24 April 2006

Helicopter Head

Went for a walk and a helicopter landed on Ben's head as they do (can you spot him)?

It turned out to be the North West Air Ambulance based at Blackpool called out to attend someone who had collapsed in the woods left of picture. It was sad because he was there planting a tree in memory of his mum who had recently died. I think he was ok though because they didn't have to fly him out.

Ben of course found it all terribly exciting and blagged his way into the cockpit and now insists the only thing he wants to be when he grows up is a helicopter pilot.

I think he likes the idea of being able to get from Jenny Browns Point to Blackpool in 8 minutes flat. I like the idea of getting anywhere out of Blackpool however long it takes.

Saw this bracket mushroom on a stump but my cheap and chearful digital can't really do the colours justice or pick out the beautiful patterns that were in it.

Sowed a lot of asparagus lettuce seed and re-potted all the tomato and sweetcorn seedlings which were attempting to grow themselves to oblivion where they were. More work done digging out, weeding and levelling the various mounds of earth in front of shed.

The latest thinking is to put a bit of a camomile lawn in front of it for dossing on during the long hot summer while drinking something chilled. I was going to use up the rest of the flags but lummy they've all gone so they have.

20 April 2006

Fiddlesticks Update

According to the oracle, up to 200 species of young ferns are widely eaten in the tropics. We seem not to have acquired the habit for some reason although they have been shown to be very nutritious. Even bracken is apparantly edible although considered carcinogenic but then what isn't? Here, the Royal Fern (Osmunda Regalis) would be edible but I'm not going to be trying this anytime soon as I can't tell one young fern from another to save my life which it might as you can bet that, like mushrooms, some of the ferns will be toxic for us to eat. I wonder if the early inhabitants of these lands tried them? Oh well, just have to go to Canada in the spring sometime I guess.

Digression Over......The greenhouse seedlings are going bonkers.

The path by the shed got (sort of) finished.

Sown in greenhouse: Cauliflower (goodman); Courgette (dundoo); Carrot (flyaway) in big pots; Winter Squash; Sunflowers; Pumpkings; Cabbage.

Clodhopping till about 7.30pm last night in sunny warm conditions and then straight to the pub - aHHH! does it get any better?

Outside everything is doing its stuff...the only slowcoach being the sprouting broccoli which is on work to rule or something.

But what's with the woad? Is herself planning to daub ma knees (or worse) blue and pack me off to No 10 or the White House to effect regime change? A laudable aim in itself, but I will not do this unless sanctions have failed and the weapons inspectors have finished their business and certainly not without the full backing of UK Allotmentholder Resolutions.

Maybe she's found some sort of legal loophole like that reported on Allotment 21 whereby it is legal to kill a Welshman in Hereford with a bow and arrow except on Sundays.

Do I get to wear a kilt too I wonder? Better stop this thread right there.

12 April 2006


After finishing off the earlies we dug out the unloved south east corner to find a mess of plastic sheeting shot through with couch. Really hard work getting it all out but well worth it as at one time it must have been the manure dump as the underlying soil is the best on the plot, beautifully rich and friable.

Also dug out and levelled area in front of shed and layed a path to join up with the one by the greenhouse.

Sowed three rows of Heinz 57 flower seeds to prettify the plot over the summer. Thought it might be a bit too early but we'll see what comes up.

I wonder if anyone knows of or has tried the UK equivalent of 'Fiddlers' or 'Fiddleheads'. They are picked and
enjoyed about now (particularly in New Brunswick) but all across Canada and as far down into the states as Virginia.

"Fiddleheads are the young coiled fern leaves (about an inch in diameter) of the ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris).

Nearly all ferns have fiddleheads, but those of the ostrich fern are unlike any other.

"Harvest the tender little rolls of fern almost as soon as they appear within an inch or two of the ground.
Carefully brush out and remove the brown scales. Wash and cook the “heads” in a small amount of lightly salted
boiling water for ten minutes, or steam for 20 minutes. Serve at once with melted butter. The quicker they are eaten, the more delicate their flavor. They may be served, like asparagus, on toast. Cooked, chilled fiddleheads can be also served as a salad with an onion and vinegar dressing."

Cathy has had these and says they are delicious so I am wondering if there is a UK equivalent. Must dig out
the wild foods books when I get home.

07 April 2006

Funny Bunny

More accurately, my head hurts. Have some sort of non-specific dropsy so going to bed early with me cup of camomile to drool over some dirty magazines!

No der....not that kind. Herself, in a fit of enthusiasm, joined the Heritage Seed Library and today the catalogue arrived - very dangerous.

I want THAT one and yes, we MUST have some of Those and I absolutely must try THAT one, and I would REALLY like to.....blah blah blah.

Suddenly our plot in my minds eye seems ever so small. When it needs digging it seems ever so big. Funny that.

hO yes....almost forgot happy easter hols and happy planting everyone.

03 April 2006

Hail April

Alpine clouds scud east and an ominous blackness looms from the west. Four rows of onions (improved turbo) went in and then someone up in those menacing clouds ripped open some polystyrene bean-bags and tipped the lot on us. Took shelter in the shed and sat in a trance watching the hail bounce and dance off the surface. Quite mesmerising. At times like these the mini-bar is a real asset. Big mug of hot tea with some walnut bread and a big wodge of cheese. Can live with that.

Sowed some sweet pea (cupani) and some we saved from last years seed crop. Courgette (black beauty) – old seed so maybe maybe-not. Lettuscees (fortuna;smile;miluna and a French curly one from old seed I know not whot).

Sun came out to play so did a bit more levelling but blimeyohriley its claggy to work.

01 April 2006

Pot Noodles

Decided ground still too wet and cold to put the spuds in so herself potted up some white spider lilly and an abysinnian gladioli and potted an easter cactus cutting that amazingly enough rooted very well just in water. No sign of guilt is there? Why would there be? Well, see the nice new blue plantpot?

Herself found this in a store (which shall remain nameless), at £2.99. Not bad but wait.....there were four more inside it nesting like russian dolls in ever decreasing sizes. Herself thought Hmmmm £2.99 for five. Bargain. Took same to checkout and sure enough was charged £2.99 for the lot. At home all was revealed as each one unpacked individually priced!

Sowed some marigold seeds and put a couple more tip rescued shelves up in shed and started to dig out and level the mound of earth in front of same with a view to linking up the paths. Wind getting up and another bank of rain moving in. Such Happy Fools.