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