Saturday 30 May 2015

Pink and Purple Flowers and Goodbye to the Pigs

Hello All
I know it has been a while since I last posted, but life has been frantic here.
The blossom has been wonderful this year and presently the purple and pink blossom seems to be everywhere I look.
Here are just a few of the pink and purple blooms around the holding.
This first is of Thalictrum Aquilegifolium I have a line of these. We have had these flowers for many years and it took me some time to remember and be able to pronounce the name of this pretty flower. The year after I mastered this David and I were walking around the gardens at Heligan and some knowledgeable middle aged posh women were looking at said plant, clearly not knowing what it was I leaned towards them and said "I think you will find that it is Thalictrum Aquilegifolium". I fooled  myself that they gave me an impressed look when they thanked me. They probably turned to each other as I walked away and retorted "Smart A***e!"
 Here is the Wisteria on the front and south side of the house
 And the view through our bedroom window
 Here is one of our lilacs, this one is in our outdoor eating area ( a couple of tables on a few slabs at the back of the barn)
 This is the wisteria on the barn. The flowers are different to those on the house, they are slightly lighter with a darker tip to each bloom.

We were suppose to be fishing at Looe from Thursday to Saturday, but high winds were forecast so that all the boats were cancelled for Friday. This meant that we would be home to help our godson and granddaughter to load and ship our pigs on their last journey. The date for their move  was non-negotiable as our local butcher will be processing the meat for us with help from our granddaughter, who used to work for him, who will be making the sausages and next week is the only time he has spare to handle three extra carcasses.
I have been struggling with the paperwork to move the pigs. It is now done electronically and the website isn't too helpful. With much help from the helpline "How can I put a loading time when I am not here and don't know how long it will take them to load?" being just one of the questions. I finally managed to fill the form in to a degree that Gds and EGD would not have any difficulties. This form needed printing out to take a copy with them to the abattoir and my printer wasn't working!. The form cannot be saved as a document, fortunately ED found away to send it to herself at work so that she could print it out for us.
 When I found on Thursday morning that we wouldn't be going fishing I was SO relieved as I would be here in case of any hiccups.
Here are the said pigs Pickle, Mr Grey and Gregory doing what they did best.. lolling around and sleeping after a spot of weed eating. It isn't a very clear photo as I took it through the barn window.
The move went well with very little stress for the boys. I was pleased to hear that the guys at the abattoir were gentle and respectful of them.
We expect rain tomorrow so I will be planting in ernest today. All those tender plants can now be planted outside and be watered in tomorrow by the rain, which is by far the best way. When planted up I shall take some photos of where we are on the holding. I am very behind with most things but they usually catch up, so I shan't stress too much.
Off to get down on my knees with a trowel in my hand.
I will not leave it too long until my next post, I have been very tardy lately.
Love Gill

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Pickled Walnuts(again) Watercress and Bait Hives

Hello fellow bloggers, funny weather we are having, lots of energy in it with wind and sun and hail and thunder.
With reference to the Pickled walnuts we discussed in my previous posts....
We sat around the table with a bowl of the little darlings in front of us and only three of us actually managed  to put a tiny sliver of one in our mouths ! ED said that they looked like a combination of an olive and a cooked mushroom -both of which she dislikes intensely (as do I) But we gamely tried a bit. Cro is right in saying that they were very vinegary, which sugar would counteract. It was the feel of it that we disliked, sort of slimy. Perhaps when Phyllis gets to us with her recipe using them it might be good. That said, there were only seven large walnuts in the jar for £2.50 which was pretty expensive for an accompaniment. I would need to love them to pay that again. All that being said I am glad I tried them as I've reached this tender age without one passing my lips.

The watercress in our pond, which is fed from rain water from several roofs here, is doing extremely well this year. As you can imagine we have had many egg and watercress sandwiches, but I quite fancy using it for something different. Has anyone any recipes for watercress they would like to share?

 Leigh from 5 aces and a Dream commented on bait hives after my last post. Coincidentally and quite by accident we made one last week!. After the first swarm of the season I assembled another hive ready to house the next swarm, should we get one, as being ready is essential to ensure collection. I  said to David that we could  put it in the front garden as a bait hive, but we didn't and left it outside the garage ready for swarm collecting. A few hours later I walked past the hive through a goodly number of bees and saw that the front of the hive was covered in bees. Yup a swarm had found the hive and put themselves in! Swarm number two all settled in their own way and time. Now to get another box ready in case we need to collect another swarm!

