waking up

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The garden is definitely coming round to the idea that it’s spring. Not that the first day of spring was warm and sunny. It was like being back in November. But today we have some sun though it’s chilly and I was wrapped up in winter like clothes when I took these photos.

It seems very unlikely that we will see any figs ripen as the squirrels seem very keen to help themselves to any that aren’t rotting on the branches. When I was digging over the raised bed to plant the board beans I found three figs that had been buried. I would call them cheeky monkeys but they’re squirrels! I should be planting broad beans at the allotment too but as I’ve never grown them before I decided to plant some in the garden to see what they should look like. I’ll be putting some in the allotment this week and so the garden beans will always be a step ahead.

The sap is leaking from one of the trees at the far end of the garden – I think the wind has done some damage to the branch. Did you notice the lupin? garden waste is collected. We have huge green bags to put it in. One was full when we got here and growing quite happily, all snug in the bag of garden waste, was this lupin. I left it where it was for a few weeks till things had warned up a bit and planted it last weekend. So long as the slugs are kept away it should be happy.

I’m getting curious about what colour the roses will be. I’d like yellow.

The trampoline is back – can’t wait for those summer day moments when I can curl up on it with a good book. Very comfy so long as no one is bouncing at the same time.

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A Clematis is struggling over the arch. I’ve always wanted an arch – I’ll have to add another climber from the other side.

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When I look at these pictures it seems as though some were taken on a sunny day and others on a day full of dark clouds – but in fact it’s the same day just a few minutes apart and I’m facing different directions!

This past week..

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This past week my bread maker decided to give up working. So I have made some bread by hand – I was going to buy a new bread maker but i think I will save my money for now. Tonight I made rolls and during the week a granary loaf that was yum. I’ve spent a few hours at the allotment. I need to spend quite a few more. There are some fruit canes – not quite sure what they are – if you recognise them from the pictures let me know! next week I plan to plant my potatoes and some broad beans. We have been watching Frasier on the ‘big screen’. We have a projector for work and we needed to try it out – so Frasier came to the rescue.

The seeds in the propagators are all flowers for the garden- the Cosmos cupcakes are doing well. So far one Nicotiana seed has germinated. Better than none!

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Apple cake

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One of my favourite things to do is to bake. This is not always a good thing because a house full of cake isn’t all that good for you. My teens do their share of eating the cakes, cookies and biscuits but so do I ! My husband very helpfully does his share of eating too. But he goes running so he can!

Anyway, this week I revisited an old recipe that smells so good while it bakes in the oven and is really yummy. Apple cake. So not totally unheathy :) It’s written in my book of recipes that I’ve collected from all sorts of places. Just a plain book that I’ve made tabs for to divide it into sections. Maybe this year I will use some of the jam recipes that I have written down copied from an old book belonging to my mum. She makes great jam and i have a lot of memories involving top and tailing gooseberries and getting red currants off their stalks!

Here’s the recipe – don’t leave out the mixed spice as it’s what makes it smell nice.

8oz cooking apples (bramleys) peeled, cored and chopped into chunks

8oz sultanas

1/4 pint milk 6ox soft brown sugar

mix all of the above together in a bowl and set aside.

12 oz self raising flour

2 level teaspoons mived spice

Mix these together.

Then rub in 6oz marg/butter till you have a bread crumb like mixture.

Then add the apples,sultanas, milk and sugar mix together with one beaten egg.

Spoon into a square baking tin and sprinkle the top with more brown sugar.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for about 30-40 minutes. The cake should be well risen and nicely browned. You may need to cover it with greeseproof paper for the last ten minutes of baking time.

Enjoy warm. (Can be reheated too). While you are tucking in you can enter my giveaway by saying hello in the comments here.

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An award…and a giveaway

Well, it’s that time of year in blog land? Or maybe not – I have been a bit out of touch recently. However, I have been nominted for an award by Rachel – a al blogger who gives really good advice about allotments! Thank you Rachel for both the nomination and the advice you’ve given me since I took on an allotment.

Rachel’s blog is well worth a visit plot138.wordpress.com

The Liebster award 

So my answers to Rachel’s questions

  1. Are you a Sweet or Savoury person? Savoury. I love twiglets and cheese. Blue stilton and Cheshire are my favourites. 
  2. Do you companion plant? Yes, I think so!
  3. What’s your favourite Crisp flavour? Chicken – has to be Walkers.
  4. How big is your planting/allotment/garden space? Our garden is about 90 foot and my allotment is huge!
  5. Biscuits. To dunk or not to dunk? I only ever dunk gingernuts and that has to be in strong tea.
  6. Approx how many packets of seeds do you own? Right now about 20
  7. Fave Fruit to eat? Grapes
  8. How long have you been ‘Growing your own’? About four years
  9. Fave Vegetable to grow? Spring onions
  10. Brussel Sprouts. Love or Hate? Avoid, except at Christmas.
  11. Creme Egg. How do you eat yours? I don’t like them! See question 1. :)

So i nominate these bloggers

Markbialczak – one of my all time favourite blogs. Mark writes about films, sports and life. He also gives good free advice.

