Sunday 27 November 2016

So what do I write??

WEll things have been very lively at home whilst Polly has been settling in. She certainly is a character....very naughty at times but you can never stay cross at her!!

Her training is coming along nicely as is her recall so we are very proud of her, Polly is also becoming very sociable with both dogs and people.

As for the be honest not a lot to report. I did manage to get down last weekend and put in the garlic and autumn onions. Apart from that things came to a bit of a stand still after Tro and so it's going into the winter messier than I would like but  am sure I will catch up in the spring!!

The bees were put to be a while ago now and now there is just hope that the colonies make it through the winter. It's about all you can do really. I will give them some fondant next weekend so they have a backup plan for food and make sure there entrances are kept free of winter debris but really not much else to be done but hope. I think the winter is probably the hardest for a beekeeper because it really is down to mother nature as to whether the colonies survive or not.

I have handed in my resignation with the allotment committee but I am still on the bee committee as Membership secretary. Why give up one and not the other I hear you ask?? Well two reasons really, my role in the bee committee is admin based at my own leisure so doesn't eat into time I want to spend on the allotment or with the bees. Also my busiest time on the bee committee is november to January when there is really not much going on in the garden or with the bees so again does not impact on my time.

I don't really have much else to say right now, I originally came on to catch up with my favourite blogs but I have found that blogger has has a rejig of its layout and I'm struggling to find them to be honest so thought I would ease my frustration with a few words.

That is all for now. I promise next time will be a more thrilling read and have some pictures to look at so you won't get bored with my ramblings!! However I can't promise they wont be dog related!!

Wednesday 9 November 2016

A new addition

Firstly I would like to thank all of those who sent me condolences on was a hard time, hence my absence and I am really grateful for your kind words.

Trojan was truly irreplaceable...and yet I couldn't have that emptiness in my house so we did go ahead and get another dog.

Trojan gave us such life and warmth and we knew that we could give another a wonderful home and all though we didn't want to replace him we did want to honour him the only way we knew how.

After Tro we thought long and hard about what would be best for us as a family in the long run with whether we should rescue or go for a puppy and also with what breed we should have...research told us what breeds  could suffer with spleen issues and after having had to deal with this and also a friend dealing with this in the last week it made us think about breeds a lot more.

Anyway...we did make a decision and so I would like to introduce you all to our newest family member....

Polly The Springer Spaniel.
Polly has been with us a week now and is settling in well, being spoilt rotten by the Hubby and loved by all. I know Trojan would have adored her and I am happy that we are again giving a wonderful environment for such a beautiful girl. We went the Puppy route and she is just 16 weeks old but a very quick learner. I shall hopefully catch up with you all over the next week and also get to writing some posts again. Take care...for now  shall just leave you with these....

mental moment

Hope you are all well.

Sunday 23 October 2016

Oh Bless those little critters.

Okay so that wasn't exactly the phrase I was saying to myself a few weeks ago when I wanted to harvest the rest of my corn!!

We had already eaten some so I can't say we didn't get any but we didn't get much...I had such a wonderful crop but when I approached this is what I found....

As you can see...the corn has been stripped. As I was approaching a scurry of birds flew out of the crop so I knew who the culprits were...or so I thought!

It was a couple of weeks later whilst I was on the plot burning some rubbish and minding my own business when I heard rustling a couple of plots over....looking up I saw a neighbours corn rustling and moving and yet there was no wind....

 I stealthily crept over to the plot where I could see the movement...I had a hunch what I would find and I was right....

Rats!! The above one was a little shy but as you can see the one in the photo below was quite bold and proudly posed for it's picture!!

I don't mind rats...In fact I used to have them as pets when I was younger and into my adult years but I think now they probably helped the birds eat my corn so I would like to now make a public apology to the birds for giving them sole blame on the corn eating!!

The last few years there have been many problems with rats over by the chicken pens but it doesn't bother me too much...after all it is kind of my fault for not harvesting early enough and also there is a reason in this world for everything though I know many are complaining about the rats and poison has been placed to try and get rid of them. Not sure they will ever get rid of them but I guess they may slow them down a little. These two were both males. Very healthy, one adult and one juvenile. 
I can really see the beauty in these creatures.

Thursday 20 October 2016


Very short today, I wrote my posts up to publish automatically this week but the reason I haven't checked out your blogs or replied to comments is because we haven't had the best week.

