Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I managed to squeeze in some gardening this weekend. My runner beans are now planted in the ground and all the bulbs from their bed have been dug up. I need to replant them still, but hopefully I can get that done within the next two or three days. We put three upright poles with netting strung between them for the beans to climb up. Last year they all had their own bamboo canes, but this year the sweet peas have monopolized them. Rather than buy new canes I improvised with some materials already at hand. Hopefully it works out. If it does work, it should be really good, seeing as we planted them at the edge of the patio, meaning they will give us a bit of shade without shading any other plants.

After I swore off growing tomatoes, Partner has gone and accepted ten free plants. I guess I give them one more chance. However, if they again disappoint, I will have to put my foot down for next year. I simply cannot waste valuable growing space on plants that do not perform.

Also pictured is my little bed of broccoli and rainbow chard with roses and a flowering currant bush behind them, and some other flowery perennial in front.

Still stressing out about my schoolwork...even though it's down to the nitty gritty with only two projects left to submit. And one exam to take.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's the first day for at least a week in which I woke up to dry pavement outside; two hours later it's still dry. I tentatively put out my laundry on the line and even went so far as to put another load on. Because of the way washing machines work in this country, a load of laundry takes anywhere from one to two hours. I generally put a load on the last thing before I go to bed and then hang it up when I get up in the morning. Today after I hung mine out I decided to do the next load, in case we don't get another sunny day this week. On Friday, my last post, when it rained so much all day long, we were surprised to see bright sunny football games on tv from other parts of the country. Indecently bright and sunny, compared to our soggy misery. It's not like it's a big country; how come we got so much rain where 150 miles away it was all happy daisies and bunnies sunshine?

I can hardly believe May is nearly over; I have accomplished only one of my gardening goals for this month: the planting out of the broccoli. I'm almost afraid to admit how many broccoli seedlings I planted in the ground. But I will: sixty-three. And, uh...there's still about thirty more not yet planted...As far as other veg goes, I think I planted about forty rainbow chard seedlings, fifteen or so broad bean plants, and maybe twenty runner bean plants. And five squash and seven zuccini. I couldn't possibly comment on the number of carrots (pictured in last week's rain) as I have three big planters of them, one planter of lettuce, and one of beets.

Partner was trying to take a simple portrait of me for an ID. He has such patience.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Once again, for your viewing pleasure, here is a self-portrait. It is raining and I am in my garden. Incidently, I am also in my pajamas. Since it is my day off, I had hoped to do some major gardening. Alas, this is not to be. So I took a few photos instead. Our garage roof leaks in two places, and we have buckets strategically placed to catch the water. When I went out this morning, both were overflowing from the rain we had last night. I changed them both for fresh buckets (rain water comes in handy so we like to save it--maybe we should get a water barrel) and one of the buckets holds about 6 or 7 gallons. And I might add, it wasn't raining when I went to bed last night. This reflection of me is from the garage window, in case it is hard to tell what those things are in the foreground. They are various man-objects that are mysteriously attracted to garages, and like light in black holes, cannot escape. I try not to spend much time in the garage, lest I too become trapped for eternity. Partner and I have had several conversations along the lines of: P, frustrated, "Where's my screwdrivers? I can't find a screwdriver!" G, impatiently (trying to pay attention to the computer screen in order to blog), "Garage." P, one hour later, "I'm going to the hardware store; I'll be back later." G, upon P's return, "You bought a screwdriver, didn't you?" P, walking off quickly, hiding something behind his back, "None of your business."

I did pull out a few weeds while I was wandering about with my umbrella and camera. I took a photo of my last lonely tulip, and one of the cabbages. I'm beginning to think I planted them a bit too close together. Partner promised me that he was getting some free cabbage seeds in the mail from the BBC, so my gardening goal to plant more cabbage has been on hold until they arrived. Which they did, two days ago. But they weren't cabbage. So now I don't know if I should buy some seeds or just not bother. (I did plant most of the seeds that arrived, however: lettuce, beets, and squash).

I moved my geranium pots out of the cold frame today and onto the patio. And watered the runner beans still in the cold frame (with rain water, of course). That's pretty much it for my gardening plans for today, unless there's a major change in the weather.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Here I am in my kitchen, making a quick salad for dinner. I think I look moderately presentable; I combed my hair this morning--though it doesn't look much like it. We went shopping this evening, spent less than £40, and bought a pair of baby gem lettuces for £0.08. That's right, eight pence. We are pretty good at getting good bargains when shopping, though I admit we don't buy as much fresh meat and produce as we used to. Now it's mostly frozen, and while I definitely like broccoli and peas, they do start to get a bit boring. And I picked the first of the broad beans today to put in the salad. They were excellent. Eating fresh vegetables straight from the garden in early May is incredible.

I just love my red cupboard doors. Partner painted them for me last year. The walls are white and the curtains are red and white gingham. My kitchen is not exactly how I want it, but it's pretty darned cute anyhow. I was very careful not to get any of the mess in the photographs. Ok, so there are a few more pans than necessary on the stove...I hate cooking in a messy kitchen, but sometimes the mess just creeps up out of nowhere. One or the other of us tries to do dishes every evening, but you know how it is. We're both tired after work and just want to eat and sleep. The best way, I think, is to clean up during the cooking. There's always that bit where you're waiting for the rice to cook, or the lasagna's just gone in the oven, and you can just wash a few dishes and wipe down the counters while you wait.

Seven beans! And may I say, they were the best seven beans I ever ate. In other edible gardening news, we've decided the asparagus is still too young to eat and we'll have to wait till next spring. I'm so disappointed. I've been bragging to everyone about them, but now I have to eat my words instead.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

While planting out some seedlings in the broad bean/cabbage bed, I heard some gentle chirping above me. I looked up into the garage eaves and saw a robin with a mouthful of food holding very very still, pretending to be a statue. The robin was perched on a bit of mossy debris, and behind it was a tiny beak just visible. I realized what it was. I rushed inside to tell Partner that I'd discovered the reason we'd been seeing robins so often in the garden. And I sent him out with the camera to see if he could photo it. I couldn't actually see any fledglings from my vantage point, so when I saw this picture, I nearly melted from the cuteness.

Also pictured is a photo from a few years back, just to show what an adult English robin looks like. They are slightly smaller than a sparrow, gray all over with a red throat and white breast. Apparently they are very territorial and only during the mating season will you see two together.

I haven't been sleeping well lately. I think it's the end of term stress. Too many assignments in too short a period. I'm working on at least one every day, but with five still to finish and submit...