Friday, 30 December 2016

Glistening Droplets

Well, I was meant to have finished blogging for the year, but can't resist after a short visit to the plot to pick parsnips and carrots.
The frost and fog had cleared and the dipping sun was just at the right angle.
All the netting was glistening like diamonds.
Just beautiful!
And we got our veg, after a bit of a fight!

That was 2016

This is going to be a positive post about 2016; highlighting ten good things about another lovely year within our allotment bubble.
In no particular order:
  1. Star and heart-shaped cucumbers. The moulds probably work best with small, quick growing cucumbers, like our Rocky. They're apparently suitable for tomatoes too, but we didn't try that. They didn't work on courgettes.
  2. Sunny picnics and some warm late nights on the plot. Summer started really wet with slugs and snails taking out a lot of early growth but July and August were delightful with plenty of sunshine.
  3. A blue poppy. A gift last Christmas and I was so pleased when it actually flowered as the slugs had rather a taste for it initially! I hope there will be a further showing this year...
  4. We grew a loofah. Well, that's cool, isn't it?!
  5. Ratatouille - what a colourful meal - and it tasted good, especially covered in cheese and sprinkled with chopped nuts
  6. Black tomatoes - Indigo Rose look so great but not a great flavour, this year we're trying some stripey ones. But we'll also be growing that tasty little red cherry variety Aviditas.
  7. We found a coin - a 1744 farthing! For all our searching we've only found 3 in 7 years and this was the oldest.
  8. Growing potatoes in bags - so pleasing to harvest. We used nematodes which we think worked well to keep the slug numbers down. Our favourite bagged variety was probably Orla.
    Seeing a pair of bullfinches in the hedge - the first time we've seen them at our end of the site. We saw them later in the year too, which I hope is a good sign they'll be back next year.
  9. The second HAHA/RBL Horticultural Show - such a great turnout, with over 300 entries. We're already looking forward to next year.
  10. So, it wasn't all bad in 2016.
    After all, at the beginning of the year we thought we may not have an allotment and then 5 days later we were given a reprieve....(which we're currently waiting on again....anyway, stay positive!)

    I wonder what 2017 has in store...

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

In Between Days

Christmas has been (and still is) good! Lots of fun and food. And our Christmas hyacinth actually bloomed on the day!
We received some lovely pressies including a Funky Veg Kit - my friend knows me so well! So I'm intending to have a colourful 2017.

We had our cooked Christmas meal on Christmas Eve. The starter was star-shaped seeded bread with granoVita vegetable pate (so tasty) The main was Quorn (chicken-style) with all the trimmings: sprouts, sausages, stuffing, parsnips, bread sauce...mmm, bread sauce! We finished eating and drinking in the early hours of Christmas morning.
Another pressy - some delicious recipes to try in there

We had a late Christmas Day breakfast of whisky marmalade on fancy durum wheat bread and, of course, Buck's Fizz (not the band). Christmas dinner was in the evening when we enjoyed lots of tapas dishes including Quorn chorizo, pickled onions, cornichons, tiny tomatoes (tomberries - we must try to grow them), peppers, olives, cheeses and fried corn snacks.
Oops! I only thought to take a photo when we'd already finished!
Boxing Day was a stay-in-bed day; mostly because I've got a cold but it was nice just lazing about watching films. Food was mostly cheese and biscuits and today we're having parsnips with chorizo and our home-made runner bean chutney will be making an appearance later.
New herbs for my soup plans
At some point we need to get to the allotment to pick sprouts, parsnips and carrots for our New Year's Eve meal (which will include home-grown) and I'd like to make some soup, but not today!
My new hand warmer!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

One Week To Go...

It's been a very festive December so far, which is an excuse for not visiting the allotment and not blogging for 3 weeks.
We put the Christmas tree up at the beginning of the month - we're using our fake one this year, but it's pretty realistic, and we added some pine scent. All our favourite baubles and decorations are on there: Some recent additions... Some home-made....Others which we've had since our first Christmas together 28 years ago... And some that I've had since I was little...
We put our window lights up ahead of Hungerford's Victorian Extravanganza and enjoyed mulled wine, hot donuts and roasted chestnuts amongst the beautifully decorated town lights.
We had our annual ride on the big wheel before watching the excellent fireworks display.
We had a shopping trip to Oxford. It's so beautiful, even in the pouring rain, and has such interesting shops.
I love Oxford. I was born there and my original hospital and Renal Unit are there so I've had a long relationship with the city. I have so many memories of visiting the city with my mum and the whole family used to have Christmas shopping trips there.
We went to the Newbury lantern parade, which was a delight.
There must have been a thousand home-made lanterns following the excellent drummers. I wish Hungerford would copy the idea for our parade!
I've attended a couple of Christmas events at work and had a lovely lunchtime visit to Millets Farm Christmas shop in Oxfordshire - definitely worth a visit.
Also our annual HAHA committee Christmas meal at The Bear in Hungerford - unfortunately Jamie couldn't come because he's been the unlucky one with the cold this year :-(
That's what I call a veggie Christmas meal - Red Cabbage & Apple roulade instead of meat
Now I need to wrap more pressies, post the rest of our Christmas cards and enjoy 3 more days at work before Christmas really starts! And is there a possibility of snow? Oh, I really hope so!!