Our Trojan had to be put to sleep on Monday after his spleen ruptured, it was very sudden and we were heartbroken. Tro wasn't in any pain though and Hubby and I were with him to the end.

We only got to spend a few short years with Trojan but he brought us so much joy, warmth, friendship and laughter and he will be sorely missed. He has left us a little bit empty but with a tremendous amount of happy memories.

I would Like to thank Bray House Vets for their incredibly quick diagnosis, help and support that they gave us at this really difficult time and for the wonderful card that we received from them through the post today. their compassion really means alot to us.

I promise to catch up with you all soon but for now please say a little prayer for Trojan.

R.I.P. Trojan, you shall be missed by many and never forgotten.
You brightened our lives and our home and we are better for
having had you as part of our lives.

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Beautiful Butterfly.

Does anyone know what type of butterfly it is??

Monday 17 October 2016

Taking it easy.

So thought I'd have a little potter yesterday on the plot and take things a little easier. For me that meant a little time off digging.

So I thought I'd tackle this.....

My very out of control Gooseberry bush. It had started attacking from every angle and it was kind of hard to get to the shed. I had read about the correct way to tackle one of these from sue over at Green Lane allotments and I really wanted to give this a go. Believe me I tried....but I think I got s little carried away...because by the time I had finished I ended up with this....

Not exactly what I was aiming for but I'm sure it will come back with a vengeance next year so I'm not worried!!

Also managed to trim up a few other bits too..

So a few brambles got tamed and a few nettles cut back too and I can now get to the shed without a fight and without getting ripped to pieces!!

It's not finished by a long shot but it's nice to know I am making headway with things...slow and steady wins the race!!

Saturday 15 October 2016

A whole lot of nothing!!

I have done absolutely nothing on the allotment this last week which is a shame as I still have a lot to get sorted before the really cold weather sets in.

Having said that some of these things are just what I want to personally do and not necessity so I will just see how things go.

So why have I done nothing?? Just because really....I had no room in the green bins so that didn't help but they are now empty and waiting for me to start again so I don't think it will take me long to get a load more done....when I do I will post some pictures.....for now I'll show you what I have to contend with!

I suppose it actually looks quite bad but I'm confident it would clean up rather quick. To the right of the picture you can see a path.....running alongside that gis year I am going to put the strawberries and then I will be able to get all the stray raspberry canes dug out of the ground....Hopefully I won't find it to hard to locate the strawberries next year then!!

Saturday 1 October 2016

All in a days work...

Well it was more like two half days really but it still adds up to the same!!

So we started with this...

As you can see it's rather unruly, there are a few crops in there somewhere...honest!

After a good few hours hard labour we are finishing with this.....

There is still a lot to be done but I feel like I have made a good start. Along my great weeding journey I did come across carrots, beetroot and shallots which I was very happy to find although the yield wasn't great and I know this is totally due to my neglect this year. There should have been swede, turnips and onions (both red and white) in there two and although there was a little evidence certainly nothing harvestable.

To be honest I was hoping this year would be back to normal but I have struggled to get my head round things...the way I figure it, it will get easier each year but I think I am going to keep things a little more basic next year whilst I get on top of everything again and get back into the swing of it.

Right now it's raining heavily outside otherwise I may have got a bit more done though to be honest after filling a wheelie bin with weeds my back and thighs are protesting just a little!!

I also emptied out the compost bin and spread it and this will be dug in when weather permits...for now the rain will do it's job of getting it into the soil. It was lovely stuff that came out so I am quite pleased with that. Also towards the back f the picture you can see a couple of slabs...when  I have fetched the rest from my Dad's this will be a path all the way to the gravel area splitting the allotment into four. I am hoping that with the smaller areas it will give me more incentive to stay on top of things next year.

Still plenty to be done but I am beginning to feel that I am at least on the right track!!

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Grapes are goners!!

Just a quickie tonight as I've been catching up with some of your blogs and it's now quite late!!

Remember the overwhelming grapevines I told you about??

Yep...there they are in all their untrained and unrefined the triffids, trying to take over the plot!!

And here they aren't!! See the green bin at the end?? I had to climb in it and jump up and down rather vigorously four times to get the vines in but I did it and now the space is tidy and weed free!!

Now all I have to do is decide what will occupy the space in the future. I am after something low maintenance and tameable. An edible hedge was mentioned so that's something to look into...amy other ideas??

