Pesky insect take two…

Hi again,

Because of other reasons I decide to take myself down to my local doctors, generally doctors and I don’t mix well.. Its not them, its me, I’m the same with dentists, I tend to shake. During my consultation I show the doc my insect wound, he looks at it…. and then is quite interested, so I tell him the story. He tells me it was most probably a Tick.. “A tick”, I say.. “Yes a tick”,,.”Oh” I reply. Then he explains, that insects don’t leave body parts in the wound, and from my explanation of it all (remember the removal of the body part that was causing the infection) it was most probably a tick. I’m sure its going to be just fine… 🙂 Unless,….

Pesky insect.

On Sunday at the plot I was bitten by an insect on my leg. I didn’t think anything off it, later that night I take a couple of ibuprofen as I’ve found in the past that they can bring swelling from insect bites down and carry on.

Come Monday, there is a continous but very small stream of clear serum trickling down my leg. I look at the bump again, decide it is getting bigger but soon my body would take care of things..

Very early Tuesday morning, about 3 a.m. I’m woken because the bite is now starting to feel quite painful and is enough of a worry that action must be taken. I pad downstairs and look at my leg. “Oh, right!” I think. The area is now an infected, rock hard and becoming rather egg like in a Four to Five inch circle, the streaming of gunk has increased and I realise that there is a tiny black area right in the middle. It must be a body part of the insect left in it.

Hubby pads downstairs at 6 a.m. and looks at me in slightly worried tones. “My leg hurts”, I tell him. He looks, then dismantles a pair of binoculars to get at the eyepiece and looks again and tells me that there does look like there is something left in it. I scrub up and try to remove the offending body part. I succeed.

I sleep alot on Tuesday and last night I slept for a solid 13 hours. Which even for me who likes her bed is unheard off. I feel much better for it, the area is now soft again, the infected area is only an inch across and the scab is dry.

It must be the weekend for insect bites, two of hubby’s colleagues have suffered from insect bites this weekend, one of which, his leg has swelled so much he was unable to use it and has ended up in hospital!

Happy 19th to our darling son.

Its our beautiful first born sons 19th birthday today. Doesn’t time fly! He has spent it with friends at The Motor show in London, which from various mobile phone conversations, he has thoroughly enjoyed. I’m hoping to spend some time with him tomorrow, although as he has gone public about his new girlfriend, who is lovely, I now have (and quite properly so) competition for his affections.

What a scorcher today was. The weather person has been promising me (I take this very personally!) rain since Friday. The plot is very dry and we are desperate for a good downpour. Which as it happens is promised on Tuesday.

Fingers Crossed.

We harvested the shallots today, along with the first of the runner beans, and some very nice looking beetroot. We ate the first of our courgettes yesterday which were very tasty and our tomatoes are just starting to ripen. We were given two lovely globe artichokes which made a fine addition to this evenings meal and I also have some french beans just coming to perfection which will be part of tomorrows supper.

I’m Back.

I’m on a borrowed laptop from a good friend of mine. Thanks R. 🙂

I was starting to hyperventilate about being computer less for a whole week. I hadn’t realised quite how bad my addiction had become. But R quickly came to my rescue and I only had to do my damsel in distress routine a tiny bit, before he quickly offered me the loan of his laptop.

On a positive note, this little laptop is soooooo speedy compared to my ten year old mac. Its a joy. Which means,, that my lovely, being made to my specifications, soon to be mine, can’t wait to get my grubby little mits on, mac, will be Woooondeeerfuuul. “Sighs, with Bliss”

On a negative note, I will have lost just a little bit of stuff, the one thing I will have lost is a little video that I took of my Dad acting the fool 😦 Fortunately I had backed up just a few days ago, so its not as bad as it could be.

So, I’m just about to go and have a look around R’s harddrive and see what he “Really” gets up to….. LOL..

Only Joking R… honest!

The Plot

Just to warn you, this is picture heavy.

The results came in and we gained 72 1/2 points out of 100.

I’ve had a couple of requests (actually only two, but thats enough.. lol) to share my plot, warts and all, as we came 5th out of 154 plots in the best kept plot competition on our allotments judged by independent judges from the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd. (which according to our allotment secretary came all the way from Essex!)

This is our second season, it won’t be a full two years until February. The first three months on our allotment were spent digging the whole plot, I did rather alot of that, some days I could hardly get down the stairs my muscles were so stiff, and removed barrow loads of mares tail and other rather ugly long rooted weeds, whilst hubby dug out the footings for our second hand greenhouse, as we had hoped to get a plot for some eight months, and the second hand greenhouse had been dismantled some five months before we got the plot. I think hubby did a wonderful job at resurrecting the greenhouse as it really did come back from the dead.

He then put the footings in and built my shed. You need a shed, yes, its useful to store tools etc, make tea, store things, pot things on, but even more importantly than all of that, as a girl, you need a shed, well, and a bucket. And also a hook and eye to attach to the inside of the door and door frame to prevent a gust of wind showing tomorrows washing.. or worse!

Anyway thats the gist of it all, I had no idea we had been nominated, it was a shock, so, this is our plot. And just before we go on, I grow everything myself from seed. I’m a busy beaver come late February and am to be found sat in my shed, listening to the radio, actually its normally radio one or mercia, as my hubby is far too educated to listen to such rubbish and my boys would just look at me with pity in their eyes, in five layers of clothes, two pairs of hand knitted socks, (by me) and some gorgeous Fetchings, which are pick pocket type gloves and knitted by me. I have a kettle, various cup of soups and on a good day some hot chocolate, I must remember the Rum this winter. I feed the birds, they are wonderful, its like my very own hide.. I adore it.

