Sunday, 29 June 2014

One Year On

One year ago yesterday we packed up and moved north from Yorkshire to Cumbria.
It has been a great year.

Having grown absolutely nothing last year, we were keen to get started on our new veg garden.

When we arrived the garden looked like this...
... and that's just part of it. Steve actually scythed it all and we had little haystacks dotted all over the place for a while.

Fast forward one year and we have an asparagus bed that I mentioned here and a few other beds.

I have my 'Bean Ship' to the left.
I call it that because as I sit here at the window it looks just like a three masted ship sailing along. It's a bit higgledy-piggledy but it's doing the job. I knew we wouldn't get a bed finished in time for them so used a planter that was already here.
I have runners and borlotti beans and a few peas thrown in for good measure.

Behind that is a potato bed. We have only planted a few earlies, main crop and lates. We are enjoying the earlies already. Then we have an onion bed and a shallot bed. Carrots and broad beans are growing in containers.

The greenhouse which had a grape vine in it along with a mass of weeds now looks like this.

Inside we have tomatoes in grow bags and I am trying some sweetcorn in there too. I was late getting seeds in and hope they come to something.

My beautiful Bay Trees are standing guard here until all the building work is finished on the house.

All my herbs and our soft fruits are living in pots until we find them a permanent home.

At least it's a start.

Friday, 27 June 2014

To Plus or Not To Plus?

Dear Fellow Bloggers,

I hope you can offer me some advice about Google+

Have you Plussed?
What benefits are there?
Are there any pitfalls?

I'm dithering because I'm afraid it will all become too much to handle but I've fallen out with the FB page I have.

I also have a problem in that they have a personalised URL for me but I have no mobile signal here so I can't take advantage of it.

Any thoughts or tips would be wonderful, thanks!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Pretty Peony

One of the wonderful things about moving home is discovering what floral delights will appear in your new garden.

When we arrived last year this peony was in full bloom and doing remarkably well considering that it was nearly choked with grass, dandelions and buttercups.

Apparently, in Victorian times the peony was associated with bashfulness on account of the fact that nymphs hid amongst its petals.

I think there may be another reason.

As the day starts coming to an end, the peony begins to fold its petals in, going to sleep for the night. If you catch it at just the right time it does indeed look bashful.

I know that it is not the only flower to do this but with such large blooms you can almost see it happening. Take your eyes away for a second and it will have closed just a little more.

It also looks quite bashful when first coming into bloom.

Quite frighteningly, it dies away to almost nothing over winter and, never having had one, I worried about it coming back. It is just as glorious this year and I have grown quite fond of it, which is just as well because it is said that moving a peony will bring bad luck.

It stands proudly outside our front door waiting to welcome us home.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Planning Ahead

On Friday we took a trip to Airey's Farm Shop near Grange-Over-Sands.

Why did we take a two hour round trip to visit a farm shop?

Well, the time has come for us to start thinking about our pigs' final journey and Aireys also have an abattoir. They were recommended to us by the chap we bought the pigs from and we had arranged to go and have a look round.

I must be getting old because I had got the date wrong. I had made the appointment for the 27th, not the 20th. Happily, Joanne & Steven took this in their stride.

The farm has been slaughtering animals since the 1830's when animals were delivered by horse & cart and slaughtered on a slab. It is very different now! The abattoir is state of the art and has been planned really well to expose animals to the least amount of stress possible. Apparently I was babbling like a five year old but, hey, I was impressed.

Whilst we were there we availed ourselves of some beautiful sirloin steak, Cumberland Sausage and lamb loin chops - all have which have been devoured with relish.

See also: Taking Pigs To Slaughter 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

New Name; Same Old Blog

In May this year I decided to remove all the old blog posts from this blog.

I miss them.

I have set up a new, old blog under the name "A Small Holding In Yorkshire."

All of my old posts are there, however...

It is not going as smoothly as I anticipated especially as Picasa and Google+ appear to have got their undergarments in a twist and I'm missing all of my photographs.

I shall persevere and, hopefully, will get this page looking spit spot with  new features, new photo's and links here, there and everywhere - and the new.old blog looking like it should.

If anyone is out there, please bear with me.


Here's Looking At You Kid

We are fortunate to live in Red Squirrel Country and we are privileged to have daily visits from at least two of them.

I do have better photographs but this one appealed to me.

They usually run along the stone wall and call in at the feeder we have for them in one of our Sycamore trees.

We rarely see them on the grass; they are well aware of our dogs.

However, we have a few apple trees at this end of the garden and some of the small fruits have dropped - just too enticing for a squirrel.

