Friday, 29 June 2012

A Pleasant Visit.

I have had a very pleasant morning visiting a lady whom I am grateful for having met her. Her name is Vera and she is the nan to one of my son's friends. As you all know I started a new project this week and I needed a little help from an expert and who better than a lady of quite a few years (it's rude to mention a ladies age you know!) with a lot of experience in knitting and crocheting.

I popped round to see Vera this morning clutching my precious project in my hands anxious that what I had done was correct. Vera was sitting in her chair with a pile of knitting and crocheting patterns and some of her finished work and a sweet little cardigan than she is presently working on. I had not met Vera or spoken to her until this morning and what a lovely lady she is too.

Within a few minutes it was like I was sitting in my nan's lounge again when I was a child. Vera taking a look over my work said I had done very well for my first project and yes I was flushed with pride. Vera went through all the patterns she had and passed me the pieces she had finished and what she is working on explaining how she had done them.

Vera has shown me how to sew the attachments on and also showing me how to hold the wool correctly as I tend to hold the wool like I am knitting, she said it does not matter as long as I feel comfortable doing it that way, but she took the time to show me anyway.

I had taken Vera round a jar of my home made elderberry and blackberry jam that I had made last autumn as I do not like to visit people empty handed. In exchange I came away with a bounty of goods for which I was not expecting however very grateful. Vera gave me a darning needle a crocheting pattern and book, two crotchet hooks and some odd balls of wool so I can make the decorative attachments for the hats that I am planning to make.

But the best thing Vera gave me was her time and experience which is worth much more than any crotchet hook or book. She is a lovely warm welcoming lady. Most of the things that Vera makes are for the local hospital, the gift box appeal, charity events and just for the people she meets. I am very grateful for the chance I have had of meeting Vera and feel that I am a very lucky person indeed.

We tend to forget or ignore the older generation which is such a shame. They have so much knowledge and time to share and impart. If this knowledge goes unheard it may be lost forever.

I know this post is off my usual topic however it is something I just wanted to share with you all. I have not quite finished my project yet so I will not post the photo until it is completed.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Until next time x

Thursday, 28 June 2012

feeling hot hot hot!

It has been very hot and muggy the past two days. But at long last some of the strawberries have gone red and Octavia found the biggest one and promptly plucked it from the plant and went racing off into the coop with the other's in hot pursuit!

The girls had a couple of hours out in the garden, Bell was quite happy plucking at my lettuce and Dory was in my newly planted herb pot kicking out all the soil, Matilda was in the fruit border and Octavia was rummaging in the strawberries! So a good day was had by all. I cut some rhubarb which my mum has taken home to make a rhubarb pie. I have put netting round it now so the girls can't get at it. We had four eggs today which made a nice change. The girls are now back in the run laying down with their wings spread out relaxing after their hectic day.

I had visitors today so not much gardening has been done, however I have removed the broad beans as these had seemed to have finished and what pods were growing have gone black. This was quite a poor crop this year and I planted these in November last year for them to over winter. The Variety was Aquadulce, last spring I sowed The Sutton and I shall sow these again next spring as I had a much better crop from these.

The snails are busy feasting on my brassica's even though I have mulched with human hair on some of them the snails seem to still manage to get through where there is no mulch. A trip to the hairdressers is in order to restock up on mulch.

As it has been so dry it is perfect weather for weeding and hoeing so I have done the vegetable plot and the raised beds. The pods are forming on the peas, I just need them to fill out now. Everything that is in the ground is growing quite well. The cauliflowers, sprouting broccoli and cabbages I sowed a couple of weeks ago are coming through, hopefully these will make it into the ground soon. The swede that I sowed has started to poke through the soil and the parsnips are 3-4 inches high now.

Well I have almost finished my little project. I have just got to do the final sewing and it is finished. I was better at this than I thought. It is amazing what you can learn from just watching a video, even if they were going to quick and I had to keep pausing and replaying! I will have to upload the photo tomorrow as the battery has just gone on my camera. It does not seem to last long and always runs out of juice at the most inopportune moments!

Well that is it from me for another day, I have got a lot of watering to do. Until next time x

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Just call me Barbara...

It has been a couple of nice days, I even wore a summer dress today as it was so nice, which makes a change from my usual gardening clobber! Not much gardening has been done though as Monday I was catching up on house cleaning after having a full house at the weekend. Today I went out to lunch with my parents which was rather pleasant.

I have spent a couple of hours out there this evening so the girls could have their manic run around! I have watered and fed the potatoes, courgettes, strawberries, sweet peas and the tomatoes. I have run out of feed so the beans and peas will have to wait until tomorrow to be fed.

The sunshine we have had means the strawberries have started to turn at long last!

The small courgette plant has produced three flowers and all were male, hopefully they will produce some female flowers soon. The tomato plants and carrots in the greenhouse have grown quite a bit.

