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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

New Project

Things have been a bit quiet on here recently as far as creativity goes.  However, I am still spinning, I am still knitting (just not finishing anything!) and yesterday I started my sister's birthday present.  It was her birthday on 8th April, so it's very late.  In my defence, I did have the mother of all viruses at the time and didn't do very much for a while afterwards.

Here is a little peek (not too much though until I've finished it and sent it off.

Has Beans?

Easter Sunday we spent a very enjoyable afternoon BBQ with friends who have a holiday home nearby.  Too much food was eaten, too much wine consumed, and the sun came out specially for us!

Whilst on their 2-week visit this time, Meryl and Sarah decided to clear out the barn.  Meryl has owned the house for about 15 years, and this must be the first time it's been done!!  On a shelf, at the back, they found these :-

Actually, there were a whole lot more.  The date is 1979, making them 32 years old!!!!  Now, they look as fresh as the day they were bottled . . . I haven't dared open them yet to see what they smell like.  Common sense tells me to throw them in the "poubelle" immediately, but logic says that if they were canned properly, using the correct temperatures for the right length of time, they should still be edible.  They certainly look appetising enough.  So, what do you think?  Should we open them and try one?  I'm tempted . . .

If this blog suddenly ends from today, my favourite flowers are freesias.  Please plant them under the mulberry tree with me!

Friday, 22 April 2011

My Messy Garden

Finally got around to sowing all my vegetable seeds the other day.  A bit late, I know, but the nice thing about living down here is that things catch up very quickly.

I've sowed lots of tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, chillies, peas, aubergines, melons, pumpkins, butternut squash and lots of other edibles.  Plus lots of basil (for Eric) and lots of coriander (for me).   Also put in some woad seed which is now 2 years old, so I hope it grows.

Meanwhile, the redcurrants are coming along nicely . . .

. . . as are the leeks and garlic :

Oh, and here is our future greenhouse

Ah, I hear you say, but isn't that a swimming pool?  Well, yes, a very large, derelict swimming pool which was going to cost an absolute arm and a leg to renovate and maintain.  So, we decided the best option (especially as my greenhouse got blown away twice in gales!) was to put a polycarbonate roof on it and call it a greenhouse.  Work in progress!

We were at a friend's house one night last weekend and it was nice enough to sit outside for the whole evening.  This little chap (chapess?) joined us and stayed for the whole party

It's blowing a gale here today so I now have to decide whether to go and cut the grass anyway, dig the vegetable beds, or stay inside and do the ironing, bake some bread, clean the bathroom or take the day off and spin!  Decisions, decisions . . .

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Flowers to enjoy . . . fruit to come

Wandered around the garden today and took some photos of the flowers in bloom at present, plus fruit for the future.

This is my lilac bush, covered with flowers.  Actually, it's two plants together, a white and a purple, but it looks like one bush.

The irises are all in flower too - but what a pity they don't last long.

These are last year's woad plants which will, hopefully, supply the seeds for next year's!

The fruit trees have all been covered in blossom this year.  The nectarine and peach now have lots of baby fruit, the cherries are just starting to form, the apple trees are showing great promise and the pear trees are going to be prolific too.
Oh, and did I mention figs?  The fig trees swamp us in fruit every year - far more than we can eat.  Unfortunately, the hornets like them too so it's always a bit of a battle who gets there first.

The almonds are a first this year.  Last year they had flowers, and a few fruit formed, but then they disappeared.  This year there are quite a lot, so fingers crossed.

 And finally, here are our future grapes.  Again, they usually produce far more than we can eat, but they do make good raisins if they're dried.  And anyway, who can have too many grapes?

The vegetable garden has barely started yet (apart from leeks, onions and garlic, planted in October), but the globe artichokes are putting on lots of growth so we should be enjoying those in about another month.


Here it is . . .

I've been waiting a year for this!  It's been sitting under the hangar as planks of wood since my birthday last March, but Eric recently got some spare time to get it cut and built.  We just have to put down a concrete platform for it under the oak tree and place it.  Then I'm hoping the scout bees will find it (after I've smeared the inside with honey) with a view to moving in when swarm time comes in early May.  Otherwise, I'll just have to put my hand in my pocket and buy some bees or hope someone locally has a fairly accessible swarm.

I don't really want to spend a lot of money on bees at this point, because I've never kept them before and would hate to install them only to have them die on me.

This is a "top bar" hive (i.e. there are no frames to remove)  which allows the bees to build their own comb in the way they like.  It's a more natural process for them as the boxes imitate the hollow insides of trees.  Also there is less intervention by the beekeeper so they are less stressed.

Here's to future honey . . .

Friday, 8 April 2011

Flowers for Liz

This is a little "Happy Birthday" posting for my big sister Liz who is 60 today!!
Here are some flowers for your birthday, hope you have a brilliant day.

These are calendula officinalis growing in my garden.

And some apple blossom (Bramley).  Just as I was about to take the photo, a bee obligingly hopped on!

Sorry we can't be with you for your big day, but hope you'll be able to visit us this year.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Little Project Bag

mJust finished the embroidery on the bag I was making.  I have to admit it came out a bit smaller than I'd anticipated - maybe 90 degrees in the washing machine was just too much for it!!  Yet another lesson learned.

Anyway, I'm really pleased with the way it's turned out so here are the piccies :-

. . . and the other side:-

Not bad for my first attempt at felting a knitted article?  So now I'm off to wrap and pack it for the post tomorrow.