed having a house rabbit around, so I went out and got another.  

Meet Hugo:

I mean its not his best picture,  I was slightly drunk whilst taking it (hahaha).  Hugo is a 4 month old Giant French long haired lop eared rabbit (trying saying that drunk!).  He is enormous and still not fully grown!

Anyway I hope you all have a fabulous New Year whatever you decide to do.  

Bye for now & happy planting xx

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Have yourself a merry little Christmas....

It's one of my all time favourite christmas songs.  I love Christmas, not so much the excessive spending, but being with all the family is when I'm at my happiest. However, Christmas in our household is always tinged with sadness. My wonderful parents in law are no longer with us, and as in my favourite Christmas song:

Through the years we all will be together

If the Fates allow

This Christmas it will be 3 years since my lovely, very stubborn, (sometimes grumpy) father in law died. If it wasn't bad enough that the (excuse my language) bitch that is cancer took my beautiful mother in law after a long battle, 6 weeks after our wedding, it then took my father in law 2 and a half years later on Christmas day (and for extra sorrow the old family dog too). 

It was one of the most surreal days of our lives, that started at midnight on the 25th in the hospital, coming home hours later pretending to the children everything was perfect and happy to Mr husband going back a few hours later, until well...

So, everyone, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, I hope you have a fabulous day, and to everyone who is remembering someone (people) this Christmas, raise a glass to them. Xx

The lovely Jean and Jim x

Saturday, 20 December 2014

tis the season for coughs and colds

I've been taken down, by the common cold!! Obviously my hypochondria clearly has it pegged as something else and I'm unlikely to make it 'til the new year, but in a nut shell, my germy child has been playing with her germy friends and given me the lurge!! I'm coughing like a beast and have a delightful little odour about me namely called eau du les vicksvapourub!  I've been off work for the last three days because its been that bad, yesterday however, I took advantage of feeling sorry for myself and crocheted these little boot cuff treats:

Give it another couple of days of self wollowing and pity I may have the gloves to match....

(Oh...the germy child was fine after about a day!)

Mimi the house rabbit is single handedly trying to ruin Christmas as well as my house. I could show you the photos of the damage she caused but it would be boring and you'd think I live in a hovel so here's a brief run down:

Christmas lights - one lot has been repaired - twice. The  tree lights eaten beyond repair...out of the colours red works.

Christmas tree - various branches have repeatedly pulled down and then put back on by the ever suffering Mr husband accompanied with various expletives and threats of rabbit stew.

Wallpaper - why would people put wall paper on the walls with a house rabbit.... Clearly according to a rabbit wallpaper shouldn't be on the walls

Net curtains - just eaten

Surround sound speaker wire - chewed - the right side now doesn't work, not good when a person with balance problems thinks they are on the starship enterprise and only the engines on the left are working.

Internet and TV wire - thankfully we caught her eating that one and repaired the damage before the internet was totally down.

Walls - turns out rabbit enjoy eating plaster!

I wouldn't mind she has chew toys that clearly don't taste as wires!

And now the plot.  Its sopping wet. This time of year is the worst because it doesn't have good drainage (even with drainage put in).  This weeks tasks are to put lots of sawdust down in the hen coop to dry it out.  Ive had to put pallets in one part, I don't want them standing in the mud.  The hens are winding down for winter so not many eggs.

A bit of a worrying moment when I went last week, the door was wide open!! I had boo with me, I immediately thought fox and how I didn't want an 8 year old witnessing er, chicken carnage (SORRY!) But no they were just mulling around the plot, quite happily pleased with themselves.  I don't know what had happened, it looked like someone had let them out but I can't think of would.

There are probably lots of things I should (could) be doing on the plot but to be honest, I tend to go, take my studies (I have my sign language exams in January) and just let the hens mull around and honestly, who would want to do that when you have views like to contend with:

Honestly, I sometimes think, the best thing you can do in life for your own sanity is sit, rest and take in the magnitude of your surroundings.

Next year (after my exams) I want to make a good go ofthe plot.  It starts with the fencing of the beds so the hens can't get in. Creating new smaller beds along to be side and getting planting plans and schedules in place.  I think we can all agree what with one thing and another, I've been pretty lax this year!!

Merry Christmas you lovely lot and happy planting (and eating!) Xxx

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Happy Halloween!!