Thursday 22 September 2016

Alnmouth Beach

So this year we went to Alnwick in Northumberland for our holiday. We had a lovely week there with lovely weather and I have lots to share with you about it but right now it's late so I am just going to share a few pics of walking on Alnmouth Beach.

This was the third time Trojan and Louie had visited the beach and they still weren't keen on the see...we only managed to coax them in to get there feet wet and as soon as a wave came that was it...they were gone!!!

however when we got a bit further up the beach and we found some rock pools in a small inlet Trojan was in his element. Without the threat of the waves and moving water he enjoyed exploring, jumping from rock to rock, enjoying all the different smells and even going in the deeper pools!!

The beaches were lovely and clean and dog friendly with lots of other dogs for Louie and Tro to meet and greet. This wasn't far from Alnwick at about 4 miles and the closest beach to us. It was a shame that it was so far away and the access to it was via a road which often did not have pavements so I had to wait until Hubby was about to drive me. Certainly well worth the wait though and the dogs had a whale of a time!!

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Pied piper of the bees!!

Hubby and Son were not happy with me on Sunday when I took a couple of supers off the beehive and brought them home for extraction....Why??? Well I got followed...only by a few...but those few went back and told their mates....

pied piper of bees
One or two became one or two THOUSAND!!

pied piper of bees
Happily sitting on the window!!
 Nw Hubby and Son really don't like bees and hastily closed doors and windows as warm as it was. I had to get the Sons bike out of the shed so he could go to work!! You can't really see in the photo but there really were a lot about. Of course they went home at sunset and I then bought the supers in but they still came back the following day and although the numbers dwindled throughout the day as there was nothing for them there was still a lot of activity until sundown!! Back to the normal amount of bee activity for a garden today though which pleased both Hubby and Son immensely!
pied piper of bees
Lovely golden honey!!
It was worth it though to have all this wonderful all I have to do is buy some more jars so I can take the rest off...this time though I'll make sure not to leave the 'supers' in the garden whilst I 'pee' and make a cuppa!!

Now all I have to do is get it labeled up...but that's a job for tomorrow!

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Going it alone.

I have always been a vegetable grower. I usually do quite well at it too and always have enough to donate a few bits to the allotment shop and share with family and friends.

My mum was always the 'flower grower' and every year would grow from seed a variety of flowers which she would then share with us and we could plant out to have spectacular summer gardens. Any over's that were left would be sold to neighbours if they wanted them...they were always sold cheaply just to cover the cost of the compost so a box of forty(ish) plants would be sold for about £3.00. There was usually a variety of marigolds, tagetes, salvia, petunias, dahlias, lobelia, and sweet williams to name just a few.

So this year was the first where i had to have a go at doing all this myself. I kept the varieties to simple ones which I knew were always prolific germinators....Tagetes, petunia, marigolds and then a few lobelia which I know are harder to germinate but I do love them.

So how did I do??

  Tagetes and petunias
Tagetes and petunias

Marigolds and tagetes
Marigolds and tagetes

Tagetes, marigold and petunias
Tagetes, marigold and petunias

Tagetes, marigold and petunias
Tagetes, marigold and petunias
Well I think it's safe to say from the pictures above that I didn't do that great. My garden certainly doesn't have the spectacular show of years past. The weather hasn't been great this year and this may have factored into the patchiness but I think I am going to just believe that flower growing just isn't my forte. I have had a re-think about the garden and I am going to plant some perennials, lavender, a few shrubs and some grasses and stuff. I am going for pretty, low maintenance, but something that lets me potter. I am also going for flowers that the bees will love to forage on so that I will get some nice flowery honey too (that is if my bees visit my garden!!)

I'm not a defeatist at all but I really don't want to spend hours on something that may not turn out very well. There is nothing wrong with change and I figure now is as good a time as any and I know my Mum will be proud of the fact that I gave it a go!!

Monday 5 September 2016

A little sharing

Well I wanted to stay in touch and write a quick post but I couldn't be bothered to get my laptop out so I am having a go through my kindle. This is a very exciting step forward for me as I don't usually do much.Mir on it than read, play candy crush and send messages through messenger but I am trying to get with the technological times a little more. I even worked out the other day how to accept a call on my kindle through messenger although I have to say I really struggled with not holding it to my

Above is my latest purchase...I thought it was lovely when I saw it whilst I was bee book hunting on Amazon the other day, it's a metal sign and has been added to my garden shed!!