Clare at A suffolk lane – Clare writes about family and knows a huge amount about plants and nature. Her photos are great. Another all time favourite blog.

Cate at PhotosByCate – I visit this blog for the photos and the writing. Cate desribes her days going out and about her neighbourhood taking really good photos.

Dancing with Shadows - phots of places I have never been to – and yet this blog takes me there.

So folks here are some questions for you to answer

1. What is your favourite film?

2. What is your signature dish?

3. Favourite novel?

4. If you could bring any fictional character to life who would it be?

5. Where would you like to live?

6. What’s the scariest thing you’ve done?

7. What is your favourite flower?

8. How many books to you own?

9. What’s your all time favourite TV series?

10. If you could be a lead singer in a group which group would it be?

11. What’s your theme tune?

Now, 11 random facts about me

I LOVE Frasier.

Niles Crane is my favourite TV character.

I hate ironing.

I drink at least three mugs of coffee a day

I have a northern accent

The lake district is my favourite place for family holidays

Anne Tyler’s books are some of my favourites.

I have read Breathing Lessons and Ladder of Years at least three times each.

I crochet.

Cheese scones are one of my ‘go to’ things to bake (and eat)

I always enjoy Boxing Day more than Christmas Day.

So there we have it. If the folks I’ve nominated would rather not take part I quite understand.

Today wordpress told me that it’s three yeras since I registered with them! My first attempt at a blog didn’t get off the ground but then I found what I wanted to say – and so here I am.

So I thought I’d do a giveaway – A surprise gift for one lucky person picked from the comments.

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment and a winner will be picked out of a hat. Closing date will be March 31 2015. I will post to anywhere so go ahead and enter.

 

 

in the garden this week…

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We have flowers! sunshine! washing! It has been an odd week so far. This is mainly because our daughter has been on a residential school trip to Scotland. It is so peaceful without a teenage daughter in the house! Peaceful and wierd. She is coming home tonight :)

The garden is slowly waking up. The squirrels are stealing all the figs from the tree. If we have even one that ripens it will amaze me.

The birds are busy visiting the feeders. I like the gold finches but the collared doves are my favourite. We need to add a tray to the feeder for them as they have no end of trouble balancing (as you can see in the picture).

Our son is now a fan of Frasier and we are now half way through our boxed set of the complete series. Niles is my favourite TV character of all time. It’s been great watching the shows again with a teenager who has a good sense of humour.

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Friday

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There is so little of anything major going on in my life right now. it seems to be a time just to enjoy work, take time pottering about and simply be very much at home in our new place. How very, very lucky we are.

I spent about an hour at the allotment planting two rows of onion sets. The Royal Horticultural Society have posted on facebook today that these little bulbs are at risk from some nasty pest. Apparantly I should have swathed them in some mesh to keep the pest out. I feel as though I am at war already! It was however a lovely hour and it felt so satisfying to be digging up the dandelions before they burst into flower. You would think it would be too early but weeds are very tenacious.

Our garden is bursting to life with bulbs. It’s a good time of year to inherit a garden as you get to see where everything is planted and how the seasons unfold. A neighbour somewhere has a rooster – we hear him now and then. How strange to live in a city and to have the sound of the country. But I like it.

Tonight my daughter has made cookies and I have made coffee and sat down for a chat with you.

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new home! Wow!

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Well, we moved house! The heating broke down almost immediately – fortunately we were able to get it fixed fairly cheaply and quickly. We were so happy to finally be here that it didn’t matter all that much.One of the many thigs that I like about this new home is this window.. from the days when house building had some style!

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Last week I was mega busy. In my self employed world it’s one of my busiest weeks of the year which is why I have been absent from blogland.

The boxes are all unpacked – well almost! The garden is looking wonderful. Our bird visitors so far include black birds, robins and a wren. The latter is such a dainty bird. A real little treasure to see.

I’m sorry that i haven’t been reading many blogs that i follow in the last couple of weeks – hopefully life will  now begin to settle down and return to normal and i will have lots more reading time.