I need to remove the side shoots off these tomatoes, that is a job for tomorrow. I have left it a bit late but they seem to have grown so quick!

These are the last potatoes that I planted at the end of March as you can see they have also grown quite a bit and will soon be ready they are full of flowers that have not opened yet, these ones have yellow flowers where as the earlier ones at the other end of the garden are purple. This year I did remember to peg the labels to the bags. So when I do harvest them I will know what variety they are.

We are still only getting one or two eggs a day, I am wondering if it because Octavia, Dory and Bell will keep attacking the rhubarb. Matilda does not touch it and she is the only one who is laying an egg everyday. I do put something round it but they keep getting through. Tomorrow I am going to put some canes in and put netting round it so they can't get at it. Once it dies down I will move it onto the vegetable plot as that is one place the girls don't go.

I have started a new project today, it is something I have been wanting to do for a while. Jay is becoming rather concerned as yesterday I was cleaning the house with fresh lemons and white vinegar. I am recycling, reusing and  baking and making most things. Today he came home and found me crocheting! He thinks I am turning into some new age hippy and I am having a midlife crisis! He thinks I am going to start knitting him big baggy jumpers, socks and pants! According to the family I am getting more like Barbara from the Good Life everyday. If you don't know what I am talking about I have posted a clip at the end of this post.

I am attempting to make a crochet beanie hat. I had a You tube video on my laptop whilst crocheting so I could learn how to do it. My glasses were perched on the end of my nose whilst shouting at the woman on the video she was going to fast! However I think I have mastered it already.

Well that is it from me for today, I hope you have enjoyed my blog today. Until next time x

Sunday, 24 June 2012

An Odd Egg!

Jay was given a tray of fresh chicken eggs yesterday and this particular one looks rather odd. Most of the ones we have used had double yokes and they were huge! I'm not sure why some eggs are like this we have had a few but nothing as remarkable as this one. I have had a quick browse on the internet but could not find anything about it. When I have a bit more time I will investigate why perhaps they lay eggs like this.

I did not show the eggs to the girls just in case they felt offended and inadequate once they saw the large supply of the big eggs and refuse to lay any of their own in protest! Not that they are laying much lately anyway, we did have another two eggs today.

I have not done much in the garden the ground is so wet, we had a short torrential down pour that came from nowhere and only lasted for about ten to fifteen minutes. I cut off all the seed heads that had appeared on the spring sown onions.

cut and come again mixed salad leaves

With all this rain things are growing quite well, however we do really need some sun to ripen the strawberries

Can't wait for these to ripen 

As you can see they are getting bigger but not ripening at all. The peas have started to flower so it will not be much longer before we will be having some of them.

mmm peas fresh from the pod 

The flowerbed in the front is really growing with all the rain, they have doubled in their size in just over a week.

I gave all the potato bags a good watering earlier, we did not have any for lunch today. Jay was in charge of Sunday lunch today and he decided he wanted to do gratin potatoes which you can use any old potato for so I am saving them for later in the week. 

I made a no bake chocolate cheesecake with baileys yesterday. It is the latest recipe for my online cooking class. Luckily I managed to get a photo of it before it was attacked by the family. To obtain the recipe click on the link on the recipe page where you will be able to print off the recipe and see how it is made. I have not had my piece yet however it is calling me from the fridge!

Well that is it from me for another day, I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. Until next time x

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Blooming June

It has been a couple of warm days and the flowers are starting to bloom. However so are the garden pests! The lily above is one of two plants that I have and they have both been attacked by the notorious Red Lily Beetle. These critters eat at the foliage, flowers and also the unopened buds. The plants are looking in a sorry state and many of the flowers and buds have been attacked. On the other plant the snails have also been having a feast which is such a shame as these are one of my favorite flowers and I was hoping to bring some indoors.
The Red Lily Beetle at work!

There are two ways to control these pests, one is to pick off and kill the adults and eggs and the other alternative is to use an insecticide. They move quite fast and are hard to catch so I think on this occasion the use of chemicals might be needed. That is unless I can find an organic remedy.

The first flowers of the sweet peas was open today and they smell gorgeous! I planted three different varieties so I not sure (as usual) which ones they are. 
If only you could smell them...

One of the courgette plants has already produced a flower even though the plant is still quite small. The other courgette plants have grown quite a bit since I planted them out. I nearly lost one of the pumpkin plants today as whilst I was cleaning out the girls Matilda had hopped onto the raised bed as some soil was showing and she was scratching at the soil and the plant! I soon shooed her off little madame!

The summerhouse reeks of onions as this is where I have put them to dry out before I can string them up. I am going to have a rummage in a couple of the potato bags tomorrow and hopefully find some potatoes to have with Sunday lunch. The last lot  of potatoes are now flowering. I think that the potatoes are going to be my best crop so far this year. 

