Saturday, 30 May 2009

It has come to my attention.

That I should not have a knitting and allotment blog together...

That they should be separate, they are not in any way attached.

Oh, but if you lived my life they are..

So, in the words of Frank Sinatra,

I'll do it My Way......

if thats okay with everyone?

Friday, 29 May 2009

The end of May.

Its the end of May, already! Where do the days go.

I like this time of year very much, just before it gets unbearably hot and dry when I'm always at the plot watering, (although I did spend two hours just watering this evening) and there is still so much young and vibrant growth.

These are a few of our treats for this year. The list could go on and on and on, you would really be surprised just how much I can cram into a plot or two.

Our chives are in flower, such a pretty addition to a salad. (or sometimes just to pick and munch if you feel like it)

Our lettuces are coming along, I have lettuces at all stages of growth to try and keep us in salad all summer. These are Little Gem,

and these are an Iceburg called Blue Lake.

A visit from the allotment cat. I have no idea if this cat does have a home, it certainly acts as if its feral and I've never got near enough to see if its a boy or a girl, but if female (which I think she is) I think she's been spayed as I've never seen her pregnant. She's as fit as a flea, can jump a five foot fence from a standing start, without her paws touching the fence, and she's a fantastic little hunter, often to be seen keeping the rabbit population down.

The spuds are coming along nicely,

and no blog post would be complete with out a picture of my peas.

The strawberries show great promise,

with one strawberry just about to ripen.

Sweetcorn are being planted.

And a visit from a bird hunting.

Do you remember I grew globe artichokes from seed last year, they are beginning to flower.

Raspberries are forming.

Tiny little courgettes.

And hasn't my cherry tree done well for its first year.

And this little dicky bird was singing with such passion this evening, I thought I would try to record it for you. The microphone picks up the cars on the bypass (or as my sons and hubby have said since seeing this it sounds like wind) which my brain filters out and I never notice. (I'm sure they are not that loud) I can't bring you smelly or taste vision but I can bring you this, a Blackbird in full song.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Half way and other witterings..

I think one of the worst things as a grown up mum of two that I have experienced, apart from when medical people are called in to play are exams. Its such a tricky arena to walk through. I'm of the school, perhaps through experience, that I say as little as possible whilst gently cajoling a child, sometimes just to see what that child is or isn't thinking or doing.

Egg shells, yep, lots.

I think we are surviving, or should I say I am. Just.

I have respite care, half term, and then it starts again, think of me won't you.

Boy no.2 seems oblivious to this, which is a good thing.

I don't have photo's this weekend, which makes things quite dull, sorry about that.

The plot is looking fabulous, even if I do say so myself. Hubby has done a wonderful job at keeping up with plot 1 and getting to grips with plot 2. He saw the blue tits in the birdbox at the plot fledge in the early morning one day last week, I would love to have seen that. We have cleaned out the birdbox, to discover that all of them had fledged, which was a huge sigh of relief from me as we had disturbed them earlier. Perhaps we can entice another late breeding pair in, last year we managed to do that, it would be nice.

We walked to the Abbey Fields this weekend to feed the ducks. I love ducks, I do, they amuse me. Whilst watching the ducks play silly beggars, the main game the youngsters were playing was how far can they swim underwater, (its so much further than you think!) we spotted a Heron looking for fish at the other side of the lake, we were quite mesmerized. Just when our attention was taken away by a friendly rather nice looking spaniel the Heron disappeared. We looked and we looked and said to each other that it must be in the reeds. And we kept looking but to no avail. Soon it was time to go and we gently walked back towards home along the lake, only to find, the Heron, sat on the 'No Fishing' sign, which is placed in the lake. If ever there was a moment, when you wished you had your camera on you, this was it. Hubby took a photo on his mobile, which is why there are no photo's on this blog post. Both are of us are completely inept at blue tooth and are waiting for son no.1 to come home..

