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Valkyrie

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LOL!  Thank you - have yet to test the field bits - onions are beginning to swell nicely, we'll probably start picking the odd one or two now, although I want some to store over winter - we get through tons of onions.  Am in the middle of pricking out leeks too!  The autumn ones are now in modules, but I still need to go through the winter ones.  They'll go where the potatoes were.

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Beany, no danger of crisping anything outdoors here - more likely to get washed down the hill!  Chish and fips - a rare treat.  I do like making my own fish things though.  I use panko breadcrumbs on the outside, supposed to absorb less fat than breadcrumbs and even more healthy than batter.  Hmmm, batter!  I fancy a pancake!  There is a fish man that comes to the village every Friday and he's at the open air market in Wiveliscombe on Saturdays.  The coast is only just over an hour away on both sides so that includes Dorset - and Cornwall, well 2 hours to St Austell, so fish is still quite fresh by the time it gets here.  

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Thanks for the tip Valkyrie - am off to tickle the tomatoes!  Will let you know what happens!

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Can just imagine little yellow flowers giggling!:lol:  Good luck.  Things seem to have slowed down again - no sun to help ripen!

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Well still rubbish weather and when we do get dry spells we are constantly playing catch up instead of being ahead of the game.  I've been hardening off the climbing beans - only to see several little colonies of blackfly under the leaves - heck they've only got a few leaves, give 'em a break - you've already been scoffing my broad beans!:evil:  Still, I am now looking on the broad beans as field beans and therefore they are fixing nitrogen in the soil.  Win some, lose some.  Now we are on bligh*****ch alert for the spuds!

Some of the salad leaves have gone to seed, but we did have a nice stir fry with lots of rainbow chard.  Cooks down to the same colour more or less but it looks pretty while chopping.  Happy to report new bean seeds are sprouting up.

Meanwhile we have instructed the architect to go ahead and draw the plans.  Not done this before so it's going to be a bit of an adventure.  Sadly I'm not having an indoor swimming pool - or an outside one, unless we borrow some explosive from the quarry because this shillet isn't fun to play with.  We have been using the rubbish rainy days to go hunting for stoves and cookers.  Decided on a Rangemaster because they are the only oven that doesn't need a mortgage and will take my largest roasting pan.  Yes - we took the pan with us.  Those thinking of Agas - they take the roasting pan because they are narrow but deep.  Not sure I liked the idea of having one handle and then pulling it out with a panful of roast turkey or goose and likely would splash hot juices all over me and the floor!  We also have found a stove - well OH likes the mod one and I like one a little more curvy - but still looks mod!   They also had interesting fire pits that OH now wants.  I'm not keen on BBQ's so not particularly keen myself.

Fancy that - it's raining yet again.  Yesterday the evil twins just plonked themselves down in the middle of the gateway to the field and sunbathed.  Can't say I blame them - I'd have done the same if I wasn't messing around in the greenhouse!

In the field the spuds are coming on nicely (keep away blooming blight) and so are the onions.  Still not sure about the garlic.  I've planted some beetroot in the parsnip bed where the parsnips haven't bothered, although I saw lots of ungerminated seed when I dug holes for the plants.  Not impressed.  In fact Hollow Crown was a Dobies special - with some gardening celebrity, that I have no idea who he is, flogging his heritage seeds at a few meagre seeds for double the price.  Works out rather expensive when none germinate!  I'm sure I can obtain them elsewhere and get better results.  Whinge whinge whinge.:boohoo:

All the comfrey plants are in and in just one day they seemed to romp away - even the little weedy one that I ummed and ahhhed about but stuck it in anyway.  Glad I did!  At least all the plantings have had a jolly good watering - yesterday was vertical but thoroughly drenching sort of rain.

Righty ho - sun is out again so I'm going to finish off strimming around the electric fence.  The chickens are not amused.  They wanted OUT!  But I said nah ah ahhh because you scoff wild bird food (Inga chases off the ravens, stroppy mare) and then you turn your noses up at yummy delicacies from the veg patch that I give you!  Fudge is still a broody monkey and so is Goldie.  I'm in two minds about popping down to Blackdown Poultry and picking up another couple of pekins to keep Curly company.  Oh yes - that's the next chore - clean the birds out.  Hooray, just love a half decent day.  I need to list my priorities and tick them off as I go.  

