Monday 31 May 2021

Amazing Nettle Beer!

 Now I know I try a lot of different things, some work, many don't and some are terrible. But occasionally you come across one that is out of this world good. This is one of them! 

I mentioned on twitter that I fancied trying to make some nettle beer and a twitter friend sent me a screenshot of a recipe his dad used to use.

Monday 24 May 2021

Polytunnel Planted Up (nearly)

 This year I'm trying to go for lower effort in the veg garden. I want a year to get on top of the weeds, they're really taking hold in some beds and having imported bindweed (unwittingly) I need to do something to stop their advance. So I've sheeted over a few outside beds and will sow some green manure on others. 

I'll still grow loads of beans, peas, sweet corn and squash, but might not go to my usual levels this year. 

The same is true in the polytunnel.

 Last year I enjoyed having loads of different crops in there, but we've gone for easy productivity this year. I've covered the beds in black plastic, to keep the weeds at bay and to help retain moisture. The plastic in the rest of my garden has been in use for years now and is still looking good. I didn't buy any more in, just used what I have. 

I've gone for just a few crops in there, all with similar spacings. Tomatoes down both sides, 51 plants in total, then some melons, about 16 cucumber/gherkin plants and about 10 ground cherry plants. So not the sheer number of different plants this year, but with the automatic watering, easy weed control and a good trellis system that I've wired up I'm hoping the hardest bit will be deciding what to do with all the tomatoes! 

There's about 20 types in there as well as some grafted ones I bought in. I'm really pleased with the plants I grew from seed and love their root system. I have also got 5 "storage" type tomatoes that are supposed to harvest on the vine and eat as they ripen up to Christmas. 

I think the two greenhouses will have a year without tomatoes because of the sheer number of them in the polytunnel, I plan to fill this with cucamelons, and maybe try to grow some strawberries in there - or at least get some plants strong enough to grow well next year (I never do well with strawberries). 

Anyone else go their undercover growing sorted in this terrible spring we're having?

Saturday 22 May 2021

Face To Face Scouts Again!

Beavers was great fun last week, great to meet up with them again. We did outside cooking in small groups with multiple fires -I manned the marshmallows, but here was also one doing popcorn and one doing hot chocolate. These young scouts loved it & it felt like proper scouting again. All three of our children have to go, my lad will have been a scout for years before he even joins!

I then went on to help older scouts . We met up in a small wood on the Malvern Hills, with a small camp fire burning, helping to show them how to prepare a chicken, all keen to have a go - unfortunately I couldn't come up with a rabbit, I only got told a few nights before and the hunting gods weren't smiling on me!

Anyone who ever "worries about the youth of today" need to go give a bit of their time to the scouts, or just young people in general, I guarantee it'll put your mind at ease.

Were you a scout? What was your favourite memory?

A Baking Lesson Learnt!

Baking night again on Wednesday.

I tend to leave the children to it, popping in &out doing other jobs, there to help them if they need it but to encourage them to be as independent as possible with their baking and they always try to get a few bakes on the go at once!

They all learnt important lessons that night though - always read the instructions!

Turns out a (heaped) tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda is a lot more than teaspoon! The lovely looking cookie bake nearly made us all puke as we spat it out, running to the bin! I think this bake will go down in family history! Good job we had meringues to take the taste away!

What's the worst baking mistake you've made?

Thursday 20 May 2021

Carving Photo

I got my daughter to take a couple of photos the other day when I carving, I needed a few with both of my hands in the shot for a magazine article I'm writing. She also took the one below, and unusually I quite like the photo of me so I thought I'd share it. 

I feel lucky I enjoy my time in my workshop working so much, and I get to make many interesting things, it's always changing and challenging. I know that in a few years what I do will probably have evolved even more and be something completely different, but for now I'll enjoy what it is. 

And I feel fortunate that my children can see me do it, spend time with me while I do it, it's lovely to hear them play outside while I'm in there. 

Saturday 15 May 2021

Broody Hens

Argh! Like buses, broody hens always seem to come at once. The irony of these four hens from my breeding pen of four Indian Game hens is that if they're all broody none of them are laying any eggs! 

 Also not sure sure the nest box can take them all in there at the same time! It must get pretty warm.

With broody hens I tend to leave them pretty much alone but I do chuck them off the nest once a day, I even do this when they're sitting on eggs, as they sometimes won't look after themselves by feeding and drinking properly. Also lets them do a big poo away from the nest - which is a good way to help keep things clean. 

Anyone else have too many broody hens at the moment?

Tuesday 11 May 2021

Green Manure In The Polytunnel

A month or so ago I sowed some mustard seed in the polytunnel.  

The idea being that it would be a quick green manure crop and maybe take the edge off the duck manure that had been "laid" their while the winters avian flu lockdown took place. 

 It's nearly time to plant the tomatoes and cucumbers out in the tunnel, so my thinking now is to just chop and drop this and cover with plastic.

Anyone have experience doing this? I'd rather not dig it over if I could help it! Maybe I'll add some well rotted manure on top as well. 

Thursday 6 May 2021

Baking Nights

The children love being back at school with their friends. 
But I do miss them a bit! So I'm trying to make sure that our evening are spent doing something and not filled with clubs each night, although they have started scouts again (children need less school and more scouts). 

They quickly find something they want to do. wither around me or independent of me! Last night I was making Chelsea buns and my Middlest decided to make some biscuits. 

Monday 3 May 2021

Warre Bee Hive

 During the first lockdown last year I decided that I needed a simple project to keep me creative, a project I'd wanted to do for a long time! - A beehive!

And more to the point a Warre Hive. 

Saturday 1 May 2021

The In out Game

I will be so happy when I don't have to lug all my tender plants outside every morning and inside every night!

Still dipping below freezing some nights and probably for a few more weeks yet. 

Do you bring your plants in at the moment?


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