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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

So What Have I Been Up To: Time to Spill The Beans

So the kids thought they would be generous and give me their cold last week Friday. I still had to be mummy though and although it hasn’t really knocked me down it sure is hanging on and I still feel a bit rough.

Wow! that was some windy weather over the weekend wasn’t it. My greenhouse lost a pane of glass right over my storage boxes and with the torrential downpours I have a wet mess still to sort out. One job I was leaving to do last Sunday was to take down my
outdoor tomato shelter (it’s a two person job) and to bring in the green tomatoes to ripen and to make a few jars of green tomato chutney. Well Friday night windy weather also sorted that out and so I left my mum and hubby to put away the shelter (really glad it didn’t get broken) in a secure place for me while I took the girls to their drama classes.

So Sunday bright and early with the wind finally died down and the sun out nice and warm, I wrapped myself up and went outside to tackle the garden. Hubby repaired the greenhouse broken pane and I got on with surveying the damage of which thankfully there was little. The tomato plants and their supporting poles were taken down and the bed was cleared and weeded. I also took down my
mini greenhouse I erected for the melongene and sweet peppers, which also survived the high winds well. That bed was also cleared and weeded, harvestable fruits were picked. I also weeded some of the other beds with over wintering crops in them, with the soil being saturated from the night time showers the weeds came out with out any resistance. With all this clearing of the beds the compost bin got a colourful top up of spent calendula and French marigold plants, all full of seeds mind, so in two years time I expect to see lots of self seeded annual flowering plants through out the vege beds, which I don’t really mind, they are easy enough to weed out if they pop up in the wrong place.

Sunday’s harvest: inclusive some root veg, sweet peppers, herbs and green or half ripened tomatoes, two small celeriac which were roasted with the JAs below, the jury is still out on both these new veges to our home, we'll make a comprehensive decision on growing them again after a few more recipe ideas.

The Jerusalem artichokes I dug up had root aphids on them see the pic on the right, they didn't appear to have harmed the roots in anyway but I disturbed the soil as much as I could so the birds would find them.

At the end of the next few postings I’ll end with a little catch up postings of what I photographed or did during my blog hiatus (this of course will make the post very photo heavy, so bear with me). Right with this in mind here are my:

Autumnal Observations:

Well we are in the middle of November and autumn is drawing to a close but what a mild autumn we are having. Its currently 12°C with a possible maximum of 16°C forecasted for Thursday and Friday this week. Anyway here are my autumnal focused pictures.

There are so many sunny warm days, you'd be forgiven for thinking its August.

Very poor shots I know of the spectacle that is autumn but its all I got.

I have always wanted to capture a falling autumn leaf, I obviously haven't got the camera/ skills to capture the beauty of such a shot but well pleased to actually capture it.
What's autumn without fungi, they fascinate me...

Another life form I find intriguing are mosses...
The old apple tree have fruited well this year and the fallen fruits have brought back the birds with earnest.
Ripened Seed Heads...





Fox Glove




Salad Burnet

The warmer temps also allowed some flowers to keep on blooming or even to restart…
St John's Wort

Toad Flax ?type


One last Opium Poppy

Potted Honeysuckle's first bloom in bud.

Jerusalem Artichoke in flower.
With the warm October month we experienced the mini beasts were very much in attendance, imagine I saw my last butterfly to date on the 4th of November a red admiral flutter by my mom’s bedroom window and last night a moth was flying outside against the kitchen window (attracted by the light no doubt).
The JAs blooms attracted many pollen eating insects such as the hoverfly on the left and the lacewing larva on the right which was probably hunting pollen eaters.

With all this warmth the ladybugs made a last ditched appearance in quite larger numbers than would be expected. Any i disturbed while tidying up the vege beds were moved to the greenhouse to over winter. I found many tucked up among the seeds heads and thick leaf cover of some plants.

Once upon a time a ladybug got caught in a spiders web, "yum" thought the spider "a tasty morsel to keep going over the winter, just what I need". "Not on your life" said the ladybug "take that" as it excreted some bright sticky stuff from its body. "Blech!!!" said the spider as it tried to bite the ladybug, it scampered away to wash out its mouth. "Whew!" said the ladybug as it tried to untangle itself, then off it flew. (PS sorry but I didn't have the camera with me so I didn't get the first shot of the spider trying to bite the ladybug, if you click on the first shot in the right hand corner you would see the remains of the sticky yellow excretions of the ladybug).

