Thursday, 27 November 2008
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
To begin with the brand new beds in Field C have been marked out - lots of squares and posts with numbers on them - oh, I am looking forward to more sheds, more crops, maybe more cute n' crazy kids! This is brilliant, I just hope they know what they're getting themselves in to - hard work, that's what, hehehe.
And in our Field, A1 has now got 3 very sturdy looking raised beds made and set in one corner. Glad to see that, always thought A1 ought to be a good example to us all - maybe it will flourish from now on. Fingers crossed.
Then, on our own dear lottie, my Broad Beans had germinated. Hoorah - I love those little green shoots like they were my children. (Though I also can't wait for them to grow up so I can eat them - and that isn't my philosophy on 'real' children - just to clear that up!) Look at them, aren't they glorious, I put it down to Andrew's lovely safe environment of a Cold Frame. Then on leaving I also spotted my crazy primroses STILL flowering away; they haven't stopped since they were put in at the end of Spring, surely that just isn't normal!
Monday, 24 November 2008
Power to the people! my friends - both the official Committee letter on this problem and mine (eek) are going to be presented at a council meeting on the 5th December. The budget for the Allotments has totally run out but we will have to keep our fingers crossed that there is some Christmas spirit in that meeting and we will be granted our wish of better access.
I'll keep you posted.
This wee video is just 1 min long - check it out.....Okay this isn't great - no Stephen Spielberg am I. But at least you'll get the idea. It was taken on Saturday before the really nasty weather hit - goodness knows what it's like now! Eek. I didn't even go on Sunday morning because I was a little too nervous.
There'll be another (better) video later in the week - of our plot. Bet you can't wait.
Friday, 21 November 2008
I have found a pretty informative website for you on the delight that is Vodka:
Fear not, it is written in English. Our favourite was the Bison Grass one (nothing to do with potatoes funnily enough!)~ Żubrówka, we brought some home but it's dangerous stuff so we haven't opened it yet!
It also has healthy benefits in the form of but not exclusively: Vitamins C , B and B6, Potassium, Folic Acid, Iron and Zinc. Plus they are low in fat and Calories - hoorah!! And Holy Moly I didn't know it but it's the UN's International Year of the potato (IYP). Surely we must celebrate?! You know I heartily recommend the British Potato Council's website there is so much info and recipes etc.
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Of course there are some who still have much to achieve - to put it politely.
Yes, this is a plot. There is definitely a plot under there somewhere.
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
2 Pak Choi, 4 baby Lettuces, 3 Parsnips, 1 Leek, a massive handful of Parsley and 4 gorgeous wee Turnips. I was very happy, let me tell you.
The Pak Choi was used in stir fries (I was heard to proclaim "It's like real Pak Choi" - what an eejit) the Lettuces were eaten by me with a little cranberry sauce (more about that later) and last night Andrew made the best dinner ever with the rest and some couscous (which we'd grow ourselves if we could darn it!). He simply roasted the parsnips, leek and turnips and mixed it all up with couscous and lots of lovely flat leaved parsley. The only other ingredients were Ras el Hanout (Moroccan spice mixture) and a little salt and olive oil - Heaven!
So to the lettuces. They are growing away beautifully under one of our little mini polytunnels and are so tasty, especially lifted young like this. I am genuinely surprised at how well these little tunnels are doing, they were a good buy alright and to think, I almost doubted their necessity (apologises Andrew!).
Yes, the cranberry sauce and lettuce mixture. This comes from the 1st meal I had when we arrived in Krakow, I was so impressed by this dish I wrote it down in a notebook whilst eating it (never done that before). It had a Lettuce mix of course but added to that was grilled chicken strips, cashew nuts, Sunflower shoots (!) Basil mousse, a few perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes and Cranberry sauce. My socks were blown off - simple but my my so tasty. (If you've never had Sunflower shoots before - they taste a little like firm/ripe melon, beautiful.) Poor me I had hardly any of those ingredients but I made do.
We aren't the only ones to be enjoying the success of their lettuce. These ones are so cute in their little rows; they were planted in between corn until recently. I don't know the names of this lovely couple but they gave us a very big handful of said baby sweetcorn a few weeks ago and it was gorgeous - green fingers on that plot alright.
They aren't 'real' polytunnels but Andrew brought home some used Water Cooler Butts from work and cut their bums off. They have been very effectively used as cloches for 2 of our Parsley plants. Look how this plant was trying to escape (that's before I chopped it down for dinner, hehe), goes to show you don't have to pay for purpose made stuff, eh?
Lastly, for today, I'd like to mention our Leeks and how we've been blanching them with bits of drainpipe. It was found way back in the spring in a little stream along with lots of other dumped household stuff and we thought it might come in handy - we were right. I have an intolerance to 'real' onions but can eat leek, so it's an important crop for us. Using the collars around the young plants makes them grow up to have a longer, thicker white bottom half, where most of the flavour is. Gosh, I'm full of tips today! (This pic doesn't show our best ones but it gives a good idea).
