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Sunday, 31 May 2020

Sunday Catch Up

I am loving this hot weather but it is far too hot for me and I am simply not sleeping.  That is what happened yesterday after going to bed early with a migraine type headache.  As a result I ended up going to sleep when I should have been getting up - I just crashed and ended up sleeping late.  The headache is still hanging and I have kept to the house for most of the day even though we have the fans on it it still horribly muggy.

We have had Rib of Roast Beef for dinner served with fresh Asparagus, carrots, spring cabbage, roast potatoes, broccoli and Yorkshire puddings.  It has gone down well and then we have had Honeydew Melon for pudding just served simply on its own.

We have good news about Missy, in that she has started working more like she used to do and is not scratching so much either.  The pain killers and the anti-histimine between them seem to be keeping everything under control.  We also have her on a joint care product which we discussed with the Vet and she said it was good for her to be on and to keep it up.  From only wanting to walk for a few yards and then be carried she is now happily walking around the playing field and is a lot happier in herself and is walking without a limp.  It would seem that the Vet has found the right solution for her but we will see what she has to say when we go back to see her in a fortnight or so.  She is moving far more fluidly and easily and wants to play silly B......... and have a rough house as well which is something she has always done but in recent months this has been absent.  It is nice to have a happy little dog back again.  We know we are not out of the woods with her but quality of life and being comfortable matter to us most as she is such a sweetheart and good natured little dog.  You only have to look at her on a down day and she makes you smile.  Animals are so good to us and love so unconditionally it is the least you can do for them when things are not quite right.

I am desperate to get out into the garden but with the heat being as it is - it is far too much for me.  Tomorrow I intend to get into the garden first thing for a couple of hours when it is cooler and will start chopping up that big pile of Ivy I chopped down the other day. 

I will have another early night tonight as well to see if I can shift this hanger on of  a headache.  Am going to watch Knightfall again in a few minutes.

Catch you soon.


x


Saturday, 30 May 2020

Quieter Day than anticipated

It has been a hot old day today far too hot for me that I appear to be starting with a migraine which is not good either.  I need to be in the sun for vitamin D deficiency but as I am fair my skin burns ever so quickly despite sun screen and getting the balance right is a tricky one.  These things are sent to try us.

We went to the fish man and came away with fresh Cromer crab, Crevettes, some crayfish and some smoked haddock. We then went on to the butchers and have stocked up a bit more on the meat front.  Have bought some more Beef steak, mince, Pork mince a beef rib for tomorrow, some Chinese style pork steaks, some Rump steak this time round.  As seasonality plays a big part  at this Butchers it is nice to go and cherry pick those items that appeal whilst also being sensible and stocking up on basics like mince and stewing steak or sausages, chipolatas or bacon.  We are gradually building up the stock in the freezer this way on.  We do not eat meat everyday.  There are quite a few simple scratch meals in there as well but I do try and maximise the use of meat wherever I can.  My step son came with us on our trip to the Butchers, and I had expected his wife to come too, but she decided on doing a spot of baking whilst he was out of the way.  When we got back there were a couple of fruit scones and cheese scones waiting for us and very nice they were too.

We had the Crab with some fresh miniature Cottage rolls with butter on which went down very nicely washed down with a glass of cold water.

I then set too and packaged up all the meat and fish for the freezer and labelled it and got it put away safely.

For tea we have had some cooked Cornish pasties on their own and have some fresh Strawberries and cream to have later on.

I had hoped to sort the work room today but that has just not happened.  Maybe tomorrow will be different but the heat is just too  much for me.

Am going to water up and then go and chill in a dark room if I can.

Take care

Pattypan

x

Friday, 29 May 2020

I only

Nipped to town to get a new pair of secateurs to help me chop up the Ivy that I chopped down yesterday.  Some three hours later I managed to get home.  I went to Wilkos and ended up buying several things for the garden including the secateurs, a chopping blade for small branches, some more flower seed including forget me nots, cornflowers, Foxglove, more sweet peas, some sweetcorn and a pack of Uchi Kuri pumpkin seeds.  There were quite a few things on the gardening front that am interested in but will have to wait and see how we get on.  There had been quite a queue to get in and had to wait some time.  I left home at 1:30pm so was late in going out.  There was far more traffic and people around today.  I did manage to find some PPE latex gloves today but that is the first time have found them since the pandemic commenced.  I have a mask.  I think that am going to keep some of these in the medicine chest as standard from now on in.