I love Halloween!! Its one of my favourites.

It starts with pumpkin carving one or two nights before:

This year we were a bit disappointed we didn't get to grow one like last year.

Miss boo enjoys having more and more responsibility each year, she's already excited that she'll get to use the drill next year!

And she wanted to do hello kitty this year, she didn't have  that much responsibility though, this design involved various knives (and some very bad swear words when boo want in the room!)

Then on Halloween we all get dressed up:

(This is me (the white rabbit) and my lovely bestfriend. We've known each other since we were 4)

We get loads of trick or treaters coming to our house and we ply them with various E numbers equally we (myself, mr husband and our friends) go out trick or treating with our children - 6 of them last night and they spend the entire evening as giddy as kippers (it's the only night in the entire year they are allowed to gorge on sweets, I half expect them to eat far too many, feel ill and regret their decision, but it never happens, equally the line "don't get to giddy you'll make yourselves ill" not only falls on deaf ears, but never happens). We seem to have a good unwritten policy on our estate (maybe it's like this everywhere) where if you leave lights on trick or treater's are welcome. The kids are really good as well, they respect that if there are no lights on people don't want to be bothered.

After trick or treating we all come home and enjoy pumpkin soup or corned beef hash or both! (Just not together!) I found a delicious pumpkin soup this year and modified it slightly:

All the pumpkin innards (of two pumpkins)
Olive oil
1 onion
1 leek
1 sweet potato
2.5 pints of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1/4 point of double cream

Thinly chop onion, and slice the leek and fry in the olive oil until soft, peel the sweet potato and chop into small cubes add to oil. Fry until soft for 5 minutes and the cumin and add the pumpkin, add the chicken stock. Bring to boil, then turn down and simmer for 25 minutes until veg is soft. Then take of the heat.  Because I like soups to be quite thick I strained the veg from the stock and blended it, then add a bit of stock at the end to get the right consistency. Stir in the cream, and add salt and pepper. I served mine with the chilli flake grinder, in case people wanted an added kick!

So there you go!

I'm aiming to get to the allotment tomorrow!!! And this week will be about making plans on what to plant next year. And I might even look at getting that greenhouse up over winter!

Bye for now and happy planting! Xx

Monday, 27 October 2014

Autumn days and darker nights.

I love the clock change - said no one ever!!! Eurgh! It messes with my chi!!! The getting up in the dark (having to drive a dodgy French made car with Dodgier electrics to work in the dark), the cold mornings and worst of all having to concede to giving yet more of my money to the energy companies!! No, probably the worst of all is the miserable feeling I seem to develop around this time of year, it drives me mad - quite literally.

But honestly the positives of this time of year far out way the negative. The gorgeous changes in colours:

Dark nights cozied in front of the fire under blankets, jumping in leaves, hats, scarf's and gloves, hot chocolate, winter stews, Halloween - these were last year's pumpkins by myself and miss boo:

Papa O assures me he's got us a great big pumpkin this year, which he's planning on bring over later this evening and this years party outfits are well underway to being made and bought.

So even though this season does mess with my head (and makes my dodgy French cars windows steam up at any given opportunity, thus having to use the air con button and using more fuel!) I still totally love October and Autumn!!! (And the happy pills help with my mood!)

Bye for now and happy planting!!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

It's been oh so long!!!!

The 22nd June was the last time I've posted, I do apologise. So much has happened, but in terms of the plot, not so much I'm sure about. I'll do a round up of where I left off and we'll go from there.

June saw scarecrow competitions:

And the start of a Level 1 British Sign Language course that I started! Oh, and endless hours of working.....

July saw, potential new plans in terms of my M.E. and being put on another waiting list..it seems all good though. It also saw Papa O putting his shed on his allotment:

And Cambridge Folk Festival!! It was the 50th anniversary this year and it was fabulous! Oh, and endless hours of work.....oh, I nearly forgot, I also passed my first Sign Language Exam!

August saw Miss Boo turning 8!! Where those years have gone, I have no idea! August also saw a major for operation on my right foot, toes to be exact, i won't show  the foot, you've probably already seen it on Twitter!! But here I am two days after:

6 weeks of crutches, 8 weeks off work, no allotment, nothing... Sitting at home crocheting....oh, and taking full advantage of the fact I couldn't leave the house... Chalkboards were created:

Visitors, the kids and me get thorough enjoyment out of this, it's on the stairs in the hallway and people doodle as they are going past. If I'm honest I think Papa O gets the most enjoyment, theres always a random doodle I find when he's gone home.

