Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Mexican Wildlife

Mexico Riviera Del Maya Seaside suites

Pelicans circled and dived for fish all day long

Ctenosaura spinytail Iguana
We travelled to Mexico last month for two weeks with our friends Warren and Justine, it was a complete break from our usual destinations having never been abroad for the last fifteen years. I never wanted to go anywhere without my dog Harry so we always travelled to places in the UK and loved it. Not being a sun worshipper I  was a bit worried boredom would set in but it was a wonderful experience mainly due to the good company, food and of course the wildlife and fauna. This complete cultural change was just what I needed at a time when stress levels were pretty high and I was feeling at a low point. This trip has definitely spurred me on to do more travelling. On the down side my allotment was a right mess but I have plans and more energy to set that right. Justine those body massages were the business;-)

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Snuggly Nest

The two bird boxes in my garden have been vacant since they were first put up many years ago, the birds preferring the bushes to artificial hospitality. Yesterday to my surprise I spotted this cosy little set up in the robin nest box. Who could it be? Have the little chicks fledged already and I've missed them? As you can see the wide rectangular opening to the nest box has been filled in with vegetation, no doubt from my scruffy over grown garden. Blackbirds have a nest in one of my bushes hope they have more luck than a pairing whose fledgling was attacked and brutally killed by a magpie in my front garden. I heard the usual blackbird alarm call followed by the call from the young female blackbird chick but I was too late to scare the magpie off it had already done its deadly work with its beak. Sadly the blackbirds kept returning all day long, quite upsetting really to see new life snuffed out like that.


Friday, 23 May 2014


Can I grow a lemon tree from a pip? Silly question really but I did google this and got some great tips. First get your seed from the lemon and clean off any remaining flesh then put into a glass of water to see if any seeds float. Cool, all mine stayed at the bottom of the glass so they should all be viable. Another batch of seeds tested all floated which was a surprise so it's worth doing to save time soil and energy. Next dry the seeds then wrap in kitchen paper, put into a little container and store for a month in the refrigerator. Erm guess its watch this space for an update;-)

Monday, 19 May 2014

Allotment progress

Lavender and lemon balm grown from seed. The thyme and sage should have been planted directly into the bed but some ants have sneakily built a nest under the plants. Seems a shame to hoof em out?
The allotment is coming along nicely at the moment and this year I want to try to make the most of the plants that are growing. Although I only have one decent sized rhubarb plant I managed to make a little bit of rhubarb cordial (1 and a half bottles), it has a syrupy consistency and quite a spicy kick from the star anise, nice neat with some ice or just add water to make a cordial.  Really I could do with about four or five plants so I can store a few more bottles over the summer. According to Sarah Raven by adding citric acid you can store it for quite a while. This flower is a Geum which I bought for fifty pence from a stall in a church graveyard last year. I planted it next to my apple tree and it has just come into flower, there are loads of tiny orangey buds waiting to unfurl.


rhubarb cordial recipe from Sarah Ravens website

Friday, 9 May 2014

Nasturtiums and do I have a beautiful mind?

I just really love Nasturtiums for their vigor as seedlings, these came up in a matter of days and have the most shapely leaves to boot. My allotment plot is really big and I need to fill it out with plenty of veg, herbs and flowers. The plan is to have sunflowers, Nasturtiums, Dahlias, lavender, sage. A while back I ordered some seeds from Sarah Raven's web site, the tomatoes Black Krim are doing well but the geraniums seeds have not come up, not one which is disappointing. I also ordered Echinacea White Swan but these are tiny at the moment and will not flower till next year. At the back of my plot is an unsightly patch where the last tenant pushed soil with all the debris to the back, so I'm not sure what I want to do with that area because it is a big job. Should I put a bigger shed so I can relax under a shady veranda or perhaps a Polly tunnel, a small decked area or a mini orchard?  Rather than buy plants I want to grow as many as I  can from seed and division but it all takes times which I don't have a lot of at the moment. Patience is a virtue they say. The satisfaction you get from planting something early this year then seeing the results the following year must be one of the best things about growing plants. Here are those cute nasturtiums with the feisty little Mofo kipping in the background.


Just phoned the garage to book the car in for a little spray tan having scraped it on the gate down the plot a couple of weeks ago. He asked my name then said and what make is the car? The phone went silent and the fellow said "hello you still there"? Just a minute I said.... its a, damn what is it? Its a flippin Peugeot  that's what it is, Doh. Next thing I needed to do was ring the dentist to make an appointment, name she said which I duly obliged then she said and your "mobile number"? Couldn't tell her, I had no idea off the top of my head. Now I know what your thinking, nice but dim with a lack of brain cells? In the distance I can hear my work colleagues yell "what brain" in a surreal Dallas cowboy accent. I have always been like this, my mind seemingly doesn't want to store crap I'm just not interested in, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Italian Style Herby Bread

I spent most of the afternoon making this Italian style herby bread with sundried tomato, basil and rosemary. Lots of kneading, allowing to rise, knocking back and then allowing to prove again before baking, The rosemary was freshly picked from my allotment plot this very morning along with some mixed salad. Its lovely and crunchy with a tasty rock salt topping and I was dead chuffed with the outcome, a long process but worth it, or so I thought. When asking my brother about it he said "its alright" ;-) Then Phil came home from work and I said "look what I've made" he promptly got the butter out and helped himself to a slice of white Warburtons bread... I don't know why I bother.

I like these shoes

My grandma Doris used to say, " buy the best bed and the best shoes because you are always in one or the other".  Suffice to say Doris had a shoe addiction, granddad Cyril never really knowing the true extent of her collection. However I like these shoes...

and I like these shoes...

but these boots are the best.

Apart from my work boots I practically live in these wellies