Latest on the Lottie (picture heavy)

Even with all the rain we have managed to get almost up to date at the lottie, ignore the lack of hoeing. There is only so much you can do.

Over the weekend, we managed to put all of the Runner Beans (3 varieties) and Climbing Beans (2 or was it 3?) varieties in. We had already put the frames up, so that once we felt we were past the risk of frost they could happily jump, they were so ready to jump, into their prepared bed.

Yesterday, hubby spent many hours working in the greenhouse putting our lovely tomatoes in. 3 pots each of 7 varieties. Thats all we could do up the plot yesterday as it was raining all day. If you notice we use small buckets that we have cut the bottom off, this helps with the watering and gives the tomatoes just a little bit more soil to spread their roots in. It certainly seemed to help last year as we had magnificent tomatoes, our plum tomatoes were admired by all who saw them.

We have had our ears and eyes tuned to all weather forecasts as well as tuning into the met office on the net at regular intervals. So this morning, hubby was up the plot by 7.30 a.m. with me in fastish pursuit at 8.30 a.m. (Unfortunately ten minutes after I arrived at the plot, hubby had a phone call from his Fathers nursing home and he had to dash off) I carried on and I planted Courgettes, Butternut Squashes and Cucumbers.

Cucumbers, which will be climbed up the bamboo sticks.

Then I planted Dill

and mint and chives. (although the chives had a very poor germination rate, so I’m not overly hopeful on what might happen with these)

I also planted on some spare courgettes, (no piccie) for Anna and whoever else would like one on Tuesday night.

Then, I planted my experimental secret weapon against the white fly into big pots. A bucket will be placed in the greenhouse and then the rest will be deployed at the first sign of whitefly on my cabbages/brussels etc.
My Marigolds.

And then a quick update on some of the veg at the plot.
Our onions, japanese, normal, shallots. ( I think the garlic perished.)

The start of carrots, parsnips, beetroot and radishes. Radishes are used to mark out where the parsnips are as the parsnips have a very slow germination rate. So, If anyone wants any radishes, (French Breakfast) they are lovely, just give me a shout as I have lots!

Cabbages, cauliflowers, purple sprouting, kales, brussels. (that could do with a bit of a hoe)

And last but by no means least, Peas.

Then we had a few spots of rain and I thought I had better make tracks, but I’ve been home nearly an hour and its still dry. There really is nothing more I can do, I can’t really hoe as the land is too soggy and all I will achieve is to compact the soil by walking on it around the plants.

Hidden treasures and a glove.

Don’t these look so beautiful, like precious jewels. They are very young blackcurrants.

Potatoes doing nicely, although there is a very slight worry that they may have just a touch of the dreaded blight. I am going to have to watch them very carefully over the next few days. If the weather dries up and humidity lowers we should be okay, if it doesn’t we may well be in trouble.

And my first glove. I am very pleased and am already thinking of a second pair and what to make them out of, should it be something like the softest of cashmere’s, or maybe some silk could work, or maybe a mix of the two. I could lengthen them so that they were nearly up to my elbow, or even longer. Oh the possibilities!

The baby birds seem to be doing well, not that I’ve peeked, but as I was potting up in my shed today you could hear just how busy the parents were providing for their young. They never stop.

We have a busy weekend planned, its the last push to get most of everything in. Toms are ready to go in, over half of the runner beans were planted today, the climbing beans need planting, I have courgettes, cucumbers etc etc to plant out this weekend. I managed to hoe all of the carrots this evening. It is recommended that any work to do with carrots is done in the evening as the carrot fly (she who is to be feared) doesn’t like flying in dusk/dark so its the best time to do it. Apparently, the carrot fly can smell carrots being disturbed over 1 mile away and will home in on them.

And on that thought, I’m off to bed.

My very first thumb.

At the moment, well quite obsessively, to the state that I am most probably slightly dehydrated, I have been knitting today. And have just completed my very first thumb. The pattern was found on Ravelry, it is Picot Edged Cashmere Gloves by Susan Chang and the wool is (absolutely gorgeous, I’ve totally fallen in love with it) Schoeller & Stahl, Limbo Color, colour number 2539, purchased from Web of Wool.

I might, just might shorten the thumb by one row, but I’m going to wait until I’ve finished the glove before I fine tune it.

I think its pure gorgeousness.

Loook, Tis a present for me!

Giddy, giddy with excitement I am. Honestly, I cannot convey the joy I feel within, its felt on so many different levels. Tonight I went to Tuesday night knitting, proud and eager to show off my picot edge, when my knitting friend and regular blog reader Carie also known as Knitted Bear came into the shop. We were standing with Anna and Rachel and casually bantering about wool and colours and colours and wool, when, Carie said, “I have something for you”. “For me?” “Yes,” she says and pulls out this wonderful book. “For me?” I think I replied, in slightly squeeky tones. “Wow” Then I said, “have you read my post about a slight nudge about b’day prezzies”. She said “No”… I said “oooh No, Keep it for my Birthday” She wouldn’t hear of it. And then she said that she thought I needed a little cheering up. Aaaaw bless.

I’ve never read any of the Yarn Harlots books, I read her blog regularly, but had not yet managed to acquire any of her books and I’ve been wanting to for so long and I had to tell Carie that this, was the One Book, (I just love the title) that I really, really wanted.

Which means my sneaky little friend, that there was a reason for asking if I was going to be at Tuesday night knitting! That it was well planned and executed and that you have carted it to work and back and whats more, remembered to put it into your bag before the dash to the train station. But mostly, it was a very caring and extremely generous act, so rare to find, (I’m leaking now) thank you.

