So it is far that I have to offer up such massive apologies to both of the readers of this blog, although I am pretty sure both of them are google bots, but it has been an inexcusable amount of time since my last catchup.
I guess what has made me post is that it has been a year since I first saw the allotment that the council granted, and to admit that I miss some of the people that I have lost contact with since then. A year has had a birth or two, and a plurality of deaths. I guess if you want one, you have to put up with the other.
Anyway, there was spring, and I went to Bulgaria, narrowly avoiding being stuck in the country as the airports were close to closing.
So March brought lockdown and a lot of looking at the same four walls. Although I guess it was more a case of looking at the same two monitors for a few months. On the bright side the allotment was declared an open zone and free to visit, as long as we stayed away from people and vegetables that coughed.
Planted an array of potatoes, from Marris Pipers to Congo Blue, that are totally weird.
I feel that I should not go into the entire previous six months in one post, for a number of reasons, mainly because I am mildly inebriated due to the soporific effects of the home-brew that I have been cultivating for a while, so I may leave this post here; nobody is reading it anyway. If I am wrong, pop something in the comments just to gee me into writing the next instalment.
As per my previous post, chrimble day was bereft of the previous volunteers that were once eager to pluck parsnips from the soil. But what a gorgeous day; sunny, blue skies, utter silence. If you could block out the noise of the adjacent motorway anyway. Even those cars seems reverentially quiet, as if they didn’t really want to be disturbing anyone on the dayoffiest day of the year.
The only contributor to the parsnip proceedings was Lottie, the allotment cat, who offered sage wisdom with regards to proper hand/fork coordination. This led to successful excavation of a handful of ‘snips, and a sense of satisfaction that a Christmas tradition was born. Next year there will definitely be way more fresh food being dug up especially for the chrimble meal.
I don’t think you can get much fresher than being pulled out of the ground and then roasted in goose fat, before being ravenously devoured. If only more than one carrot had been willing to make the effort and grow.
For next year I definitely hope to have the majority of this plate dug up in the morning, making the freshest dinner possible. Even the sprouts, which might possibly be edible if fresh. I am even open to a vegetarian meal if anyone has any suggestions on what you can roast to make it as tasty as duck.
So merry December and looking forward to a great new decade, coming soon to a new year party near you.
So as the year draws to a close, it is time to look back and summarise what has transpired in the previous 12 months. Well the allotment was a huge bonus, and the fact that I will be enjoying fresh parsnips on Christmas Day, is worth it in itself. I have test driven the parsnips, and they are a triumph.
So it has been a year of losing some good friends, and gaining some new ones, but I always believe that when someone ghosts you, you gain two good friends in their place. And of course, their loss, and they weren’t really a friend if they drop out of your life etc etc. It’s a good lesson at this time of year to ensure you keep the good friends close. I will see how good my friends are when I have to trawl up to the allotment with volunteers on Christmas morning to dig up the parsnips. I foresee this being a job that will be fraught with a lack of companionship, but conversely, gotta be mildly nuts to be on an allotment on Christmas morning.
So with it being the premiere of Star Wars episode 9 first thing after midnight, it is time for my nap to prepare, and just pausing to wish everyone a merry Chrimble and may the force be with you.
This evening I will pop a link in the side navigation that will take you to one of the most awesome websites I have ever found. This will feature a plan of my allotment plot and what I will be growing, or at least attempting to grow. In the mean time, I have cleared one bed, and now have some sort of growing transpiring.
Having transplanted the rather poor crop of tomatoes that have grown this year, and some half dead spuds, it now looks like someone is tending to the place, rather than a stinging nettle farm. I will add a couple of pics, but it still looks like a mess. But less of a mess than it did.
