Saturday 30 June 2012

Friday forecast.....week 26.....30/06/12....and a Happy Birthday!!

Yes before we start...I am well aware it's Saturday and I'm a day late with this post but as usual time went flying by without giving me a minute so here we are.

Well weather wise it has been unsettled all week. Humidity and pollen counts have been high and the temperatures have been balmy but the skies have been mostly overcast rarely letting us see the sun and rain has been frequent.

Thursday afternoon the Olympic torch came through our town and of course the weather had to be a huge part and the Mother of all storms descended on us.

thunder, lightning and heavy rain
Lightning just about to bolt to the ground
Rains was torrential, places were flooded and the lightning and thunder couldn't have put on a better show if it had been staged, personally I love a summer storm and had time to stop and admire even though I was at work. My Hubby got sent home as his factory flooded, people lost telephone lines and electricity, a couple of neighbours had telephones, t.v.'s and internet routers blow up one of the supermarket roves in town collapsed under the weight of the amount of rain which came down so quick. Oh and that's without the hailstones which were the size of broad beans bouncing around.

Of course nothing dire happened at my work which is good, but I didn't get any time off either!!

The storm did clear in time for the torch going through town, but I think the storm ended up getting far more news coverage.

fork lightning
And it strikes!
Today has been pretty much the same weather wise, a little sun here and there, mostly cloudy and humid with short, sharp bursts of rain....apparently summer is predicted to hit the U.K. in we may get crops after time for Christmas dinner maybe??

(The above pictures were the view of the storm from the front of my house).

As for the birthday part of the post...well my blog has officially been running 3 years today, I don't know if I really expected it to still be going after so long when I first started it up but I would like to thank all those people who have given me help, advice and encouragement over the years and so I am giving away a book on herbs to one of my readers.
book of herbs and their uses
It tells you all about the herbs, their uses and when and where they grow...all you have to do to enter is leave a comment and someone will be picked at random.
You have until Sunday 8th July midnight G.M.T. to make a comment, sure hope I get some on this

Have a good weekend!!

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Tuesday Tasters...Garlic and ginger butter.(Recipe)

Well we are at that lovely time of year again when those of us who have the dreaded hay-fever suffer very badly. Some things very good for helping are both garlic and ginger and so I like to make garlic and ginger butter and then have a handy dose of them when needed.

It's quick and simple and also great for helping to keep colds at bay in the winter.

fresh garlic, ginger root and butter.
The Ingredients

It is very simple to make...simply add the quantity of garlic and ginger you want into whatever chopping machine you have (in my case I used my Magic Bullet... :-) and chop until fine. Then add in the amount of butter you want to use and soften sufficiently in the microwave so that you can mix everything easily. Store in the fridge and use at your leisure!!

Fresh garlic and ginger butter
Fresh Garlic and Ginger butter.
We will just spread it on our bread when making sandwiches, but you can also cook your bread in the oven or add it to mashed potatoes or jacket potatoes. I'm sure there are many others ways it could be used and the beauty of making your own is you can have it as mild or as strong as you like.

If you give it a try do let me know how you ate it....or tell me how you would like to eat it anyway....just in case you have some good ideas I haven't thought about!!

Monday 25 June 2012

2012 Planting Finished.

Well the weather has been a nightmare this last week and with meetings and family birthdays as well as work and life in general it's been a while since I sat down at the computer.

I don't think a day has passed by where there hasn't been a mixture of the seasons all rolled into one however yesterday afternoon it calmed down somewhat and i managed to get to the allotment and get the sweetcorn into the ground. Not only that but I also managed to get a bit of tidying up and weeding done in the garden.