Picot Edge

1. When reading a pattern “Provisionally” actually means something.

2. You can unwind your long tail cast on, but you will be unable to knit it as its unwinding the wrong way.

3. It is possible to then catch those live stitches onto spare DPN’s and you will feel smug, so that you can knit it the right way.

4. You then realise your a row short.

5. You frog.

6. You then make a chain without a crochet hook, its a bit messy but its okay.

7. Your chain is too short, so you find another scrap of wool and do a bodge job.

8. When unwinding your chain, you realise it might have been better to:-

a) use a different coloured wool to your main wool.


b) use a smooth wool,

3 hours from starting,

you have this.

Great Tit!

I’m sorry I couldn’t resist it, I wonder how many hits I’ll receive with that title!

Last year, after we had managed to put up My Shed, hubby quickly attached a bird box for me, it was very late in the season and we had no takers.

Today as I was sat there slurping my soup, I heard this rummaging and ever so soft chirruping and I thought, “Oooh, we have babies” and quietly crept around to the back of the shed and found we have indeed got babies. So I positioned myself some feet away and waited for the perfect shot. I won’t show you the outtakes, there were many.. I believe its a Great Tit, its certainly quite a large bird (for its type) and has just a little bit of difficulty squeezing through its front door.

Magic Beans!
Well I hope they will be. These are the runners and climbing beans that are desperate to get into the ground. I looked at them carefully and I think they may have just been caught with a touch of frost last night. They are going in the greenhouse tonight so are they are nice and snug, just in case.

Lettuces that are being grown as a catch crop where the beans are just about to go.

An Iceburg lettuce. I’ve not grown these before and from the way that they are coming on, they will be very good.

And a tiny, tiny pea pod. Such excitement!

Risk of Ground Frost

According to the Met Office, there is a risk of ground frost tonight. Which doesn’t surprise me as the skies are very clear and it feels cooler. The air temperature is predicted to be at 4C which means a ground frost is likely.

I must be becoming something of an experienced gardener… as my memory has told me not to jump into action planting tender plants until nearly the very end of May. We often have a hard frost after long and hot balmy days which we take to mean that summer is at long last here and lets face it, in some years that is it. (Take April last year for instance!)

Our little plot is at the top of a gently rolling slope, which means a frost being heavier than air it will roll away from us. Last year for instance we had a late hard frost and many peoples potatoes and beans were damaged, ours were fine as the frost had sloped off down the hill away from us. It was quite spectacular walking up the hill the next morning to go and inspect our crops and looking at the progression of damage and how the land lies in relation to the damage. (I do understand if your version of spectacular is not the same as mine!)

I found it very informative. It really stood me in good stead, when the gentle banter came about in the summer, about lack of rain and how it runs away from you down the hill and how dry our plot would become. (although How exactly, one or two of the old boys managed to squeeze this gentle banter in with all the rain we actually had, defies even me!) I was able to reply that “at least I’m not in a frost hollow… how badly were you damaged? didn’t touch us at all”. They normally laugh and realise they have met their match…

Anyway enough of this bantering, I shall not risk planting my beans for another few days and go and do some weeding and constructing of bean frames instead.

Casting off.

I’m afraid I haven’t got piccies. But I have finished two pairs of Fetchings in different lengths and My So Called Scarf in Malabrigo (dusty). I love, love, love, the way the stitch pattern looks on this scarf. I hate, hate, hate, knitting it. It makes my fingers and hands ache. (and it used to make my brain ache as well!) I think its because my hands are only used to simple knitting and this is slightly more involved.

I also have another problem with it. The cast on is lovely and neat, I did a long tail cast on and its fine, (well I’m happy with it) but the cast off, well, first I cast off on the plain (front) side, I didn’t like that and it made it look lacy at the end. Then I tried to cast off on the purl side using a purl cast off, I didn’t like that. So then I have cast off on the purl side but with a knit cast off. (is this making sense!) and although it doesn’t seem as lacy, (although it does a bit) its made it flair out.

And then I realised, I actually don’t know very much about casting off.

Hubby and I have had a bit of a weird weekend. We have both been waking up with headaches feeling a little washed out and quite tired. Nothing you can put your finger on, but enough to annoy you. So basically we have done nothing all weekend apart from sleep. (which is why I’m up at this hour as I’ve slept all afternoon)

Just as hubby was about to slink up the stairs early yesterday evening, he had a call from the nursing home his Father is in and he had to dash down there (an hours drive). His Dad’s much better today, it was just an infection needing antibiotics. The last couple of months have been quite exhausting in one way or another.

I haven’t even been grocery shopping this week, so it was a sort of ready steady (without the speed element) Cook! menu this evening. Fortunately there were sausages (in the freezer), an onion, spuds, and a butternut squash (don’t they keep well in the fridge) that had been there for weeks. Some frozen chicken stock, tinned sweetcorn and a nice piece of fresh ginger.

So we had, sweetcorn and ginger soup followed by sausage casserole, (with carrots and tinned toms) mashed spuds and roasted butternut squash. And there is enough soup left for my lunch and enough sausage casserole for the boys tomorrow.

As we haven’t been down the plot to work, hubby went to water tonight, I must get down there tomorrow and plant some beans, (after I’ve done my five day, seven day and as far as I can see weather forecasts!)

And on that note, I’m off to bed.