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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Oh dear....

.....this car boot sale is really not taking off. Sunday was the fourth one they have held in the village and there were a grand total of.....four sellers! We arrived around 8 as requested and were the first there, so managed to park where we would be shaded from the sun by the huge trees in the square. We didn't unload, just sat in the car to see what would happen...and sat...and sat. Eventually a neighbour turned up and we chatted...and chatted. Oh dear. Eventually another seller turned up, he looked around and made for the cafe. More of our neighbours turned up (and we really do appreciate their constant support) so we decided to unpack the car and set the table up. Then someone else we know came with some bits and bobs to sell. So we chatted again. The final seller of the day was the plant man, but even the usual crowd of curious locals have given up on it. And the weather was good this time too.
At least this chap kept us amused trying to get a picture

Despite all this, a lot of my regular buyers did turn up and I am extremely grateful that they made the day worthwhile, not just because they continue to support me, but also for chat and banter and we did, actually, have a good day. All cake was sold and a lot of chutney.

One lovely event of the day was meeting up with an old friend from back in the UK. We had met originally when she offered me some damsons from her tree through a forum we were both members on. She was living in Cheshire having returned from Bulgaria on health grounds. She was living in a rented house in a stunning part of Cheshire, which I was very envious of and which would have suited me down to the ground. Anyway, we lost touch and recently made contact only to find out that she used to live in the next village to us. How strange is that? She is over on a fortnight's holiday and it was lovely to see her and catch up on all the news. Unfortunately it has coincided with Dave helping out a friend for a couple of weeks so we have not been flexible with time, but will be meeting again on market day when Dave has arranged to be home.

Meanwhile I am pottering in the garden. The heavy work such as weeding out the triffids that are growing almost overnight with the ideal growing conditions, will have to wait for Dave to be back. I am weeding as I harvest and trying to fit in short bouts around processing and baking and making cards and cleaning out chickens. The last of the broad beans have now gone into the freezer. We have enjoyed beans and peas in salads as well as just plain, and last night had a lovely risotto with broad beans, peas, mange tout and courgette. The courgettes are coming thick and fast, of course we have far too many plants but we weren't to know the weather would turn out so perfect for them. When we see Venka we must ask if she wants any for her animals or if she knows anyone who might need our excess....but we will need an interpreter! At the moment they are busy elsewhere trying to get their winter fodder harvested. The peas are done, but the mange tout and sugar snaps are still in the ground so we are using the peas forming in them as we do not need any more in the freezer. There are peppers forming on the straggly plants the geese haven't eaten...good job we planted too many. The newly sown beetroots and carrots are through and should get going well before the damp weather moves on....saying that last week was blisteringly hot and we had to water, but we are back to rain now. I have plaited the garlic which is now hanging in the cellar and we now have a greenhouse full of onions drying. I have to say that we are very disappointed with the overwintered onions, most of them are very small, though powerful, maybe because they didn't get going in autumn because of the dry weather. We still have the ones we planted this year to pull and hope they will be better.
The last of the broad beans. The big ones double podded for the risotto

First of the good sized French beans

These were the samll ones! The big ones went to the birds

Over filled mange tout, fine as peas

Oh my goodness...the weeds! There are onions here somwhere

Runners, nearly ready

The yellow beans so poular here, they will turn more yellow

Sad lookin toms, but with plenty of fruit

Some of the okra has come alive...ah well



Baby butternut squash forming


There are beet and carrot seedlings here, weeded just two days ago would you believe?
My first ever garlic plait.

Eight altogether

When I look out of the shower room window into the garden behind us it is hard not to worry that my tomatoes and beans are looking more straggly than they should be. As well as having no weeds and everything in extremely straight lines, his beans are all uniformly growing upwards and even straight with the leaves all lying where they should be and forming a perfectly uniform curtain. But I am refusing to spray everything as they do, prefering to allow my plants to do their thing without too much interference and instead growing more than we need in case of failure. Saying that, we are now picking borlotti, french and yellow beans and the runners are not far behind. Now that they are doing so well the borlotti will be left to swell beans for stews in winter and I will be freezing some fresh for when I forget to soak the dried ones, hoping to do the same with the french beans later when we have had enough off them, which I will use to make our own baked beans.
The trouble with big weeds is you tend to pull the odd plant out with them, like this bean

The flower borders are continuing to flourish, with the thuggish but sweet smelling nicotianas growing ever bigger, as are the multi-coloured antirrhinums. The barren area at the side of the house where we had the pool last year has now burst into flower and is looking lush and herbs are in there somewhere! The dahlias are just gorgeous...but I have said that before. We have also had our first beautifully scented sweet peas, their perfume strong in the day when the nicotianas are resting. They are notoriously hard to get to the flowering atage here as it is usually too hot for them by now, but another upside to this wet weather.
A different kind of poppy, no idea where this came from

Snapdragons in all colours

The desert that is no-man's land (or the herb garden) filling up with flowers...and weeds

This year's seed sown thyme.....

........and sage

Our nasturtiums went in later than everyone else's

White echinacea...

....and pink

The straggly, limp bits of chrysanthemum Baba Danka gave us are about to burst bud

The pumkin which popped up in the flower border is doing and let live
Pelargoniums on the stairs

Our gorgeous Spencer sweet peas, what they lack in stature they make up in scent

The chickens are continuing their go slow as far as eggs are concerned. From ten layers we are getting just four or five a day where everyone else are overrun with too many eggs. Some of the ex-batts have had a little moult and that combined with the red mite problem we had may have contributed to it, also we don't really know how old the ex-batts are and they may be slowing down. They all look very well now though and Dave can't tell them apart (I don't know why, just because they are all brown doesn't make them the same...haha) One nearly had a problem the other day when it decided to take the largest goose on as they were being taken through the pen, and the goose grabbed it and wouldn't let go. The hen was a bit cocky as it had already got the dogs scared of it! Dave's broody is being less trouble than Cagney was in that she will go out and feed and water herself where we had to force Cagney out. Just as well really as she is a feisty one. When she is out one of the other hens nips in to lay in the broody box and I have seen both of them sitting in there, so Dave has to brave the dragon to remove the fresh egg. Rather him than me!

The geese continue to thrive despite one being rather accident prone (it tried to strangle itself on the fence when it wove it's neck in this time) and another trying to escape then panicking when it can't find it's way back in.

Proper big geese now

Not much happening in the kitchen besides chutney and freezing. But we are still really enjoying all the fresh veg. It is difficult to decide which veg to have, so as with the risotto, it is usually a mixture of whatever is ready, such as home made cheese and onion pie with bean salad (borlotti, french, broad beans, peas, carrots and herbs in honey mustard dressing) land cress, tomatoes and potatoes. So satisfying when the only bought stuff is the dressing ingredients and cheese and pastry ingredients.

And ending on a bug, Dave found this one...wonder why he wouldn't touch it, might be something to do with it's jaws!


  1. You certainly do keep busy! I like the pots going up the stairs.

    1. I thought we were taking early retirement....hahahahaha she laughs hysterically!

  2. Same here. But no one with a big garden can claim the retirement life!