Thursday, 6 May 2010

Cabbage patch kids, beetroot face and a cherry blossom skip

I took the minutes at the shop meeting on Thursday.  Let me let you into a secret.  I HATE meetings.  I am too shy to speak at meetings, and if I do speak I go bright red.  Someone once pointed this out at a meeting, the fact that my face was beetroot red, and it pushed me over the edge.  Meetings are when I really feel like an introvert, and like I don't fit in, because no one else seems to have the same problem.  On the other hand extroverts love meetings, they love having a group of people poised and ready to listen to their every word.  At least taking the minutes gave me something to do. As much as I want the shop to happen, I'm beginning to wonder how much time I can give up at the moment, as gardening is keeping me busy, and that's where my heart lies.  Either that, or all these meetings are starting to put me off.  Just give me something to do and I'll do it, but don't ask me to sit in lots of meetings because it's not my cup of tea!  I'm a do-er, not a talker.  Thank God I have respite from people and meetings when I am with my plants in my garden!

Anyhow, back to the point.  My weekly supermarket shopping trip on Friday morning was cancelled, as a skip was arriving at the allotment.  The Council paid for an 8 tonne skip for all the plot holders to fill with rubbish.  I dumped a lot of rubbish in there, including bags of waste and broken glass.  It was soon full up, so I'm glad I got down there early.  I'd taken a lot of rubbish to the tip in my car earlier this year, so we didn't have too much to get rid of.  Here's a picture of the skip and the gorgeous cherry blossom trees that line the path into the allotment and are currently in full flower.

After my usual Friday shopping and cleaning mission, we settled down for veggie burgers and fries.  This week's wine was a 2005 Chianti reserva, which was OK, but still not as good as the Campo Viejo Rioja, why I don't just buy that I don't know - I will next week.  We finished things off with a delicous clotted cream, caramel and honeycomb ice cream, mmmmm.

On Saturday I had my hair cut then we nipped to Homebase and Chris bought 4 new blueberry bushes.  He potted them all up in ericaceous compost at the allotment.

I planted out the cabbage, sprouts and kale in the brassica patch, and then netted, slug pelleted, egg shelled and wheatbranned the patch.

After this I rearranged the plants in the greenhouse at home - some of the tomatoes on the top shelf had reached the roof so I moved them down onto the staging.  The first trusses have appeared but not flowered.

On Sunday, we went to the flea market in the morning and I got a book on paper craft, an old collection of Woolworth's knitting patterns and a large terracotta planter for £1.

In the afternoon, I got a rush of blood and decided to clean out the top greenhouse at the allotment.  It was pretty messy, so whilst the skip was there I thought I'd get it done.  I got rid of 2 chests of drawers, which I broke down and put in the skip, they'd gone mouldy and weren't being used.  It looks a lot better now (ignore the chair and the boxes in the photo - they're only there until we do some work on the foundations of the shed!).

Then I went to Duckworth Hall with my mum for my usual cheese and onion pie.  The pudding this week was sticky ginger, which was nice, but not as good as sticky toffee.

It was a bank holiday on Monday, so I got the day off work.  I repotted the chillies and aubergine.  I sowed a 9" terracotta pot with salad leaves for my mum.  I resowed the melon, mars and atlantic giant pumpkin, rudbeckia and aubergine.  I wondered if the pumpkin, melon and aubergine hadn't germinated due to the propagator not being hot enough - I've avoided gaps in the glass this time and cranked up the heat to full.  I desperately need the pumpkins to grow as I'm planning a 3 sisters style bed in the border soil in the bottom greenhouse.  I've already planned to fill a full side with sweetcorn so I might as well have some squash crawling around below.  The hunter butternut squash, courgettes and marrow germinated fine - perhaps it was due to the pumpkin seeds being old?

Note for next year.  I planted the beans too early, they're already 8 inch high, so they only need putting in a few weeks before the last frost.

The peas have germinated.

The sweet peas in the hanging basket are doing well.

I also planted out the sweet peas in my back garden, I haven't done my Mum's yet because she needs her fence painting. For tea I made a puy lentil spaghetti bolognese, using my Mum's delicious recipe, and substituting minced beef for puy lentils.  For pudding I made fairy cakes with warm dulche de leche sauce.  They didn't last long!

My Noro Kureyon sock yarn has come - but I'm still confused re what pattern/needle size to use.   I found a great pattern for socks online, which stated a 2.5mm long circular needle, but they don't have 2.5mm needles on our wool stall, just 2.25mm and 2.75mm.  So I bought 2.25mm but this was too small and I went back today to buy the 2.75mm.  I think I need to order the official noro sock pattern and be done with it, but I'll be well chuffed if I knit my own pair of lovely warm socks.

Some blackbirds nested in my mum's back garden in a conifer tree.  We've been watching the parents feeding them for the past few weeks.  On Saturday morning my Mum found 3 of the chicks dead on the floor.  But one chick was still alive and being fed.  I noticed on Monday that it was down the back of the greenhouse and its parents were still feeding it.  On Tuesday morning my mum woke up to lots of bird whistles and a ginger cat had killed the last chick.  I am gutted.  The parents worked so hard finding worms to feed the chicks and now they are all dead.  It doesn't seem fair and it has really peed me off.  I am really upset.  I feel like I could have done more.  And I feel awful for the little birds that didn't get a chance, and got attacked by a cat.  I heard the birds' rattle-like calls this morning when I got up and I should have gone out but I didn't.  I feel really bad about this, but Chris says it's just the way nature works.

I need to help birds more, and there's a great opportunity to do this at the allotment.  It's a wildlife haven and we need to capitalise on that.

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