 

Oh for goodness sake Blight . . . watch

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8 hours ago, Valkyrie said:

for goodness sake Blight . . . watch

😂🤣🤣😂😂 

On that note though - none here yet for a change. The cold does have some positives!

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I get an email from the watchblight  Hah!  and if I get 2 consecutive days then it's all bleh news.  So far it hasn't done that.  One day on one day off one day on 2 days off.  I think I'd like a week free!  When the sun does grace us with an appearance, it gets very warm.  But we have had showers on and off so I've been in and out and getting frustrated at racing in before I get drenched.  The good news is that tomorrow is mid-summer.  Not that we'd know it!  But then I gather we'll be getting a pleasant weekend followed by more thunderstorms - aren't we lucky!!!  Then warm.  I have my old neighbour coming to stay for a few days and I did tell her to bring some sunshine with her.  After that we have the Canadian invasion then hopefully number one son after schoooooool's out for summer!  Hoping my mum will be able to pop in at some stage too.  Then OH goes to Florida with our daughter and her OH.  The place will then be mine all mine!   

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The Watch of the Blight is now lifted for a little while longer yippeeeee!   We used up the last of the shop bought spuds yesterday, so from now on we start lifting and playing hunt the buried treasure.  Yarrrr!  The grass and other growing wild things is tall - and we can only just see the deer's antlers as he walks through. I have thought of leaning on the gate with a piece of hay between my teeth, but I need a big floppy hat and a smock top. 

Managed to finish strimming all the grass in and around the chicken run before the rain came again.  Poor Curly was doing zigzags through the taller buttercups and grass to run back inside away from the scary beasts that were racing in too.  Since Trigger's disappearance, the birds seem a lot calmer and the big ones are no longer squabbling between them. I still don't trust them enough to let them in with the little ones though.

I've managed to pot up a few things and tied a couple of runner bean poles together - but gave up running in from the field, taking bits back in and out was annoying!  Still I live in hope!  From the little seed bed in the greenhouse I have pricked out a few kale and calabrese into pots to harden off ready for the field.  I have lots of things ready for the field if only the weather would behave!  And I spotted greenfly on one of the most healthy peppers.  Not amused!  They got squished and now I need a squirty sprayer as I've utilised one as a starch spray in the sewing room.  The previous greenhouse one was retired as it was next to useless.  Maybe a garden centre trip on the cards!

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Sorry to hear the weather has been so foul, even here we have had 2 days of rain this week which is unheard of in June, and the evenings are cooler than normal as well, in fact I think I have worn shorts precisely twice all year, although today is warmer as is appropriate on the solstice.  Apparently summer in Portugal is officially 21st June to 23rd Sept.  I don't know if that is a general rule?  Perhaps I am lucky to be skipping toms and peppers this year.  There were none to be had at the market on Monday, which surprised me as its held somewhere which is lower and hotter than us, and nearer to Spain.  Anyway, on the subject of sprayers, I bought a 2l pump action one recently (you can get 1l or 5l as well) with a brass nozzle to spray the vines, and I am finding it much better than the traditional all plastic variety.  It came from a builder's merchants.

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Posted (edited)

Well with the summer solstice came the sunshine!  It's been lovely and today is the same.  Will have to dash outside and get things done pretty quick while we can.  I think a lot of the bad weather has been blowing across from the USA - they have had odd weather this year, then looking at the satellite it then pootles back across the Atlantic and up the Bay of Biscay - then storms!

But hey ho, it is what it is.  So while I gave up with the parsnips, I planted out the beetroots.  What happens?  A day of sunshine and the parsnips put in another sneak appearance!  A tad late! Grrrr!

Sadly Dudley the pheasant has met his maker.😥  Am thinking Mistress Vixen as there was nothing to show but a few feathers and not the complete plucking session that the buzzards like to do.  We are now down to the one Mrs P.  I've called her Sweetpea as I can get quite close - like 2ft - for a chat!  But that's nature - mustn't get too attached to the wildies.  Although a happier ending for a baby blue tit that I found at the entrance to the greenhouse.  Picked it up and gave it a cuddle to warm it up.  Even OH got to stroke it.  Then I went walking round the bird feeders to try and find it's family.  When I got to the opposite end of the garden it perked up and flew out of my hand to join the others.  Tears of joy that time!