Summer evenings are great (when we actually have one), but before I knew it it was 10:00pm so I didn't get this post up last night as once I'd got cleaned up I just curled up with my book.

potatoes starting to show their flowers

All is not lost this year as the potatoes are starting to flower even though everything else on the allotment seems to have come to a stand still growing wise.
Sweetcorn planted up next to the babycorn

The sweetcorn looks quite healthy, I now just hope a get as great a crop from it as I did last year...all we need is some decent sunshine!!
out of the ground by my son last year when he thought it was a weed

This is the grapevine my son thought was a weed last year and yanked out of the ground, I am surprised it has been so resilient and although not as big as the others it's putting on a brave face this year...must remember not to let my son near that end of the allotment!!
the brassicas have survived even without the net.
Against all the elements and the wildlife the barassicas have survived the week even though they aren't netted, maybe someone else on the plot has something far juicier for the pigeons to snack on. I will hopefully get the nets up this weekend though before they get to big for the butterflies to start bothering them.

So that is all the planted finished thoughtful I still have a few seeds I want to re-sow directly, I'm not sure they will do any better the second time round but I have to try, one thing that hasn't come apart from the odd seedling this year is carrots, I really can't be without my home grown carrots!!

In general things aren't looking too bad and now all the planting is done I should be able to stay on top of the weeding (in theory!) but things just aren't flourishing as they usually would this year, we have had so little sunshine it really seems to be taking it's toll on tomato plants are still so tiny and have no flowers in sight. Is everyone having the same problem?? I know most people on our allotments are.

Hope you all had a good I'm just waiting for the heatwave they keep mentioning on the weather and hoping that with it comes some sun which will help everything catch up.

Will be catching up on all my favourite blogs throughout the week!

Monday 18 June 2012

Brassicas are a GO!

Well I got up yesterday morning to the usual stormy skies and on and off rain that we are so accustomed to. However by the afternoon the winds had died down and the rains seemed to be holding off so at 3:00pm I decided to take the plunge and see if I could beat the weather at the allotment.

I started off with this....

weedy uneven ground

Very weedy and uneven ground which needed to be cleared in order to be dug through and turned into a brassica bed.
waterlogged brassicas

Waterlogged brassicas which were in desperate need of planting. The cauliflower didn't survive this treatment and had to be re-sown.
Parsnips ready to be transplanted to the allotment

The parsnips are waterlogged too but they seemed to be enjoying the treatment and were no worse the wear for it!!
attempting to grow celeraic...again

Out of the 20 celeriac that I 'attempted' to grow only 6 have survived, they don't seem to be getting any bigger but I planted them anyway!

After I had spent 4 hours down the allotment things looked a little different and I managed to stay dry in the process. Here is what things looked like when I left at 7:00pm.

a cabbages, ormskirk cabbage, brussles and purple sprouting broccoli

I have a brassica bed!! There is room for the cauliflower to go in here too. I also re-sowed spinach as this didn't come through at all and I will resow the swiss chard when I get some more seeds.

I was given some Welsh bunching onions by a friend and for now they have been planted in the cold frame so they can grow for this year and then will be split and grown on the plot next year, (at least that's the theory at the minute!).
Parsnips and celeriac

You can just see here that the parsnips have gone in, some are bigger than others but overall I am quite pleased with them. the 6 celeriac are at the end of this row so I will see if they actually do anything!

So it was quite a productive if not tiring afternoon, I feel like I am much more on top of things now. I still have my sweetcorn to plant out and will do this at the weekend once it has hardened off. Also I will get some swede seed in the ground and re-sow carrots and turnips as these haven't shown any sign of germination either.

And yes I know I haven't covered my brassicas...I'm just hoping they can hold there own until I can get back down to sort out the netting!!

(Notice how nicely blogger behaved for me today?!).

Saturday 16 June 2012

Freebies at the Door!!

Well you are all well aware of the 'drought' conditions we have been having...either because you live in the UK or because I have moaned about them on my blog.

Anyway when it all started Anglian water began something called 'Everybody drop 20', which was a way to inspire people to cut back on their water usage. This could be by showering for a couple of minutes less. Only washing a full load of clothes, fixing a leaky tap or using water butts.

