Saturday 19 July 2014

"Cabbage With A College Education"

I was going to begin by saying that we never have much luck with cauliflowers but, looking back over our Blog, I see that in June 2011, we did have some success.

We planted a whole bed of cauliflower this year and we have a wonderful crop.

One has been scoffed already and yesterday we picked seven that were 'just right'.

These seven have gone a long way.

The chickens got the roots to peck through.

The pigs got the largest of the outer leaves and the stalks. Actually, the the young dogs had some of the stalks and leaves.

Six cauliflowers were blanched and frozen, as were the chopped greens and the stalks from the leaves.

For our evening meal last night I chargrilled a good handful of the leaf stalks then grated cheese over them. A little 'stringy' but very tasty. Then we had Caulifower Cheese with sausages.

We still have another nine or ten in the ground, so we are up to our ears in cauliflowers!

The title for this post come from a quote by Mark Twain, as credited in out previous post There's a Cauliflower 'Ere

Wednesday 9 July 2014

And the Wall came Tumbling Down

Removing the kitchen wall went a lot more smoothly that I had anticipated and, apart from a layer of dust everywhere, the mess was tolerable.

We are amazed at how big our kitchen now is. It has been hard to imagine the space. We have doubled the size of it.
This photo is taken from the old side of the kitchen.

The window in the centre is where the new sink will go.

Yesterday work began on laying the floor. This
caused a bit of a headache since the old floor is not level - what a surprise. A solution was found and the floor for the extension was laid.

The photo looks a bit odd because I took it at an angle to try and get it all in. Once this has 'gone off' they will pop the old sink back in temporarily and we can plumb the washing machine in to the utility room which is through the doorway.

Meanwhile we have been washing the dishes in the bathroom sink.

The Rayburn is still under wraps and the electric cooker can't be wired into its permanent home until the rest of the floor is done. We bought a cheapie microwave just in case we need to resort to 'ding' meals, or Jacket Potatoes, but so far haven't needed it.

On Monday evening we had a barbecue and last night treated ourselves to fish & chips, which Steve picked up on his way home from work. It's looking a bit breezy for a barbecue this evening so I am still pondering this evenings meal. Jacket Spuds are sounding good to me...

Friday 4 July 2014

Not the Only Pigs in the Village

Our pigs have attracted quite a bit of attention from the village and general passers-by.

A couple of weeks ago a lady from the village came down one evening with her three children to ask about keeping pigs. We had a general chat and away they went.

Last week her father-in-law popped in to ask where we got out pig ark from.

Yesterday morning the lady came back with her youngest child to see the pigs. The pigs were still asleep but Steve went in to wake them up. Mother and child were delighted as both pigs promptly rolled over for a belly rub. And then came the million dollar question:

"How can you bear to let them go?"

I have lots of posts that address this question in way or another but perhaps the most helpful, according to readers comments, has been this one: Pigs - Are They Worth It?

The family are going ahead with their plans to raise a couple of pigs and we have offered to help if they need us. I think that's great.

The photo shows our pigs enjoying a shower on a hot day earlier this year.

Thursday 3 July 2014

Knocking Through

Having the kitchen extension built has not caused us too much disruption.
All that is about to change.

On Monday this wall will start to come down and the sink and electric cooker will be disconnected.

Knocking through they call it. Bloomin' big mess is what I'm thinking.

I have spent this morning emptying cupboards and tomorrow we shall start taking the cabinets out.

The Rayburn, which you can just glimpse on the right, is off because we want to cover it to protect it during the rest of the work phase. We have no clear idea when the electric cooker will be reconnected because it is moving to a different wall on the left which has yet to be exposed.

We are praying for good barbecue weather over the foreseeable future.

The builders hope that they will be able to move the old sink to the new position under this window as a temporary measure. This photo is taken through the window in the top photo.

At least I won't have to take the dishes into the bath with me!

I'm excited but dreading it at the same time.

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.