I then ended up at the pound shop and then on to do food shopping.  OH could not make his mind up what he fancied to eat and we ended up having fish finger buns with Tartare sauce with aide of sweet potato chips.  Went down very well.

So no gardening today but I did bring back two more Thyme plants and four Genovese Basil plants and a Tayberry bush.  

Tomorrow we are out first thing and will be going to see our fish man and the Butcher.  When we get back have plans to sort the work room out so that things are easier to find and it needs a good sort out anyway.  If don't get it done tomorrow will finish off on Sunday,  Has to be a weekend sort out as I can chuck OH out the room - cannot during the week whilst he is working.  So on the food side it will be something fishy for tea tomorrow.

It may be later in te day before I get to the garden.

Right am off to get ready for tomorrow.  

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Thursday, 28 May 2020

More Hard Work - Still Loads to do

I was late getting into the garden today and by the time that I did it was really hot. However, I got stuck in despite it being very hot and attacked the Ivy again.  I was going to leave the greenhouse alone, but as I have been working along I found it was going to be much  more practical to cut the vines as I went.  Some of them have been extremely thick and it is going to be a matter of removing them bit by bit.  If I don't do down the side of the greenhouse, they will only grow back so I am chopping the Ivy and trying to dig it out as I go.  Some is coming out but I suspect that I will have to water the area when I am ready to actually dig the roots out.   I have got about half way along the greenhouse.  It is going to take a bit longer to get this clear.  I did say it was a bit of a jungle.








Needless to say the Ivy has broken some of the glass panes to the greenhouse and as I was cutting some of the vines off the roof, I was slightly concerned in case I added to the number.  I now have five bags of chopped up Ivy leaves and branches thugs that they are and my hands and and back now hurt from all the effort.  Some of my muscle spray will have to go on to help ease things a bit.  I am getting to grips with the loppers though.  For chopping up I would prefer secateurs.  I still have a big pile of chopping down to do before I start lopping anymore off.  I do bite off more than I can chew sometimes but at least doing it this way is doing it properly and hopefully will limit any future problems with the Ivy re-growing.  Hopefully will get out earlier tomorrow.  Have only just got into the house as did not realise the time.  

OH is not aware of what I have been up to.  Perhaps that is not too bad a thing.  If I need his help I will collar him, but for the best part I do tackle things myself where I can.  He has health issues which do impact a little but some things he is better equipped to deal with than I am.  

He has been trying to work from home.  On Tuesday they were given new computers and since then he has been having problems logging on. He has been pulling his hair out as there has been a lot of work that he has needed to do but he has just not been able to deal with this.  Part of his work involves contacting customers and as he did not have the phone connection via his computer (It is a computer programme not an actual phone) he has not been able to achieve a vital part of his job.  I have been trying to keep him calm as he was getting extremely agitated.

Whilst I was working away, again I had my Robin friend join me and he was with me for quite some time.  Only about a foot away. Very pretty and curious as well.






I am happy to report that my Butternut Squash are through and I have a couple of Courgettes starting to come through as well.  Looks as though they are just going to be late on parade.

I do not think that there will be many more seeds pop through just yet as I only planted up the other day.  However the root cuttings of the different herbs I took at the moment look quite strong as though they have taken. We shall wait and see what happens here.

After tea, home cooked beef-burgers and onions, I went out into the garden again.  I had trimmed quite a lot of Ivy from the greenhouse and in the front of it. It now has to be cut up and packaged into bin liners to remove it and so that in due course it can be taken down to the tip.

Back to the grind tomorrow it will be a job well done and out the way with all for taking that little bit extra time to do it properly.  I am getting a good work out though.  

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Nature is a Wonderful thing

Yesterday I worked in the garden all day long.

I started with the front garden tidying it up as best as I can.  I have a Holly tree in the front garden which is hell bent on losing its leaves at the moment so I swept them all up out of the passage and removed them all from the gravel as well, whilst I was waiting for my parcel delivery.  More about that in  later post.  However all my efforts were in vain as by later in the day the Holly had shed more leaves.  Looks like the brush is coming out tomorrow morning as well.

I also did a little sorting out, outside the back door and got rid of some more rubbish.  Still a long way to go though.

After  my parcel arrived, I went into the bottom garden and opened up my mini greenhouses to let them breathe for a while.  I also started chopping up all the bushes I chopped down the other day.  They had dried down a bit and so I chopped them with clippers and then put into bin bags so that they are all together to go down to the tip.