We have had two eggs the past two days, so we have enough for poached eggs in the morning, we have missed having eggs for breakfast. The girls have been quite destructive around the garden today, they have knocked their feeder over and the food is now all laying on the wet ground! Everything green that Octavia walks past gets attacked the onions, sweet peas, potatoes and even the rhubarb! She just runs round pecking at anything and everything like her little life depends upon it. Nothing is safe from their beaks, I was wearing shorts and both Bell and Octavia took a peck at my bare leg as they ran past.

I have added some new items to the gardening and cooking pages which may interest you. I have been adding to the pages over time but I will continue to add new items as I go along.

Well that is it for another day. Jay is cooking tonight and I'm doing dessert! Have a great weekend everyone, until next time x

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Noisy clucker's!

We had plenty of rainfall through the night my new water butt is full right up! It has been trying to rain on and off but it has felt rather muggy, so much for the first day of summer!

The girls have been making a right racket today until I let them out for their rampage in the garden. I had an old rug which I laid over the raised bed to keep them off there and emptying it out! As the ground was wet they were busy feasting on tasty worms that they found. Matilda has been busy egg sitting today on her one egg, I think perhaps she has gone broody again. And we did have only the one egg again today.

I haven't done any gardening today except water the plants in the greenhouse and done a daily inspection to see how things are growing. The salad leaves I sowed earlier in the week are already shooting through and so are the cabbages and cauliflowers.

Recently I wrote an article on recycling grey water for use on the garden. To be able to use the grey water from your bath or shower you really need to consider what cleaning products you use in the bathroom and also what products you use to clean yourself. After reading the article about white vinegar and it's uses it got me thinking about how you can use vinegar and other natural products in your home to clean your house.

It is amazing what you can do with a few simple ingredients from your kitchen. By using these natural things to clean your home you can then not worry about recycling your grey water for use on your vegetable garden. It is also environmentally friendly, a lot cheaper than buying commercial products, better for your health. It is a win win situation. To find out more about making and using home made cleaning products visit

Well that is it from me for another day, I am out with friends for dinner so no cooking for me tonight! Until next time x

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Onions harvested

It has been a wonderful hot and sunny day here, however it is do to turn back to the wet and soggy stuff as from tomorrow. I made the most of it as it was such a lovely day, I managed to install the new water butt. I have put it up in the corner out of the way as it is quite big and cumbersome. I was planning to put in down the side of the house but it would take up far too much room, especially with the boys coming through with their bikes. I have put one of the smaller water butts down their instead.

I had a look at the onions and noticed some of the stalks appeared to be starting to rot, so I thought with more wet weather on the way now is probably the best time to lift them. There were a few decent sized ones which I will use for cooking and the smaller ones I will pickle, you can't beat the taste of home made pickled onions! When I was a child I would help my mum and grandmother pickle onions. It was an eye watering task and my mum would put on her glasses in the hope it would help to stop her eyes from streaming, however it never did!

Here is a list of remedies that people use to help stop their eyes from watering when peeling and cutting onions

  • Place a teaspoon in your mouth
  • Leave a tap running
  • Chew gum
  • Refrigerate the onions prior to cutting/peeling
  • Burn a candle near by
  • Put the onions in the freezer few a few minutes prior to cutting/peeling
  • Soak onions in ice cold water
  • Wear glasses

I have tried the running water and even wearing glasses that I knew would not work and neither of these did work. If you have any great tips on how to peel and cut onions so your eyes don't water let me know.

I have potted up the two melon plants, and I am sure that they are indeed the melon plants as they are darker and the leaves a much smoother than either the courgette, pumpkin or squash plants. Glad that little puzzle has finally been sorted.

I now have several empty pots since I have harvested the onions so I will have a little rummage in my seed box and have a look at what I can sow now in these.

We had two eggs today, one was from Dory as she was clucking and honking like a goose when she came out of the coop earlier. Perdy would always do this whenever she had laid an egg. It seemed strange to hear that sound once more. The other egg was from Matilda, she is the only one that lays an egg every single day.

Well that is it from me for another day, I have cleaned out and scrubbed the coop and need to put it all back together again. Until next time x

Monday, 18 June 2012

Organic gardening

It has been a funny day weather wise today, it could not decide if it was supposed to be raining or sunny. There was not much I could do in the garden anyway so I finished of my latest gardening article Essential tools for vegetable gardening This is a question that is often used as a search by people that have landed on one of my gardening articles so I felt that it was something worth writing about.

Today I thought I would talk about Organic Gardening as this is something I feel that should be an important factor when gardening especially where growing your own vegetables is concerned. Many garden pests can be sorted out by organic means.

