Wednesday, 31 January 2007

FREEBIE HUNTING

When I was having a Blogaround yesterday I saw a photos of Amaryllis in flower; it reminded me that I'd had one last year and when it had finished flowering I'd stuck it up in the box room. I knew I'd given it a drop of water just before Christmas when I'd had to move all the house plants up there but had thought no more about it.
almost forgotten
Imagine my surprise when I went to look at it...it's got a flower bud on it!! Isn't nature wonderful....I've now moved it downstairs and look forward to seeing the bloom open









As Mick was snoozing peacefully in his armchair I thought I have a little walk round the garden to see what was happening out there. Our garden's only 21ft x 17ft so it doesn't take long to get around....not sure what that is in metric?....6.5m x 5.5m approx I suppose?

A few of the pots looked quite dry and this Lamium had really suffered in the strong winds of the other week. I tidied it up and gave it some water. It'll soon perk up.






I also kept an eye out for "freebies"...some of our pathway is gravel and it's surprising the number of self seedlings you can find.


These are baby Hellebores..I'll let them get a bit bigger and then choose a few strong plants to pot up and grow on.











This is Campanula; I've wanted to put out some out the front so once the Spring comes I'll lift this and replant it,







I'm pretty sure this is an annual Candytuft...it does look a little like an Osteospurnum but I don't think that it would be looking this robust if it was; I found it in a very cold, shady area and can't imagine an Osteo seed being happy enough there to grow.




This is a Lamium, like the one in the basket I mentioned early. It'll be a handy plant to have for the Summer hanging baskets.







In the cracks between the slabs I laid for wheelchair access I found these Stipa seedlings...if they do as well as the one I found last year then I've no complaints. Will lift these now and pot them up so that I don't run over them with the wheelchair.






I think this may be Nectaroscordum; it is in the right area of the garden for our ones to have dropped seed there. I'll grow it on and see...................let's hope I'm not going to be growing a weed...I remember once growing on and nurturing a Gallardia seedling.....only to find out it was a Dandelion!!!!




These I am sure about...they are Quaking Grass seedlings.






I'm really pleased with my "freebie" hunt...it's only January so to find so many already is quite exciting.


One other thing I spotted was that our Helichrysum Ruby Cluster has a flower bud on it and is looking a lot healthier since I moved it to the front garden where it gets some winter sun.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

BUSY BUSY MORNING


Really pleased to see one of the double busys I'd lifted last Autumn is in flower.
lifted busy

So far there's no sign of the dreaded Red Spider Mite that can cause problems when the air is dry during the winter with the central heating on.


I thought I'd better use some more of Elsie's Muffin Mix that was sitting in the fridge; Manda & co have managed to demolish the last batch! I'm one of those people who loves a slice of cheese with a rich fruit cake and so I wondered how the mix would taste if I added some grated cheese to it; the mix does contain brown sugar but I think, due to the use of the wholemeal flour, it doesn't taste sickly sweet so was prepared to have a bash. The smelled lovely while they were cooking and just before I took them out of the oven I sprinkled a little extra grated cheese on top.cheesy muffins They taste really nice.....the very slight sweetness with the cheese is a good combination. I guess if you were making the mixture from scratch the sugar could be omitted but I don't think I'd worry about that....much more versatile with the sugar in. I'm finding it really useful have the mix pre-prepared and just using what you want at a time.


When we popped to the Co-Op yesterday they had packs of pork loin chops on offer (Buy 1 get 1 free) so I'd bought a couple of packs; one to use and one to freeze. I thought I'd make some Poor Man's Schnitzel with them. I had some staling bread so blitzed up some breadcrumbs...........what would I do without my blitzer-cum-puree gadget......if any one every does one of those TAG things "5 Household Items You Couldn't Do Without" then I'm up for it ...how's that for an idea Claire?...................I gave the chops a good malleting, dipped in seasoned beaten egg, coated with breadcrumbs, a quick fry to seal and colour the outside then popped them in the oven while the muffins were finishing cooking (just to make sure they were cooked right through). A nice pepper sauce over them, some peas, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms and a few chips.........yummy...making myself feel hungry now!


You may think.."SIX!! how much do Mick and Ruth eat???"...well they are equally nice cold with salad and I have been known to warm them up slightly in the microwave and pop them into a Bap.........so there's actually enough for 2 or 3 days....depending how hungry we are!

Monday, 29 January 2007

GOOD DAY SUNSHINE

It was a lovely sunny and mild morning so we managed to get out and about AND have a short sit in the garden.


Do you remember me saying that I'd done the cocoa shell mulch; I so love the way it makes the garden look so tidy and really shows up any plants are "in the green". It will gradually start to grey and break down so I took a few quick snaps to show you it in its prime.