The start of the plot taken from the shed. Personally I think its a good idea to put your greenhouse as close to your shed as possible. If your worried about people that are really not nice, and who isn’t, I can understand putting your greenhouse as far away from the track as is possible, but why not put your shed there too. (so many have the greenhouse at the other end of their plot to the shed) When I’m planting seeds, pricking out, potting on its right, that the greenhouse is next door. Note, the greenhouse longest side is east west, to gather as much sunlight as possible.

You might note the extra chairs, its my mothers fault, just as we had rescued two lovely chairs from the tip, she gave us her old set…

Inside of the greenhouse, with my toms, seven varieties three of each, along with some aubergines, which I must pot on. Did you note my marigolds to help prevent whitefly?

Just to show you some little tricks. Hubby has built an inside bamboo cage. The toms really seem to like it.

And,,, from reading allotment sites I learnt many different ideas, one of which was to cut of the bottom of pots and plant the tomato plant in them and then into grow bags. This really aids watering. We water every single day at half strength of tomato feed.

Our compost and manure heaps. Its been a bit of worry with everything thats been going on with manure lately, (to my knitting friends I must tell you about that). We have some old straw which we use for the chickens which they seem to love and we compost that along with their waste. 3 and a half bins… (its to do with hubbys construction, dont ask me) We managed an 8 points out of 10 for this..


Runners and French beans.

Four rows of peas.

carrots, beetroot and parsnips.

leeks and globe artichokes

Onions, shallots and swede,, (the swede are the distraught looking weeds in a straight line)


red cabbage and summer cabbage, along with the start of the marigold soldiers.. Some people might think I’m daft, most of the time I would agree. This started as a thought one late summer evening as I watched the cloud of white fly having a lovely time on my brassicas as I was standing in my greenhouse. It really was bad, and I looked backwards and gave my marigolds that were stationed in my greenhouse a grateful nudge that they were looking after my toms so wonderfully. And then, it hit, me.. Well, if the marigolds have done such a wonderful job here, could they not help in the cabbage patch..

Sometimes its a long winter and thoughts travel through your brain, so, I decided to find out more about marigolds. What I found out, was that they can exhibit a strong chemical from their roots which can kill other plants,, … not so good then… and that they attract slugs. … Okay..

So I thought, Pots,, thats the thing, place them in pots, so … none of that chemical root business and if the slugs make a bee line but get distracted by my cabbage plants on the way, just remove the pots to the house.

So, far the slugs have not been a problem.. I’ll let you know in the autumn what the whitefly thought of them…

brussel sprouts.

Best brussel sprouts on the whole site.. (according to the judges). These are Wellington.

Strawberries, blackcurrants and raspberries.

Some very young lettuces that are suffering in the heat.

Potatoes in dustbins, we ran out of room on the site, this was the only to grow spuds.


A shot of the plot,

chilli’s that I had forgotten about.

Normality returns, Mandy’s shed, scruffy devil ain’t she. I do so love it though.

And blackcurrants picked today and the last of the raspberries.

In the top twenty!

This morning I thought I would mooch along to the plot to continue with hoeing the strawberry bed, a job that was left half done yesterday. As I entered the site I saw our allotment secretary, exchanged pleasantries as you do and he said, “You have a white stick placed at the front of your allotment”. “What?” says I. “You have a white stick” he repeats. The penny really isn’t dropping for me and I haven’t got a clue what he is on about. “Your in the top twenty”. “Top twenty?” I must be sounding extremely thick by this point. “Yes, your in the top twenty of the best kept plots, the independent judges will start their final judging in about an hour” Oh Flip, I think. “I’d better go and start hoeing then” I reply to him as I quickly scamper up to the plot, Charlie in tow.

I had intended to do a little light hoeing and give Charlie a good grooming, these plans were quickly abandoned. Bearing in mind that I hadn’t even thought about the competition or at least when I did, I thought never in a million years would we ever be good enough to stand any sort of chance. Well, a couple of independent judges have thought differently.

So for the next two and a half hours I worked extremely hard, weeding and hoeing and strimming and then weeding some more. I’m not completely happy, its far from weed free, if I’d known we’d been nominated I might have spent more time up the plot this weekend.

I do think we will be twentieth, but then just being in the top twenty out of 154 is not too shabby, not too shabby at all.

The judges said to me that our tomatoes were the best by far that they had seen (they had seen well over half by this point) and also our brussel sprouts were the most advanced and best they had seen.

Saint Pierre

These tomatoes are called Saint Pierre and are very much in my thoughts. As you can see, the tomatoes are becoming a very good size and I can just see that this one is starting to ripen.

Saint Pierre are a gourmet variety from France and we are looking forward to trying our first one with a little basil (home grown of course!) and a nice fresh buffalo mozzarella.

Shallots

We like shallots, unfortunately I never seem to remember that when ordering them as I only have one row. Perhaps its the price of them that puts me off. We like their flavour in cooking and we really like them pickled. Although as yet I haven’t had nearly enough of a surplus to pickle any. These shallots are just starting to die back, they should be ready for picking in a couple of weeks.