September saw my birthday 34!! How!!!

Party feet!

And the arrival of the beautiful Cleo (wee cat):

She was found in a land rover yard, her mum is feral, honestly she's just a joy (not so much when you're trying to crochet!)

 September also saw the removal of the toe pins, the ditching of the crutches, and a looooong recovery time! (Its still going on!), and still no allotment!!! Papa O assures me everything is fine and has been making use of the planting space, planting radishes and swedes. Whilst I've been off, I've made good headway on my blanket of loveliness:

And I got to go the fabulous Yarndale festival with my walking stick!

I got some fabulous purchases including my favourite thing ever:

A light up crochet hook!!!!

And so for October, I still can't get to the allotment, I can't get my for in wellies and it's too wet to risk going in normal shoes. Papa O has stopped back the rhubarb apparently. I'm back at work, I've started some voluntary work with deaf children and I started my Level 2 British Sign Language! I have 2 more exams for level 1 which I'm aiming to do before Christmas!  The foot recovery is a long slow process, I still can't walk properly, the two toes don't bend, so I'm having to retrain them really. And a bit of sad news, last weekend the three home hens and Tallulah rabbit died overnight on the Saturday. We have no idea how or why but it means that Mimi rabbit now lives in the house.

So that's about it, I will keep up to date with the blog a bit more and I'm thinking of starting a new one for crochet!!

Happy planting xx

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Versatile Blogger Award Nomination

Hello you lovely lot!! How are we all doing??

So I've been nominated for the above award by (I cant believe through the powers of social media I don't know real names!!) haptonmeadow, which frankly, amazes me, because it still amuses me that people still read about 'a northern lass who hasn't got a clue of what to do'!!  So thank you very much.

I apparently have to nominate 15 others people and their blogs, which is going to be tricky because im not even sure I read that many blogs!!  Before I do however, I must say there are so many people who I am in contact with on Twitter on a regular basis who though they don't have blogs, sometimes their twitter feeds are like mini blogs.  But anyway, here goes:

1.  Gnowangerup Cottage

2. lavenderandleeks 

3. lottielandgirl 

4. plot16

5. gagiesgreatgardenadventure

6. maddisallotment

7. countryskillsblog

8. allotment65

9. talesofmrsh

10. attic24

11. realmensow

12. flightplot

13. losttheplot235

So... I managed 13.

Next apparently I have to tell you 7 things about myself:

1.  I have personal space issues - my friends sent me this picture to try and put on a t-shirt:

2.  I am a trained hairdresser - but due to reason number 1 I don't go near hair or people (It wasn't my best career path choice)

3.  I have a terrible potty mouth,  thankfully the children know never ever to swear and don't copy me!

4.  I play the ukulele - not well but I play it!  (here is a little rendition for you, if you get to the end of it you'll notice point number 3 above come into play):

5.  I have 5 tattoos  they can all be covered, you'd never know I had them.

6.  I'm 33 and I have a dolls house that I wont let my 7 year old daughter anywhere near! 

7.  and finally...my Mr husband is my one and only. He is my kiteflyer who keeps me grounded when my head is flighting around in the clouds. He brought me back from the ashes of bad times and I love that man beyond words (you may now be sick if you wish):

Bye for now & happy planting xx

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

My Apologies...

..It's ages since I've posted!!  I do apologies,  I cant even really give a good enough excuse other than I've been mega busy with work or sleeping because I've been mega busy.