Getting back to the plot, its very difficult to talk about the wonders that are going on without the benefit of a photograph. I planted our courgette plants out today, they had the tiniest of bright yellow courgettes on them, that must have been all of 3mm long, they were exquisite.

There is so much going on down there, you know I love it so, and I shall share with photo's.

But there is one momentous occasion that I wish to share with you all.

Today, I did a little bit of Digging..

I can't say, I dug and I dug and I dug, because that would be a lie.

But I did Dig..

And for that I am very grateful.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Friday is sweetie day.

Time for a treat.

I was lucky enough to squish a fellow knitters hard won stash the other week and in her stash was a skein of BFL superwash sock yarn from Spindlefrog. The memory never left me, I would say it haunted me.

So in the end, I had to buy some, and it is just as soft as I remember. Its really very nice. So just to share, so it can haunt you too.

I'm nice like that.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Socks, socks and more socks.

I may have to confess (although regular blog readers may have guessed some time ago) that I am deeply addicted to socks. This addiction seems to have increased greatly since I stopped knitting socks for others and am only knitting socks for myself.

You see I like the process of sock knitting, the choosing of the yarn, Oh the choice, that would be a whole blog post in itself. The more I look at indie dyers the more choice I find. Its got to the stage and I may have to whisper this, that I'm even thinking of hand washing my socks, Just to increase my choice of sock yarn..

Then there is the cast on with a number much less than one hundred (and sometimes not much more than fifty) so my brain doesn't become befuddled, I don't have to ask a hubby/child/the cat to check my number of stitches or am most likely to be found making little stitch markers out of spare yarn as an aid to my counting abilities. The choice of rib beckons, shall I knit k1,p1 or k2,p2, or K3,p1. Shall I twist the stitch or not...

Is this a pair that I have spent hours searching for just the right pattern, and there are some wonderful patterns out there. Or is it a nice plain pair that can be taken with me anywhere, which has a lovely charm within itself.

I love the heel and whether the pattern will take me in a direction I have never been before or will it be my favourite heel that fits me so perfectly. Then once the heel is turned the race towards the toe, I even love kitchener stitch. I love it all and I love it even more when I slide that finished sock onto My foot.

I try to cast on (or complete) other projects but as soon as I finish a pair of socks, whether it be plain or patterned, there is this automatic pre programmed response that finds me casting on for another pair, pattern firmly grasped in my hand, whilst I'm gently getting high on the sock yarn fumes. (to increase this effect you need to sniff the yarn, although perhaps that should be done privately, coffee shop customers have been known to raise an eyebrow or two at this sort of behaviour, although I haven't been banned from anywhere - yet!)

Today for your pleasure I have three pairs, firstly we have stripey socks. They are very stripey and I like the colours very much, I made my mum a pair of these for Christmas. Which could be a bit odd if we happen to wear the same socks when we meet for coffee. We could be part of a secret society or underground stripy socks network, people that meet on street corners dressed in dark rain macs, wearing stripey socks to identify each other and exchanging sock yarn in brown paper bags, then to be seen rushing off to cast on. (but then again, I'm describing Ravelry aren't I?!)

I have found something very special in these socks.

They match Perfectly. I normally have a slight difference between socks, they are hand knit after all, so by the time I'm down to the toe my knitting tension has changed somewhere, (either that or a teenager has driven me to distraction and rather than ring Dr Barnados I have taken it out on a sock) but this time, I have perfection.

Note the heels

and the other side.

and even the toes.

and what is this mysterious yarn that has worked its magic charms so wonderfully I hear you cry. I have no idea. I lost the ball band sometime ago. Normality returned!

The next pair also have hidden charms, but in a much more subtle way. They do match quite well though. (I must be improving on this sock knitting lark)

These are Austermenn Step in colourway 55. Austermenn Step is treated with jojoba and aloe vera and this makes the yarn wonderfully soft to knit with and gives your hands a conditioning treatment whilst you knit. It also remains in the yarn for forty washes, which will be a lovely treat for my calloused hooves.

