Thursday, August 29, 2013

Around the croft - harvesting

I am so pleased that I set aside some space for a cutting garden and very  happy at how it is taking shape. It really is a mass of colour right now, and who would have thought sunflowers would grow in this windswept place? This has been a good first year and I am slowly filling up the bed with perennials, as well as lots of self seeding annuals. Hopefully it will evolve into the cottage garden that I imagined it to be last Winter - and I do love including flowers in my daily harvestings.

 My first time growing Dahlias has been a great success, and we are enjoying  colourful vases of these beautiful flowers all around the house, as well as bunches of sweet peas. We have also collected the vivid blue borage flowers, to freeze in ice cubes. These delicate, slightly cucumber flavoured blooms  look beautiful in jugs of water or lemonade drinks, and will be a fine reminder of Summery days later on.

But growing food is the main purpose here, and that has been happening. Garlic, beans and cauliflower have all been harvested and stored for later. Potatoes are being dug and eaten as required. Tomatoes and late strawberries are coming on-stream now, and the carrots and beets are swelling up nicely.Cabbages, kale and chard will sit cosily under their blankets until required, and parsley - well - there can never be enough parsley!

And I let some of last year's kale go to seed - and what a result. I filled two sacks with the seed pods, so should have enough to keep us all going! I know that this is true seed, as it was grown down at the bottom croft in the roofless shed, with no other cruciferae nearby. i am pleased with this, as it is an old variety which was almost extinct. Shame, as it is a lovely kale. Read the story here.

Now, thoughts are focussing on what to grow over the colder months - particularly those times in mid Spring - the so called hungry gap. You know - that time when the winter stores are used up, the house is filled with trays of seedlings, but nothing  will be ready to harvest for ages yet. i am hoping that the polytunnel will help me extend the growing season at both ends, and allow us to harvest some fresh produce all year.

I have started planting up trays of salads, spring onions and other greens. These pea shoots are a good cut and come again crop and will be used as an addition to salad, or in a stir fry. Tubs of early carrots, beets, turnip and radish will be sown in the next couple of days. And then there are the Spring bulbs and the garlic... the circle keeps turning.

Oh - and there are other things happening on the croft - the sheep, hens and cows - all still living quietly away. Delia is expecting another calf any day (or week) now - remember? So I'll be sure to let you knwo how that goes. Meantime, here is a photo of Ulysses - how big and handsome he has grown. And those tiny horns.... too cute (for now!)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Seven Days

Seven days - seven good things.

  • August mornings
  • New and very delicious ingredients
  • Hens and cockerels that like to roost outside all the year round
  • A special TV date night with a special boy.
  • A visit from the county Archaeologist.
  • Other visitors who arrive on vintage tandems
  • And finally learning to insert a zipper!

Yes indeed - a very good Seven Days here.

Wishing you all a wonderful week.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My day in cups of tea.

I love tea - I drink rather a lot of it. Too much, probably, but never mind - fancy a cup?
I am usually first up. I make my way to the kitchen, put the kettle on and have my first mug of the day looking out on the morning. I love Clipper organic tea and have used it for years - a good honest brew. Milk, no sugar.

Still sipping, I step into my wellies and wander outside to give the hens their breakfast. They are always so ravenously hungry, they make me smile. I watch them pecking their pellets frantically as I finish my tea, although it is now a bit cold.

Back inside, I make a fresh mug. I never usually bother about a teapot - just swish the teabag round the cup until it looks the right colour. Time to make James's packed lunch for school, and John is now up and about, so he has his first cup of the day too.

Breakfast time and my third cup of the morning! Ach well - I have been up for a while by now.

So - James is off to school, morning chores are done, the washing machine is humming away, John is back in from the croft and we sit down for a wee planning meeting, Cup of coffee this time (instant) - usually my only coffee of the day. I look forward to this mid morning break - a chance to breathe out and to catch up with each other. We are thinking about building a stone shed, so we talk around our various ideas and make some plans.