There are many alternative methods to rid yourself of one of the biggest garden pest the snail and slug. Making a simple beer trap by burying a pot so the lip is ground level and fill with cheap beer and the snail plops in as it goes for a little slurp. Placing crushed egg shells or walnut shells around you most prized vegetables or plants also deters the snail from getting within munching distance.

Using Human hair as a mulch also deters both snails and slugs, they do not like the texture but also the hair cuts these creatures and kills them. These are all organic methods of pest control and are much more preferable to using chemicals such as slug and snail pellets. They are also not harmful to the helpful critters like frogs, toads, hedgehogs and birds that also help with pest control by feasting on the unwanted pests. If you have pets and children they will also be safe and the final benefit is that no unwanted chemicals will get in to your vegetables.

A simple solution of liquid soap and water will help in the battle against green and black fly. Simply spray the affected plant with this solution and apply over a period of days until they have gone. A solution of stewed rhubarb leaf and liquid soap with help combat the dreaded cabbage white caterpillar from munching on your brassicas. Again these are both organic methods of pest control and will save you from the use of chemicals on your home grown vegetables. For more information on how to make these solutions visit A bit of the goodlife where you will find details on how to make up these solutions.

And finally the last thing I want to talk about regarding organic gardening is this article I came across last night. I came across Kevin's blog on which he has a post about using white vinegar as a form of weedkiller. I thought this was truly amazing as I hate the smell of weedkiller and I can not use it in the back garden because of both the hens and the dogs. Plus it is also quite harmful and potent stuff and if it comes into contact with your plants or vegetables then you are in trouble as they become contaminated with chemicals.

I have one half of the front garden filled with granite chips and I have to weed it often and it is one job I hate to do as it takes forever as the area is quite large. Next time I know what I shall be using and doing! To read the article and Kevin's blog visit A Garden for the House.

The plot thickens where the girls and the chicken coop are concerned! Matilda was hanging onto a perch again last night. I had again cleaned out the coop and put in new bedding which I might add I had done three days earlier but she went into the nesting box that same night. The bedding is shredded newspaper which is quite nice and soft however it was the local paper and perhaps she prefers a more intellectual paper like the Times or Guardian! Who knows! Tonight she is comfortably nestled in her usual nesting box.

We had two eggs today which is an improvement but not sure what they are up to. The weather has been very unpredictable of late so whether this has something to do with it I don't know. They had a field day in the small raised bed my little pumpkin has been trod on by a rather irate Matilda as I was trying to get her off! Hopefully it will survive and I will get my coveted pumpkin!

Well that is it from me, until next time x

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Garden Plan gone to pot!

The beans are in! Yes I finally got round to planting out the dwarf French beans today, these are usually one of my best crops and hopefully they will be again this year. I also planted out the runner beans. I wasn't sure whether to do them in two rows or wigwams. Once again I have not stuck to my original plan that I drew up at the end of the last growing season! Will I ever learn? The answer to that is most probably no...

My vegetable plot is quite narrow and I was trying to figure out how to use the space as best as I could to fit everything in. I opted for the wigwams in the end as made sure that I would be able to get round them to pick. Now that I have planted them and the french dwarf beans out as well as planting some dwarf beans behind the peas, I have used up all the available space in one half of the vegetable plot and only have some space left to plant out the remaining cabbages, broccoli and sprouts if they finally manage to germinate!

I had enough space in the large raised bed to sow a row of swede, which is a root vegetable and one of my favorites. These were not a great success last year as they grew tops but no roots, however I did sow them a bit late last year and this time I have sown them a little earlier, but perhaps should of been done even earlier than this. But I just thought I would sow some anyway as I had the space perhaps I might strike it lucky this year!

I planted out the final chili plant today as I found a spare pot. I have made a small herb garden in a planter that is supposed to be a water feature but has been sitting there unloved and unused for a while. I sowed some oriental salad leaves around the outside of it as it is not very deep but will be fine for these as they do not grow very big and are a cut and come again leaf. The herbs I planted are parsley, coriander and thyme.

They will soon grow and fill it up

Only one egg again today! I really am not sure what to make of it all, they have plenty of food and water, they all seem perfectly healthy. Hopefully it will be back to normal soon. They have been out again and ravaging the garden whilst I cleaned out the coop. The fruit border and the small raised bed were the poor targets yet again. This is because most of the garden is hard landscape because it was easier with the dogs so there is not much soil apart from these two areas, their run and my vegetable plot which they most certainly are not going to get on!

Well that is it from me for another day, I hope you have all had a great weekend especially all the fathers and dads. Until next time x

Saturday, 16 June 2012

A very windy day!

It has been rather windy here today but thankfully the rain has held off until now. It has come over very dark and it looks as if the heavens are about to open anytime soon.

