Nature’s Bounty

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As Autumn wraps us in her chilly embrace, and the prospect of Winter’s icy fingers soon to be running down our spines, it was time to clear the garden of what remaining foods it would give up.

The first to give up their hidden gifts was the two potato plants that had survived. Although we have proved that it is possible to grow spuds in pots or other utensils, i would recommend you simply don’t.

Technically there were eight potatoes, but that seems a generous description of the tiny ones. It will not dissuade me from trying again next year, but was disappointing as I hoped for at least two meals out of them. Next up were the carrots, and they were the opposite as far as numbers were concerned, even if they were a little bit little.

At this point I decided to test a carrot and a spudlet. Boiled them both quickly for a few minutes, and gave them a munch. The spudlet was amazing. So tasty. The carrot was a little disappointing at this stage, but i do like my veg sweet while this fella was determined not to follow this simple guideline. The rest of the afternoon was spent disposing of the poor souls that hadn’t made it. This cull produced a couple of ‘cucumbers’, although nothing like you would see in the supermarket. And the last batch of tomatoes of the year. Also three garlic nearly-bulbs were kicking about in the soil.

All in all, not a bad haul, especially as there are still some salad plants not quite ready to give up for the year. Celebrated this bounty with fish and boiled garden spuds with garden mint and shored up with shop peas and a spud or two. You could tell the difference between the store bought and the fresh ones; they were worlds apart. Can’t wait to do it better next year.

Go-ville to Scoville

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After all the horrible weather, it was finally a good day to get out in the garden. I am worried to admit that the whole garden and self-sufficiency malarkey is way less fun when summer is being viewed from her glorious backside. The solar panels are hardly dragging any power from the few hours of sunshine we are currently getting, and it will only get worse. I am going to save up for some new panels; I originally had four, but they have slowly walked out on me leaving just the one. A lot of the tomatoes have not survived the winds, and Sylvester is not looking as happy as he once did.I am hoping to keep some of his seeds so he can once again prevail through his offspring.
On the bright side, I decided it was high time to make some chilli oil, as the chilli plants seem to be bearing up to the wind and rain with surprising fortitude. So picked a few chillis from the two plants that have borne fruit, and heated up the oil for them to bathe in.

I actually have no idea what either of these chillis are one of these plants is called, although I feel they will be needing names of their own soon. The larger ones were very mild, as I dabbed one on my tongue to test the heat. When it came to the smaller one, however, I touched it with my fingertip and then dabbed that onto my tongue. A moment of contemplation while the capsaicin paused for effect, then my tongue and lips went numb with a burning I haven’t experienced since living in Asia. I will admit I have never been a huge fan of ridiculously spicy foods, as eventually you cannot taste the food over the heat, but I am sure there should be international laws regarding this kind of chilli.

The sad thing is that having taken a research break to see if I still had the label for the plant and some research on Scoville scale websites, it turns out that the chilli in question, Paper Lantern, is only about 350,000 scovilles, which is about 233 times as hot as a jalepeño pepper, but this is still considered only moderately hot.

Anyway, I have put all of these into my chilli oil, so hopefully this will make some great toppings for salad and pizza.

 

Mainly pizza

If you are Chloe, this is for you

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Random post title I realised, but I needed to get a code for someone, so this is said information.
Please feel free to comment or email if this was helpful, even if you’re not Chloe lol

Click this link for the Curve Card

Use the code KDLWD for your referral and we both get a fiver in the account 😀

This is a link for a Starling account

Use Code LA98C08W and I get a little heart thingy on my app, not sure if it does anything, but it is worth knowing that Starling are awesome.

Anyway, click those links and share them with the world, and if Chloe is reading this, hi, and thanks for the help and let me know if these work 😀

Longer than Anticipated (that’s what she said)

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After a load of stress with internet and the suchlike, everything is back to normality, as soon as we work out what normal is.

Since the rain has returned to our sceptred isle, the grass in the back garden has become a nightmare. A friend of mine was recently jealous of my backyard greenery, but she doesn’t realise that to get some lawn hoovering done requires moving all the pots and flora so I can find room to get the lawnmower onto the grass.

The sudden turn in the weather has made life hard for the plants, some are drowning, and some are now cold. I would be the first to admit that I started things a little late in the year, but as I have no idea what I am doing, this should come as no surprise.  

After successfully growing a plethora of red and yellow tomatoes, I decided to have a tomato-off. Which of the contenders could T up the classic BLT? Well, this isn’t a telly quiz show so I won’t hold you in too much suspense. I was very surprised that the red ones were sweeter than the yellows. Sylvester will be disappointed, but I’m sure he won’t take it personally, as so far he is the only individually named tomato plant.

I will admit the loss of the internet for the last month has thrown me off my game a little, so I will try and get more organised in future, but here’s a random pic of a little dude enjoying what the slugs left of one of my sunflowers.

Morning thoughts

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I will apologise again for the lack of articles springing forth right now, but it is only a few days until the internet will be back up and in action. In the mean time I managed, after a long wait, to upload these pics as a brief post just to let you know I haven’t hung up the keyboard quite yet.

As I was about to cook breakfast this morning, I found the cat just sitting there staring out of the catflap, and I realised that see-through catflaps are just like patio doors for kitties. He sits there admiring the scenery and watching the world go by, and when it takes his fancy, he wanders out for a closer look. Deep, man, deep!