There were lots of things you could enter for on the website and although I am in an area where the hosepipe ban lasted the longest I was in an area covered by any of them, however I could fill in the form to enter into a draw for a free water butt...and low and behold I actually won!!

I didn't receive any correspondence but a van pulled up outside my house the other day and they guy got a big water butt out the back for me and with it were connectors stand and tap!!

free water butt fron anglian water
My FREE water butt in place at the allotment.
I have put it up near the shed at the allotment and put the drain pipe into this one and than ran the connector into the blue butt which now gives me two on each side of the shed, of course once I had done this I then had to take some water from one of the other butts as again we have quite high winds and I didn't want it blowing over. I put 12 gallons from one butt into this one but I think it only has about 10 in as it was a while before I realised the tap wasn't in the off position.

So there was my nice surprise for the week...and with the weather we've been having I doubt it will take long to fill.

Stormy Skies heavy with rain.
Stormy Skies heavy with rain.
 And seen as you are all here having a read I just though I would share our skies with you so you can understand why I haven't done any real work at the allotment today!!

Friday 15 June 2012

Friday Forecast...week 24.....15/06/12

raindrops on grannies bonnet
Raindrops on Grannies Bonnet     

Raindrops keep falling on my head!!!

Yes, that's pretty much the weather for the last week, lots of rain!!

It hasn't rained continuously but we have had rain on a daily basis, sometimes light and sometimes heavy.

The sun when it has managed to break through has been warm...we just haven't seen much of it and so for the past week woollies and coats have been needed.

The UK has been predicted to have 30 days of rain...then possibly a heatwave, so as usual we aren't doing things by halves.

On the upside, the hosepipe ban has been lifted country wide and we are officially no longer in 'drought' conditions, however most of the Country is on flood warnings and there have already been floods in places.

Oh well I guess the rain is good for the gardens.....not so good for wanting to be out working in them though.

Here's hoping we get some dry weather over the weekend so that i can get the brassicas in the ground....however I won't hold my breath over it!!

Have a good weekend.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Tuesday tasters........Chocolate and Beetroot Cake.(Recipe)

 Chocolate and Beetroot Cake Recipe.

250g (9oz) cooked beetroot
75g (2¾oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
125g (4½oz) butter, softened
300g (10½oz) soft light-brown sugar
3 large eggs
50g (1¾oz) cocoa
powder, sifted
225g (8oz) self-raising flour, sifted
¼ tsp salt 

Grate the beetroot quite coarsely. Put the chocolate into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water and melt. Put the butter, sugar and eggs in a mixer and beat until light and pale. Add the melted chocolate then fold in the cocoa powder, flour and salt. Finally, stir in the beetroot.
Pour the batter into a greased cake tin measuring 20-23cm (8-9in) and cook in an oven preheated to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for 45 to 50 minutes. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Turn on to a wire rack to cool. 

chocolate and beetroot cake
Chocolate and beetroot cake with Cointreau and fresh oranges.

 Once cooled the cake was sliced through the middle and then some chocolate was melted and a frosting made to go in the middle of the cake. You could decorate the top too...or even make a different filling.

It was served with fresh oranges (well I think it was actually Clementines but you get the general idea) and Cointreau. The Cointreau was poured over the cake just before eating.

This was a wonderfully indulgent dessert with the Cointreau and chocolate...yet you can also tell yourself you are being healthy as you are eating fruit and veg too!!

Of course if you want to enjoy this with your children then leave out the Cointreau!!

Sunday 10 June 2012

Allotment tasks completed.

Well it's been a bit of a crazy week with the weather but the beauty of having a week off work means that I have been able to make the most of the few good hours we have had and although I didn't get all my planting finished I have done quite a bit of work and feel a lot more on top of's easier to just show you in pictures than waffle on about it too much so here goes!! (you can click on all images to see them larger).
robin redbreast
Although there weren’t many
people about I wasn’t alone.

broad beans, garlic, onions
The broad beans, garlic and onions all appear
to be doing well now the weeds have been removed!


dry cracked earth
Although the earth looks parched and cracked on the
surface you don’t have to dig too far to find the moisture.

