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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

…I do love a cardoon – not to do anything with but just to look at!

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Blue

TG thinks I’m bonkers to grow these (from seed I might add) to do nothing in particular with but I just love them. In fact blue flowers in general….

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Fab!

Fab. Just fab.

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No I’m not dead. I haven’t been hiding and I have no excuses for my 3 month long absence here apart from working, learning lines and seeing quite a bit of the small people.

It’s funny when you write for a living (which I now do), because writing for yourself becomes a bit of a bus man’s holiday. Every  time I’ve sat down to write on here I find that I can’t quite be bothered. Which is silly and not good.

So here I am. Back again at the kitchen table pounding away on the laptop with the broken screen so that any instructions at the top are completely obscured by a huge black smudge. This makes for interesting guessing as to where those instructions might be and for some super swearing when it all goes horribly wrong! But anyway…

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It’s still winter, not that it seems to have been terribly wintry – more rain than you can shake a  rain stick at, howling gales and general wetness all round. The garden is trashed and there’s no hope of anything happening out there till things brighten up a bit but I’ve been ordering seeds and thinking about where things might go from the comfort of indoors. I’ve got some cut flower seed from Higgledy Garden – Cornflowers, Chrysanths and the exotically named Eschschlzia which I hope to fill many vases with over the summer…..And of course, I have my seed source Dave from the golf club who has given me, as always, French Marigolds, Lupins and chillies. So a few to be going on with.

In other news, the small people have been much in evidence, especially the smallest one who now comes to keep me company on a Friday if I’ve not got anything on – at 7 months he’s a dab hand at admin and invoices :0)

All of the urchins and an extra one – Finn (our other grandson) were with us for Christmas Day (yes I know it’s nearly February but hey, I’m a bit tardy at the mo’) which, as you can imagine was not a quiet affair!! Guess which child likes having her photo taken the most..!

So that’s pretty much where we’re at. The new year began with a bang and then a month of sobriety, staying in and watching too much tv. What does the year hold? Who knows, but if it’s even half as good as 2015 was then I’ll be happy at that. It’s started well so long may that continue.

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I very rarely meet my fellow bloggers but there are one or two who live here on the sunny Isle. Bryony who is a fellow Islander came round during the week last week to collect some cuttings that I’d potted up for her and chew the fat a bit. It was lovely and she very kindly wrote about it here on her blog Rusty Rambles.

Have a look at her lovely blog. And her husband’s wonderful photos. They are a clever pair!

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I do so love the spring. And the autumn actually too. They are the natural beginning and natural winding up of the outdoor year in the garden and the countryside and they make me feel optimistic on one hand and ready to hibernate on the other.

It was a lovely weekend here on the sunny Isle and having got all my tedious chores out of the way, it seemed a good time to have a look at the back of the seed packets and see what could be started.

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I have been reminded by a small person that she like to help so I only potted up the most pressing – some climbing beans, broad beans, sweet peas and summer savoury. TG made me a cold frame from an old box and some glass which is now full of salad in trays but which needed to be thoroughly checked out by Madam Rainbow in advance

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She was enjoying the sunshine too and so loves it when there’s someone in the garden that she can stalk keep company!

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It’s looking very yellow outside with all the primroses and daffs out

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It was just what I needed after feeling below par for much of last week (there are so many bugs going around!) and getting some bits and pieces planted always makes me feel happy. Spring in my garden and in a spring my step!

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I have of course Dear Reader a very lovely Daisy in my life of whom there are many photos.

These are of another sort of daisy. Just because!

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I experimented with the hose – which isn’t easy whilst trying to take the picture with the other hand!!  Marvellous.

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It’s been rather splendid here on the extremely sunny Isle and we have been making the most of where we are with walks, trips to the pub on balmy evenings and a visit from two out of three of the small people.

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Raspberry picking was the first order of the day and The Eldest Girl having announced that this was to be her future career set to with gusto. The only problem was that the lure of the eating of the raspberry proved far greater than the picking of…

She thought it was hilarious

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The Small Boy was too absorbed in other things to take much notice of these shenanigans

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And so we decided, having exhausted the raspberry supply, to go and have a look at the horses up the lane

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There was a caterpillar found, named Gerry and duly traipsed all the way home

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There was also the following conversation with the EG

EG: Nanny what are those?

Me: Molehills. The moles push up the earth when they’re tunnelling under the ground.

EG (looking thoughtful) : Do they have mole kings and queens do you think?

Me: I’m sure they probably do.

EG: So where do they get their crowns from then?

Me: I can’t believe you don’t know that.

EG (in a “you’re being a smartarse” voice): So where do they get them then.