My other grape vine was eventually potted up today.  I am going to place that on the other side of the fence that I have stringed out for the grape.  I have some re-arranging of that border and the planters in it to do.

I then started on the Ivy.  Very very slowly I am starting to clear it but it is going to take some doing.   It is tough stuff.  I had not appreciated just how tough. I have removed a small portion from the greenhouse - yes there is one there but it is going to take a while to get that ready for next year and the new growing season. 





I need to clear the Ivy as this is where the greenhouses OH bought me for my birthday are going temporarily for this season.  I hope to have these in, in the next few days as I have a lot of tomatoes and other plants to relocate from the growing frames. This area is due to be planted out as a permanent bed once I have cleared it out with Rhubarb, Asparagus and Strawberry plants.  That is the plan and the bulk of it will be in hand soon as I have pots of Rhubarb to get installed. Two of the Rhubarb plants  I recently acquired are growing well.  Am waiting for four others to sprout though.

Whilst I was working I got the distinct impression that I was being watched very carefully.  When I turned around I had company.  A little Robin sat with me for quite some time taking advantage of me lifting the Ivy roots so that he could get at the bugs.


Here is a photo of him.  




I have taken a couple of videos as well but they do not seem to have downloaded with Google.  I have no real experience with the video side of things so not sure whether they will have downloaded elsewhere.  Need to look into this and if I can manage to fathom out how o do this will download.  



Needless to say the garden is very much a WIP (Work in Progress).  I will show before and after photos once I have it sorted.  I am quite embarrassed at the state the garden was in, but at least you will be able to see where I have been and what I have actually done long term.  There is still a heck of a lot to do, and certain things cannot necessarily be done in logical order because of something else that needs to be done beforehand, but will get there in the end.

Here is a sneak preview of the Jungle at the bottom of the garden which will get dealt with as soon as I have the main part of the garden sorted.



My garden ends where you can see the tree at the bottom of the path.  That is the lilac which needs taming amongst the trees that have set themselves courtesy of the birds.  That garden is prime growing space.

Have not been out in the garden yet.  Other things got in the way.  Hopefully soon.

Catch you later all being well.

Pattypan

x

My Phone Has arrived - Pictures

I now have a phone with a camera yippee.  Now to make sure that I do not lose it, do not drown it, and can now afford the calls!  I am now back on my contract - a new sim has been received.  As I have missed my camera so much I thought that I would indulge in a photo post.

My tidied up and stringed grape vine.  The planter in the middle holds a survivor of a Nasturtium I planted last year.



My Strawberry hanging baskets





The plant I could not remember the name of but which looks very pretty - love the colours.



Two of my existing planters planted out with a plant from my mum's garden.  I started off with only a small piece of this and strip it out every year and produce more planters with it.  Has a lovely pale blue flower when in bloom.  Evokes strong memories of my mum and of our home for many years.



One of my violet planters.  Yet again only had a small clump and have propagated another pot the same size; plants originally from my Great Grandmother's/My Grandad's garden, through to my mum and dad's garden and now to me.  David if you want a cutting let me know.




The hanging basket under the Bay tree has Ivy and Sweet Violets in it.  There is a hanger the other side of the tree and I am also going to do the same with this.  I planted this up.


Some of my Wild Strawberries in what was my herb bed.  I am hoping as there are a lot of flowers that I manage to get to the fruit before the birds.


Clematis, Honeysuckle, Bay Tree, Sweet Violets 






 Rosemary and Hollyhock




The start of my Herb Planters down the side of the shed



Some of my sown seeds and those that have come through including my Salad Planters in old Recycled Water Bottles




Flat leafed Parsley and Geraniums from last year



One of my Fig trees, Blackberry cuttings and Blackcurrant bushes




Another Strawberry Planter this time hanging



Below, my two planters which I had set with Perpetual Spinach and which the Pigeons have robbed.



Another picture of the Grape Vine and the Nasturtium

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Today and tomorrow

I have had a lovely day pottering in the garden and  just simply being. It was lovely and quiet with just birdsong in the background as I worked until someone put on their stereo full blast because they wanted a disco never mind that the neighbours did not!