Break over and back to work - I am catching up on some paperwork, and doing a bit of decluttering as I go along. But then - a visitor! A newly retired friend from the next village calls in to have a look at the polytunnel. Kettle goes back on, and a pot of tea for three is soon ready. Oh yes, we break out the shortbread too! Nice chat, and then we have a good wander round the plot, discussing growing and gardening plans - perfect diversion.

After lunch, I take my tea out into the poly tunnel to sort out some seeds I want to sow before Winter. I somehow manage to get some compost in the cup, so it kind of loses its appeal. I cant spend too much time in here, though, because I need to help John with the sheep.

We have two sheep that still need to be sheared, and lambs to be marked and tagged. Also, John noticed earlier that one of the ewes was limping a bit, so they can all have their feet checked. A fair bit of work ahead...

Phew! Job done, and I collapse on the couch with a reviving mug of tea in my purple stained hands.There wasn't anything obvious with the limping ewe - I trimmed and cleaned her foot and we'll keep an eye on her for a day or two.
 It is four o'clock already - James is home, so I enjoy catching up on his day and overseeing the homework before beginning preparations for dinner.  This will likely be my last tea of the day. I find that if I drink it in the evening, I take a long time to get to sleep at night. It is water from now until bedtime.

The end of the day - dinner over, dishes washed, story told, James asleep -  and time for me to settle down with a nightcap. A cup of No-caf, preferably made by my husband, and some gentle reading before bed calls.

The Simple Things is a lovely magazine, and they do a feature where they interview a person about their day in cups of tea. I liked this idea and thought I would shamelessly apply it to myself. I hope you enjoyed it. Pop round for a cuppa anytime xx

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Seven Days

Seven things I have loved this last seven days.

<>Throwing ourselves down the sand dunes on a last Summer holiday beach trip.
<>Flowers from the garden.
<>This perfect face
<>Secret hiding places
<>The view from my chair in the poly-tunnel
<>A refilled glass after dinner.

Slowly easing ourselves back into old, familiar routines after our wonderful Summer. Lots more sun still to come though. Have a good week xxx

Friday, August 16, 2013

This Moment

Joining in again with Soulemama - capturing a moment that I want to remember and share.  Wishing everyone a fun weekend xx

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Summer Postcards

Another great week, spending time with dear friends. Visiting all our favourite, most special places, enjoying food, fresh from the garden, and beach picnics. Taking in the local village show, crafting and chatting into the evenings. So sad to see the ferry take the last of our Summer visitors away. I am not quite ready to let go of the season yet, even though school begins again on Thursday.
Wishing you a week of sunshine and happy days. xx

Thursday, August 8, 2013

This moment

Joining in again with Soulemama - capturing a moment that I want to remember and share.  Wishing everyone a loving weekend xx

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Yarn Along - Summer 2013

Joining in with Ginny for Yarn Along today, knitting in beautiful places, with a beautiful friend. I have cast on this sweater for James, using the Sublime organic merino from my stash. 

I have finished the Flowers in the Snow blanket for Breagha, and added a pink border to    finish it off. I am really pleased with this - I love the effect of the bright splashes of colour against the white. Definitely one to do again.

Not much reading going on here, in these busy days. I have a few books waiting in the wings for cooler days and darker evenings, but I was thrilled to come across this fantastic pile of vintage Ladybird books in the charity shop for 10p each. James and I have started working through the pile, beginning last night with Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt.

Couldn't resist another shot of Breagha snuggled up in her Grandma made blanket.  xxx

Monday, August 5, 2013

Summer postcards

Summer moves on and the dahlias are in bloom. We have been enjoying the garden, the carnival and the beach. Spending another blessed week with friends, as the season begins to slowly wind down. Holding on to these special days.

Friday, August 2, 2013

This moment

Joining in with Soulemama again, capturing a moment that I want to remember and share. Wishing you a happy weekend. x


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