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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Hurray! Rain!

We so desperately need some rain, and though it isn't exactly lashing down it is making for very happy plants.....and weeds. You can almost hear them slurping. To be fair a lot of the garden is damp under the crust, which we try not to disturb any more than we have to. But the garlic is looking very tired with yellow leaves and soft stems. They, along with onions, sit near the top of the dryest part of the garden. I hope the rain will perk them up, there are hundreds planted.

Elsewhere in the garden everything is coming along nicely. The courgettes, along with three local pale fruited plants from the market, have been put ot into their little moated mounds and covered with water bottles with bases removed to protect them from the cool nights. The beans have been sown and new seed area has spinach, chard, salad and herbs sown. A lot of the stuff I intend to freeze, they are not nice bottled (to our British taste anyway) so we will be trying to like frozen veg. I have to say that frozen courgettes, once dismissed as revolting, are great shoved in the woodburner oven with thicly sliced onions.
We had two days without water this week, so hot water bottles and washing up water was utilised to water the drills before sowing seed. Good job I am lazy emtying the bottles!
Bought courgettes, rather larger than our own dark green producing plants

Mini courgette houses

Important supervisers, Bella almost invisible in the shade.
Look what Dave dug up. No idea what is is (was) yet but ugh!

Thrown to the chooks, Darcy claimed the prize but was mugged by Chubba who didn't pause to see what it was, just swallowed. She can swallow a shrew whole.

Peas and broad beans, several varieties to see what does OK in the heat
There are lots of apricots on the tree.

And talking of the garden, Venka was round yesterday and was marvelling at the tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse, "Super....bravo" says she. I was a little confused as she started hers a lot earlier than mine, but it seems that might have been too early and they are very lanky, where mine are small and compact. So it might be me giving her plants this year!

The reason she and Jordan were round is because the water had stopped flowing from their pipe, attached to a pump in our well. After the saga of the knotted hose pipe (our pipe got wrapped round their pump and we couldn't free it as it is a very deep well) which was still there but tied to the frame at the top to keep it out of the way. They are not sure why their pump is not doing it's job, but I suspect that, as their's is not submerged, the low water table is causing problems and their old pump is just not able to cope with having to reach further. Our's is still being fixed so we have no pump either, but is submersible so should be OK when we get it back. They have said that the son-in-law will be over on Saturday to give a hand to Jordan and Dave to pull it up. We are hoping they will put it in their own well as they only had it in our's because they have been watering this, our English neighbours' and their own gardens, so was more convenient. But at least it would mean that our hose will have nothing to get tangled on!

While they were here they had a mooch aroung the chickens. Though Venka comes to see the chicks when they are babies, Jordan has never been around. He was very approving of the work Dave has done with the Shumen house in making it predator proof. Next there was the inspection of the new room with internal stairs, interesting to them as Jordan had done the original renovation years ago after Venka's mother moved out. Dave's kitchen units passed muster and the woodburner approved.

They are still wary of the dogs though!!!!

Went to the market yesterday for a couple of packs of seeds and the courgette plants. The seed were sunflower in many colours (lost our's), a contorted chilli (Dave's choice) and some squat peppers used for a really meaty pickled veg. We usually double back and call in at the animal market on the other side of town, though I tend to sit in the car. Dave likes to know what is being sold, no idea why, but it was a busy day with ex-batt chickens, chicks of all ages, guinea fowl and ducks. There were a couple of cows mooching about, donkeys, goats and horses. One poor goat had met it's end and was being butchered, another good reason for Dave to leave me in the car.
OMG, thinks the old donk...I hope that doesn't happen to me!

This colt was bonkers, but there were a good few other horses, no doubt a mare or two in season at this time of the year.

On leaving the market I had a soft moment. A bitch came trotting down the road on the opposite side, with a tiny pup trying to catch her up and crying. The dog situation is so heartbreaking sometimes. There were a couple more pups in a yard. No doubt this happens every time she goes off, but it is so hard to see.

Dave has started on some 'quick' paintings to try to sell at the car boot sale. Starting with woodpeckers, Syrian and green. They will be lacking in the detail of a commission, but are still striking.
With the weather being so warm we have been able to eat outside a lot was 27 in the shade yesterday. A brolly has been bought to keep the sun off and we are enjoying it while we can. Later the insects will take the fun out of it. I made the little pullet eggs from Darcy and Pearl into smoked salmon scotch eggs, very tasty with salad and home made mayo.
Cute little eggs, but so fresh that they were almost impossible to peel

The freshest lettuce, lightly pickled cucumber with fennel and tomatoes

Chives, chervil and fennel, all happily shooting up.

The flowers are doing well in the garden, the colours delightful and the insects appreciative.
Pale pink anemone

A couple of pelargoniums

Brilliant pink anemone
And a couple of insects to finish.
Can you see it? An orange ladybird with no spots

The tiny moth, the size of a little finger nail.

Bee on a dead nettle.
The recipe for the Scotch eggs is pretty simple. For the six pullet (same size as bantam) eggs I used one standard sized salmon fillet and about 80g of smoked salmon. I whizzed up herbs, in this case chervil and chives, with a little of the fish, added a desert spoon of fresh breadcrumbs and the rest of the fish, a couple of grates of lemon zest and salt and pepper, pulse but be careful not to go too smoothe, it will turn to slime. Chill very well while you boil and peel the eggs. Roll the eggs in flour and carefully mould a sixth of the fish mixture round the egg. It will feel very soft and you may worry that it will not stick, but persevere. Dunk in beaten egg and then fresh breadcrumbs and chill in the freezer while you heat the oil for deep frying. You can do a quick dunk in very hot oil and transfer to a baking tray and cook in the oven for ten mins max to cook the fish and some of the oil should leech out. Or fry at about 160, turning regularly till golden. Eat warm, they are a bit dry cold.

For large eggs, double the fish amount.

1 comment:

  1. As the rain has arrived should I build an ark and go to the market for two goats, two donkeys, two cows, two horses two ducks etc.