Thursday, 14 October 2010

An Indian summer but autumn approaches

It's been a busy week and I've got lots done, even though I had a cold and sore throat over the weekend.  The weather has been very sunny for the past few days, so I've tried to make the most of our last bit of summer.

On Saturday we went for a walk in the park and I took some photos of the autumn trees - the leaves haven't gone that orange yet.  Last year my Dad pointed out a tree in the park that always went orange first.  He said he really liked it.  So I wanted to take a branch off the tree down to his memorial garden.  But the tree hasn't turned orange just yet, so I need to wait a little longer.

Here are some of the photos I took.

I took a few photos with my macro lens.

I spotted some fungi at the side of the road.

The rudbeckias in the front garden look very autumnal.

I took a nice photo of Steve French whilst I had my macro lens on.

I did the household cleaning order (entirely Bio-D products because Ecover have a sketchy animal testing policy and Bio-D is produced locally) and I did the Faith in Nature beauty/body care order for the shop.  I've also been working on the labels for the shelves in the shop.  And I've been to collect the bird box/insect hibernator order from Prosperity.  One of the new shop managers gave backword on their role so this has delayed the opening.

On Sunday morning we went to the flea market and this week I got 2 River Cafe cookbooks for 50p each.  We also bought lots more bird seed including niger seed (to attract goldfinches) at the allotment.   The birds devoured all the fat balls and emptied the feeders in a week!  We can sit and watch the birds from the shed window, I don't think they realise we're there, it's a bit like a bird hide.

I picked some beetroot at the allotment.  My Mum cooked and peeled them and then I sliced and pickled them in vinegar.  We tried them last night and they were very soft and magenta coloured but the vinegar still tasted strong, I think we need to leave them in the jar for a month to settle down.

I picked the last few red tomatoes.  I'm going to make chutney with the green ones at weekend, following the recipe my Dad used.   I might try a chilli variation too.

I also picked some fire tongue beans.  They don't taste that great once cooked (like hard mushy peas), but they look very pretty when picked, although the pink speckling goes once they're cooked.  I'm going to leave a lot on the plant to dry out to use in winter casseroles and broths.

The large sweet peppers are coming along nicely - I hope they turn red.

I cleared out the sweetcorn and peas/broad beans and Chris made a fire and got things burning.

Here's the bottom greenhouse before and after I cleared out the sweetcorn.

We had our first proper brew (cup of tea) at the allotment in the new shed, using the camping stove and whistling kettle.  It's like having our own little house on the plot.

I planted the spring bulbs off my Aunty Amy in my Dad's memorial garden.  I left the cyclamen and viola in situ.

It was a lovely sunny and slightly hazy October day.

The pampas grass is looking good at the minute.

I brought all the pumpkins and marrows home in the boot of the car.  Some of them weighed a tonne!

Then I went to my Mum's for tea and had 2 glasses of red wine.  After this I came home and made 3 deadly margueritas!  They're far too strong for something that tastes soooooo nice.  Needless to say I was a bit rough the day after.  Oddly, it hasn't put me off them.

My book purchases this week include a book called 'Garden bird songs and calls' by Geoff Sample.  I would like to learn how to tell what birds are nearby even if I can't see them.

I also got 'Philips guide to weather forecasting'.

And a brilliant book called 'How to make a wildlife garden' by Chris Baines.

We had our first frost of the autumn on 13th October - there was a thin layer of ice on the windscreen when we set off for work in the morning. I'm glad all the squashes were safely at home as they might have suffered in the frost.

Last night I planted up the paperwhite narcissus bulbs in glasses with white decorative gravel.  I also tried a bulb in marbles.  There are ten glasses in total and I'll tie a pretty white ribbon around them and give them to people as Christmas presents.  Hopefully they'll flower just in time to go on the Christmas dining table.  I got the idea from Laetitia Maklouf's Virgin Gardener book (which I still love).

I finally got round to sorting through my wardrobe and replacing all the summer clothes with winter ones.  I feel so much more organised now, and I found lots of clothes and accessories that I'd forgotten about.

I sent everyone cards to thank people for my birthday presents.

Everyone at the allotment wanted a copy of the radio show.  None of them have computers so I had to put the show onto an audio CD for them.  I ended up burning 26 discs in total.  I'll also give them a group and individual photo each.

It's my friend Nina's 35th birthday on 17th October.  She had her laptop stolen and her entire photo collection was lost.  So for her birthday we've collected together lots of photos for her.  I've put them onto a disc and we've had the best ones printed out and my friend Caroline is putting them into a photo album for her.

Last week I bought a bargain tray of violas from B and Q for £1.50.  I planted these up into 2 terracotta pots and a hanging basket.  I'm going to give one of the pots to Caroline as a flat warming present.

Finally, I took a photo of the crescent moon on its way to setting.  In hindsight I should have used a tripod, but I still like the photo.

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