Sunday, 22 February 2009

Spring is in the air ...

.... and isn't it lovely to be able to spend a bit of time outdoors again? Today the boys were outside such a lot - playing on bikes (overwintered tyres to be pumped up and saddles to be raised for growing legs!) and bouncing on their fabby freecycle trampoline. So I amused myself by stripping down the mini greenhouse and washing all the pots. Very satisfying - all ready to start planting again!
I've bitten the bullet and ordered myself a greenhouse. My raised beds are lovely, but not very practical when I can't get to them because of all the chicken wire. So two of them will go (the wood and soil will be reused on the allotment) and the greenhouse will go in their place. It is a nice sunny corner of the garden so should be more productive than the mini greenhouse which is on a north facing wall. Not sure what I will put in the remaining bed yet, but it will have to be chicken proof!

So yesterday we cleared the root crop from the largest bed. Here are the last of the carrots and parsnips. Not a very good crop this year.
I dug manure into the bed last winter - and the parsnips rebelled! I did have a fair few usable ones, enough to give me a big bag of frozen parsnip cubes ready to add to stews, but there were also a few of these monstrosities!

I also discovered that carrots aren't keen on a manured bed either. The few we did have were tiny. The first time I grew carrots, I interplanted with marigolds. I didn't bother last year as I wasn't sure if it was really necessary. Hmm. The result - VERY wormy carrots. Grrrrr! Hardly any were usable. These looked the best but after peeling ....

This was all we had left.
Although I am assured that they were very sweet and tasty (the purple ones went down especially well!) Don't let those glum looking faces fool you - they were rather worn out after helping Dad to wash the cars and had come inside soaking wet and freezing cold *tuts*
Half term week is always a good time to get on with some baking. I'm taking a lot of inspiration from Attic24's blog this month, and the baking was another filched idea from Lucy. I measured the ingredients into the bowls and left them too it. Very nice biscuits it produced as well (not that I got any more than a nibble)
And finally I cannot let the girls efforts this month go unrecognised. Egg production is on with a vengeance! Look at all those lovely shades of brown and cream - so gorgeous compared to those insipid supermarket eggs! Most days now we have 8 eggs, and only one hen not yet back in lay after the winter. Little Bella the campine hasn't yet graced us with one of her dainty white eggs, however she did crouch for me today so it won't be long!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Treasure Trove!

Yesterday I had a free hour in the house,with nothing urgent to do, so I thought I would have a rummage in the loft. I've been given some fabric that would make good boys clothes and thought I may have some old patterns for trousers.
So I dragged my old pattern box downstairs and had a lovely time unearthing forgotten treasures and UFOs!
Patterns for some ball gowns I made many years ago! (In fact I think the dresses themselves are still in the loft somewhere!)
Some wonderful old fabric - antique red satin from an old curtain that was used as the skirt for yet another ball gown (see, I was recycling 20 years ago!), and some purple offcuts from a suit I made. Don't they look lovely together!
The start of a crochet blanket that never got any bigger!
A bag of wool. Fantastic - some of these are perfect for a pattern I have just obtained for a crochet chicken.
Scraps of fur fabric - I can't remember what these were for!
Pages of calligraphy practice sheets - I had a very steady hand then!
A whole box of patterns - most of them used. Very 80s! (no childrens clothes though)
Some pretty pastel card that I bought because I liked the look of, but never found a use for!
An unfinished craft project - picture frame decorated with felt flowers.
Pieces of felt, bought to make an elephant mobile for a baby (that baby is now 17!!)
My first and last attempt at freehand embroidery
An unfinished, quilted cushion panel. Sadly with a big stain in the middle so will need to go in the bin.

What a lovely afternoon I had!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Still more snow!

It's official - I've had enough snow! Never thought I'd say that LOL It's certainly put paid to any ideas I may have entertained of joining my brother in Canada!

Sugar the whitestar is most definitely not white! It doesn't help that she has been dustbathing in woodash. The snow has bowed the fence to their run - so she just flaps out and walks up it to get back in!

School was closed again on Thursday. So we made a snowman - but they couldn't wait to demolish it!

Even the teenage son eventually succumbed and joined Dad for a snowball fight.

I thought it was finally going yesterday as it turned to slush, but this morning it was all frozen over again. We walked down to the church for breakfast - first time we've made it for at least a year! Dan wanted to walk up to his friends house and from there it was a short walk across the fields to get home. I'm just sorry I forgot my camera - the thick snow and isolation was wonderful! By 9am we were back home having done more than we sometimes do all day! And we still managed a trip into town for new wellies and plimsolls for school.

And I bought my first allotment goodies! Onion sets - Red Baron, red skin shallots and two types of onions - one tall and one fat (I can only remember the name of one - Stuttgarter!). And fruit bushes from Aldi - red and green gooseberries; blackcurrants; tayberries; two varieties of raspberry. Now I really feel like spring is on the way - just need this dratted snow to melt now and I can get back on the lottie!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

More Snow!

Why do we get so excited about a bit of snow? LOL It is cold, wet and brings everything to a standstill!

But yesterday, with school closed, both myself and Mr Owl off work and the sun shining, we just had to get out in it!

It obviously wasn't cool enough for 17yr old son as he just grunted and went back to sleep,but the little boys couldn't wait! We dug out the sledges that were last used when big boy was little, and set off for the fields (only a 5 minute walk from our door).

What a fabulous day! We met up with friends on the field with their children, and found a little hill, just perfect for sledging
Daniel was the daredevil - I told him not to slide down where there was a hollow in the ground, but he wouldn't rest until he'd done just that, discovering that the sledge physically left the ground and jumped through the air before crashing down and scooting to the bottom. He loved it.
Matthew started off a little reserved, but was soon sledging down the steepest bit like a pro!

Trudging home for tomato soup and crusty bread for lunch. What a wonderful day - one we will remember for many years!