Sunday, 2 September 2012

An Electric Picnic of sorts...

The sun is shining in on Holly Cottage, oh so lovely! It's Sunday evening and time to stop moving and stooping, and picking and getting all the jobs done that get crammed into the fine weather weekends - if and when they come. And when they do come, well, it's all hands and paws on deck trying to keep pace with weeds, thinning, harvesting, cutting back and re-locating ;)

"..a good turn up for the books..."
Yesterday was to be an easy day, but then we got in touch with the weed situation! They're so good at what they do those pesky weeds - they don't mind being trampled, they spread quick and easy and when you pull them they manage to leave just enough behind to fight another day. And so I was stooped for some time to pull the tricksy weeds from the drills of carrots, parsnips and turnips. Some mighty carrots though, sooo tasty; promising parsnips and too many turnips! Those purple giants are so lovely and easy grown but too many for us. Distribution in gift packs tomorrow so - an early Christmas present for some along with pots of last week's relish. Other jobs were pulling the peas and digging over the soil for winter green manure - Holly the dog was distraught at the loss of the peas. We discovered that when we leave her home, those mornings she could be found  gobbling on peas - leaving only massacred shells to bewilder us when we got home from a long day in the office...until that is I caught her red pawed in the act last Wednesday. Who can blame her really? And she hurt her paw this weekend, so we are going easy on her!, na, na........
So a Saturday of back bending work and the Holly Cottage garden space looks fantastic. Celery are blanching - collared in milk cartons. This is new territory for us - the cartons slipped over the growing crowns should help to train those tasty stems up and up (we hope - I keep you posted); tomatoes are reddening and their stems are buckling under the weight of all that juicy goodness, while Craig's chillies - literally - look like they are on fire. Those shiny red buds, a supernatural colour reminiscent of red patent shoes are just waiting to unlock their firey magic. Nets are up to protect broccoli and sprouts -  why then did I discover to my horror, nearly 100 caterpillars feasting between yesterday and today on our plants? They were blatantly sun-bathing between munching away on green goodness - clearly having slipped the net. Between basking caterpillars and cat sized slugs - it's enough to turn a girl to shop bought broccoli!

Try buy that outfit in H+M!
Along with those less than desirable fauna, we have close on 50 bees - honey and cute bumble varieties - buzzing between the lavender, chives and oregano. These hard working types are usually joined by Tortoise Shell and the odd Peacock butterfly to brighten up the day. We're hoping the bees will find the pumpkin flowers attractive, as back up we'll try a bit of DIY ourselves ;)

Of course you can't expect to work on an empty stomach so this week's treat was a sunflower seed-topped banana bread, yum (and by the way, near disappearing)! Take 10 mins while your oven is heating up - beat 4oz butter and 6oz soft brown sugar, slowly add 2 beaten eggs, mix in 8oz wheaten flour and whatever spice you like (cinnamon and all spice are good). Fold in 6 mashed bananas and a dash of milk with a handful of chopped walnuts (we didn't have any - so we settled for sunflower seeds sprinkled on top). Into the oven for an hour at 170 deg (depends on your oven - hope yours is better than our gremlin infested antique :)) and the sweet, nutty, reviving goodness will save you from passing out on a hard won gardening day.

And so, instead of tripping to the Electric Picnic, we tripped around our own backyard and thankfully the sun shone. Robert Smith will have to wait another day for me -  I hope it was amazing for all followers new and long term devotees, but the memory of The Cure in the then Point Depot in 1992 was enough to keep my green fingers tapping.

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