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Saturday, 16 May 2015

Everything's smelling lovely

A strange title maybe, but we do live in a rural village where most residents around us keep livestock, as do we, and warm and damp weather makes for some interesting aromas. But the acacia bloomed, now we have roses, sweet peas and the most gorgeous peony giving their scents...luckily they all seem to get on with each other. While in the veggie patch there is also scent from the broad bean flowers, and by the herbs the smell of sage and thyme as it warms. The nicotiana will take over soon.
A really dark rose

Our lovely pink rose which will continue to flower all summer

The climbing rose is going great guns

Mini ground cover sweet peas with a big scent

Our first standard sweet pea

The white scented peony

Bumble bee on the sage
Bought in the market for a few pennies

The pink peony has gone over already

Loads of buds on the hollyhocks

One pong which brought a bit of sadness was onion. I have pulled up fifty or so of the blown bulbs to make room for the sprouts. The little bit of usable onion is chopped and in the freezer to use in soups. The rest of the onions from that bed will be used as and when we need them. Hopefully they will bulk up a little. The new ones Dave planted where the sprouts were going to go are growing away nicely so hopefully they will do OK.

The red onions seem to be doing OK, if a little sparse

I have frozen the first batch of peas, they are small plants so lots of bending. They are not massively prolific and I am hoping I will have space somewhere to put some more in. I will plant British varieties which are more familiar....unless these suddenly do well. It's difficult to know what you are buying in the market.

The broad beans are coming on with the pods now six inches long, with the later sown ones now flowering well. We are eating spinach and the chard is growing well. The celery is also doing OK and a friend gave me some Bulgarian plants so I will compare the two for flavour and see what will be best next year. The potatoes are looking good too, with flowers buds showing. At last I have got round to sowing the parsnips. I decided to wait until the soil warmed hoping for a faster germination this year.
Potato flowers

Broad beans

In the bottom bed things are growing really well. Carrots, beets, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweetcorn, brassicas, courgettes, peppers and aubergines. The butternut squash and melons are just in. No idea where the sweet potatoes are going! The toms are flowering well, the cougettes have lots on them, peppers flowering and cucumbers have fruit. It's all going worryingly well!
Carrots, beets, borlotti, climbing beans and tomatoes

Flowers coming on the borlotti

First cucumber

Huge flowers on the "chocolate stripes" tomato


Red cabbage and courgettes

Tuscan kale

Sunday lunch


Sweetcorn. The butternut squash will scramble amongst them
The rhubarb is taking off at last

The small early pears looking good

On the poultry front little ducky has been weaned! All rather pathetic really. Cagney has started laying again which was bad enough as she spent ages in the nest box and ducky wandered around looking for her. Now he knows where she is and if he feels like it will sit near her. But last night she decided to join the others on the perch for the night. Ducks don't perch, so poor little ducky was wandering under the perch squeaking. I have to admit I was a bit worried as he hasn't got any feathers still. A chick of his age would be feathered and perching. So he spent a bit of a chilly night on his own, but is out chasing flies and bathing with the bigger ducks when there are only a couple in the pond, independent of Cagney. One of the adult ducks is looking as if she might go broody, she was sitting on a couple of eggs in the corner of the dust barn but not laying, the eggs were cold. So we have marked them and will see what develops. Apart from that, all is calm....but chicks due this weekend.
Ducky is not exactly beautiful at the moment, but full of character...and very fast!

Dave had to cut some branches from the apricot as they were getting tangled with the wires

Much appreciated, though there is no fruit this year

Hiding...but I can see you

Eyes off the tomatoes!

Mini cherry toms coming on well
Broody duck maybe?

Happy among the weeds

Handsome Sevi

We have been socialising again. Went to pick up some bacon for Dave then into town for lunch with a friend. A nice meal in lovely surroundings. Dave ordered a courgette salad which was really nice and a good idea for using some up. Simply shredded and dressed, with chopped anchovies and olives. Very tasty. then it was off to the cash and carry where I got some glace cherries so cherry and almond cake will be next.
Courgette salad

Dave's chicken

Mushroom risotto

Made with long grain rice
Forgot to take pics of their puds cos I didn't have one.