It has been hot here with a bit of a breeze but I have absolutely loved being out in the fresh air pottering here and there, sorting things as I come across them. Totally Absorbed with the tasks in hand and potting up Borage, Marigolds, more Tomato plants, Gherkins.  I have been a little over-generous with the seed but it will not go to waste as I have friends who I am sure will be happy to scoop up some of the surplus.  I think part of the learning process for me with the gardening is going to rest on quantities, I tend to be heavy handed with portions on all kinds of things.  Next year though will be different.  That is the learning curve and for me where the main lessons are to be learned.  I still have more potting up to do but if you sow seeds that naturally comes with the territory.

Marrows will need potting up as will Pumpkins.  I quite fancy growing a pumpkin arch and also having some in planters.  I am still keeping my fingers crossed on the Courgettes though as today I have found two cucumber and a Butternut Squash plants which have come through.  Fingers crossed for the rest I am hoping that it is just a case of them being late on parade.  I have planted yellow ad green but my favourites are the yellow ones.

I have potted up the Broad Beans, and taken out of the growing houses today together with all of my peas as they are now a decent size and ready to be planted.  However I am not quite ready in the garden for them yet.

Somewhere I also have three dahlias to pot up which is to form a mini cutting garden for this year in any event.

Tomorrow I plan on starting to clear the area where I need the greenhouses and then get OH to assist with putting them up so that I can transfer all the tomatoes, gherkins, melons and cucumbers to them thus freeing up more space for more seeds.  So most of the work tomorrow will be hard graft starting to clear the greenhouse area and also the area which will be my long term Rhubarb and Asparagus and hopefully some Strawberry beds.  This is going to take a bit of clearing as there is a lot of Ivy here, some of which is to be transplanted into pots and also hanging baskets and window boxes.  It will be tough going and will take a few days to accomplish, but I am determined to get it cleared.  There are also a lot of self-set brambles which will need removing as well.  I have therefore invested in a pair of heavy duty gloves to protect my hands from the thorns a little.  I am starting down the bottom of the garden and then working my way towards the house.

As I have mentioned before OH is currently working from home, but today had to go into the office to collect a new computer.  As it was extremely hot outside he decided to leave Missy in the house where it was nice and cool and he had a fan on for her.  Missy when she realised she was on her own started howling the house down, real full on howling and so in the name of keeping the neighbourhood peace, I ended up fetching her and having her with me in the garden.  She was hot, I made her sit in the shade where I was working and gave her a drink at which point she settled.  When OH returned though she beat a hasty retreat and he ended up walking her.  I did not go with him as I was too hot and half way through pricking out the plants.  We have a rather spoiled Jack Russell who hates being on her own.

I have managed to find five old winemaking buckets which I intend to turn into potato barrels.  I also have five  compost bags as well into which potatoes are going.  They are maincrop.  

Once the greenhouses are up I can then start doing some of my hanging baskets and window boxes. I also want to transplant my large honeysuckle and my rambling rose if I get chance.  I will then get the growing bags not just for the greenhouses but outside also.

I am hoping for an early start tomorrow.  I am waiting for a parcel to be delivered which should arrive between 7:00am and 1:00pm.  Fingers crossed that I will be able to start in the garden whilst it is a little cooler as I think that there will be a lot of tugging, huffing and puffing!

The Rosemary bushes were also planted up today into large pots and tomorrow I am hoping to get the two pink plants I bought and add them somewhere in what is referred to as the herb garden although the majority of my herbs are now situated in planters along the side of the shed.

The garden is very much a WIP (Work in Progress) and is still very untidy, but very slowly things are starting to sort out a little more than they had been.  I am very pleased with what I have accomplished on the plant front from rescuing plants from the garden and bringing them on, to growing seeds and now seeing sturdy full on plants ready for planting has been very pleasing - a learning curve, but very pleasing all the same. I am going to have to re-sow the Spinach though - some has come through but not enough.  You live and learn.  I have some glass that I can pop on the planters this time round which will hopefully stop the pigeons.

I am loving being outside and more often than not it is gone 9pm before I come in after watering up as I have no realisation of the time.  

Right better get going as have to get ready for tomorrow.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

X

Seeds to be sown, stem cuttings, pricking out and planting up

Sorry this post should have been scheduled and posted yesterday.  Because of the light warm evenings I was totally absorbed in what I was doing in the garden and it was gone 9pm before I ventured in.  Therefore the post is really a recap of yesterday's events,

The weather has  been warm today,  and I have had things to do in the garden.  I have potted up some more herbs into their planters today, plain leaved parsley, more chives, more mint.  Still have more chives to plant but do not have a suitable planter.  All the ones I now have left are too large.