I have spent about three blissful hours pottering about in the garden and greenhouse. First job was to sort out the central flowerbed in the front garden the seeds that I had sown had grown quite well along with an abundance of weeds! It was quite easy now to see which ones were the weeds. The dahlias are in the center and have grown really well. The seeds had bunched together so I thinned some out and moved then about a bit. I am really looking forward to when it all comes into flower.
The central flowerbed

I also weeded the main flowerbed luckily there wasn't many weeds growing in there. My lilies have grown well or should I say had those slimy pesky snails have been at them. One had come into flower even though half of them have been munched! The other is full of buds and does not appear to have been attacked like the other one.

One of the non-munched flowers!

The plastic greenhouse had blown over yet again. and I don't think it will see another year. I put some small holes in and have tied it to the decking. I put in a couple of growbags on each of the top shelves and thought it would be perfect for growing the last two of either pumpkin or squash in as I had no where else to plant these and after so much effort getting things to germinate this year I really did not want to throw them away. 

What will it be?

I dug over the area where I will be planting out the beans, which are still waiting in the greenhouse. I thought that if I planted them out today with this wind I am bound to lose them, but at least the ground is all ready and hopefully the weather is supposed to improve early next week and I shall plant them out then. I picked some more of the broad beans to have with lunch tomorrow and hopefully in a few more weeks some of the peas will be ready for picking too. The next lot of potatoes are flowering so it won't be long for them either.

I had a look round the greenhouse and I had several trays with just soil as nothing had germinated and what had appears to have been chomped by them damn snails. I emptied these out and today I sowed the last few Brussel sprout seeds and some more cabbages, Primo and Savoy. Whether they will grow we shall have to wait and see.

I'm not sure what is up with the girls but we have only been getting one egg a day for the past three days. This is very unusual. I have had to buy some eggs for the first time in months. They have been having their garden time and as usual making a right mess! My Tayberry bush is but a stump and the Blueberry bush is half the size it was. The only bonus is that this area remains weed free!

Looks like the girls have been here!

Well that is it from me for another day. I hope you all have a great weekend but before I go I would like to welcome and thank my new followers, and any new viewers. Until next time x

Thursday, 14 June 2012

A little bit of sun does wonders

The beginning of another beautiful day!
The last couple of days have been quite pleasant, dry and sunny perfect for a bit of gardening. I had a couple of hours out there today and it did feel good to be out in the fresh air with the sun warming my back. The photo above was taken by Jay on one of his many fishing trips. This was taken early one morning down at Southwold Pier.

I weeded the vegetable plot and the raised beds, they look a bit tidier now. I planted out squash,courgette or pumpkin plants. It is going to be a game of wait and see with these! I know which are the melons now as the leaves are a lot smoother, well that is what I am thinking, these are slightly smaller so I have not done anything with these as yet as I still need to purchase a few large pots.

All the beans have grown really well and I shall be planting these out tomorrow and just lay some fleece over them for protection. I pulled up one of the onions that is growing in a container, I must admit it was disappointing to see the size of them. They seem to be doing alright so I shall give them another couple of weeks and see what happens. The tops have not turned yellow just yet so they should be fine for a bit longer.

The girls have been ravaging the garden again today, they will not shut up until they are let out for a bit. Yesterday they emptied out the fruit border and again today. The small raised bed is also a favorite as soon as I lift one of the girls of it another hops on! Octavia was delving into a pot that has a strawberry plant in and was hurling the soil out everywhere! I seem to spend more time sorting them out and tidying up after them than I do actually gardening!

Last night for dinner I made meat loaf which is the latest recipe to my online cooking class. If you would like to see the recipe click on the following link:    Online cooking class

Well that is it from me for another day, we are indulging in take out tonight, naughty but oh so nice! Until next time x

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A peek at what's going on

This is the garden June/July 2011

Not a lot to report today, it has been a rather dull and depressing sort of day. The garden looks nothing like the photo from last year. It looks bleak and rather forlorn. Every where is wet and damp, the girls look like they have been having a mud bath!

Taken today 
Spring sown onions
The over winter onions have been blown over by the wind. The ground is soaked so do I lift them or do I leave them? They look like they are going to be more tops than bottoms. If it starts to dry up towards the weekend I will lift them otherwise I could end up losing them as they will rot. The spring sown onions are looking pretty impressive so hopefully they will be a good crop.

I had a look in the greenhouse the cumbrits are growing quite well, I am still unsure of what is what! The runner beans I sowed last week are already breaking through the soil. Most of the dwarf green beans are through and are about two inches high. They will need to go out soon. One of the tomato plants that is growing in the greenhouse has it's first lot of flowers. So they seem to be doing alright. 

You can just see the flowers
I had a look at the strawberry plants today, they have grown lots of foliage and runners, there are some small fruits on some, however these are still very green. We are in real need of some sun at the moment. 

