Monday, 27 July 2009

Working Hard

Not sure where the last week as gone, time seems to have flown by. However as you can see Rob has been very busy. His first job was to install George's catflap, note the ears of expansion foam, they remind of of mickey mouse.

Since then Rob has removed a window from the garage it was rotted through and beyond repair. He has designed and made this window from scratch. It is now finished, just waiting for paint job when the putty has dried. I have to say this whole job was done, without swearing and he didn't fall off the ladder either.

The weather has been patchy, some nice days and some heavy rain. With the weather looking a bit better on Friday afternoon we set off for a short walk through some of the green lanes locally. No sooner had we got out of the car than it started to rain, just a light drizzle so off we set. The lanes were well covered by the canopy of the large trees. Lovely mossy banks and way off the beaten track, we even found a beautiful 'chicken of the woods', see picture, which we harvested for our supper. However it finally turned into a downpour, complete with thunder. We sheltered under trees until they could no longer hold the rain back. There was no option but to set off back to the car as we weren't staying any drier under the trees than we thought we would get walking back to the car. By the time we got to the car we were drenched - I don't think I have ever been so wet before.

We have had a nice sunny weekend, the weather improved as had been promised, so we have enjoyed some time sitting out in the warm sunshine and at the same time keeping an eye on the Tour de France. We did watch the final section as they raced around Paris and watched with amazement as Mark Cavendish won this final stage.

We continue to harvest our vegetables from the garden, the potato crop is looking really good this year, particularly after such poor crop last year.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

First Harvest

The garden is under control and the weeds in the courtyard are more or less dead, although some seem to be having a second life. we have had a busy social life this last weekend, supper with our neighbours on Friday, their nephew and wife have just bought a house in the region and had got the keys and moved the first items in that day. As usual good food, wine and hospitality.
Saturday we had the pleasure of meeting up with some people Rob works with in the UK, they came over for lunch. Thanks to Gerda's large courgette, some of our large peas and mint from the garden we had a lovely soup, recipe from Waitrose in this months Good Housekeeping magazine. Then a chicken dish, no not home produce this time buy served with the first potatoes of the season, large and small but very tasty, see photo.

The blackberries are starting to ripen, at least those growing over the building next door. I think the stone is absorbing the heat and bringing them on faster. harvested the first ones today, not many but Rob had some with his yoghurt and I have frozen the remaining. Need to collect some more as I am supposed to be making some bramble jelly for a WI competition. I hope the berries are plentiful as I will have to practise if we are to win.

Unfortunately one of our English neighbours was taken ill on Sunday and we went with them to the hospital for moral support. Luckily Jo seems to be recovering from the emergency surgery that she had Sunday afternoon.

This week Rob has removed a window from the side of the garage and is making a new one from scratch. So far so good. The first pane of glass is in, and he is perfecting the section which will open and close. It is looking good. I continue with the constant struggle to keep the weeds at bay in the vegetable garden. Each morning I am faced with a covering of small green leaves carpeting the ground. I am determined I will win they will not....

However we continue to harvest, broadbeans, courgettes, lettuces, swiss chard, beetroot, potatoes and herbs. Although we haven't got a large veg plot hopefully it will keep us fed for the rest of the summer.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Back in France

Six weeks since we were last here and I was anxious to see how the garden was doing. I had expected a lot of weeds in the garden, but I think this is the worse infestation of weeds amongst the vegetables I have ever seen.

However I have spent a lot of time in the garden today and it is not as bad as I first thought. The potatoes are looking good, far better than this time last year when they had all died after a bout of blight, they look healthy as some varieties are in flower. It is hard to find the onions as they are smothered by weeds but I am sure they are sitll there. The broad beans look good - I am sure we will get a couple of meals of them. As usual I probably haven't planted enough beans. I have harvested the peas, one good meal of those which were still fresh and crispy, the others I have blanched and will use in a dish where I can disguise the fact they are a little older and floury.
No courgettes yet, but there are flowers on the plants so it is just a matter of time. The aubergines are struggling, they may improve now that I am here to water them. The beetroot are looking good and is a crop we really enjoy.

The fruit trees are full of fruit, even our young apple tree has 8 apples, not bad for its first attempt, It is a Bardsey apple, an old variety which I beleive was found on Bardsey Island.

The tomato plants we brought from England have suvived the journey and are in pots outside the kitchen window.