I have planted Chamomile, Lovage, Broad Beans, small cucumbers.  I have yet to deal with all the courgette seeds.  I have also set more Nasturtiums as there are a lot of projects I want to have a go at which use these.  I also need to dry them.

I have taken eight cuttings of French Tarragon, Lemon Thyme and Oregano using the honey dip method.  As I purchased the herbs from Waitrose I have put the rest of the herbs to dry for the pantry.  Not wasting anything here.  I have also taken some Lemon Verbena cuttings too and there are also some Lemon Verbena leaves to make a tea.

I do not seem to have been successful with some of the seed I have already sown this year and in particular my Courgettes both yellow and green. So far there has been a no show, yet in the past these have been very successful,  The seed was new seed as well.  Very frustrating.  The Pattypan Squash though are starting to come through at long last and I have a cucumber and the Florence Fennel is coming through.  All the Marrows are through, the Butternut Squash has not put in appearance either.

I have had quite a few tomato plants to prick out though and have potted up 16 of Roma tomato and 16 of Marmande.  Still have more seedlings to sort but will go back to these tomorrow.  They are Cherry tomatoes and designated for hanging baskets and planters. I will also have a lot of plants in the garden as well as the greenhouse. The Borage also needs planting on.  I also have to pot on some Violas that I have grown from seed.

I am running out of space though and will need to get the new greenhouses up in the next few days to expand the growing space.

After I came in I set too and stripped the herbs ready for drying and also separating the flower petals from the Carnations.  The rest of the flowers are in a vase to open the rest of the buds only in about a inch of water and tomorrow I will start to reclaim some free plants from them.

The Gherkins also need potting on tomorrow so am going to be busy again weather permitting.  I hope the weather is good as I have a lot of washing to get line dried.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Monday, 25 May 2020

A little Experiment - French Tarragon

I am getting mean in my old age and am more and more looking for cheaper ways to accomplish those projects I do have in mind.  Especially as I am getting into this gardening lark, the more I do the more I want to do.

I love French Tarragon and every Summer always make several bottles of Tarragon Vinegar for use from my own Pantry but also to give away to friends and family.  I particularly like to gently dress salad leaves with a little of the vinegar but also like it in a Mayonnaise dressing usually accompanied by French Bread toasted in slices and then lots of goat cheese dressed with mixed summer herbs and then melted gently.  Yum. 

Anyway I am getting off the beaten track just a little. I decided to investigate more thoroughly how you propagate extra French Tarragon plants, especially as I knew you could not grow it from seed as the seeds the plant does produce are not productive.  I suspected it would be by taking cuttings procedure but was not clear on this and so I did a little digging on the Internet as to how this could be achieved.

This has resulted in me walking down to Waitrose on this very sunny, bright and blustery day to acquire some fresh French Tarragon from their herb counter.  Managed to purchase this successfully and following the instructions as per the link below, I now have my French Tarragon cuttings in a couple of plant pots in the hope that they will root and I end up with my extra plants.  Now I will have to wait to see what happens.  I will update shortly.

Resources used on the Internet for which knowledge I am grateful.


https://homeguides.sfgate.com/propagate-tarragon-21685.html

I hope it works.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Alternative to rooting hormone powder - experiments in gardening

I had plans to root some cuttings and bought said donor herbs in the confidence that I had some rooting powder at home.  Wrong - cannot locate it anywhere not a good situation.  Not content to leave it there as I have some experiments in taking cuttings to increase my plant stock on the cards, I wondered if something else could be substituted and also do an efficient job.  I found the attached link, which makes interesting reading.




The method that appealed to me the most was the honey method, but I also intend to use ACV and also the cinnamon versions.  This is all stuff that I have in my cupboard and use on a regular basis and best of all there is as a result not going to be any unnecessary expenditure.  Just the way I like it and natural.  That appeals to me more than anything else.


I therefore have a batch of honey water all ready for me to root my cuttings in today, and I will let you know how I get on.



You need two cups of boiled water to which you add one tablespoon of honey.  Stir to dissolve and then pour into a clean jar with a lid allow to cool before use.  Then keep in the fridge for no longer than two weeks.



Take your cuttings as you normally would and dip the stems into the cooled honey water and then plant your cuttings into a pot to root them.  Transplant them once rooted.



It sounds simple enough, but then I am renowned for finding an alternative way around things.


