Saturday, 26 May 2018

Planting Frenzy

Well I suppose it might be that we have been behind with jobs for most of the spring, but the last week or so has been a frenzy of planting.
Yesterday we took 5 trays of plants to get in and we managed most of it.
The soil was perfect .... damp from recent rain .... crumbly and pleasant to touch.

The chickens were wandering around getting into places they shouldn`t be. And using the dahlia bed as a dust-bath.
I planted okra in the polytunnel. I have never tried it before.
And aubergines.
The sweet peppers are not big enough as yet.They had a slow start.
 The tomatoes are well away.


We are covering vulnerable plants with netting to be on the safe side. We`re sure rabbits are getting in.
The latest from my niece Hazel on rabbits .... they do not like talcum powder so use it round your plants.
We have some pumpkins left over for sale.
 The nicotiania is flowering away in the relative shelter.

Things that are looking good at the moment.
The newest fairy has her own garden.
Twenty refurbished ladybirds are hidden round the garden.
Two little girls were excitedly looking for them all yesterday.
The hollyhocks are romping away.
And the sweetpeas have just got going.
The fairy garden in the trailer needs some drastic pruning.
It is a victim of its own success.
The poor little barrel caravan is almost hidden.
As is the path.
Asparagus for dinner. Yum yum.
Plus radishes from home.
Lots of campers around enjoying themselves.
Such a wonderful time of the year.


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

And the Ladies go Dancing at Whitsun

In the past, the May/June half term for schools, was called the Whitsun holiday.
This was a traditional time for Morris dancing.
This year Whitsun falls on my sister Lee`s birthday .... 20th. May.
She would have been 60.

 Recently, I was listening to a Tim Hart and Maddy Prior CD of solo recordings.
I love all the music but there is one compelling song with haunting words and melody that I can`t get out of my brain ....
"Dancing at Whitsun."
I was under the mistaken impression that the words referred to a much earlier war, but they are in fact, about events from the 
1st World War.
Here are the words ....
It's fifty long springtimes since she was a bride,
But still you may see her at each Whitsuntide
In a dress of white linen with ribbons of green,
As green as her memories of loving.
The feet that were nimble tread carefully now,
As gentle a measure as age will allow,
Through groves of white blossoms, by fields of young corn,
Where once she was pledged to her true-love.
The fields they stand empty, the hedges grow (go) free--
No young men to turn them or pastures go see (seed)
They are gone where the forest of oak trees before
Have gone, to be wasted in battle.
Down from the green farmlands and from their loved ones
Marched husbands and brothers and fathers and sons.
There's a fine roll of honor where the Maypole once stood,
And the ladies go dancing at Whitsun.
There's a straight row of houses in these latter days
All covering the downs where the sheep used to graze.
There's a field of red poppies (a gift from the Queen)
But the ladies remember at Whitsun,
And the ladies go dancing at Whitsun.

Here is a link to that song.

I decided to do some more research
and this is what I found...

"The tradition of Morris Dancing had been performed exclusively by men for several hundred years. During the First World War, when the male mortality rate in some English towns and villages approached seventy percent, this tradition would have been lost were it not for the women who chose to carry it on. Austin John Marshall has written this poignant song as a tribute to the widows, sweethearts, sisters and daughters of those men, who kept the tradition alive."  
Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music

I am sure my cousin, Joanne and her husband Jonathan, will be interested as they both dance with
The Garston Gallopers

The village project to knit or crochet poppies to yarn-bomb the church railings, is going well.
I think at the last count there were nearly 3,000.
Well I have two bags of 100 to add to that total, with another bag on the go.
I have also made a poppy wreath with a straw base.
The white poppy represents those who refused to fight and the purple one represents animals that died.
All part of WW1 centenary events.
When this event takes place in our village I will be sure to take plenty of photos.

Here is another link with lovely old photos.

Monday, 14 May 2018

The Day of the Irises

A perfect day for planting.
There has been some rain. The ground is damp.
 Four trays of plants gone in today.
More annual sweetpeas, everlasting sweetpeas, lady`s mantle, perenniel geraniums, sunflowers, nasturtiums, morning glories, leeks, pumpkins, squashes and courgettes. Phew!

There were three varieties of irises out.
 Flag irises.
 Iris sibirica
Tuberous iris
Steve has been hollowing out the willow logs still further and now Anne and Tim have got the new fairy "cave" in situ.
A lot of work and imagination to go just yet.
Aquilegias are looking good.
One of the guinea pigs enjoying the new tunnel.
And here are the chickens scratching around in their favourite spot.
One even laid an egg between the tin baths. 
Nearly everyone in the family has a piece of my Mum`s lilac, which she loved so much.
This year it has flowered so well.
At home the wisteria over the shed is in full bloom. 
We`re all getting excited about the 
story telling weekend coming up soon.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Blowsy Blooms and Shady Tea Breaks

We have had a wonderful bank holiday weekend.
Baking hot, beach picnics and even swims in the sea.
Several times, it has been too hot to do the usual kind of jobs for this time of the year. I ended up covering my bedding plants with fleece to stop them from frazzling. Steve put the liquid shading on the greenhouse glass which is very strange, seeing as the bubble plastic is still up, for insulation.
Planting out has been saved until cooler parts of the day and watering has been done twice in 24 hours.
Today we heard the cuckoo for the first time from our own garden.
How I love that sound. 
I`m not surprised though. The insects flying around are myriad.

We perhaps chose the wrong day to put the tomatoes in the polytunnel but we managed it, with a few breaks outside.
The self-seeded tobacco plants are flowering already.
 By the time the tomatoes were in, we were ready for a tea break.
We chose to sit in the shade of the orchard trees.
It was delightful.
I had to do quite a bit of watering especially the newly planted bedding.
I covered the gooseberries with some fleece to keep birds and gooseberry sawflies off.

The dahlias are showing through.
The pond looks much better since we cleared it out.
Here is the self-seeded willow that Tim pulled out.
It`s going to be planted elsewhere on the farm.
We`ve created a new sitting area with some old chairs we didn`t need at home any more. It is already popular. 
 The fairies have been busy washing all the fairy outfits.
They are ready for dressing up fun.

The fairy yurt has very pretty new bunting.
Hidden round the corner, the quince is in full flower with its big blowsy blooms. I  wonder if we will get any fruit this year.
The broad beans are well away.
Steve has worked hard on the compost bins.
It feels good to have the area more organised.
We had asparagus with our dinner this evening. It is delicious and cropping very well.
And finally we were very pleased to see the alpacas are in residence.