Saturday, 31 October 2009

One good turn deserves another !

When I offered mine and OH's services to help a fellow allotmenter dismantle a greenhouse he'd been lucky enough to secure, little did I know that just a couple of weeks later, he'd be returning the favour for me !!!

We saw the greenhouse offered last week and OH went to check it out - 15ft x 9ft. I didn't appreciate quite how big it was until we arrived this morning - it's huge :)

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It was a dream to dismantle and instead of the usual 'w' clips it had 'spring glazing clips' holding the glass in. They seem a little more robust than the other types and are stainless steel (so I presume won't rust).

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We've taken the first lot of glass up to to the lottie without incident and will go back tomorrow for most of the frame and the rest of the glass. Our only slight issue is how to transport the very long sections - there's not much, but we may have to hire a van ... alternatively the lottie is about 3 miles away and there was a discussion about perhaps walking them there. Hmmm ...

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So that was the easy bit .... now we have the hard work to come.

We knocked down the potting shed in the Spring (was it really that long ago !) and I hadn't got further than making plans for a replacement one - the main issue has been sourcing decent and lengthy pieces of wood. The new greenhouse is big enough to replace both the potting shed and the brick greenhouse ... which is fortunate as the brick greenhouse is in need of some serious repair and I really don't think it is going to make it through the winter. So we'll have to empty all the crap ... err, useful 'stuff' out and then carefully take down the roof - it has a huge metal girder which is currently supported on rotten roof supports and then we'll need to knock down the brick base.

Gawd, I hope it fits when we've finished pratting about. Thank you to Lynne & her mum for my lovely new greenhouse and big thanks to Rob, from a plot too far for helping us :)

We are now shattered and celebrating Halloween very quietly - here is my pumpkin (Tesco's finest, although the 'jack be little' was grown by me) that I carved last night, it's awesome (LOL, yes I do say so myself haha). Our 'trick or treaters' have been very impressed although it's taken the kitten a little while to overcome his fear of the beastie:

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oh actually, that reminds me ... I don't think you've met our new addition yet ... introducing Kinder (as in Scout, a local mountain ... because he likes to sit on your shoulders):

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Loki loves him and spends all day playing, chasing and hunting, then he curls up with Ianto to sleep, he is just the sweetest thing:

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Monday, 19 October 2009

Sharon's Green Tomato Chutney

For all those of you waiting for your tomatoes to ripen, here is a recipe for Green Tomato Chutney courtesy of a family member, I've not made it yet, but I'm assured it's great.

3 lb green tomatoes
1 lb onions - sliced finely
2 lb apples
1 pint vinegar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 lb raisins - chopped
1 lb sugar

Place tomatoes & onions into a large dish and cover with a handful of salt. Leave for 12 hours (overnight), then drain well.

Transfer tomatoes & onions into a large pan along with apples (peeled, cored & sliced), vinegar, cayenne pepper, raisins & sugar.

Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer - simmer for 2-3 hours. until it reaches a jam like consistency.

Pour into sterilised jars & seal.

Can be eating immediately, but improves if kept a while
Enjoy !

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Duck Dinner who ...

I managed a rare trip to the lottie this week ! Mainly because I'm getting worried about frost and the weather changing. The weather was gorgeous on Saturday - the sunshine makes such a difference doesn't it.

Not surprisingly the weeds have had a party while I've been otherwise occupied, but I think once I put my mind to it, they'll soon be got rid of. I've decided to dig out the ox eye daisies - they get too big and strangle everything and then fall over and look a state.

I had a quick walk around the plot to see what's changed and was amazed to see a huge butternut squash and some smaller ones hiding in the foliage. Some of them have split, I assume that's because of the recent rain we've had. I brought them all home with me, as the foliage has already been burnt by frost.

The plot finally seems to have shrugged off the slugs and the courgettes looked brilliant - tonight for tea, we had Nigella Lawson's courgette & chick pea filo pie - it was flipping amazing, for anyone with a glut, I'd definitely recommend it.

I also dug some Pink Fur Apple & some Arron Pilots ... I'm slowly working my way across the potato bed - still got to start on the Charlottes. They went into Nigella's Cheese & Potato Pies ... ooo, they were good. It's hard work you know trying to be a Domestic Goddess.

The greenhouse gave me another large bowl of beautiful tomatoes ... and I've even got a couple of my treasured Roma's. I think they will be made into tomato soup - I've made this recipe a few times now and it's always been good. Another lovely surprise were the two very small baby aubergines hiding in the corner.

A bit further down the plot and the raspberry canes were dripping with ripe fruit. I made some raspberry jelly tonight and popped some fresh rapsberries into the moulds (that's lunch this week sorted) and then we had some with rice pudding .. still got half a bowl full left. They are beautifully sweet. I'm debating cutting down all the raspberries to a foot high over winter - might see what Nick next door thinks to that plan before I do it though.

The rubarb looks to have succumed to frost - it has all fallen over and the stems are very floppy. I was hoping to make ginger & rubarb jam, but I forgot to bring the stems home with me (doh!)

The apple tree has 5 apples on it, oh yes, 5 whole apples. A couple of them are almost bigger than walnuts :) They are obviously not ready yet, as they didn't pass the 'twist' test. If they've fallen off when I go again, I'll be so cross !

I've brought home some leeks - not sure what they'll become yet. I had a quick dig over that area of the plot and it looks so much better already.

The purple beans that we love so much are still going strong, but we've let them grow a bit big I think. I'll definitely be growing those next season. Finally my Borlotti beans are ready ... yeay ... I think they are my favourite thing from the lottie. Some of my weeds are as high as the beans - eek!

Once the potatoes are all up and I've cleared the beds, I want to take up all the paths and then smother the plot with manure (my muscles are aching at even the mention of that plan). I'm thinking that the paths will then go down the plot, echoing the central path, instead of cutting across as they do curently. I think it might work better for me next year. My mum gave me some red onions last week and I must must must put some garlic in. I think next weekend, I'll choose a bed and plant them to get them going. In November I'm planning to sow some broadbeans and sweetpeas. I'm determined next season is going to be so much better than this.