 As the days get busier in the garden and with the animals growing apace my house gets more and more untidy. I'm not particularly proud of this but there are only so many hours in the day and something has to give. Then Frugal Queen does a post on being tidy and organised and I wonder why I can't be that organised. It is so bad here at the mo that if someone I didn't know well knocked at my door I would have to hide behind the sofa and pretend to be out!
Back soon

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Pickled walnuts and Apples

In my last post I asked people how they kept their walnuts from the squirrels. Some suggested I pickle the unripe walnuts before the squirrel got them. Cro suggested I try some before I waste my walnuts on something I don't like and yesterday as per his suggestion, I bought some Opies pickled walnuts. Looking at them reminds me of my friend J. a district nursing sister (now retired) She always referred to the offerings (in bedpans) of her constipated patients as "pickled walnuts" !!  I can see what she means and it's rather putting me off to be honest.
 Yesterday we collected our first swarm of the year. Not large, but looking good. It swarmed onto the damson above the front greenhouse and was easily collected.
Here is David with "Bob" one of our Shared Lives guys helping him. Bob is  getting to be a good help with swarm catching. This activity is risk-assessed of course in line with Social Services policy (ahem)

 The blossom has been wonderful this year. Here are a few pics of some of our trees
The first two pictures are of our pollinator crab apples - Golden Hornet and John Downie.
This tree to the rear of the artichokes and rhubarb is "Golden Hornet"
 This is "John Downie".  These two crab apples cover the apple blossom time for all our apple trees.
Here is "Grenadier" an early cooker.
 This is one of our two " Jonogolds" with "Elstar" fanned on the fence to the left (both eaters) and "Bramley" cooker to the right.
We have more apples, but I guess that is enough for now as you are probably getting bored. But I have to show you this huge cooker/eater that is in our front garden. it is obviously very old. We sent a sample to Brogdale, who don't recognise it and say that it was probably grown from a pip many years ago and that we could name it ourselves. David calls it "Gilly's Pippin".
David has had to start cutting the paddock today. Those five little lambs certainly can't keep it down and it is getting too long for them. this one cut should be sufficient as the lambs grow. The biggest problem is getting rid of the cuttings, which if left in a huge heap, becomes a huge heap of black slime. So with the help of a friend I have been layering the cuttings between pig, chicken and rabbit muck, mole hills and some old straw. Next year this should make good compost.

Off to fetch David back from Quiz Night.
Before I go I must welcome to Judy Kiesow to the follower bar. Lovely to see you here.
Back soon

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Lambs, Trees and Weed Processors.

It's been a while I know. I won't bore you with the reasons, which are the usual excuses I roll out when I have been tardy posting.
This is a picture heavy post today, but first I must welcome Jackie and Sarah W on Blog lovin and Jan Stewart on Google at the side.
Here are the lambs, just about to settle down by the river for a power-nap
 Then along comes Dixie and rather put them off settling down.
 All went calmly for a while until Bubba pushed his luck and got a swipe for his cheek!
 The blossom has been glorious this year hasn't it? I missed getting a picture of the damsons and plums, but here are a couple of our Stella Cherry trees ( gooseberries directly underneath and red currants in front) I can almost hear the jackdaws and crows licking their lips (beaks) at the thought of all those cherries.
Please admire the finished bit of wall to the rear. David has been working on this wall every spare minute.
 Here is a pic of the walnut catkins just forming. I am going to pick the walnuts early this year and try to beat the squirrels. I just hope they will ripen. I would love to hear what other people do re walnuts. If I leave them to fall from the tree there will be none to fall as Tufty will have stolen them all.

 This huge tree fell down in the field next to us last week. the owner has dragged it from the river bank with a tractor to ensure that the river isn't blocked. Everyone who has visited us has cast covetous eyes on the wood. Pity it isn't ours, but maybe Jimmy will offer us some.
 And finally here are my weed processors. They just LOVE weeds. I put all the weeds in a bucket when I am garden clearing. I throw them into the pigs and they turn them into torpedo shaped packets which go onto the compost heap.
All for now dear bloggy friends. Thanks for hanging around while I have been elsewhere.
Love Gillx