You don’t see me very often so
thought I’d say a quick, ‘Hi’.

So this is where I'm at for now...still plenty to be getting on with and I have of course artfully missed out taking a photo of the weeds that are left in the soon to be brassica patch. I am hoping to get that sorted this coming weekend though...I am beginning to feel that I may see a light at the end of the tunnel for the planting..if not for the weeds. Here's praying for good weather!!

potatoes 'hilled' up.
I always mean to but have never got around
to ‘hilling’ up my potatoes…until now that
is. So this year as the tops die off I will still
know where to dig…Yay me!!

sweetcorn..second sowing
The second sowing of sweetcorn has germinated
well and will soon be ready to be planted out.

sweetcorn, butternut squash and brassicas.
Still waiting to be planted out…my loan butternut
squash…the only one to germinate this year.

Robin searching for bugs.
The Robin was very friendly and wasn’t at all nervous
flying near me to collect the latest worms I dug up.

Roots, legumes, tomatoes, squash and sweetcorn
Roots, legumes, tomatoes, squash and sweetcorn are planted
in this half of the allotment and looking quite tidy …for now.
cauliflower, cabbages, purple sprouting broccolli, calbrese, brussels, s
Several different brassicas…the brassica bed isn’t
empty’s still full of weeds!!

 Sorry for the haphazard photo placement again but I have been trying to sort this now for ages and it's getting very late so I totally apologise but this is as good as I could get it..curse this new blogger !!

But I guess I can put random text in the blank bits...and tell you that I have a wonderful Tuesday taster to share this week...enjoy what's left of your weekend!!

Friday 8 June 2012

Friday Forecast...week 23...8/06/12

Well we are almost in the middle of the year..we are certainly supposed to be in summer by now but you really wouldn't know it.

The weather took a turn for the worst, everyone is probably happy about the rain but I don't think it needs to be so cold with it.

Temperatures dipped dramatically as far as 10 degrees Celsius some days and the high of the week has been 16 degrees Celsius. Evening low has been 7 degrees Celsius so we haven't faired too badly there.

Most days have been gloomy but when the sun did manage to break through you were briefly reminded that we are in fact in the month of June.

Today has been the worst day by far however with horrific winds whistling round the neighbourhood causing the trees to shed many of there leaves and make you shiver as you walk down the street...with that of course has been the driving rain...certainly not a day to visit the allotment.

having said all that because I have had a week off work I did mange to get some things done down the allotment during the better parts of the days we've had but nowhere near as much as I wanted and I am hoping that the winds will be a little calmer tomorrow so I can get a bit more done before work re-starts for me again on Monday.

I will fill you in on what I've been up to tomorrow.

Hope you are having better weather than us...and if not stay warm and curl up with a good book...that is my intentions now!!

Oh and apologies on my absent to all of my followers and those logs that I follow...tomorrow I will be spending some time to catch up...hope you all have a great weekend.

Monday 4 June 2012

Work + Weather = No Allotment!!

Well not only have I been absent from my blog this week but I have also been absent form the allotment.

I guess we all have times when things take over and extra work hours really didn't help and then just when I thought I might get chance to get something done on Friday the weather changed.

The weather stayed beautiful up until Thursday when temperatures dipped and the rain moved in...and then it just didn't really want to go away again.

We did get some rain Wednesday night...but lets face it who really cares when you're in bed!!

Of course typically for a bank holiday weekend the weather has stayed miserable so I have spent most of my time indoors catching up with my books and programmes.

It is giving a dryer day tomorrow so I may get something done and even now it's not freezing or pouring out so i think I will be able to get down even if just for an hour...I have so many weeds it's rather depressing!!

Well I guess I should stop whinging about things and get my butt into gear...maybe tomorrow there will be something to report about the plot...oh I did manage to get my garden planted up with summer bedding plants...mind you I froze whilst I did it!!

Hope you're having better weather than I am.