So off for a little play in this lovely sunshine.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Bargain

I have been on the search for compost on the internet locally without finding any at all - all were saying out of stock on the type I was after.  This morning and in desperation we have left the house early and gone out of town to Spalding which is about 30 to 45 minute drive from us.  The store opened at 10:00am and so we were on our way for 9:00am so as to miss too many people.  We are glad we did as we have located three x 70 litre bags of Erin compost for £15.  I am chuffed as it means that I can now get some of my seedlings pricked out and planted on.  Big sigh of relief from me.  I hope to have my own compost for next year.  

I must say that the garden centre we went to Baytree, respected social distancing and the staff were extremely helpful and also loaded the compost for us.

There was a guided way through the store - only certain parts were open.  I have also managed to find seed for Chamomile (not the ground cover version that I was after, but Chamomile all the same with which to make tea and use in home made toiletries and also for rinsing my hair (I am predominantly blonde with a touch of grey) Lovage (I have seed somewhere in the house but could not locate.  Lovage I have grown before and it can be very much used in a similar fashion to celery).  I also Broad Beans which was chuffed about as the ones I have at home I was too late to plant but they will be used next year, and also a mixture of Courgette and a small cucumber so they will be planted probably tomorrow.  All seeds to be planted by end of May or later so am well within time to get a crop this year.

I also managed to locate three dark black tomatoes which are destined for the greenhouse/growhouse.  I also have a lot of cherry tomatoes to prick out and then have in hanging baskets which I have grown from seed as well.  I was looking for a yellow tomato plant today but they did not have any, so will keep my eyes open just in case I come across any; I appreciate that it will be a bit hit and miss, but certainly something I will obtain for next year's growing season.

I have also come away with a few hanging basket plants as well.  Together with some of the seeds I have already set I should have enough plants to put on a display.  Predominantly, purple, blue and white colours with lemon and orange petunias and also the orange and pink Nasturtiums.  I wanted bright colours this year.  I can only try at the end of the day.

I love standard Marguerite  plants but am not paying £20 each for the pleasure.  I am going to look into doing some of these for myself.  I understand that they are perennials but I have never managed to keep them from one year to another as the frost has got them, but am going to read further on this.  I love daisies of any sort and particularly love meadow flowers like Cornflowers and the like; I also love Poppies. Forget me Nots for me are a personal special favourite and take me back to being a young child and the cottage where they grew in profusion.

I also looked at some more Dianthus plants but they were rather expensive and will take cuttings off the plants I have to extend the stock.  I am after a few more cottage garden plants yet for the space I have.

This year the garden has been a very strong learning curve on certain plants for me, but I am tackling them head on as I go along.  I want to be able to grow my own from now on rather than dabble here and there as I have been doing thus far. Growing something is better than doing nothing.  Although I have a reasonable plot for gardening this year, there is a large plot which is currently the jungle which will with a bit of work make extra growing space once it is cleared.  That area will  not be available to grow stuff this summer but as long as it is ready by the start of winter then I am going to have a head start for next year.  Well that is the plan at the moment.

The sun has its hat on after a miserable grey morning although the wind is a little rough.  Am going to check on the growing houses and if it is warm enough will start some of the pricking out today otherwise it will be Bank holiday Monday before I start.  Apparently the forecast is meant to be good for tomorrow.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

x

A little seafood supper

Saturday for the past few weeks has turned out to be a seafood supper night.  For the past few weeks we have been going to Routs Wet Fish van in Ramsey, usually on our way to our Butchers.  We have had marvellous fish from them including Crevettes, Brown Shrimps, prawns, whelks, cockles Halilbut, Monkfish, Cromer Crabs, Smoked Haddock (the proper stuff), ordinary haddock.  The fish, suppers have varied from the shell fish being eaten simply with vinegar and pepper and of course the proverbial bread and butter to smoked haddock with a poached egg on top (cooked in milk).  All of it delicious and spot on.

Today we went and this time came home with a couple of fresh crabs, some whelks for  OH, two Dover sole, a tail piece of smoked haddock and a piece of Halibut.

Our Dover Sole was prepared for us, but interestingly I found this tutorial on how to prepare them yourself from scratch which I think will be very useful for the future.


We had the crabs when we got home for our lunch.  This evening for tea we have cooked the whole Dover sole gently fried in seasoned flour, oil and butter served with bread and butter and Tartare sauce.  It was absolutely delicious.  I had never had Dover Sole before and will be having it again. The smoked haddock and the Halibut have both been frozen to have either next Saturday or during the week.  Or it maybe that we will be going back to the stall next Saturday we will have to wait and see.

