Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Was only down there for two hours and the job took at least an a hour twenty minutes to get done with lots of breaks to sort out the little one’s wants and needs as well as to catch my breath.
The tree was cut down pretty easily but the roots were in there nice and solid so swinging the mattock was hard work, the over hanging tree branches of a hawthorn and the roots being within a foot of the neighbouring fence meant the angles I had to work in were sometimes quite awkward.
Well I finally grubbed the trunk out plus a smaller trunk which was cut back previously by some one else. Now I can get on with digging the area over and removing any perennial weed roots.
Sunday, 27 September 2009
So what did I get done; I started the week before last to clear the last 10ft or so of the back of my plot of the composting materials that was on it from the communal heap and I also started to cut back the nettle to a manageable level for digging out. As I was not able to get their last week the work I had done was undone by others not realising I had started clearing and they had add fresh composting material to an area I had already cleared but as it was fresh it was easy to move off again.
Today I cracked on and removed all the composting material off the plot, there was lots of useful stuff on my plot which I removed and neatly stacked on the communal section, such as bags of soot, ash, bark and leafmold, there was also large folded pieces of carpet, chicken wire and 4” thick logs approx 5ft in length. Any rubbish was left in a neat pile for discarding Wednesday when I would see the others as I didn’t know where or how the got their rubbish dumped.
In between all that I was constantly cutting down the nettle patches which weren’t a lot but tall. I disturbed many a frog and lots of snails, very little slugs were seen. All that is left to do is to cut down a small holly tree but I didn’t walk with a saw so that will be my Tuesday job and I also hope to start digging over that patch of ground to remove all the nettle roots and as much as I can get out of the bind weed roots I came across.
The kids did join me about a half an hour before lunch and we all had a nice picnic together. They also helped me to shell some past their best runner beans which was on my plot and which I noticed the others had been clearing and composting. And as you know I hate waste so the remaining plants I cleared for myself and de-podded the fresh full beans, which was made into a lovely stew for dinner today.
Here is a before and after of the area I cleared. The first photo was taken on the 11th when I started.
Now here is a quick update on what’s been harvested before the weekend:
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
The plan was to cook up a batch of ketchup in the morning and then to take myself and the younger offspring to the allotment to do some more clearing of my plot, then on our return, we would go straight to the school and pick up the older offspring return home and cook up a batch of chutney before dinner (there was enough leftovers not to actually worry about cooking dinner).
Ok now for what really happened:
Ketchup making took much longer than expected so morning session at allotment was moved to mid afternoon after picking up older offspring (perfect as little one will have company which frees me up to get more work done) and chutney making moved up into empty time slot, great save I thought.
Feeling well smug about saving the day but in hindsight I am suddenly aware of the old proverbs, such as; ‘pride goes before the fall’ and ‘don’t count your chickens before they hatch’.
So leaving 5 minutes late to go pick up the eldest and the youngest running ahead falls not 20ft away from our gate on pavement and badly (I mean badly skins her knee). The scenario plays out as follows; grab child up off of the ground, run back into house , grabs box of bandaids and run next door, thrust screaming child onto neighbours kitchen counter and ask her to please clean her up for me so I’m not late picking eldest up.
On the return home youngest is no longer crying (she is a toughy) but her knee is hurting a lot and her mood is not nice. She doesn’t want to visit the lotty (can’t blame her) I dose her up with some painkillers and she promptly goes off to sleep within an hour.
SIGH! So much for being a super organised mom, never mind, better luck next time as they say.
This morning she is still very sore and walking very higgly piggly, so the lotty is out of the question this morning as well but hopefully once the knee has warmed up sufficiently maybe we could fit a trip in this afternoon with big sister in tow as well.
So walking backwards so to speak from yesterday to my last posting date I’ll fill you in on what I have been up too.
So yesterday I finally got round to cooking up a batch of ketchup using some very ripe tomatoes that had gone pass their eating fresh best but were still lovely to use in sauces etc.
I used a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s - Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life cook book. It took a lot longer than I thought it would and though it did taste delicious I think I would look for and use a simpler recipe next time.
I did do a couple things differently though; as I had no bulb fennel I used one bunch of fresh fennel seeds right off the plant (I think this did impart some bitterness to the sauce but once I added the sugar and vinegar that bitterness disappeared). I also did not dice up the chilli but cooked it whole in the sauce to impart its flavour but without too much of it’s heat (gotta think of the kids). The end result was approx 900- 950mls of yummy homemade tomato ketchup.
After lunch I started to make some chutney with some of the patty pan squash I had in the vegetable bowl. This plant is cropping really well this year and as such I have had to give away and now pickle some into a chutney for winter relish. I used this recipe ‘Glutney’ from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall last year for my courgette glut and it was a huge success, so as they say don’t fix it if it ain’t broken. I got 6 bottles jars, my larder is stocking up nicely.
The weather over the last five days or so have improved greatly and with this return to hot sunny days and relatively mild nights the beasties are remerging from their hidey holes. Here are some photos taken on Monday of the garden’s wildlife and flora.
Monday, 21 September 2009
They are getting far and in between now but there are a couple mini beasties about.
Not sure what caterpillar this is.