Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Waterboys

It was a bright but cold day when my Grandson, Finlay, came to play on Thursday.  He and James had a lot of fun playing down the garden, but when they decided that water play was what they wanted to do, John set up some buckets and cans nearer the tap so they could play till their hearts content.

It kept them happy for a long time, while my elder daughter and I had a lovely chat and watched their play from the window.

Friday, January 29, 2010

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

We are looking forward to doing this tomorrow.  Have a look at the RSPB website for details on how to take part.  I will post our results on the blog and hopefully have a few photographs of our visitors. It will be interesting to see who is around.  We have not seen any unusual birds at all this year.  There is a very large and healthy sparrow family, big flock of starlings, great tits, blue tits, a couple of robins,blackbirds and a magpie which hurt it's wing early on in the Winter, and has stayed around the garden and kept warm in the greenhouse. It is flying fairly well for short distances, and always manages to evade the camera lens! Thats it really - never even seen a chaffinch. Ah well - our garden birds give us so much pleasure that they are welcome anytime, just as they are.  Off to get the pencils and notepads ready.  Do join in!

Friday, January 22, 2010

We love dirt!!

So.. at last James gets to use that gardening tool set he received as a Christmas gift, for its intended purpose.  He has been using it to help with the snow clearing, but he was very keen to start clearing his 'very own' patch (note his 'very own' tiny fir tree planted in what I think is a fairly vulnerable spot - but what do i know?).
The days have been getting longer - a whole hour longer, even, so with the coming of the thaw,  our afternoon rhythm has slowly caught up.  Instead of John lighting the fire soon after lunchtime, and us snuggling in front of it, we have been outside longer in the afternoons - mostly clearing up the front and side of the house after all this weather.  One thing has been on my mind, though, since before the holidays.  My soft fruit delivery arrived on a very snowy Christmas Eve, and was consigned to the greenhouse until more clement conditions. Wednesday was the perfect day for it - mild and almost spring like.  Just right for planting out our bramble (blackberry) and raspberry canes.

John had started clearing out space for this at the bottom of the garden last year, so all it really needed was a spading over, and James helped to rake it level.  The earth was beautifully crumbly and smelt fantastic.That wooden frame you see was where our old compost heap used to be, so that has no doubt helped the worm population and soil structure.
We very rarely go down the garden, without our  very battered copy of Lawrence D Hill's  Month by Month Organic Gardening - bought before I even had a garden!  Well, ok,  Mr Hills does have his fruit planting advice in the October chapter, but we'll gloss over that detail - I'm sure it will be fine.  He recommends planting raspberry canes 3 inches deep and 1 foot apart  - so that's what we did.

9 regular Autumn Bliss and 3 Autumn Gold - really hoping to make a bi-coloured raspberry tart later in the year. We also planted our bramble bush - a thornless variety - Loch Maree, which apparently promises huge juicy berries at the end of August.

It needs a bit of support to scramble over, so the old compost bin frame was perfect.  Lawrence D Hills suggests a surface mulch, so as there was a comfrey plant growing nearby, I just pulled some of the old bits off it and tucked them round the plant.  James was getting cold by then, and telling me so quite vociferously, so - we'll get back to it. Also need to get the blueberries, cranberry and lingonberry into larger pots and out to join the others on the low wall. So very very happy and excited to have our hands in the dirt again.  

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What is this green and brown stuff anyway?

Well - it's what is left of my small patch of 'lawn' now that the great melting has begun.
But if you look very closely...
....Mother Nature has been very busy under that white quilt she has been wearing

Things are growing.

Everywhere there are tiny signs of spring - like these chives (couldn't resist a little nibble)
and this bright red bud of rhubarb.

and even Summer time has been pencilled in while the garden has slept.

A few casualties though - a pane in the roof

and my harvest of worm juice - sensibly stored in glass bottles (haha) didn't make it,

and the hens moved their daytime court to the greenhouse,  joined on many occassions by Robbie the dog, and assorted wild birds.  They seem to have had a wild time anyway.

It's fantastic isn't it!  In a few days, these leeks will be standing tall and proud again, the greenhouse could be tidied up and glass repaired, I will begin planning that herb spiral you see in progress, the seed catalogues will litter the house, the merits of various tomato varieties will dominate the conversation, and the new  fruit bushes will come out of their temporary home.  There will proably be more snow at some time, but the days will be longer and the sun will be stronger, and this year will be the best gardening year yet!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Harvesting in Winter.

Even though it is covered in a thick blanket of snow, the garden continues to nourish us.  Carrots and beetroot from our home grown store and  local potatoes and celeriac join with leeks freshly dug from the garden to make a warming vegetable stew for dinner.
Some pot barley added for those extra rib-sticking qualities and a sprinkling of parsley at the end.  Very red, very delicious, very filling - and enough for lunch tomorrow.

Frozen Flower

A frosted faded pink tea rose slowly succumbing to our icy winter weather. Such graceful beauty in that drooping head.

See how the Earth blooms at Today's Flowers.

Click photo to enlarge and feel that cold.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Skywatch - icicles

A bright blue sky framed by the deadly frozen curtain of icicles hanging from our guttering at the front door.  Quite handy for keeping cold callers away ;)
See how the skys looks at other places on the planet at Skywatch Friday.


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