And this, of course, is a photo of Louie And Trojan. Happily sleeping together after a rather wonderful day out whilst we were on holiday. I don't have many pictures on my kindle so that's the best I can do right now post wise but I bet you've all been missing Trojan anyway!

I will share our day out with more pictures from the camera in a couple of days.

Hope you sleep as soundly as the dogs!!

Friday 2 September 2016

Neglecting it all!!!

There is an allotment with crops in
there somewhere...honest!
So I'm here....and I am alive and well...just been a little not with it at times. August has been a hard month....and I have neglected a lot of things throughout, the allotment (as you can see above) the bee admin, this blog, the bee blog, the bee plot, my reading and my letter writing and also keeping caught up with my favourite blogs. Having said that though there have been some lovely highlights of 21st and 16th celebrations and a wonderful holiday too.

But August is now over and the days are rapidly getting shorter and I am starting to get my butt into gear again...after all I am sat here writing this aren't I??

I do have a lot to share but don't think it's a good idea to put it all in one post and some of it is probably more relevant on the bee blog but I will give you a few tidbits about the bees soon so that you don't have to go and check out a separate blog...I know some of you don't like too!!

So where was I ?? I don't really know...I have kind of lost the plot as I have so much to tell you all about....but surely I can't just leave this post as it is hasn't really said anything??? Maybe I could and then start some valid posts that have a point to them and publish them every day or two for a while until I am finally caught up??

Hmmmmm.....what to do?? Any ideas?? Well it's not like I'm going to get an answer whilst I'm still writing the post as nobody has even read it yet...of course there is the chance that no-one will come back to read it I have been away so long...with the odd pointless post in the middle!!

Hang on...let me check the camera for inspiration.....
What's going on with the marrows??
 Not much there without delving into more of a story at the moment but I did find the above picture. This is one of my marrow plants...the HEALTHIEST one I might add. What's going on there?? Marrows are usually like courgettes...way too many grow but all the plot holders have far too many and you can't give them away...this year I haven't had a single marrow...and bouy do we love eating marrow. I just don't know why...have I lost my mojo?? I know I'm still not really back on track this year but to not be able to grow a marrow is just embarrassing to be honest....oh and then I go and announce it to the

Red Sky at night,
Shepherds delight
Apart from that I will leave you with a sunset from last week....I saw this whilst sat on the sofa...I just loved the pink fluffy calming and soothing to the eye.

I will be back with more of everything...if not tomorrow then certainly the day after...after all don't want to snowball you all if you come back to will need a little bit of breathing time!!

Thursday 4 August 2016

It's got to go!!!

So about 6 years ago I purchased some grapevines. I never really expected to get much from them but thought they would make a fine barrier between my plot and the next, look pretty and feed the wildlife.

Well I was right, they produce grapes but never really ripen so aren't fit for human consumption, they do however look pretty and the birds do pick off the fruit in the autumn.

Grapevine takes over!!
They are continually making a break for the entire allotment, and not just mine but the neighbouring plot holders too. I am continually having to hack them back just to get down the path so this autumn they are just going to have to go. They are wonderful but there is just no taming them and I am having to be so ferocious with cutting them this year to try and keep them under control a little that I don't think they will even produce fruit for the birds.

So in the autumn I will be removing them, my dilemma is, I don't just want posts and wire at the end of my plot. I want something bordering it but don't know what i should put here. I would like something that can give back in the way of beauty, habitat or food (either for me or the wildlife) something that would be a little easier to contain and something that will be there year on year to cut down the workload.

So if any of you have some ideas on what I could grow...please do let me know as at the moment I just can't decide.

Thanks in advance!

Tuesday 2 August 2016

Garlic and Onions!!

 Well I breathed for a little longer than intended but never mind. I then of course thought I had loads of subjects to pick from for this post until I got my camera out and realised that whilst I have been taking it out with me I have neglected to take photos on it...oopsy!! But anyway I did photograph the garlic so mundane as it is this is what you are going to read about today...of course feel free to switch off now if you like...honestly I won't be offended...of course it's not like I'd even know....but even if you told me in the comments box that's what you've done I still really wouldn't mind.

Of course...if you're still here and do want to know then get ready for.......