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Monday, 17 November 2008
I took this on Sunday afternoon when we came home from Krakow. It is a very short piece on the poor drainage on site - it is a problem all over the 3 fields. This is the path between Fields A and B and it isn't the worst bit - I really sank down in that area! Thank goodness for wellies!!!
The paths are really a shameful issue on the lottie and as a person with visual problems (permanent double vision) it is something I personally wish could be sorted out a bit better. That's without even starting on the fact that there are many older people who have to cart things down to their plots, walking on this - it is so slimy and that the Allotments are supposed to be accessible to everyone under the Disability Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 - http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2006/uksi_20060312_en.pdf.
Okay, if you can get sound on this video - I make a comment saying it is kind of fun. Getting mucky in your wellies is - that's what I meant. Not being scared about where you put your feet.
P.S. It was very nice to see people had been on the site whilst I was away - thanks for the interest guys, bug hugs all round.
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Friday, 7 November 2008
I am feeling pretty good today. I haven't had to take one sedative all day and I feel unusually calm for someone who is going on Holiday tomorrow and has things to get ready. My mood has lifted a little - enough for me to feel it and for Andrew to see it. And, I have joined a new forum group with people who just couldn't be more welcoming if they came to my front door with a muffin basket. Today has been a good day.
These days need to be published, they come rather rarely and without notice. When they go, I forget they exist as well.
So today's information comes from the ever reliable and informative Wikipedia at : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poppy and the extremely informative pages of
The Royal British Legion at :
The Poppy is one of the showy-est flowers there is, especially in it's most well known colour of bright red. It can however be found in an abunadance of colour varieties - just showing how popular it is. These include white, yellow and even blue (Himalyan). They are grown for their glorious flowers and seed heads but are also beloved by Bees who use their pollen, Bakeries for the gorgeous seeds and Drug lords for the Opium (a Narcotic formed from sap released by immature seed pods of Opium Poppies [Papaver somniferum] DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!)
Poppies have long been mentioned in Greco-Roman myths in relation to death and sleep or indeed, both - eternal sleep. But they also connected them to the promise of resurrection. In Commonwealth countries the Poppy has been adopted as a symbol of remembrance - for those who died in the 1st World War and all other conflicts since then. Paper or plastic Poppies are worn on the lapel, (or attached to little wooden crosses or made up into wreathes) up to and including the 11th November when the end of the 1st World War is marked with a minutes silence. Having ended at 11 o'clock on the 11th Day of the 11th Month 1918.
On the British Legion website http://www.poppyfactory.org/history.html there is a short but very interesting background to the 1922 factory of disabled ex-service army men and women who assembled rembrance poppies and in fact still do to this day. However we can not take credit for the idea as it came primarily as a result to Colonel John McRae’s poem “In Flanders Field”, leading an American lady to start the trend in 1920. (The poem can be found on the Wikipedia page).
It's the Corn or Field Poppy that is used at this time, as it grows best in poor, untended soil. After the horrific battles of the 1st World War, poppies were found to be growing all over the trenches and battlefield scars of the fields, a sign of life after such carnage and also of blood, which would have soaked the very soil they grew in.
Poppy seeds can be eaten, think of the lovely poppy seed cake and bread crusts topped with seeds. However, beware, unconfirmed experiments suggest that eating a lot of the seeds can lead to false positive drug tests for opiates!
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Poppy. Grow; cut and put in a vase if you like; eat the seeds maybe; enjoy. And remember.
Thursday, 6 November 2008
You know I've been feeling pretty bad recently and very isolated. This contact with the big wide world is the best thing I've ever done.
I'll be back later!
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
It has been brought to my attention (by Mo - thank you petal) that I didn't tell you which number our plot is on the map! We are the proud owners of Field A 24a.
Douglas' plot is excellent. He hadn't been down in a few weeks but the place looked great. Granted he had been working hard all day. Like us, he has gone fot the raised bed system and it's working well for him, though he also has indulged in a lovely patio area and an orchard is on the way in another section. This is a man with plans, with ideas and with passion - he exudes it.
Just before I arrived over there he had cleared out his potato bed, a job he hadn't been looking forward to - due to the blight we all got over the wet summer. I guess he was expecting some mushing, stinky crops, but like us he had cut off the foilage at the 1st signs of blight and thus had a wee surprise. Happy, healthy little potatoes to take home for dinner. (I laugh at the Tesco bag).
That wasn't all. He decided to lift some carrots to let me have a look at the difference between sowing in situ and planting out seedlings. My, the ones which had been moved were weird! All the roots had tangled up around each other and one carrot was actually 3 twisted together. The other ones however were glorious. Perfect. Funny though, just after lifting this one, Douglas noticed a beetroot, he'd forgotten about. Goodness lifting it was a very pleasant surprise - it was huge! Look at his face.
Being very much into eco-friendly allotmenteering I was intrigued my the little turf wall all around the plot. I thought it was covered in weeds, however it was actually lovely little alpines, planted into the overturned sods! They were all taking and some were even in flower, what a lovely idea - to look at and for insects to feed upon. In another corner there was an elorabate bug house - logs with many holes drilled in them and stacked under a thigh-high stone doorway, in front of which lay a little pool for (hopefully) frogs etc.