Stink bugs and Spiders

Butterflies and Moths

Bumblebees; the one on the left and the left one in the blue shot looks like queens, the first shot is one appearing to look for an over wintering spot in my greenhouse but I sent it on my way.

The birds have returned to the garden, have naughtily not started to actively feed them as yet plan to do so end of the month. (The pics are not my best taken through windows, so as to not scare off the models).

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker

Coal Tit


Blue Tit
There are bigger critters visiting the garden more now as we go into the garden less...
Cheeky Squirrel

Bedraggled fox from this year's litter.
By the way my Blogshop have had new items added to it over the pass couple weeks. Please pop on by and have a look.


  1. Hi Kella, WOW what a post !! I haven't even got to read it all yet, so I will be back later this evening. I just popped over to say I am so glad to see you back, I have missed your posts. Also thank you for the award and for thinking of me. I was also awarded it by JO @ 'The good Life' I am honoured that you both picked me. I haven't posted it on the blog yet as I need some time to sort out who to pass it on to and to then post them a message. So I do accept the award and will sort it out soon.

  2. Hi Kella,

    Wow, you have touched on a lot. Thank you for sharing esp the photos. I can't quite believe that you still had green toms. I have not been successful growing celeriac, so was quite chuffed to see yours. I have a lot of JAs too, they are one of those veg, once you hsve got them you have got them for life. Try making them as crisps. They will be appreciated more,guaranteed.

    I love the pics of the birds and the mushrooms, I came across some at my plot too, growing on a log. Fascinating. I just wish I knew wish were edible. One-day I will go on that fungi foray course and know for sure.

    Glad also to read that the cold your girls passed onto you didn't bring you all down. Be well.

  3. Thanks guys its great to be blogging again. Soon as I'm finish updating the blog with all the backlogged stuff I did the blogs should get shorter,so bear with me.

    Maureen, it was a pleasure to pass on the award to you, your blog reads like home cooking, warm and fulfilling.


    Mangocheeks, the tomato plants were slowly dieing but I tink they lasted this long because it has been so very mild. The amount I got off the plants though was astounding, last year Nov, I also harvested green tomatoes off the outdoor plants but it was in the first week and not in such large amounts.

    The JAs will be tried in chip form next time but if we decide to not grow again, I might just get away with it as they were grown in a raised bed and to my eyes didn't go very deep, the plants I dug up gave up all their tubers in one go (I rooted around deeply to make sure). If everyone wants them for next year and I don't I think I'll grow them in containers and used the bed for something else.

    The celeriac is a challenge isn't it? from what I understand they need lots of water and then some more. If by the end of the crop we all like it and if I grow it again I plan to excavate a trench and line with compost bags then back fill with lots of homemade compost, shredded paper/ cardboard and soil, to create the rich boggy enviroment it likes.

    Ahh! a fungi foray course, when I was working I couldn't go as at the time I was working weekends and now that I'm not working I haven't got the cash (roll eyes) but it is one of those things I plan to do one day as I absolutely love M'shrooms.

    Tonight is the best I have felt since catching the cold, so I think I'm finally getting over it.

  4. Hi Kella...really nice to have you back with us and the photos are have some wonderful wildlife visiting your garden and I am a little envious. I hope the cold clears up soon, if you're still suffering try a fresh clove of garlic with some fresh ginger (equal proportions) mixed with a little butter and spread on toast or will be amazed at the effects it has on colds!!

  5. Hope you're feeling better, Kella. I've enjoyed reading your update. I love your mushroom pictures, though I never can tell which are edible and which aren't. I'm looking forward to an update about the allotment now.

  6. AAARRGGHH!!!!!!!!!!!! just got back my internet after 24+ hours of a downed service, oh! the HORRORS!!!!!


    Hi Tanya, its good to be back, I do a lot to keep the wildlife lingering but I think we are generally in a good place for wildlife.

    Thanks for the cold remedies, blech! :) I love to cook with those items but I am not a fan of them as a home-remedy unless I'm administering it to someone else ;) My hubby takes whole garlic though for colds and my ten year old regularly drink freshly grated ginger tea (she loves it). So I have good roll models to follow but you know the saying: do as I say not as I do, well.... what can I say :) maybe though I could try it on toast as you suggested, it might just be do-able.


    Jo I am feeling much better but its not quite gone yet, the allotment update will be coming soon.



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