Thursday, July 14, 2016


I bought a box of sweet cherries and made a clafoutis.   I used the Julia Childs recipe from here, since she knew her way around French cooking.

Turned out quite straightforward and tasty - a softer texture than I was expecting.  It´s a little like popover batter, and not too sweet.  I think maybe some toasted almonds on top would be a good addition.

Unfortunately, my only cherry pitter gave up halfway through.  So I stewed the rest of the cherries with their stones and am now in the market for a new pitter.  Life is too short to be doing it with a knife.

I should plant a sour cherry tree, as I like them better cooked than fresh.

ETA - Clearly this year, Bastille Day was anythng but happy, so I´ve changed the title of the post.  My thoughts and best wishes go out to the victims of the tragedy in Nice.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The veg patch

They say vegetables are good for you.  After two months creating a veg patch, I´ve got my doubts.


Potatoes - doing really well.  No more dirt to hill up a second time. Tops yellowing now.  Neighbors say I can start digging any time.  Don´t know where they´ll cure.
Onions - also doing well.  Using as spring onions in salads.
Strawberries - flowering and fruiting and being eaten by critters while still white
Spinach - bolted and yanked.
Lettuce - now cutting for salad.  Planted more, ruffled and red, but the red keeps disappearing - eaten?
Carrots - Thinned once.  Uneven germination.
Broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage/brussels sprouts - barely survived nibbled on by varmints (rabbits).  Planted more brussels sprouts.
Parsnips - missing in action, as predicted.  Redug and planted leeks.
Peas - don´t really want to climb, but producing peas.  Picked a couple of pods but the peas were still quite small.
Tomatoes - Growing and flowering.  Making a hash of a florida weave.
Peppers - Growing and flowering.  Harvested one pepper - Orense, I think.
Green Beans - growing and flowering.
Zucchini/courgette -growing and flowering.  How I ended up with 4, I don´t know.
Squash/pumpkin - 2 hills with 3 plants in each.
Basil, parsley, dill, marigolds, nasturtiums, borage - borage kind of a no show, nasturtiums in one bed, marigolds uneven, green basil sprouted, purple not so much.  No sign of parsley or dill.

Garlic - harvested.  It may have been early, but the bed they were in was always wet and I was worried they´d rot.  Half the leaves were dry and yellow, so I pulled them and they´re curing in the water heater closet.  Seemed like I planted a lot more cloves than I got heads, but for a first time not bad.

Misc (tomato, herb, flower) started seeds - Disasterous - they sat with exactly the same first two leaves they had for over a month.  Some slug came along overnight and nipped the leaves off some.  Abandoned in disgust and bought starts.

So far 6 small trash bags of assorted crap cleaned from the beds.  Many, many, many rocks removed.  Lots still remain.

Should probably be starting fall stuff - rutabagas, etc.  Am told that grelos (beet greens) to in after the potatoes.  Should I try starting seeds? Too fed up with gardening to think about it.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

New fence

We decided to get the pasture fenced for Breo.  My hedging was enough to contain humans but not critters or dogs.

The poor pasture has been beaten up every time it recovers.  All that´s left is the weediest bit - 70% docks, 20%  bugloss, 10%  unknown.

Oh, and we have Mount Doom II of scrap wood and mini Doom, which are rocks.  We´ve been told to burn Mount Doom for San Juan on the 24th.  It´s got what´s left of the wooden  barn parts and 2 dead trees we were hoping to use for firewood.

So now where to put the fruit trees and edible hedging plants?

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Suddenly it´s hot and sunny!

Sorry for the pause, but my laptop had a breakdown.  Posts may be slow.  I´m stll digging.

In the meantime - look at what V did wth the ruins of the bread oven!  Just in time for the hot weather.




Isn´t he swell??

Friday, May 6, 2016

Still digging

This will be short.  I´m tired.

So far in the veg patch after a week of sunny weather.  Potatoes, onions and now a mixed bed of lettuce, onions, spinach and strawberry starts, just because I have to plant them before they fry.  The potato bed took 5 mornings, the onion bed 2 mornings, and the last bed 1 four hour session.  So far, my technique is lifting with a garden fork, clearing weed roots, rocks and assorted trash.  Phase 2 is turning with a garden spade and removing roots, stones, and trash.  Shape bed/fertilize maybe, and plant.  Lots still to do.

Seeds mostly refusing to start.

Except these, which I managed to knock face down on the ground.  Was it the marigolds or basil?  No, it was the green, purple and peach tomatillos that you can´t get here and the only things that had shown signs of life in the 10 days they´ve been watered and moved in and out and generally fussed over.  Gah.

 I can´t find peas.  V bought a box from the ag co-op store, but they´re dyed pink with fungicide - don´t really want to plant them.  Too late anyway?

Can I direct plant carrots, parsnips, beans, corn etc., now?  The parsnip seed is from last fall - still OK? Saving the very scarce compost/manure for tomatoes and corn - better used elsewhere?

Supposed to rain for the next 2-3 days.  Great, I can catch up on the housework - said no-one ever.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Rose Report

 The Prince

While I´m digging beds, I thought I´d give an update on the bare root rose order from Tuincentrum Lottum that arrived earlier this year.  I find helpful for pictures and descriptions of roses if you´d like further information.

All have leafed out and seem to be settling in. I think the cool, wet spring helped.  We´ll see if the warmer sunnier weather brings up the stragglers.

The winner is The Prince with the first bud.  Can´t wait to see it open.  Followed closely by 2 Don Juans who will be climbing the wall.

Don Juan

Sharing a bed with DJ and the Prince are Sweet Blondie and Ilsa Krohn, who looks a little peaked, so I´ve been giving her coffee grounds and eggshell.

Sweet Blondie

Ilsa Krohn

In the bed along the fence are 2 Munstead Wood bushes, on either side of the camelia, who are lagging a little, which is odd because it´s supposed to be quite a vigorous shrub.  We´ll see.

In the pot ghetto are Falstaff, Darcy Bussell and Polar Star.  They´ll find places in the landscape, eventually.

Sharifa Asma, my favorite, is also doing well.  I hacked back the encroaching grass and weeds that have invaded all of my carefully constructed raised beds from last year.  Sigh.  Starting over digging again.  I need yoga for gardeners.

Sharifa Asma

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Another walk

Had a guest over the weekend so didn´t get anything done.  The place was cleaner than it has been in a while, that´s true.

So here are some shots from a new walk with Breo.  One of those things where you go left instead of right and discover a whole new source of beauty.

Hope it´s lovely wherever you are.  Back to work.