Thursday, 27 September 2012

Pumpkins and rain

We visited the garden on Monday. It was pouring with rain and we got rather wet. We needed to pick vegetables after a weekend away, camping and celebrating cousins` birthdays.
Today we managed a visit after very wet weather for most of the week. It was a beautiful afternoon with warm sunshine, blue skies and fluffy white clouds. There were many insects around ....bees, butterflies and of course the swooping swallows, never far from the barns. We brought lots of green tomatoes home so it looks like green tomato chutney (with chilli) is the next project.

During the weekend, I was very excited to visit Belinda and Jamie`s allotment, Berkshire. (You can read her blog on my blog list) Unfortunately it was raining hard but I wasn`t going to miss it. The double plot was very neat and a riot of colour with late asters and calendula. To read more about Belinda, buy Good Housekeeping, the November issue, as there is an article all about her and the allotment.

After torrential downpours yet again, storms with clouds 6 miles deep over the UK, the wheelbarrow shows just how much rain has fallen.

The pond filled up nicely.

 The winds knocked the cosmos and Michaelmus daisies down. We have now staked them all.

The French beans also got a battering.

We brought the second largest pumpkin home. It weighs 41 pounds so just under the weight of the largest grown last year. One more big one to go.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

William`s pumpkin

 Here is William watering his huge pumpkin. He keeps coming along to check on it 
and invites anyone he meets in the farmyard to view it.

 And here it is in all its glory AND its still growing.
Anyone like to guess the weight (in pounds please.)

 The straw is all in...hooray.

 This is a view of jumbled pumpkin growth and dahlias on the right..... after Steve had cleared some.

 We brought one pumpkin home today. We haven`t weighed it yet.

Steve received these kilner jars from Paula for his birthday. He has filled them with 
a wide range of pickled vegetables. One more to go yet.

The French beans and runner beans are tailing off now and we are certainly bringing less courgettes home.
Some people around the country have had early frosts. That will stop things in their tracks. I have cut lots of leaves from the tomatoes to encourage ripening. They will all eventually ripen. We will also make more green tomato chutney. 
The garden was quite beautiful this afternoon in bright September sunshine with clear views all round. The elderberries are ripening all over the farmyard. Now I am wondering about elderberry wine.
I can see many jobs that need doing......more nettles to cut back, a bean row to dismantle, blackcurrants to prune etc etc but it is very important to just sit now and again to enjoy.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Muddy helper

 Here is our biggest pumpkin. I hope the trowel helps to get an idea of the size.
I have to report that William`s pumpkin has well and truly surpassed this. Photo of him next time.

The Michaelmus daisies are drawing out the butterflies. Unfortunately they are mainly Cabbage Whites which flit from these flowers to our brocolli to lay their eggs.....all on one site.!!

 We`ve only just started the autumn clearing so where`s the next lot going. 
Think its time for a fourth compost heap.

 Don`t know where this raspberry cane came from but its a good strong plant. We hope to transfer it to the fruit net next time it rains.

 The Bellis daisies are flowering their hearts out. Hope they have strength to last the winter 
and flower again in spring

 Finally just in case Helen`s friends wondered why she took so long having a shower, it was because she had decided to make sure it was worthwhile!! Thanks for the help Helen.

Sunday, 16 September 2012


 We had a fantastic break in Glastonbury. We have wanted to go for a long time. The tower sits on top of the tor and many ley lines cross there. A lot of people visit to feel this energy. 
We climbed up twice....the first day in strong winds, the second in beautiful sunshine and we stayed for a picnic, enjoying 360 degrees of the most wonderful views. We felt as if we were on top of the world.

Here I am on the way to the top.

We visited the Chalice Well Gardens. It is at the base of the hill. The Holy Grail is supposed to be buried in the well and the water is thought to be healing. We brought some of the water home. It has a metallic taste....mainly of iron. Many people meditate in this garden fact it is a world peace garden. There were many places to sit and contemplate.

Here is the well with the chalice symbol on the lid.

The shops in the town were amazing, selling crystals, musical intruments, beads, colourful clothing, organic food and many alternative books. We treated ourselves to quite a few gifts!!! It was particularly good to see so many independent shops instead of the usual high street names.