The girls had time out in the garden, Matilda made a beeline for the fruit border with Octavia in hot pursuit! And half the soil was once again covering the patio. They had knocked the rain hat off their feeder so the food had gotten all wet. Luckily there was not much in there, I emptied it out and refilled it replacing the rain hat firmly! They fly and flap about so much when I go outside that everything ends up toppled over. I cleaned out the coop whilst they were busy rummaging for grubs and bugs. We only had the two eggs today but that is normal for a Tuesday.

The mixed salad leaves that were sown last week are now poking through the soil. I will have to keep an eye out for the snails as they love munching on a bit of salad!

Well considering I started off saying I didn't have a lot to report I actually did have plenty to share with you. Until next time, bye for now x

Monday, 11 June 2012

Unsolved mystery...

What ever it was that has disturbed the girls the other night has gone. Last night all was back to normal Matilda was snug in the nesting box and the other three were in their usual positions. Another great mystery goes unsolved!

The potatoes were blooming lovely, even if I do say so myself, actually everyone said how tasty they were. We are going to enjoy the rest today as I find they don't keep well. I love it when you go into the garden and dig them up for dinner that day. The broad beans was very nice too.It felt good to give my Garden Trug an outing!

The rain has come back and the girls are looking rather miserable and a bit wet. Octavia is doing her standing on one leg trick, it looks so funny she looks like she is going to sleep. Can you imagine standing on one leg and sleeping!

I was talking about compost the other day and how I have gone back to my original seed compost. Since I have changed back everything I have sown has germinated. So to conclude in must have been the compost that caused the lack of seed germination. I will be sure to stick to the same seed compost in future to avoid the nightmare I have had this year.

I have been busy updating my Gardening gifts for her webpage adding some new products. It's great as I can search for all the things that I would like to receive. I have also been shredding all the junk mail for nesting material for the girls a great way to recycle all the rubbish that comes through the door and great for the compost too.

Time to run round with the hoover before everyone is home again, so until next time bye for now x

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Strange goings on in the coop!

Last night when I went to say goodnight to the girls as usual I lifted the roof to make sure they were all in there. However just before I went to say goodnight there was rather a lot of clucking going on.  Matilda is always the only one nestled in the nesting box and the other three all huddle together on the one perch. Well last night both the nesting boxes were empty and there was Matilda balanced on a perch on her own whilst the other three were in their usual place.

It was quite dark when I went out, so I could not see very well. I had only cleaned them out yesterday and had put plenty of fresh bedding in as usual. So I thought perhaps there was something in the nesting material. I was home alone so it was up to me to sort this out. I gingerly put my hand in the nesting box and had a little feel around hoping and praying that something monstrous was not going to leap out and attack me! I could not feel or see anything so I closed the girls up for the night and went back indoors.

A little later on I heard clucking and thought perhaps something was in the garden. I immediately turned on the outside light but there was nothing out there. I never heard anymore from the girls until the clucking starts in the morning for them to be let out. When I went to collect the eggs this morning the coop was in a right old mess. The nice bedding was strewn all over the poop floor, the perch that Matilda had been on was also lying on the poop floor. I have straightened it all and sorted it all out again.

I don't know what is going on but something sure is especially if Matilda is on the perch again. I have checked to make sure we don't have the red mite and I could not see any evidence of them. I will keep you posted... For more information about red mite, check out the page related to hen keeping, where you will find a link so you can read all about it.

I have been busy catching up on other chores today so I have only had time for a little potter about. The carrots in the trough in the greenhouse are really coming on so I thinned these out and the girls enjoyed these. I have given all the potato bags a good soaking as when I emptied out the ones yesterday the soil was a little dry. With all the foliage the rain does not get through so well.

As I am writing the potatoes and beans are cooking ready for dinner. Jay and Adam have been on a 24 hour  fishing trip and have not been back long and are both presently snoring! The water butt still has not been connected but it is Jay's first job in the morning.

Well that is it from me for another day. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Until next time x

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Struck by blight!

Two hours or so in the garden was more than enough for me today, this bug has really knocked the wind out of my sails. I did manage to get a few of the jobs done that I wanted, hopefully the rain will stay off until lunchtime tomorrow so I can get out there for a few more hours.

My first early swift potatoes have been struck with blight. So I have removed them and put the plants in a bag in the bin. I had a root through the soil not expecting to find much if anything and I was pleasantly surprised to find this little lot.
Potato blight

1st harvest

I just hope it will not affect the other potato plants. I harvested some more broad beans today which we will have with Sunday lunch tomorrow along with the potatoes. I'm looking forward to it already!

I planted out two of the courgette plants today. I soaked the growbag prior to planting them in. I think I have one of each variety, I'll soon know once they start growing.

The girls had a great time out in the garden again today whilst I cleaned out the coop as you can see from the following photo the fruit bed had a thorough digging. We had four eggs today so plenty for breakfast tomorrow.
Octavia and Matilda are busy!
The sun lounger is there to keep the girls safe from the rhubarb which they insist upon nibbling!