However I love fish and have very much welcomed this variation to our diet.  The constants with us at the moment seem to be brown shrimp and the Cromer crab.  However, Fish cooked simply is very tasty and good for you.

Next week if we go I shall look at buying some Lemon Sole or indeed Plaice.

A good fishmongers, wet fish van or supplier are worth their weight in gold.

We just take a small cold box with us filled with ice and it keeps well until we get home together with any meat we have bought.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

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Friday, 22 May 2020

A little Shopping

We needed something for tea this evening and I could not settle on anything to cook.  I also had run out of  a few items from the pantry shelf and needed to replenish them.

It started off grey and chilly here but the sun came out and the best part of the day has been bright but very blustery.  I walked to Waitrose with my trolley (there goes my street cred not that I had any in the first place) and was quite surprised at the strength of the wind as it nearly had me over a couple of times.  I am glad my new greenhouses have not been put up because of it, but am hoping to get them put up and in situ shortly as my tomato seeds have gone bonkers.

On arriving, I and others naturally had to queue, but they had parked the plant racks alongside where you have to queue.  I ended up putting two tomato plants in, two Rosemary bushes, and two reduced Dianthus (Pinks) and then started having trouble with my trolley it would not budge.  With the assistance of a very helpful member of staff, who procured another trolley for me, I hung my trolley on the hook under the shop trolley handle.  Mine fits here just nicely.  I then transferred all my plants and then got into the main part of the shop.

I did not need much, but ended up with a trolley full all the same.  I decided to go for a free for all cold platter with different cheeses, some ham, goat cheese, Rilletes, Brussels Pate and Pate de Camargue, some oven roasted tomatoes with garlic, some salad leaves and a Grand Pain loaf/stick. We already had olives, pickled onions etc at home, but I did pick up a Fig Relish and an Onion and Garlic chutney to try.

Then I got to the herb counter.  I needed French Tarragon for turning into vinegar but also for a little experiment. This is the subject of a post yet to come.

I love fresh herbs and use them extensively, and I preserve them for winter use as I go along whether this by drying, freezing etc.

I also ended up buying some Oregano and some Lemon Thyme which I absolutely love on glazed carrots.

Then I started adding herb pots to the trolley.  For the past five or six years this is where I have been buying my herbs for the herb garden i.e. mint, chives, basil, parsley as they are cheaper than some of the garden centres.  This is really just on the basic herbs.  Today I ended up getting three thyme, and three chives.  Next time it will be the basils that I add to the trolley the ordinary Italian style and the Greek which is more fragrant.

I also bought some Strawberries and fresh single cream for pudding.  So we are in for a simple but tasty tea this evening.

I now have a lot of planting to do but no compost.  We have tried to buy online but where I normally get it from does not have any stock.  We tried another couple of shops as well but there seems to have been a run on compost.  We tried another shop which according to its website was open but when we got there they were closed. 

I am hoping that my original shop will have some in soon.  Fingers crossed.

Phone has still not arrived and my IT techy has put off until Monday. (we are delivering to him).

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

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Thursday, 21 May 2020

Wednesday - What a lovely day

I woke early at 6am but had heard the birds singing well before that they seem to start with what I refer to as the "Dawn Chorus" around 3am.  It was a hot and sweltering night last night although it did go chilly around 2am.  It was warm at 6am.  It was nice to wake and just take some time with no rush.  One of the things I have been having problems with apart from my short term memory episodes (like losing my phones) putting stuff in a safe place and then not being able to find it is that I have no concept of time and do not really know which day it is most days.  Been a bit in my own bubble but not achieving very much.

I was out early to see to the growing houses as it was hot and they have plastic type covers and I did not want my plants to cook.  Grow yes, but cook no. They have therefore been open most of the day and have been well watered this evening along with all my other plants which I have now mostly got into pots.  I do have four trees that need re-potting though, two figs and two pear trees. 

Most of the seeds are through apart from my Courgettes (both yellow and green), Cucumbers, Pattypan Squash, Cayenne peppers and Aubergine.  I will give them a little more time it may be that they are just slow developers.  My marrows are through  I was in a bit of a two and eight about my Pumpkins but they have come through now as well.  My purple podded climbing beans are all through as well.  When they are breaking the soil and the pods they remind me of dinosaurs - not very pretty.  When I grow beans it always takes me back to Junior School where each of us had to grow a bean in a jar and learn the biology of them. My Scarlet Emperor beans are all through too as are my peas.  Some of the seed used was really old but the germination rate has been very good which has pleased me.