So we have finally had some rain, which is good news for saving water on giving the plants a soak, but bad news as now the slugs seem to think they have the right to come on out and help themselves to my food. Very much open to any friendly natural ways to discourage them from doing so, if anyone has any ideas.

I will sign off with a picture of the sexiest looking bulb of spring garlic I think I have ever seen, and hope to be back to regular service in the next few days.

A Change is as Good as a Rest

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I have decided to change my internet service provider, to better suit my high usage and low budget. The downside of this is that I currently have no internet access in the house. I feel very much hamstrung and have been spending a lot of time trying to remember how I used to survive without internet.

Worringly, I have no idea without checking my online calendars and diaries as to how I got on, and they would be understandably unforthcoming as if I hadn’t any internet I wouldn’t have been updating them. Luckily I have enough mobile intywebs to post this and add a countdown to the home screen detailing when normal service should resume.

Try not to miss me and don’t read anyone else’s blog while I’m gone.

The Yellow Tomato Wins

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Following my recent discovery regarding the ripeness of my cute little tomato bush, Sylvester, I was eager to taste the fruits of his, well, fruits.

Having just finished baking a fresh loaf of cheese and onion bread, I felt a BLT was very much in order. Ingredients all very simple. Two rashers of back bacon, two sumptuous yellow tomatoes straight off the bush, and fresh salad leaves.

As the bacon grilled, I smothered the bread in mayo, and sliced the tomatoes that were still warm from the sun. The bacon was quickly ready and was neatly slapped onto a slice.

Some decorating done with the greenery followed, and then just left the prize participant, the tomatoes. As an afterthought I finely chopped some of the younger leaves of the basil plant to sprinkle onto my creation.

A twist of pepper and pink salt and the sarnie was topped off with another delicious fresh slice of bread.

I can honestly say it was the best BLT I have ever tasted, and the tomatoes are what made it. My only regret now is that sadly Sylvester is a solitary bush, so I need to brush up on my knowledge and skills so I can reproduce his amazing attributes into another bush or two. Having never been a huge fan of tomatoes, it is amazing to suddenly find some that are tasty beyond compare.

The other tomato plants are coming along, and even some of the smaller varieties are starting to ripen. There are a few beef tomatoes that already look huge, but I fear they will not have the taste that Sylvester has brought to the party. I also feel saddened that now I have tasted the pinnacle of BLT’s, no other will ever be good enough for me.

As a bonus, here’s a sneaky peak under the covers of a Bunt BLT, as enjoyed in the garden in the sun.

Always Read Instructions

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This is Sylvester, my first tomato bush. I have a tendency to name things that most people wouldn’t bother, but I feel I take more care of things that have names. Sylvester was a rescue tomato; rescued from Lidls to form part of the founder membership of the veg and fruit garden. It seems like months ago, which it was, and in all this time he has just got bushier, and he has so many teeny tomatoes that he is a delight to have around the place.

Only issue I had with him; the tomatoes don’t seem to be ripening. They have been yellow now for weeks. They aren’t getting any bigger or dying, they are just sitting there being yellow.

This has been worrying me for a while so I eventually checked back with his growing instructions. Lo and behold, Sylvester produces little yella fellas.

So tomorrow, I am looking forward to a BLT using my homemade cheese and onion bread, bacon, with the L and T straight out of the garden.

Blessed are the Cheesemakers

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Cheese

I cannot deny that I’m excited. Today I have added cheese to the list of things I am happy making at home. The list is a long one, but until today did not contain cheese.

It still doesn’t contain pesto or hummus either, because although I’ve made them a couple of times, I’m still not happy making it. In fact last time I made hummus it took me half a day and …

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I like trees

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I know this seems a little random, as there is actually so much other stuff going on that I should probably keep you up to date with, but I thought a little appreciation for trees wouldn’t go amiss. Apart from the whole oxygen thing, they are generally unique and interesting. they almost have a personality of their own, and considering the ages they can reach, this seems understandable.

The tree pictured here is a prime example. It is almost like it grew specifically to be a training tree for kids to learn to climb on. It is a sylvan delight of branches and low hanging footholds, just waiting for someone to scale its lofty heights and enjoy the view from the top, or at least as high as courage will last.

I wonder how many children living locally climbed this with nervous parents looking on. Time moves ponderously onwards and the same kids are sitting underneath with their friends from school, enjoying the shade from the summer sun. It isn’t too long before they will be sharing a kiss with a crush, then maybe a loved one, then maybe a partner. We all grow, but as long as the tree is allowed to remain, it stays, implacable against the winds of time, while we get old.

I wanted to climb the tree, and I felt a momentary pang of sadness. I realised how long it had been since I had felt the wind in what’s left of my hair, high in the branches of a living organism that had been alive well before I was born and would probably still be there for decades to come. I very nearly gave in to my temptation, but realised that in the days of social media and with everyone having a camera in their pocket, I couldn’t live down having to be rescued by the fire service when I discovered I couldn’t get down.

Kids should climb trees, but I think adults should too occasionally, just remind them that the child from your past is still in there somewhere, and sometimes wants to come out and play.