The above photo shows all that is left of the rhubarb after it was torn apart by the winds we had the other day and of course you can see that the snails have also been having a feast. I will not be having anything more from this again this year I will just leave it to grow and then die back down for hopefully a good harvest next year.

If you missed it yesterday as I never posted it until later my water butt that I won from Anglian water arrived yesterday. It is a large one and came complete with a stand and the attachments for the down pipe. It has not been assembled as of yet, I am hoping to get that job done tomorrow.

Well that is it from me for another day. I hope you all have a great weekend, until next time x

Friday, 8 June 2012

It's blowing a hooley!

We are being battered and blown by the wind here and it is expected to last 24 hours. As we say in Suffolk it is Blowing a Hooley! The local agriculture show has been cancelled on it's second day due to the fear for peoples safety with massive marques being blown down. It is such a shame as so much time and effort goes in to the preparation for these things. We are supposed to be having our summer yet at present it is more like winter.

I have been a bit under the weather the past couple of days so have not ventured outdoors. Looking out of the window this morning I don't think I shall be again today! My rhubarb has taken a good bashing from the wind and had all been broken. The onion stalks are no longer straight and the plastic greenhouse has fallen over!

It has been forecast as a bright, dry day tomorrow, so I am planning to get lots done before the rain and wind returns on Sunday. The girls have been sheltering from the rain and wind under the coop and as soon as the rain stops they all come trotting out for a flap and a scratch in the soil. A large pigeon landed on the fence next to the coop, they all started to cluck like mad and the pigeon still sat there. I let the dogs out and it soon flew off again.

Jobs for tomorrow include cleaning out the coop, finally sowing the spring onions, planting out the courgettes that are ready, weeding and sorting out the front flowerbed. Lots of the flower seeds have germinated and now I am more able to see what are the flowers and what are the weeds. They have grown in close clusters so I shall also be spacing them out more.

Well that is it from me for now, I hope you all have a great weekend. Until next time x

Just a quick update my water butt I won has just arrived!!! It's a big one complete with stand and the connections. I am so chuffed. Another job for tomorrow!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

the puzzle of the cumbrits

the puzzle

Remember I said I have got in a muddle over what were my melons, pumpkins and squashes, well here they are. The ones of the left I think are the melons, the one with the label is the courgette and the ones you can't see  as I'm not good with the camera is the pumpkin and squash. Well that is if I have remembered correctly but we will have to wait and see.

This is the broad beans, as you can see lots of pods soon ready for more pickings. My neighbors broad bean plants are twice the size of mine and he has about thirty or more plants. They obviously like their broad beans!

This is the sweet peas, as you can see there is a rogue rubber bean growing in there too. I grew runner beans in these pot last year. I though I would leave it to grow and see what develops.

The cabbages have had a big growth spurt since the last photo, I'm looking forward to  having some of these.

And finally some of the tomatoes that I potted up.

Today has been quite a dry and warm day however rain has been forecast for the rest of the week and Saturday has been forecast dry and sunny then downpours for Sunday. Looks like Saturday  will be the only gardening day this week unless the forecast is wrong. We can always live in hope.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

washout weekend

Well the bank holiday weekend was a total washout! It is still raining and is a bit like a winters night rather than a summer evening. The garage sale did not happen, the plants are now nestled back into the ever so slightly over crowded greenhouse. We will try again this coming weekend.

So as you can imagine there has not been a lot of gardening going on these past few days. I had a few hours out there today. I planted up the ten various tomato plants, three are staying in the greenhouse and five are by the decking and two are on the patio. I planted up one of the chili plants but have run out of large pots and so I need to purchase a few more. I planted the tomatoes up to the first lot of leaves so they will get deep roots and hopefully be more stable and produce plenty of tomatoes.

With this changeable weather the garden does not know what it is supposed to be doing! The over wintering onions have started to go to seed. I pulled the earth away from one today and they are not ready to be harvested yet they have plenty more swelling to do as yet. I have nipped off the seed buds in the hope that this will resolve them going totally to seed.

Some of the broad beans are ready and I shall be picking those tomorrow for dinner. I like mine small and tender, they are about six to seven inches long and will be perfect. The peas are starting to grow up the wigwams and some have flowers on already.

The strawberry plants have tiny little green strawberries on them but we need the sun for these now. They are also growing plenty of runners but I have snipped these off so the growth will go back into the plant and hopefully produce bigger and more strawberries.

The dwarf french beans have germinated and so have the courgette seeds, squash seeds and low and behold so have the melon seeds! However I do have a bit of a problem I only labeled the courgette seeds and as they all look very similar I am unsure of what is the squash and what is the pumpkin and which are the melon! I'm sure once they get a little bigger I will know for sure which is which.

