Tuesday, 29 June 2010


Unbelievable. Just as I'd got the water butt cleaned out. Though I would have collected more water if I'd remembered to turn the tap off...

Our neighbour Sue moves out today. She has been so kind to Rainbow over Tink. She has 3 cats, one of whom seemed to really be friends with Tink. He pops up to visit every so often and seems to be searching for him. So we will miss him as well.

I do want our glorious summer to continue. I was starting to get used to it.

Lots of leaves - red and green lettuce, lots of spinach (delicious wilted with a bit of garlic). We had a pod of teeny tiny peas each at the weekend, but are trying to hold off until they are a more respectable size. We never manage to actually cook them. The beans are starting to take off and there are flowers on the pumpkin plants.

We have had our first courgettes - tender and tasty. I threw some sorrel into a potato salad last night - yum.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

First potatoes

First potatoes, first courgettes (fried with a bit of garlic). Made borek, with the help of a hot cross BT - much appreciated by all - so now I have to make more. Bottled up the last batch of elderflower cordial. Did a batch with lemon juice instead of citric acid - will have to see how it holds up. Tastes good.

Put some slightly desperate looking tomatoes into the vegetable patch. Last year, and the year before, the outdoor tomatoes did precisely nothing, but they were 15p each for big plants (desperate to be repotted), so I have invested a grand total of £1.20. Worth a go, I reckon.

Aaron came over and took down our dying holly bush. It was looking really tatty so I can't say I miss it, and there seems to be significantly more light in the living room, which is good.

Rainbow came home from Brownies talking about Tink. It's so unfair.

Must plant more carrots.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Missed the solstice

Forgot all about it. The whole longest day went past and it never clicked. How in tune with nature am I?

Monday, 21 June 2010

Elderflower cordial

The elderflowers are rather late this year, and seem to be going over really quickly. I have just made a batch of cordial. This is the recipe I use. I can't remember where I got it from, so if you recognise it, apologies. Though I think they are all fairly standard. The first year I made it I did it to a Hugh FW recipe. He didn't mention leaving it to stand for 24 hours, which I think is necessary, or you just get lemon.

20 heads of elderflowers (try and avoid ones with brown flowers - apparantly they will give it an aura of cat's pee)
1.8 kg granulated or caster sugar
1.2 l water
2 unwaxed lemons (not that you can get unwaxed lemons in Torrington on a Sunday)
75 g citric acid (get it from the chemist. Be warned, you may be quizzed about what you want it for. A friend of mine was refused it because he looked too dodgy. Our local chemist only does it in 50g packets so this year I shoved in an extra lemon)

  1. Shake elderflowers to remove insects. Place in a large bowl
  2. Put sugar and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. This is a scary amount of sugar. 
  3. Meanwhile pare off the lemon rind in wide strips, slice the lemon and put it all in the bowl with the elderflowers
  4. Pour over the boiling syrup and add the citric acid
  5. Cover with a cloth and leave at room temp for 24 hours
  6. Strain and bottle in thoroughly cleaned bottles I made 3 wine bottles full with this recipe - I save the screwtop wine bottles for occasions like this. I strain through a teatowel in a colander.
  7. Feel smug.

Sunday, 20 June 2010


See what a gorgeous, cute and crazy cat he was.

such a sad weekend

Oh, oh, oh, so sad. Poor Tinker died on Friday. We found him on Saturday. We think he found some poison somewhere. Saturday was an awful, awful day. The kids were distraught. BT was just wandering around, saying he felt sad, saying he felt like there was a hole in his tummy. Rainbow went off by herself.

We buried him in the garden. I'm going to buy a rose bush to plant over him. Poor little thing. He was such a friendly little cat, everybody liked him, all the neighbours knew him. He used to go down and visit them when we were out. He used to appear like magic when Rainbow arrived home.

I suppose he had a very happy life, but the kids keep saying things like "He never even had a summer" and "He never even had a birthday". So sad.

We washed his food bowl and his water bowl, and put them away. I washed his blanket. I've put his carry basket and his sleeping basket under the stairs. The conservatory looks all wrong without them.

I can't believe how sad I feel about it. I suppose when you look after something you get attached to it very quickly. Even YM, who doesn't like cats, had to wipe away tears. I'm welling up now, just thinking about it.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Put in the last of the beans and potted up the last of the tomatoes. I do need some bigger pots.

I am not a very organised gardener. We have 4 rows of potatoes, and I have no idea what sort, except that somewhere in there there are some pink firs.

I did a tour of the field this evening. We have very few pears, loads of apples, loads of plums on a couple of trees, and none at all on a couple, damson, chrislings (not even sure what they are, but looking forward to finding it out). I took the last baby fruit off the quince.

I am wondering whether we should record our yields off each tree. It would be an interesting record to keep.

Thursday, 10 June 2010


Lots of teeny tiny alpine strawberries. It's like a treasure hunt out there...

Monday, 7 June 2010

Half term is over

So sad. And it's raining. Have been enjoying the sunshine. We had a lovely half term - went down to Sandymouth on Friday - my favourite beach of all. Found crabs, some interesting sea anenome things (must look them up), went in the sea, twice, without a wetsuit!!!

Am now trying to plan our summer holiday. I find planning holidays really difficult. It all seems like so much hassle.

Picked a big bowl of leaves today for dinner - they are really growing now. Some of the potato plants are starting to flower. It was too wet today to look for strawberries, but we picked the first 2 last week. I have been buying gorgeous strawberries in the pannier market, too, locally grown - you can smell them from a few feet away.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

salad days

This year's first salad from the garden - chard, lettuce, spinach. Nice to be out there picking. Everything growing like mad, can see it change each day. There was good soaking rain this morning, so no need to water tonight, though am starting to battle against the slugs in earnest. Potatoes look v happy. Peas are twisting up sticks. Put in beans - too many beans, and still some to go in...

BT's pumpkin plant is bigger than mine.

Bought some sweet pea plants and some cosmos from the neighbour's plant stall. I have nowhere to put them. Also have 2 little alpine strawberry plants to find a shady, damp spot for.

I mowed the grass the day before yesterday. So glad I did after the rain today.