Ending on a good note - we have paid the deposit to the architect yesterday so we are actually making progress now.

Photo is the stupid tardy parsnips!

20190621_193150.jpg

Edited by Valkyrie
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Sorry to hear about the pheasant - have you considered peacocks? Or, indeed, peahens? Just think how soothing their gentle trill would be on a summers evening (NOT!)

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OoohOW ooohOW!  Er pretty but nope, not for here - Mistress Vixen would chomp that fancy tail off in seconds!:lol:

Well I thought Frida was having a time-out but no, she was laying in the little green nestbox that I got for broody nestbox hogger.  She hogged so much that Frida gave up!  A nice little cluster of 5 eggs!  OH said "oh noooo not that many!!!":lol:  But Goldie has seen the light and has now come out into the light.  Still having issues with little Fudge, although she had a day outside - bed time and she was in as soon as I opened the door.  The Force with her is strong!  I gave up with the sin bin - it didn't work either!  With Goldie I just let her stay although I pulled her out when everyone was yelling, and for tea and a general run around the garden with the others in the afternoons when everyone had laid.  

Inga only has one little bumblefoot bit left - the one on her toe came out today - it was huge but thankfully all in one piece.  She was duly disinfected and trussed and what happened?  She kicked it off.  I managed to check it and it already looked like it had closed up nicely.  Soooo the last remaining bit looks like it won't be long.  It'll be easier for her too as I won't take hours to bandage her up, although I'm getting much better at it!

We had our first crop of spuds - 10.5 ounces of Red Duke of York and they were really tasty.  I think we'll do those again next year.  We still have some in the fridge.  I think a nice mini frittata for lunch is on the cards with onions freshly picked too.

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That all sounds heavenly K, I know what hard work it is though. I spent a short while yesterday with Lesley and family; their veg plot has changed form, with raised beds for propagating the seedlings and then they go off into the polytunnel. I managed to trip over one of the lower beds - below my line of sight!

Dull here today, and rain forecast from 3pm, so I will get some work done outside on the garden remodelling. I really want to get that veg plot in before it's too late!

Is anyone else finding their tomatoes are running late? I have only just found a couple of teeny toms setting behind flowers - methinks the bees are on strike this year!

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Sorry DM - I think the bees are all here!  I sowed my toms in January - and then they were too big to go into the greenhouse which was unheated, but they survived and while we have great trusses, there have been very few bees in the greenhouse, so I've hand dusted the pollen.  I'm guessing the lack of light and warmth has had a knock-on effect there.

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We’re on our way back from Spain where ( mostly) the weather has been fantastic.  Not too hot, with a breeze when needed.  Dreading seeing my garden again.  I’ve had someone cutting the grass but as he has horticultural dyslexia ( leaves the weeds, pulls the plants) that’s the limit I dare ask him to do.  It’ll be a mass of bindweed, no doubt!   Anyone know anything positive to do with bindweed?  

Your set up, Valkyrie makes me green with envy! 

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On 6/22/2019 at 10:16 AM, Valkyrie said:

the parsnips put in another sneak appearance!  A tad late! Grrrr!

This happened to me. I gave up on the first three rows, bought some more seed and sowed it between the original rows, then both rows came up so now I have six rows too close together :roll:

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I was late getting my tomatoes in (Mid May) and have just planted Ailsa Craig and some plum toms out in the growbags on the patio. The Ailsa Craigs were heavy croppers last year and so I have fingers crossed. I have pink fir apple pots in ....pots!

Valkyrie -  you sound very organised but it does seem a full time job at yours! Hats off to you for taking it all on - I guess it will be easier next year when you know what works and what doesn't and can plan accordingly.

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1 hour ago, Minnie&Moose said:

Update on tomato tickling - I have some tiny tomatoes forming :dance: thanks Valkyrie.  

I have some teenies too - they are very later this year.

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I agree - they haven't been growing in spite of the feed and tlc.  We have finger tip sized ones but sort of fun to pop in the mouth DM.  I wondered if Lesley will have raised beds in the polytunnel at some stage.  I will be doing raised beds eventually just to ease the bending over to plant and pick.

Yayyy M&M!  I did see a little brown bumblebee in there this morning, but later I did some more tickling.