We visited Wells Cathedral and stayed for evensong which was mainly sung by their magnificent choir. We sat in the quire area so we had a good view of everything. It was very special. 
In the evening there was a street festival with many different styles of live music and food.
We had a wonderful time.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Wonky arches and more nettles

 The sun was shining today when we visited the garden. The first thing we noticed.....that the grass has been cut and looks great. Think it was Anne. After collecting the vegetables and flowers, Steve set to on one load of cob and I carried on with the nettles. That has left me with tingling hands and arms despite 
wearing thick gloves.
I reached the corner. Still some way to go. I am thinking about how we could stop them growing through the rabbit wire next year, as it is a gutty job.

This is the fence that has been cleared so far. Charlie cut some on Saturday as well.

This is what still needs to be done!!!

Here is our wonky arch. Looks a bit Mo...ish. Not sure how we can even it out yet.

I can`t believe that the sweetpeas are still so lovely. Every now and again I deadhead and they just keep going on and on. That`s now 5 months of flowering and vases and vases full, for ourselves, 
family and friends.
What an incredible plant they are. Many people have such strong memories of sweetpeas. I think it must be the evocative perfume. They remind me of my own Mum who always had a row.
My Mum with one of her rows.
 After one picking.

Since my last entry, we have made more chutney. Look out family and friends.....Christmas is on its way!!!
Here is today`s harvest.

And there are more owls coming. This time they are crotcheted.

Going to Glastonbury on Wednesday. I am very excited as we will be visiting some gardens
 there, as well as the Tor.
More next time.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Cobbing video and shepherd`s hut

The weather has been typical when the children have gone back to school. Well, I don`t have to worry about that any more!! Two swims in the sea on 2 days running
 in September, doesn`t happen very often.

Last night we stayed in the shepherd`s hut. It was a fantastic experience. 
Anne and Tim have arranged it all so well. The hut itself is so cosy with a large double bed holding masses of pillows, a thick duvet and warm blankets. There`s a little sink, a cooker and a tiny wood-burning stove. The splendid decking around the hut means no stepping into wet grass in the morning. And its a long way from anyone else so privacy is ensured. A haven of peace and tranquility.
We highly recommend it.

We had Pimms at six followed by a barbeque on the open fire outside. As the sun set we wrapped up in our fleecy blankets, sang songs round the campfire and watched the stars appear.
In the night we got up about 1 a.m and saw the moon over mist-covered fields
 which was quite a stunning sight. Owls could be heard in the surrounding trees. 


As we were getting ready to go next morning, this is what greeted us at the gate. I don`t know what they were expecting.

We spent a couple of hours in the garden. We managed to control the willow arch, though it is a most peculiar shape. I saved all the pruned lengths with a view to making something.....not sure what yet.
Steve and Anne got going with the cobbing. I filled the wheelbarrow with loads of sand and clay and made the tea. 
As the walls get higher, we are getting more excited.


Here is Tilly, one of the farm dogs. She is about 15 or 16 years old.

Finally, here are my latest owls. They are for sale in the Wool Barn.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Cobbing and French beans

We had a very exciting day at the garden yesterday when my nephew and his family came to visit. They all love the organic, home-grown vegetables and we had a good time picking them all. We harvested five and a half pounds of French beans and then we had fresh scones with raspberry jam. In the evening we had a lovely meal altogether, with all our own veg. They went home this morning laden with even more.


Here is my great-nephew, Aiden, with his mum in between the bean rows.

There were lots of campers around admiring our garden. One family with three little ones were off blackberry picking. They ended up with bowls full of flowers.........sweetpeas, calendula, statice and helichrysum. We even found some odd strawberries.

On Saturday we mixed a few loads of cob and I gave myself a slight backache. Its not the treading but the lifting, when the mixture tends to stick, through suction, to the tarpaulin. 
We nearly got a complete round done.

Soon we will be needing to think where the little round windows will go.
Before all our visitors arrived I removed as many thistles as I could from around our garden entrance before they go to seed. There is a lot more tidying and clearing to do and the nettles are coming through yet again.
We will need to be well protected for that job.
 Somehow we missed this cucumber!!!
The butterfly garden is still looking good after several months.