Today I sowed some White lady runner beans, these are the same that I grew last year and we had so many that we have only finished eating lasts years crop from the freezer. I have sown fifteen seeds which is rather more than I need but as things have not been going so well I thought I'd sow a few extra just to be on the safe side.

The cabbages are growing really well and in a couple of weeks I should be harvesting the first spring cabbage of the year. I have two types of spring cabbages, the conical shaped and the rounded, however yet again I cannot remember the varieties. I must learn to write these things down.

I have also sown some mixed salad leaves in a trough that I have placed just outside the back door. The ones I sowed earlier in a large tub down on the vegetable plot failed to emerge due to the heavy showers we had just after sowing them. Fingers crossed this batch shall be more successful. I was hoping to sow some spring onions today but the weather had different ideas. By the time I had finished in the greenhouse the rain was coming thick and fast so I had to come inside. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

As it has been so wet today the girls have not been out, however they have been out over the weekend. The fruit border and the empty raised bed seems to be their favorite digging spot with soil flying in all directions. Bell's limp is not so noticeable it is now just a slight hobble. I'm hoping for a warm sunny day this week as I have only been able to change the bedding and scoop out the poop all week and I want to give it a wash down. I have lost count of all the eggs we have had but there has been a fair few, we all enjoyed poached eggs on toast yesterday and there was nine of us in total. It often feels like we have a small hotel with the boys, their partners and various friends here most weekends. I will have to get a couple of goats at this rate to keep us in milk!

I forgot to have my camera handy earlier so I shall take some photos and post them for you all to see tomorrow.

And finally.....I hope you all had a great weekend and enjoyed all the various festivities relating to the Queens Diamond Jubilee. Until next time x

Saturday, 2 June 2012

A nice little surprise

It has been a busy day here today, we are having a garage/garden sale tomorrow and we have had to sort everything out for it. Lots of bits and bobs that we longer need or use and are cluttering up the house and garage, as they say one mans junk is another mans treasure!

I have had a sort out in the greenhouses too as I had loads of flower plants and herbs that I had sown for resale. I have over one hundred and fifty plants and herbs as they grew and germinated quite well compared to my vegetables! However I did have a nice little surprise waiting in the greenhouse for me today one courgette and one squash have germinated! As usual I done my little dancing jig of joy, well more of a wiggle really.

My little plastic greenhouse in now empty as I emptied out about ten seed trays into the compost bin as either the snails had eaten them or they just did not germinate. The large greenhouse looks rather empty too now I have moved the plants for sale into the garage for tomorrow. I just hope the weather holds as it has been rather dull today and rain has been forecast for tomorrow, fingers crossed it will hold off until the afternoon and we have finished and gotten everything away. I hope there is not a lot to put away obviously.

The tomato plants need potting up so that is one job I really need to do tomorrow also the two chili plants need doing. I am going to sow some salad leaves as well in a container and leave them to grow in the greenhouse. I realized today that I do not have any cucumber plants so I will need to purchase come of these from the local nursery. I had some last year that I grew outside and we had loads of them. I can't remember what variety they are but I have the label in the summerhouse so I can try and get the same ones.

The girls have still been enjoying their wander around the garden. Bell has developed a bit of a limp the last couple of days. I have had a good look and cannot see anything wrong, she seems quite well in herself otherwise. I will keep a close eye on her. I think it is where they all jump and fly up when I go out to either feed or let them out and she has either hurt herself that way or it was one of the others landing on her.

Remember the fish cake I made for my husbands fortieth birthday? Well I have written and published a webpage so others can recreate my rainbow fish celebration cake. It has been quite popular. If you would like to visit and see how I made the cake you can click on the following link.

A Rainbow Fish celebration cake

Friday, 1 June 2012

Rampaging chickens!

Our sunshine has gone and been replaced with wet and windy weather. The good thing is my water butts are full and the garden looks good. It is typical for the UK it's a bank holiday weekend to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee and many people have four days off and the weather takes a turn for the worst!

The girls have been right little so and so's, they have decimated both my tayberry and blueberry bushes. There is no way for me to protect these and as they were only planted last autumn they are quite small, and even smaller now the girls have been at them!

When it is time to go back into the run they no longer come nicely even with treats Dory is always the last and I have to often corner her to catch her. Last night it took me more than half an hour to coax her back in and the others were trying to get back out! I will need to invest in some more corn as this is one of their favorites and is sure to get them back in the run.

Still not much action going on in the greenhouse, it looks like I will be only having the two courgette plants this year and they are both the same variety unfortunately. It appears that many other gardeners have been having problems with germination this year and no one seems to know why according to all the gardening blogs that I read. I will just have to put it down to not being a good year and hope that what has grown will give a good crop.

And finally.....I have to go and water the greenhouse as we going out tonight, so that just leaves to wish you all a great weekend until next time x

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