Okay, so I grew four different sorts of garlic this year, really for no other reason than because I could. One lot was french garlic which was given to me by another plot holder and the other three were garlic bulbs that were available from the allotment shop so all at good prices.

garlic bulbs..french stuff
The french stuff.
Red Duke, homegrown garlic
Garlic, Red Duke
homegrown garlic, solent wight
Garlic Bulbs, Solent Wight
homegrown garlic, valledo
Garlic bulbs, Valledo
 I have to say i have never really taken any notice of the variety i have bought in the past, just bought what was available in the shop and hoped for the best. Some years have been good and some have been not so good but I have always managed some form of harvest.

Having grown different varieties this year i have seen the difference in the harvests quite extensively. It wasn't the best of years for garlic as the winter was quite mild and you get (well so the books tell me) better splits the colder it is. I'm not sure you can tell by looking at the photos but there was quite a difference in the bulbs.

Valledo were by far the better bulbs, the splits were good and so there are plenty of cloves on each bulb but not only that each of these cloves are a good size so I think next year this will be the one that I stick with growing although i haven't taken the taste test be honest I sorted them all out up the allotment and quite stupidly chucked them all into my trug....

garlic, homegrown, trug
Garlic in trug...rustic!!
Now isn't that a wonderfully rustic photo?? At least I was told they looked great in the wooden trug surrounded by lush green grass (and dandelions!) so I thought it was a perfect photo opportunity!! a little off topic there....oh yeas...flavour. I am aware that the flavours of garlic can be very different but I am hoping for the best here...if not I guess I will be back to the drawing board next year and growing several varieties again as I certainly don't want to lose out on flavour purely for quantity. I would much rather have a little of something good as opposed to a lot of something bleh. The only saving grace I have is that the valledo bulbs were so much bigger than the others it will be easy for me to single these out to try against the other varieties.

Has anyone else grown any of these varieties before?? A heads up on flavour would be good!!

Wow I found a lot to say about the garlic...but of course there were onions in the title too.....

autumn planted onions
Autumn onions
 Not many of these really and to be honest I had forgotten I'd even planted them. Even now I've dug them up I still don't remember but i am pleased that i did, my other onions aren't doing well at all this year and although these onions aren't huge they have a wonderful aroma about them and a nice flavour. I think I will definitely put more in this year...I mean how great to get something else in back end when you have so much more time as you aren't running round like a 'blue arsed fly'!!

No idea on the variety of this onion...I must have purchased them from the allotment shop along with the garlic so maybe I can find out or they will get some in again and so I won't have to go and source my own.

Well that's about all for now. Happy Gardening!

Thursday 14 July 2016

....And Breathe......

That is honestly what it feels like, I have had so much on and things have been so hectic this last few weeks that every time I have sat down (and to the great amusement of the Hubby) I have nodded off!!

But things are calming down now and after next week I will have some time off work so I will hopefully get time to catch up with you all. In all honesty things slowed down at the weekend but it was just so nice to sit and be a vegetable when time allowed that I didn't even put the computer on, and you know how it can be....when you've been away for so long you often don't know where to start.

Well I think I have a few pics that I can share and I will bullet point the months events so that I don't bore you all totally....then over the weekend I will go out and take many wonderful photos and give you some lovely picture posts to look at which will be far less mundane than my ramblings.

so lets look at what's on the camera....

A feral colony of honey bees in the
trunk of a tree.

Waiting out the storm in
the bee shed!!

Lovely rain...NOT!! that was just a few randoms to what's kept me so busy?!?!

  • Open Apiaries (both attending and hosting.)
  • Preparing and giving school talks to classes reception to Year 6
  • Engraving logs for my year 6 club
  • weeding
  • planting
  • weeding
  • landscaping
  • a lot more weeding
  • dealing with committee stuff
  • bee inspections
  • harvesting
  • and then some more weeding
So that's what I've been up to in a nut shell. The weather I presume has been as up and down for the rest of you Brits as it has for me, and for all of my overseas visitors a quick summary is changeable from one extreme to the other with winds, rain, heat and cold. Not great for the bees and I had to give a couple of the hives some syrup last weekend to give them some boosts to their stores.

So that's all I have for now. The allotment is growing reasonably well...the weeds even better but things are taking shape nicely.

The garden isn't doing so great but that's a conversation for another post.

Happy gardening!!