Back to the usual British summer weather. As I type this, the rain is pouring down, and the wind is howling. But luckily, before this all happened, I have managed a harvest or two. I had a friend ages ago who got me a rhubarb bush/tree/hedge which has loved the weather. Along with the bags of potatoes that I planted, the harvest has been not too bad. Tomatoes have been disappointing, but so many things are this summer. The allotment is looking a lot better, but I will save that for another post; in the meantime just enjoy the harvest.
Well not only have I spent the week in some of the most amazing scenery, eaten some of the greatest food I have ever tasted, and taken possibly the best kitty photo ever, I received a phone call to let me know I finally have been offered an allotment.
Now I realise this is probably not as exciting to read as it is to type, but this has never really been about what excites other people, just what excites me.
I am especially looking forward to growing corn; I had no idea this was a feasible option, but as you can see from the photo above, it is quite common over here to grow your own corn.
So as soon as I return to England, I will be endeavouring to get everything sorted on my new plot of land. Not even sure if there is anything that can be planted now that won’t just die before it can be harvested. I foresee parsnips in my future. Obviously photos will be posted as soon as I get them, so hang tight for updates. Peas.
This is mainly going to be a quick introduction to Tumbling Tom, my new tomato prodigy, and my unalloyed joy at finding out that most of the solar lights that may or may not have been left out through some gnarly weather, still seem to work.
Now before I introduce you, it is worth mentioning what a tricky time it was finalising a name. Everything needs a name, and I wanted these two to have names that would stand the test of time.
After trying Penny and Roni, they didn’t seem to fit, especially as I have also been joined by Ronny and Reggie, the blackcurrant trees. So filibustering aside, please say hello to Princess Plum:
And, of course, Rhuby:
Now all we need is some summer type stuff going on, and maybe some more room around the place. It does seem that all the strawbs survived the winter outside, and we have a lot of them; I can see eight pots full from where I am sitting. Just sadly that so far haven’t been lucky with fruit, but here’s hoping this year will be different.
Also worth mentioning, although probably not necessary as the only person reading this is well aware of where Rhuby and Princess Plum have come from, but obviously a big shoutout to MBZ for my fantastic birthday prezzies, and lets hope I can find a recipe for rhubarb and plum crumble by the time they have done their thing.
Incidentally, and don’t worry, this post is drawing to a close eventually, but the cover photo here is Princess Plum as she is today, budding all over the place.
I will start this with a quick preamble regarding what is probably one of the greatest gifts I have received in recent years. After a conversation with a lass in the pub, I was informed that there was a company that would send people potatoes in a gift box. I did not believe her, and for some reason gave my address to a near total stranger, with her promise of a spud in return.
Many weeks, even months later a box arrived, and lo and behold, a spud in a box, accompanied by the smallest bottle of whisky money can buy.
Well obviously I did not have the heart to eat this pinnacle of potato-hood, but could not think of a fitting plan for him. eventually, my own innate laziness came to the rescue, along with time’s slow progression, and the spud of spuds gave me the answer, by sprouting some shoots.
So I had no choice but to do the honourable thing, and ensure he became spud and sire of spuds.
So there he is, taking his rightful place, so all we can do is wait and see how well he performs. Obviously I will let you know, and you are welcome to mash if they turn out ok.
Ok, it’s Valentine’s day, so I have taken the time to get out into the garden and start thinking about getting my ducks in a row this year, rather than deciding halfway through the year that I was going to grow stuff.
To this end, I found the collection of seeds from Silvester and planted them out in a propagator tray. I then found a pack of garlic chives seeds, so who wouldn’t wanna have that in their lives? So they have their own little soil homes until they decide to poke their heads through.
I was surprised how well the strawbs seem to have coped with the winter and rain, so it shouldn’t be long until porridge and strawberries for breakfast. Hardy little buggers, but I assume the slugs are just as hardcore, so will have to find a way to deal with those homeless snaily bastards as soon as the weather improves.
Also on the bright side, literally, although the sun hasn’t managed to shed enough light to light my shed, it managed to give a little life to my string of completely rubbish pineapple lights.