Me: From the mole crown shop OF COURSE.

EBG (witheringly and with rolled eyes): Oh you ARE silly Nanny.

Indeed.

And so on that note we went home to play in the garden and look at bugs and ask a billion questions. The EG is fascinated by all things creepy crawly and there are any number of poor creatures picked up, examined and rehomed miles from where they began. I’ve been teaching her the names of plants and flowers which she pretty much remembers and she’s got a bug book to identify things which she assures me she has seen all of…

The small boy is more interested in being Batman and generally making merry

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And playing on the swing and asking a billion more questionsSONY DSC

It’s been a great summer so far and the garden has come into its own for running about in (them) and flaking out in (me).

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Today will be a day of hedge cutting and tidying up (knackered back and shoulder permitting) and hopefully the weather will last for a bit longer so that we can all feel that we’ve absorbed some rays and vitamin D and feel better for it.

Madam Rainbow is ambivalent about the heat. On one hand she’s not keen on the very hot days, on the other it is a great excuse for constant snoozing

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She is a lazy baggage!

And so another week looms. Rehearsals, work, gardening and maybe a wee trip to a place that sells wine might be in order (and I don’t mean the supermarket). We also need to sort a break out in the autumn when the holiday let is quiet and we can draw breath. Phew!

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Enjoy Dear Reader. Enjoy!

 

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Here I am again in the latest edition of Glean Magazine. Enjoy!

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When you have an abundance of the below Dear Reader there is only one thing for it….

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The Spinach Pie

SONY DSCThis loveliness is an amalgam of spinach, feta cheese, cottage cheese, spring onions, cream and an egg or two.

SONY DSCMake some pastry and bake it blind. Steam as much spinach as you can get your mitts on (it reduces down to almost nothing regardless of how much you think you  have) and fry some spring onions. Now this part is where it’s pretty much up to yourself – there are no hard and fast ‘measuring’ rules. Crumble an amount of feta, some cottage cheese, the egg or eggs and enough cream (of any description) to make the mixture sloppy into a bowl and add the spinach and onions. Add lots of pepper and an obscene amount of dill, pop into the pastry case and bake in a hottish oven for about forty minutes. Bloody marvellous. I come from the Nigel Slater school of cookery in that I am happy to make the most of what is lurking in the fridge, so in theory you could substitute the feta for another sort of cheese if you wished and one egg will do if that’s all you’ve got. You should eat it when it’s cooled a little from the oven and then (assuming there’s any left) have it cold with salad for lunch the next day….

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Well Dear Reader, after the awful rainy and windy biblical end of Winter / early Spring that we had you could be forgiven for thinking that the sun might never shine again! But oh my it is at the moment and the garden is lapping up every little scrap that it can. The greenhouse is full to bursting with all manner of flowers and veg, the seeds of which were pretty much all donated by the lovely Dave from the golf club and sent home with TG in little brown envelopes with instructions on the front full of exclamation marks.

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Unbelievably, everything germinated, which is brilliant in one respect but a nightmare in terms of potting on and finding room for.

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The small people have also planted the yearly crop of Sunflowers above and now I need to find a sunny spot for those as well….

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It’s amazing that,  by just  having a few more hours in the week to spend out there,  so much can be accomplished! I foresee the making of much chutney!

In other news from South Lodge Towers, we have had a big emphasis on family in the last couple of weeks with the christening of the Folliers grandson at which The Child was godfather. I kept looking at the back of his head in the church and wondering where this man had come from because it was surely only yesterday that he had been a little boy. But man he now is – although he will of course always be my little boy.

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We also had a long overdue visit from the small people who arrived full of beans and completely wore TG and I out! We cooked, looked at horses, did cutting and sticking and I had the most kisses and cuddles that I’ve had in ages.

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Silly child!

And then last, but by no means least, we have had a brand new addition to the family in the shape of Finley who is now just over a week old. He is tiddly, really tiddly and TG and I went to the North Island to see him

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I have the greatest pleasure in being Wicked Step Nanny which I think quite suits me….and TG is thrilled to be a granddad again

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I know he doesn’t look thrilled – that’s his photo face…

So there you have it Dear Reader. A full update. New additions in the garden and in the family. Marvellous. The weather is set fair for the weekend, there is so much to do outdoors and in, that it frightens me when I think about it and I have another piece for Glean Magazine to write. Add to all of that lines to learn, rehearsals to attend and the holiday let to run and I wonder why I sleep like the dead at night. There are lists everywhere…..

*sigh

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I am thrilled skinny (as my friend June used to say) because I am in here this month.

Woo hoo!!!

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