Monday 24 September 2012

Winter's coming....

It's just stopped raining and a little watery sun is peeping through the gey clouds. It's rained solidly for 24 hours and is COLD. Not as cold as a few nights during the last week when the early morning temperature reached 2 degrees C and the marrow and squash leaves suffered from a slight ground frost. Thankfully no damage to the fruit.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Autumn raspberries

It's beginning to feel like Autumn - sunny but cold - and the leaves are just starting to turn yellowish. Yesterday evening I picked 2 lbs of raspberries. They've been superb this year with an early crop on last-years's stalks and large, perfect berries on tall stems now. There are still flowers being pollinated mostly by small bees.

We have some other raspberry bushes which have only just started to fruit and they often go on till November.

Can't resist raspberries & ice cream for tea but I saved some in the freezer to brighten up winter meals. Open freezing keeps them from going to mush.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Up on the roof

The weekend was hot and sunny with a gentle warm breeze - our last chance of a summer. Back to cold, wind and rain now. Still, I do remember some years when October has been quite hot ... so here's hoping!

We spent the weekend on the roof painting the new render on the chimney. At least Chas did - I'm a scaredy cat with heights but I did make my shaking legs get me up there one time because, while we have the scaffolding, it's the only chance I'll get.

These are some of the photos from our roof:

Across Yew Tree House and looking towards Griffydam

Looking across Billy's field with our two walnut trees on the right

Billy's field and the old ash tree- home to many pigeons and occasional little owl
Our garden with the rockery in the front and the summer house
almost swamped by the variagated maple

Our garden witht he dead dawn redwood looking stark and the lush silver birch on the right.
Centre front is a bamboo which each year generates several new supports for our tomatoes.

Tuesday 4 September 2012


I've just picked the last of the Broad beans (masterpiece green long pod). I've left the largest pods on the plants to go brown and dry off. They will be for planting next year. I've done this a few years now and it works really well and saves a few pounds in buying commercial seed.

The French beans (Blue Lake) have been a bit variable. They didn't germinate well, then the slugs got them when I planted them out. I kept planting more seeds in the ground where there were gaps on the cane wigwams (apparently should be called a Tepee!) so now there are some that have climbed to 6 ft and are flowering and producing beans and some which are about 2 inches and just thinking about it.

The Runner beans are doing well as always. We've picked loads, eaten them, frozen them and given some to friends. Surprisngly since the ground still seems wet after our torrential summer some of the beans have shrivelled up before developing. No problem because we have loads. As well as eating, sliced as a veg we usually make soup and chutney with the runner beans. The beans we grow are saved from seeds year on year since my mother set up her garden in Dorset 30 years ago so I have no idea what variety they are.

Monday 3 September 2012

Jungle & plums

We've been very busy the last couple of weeks - hence lack of posts. The weather this year has been very strange with spells of warm - even hot- weather mixed with torrential rain and hail. A couple of nights ago the temperature went down to 2 degrees C.

The wet and warm has resulted in shrubs, trees grass and of course weeds growing like mad. It really is a jungle and whenever it's not pouring I've been out hacking and pulling at the overgrowth. Not sure I'm winning!

It's harvesting time -  plums are beginning to come nicely now and the runner beans. We have 5 very large marrows one of which has been made into a marrow / tomato / onion / garlic / herb mix (version of ratatouille) which we freeze and eat with pork and sausages during the winter. At least one of the others will be chutney.

Plums from various trees
Plums are a delight. They're great just raw off the tree and gorgeous cooked. I did our favourite plum crumble on Friday and last night I cooked plums cut in half with a tablespoon of demerara sugar, a couple of cinnamon sticks and covered with our own elderberry wine. Delicious!