Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Butterflies, Broad Beans and Birthdays

The butterflies have been good this year. There are lots around visiting lavender etc
and now the buddliea is opening.
Here is a Comma.

The reason it is called Comma is because of its underwing markings. Like the comma in puntuation.

Steve harvested all the broad beans and froze 19 bags the following day.

The pond is much clearer after its treatment with barley. There is still some blanket weed hanging around but more surface has been covered.

My sister Paula, came to help out, clipping, deadheading and picking sweetpeas.

There were quite a few sweetpeas.

At home I made 16 jars of blackcurrant, redcurrant and raspberry jam.

Today is my birthday and we went kayaking on the River Rother for my birthday treat.
It was such a lovely evening. The sun came out and we picnicked on the river bank.
A perfect day.

Me, my brother James and my sister.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Flower Show

Today was the local flower show and we are exhausted!!
We spent a lot of yesterday morning picking, choosing and arranging. 

Seeing as we spent most of the afternoon and evening clearing and decorating the room for my expected new nephew, we were choosing fruit and flowers by torchlight and didn`t sit down til 10.15 last night. At which point Steve realises that he has prepared his onions the wrong way.
At half past seven this morning he was off to Freshwinds Garden to choose another six.

Then it was off to the recreation ground to set up all our entries. Setting up started at 
8.30 and went on til 10.15.

My brother James and his wife Julia, my sister Paula and her 2 grandchildren came too.

Here we are helping to get Jamie`s exhibits set up. It is the first time he has shown anything.
I felt strangely vulnerable leaving all my exhibits for scrutiny by judges and villagers alike.

Then it was home to pick 7 pounds of blackcurrants, water everything and have lunch.
At 2.15 we went for a swim in the sea and were very lucky not to get caught in the sudden downpour.
Luckily it eased off and was very hot until the evening when there was another storm.
We went back to the show to see how we had done.

Steve had seven firsts, two seconds and one third so he is very pleased with himself.
Here are a few of them.

The carrots....first prize.

The broad beans ...first prize.

The French beans....first prize.

The ridge cucumbers...first prize.

The frame cucumbers...first prize.

Steve also got Best in Show for the craft classes.

I had mainly seconds and thirds and some unranked.
Here are some of mine.

I got second for my jug of herbs.

I got third for my fruit.
That`s it at the front.

I got third for my annuals.

It was fun to walk round and see who had come first. Jamie got a first for his kohlrabi, third for his rose and highly commended for his blackcurrants. There were a lot of entries and it was well attended.
Thank goodness the rain stopped.

In the evening we ate all the first prize vegetables in a lovely terrine which Steve made.

All in all a very satisfying day.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Swarming Bees

A couple of days ago a swarm of bees gathered on the apple tree in our garden.

Steve phoned our local bee keeper, Robert Bond. He came round with a basket and calmly shook them all in. The basket was then placed on a green sheet upside down and left til the evening. 

The returning bees were able to get inside. They were out scouting for a new home.
Later they were mostly all inside and Robert came back for them.

There are still a few hanging around the garden and they are not that happy but seeing as the new home is not far away they should find their way.

On a walk this evening Robert stopped in his car to tell us that they had settled in well and had a laying queen. They are not far from our house or the Freshwinds garden, so it would be fair to say that the bees will have visited flowers in both gardens. I`d like some of that honey.

It has been baking hot and we`ve had a couple of storms and some heavy downpours.
It has done the gardens a world of good and has made weeding a joy.
We`ve had regular swims at the local beach, Pett Level. The sea is warming up.

Here are my latest crafts.

This is a beach quilt for my nephew. It has patches from my sister`s jeans and other fabric she has given me.

This is a hoola hoop weaving using all my sister`s old t shirts. It is for my niece.

Finally, when we came home last night after a great Italian meal in Hastings with close family, we stopped the car to view this wonderful sunset. A fitting end to a good day.

Sunday, 21 July 2013


It is still very hot. We had planned to cob on Saturday evening but as it was overcast we decided to go during the day. Tim brought us another load of clay and I think this may see us to the end of the project.
We managed 5 mixes, Anne having done one load on her own before we arrived.
We had a sausage sizzle at lunchtime to keep us going.

The walls are so high that the shorties have to stand on blocks to reach.
I think it is starting to look quite good now and I love the views through the round windows.

The little roses are looking very pretty.

Looks like Tom and Hollie have been to the Hastings Pirates Day.

Some of the sweetpeas are looking a bit distressed. I spotted these greenfly on new shoots. 
I think it is too dry.
I have watered them well. This is how the problems with the lupins started.

Amazing to think that these nicotiania were just left-over plants from home. The perfume in the evening is quite intoxicating especially in the heat.

The clarkia amongst the wild flower seed mixture are very delicate.

Courgettes and carrots. This was our harvest today.

Friday, 19 July 2013


Back to the garden at last.
We have had several visits but usually in the early evening due to the heat.
I am loving it. We`ve mainly been watering and harvesting.
The butterflies are out in huge numbers. They are enjoying the abundant lavender.

We were very happy to see at least three new waterlilies in the pond. Thanks Anne.
This will provide more shelter and shade and should help with the blanket weed.
Our visitors saw 11 frogs.
There may not be 11 soon as my sister Paula, spotted a grass snake at the edge. 
(We`ve recently had rather a nervy time as far as snakes are concerned!!! See Cyprus entry)
I didn`t get a photo but I keep looking.

The helichrysum is just about ready to pick.

The new dried flower, helipterum isn`t faring too well. I can only surmise that the rabbits are eating the flowers. Very odd.

Here is the evidence.

My great-nephew with his mum are waiting for the guinea pigs to come out. 
We lured them with carrot tops which they love.

It was baking hot .....too much to even collect vegetables. We needed shade.
Must find an old umbrella.

We walked down to see the new willow beds and got a shock when we discovered 
that the path is covered in thistles.

Our first cucumber.

Huge tomatoes fattening up.

An area that needs more development.

A very welcome half load of chipped bark, thanks to Andy.

The plan tomorrow is to cob in the evening, when it is cooler.