Patricia - I did read ages ago on the old forum that people actually had chickens that chomped the bindweed - needless to say I was delighted to read it.  Unfortunately not one of mine touched the blooming plants!  Apparently you can eat the young leaves and stems also roots, but in small quantities because it makes you go to the lavvy poo poo Barney McGrew . . . !!

Soapy - if only you could see how disorganised I am!  It's all racing against time and elements.  The spuds I was looking back and we planted them at the beginning of April so amazed that we managed to get a couple of dinners from them.  Have to say I harvested 3 onions - they were only going to be bull neck ones, so made space for the others.  Plus 2 more potato plants - this time Casablanca which yielded a bigger yield of 1lb 12 and a half ounces.  The compost man did say that we might get eelworm as the ground hadn't been cultivated - and we did in a couple of tubers, but easily cut out.  Flavour also very nice.  Will grow these again too! 

Lunch today was totally home grown - left over cooked Red Duke of York with tomatoes, salady bits and fried eggs.  That's a first here!

I'm feeling happier about Sweetpea.  I saw her yesterday morning but not today until this evening and there she was with her little upside down botty feather (plus I can get close to her now) under the bird feeders.  Since Dudley went, we've had a new guy.  He has much lighter feathers, a bit of a blondie.  So I'm calling him Phineas Pheasant.  He's been giving Sweetpea the nod, so clearly fancies her.  I think she's happy to find company.  I'm happy that they seem to be happy!

Something has pulled off my little comfrey leaf from the little plant.  It was fine yesterday - although I spotted OH pulling things up - and knowing he also can't tell the difference between weed and useful plant, I'm guessing him.  Especially when he said oh dear the little one in the pot.  No I have no comfrey in pots - they are all in the ground!  He didn't own up to "weeding" and I reckon he thought he would help clear the gap for it - even though he knew I'd planted them all out - I showed him!!!!  Arghhh!  Although it could also have been naughty baby crows playing.  The leaf wasn't eaten.  I need a nanny cam!:lol:

But funny old day here - rainy on and off and sometimes just in the air, very humid and the wind was warm - as was the rain.  Actually quite a pleasant, dry evening, apart from no sunshine.

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Congratulations on the totally home grown meals - very satisfying!  I've set myself the challenge of having something out of the garden/chickens in at least one meal a day - if often ends up being just herbs out of the garden but I did get enough beans last year that we've only just finished eating the last of the borlotti andl my favourite, Cherokee Trail of Tears - it's the name as  much as anything, but you can eat it like a green bean or leave it and then pod it and dry/freeze the mature beans (which are black and shiny and really beautiful).  Don't think we'll have good beans this year - broad beans are looking very stunted and strange and the others went in very late and haven't poked their heads up yet!  Meanwhile the mange tout plants are as tall as I am but not a single flower on them yet!  Hey ho - at least the hens are laying so looks like it might have to be cake every day!

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I agree - beans are very bleh but I've just sown some more in the greenhouse and they are popping up.  I've grown Cherokee before and was quite happy with them - this year not one germinated, but I'm going to have another try.  I also had Lazy Housewife which we liked in the past and I saved seed until they got quite earthy in flavour - might have been a bad year.  This year I have a couple of Lazy Hs but the seed was totally different from the Heritage Seed Library - this year I got mine from Real Seeds at the potato day - same as the Cherokee, so I'm not sure if they are true to the name or not.

Funnily enough OH has just made a ginger cake today!  I'm indoors with all the windows open, listening to a chiffchaff and trying to keep cool!

Was in the veg patch earlier and the Painted Lady butterflies are here.  Well one is - on my comfrey flowers!

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Is this a chiffchaff? Your post reminded me, Valkyrie, that we were on holiday in Gower and heard a crash at the window. Raced outside to see this little fellow.....lying on the ground but, when I put a stick under his feet, he climbed on and sat there quite happily for about 10 mins. Then, when I tried to move him to a nearby bush, he flew off. We looked on the RSPB website but I think the colours must have been a bit dodgy!

Well done to your OH! I've decided that it's too hot to bake so I'm cheating and cooking Welsh cakes on the griddle! Oh, and my beans are pants too! Tearing upwards at a rate of knots but no flowers!

P1010295.JPG

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It’s a young blue tit. Pretty picture!

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