Friday, 20 August 2010

Slow summer

Its been a slow summer here for me. Aches and pains from over-enthusiastic gardening both at home and at the allotment were ignored. Stiffness was ignored in the hope that I could finish all I wanted to do and then rest. After a few weeks my body responded to this mistreatment by increasing the level of pain and stiffness and forcing me to seek help.

Over the past month or so I have been having physiotherapy and acupuncture and just now after the latest session I am beginning to sense some improvement. It is taking so long I am told because I didn't listen to my body and slow down.

I have now been forced to slow down, walking only very slowly, very short distances and only on level ground. For someone who loves walking and gardening it has been hard but I have had no option. I've had to accept that when I feel pain, I have to stop.

As we move towards the end of the summer, I haven't done many of the things I'd planned but I have learned to slow down. Many of my usual household chores have been left undone (the lawn hasn't been cut for weeks - missing those chickens!) and its all looking a bit untidy, but its not the end of the world.

I'm hoping I've learnt a few lessons from my slow summer and when I am recovered I will perhaps fit less into my day and stop when things are getting too much.

For some good news, youngest son got his A2 results yesterday and has his place confirmed at university. Like his brother he will be working for a year before going to help with the finances. I am pleased and relieved that he now has both his university place and a job for his gap year. Its not easy for these young people in the current economic climate.

Lastly, I am off on holiday for a week. My husband didn't want a holiday this year so its just me and the boys off to Northumberland. It was supposed to be an exploring, walking, active sort of holiday but for me this year it will be a gentle strolling holiday with much reading and knitting - doesn't sound too bad though, does it?

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


Early morning, a slow-worm in the garden.

Quietly lying in the sun, absorbing the warmth before moving away.

What a gentle way to start the day.

Saturday, 7 August 2010


It was all going so well.  My 29p packet of seeds planted in compost from the compost bin (free) had grown into large healthy looking plants with plenty of fruit. I was looking forward to lots of inexpensive tomatoes.

Some were beginning to ripen. I don't really get enough sun in my garden for tomatoes, this spot under the kitchen window is the sunniest but it gets only four to five hours of sunlight each day so they are always late ripening.

Then I noticed this.

After some internet research I think it is blossom end rot. This is caused by a lack of calcium, too much nitrogen and fluctuations in soil moisture. Since the compost contained much nitrogenous chicken poop and the plants are in pots which are prone to drying out I can see how it occurred but it is disappointing.

All I can do now is to pick the affected fruit, be careful to water thoroughly and hope for the best. If it looks as if more dark spots are developing, I might pick all the tomatoes and make green tomato chutney much earlier than usual!

Thursday, 5 August 2010


Yesterday, it rained.

Not so exciting for those in parts of the country where summer has been cool and damp but here we've had no real rain for weeks. Yesterday we had thunder and lightening and a real downpour which I hoped would soak the garden.

It didn't last long though and within a few minutes the water was evaporating in the strong sunlight and wind.

Not much good for the garden but the steaming shed roof was impressive.

Monday, 2 August 2010

A corner of my garden

My garden this morning...

This battered old bench could do with a tidy and a fresh coat of paint but I like it just as it is, faded, worn and scratched by chickens.

Purple podded climbing french beans which look stunning raw but sadly lose their colour when steamed

A mixture of flowers and vegetables growing happily together, petunias, swiss chard and some more french beans.