Anyway, here we go.  Honestly, the allotment at the moment, sometimes in the summer its like fighting a losing battle it was, until last weekend a big overgrown mess, with an allotment owner who was too tired to do anything, other than sit and watch the hens.  I'm really only managing to get down there at the weekends, i go down during the week to sort then hens out but other than being a place for the hens its a nothing at the moment.  Last year, I sectioned off all my plants so the hens couldn't get to them but this year, a combination of working and M.E has just meant that I haven't had the energy to do anything.  (I know what you're thinking - suck it up and get on with it! - its what i'm thinking too!).  So last weekend I went down to the allotment and who did I find?  Papa O and Tracy (my stepmum),  Papa O was working on his Tracy was cutting the grass on mine:

And I'm pleased to report it looking much better:

So here we go:

After transporting the blueberry bush down there last year and not getting anything off it,  this year, its doing great!:

The Gooseberry bush is full of fruits, to the point where I actually managed to pick some a couple of weeks ago, and some Rhubarb:

And I made the most delicious rhubarb and gooseberry tart (which frankly looked like a big pile of jewels!):

(thats a great picture isnt it!)

The tomatoes are starting to flower:

And the peas are getting bigger:

I have so many strawberries its unbelievable!!:

Especially when I'm putting the hens away I find Martha missing and she in the Strawberry patch:


And tonight I even got my first strawberry (I ate it before I told anyone!):

At home the home hens are getting cheeky they have no taken to flying on to shoulders as Mr husband found out on Saturday:

The next photo pretty much summed up my weekend 
(hens and wine!):

And finally, my latest creation - Buxom Betty for Papa O's village scarecrow competition:

 I promise not to leave it so long next time!  I have a (too) long awaited appointment with the M.E service in Liverpool at the beginning of July hopefully I'll get some answers.

Bye for now and happy planting xx

Monday, 5 May 2014

Bank Holiday Busyness!

Genuinely thought it was Sunday! 

Howdy people!! Have you all had a lovely bank holiday weekend?? Mine has been massively busy Friday consisted of working the morning and egg collecting at the plot in the afternoon.  The chickens are now paying for themselves: 

Friday night consisted of the most delicious curry, out with lovely friends and topped off with acting the maggot in my gorgeous nephews toy corner:

(Note that's a Minion in the toy corner and NOT my Nephew - in case you where slightly confused!)

Saturday I spent sometime on the plot planting up some Swiss Chard, which I've had in little pots since last autumn, if I'm honest I actually stumbled across them, I had forgotten I had them.  There's five little plants in total:

I also planted some Purple Sprouting Broccoli.  I think I may have to stake these at some point to stop them toppling over:

The Gooseberries are really coming on on the plot.  They were transplanted down there last year from my garden and so they didn't give off any fruit last year - maybe they were getting themselves established?   But this year they look like I'll get the best harvest off them yet:

I picked yet more Rhubarb (honestly there's only so much Rhubarb one family can handle (!), but with the latest pick I'm planning on making a Rhubarb Tart for a party next weekend and some lovely Rhubarb syrup.  You can find this recipe and lots of other topics of loveliness over at :countryskillsblog.com

On Saturday evening I spent some lovely time in the garden with 'Frankie Home Hen' sat on my knee, just chillin'.  She seems to have really bonded with me, more than the other really (psst don't tell Mr husband, but the home hens aren't going to the allotment!)

Sunday, was all about family time, and we had a lovely day.  We went to local Nature Reserve called Brockholes. It really is fabulous here and I'm so annoyed I forgot to take my camera!! They had scarecrow festival on this weekend, which had a two and a half mile Scarecrow Trail.  It takes you around the reserve and into the woods:

And they have the most fabulous visitors centre and restaurant that floats on water!! You can sit and have your lunch on water!  The visitors centre has lots of educational activities for children to take part in as well as some videos and information of the animals that live within the reserve.   There have various nature trails (some with hides on, for you to watch the wildlife) all different lengths and the paths all seem to be accessible for prams and wheelchairs.  It's fabulously priced, educational and there's something for everyone.  The kids mostly enjoyed the climbing forest areas as well as the gravel quarry and the zip wire (in fact I think Mr Husband enjoyed the zip wire a little bit more!)   Honestly if you ever get the chance to go then do.  You wont be disappointed!

And so to today, well the Peas have been nibbled.  I knew they would, not badly mind but somethings had a good munch on them!  I was talking to Allotment Nigel about how I could possibly win the award for cr*pest allotmenteer 2014.  He however, had a solution that he uses:

Take plastic bottles:

Saw off the ends:


And put over the Peas until they are a little bit more established:

In other news, Boo was more than excited that her sunflowers are growing:

 And here is one of my favourite pictures of the week, taken in my back garden on the apple tree:

Bye for now and Happy Planting. Xx