I think son no.2 did a lovely job on the photography.

and the third pair, well, I just think they are stunning.

This is a lovely pattern by Mona Schmidt called Embossed Leaves. Can you see how the pattern even flows into the toes, very charming. As soon as I saw this pattern which was many, many moons ago, long before I was capable of knitting them, I knew one day I would knit them. So having conquered charts recently and having won some gorgeous, Bugga! by Sanguine Gryphon, I just love this colourway, its called Differential Grasshopper, the two came together in a wonderful marriage.

These have been an absolute joy to knit and I love them very much. And these, will always be hand washed.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Baby Tits.

Whilst working in the shed the other day, I realised that I'd heard the building of a nest and then nothing more. I wondered whether the nest had been abandoned as so often happens and hubby went to check, so that he could clear the nest box out to entice another late breeding pair.

Oops, nope not abandoned, just very quiet birds. And as annoyed as I was with myself for misreading the signs, I couldn't help but grap my camera for a quick shot.

Seven little dicky birds.

Hubby carefully put the nest box back into place and we waited with baited breath and sure enough Mum or was it Dad flew into the nest box 30 seconds later. The following day all seems alright with their world, so no harm done.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

64 years today!



Well it had to be the Beatles singing his birthday song didn't it.

Happy birthday hubby.

xxx

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

A view of plot 1 (picture heavy)

I cannot explain to you just how happy my heart is to see our plot so productive this year.

It gives me great pride to see my greenhouse bursting at the seams, its been a tough few months but I did it. (with alot of help with the watering from hubby) There are peas, sweet peas, cabbages (summer, winter, savoy, white and red) , brussel sprouts, (early, mid season and lates) purple sprouting, black kale, lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, various squashes and pumpkins, runner beans (3 varieties) borlotti beans, haricot beans, sweetcorn, leeks, ( 3 varieties) marigolds, chilli's, basil, flat leaf parsley, coriander, chives and no doubt other treasures that I have simply forgotten about.

as space becomes available because hubby has planted our crops, I quickly fill it. (mainly with peas, but what can I say, I love peas)

A very nice looking strawberry bed starting to flower. We moved this bed in the autumn and it seems to be recovering nicely. Along with a row of lettuce, there are celery and other herbs in the foreground.

Hubby planted various brassicas for me, there are lots more to plant.

I do like that he has developed a new way to stop the mesh from sagging onto the plants this year with the addition of bamboo canes. Very Clever!


The shallots are doing nicely.

two varieties of Japanese onions, one of which is just fine and the other has not done well at all. I must make a note of that for next year.

peas, I love peas. (I may have mentioned that before!) Two rows already in and thriving. The old boys on the plot are always very suprised that I have my peas in so early and even more suprised when I show them the bag full I have collected in early June. I think I'm one of the very few that brings them on in the greenhouse first. The plants beside them are globe artichokes, which I raised from seed last year, hopefully they will fruit this year.

Parsnips have germinated well this year.

Carrots on the other hand, haven't. This problem seems to be widespread on the plots, so just as soon as we have had a drop of rain, I shall sprinkle a few extra seeds into the rows. Radishes look good, although the flea beetle decimates there leaves so we can't use them for salads and you can just see on the far right the beetroot which looks fine.

more onions, these are the main crop onions which will (hopefully) store well over the winter. (they need a little bit of a hand weed)

Spuds, these are first and second earlies, there are some maincrop on plot 2.

just a quick shot of the plot taken from amidst the raspberries and blackcurrants.

And even with all of these photographs there are lots of treasures I've missed out, to be discovered at another time.

Plot 2 just has a few rows of spuds in at the moment, but there is plenty in the greenhouse to fill it up and the preparation of the soil is almost done.

And no, I haven't done any digging or for that matter planting, although I might try a little light work with a hoe this week.