Mind you I did not think I was going to get any tomatoes, I had planted Marmande, Roma and Gardener's Delight.  After days of no show at all, they have all taken off like a rocket.  Big sigh of relief from me as I thought I was going to have to do it all again.

I need to get some more compost as I now have seedlings that need to be pricked out.  The Calendula were dealt with today  before I ran out of soil.  Still have a few more to do.   I need to sort out my Gherkins (not grown these before either - an experiment as OH likes these pickled), Tomatoes, Nasturtiums, Lobelia and Gypsophilia.

I also have six melons that have come through as well as Sunflowers (both of which I have never grown before) that is going to be interesting. Whether they come to anything it will be an experience. Think they are going into one of the new greenhouses. My Florence Fennel has also sprouted as well as my Violas (they also need pricking out).

Have loads more seeds to do but cannot get stuck in until the compost comes home.  I need grow bags as well to get the tomatoes set up in the new greenhouses.  OH is going to have to assist here as I am a bit cack-handed when it comes to building things.  I had thought to have one house dedicated to cucumber, melons and the other tomatoes.

OH has not been down the garden to see what I have been doing as he has been working and was a little surprised that I had food items on the go and casually suggested that perhaps I should grow things in containers as well.  I intend to utilise what I can to get things started off he is a little slow off the mark there.

I had set up two planters with perpetual spinach.  I think the pigeons have terrorised one but there seems to be something happening in the other one.  So will wait and see what happens.  If not I have more seed I can sprinkle in the planter but this time I will cover them up so that the little horrors do not get them.

I am so pleased that I sorted my grape vine out.  Despite a massive hair cut, and stringing the fence, the vine is now growing and has already set one small bunch of grapes.  It looks quite tidy and despite not being really au-fait with grapes (I did a little reading up and found out that you were supposed to train them).  I have a hanging planter on the fence as well which is housing a Nasturtium plant I grew from seed last year.  Somehow it had survived the mild winter.  I have set a lot of Nasturtium seed as I have plans to use them in cooking, in oils, salad dressings, vinegars and drying.

I really am enjoying my time pottering in the garden, bringing things on.  It is very soothing and I am enjoying the "me" time which is quite precious too me as quite frequently am having to sort OH out.

I have been sorting out old wine making buckets and food grade buckets I already had which are past their best for wine making or food storage.  I think they are going to be ideal to utilise to grow some potatoes in (Main crop think they are King Edward).  Not enough space to grow potatoes in the main garden but maybe if the jungle gets cleared will be able to do that next year before putting in a fruit garden down the bottom end.  We will see.

All my Strawberry hangers are doing well.  I only had to buy four plants the rest were rescued from the garden.

Missy has had a check up at the Vets.  They are pleased with how her mouth has healed and she is now on anti-inflammatories for her arthritic legs.  She has been improving with her walking whilst on these and the Vet has said that she will see how she does but thinks that this will be the best option to her for her quality of life.

When she came back from the Vets last Tuesday after her operation she didn't want anything to do with her Dad, all she wanted was me, just like a child who needs reassurance that everything is okay.  Today she went in with them quite happily although insisted on sitting on our laps.  

Right it is still very hot and muggy.  Looks as though it is going to be another hot day tomorrow.  Think might try and get up earlier and get out into the garden before it gets mega hot.

Catch you soon.

Pattypan

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Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Technology Issues and hopefully Progress

In the past six months or so I have managed to go through three phones my best one I lost.  Then I got a replacement lost that and the last one was drowned a couple of months ago, since which have been saving up to try and replace it which I hope will happen in the next few days or so.  To exacerbate matters I have not been able to email anyone at all. I have been able to receive emails in but not physically respond.  

My IT chappie is going to look at my puter on friday and hopefully then it will be sorted.  Fingers crossed toes plaited.

The main thing I am looking forward to with the new phone is having a camera again with which to embellish my posts.  So if I have not got back to you recently or have not been able to respond to comments, I am extremely sorry and once the phone arrives I will get back to everyone. Promise. The other problem is lost all my numbers on my phone.  Three times is really too much.

This together with a lot of stuff that has been going on at home (some of which I have talked about - and other issues which I have not) has kind of sunk the battleship a bit!  Time to re-group I think.

Here is hoping the new phone arrives soon.

Catch you shortly.

Pattypan

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Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)