Saturday, 25 July 2009

On holiday

There is much excitement here as we go on holiday in just a couple of days. We only booked two weeks ago so it has been all a bit last minute.

Our journey will take us over twenty four hours,

we'll be traveling by taxi, then train, then ferry,

the total distance will be about 750 miles of which two hundred will be by ferry,

almost as far as we can travel and still be in the UK,

and these are the maps I've packed.

Yes, its Shetland my favourite holiday destination and both boys are coming with us so I have lots to look forward to.

See you in two weeks.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Eggs in the garden

Our hens, Sage and Onion are just over two years old and egg production has been falling recently until about three weeks ago when it abruptly stopped. I was a bit surprised that it stopped so suddenly but they both seemed to be well and healthy and we just assumed that their egg laying days were over.

Today though whilst out in the garden my husband chanced upon these....

There were ten eggs, one of them still warm - it was the familiar egg-laying clucking that made him investigate what was happening in the undergrowth.

Up until three weeks ago we were getting an egg every other day so ten eggs would suggest that three weeks ago egg laying shifted from coop to garden. I wonder why? Everything looks just the same inside the hen house no obvious reason for the change of location.

We have collected the eggs and wait to see where the next egg turns up. I'm assuming that the eggs are safe to use as long as they look ok. Any suggestions for encouraging laying in the hen house?

Thursday, 16 July 2009

A day in my life

Since I've been doing these posts on the 14th of each month, I've recorded many different days, weekdays, weekend days, at home or at work so I'm building up quite a record of how I spend my time.

This month the 14th fell on a non-work day for me and a day off for my eldest son and we decided to go out for part of the day. It is now less than three months now until he leaves for University and so he is starting to buy a few of the things he will need. Shopping is not a favourite activity for either of us so we decided to make it a bit more interesting by shopping somewhere different.

We chose Windsor. We parked the car and were walking up the hill past the castle when we realised we were just in time to see the changing of the guard. I pulled my camera out and behaved like a tourist for a while!

We shopped very efficiently and in less than an hour we were ready to escape the town and make our way to somewhere less crowded.

This lake is in Windsor Great Park and was the perfect place for a walk and picnic lunch.

We thought this tree trunk had a rather sad face but its not quite so obvious in the photo.

We didn't visit Savill Gardens but did admire the very elegant new visitor centre.

Inside there was a gallery

a small plant shop

and an outdoor seating area

perfect for tea and cake.

We weren't the only ones who thought the cake looked good!

We returned home in time to pick up younger son from the station, do some housework and prepare dinner.

We were out of the house for less than five hours but somehow it was one of those days that feels like a mini holiday away from the usual weekday routines.

No pictures from the rest of the day and now I can't remember what we ate for dinner or what I did in the evening but it was a lovely trip out and I'm sure I will remember that part for a long time.

Monday, 13 July 2009

My allotment

There are times during the spring and early summer, April, May and June, when I feel that looking after my allotment is just too much. I feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks that need to be done and balancing that with work and all the running around after the family. I wish that either my husband or one of my sons shared my love of growing things so there was someone interested in what was growing, what the slugs or pigeons had eaten and also some help with carrying heavy watering cans!

Each year I wonder whether I should perhaps give up my plot. Then every year there comes a time sometime in July when it all seems to come together and I look around and think "I've grown all this!" and it does seem worth while after all.

Today was that day. After the early morning rush of sorting out the packed lunches and driving my eldest son to work, I went straight to my allotment. I was the only person on the site at 7am this morning and standing there in my plot I felt very satisfied with my little harvest.

It might not be as weed free as some of the other plots, its certainly got more self seeded flowers, the plants may not give such heavy yields as plots that have more manpower to shovel manure and it doesn't have beautifully made brassica cages and timber edged raised beds, but it does OK.

This is what I picked today so tonight's dinner will be a roasted vegetable ratatouille including the onions and courgettes, with couscous, homemade granary bread, broad beans and chard followed by blackcurrant fool. I've bottled lots of gooseberries already so I might make this last picking into a couple of pots of jam.

Next spring when I'm feeling that the allotment is hard work I can look back at these photos to remind myself its worthwhile after all.

Friday, 10 July 2009

After work walk

Sometimes I grumble about my job, I suppose we all do from time to time, but even when I am feeling fed up I remind myself how lucky I am to be working less than two miles from home.

Ten minutes after leaving work I can be home enjoying a cup of tea and after that there is still time for a short walk before starting on dinner.

Although we have had rain, it is still dry here and the long grasses are a warm golden colour.

The freshness of spring and early summer has passed now and the later summer flowers are starting to appear. A few patches of heather are already in flower,

and in amongst the thistles, I found a couple of pure white flowers.

Back home I took this photograph of the flower spike on the Yucca plant in my front garden. It doesn't flower every year but with striking flowers like this its worth the wait.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009


At last, after weeks without a drop, we have finally had some rain. Not a huge amount and as gardeners we are never satisfied, but enough to mean that I don't have to be carting watering cans around the allotment and garden for a few days,

and enough to wash away all the dust and make all the plants look fresher.

This week we emptied out the potatoes which I grew in pots on the patio. I do a few pots each year, we don't really have the space to grow potatoes but this way we get just a few new potatoes eaten within an hour of leaving the soil - lovely.

Also this week, my eldest son turned 19. I don't know where the time has gone but my little boy has turned into a confident young man working hard in his gap year and preparing to go to university in the autumn. We all went out for a birthday meal and then ate vast quantities of chocolate cake covered in marshmallows and chocolate buttons - just how a birthday should be.

We are still struggling with our erratic Internet connection but it seems to be OK this morning so I hope this publishes successfully and that I can catch up on reading a few blogs