Saturday, 16 April 2011

Spring has sprung

At last after a really cold and long winter spring has arrived and as in previous years everything in the garden is shooting up. The doos are as prolific as ever and I have removed 16 eggs and it is only April. They have got very canny though and the other day I found two china eggs unceremoniously turfed out of the nest and onto the ground.

The chickens too are laying very well and every week we get at least one double yoker which puts my calorie calculations out a bit but tastes delicious so I just eat it anyway and don't bother if it takes me over my target for the day, an eggs an egg for all that. I have been on a new eating plan since Feb 1st and am amazed that A, I have stuck to it and B it has worked. I am now into a size smaller dress, trousers and top.

I have been just like a domestic goddess of late too, last weekend I made Rhubarb and Ginger jam and this week I made Rhubarb and Pineapple jam. The rhubarb  above is in a hand made date palm basket that a wee  Omani gentleman made me in Nizwa ten years ago, little did he know it would travel thousands of miles and be used for my annual rhubarb harvest. Next week I am making Rhubarb Chutney and Rhubarb Vodka. We do have quite a lot of Rhubarb this year. I also harvested the very first two shoots of my asparagus this morning, brought it in and steamed it and ate it! Delicious it was too! The apples we stored last autumn are still doing really well, so well that I gave away 10 kilos the other day and we still have two boxes left, they stored amazingly just put into plastic boxes with mesh sides, no newspaper or fancy shelves. There are plenty to put out for the blackbirds and the fieldfares had a load too. Yesterday morning the Moonzie wildlife came up trumps with seven partridges visiting the greenhouse area. Limpy the pheasant is still a regular visitor in the garden and still waits for me to fill the doo food hopper  so he can get in first.

The green stuff in the picture above is Woodruffe, which is a strange German herb I brought back from Ardorf last year. The Germans make jelly from it and also use it to make a strange drink, only consumed in May in Ostfriesland, must get the recipe for it now I have the herb growing everywhere.

The front of the house is looking very pretty with pansies popping up everywhere, last year I had to do with 'volunteers' from the previous year but this time I am managing my time a bit better and am actually getting some planting done.

Happy Easter wherever you are!

Stop press: The  Victoria Plum tree has 24 blossoms on it and the Lizzie Plum has five. The Thames Cross has nothing at all. I have decided to plant a Nuttery at the side of the garden and will have pictures and details  in the next blog, also news of our new Log Cabin in the trees ( overflow accomodation, all mod cons for extra visitors who like dogs) ( Should read who like the sound of dogs!)

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Long time no blog!!

I know it is an age since I was last here but working full time and Caribbean holidays, partying over Christmas all take their toll.

We had two weeks in St Lucia again in November and as ever had a brilliant time, we arrived just after devastating hurricane Tomas ( not enough loss of life for the BBC or the world to take much notice ) but for the island it was a sad time, loss of life, loss of homes and loss of livelihood. When we got there  a week later than planned we could see just what destruction there had been. Jans garden had lost a few trees but for us not a lot changed.  Some poor folk were without water for weeks. We had taken a few meager supplies  of water purification tablets and baby clothes to help out via the Red Cross but it was mere token gesture.

We came back to Scotland suffering the onset of one of the worst and coldest winters for years, actually we sat at Gatwick for two days in bright sunshine unable to get home and when we did it was a journey of fairly epic proportions,  we were jolly lucky, our luggage and more importantly the Chairmans Reserve Rum did not make it  for two more weeks.

Once we got back   to Moonzie sadly we were effectively marooned as the snow continued to fall and I did not make it in to work that week apart from a brief foray on the Friday but heavy snow fall caused me to have to leave early and come home again. So late starts and early finishes were the order of the day for the next week.

Christmas arrived all too soon along with a houseful but we had a grand time, had no champagne related incidents  apart from sore heads and all in all had a jolly fine time despite the track resembling The Cresta Run. We became very adept at getting unwary travellers out of seemingly impossible  ice related situations, including the very odd couple who had come down the track to 'look at the stars'.

January arrived, we had a lovely New Years mini party with six of us here, it felt like twice that amount though. Sam was offshore earning more buckets of money but we raised a glass in his general direction.( Some 150 miles North of Lerwick on the raging North sea.)

The blog is supposed to be about doos and Chickens and so here goes, the hens are wonderful, especially the Black Rocks Tia and Maria who seem to have thrived on the bitter conditions and have not missed an egg laying day since we got them. Rosie and Arriety being slightly more delicate have missed a few days but have now started laying again.

The doos have continued to be as amorous and as productive as ever and late last year when we got back from St Lucia discovered a new baby who we have called Lucky. One of the very few of the class of 2010. This year we already have two doo babies, Bittofadoo and HairDoo ( named by Jan ) We also have two more eggs incubating but as we seem to have lost 4 over the window this should top the flock up nicely. After these babies I will be out once again removing eggs every weekend.

I was out today looking at the raised beds, hopefully the asparagus will have survived the freezing weather and we may get a crop this year.  The Jerusalem fartichokes are as abundant and productive as ever. I have ordered some plug veg plants for may as I do not have the time to plant seeds and raise my own veg, Sam and I have formed a cooperative and he will help out I hope, otherwise I could have visions of the Chicken Licken story.

Bruces little beech tree has survived the winter and looks like it will be wonderful this year, it has grown much bigger and thicker and looks to be a stayer. Four years this weekend since we lost old Properjob Watts.

Had a rush of blood to the head yesterday and have ordered 15 tons of gravel to put on the parking area, it arrives on Tuesday, sadly I shall be at work but rather fortuitously Herb and Sam are both off and at a loose end.