We saw our first visitor last year and you can read about him on our Blog Archive here.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Aspirations of Asparagus

Steve and I have been together for some 11 years and we have been growing vegetables together for most of that time. Each year, when planning for the next season, we would contemplate asparagus. Each year we concluded that it takes too long to grow.

One of the first beds we made at our new home was an asparagus bed. Finally we had taken the plunge!

We bought asparagus crowns from New Park Farm Asparagus in Kent and along with the crowns they sent us comprehensive planting and growing instructions. They also publish month by month advice on their website.

We won't be able to harvest any this year but we have still been aspargus watching.

One lone asparagus spear battled it's way through. We are very proud of it, even if it does look a little spindly.

I took this photo a couple of days ago. When I checked this morning, several more spears are poking through.

I know they are late compared to more southern parts but better late than never.

It looks as if we have ourselves an Asparagus bed.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Big Lottery Award

St. John the Baptist
Our community has just been allocated a Big Lottery Award to rebuild the village hall.

The village hall is an important place in our community.
Over the past 20 years the community has lost a local shop, post office and public house. We have no public transport service and the nearest town is Appleby-in-Westmorland, four miles away. The Church and the village hall are the only places to meet people socially. The photo shows the Church; the village hall is across the road and up a bit to the right of the picture, out of sight. I will get photo's before they begin the rebuilding.

I heard the news at the monthly 'Coffee & Craic' on Saturday.

Coffee & Craic is one of a number of events held at the village hall. We also have film nights and other one-off events such as Pot Luck suppers and quizzes. With a new, bigger, and better designed hall, many more events can be hosted and ideas are already piling up.

The Coffee & Craic is an important part of our rural life. As newcomers we met people from our new community. Going forward it is a chance to socialise with the people we only wave to in passing, or yell "Good Morning!" to as we spy them whilst out walking.

We have seen the plans and, if all goes well, it will be a bobby dazzler of a village hall.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Appleby Horse Fair

From the first Thursday in June until the following Wednesday, Appleby-in-Westmorland hosts the Appleby Horse Fair by right of a Royal Charter granted in the 17th Century.

This traditional Gypsy Fair is the largest in Europe and attracts gypsies and travellers in their thousands. The numbers swell even more when thousands of tourists and visitors arrive over the weekend to take in the sights and, maybe, buy a horse or two.

Horses are washed in the River Eden before being taken through the streets to Fair Hill where are put through their paces on the 'Flash' in the hopes of attracting buyers.

We have never been. We arrived in Cumbria after the event last year and it is looking as if we shall be hard pushed to get there this year. However, I am hopeful that we shall make it. From the photographs I have seen it certainly looks like something not to be missed, and I quite fancy having my fortune read.

The event sounds very exciting but local opinion is mixed. Some embrace the event, others stock up and lock up, not their daughters, but things like Quad Bikes. The local roads are a nightmare. Horse drawn, bow top caravans may be very romantic but they are also very slow and often travel a in motorised convoy matching the horses pace.

We have seen little of it all in our village. However, police cars are patrolling and we see several a day go 'round the loop'. The villagers tell us that we are unlikely to have any 'stopovers' - we don't have a village pub for one thing.

Here's hoping that the sun shines and the event is a happy and uneventful one - and we get to see the horses in the river!

Link: Appleby Horse Fair

Monday, 2 June 2014

And Jilly Came Too

We have three dogs.

Jilly is the eldest and before we moved I had been silently double daring her to pop her clogs before we moved.

That may sound harsh but she is such a contrary old lady that it would have been just like her to pop off before she could sample the delights of our new home.

She made it, and she loves it.

During our first summer she seemed entranced by the fact that she could go out of one door, amble around the bungalow, and come back in through another door. She couldn't do that at our old place. The novelty hasn't worn off.

She caught one of her dew claws recently. It didn't break off, just snapped right at the quick. I hoped the nail would regrow and push the snapped bit off. To help this, I made her wear a sock...

You know how little kids socks always seem to grow at the toes and they end up with loose sock flapping? She was like that. It was so funny but then she kept tripping herself up on it and giving me dirty looks when I giggled. I had to abandon the sock idea. Luckily the claw has healed by itself and she is fine.

She spends a lot of time outdoors up here. The photo shows her sat down by the pig pen, one of her favourite places.

I was prompted to post this because today we are finally having the scaffolding removed after building work that has been going on for some time. The skies are darkening and I am left with the thought that Jilly can no longer sit outside under the scaffolding in the rain.... I forsee more dirty looks from her....