We were going to go to the art shop to order some canvasses but with chatting time ran away, so we had to go back next day and had lunch out again! (Not so nice) Called in at the river to see what was what and the water level is now nearer it's normal level. The birdsong was tremendous....but there were two voices missing. There were no signs of kingfishers which were so prolific two years ago before the floods, or bee eaters in the colony by Dave's swimming place. There is some sort of excavation/building work going on on the other side of the river so maybe the disturbance was too much. We didn't actually see that many birds, a lot of cormorants and a heron, but there were plenty about. I was standing under a willow tree and it seemed to start raining, but the sky was blue. On investigation the tree was covered in 'cuckoo spit' which seemed to be dripping in the heat. Yeuch.
The cafe (we used to have breakfast there when we were house hunting) is right outside the Rose shop, selling Bulgarian rose products, highly scented

We ordered olive salad, but it must have been a bad translation as this was potato salad with sweetcorn and bullet peas

Dave's kiwi smoothie

A rather hard pizza with ....bullet peas and sweetcorn, and pepper
Flowers coming out by the river

Bright red poppies everywhere

Cascades of wild rose


Lovely green

Willow with cuckoo spit

On a bend in the river there was a sandy bank which is new, full of mussel shells and water snail shells. So hopefully that's a sign of clean water. As Dave can't stay out of the river I hope so.

We are also going out tomorrow (Sunday) to a family party in the village. More of that next time.

I really do have to get on with making cards and jam/chutney for the next car boot though or there will be no point going,,,,,and we don't want to miss out on a good old chinwag!
The pool has died! It has a few punctures, which is odd as it has been in the spare room. It's getting hot so a bit of a shame


  1. thank you for the catch up, the garden is coming along nicely. You live in a lovely part of the world!

    1. We certainly do Gill. Though, like everywhere, there are those who do not appreciate what we are lucky to have and do their best to spoil it. But we are hoping to get out and see as much as we can this and animals permitting.

  2. Your veggies are much further forward than the ones on our allotment. It is still chilly here and the soil is only now beginning to warm up.

    1. We do have the advantage that when the sun is out it really is warm and the soil warms quickly. With a lot of things I have found waiting and direct sowing is the best way

  3. Great post! Love seeing how the veg are coming along, you've plenty there to keep you busy this summer. Poor ducky, hasn't it grown though! Dave must be pretty tough as I bet the river water is still cold! You also have some interesting and yummy food at your restaurants, though maybe the pizza topping was not something I'd necessarily fancy .... :-) And bravo, a male scorpion fly!

    1. Mandy, you are a star! This hydrangea has several residents and I have to admit I didn't know if this one was normal or not.

      Dave has been known to go into the river in winter but last year was somewhat hampered by the all year flood waters. He doesn't stay in long and I put my foot down when he wanted to go in when the snow was melting in the mountains, didn't want him getting a shock from iced water!

      As for the pizza, our local town does a good one, we will not try the cafe in VT again unless we are wanting an omelet, which we know are good!

  4. Lovely post, lovely photos. Here in Cornwall we like to think we are pretty early with our veg, but, I have to say yours are more advanced than ours. Mind you it has been a chilly May this year. Maggie xx

    1. Well into my spring veg mixtures at this time of the year, so only need a bit of this and a bit of that. Just love to be able to say I don't need to buy veg!

  5. As always a very inspiring garden post, which really puts my garden to shame. I think for us the key is water. We haven't yet sorted out our irrigation properly so our results are going to be very poor until we do. I have a question that is chutney related. would you share a recipe perhaps? All the chutneys I make need a good three months to sit and mature or they are too acidic, but yours seem to be pretty much ready to go judging by your posts. :-)

    1. We are so lucky having as much well water as we can use....great for keeping the paddling pool cold now the weather is blazing....mostly. Most thirsty stuff is grown in trenches and not watered any more than twice a week as the water is concentrated at the roots. Beans, tomatoes and anything else that can stand it are given some of our compost in their trench to help retain water and condition the soil. I have to admit my first year here I panicked when all the veggies wilted in the heat and reached for the hose, but I now realise I should leave them be and stick to watering times.

      Two of the recipes I use are good fresh, but really good after six months, and are very popular. They are the only ones I buy stuff for at this time of the year. Most popular is the spiced tomato...I use more garlic and onions , double the amount here. And also a good tablespoon of hot curry powder instead and a teaspoon of hot chilli flakes instead of the powder.

      The other is beetroot.... But I change that a bit as Balsamic is dear, use half and half with wine vinegar or whatever, and use half brown sugar half white, and use whole cloves suspended in one of those tea ball things as I haven't been able to find ground...spices are cheap here so I am not going to get them from the UK unless I have to.

    2. I have been so busy of late I have only just got around to catching up with your blog - thank you so much for the recipe links, I will take a gander around those sites later today. Hubby has just now started lamenting the lack of chutney to go with cheese so I better get to it. Great posts as always. And fabulous garden... well jel!