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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Peaches in the pool

With the temperatures last week creeping over 40c it has been a bit uncomfortable here recently, especially at night when trying to sleep. So we are a pair of grouches and the dogs are spending a lot of time panting and slumbering. Dave has been sleeping on the tiled floor downstairs as the temperature in the bedroom, fan on and windows open, has been in the thirties and there is a lot of sweating happening. I, on the other hand, have no choice but to try to sleep in bed as I am not able to relax anywhere else. So sleepless nights continuing for all. The dogs sleep wherever they long as it isn't on the bed (though Bella tried that one!)

So the pool has been invaluable in keeping us cool. A part empty when the garden needs water and top up from the well keeping the water as cold as possible...and shockingly so if Dave has just filled it. Bliss. One day I was presented with the first peach of the season from our own tree by the old outside loo. It was the juiciest, sweetest and most fragrant warm-from-the-sun white fleshed peach in the world, stupendously delicious, a real treat. Bought ones just will not do now. Rather a lot of juice ended up running down my chin, but with all that water who cares? There are quite a few still on the tree despite not being able to resist, and all of three on the tree which has risen from a stump on the 'lawn', cut down every time the undergrowth was cut down in the six years the house was empty.
I didn't have the camera in the pool when I was presented with the first peach.....

.....but I got my act together by the third time


The recovered tree peach, one of three

Despite the weather Dave has not stopped working through the day, with frequent dips and worried Venka looking on and warning about burning. The fence dividing the garden is now finished and the geese confused about how they are supposed to get into their patch, not the brightest creatures.
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Dave has had to stop the geese from going out onto the lane, it's bad for his blood pressure! He had to stop letting them out during the day as old ladies going for their morning shopping were getting too much attention, and some of them are very small and not great on their pins. But the the other evening Dave and Bella had the geese out and Venka came out with a bag of dried herbs for me. While Dave's attention was on Bella who was sitting nicely as Venka is still frightened of her, the gander started honking at Venka and nibbling on her toes, which made her dance a bit. Dave's nerves will take no more, so the geese will be confined to the garden from now on.
The geese do this several times a day. You can imagine what a small person might feel having the big white fella having a go.

All the birds seem to be coping with the heat OK. There is a good amount of ventilation in the main (one time nursery) shed and the Shumen shed is in the shade most of the day, but they are forever panting and holding their wings out, a worrying thing when it first happens but we are used to it now. The earth by the garden wall gets a good soaking once the sun has moved off it which gives the girls somewhere cool to dig and bathe. The geese seem totally unaffected. Unfortunately we lost another chick, it might have been at the bottom of the pile as they are not perching yet. The other four are starting to spend time with my misfits...because they can. Their progress around the garden has been curtailed by the new fence which means they are 'confined'  to the shumen pen, goose pen, misfit pen and beehive area. Until they are too big to fit through the fence. My girls take no notice of them, though we tried putting a shumen in there and that wasn't well recieved. The older chick still with the misfits has become part of the group by going to bed first and parking herself in the middle of the highest perch before the others come in to retire for the night.
We're starving......

The older ladies, Cagney and Chubba, wondering where the dead tomato plants are

We have had a couple of firsts in the food line this week. Went to the supermarket to do a main shop and bought a chunk of ginger. I tried to grow some this year but despite the rhizome I planted having buds on it, it didn't get going. Luckily it's cheap. But I have been thinking of making a ginger cake soon and the recipe I have found calls for stem ginger in syrup. This is expensive in the UK and I haven't seen it here so I had a go at making some. I didn't bother turning the chunks to make it look pretty, but I now have a jar of ginger in syrup ready and waiting. It called for boiling in a couple of changes of water to take the fire out of it, and I kept the final water, added lemon, honey and sugar, and have put it away in case either of us has a cough or sore throat. Also made some apple jelly with sage to go with pork or chicken, but that will be for us I think, people buying chutney are not ready for such an adveturous condiment. (I didn't realise flavoured jelly was a novelty, we have had them all our lives made by my late mum.) Also this week I have dried the grapes from the wall vines which were ready first, so have a couple of bags of raisins to use, with the ones on the apricot side when they are ready, possibly next week. We were going to give the grapes to Jordan for rakia, but there are not enough to bother with.

This is Rae, ur first raisin, not huge but all our's

I have already used some in chutney

There is not a huge amount going on in the garden now. The butternut vines are dying back revealing that we still have far too many fruits for our use. The yellow peppers are starting to colour up but most of the plants are weedy. The squat peppers are still looking poorly too. Unsure if we will have many to pickle, but I fancy doing some mixed bottles of yellow, squat and tortured chilli to give away. We are starting to get the odd shower of rain which might help. So much better than a hose. Other than that the brassicas are romping away and we have far too much sprouting broccoli and though I could eat it every day, Dave thinks of it as a winter veg and is not over keen, so another reason not to bother growing summer varieties next year. The cauli plants look good though there is no cauli growing yet, as do sprouts. The cabbage is looking a bit scorched but are starting to heart up.I have picked as many bean pods as we need and they are ready for either eating or planting next year.
Dave char grilling the peppers Venka gave us in the shade of the sunflowers

The morning glory which took so long to get going is now romping away, covering wall, vine and whatever else it can get a grip on. The blooms are huge and stunning, well worth waiting for as the cosmos which grew so well is wilting in the heat. We are used to them going on well into the cooler weather so that was a bit of a shock. As was the demise of all the dahlias. But they were flowering super early, you can't have everything.
We went out last night. The chap who some might remember arranged his sixtieth birthday bash early summer but was rained off when a mini tornado hit, tried again when his family came over for a visit. Amazingly the poor man was rained on again, there was not supposed to be any of that till late at night, and with the weather we have been having you would think it was a good bet that it would be fine and war. But no, you couldn't make it up, poor thing. We didn't stay long, but only because we were so tired.


  1. I just love your posts . Makes me dream of having a smallholding ..Two allotments and chickens in my back garden will have to do .

    1. That was our dream too, but had to make do with chickens in the garden and tiny plot (waited years for an allotment) but we were getting older and there was no way we could afford it in the UK. The rest is history.

      And thank you for reading and commenting. It means a lot.