Monthly Archives: April 2016

all dressed up with nowhere to go….

 Look at all the hard work the lovely OH has done.  The main veg. plot is fully dug; strawberries weeded; brassica tunnel up; climbing bean structure up; strimming done.  All ready to go…..

Shame about the weather.

DSC_0384The temperature is swinging from 10 celsius down to 4 within the hour.  We have sun, then hail and sleet.  If I plant out now it would be a vegetable armageddon.

Far better to sit in the potting shed with a cup of tea and prick out seedlings.

DSC_0382DSC_0386Reading this week: The Wild Life by John Lewis-Stempel.


waifs and strays…(part 2)

DSC_0328This is not just any pigeon …. it is a HOMING pigeon, a thoroughbred of the avian world.   I’m not into the hobby myself, though apparently it is very popular.  This little mite appeared on the smallholding at the start of last week.  It is a lot more comfortable around humans than the wood pigeons that decimate our brassicas.  The bird mooched around the Dutch barn for a number of days and showed no signs of flying away.  At first, we thought we had a sick bird on our hands and so we left out seed over a few days, (I know – old softies that we are).  By midweek, the bird was still keeping the OH company as he worked on the barn, which allowed the lovely OH to note the presence of the leg rings.  So he caught the bird.

He’s handy like that. 

The pigeon was ensconced in the piggery with a deep dish of fresh water and bird seed; plus straw bedding – very boutique hotel accommodation. This is not the first time a homing pigeon has appeared on the holding.   Reporting a stray bird is very simple – the Royal Pigeon Racing Association has a handy little wizard app for providing details of a stray. 

We received a letter from them within 2 days, with the owner’s details.  The lovely OH contacted the owner who came this afternoon with his grandson to collect the bird who had gone missing 2 weeks ago. It seems that the bird may have been injured and was slowly making it’s way back home.  Now the lassie will be housed with the youngsters as her mate has been paired with another.  

Bon chance ma petite.

what a difference a day makes…

DSC_0324Northerly winds brought the cold down from the Artic. An inch of snow fell on the hills overnight.  Nighttime temperatures dropped below zero.  In the valley, we didn’t escape either.

DSC_0326Over the years of growing our own fruit and vegetables, we have become used to checking the weather forecast, particularly during the spring.  The weather can turn on a sixpence.  Some things we can’t do much about; I’m hoping the cold snap hasn’t affected the early damson and plum blossom.  However, in other areas we can take a little extra care.   Simple preventative measures like a covering of fleece look after the tender plants.

DSC_0330After all the hard work of raising plants in the propagator, it would be a shame to lose them at the final hurdle.


DSC_0270Especially as the extra specimens are so useful for bartering…



easy peasy….

DSC_0316I am a total convert to growing early peas in guttering.    The lengths of gutters are strung up, well out of reach of marauding rodents.  The germination in the warmth of the polytunnel is good.  It’s super easy to plant out.

What’s not to like…. Any gaps I fill with a few extra seeds.

DSC_0318DSC_0320DSC_0321In go the pea sticks. All good …the hardest part ….

DSC_0322Getting that pesky pea netting on. Though once done … pigeons – pah!

soaked, soggy, sodden…

DSC_0271I foolishly thought that I would be able to crack on with planting, nay perhaps even sowing, outside.  Well I can’t because the ground is sodden again.  So I stomped off in my wellies to the bottom of the field, where the lovely OH planted the willow and alder.  Though in the case of the former, planting consisted of sticking cuttings into the ground.  Whilst this area is at the base of the, albeit gentle, slope of our field, it is now drier than the top, as willow and alder can suck out quite a volume of water.

  We have yellow willow, probably Salix lutea, and grey – S. caprea, the goat willow, which has the lovely pussy willow flowers.


The alder is full of catkins and the boundary hedgerow is bursting with sloe blossom.


Suitably cheered, l wandered back to potting shed to sort out spares of the tomatoes and chillies for swapping.

Venison and wine have been offered!





the big sow…

The soil has warmed up sufficiently so I decided to plant out the onions sets I started off in modules.  Besides, I really need the space in the potting shed.


DSC_0265The onions have formed a good root ball and it was easy enough to push each out of the tray.  I spaced them around 4 to 6 inches apart.


DSC_0268So that’s it on  the onion & garlic planting apart from some red onion seed I’ve sown.  This article prompted me to have a go at onions grown from seed; I want to see if they will store better than those grown from sets.

Now what to do with all that space freed up in the potting shed?   Why fill it with more trays of sown seed of course!


sunshine and showers….

brings out the flowers.

DSC_0240DSC_0241DSC_0244DSC_0214Lesson learnt. Never write a day off.  Today started with heavy rain but by the afternoon out came sun. The bees were flying:

DSC_0235DSC_0227and I picked the first salad leaves of the year from the polytunnel.

DSC_0208A glorious day….