The sun's gradually creeping down the back fence and has started shining on the "new" bed now;

more sun than last weekthis used to be a patio area but as our path to the back gate is gravelled I had to lift all the patio slabs and lay them on the path so that I could get the wheelchair up and out of the garden. It was hard work but I'm not complaining...it meant I had another area to PLANT in...I'd much rather have flower beds than patio anyway.I dug in plenty of muck (to put it politely) and was really surprised at how well everything did last year that I put in there. I didn't have the time or energy to dig out all the sand base that was under the slabs and just dug that in too!! Mother Nature must love me because I know it was builder's sand which I'm sure isn't good for your soil.



irisI know I posted a picture the other day of one of the Irises but as another is in bloom now had to take a photo of that too....well you can't have too much of a good thing can you?
rose It was nice to see that the Whiskey Mac has a nice bud on it. I think I'll cut it and put it in a vase so Mick can smell it's delicious scent. In the past we've never been ones for cutting flowers to bring indoors...we prefer seeing them in the garden....but last year (as Mick is in bed so much) I started making up lots of bouquets of our flowers so Mick could have part of our garden indoors with him. The living-cum-bed room smelt lovely especially when it was filled with the scent of Lilies!

dried chilliground chilliI remembered this morning that those last few chillies I'd picked last year were STILL hanging to dry so gave them a quick blitz in the blender; it may not look much but hey were only the few "end of season" crop and it doesn't take more than a pinch to put a kick into any meal!
nicely posedIt was nice getting out in the open air today especially as one of the "love birds" sat still long enough for me to photograph even if it was only with my mobile phone..

Sunday, 28 January 2007

HAVE YOU SEEN THE MUFFIN MAN ????

I decided today that I must have a go at making the muffins from Elsie's
read the recipe from the computerThe idea of making a mixture up and then being able to keep it in the fridge; using as little or as much as you like at a time; really appealed to me. It was a new cooking experience for me as although I've made muffins before I always measure in ounces or grammes and Elsie's recipe measure in milles. I was so glad that I had a really big mixing bowl as I hadn't thought about the fact that Elsie makes her stuff to give away as gifts...so hadn't appreciated just how MUCH of the mixture I was making.
the mixture filled my largest bowl Still as it keeps in the fridge it doesn't matter too much; though next time I'll maybe halve the quantity. I hadn't been able to get buttermilk when I did my online shopping but thankfully Elsie responded to my query about an alternative....so I added lemon juice to our ordinary milk and it seems to have worked well. I cooked two batches; chocolate chipchoc chips
and coconut with cherries.coconut and cherries in these The chocolate chip ones I've put some chocolate icing on top of; I reckon with all that bran and wholemeal flour in they could be classed as healthy so we can afford to be a bit sinful.
My big problem came when I went to get my muffin tin out of the cupboard. It wasn't there!!!!...I haven't made muffins for ages and I've either stowed the tin away somewhere? or lent it to someone. Luckily I did have some muffin cases but they weren't very rigid so the muffins have sprawled somewhat........still "a rose by any other name?..."
after cookingI had to find are some guinea pigs to try them......Nicole,Manda and Chris came round so that we could give Nicole her birthday present..(a Playboy towel...it seems it's the "in" thing here for teenage girls to have lots of Playboy articles ...bet Hugh Hefner's making even more of a fortune out of it!)
ready for the beach....................they really enjoyed the muffins and Nicole is taking some to school tomorrow in her lunch box. I tasted one myself and am very impressed..they are really "wholesome" and taste great. Thanks Elsie!!!

n.b. For my non-British visitors;... the title of this post refers to a nursey rhyme I sang as a child;
Have you seen the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man
Have you seen the Muffin Man who lives on Drury Lane?
Yes, I've seen the Muffin Man, the Muffin ...etc.
( I believe Frank Zappa sang a different version).
n.b.2. For the British people who read my blog and know a slightly different meaning of the word muffin...........STOP GIGGLING!

RUTH'S SHOOTS

Before sowing parsley seeds, pour boiling water on the soil to speed up germination.

A VERY SPECIAL YOUNG LADY



OUR ELDEST GRANDAUGHTER NICOLE.......14 YEARS OLD TODAY

Saturday, 27 January 2007

RUTH'S SHOOTS

You can save space by growing two different crops in the same place; mix a slow growing crop like carrots with something faster like lettuces or radishes.

IT'S CARNIVAL TIME

Another beautiful sunset last night; Mother Nature certainly knows how to paint a picture!what a glorious sight

I was awake quite early this morning and it gave me a chance to drop in read some of the Family Blog Carnival Posts; it's quite fascinating to see how different Bloggers have interpreted the title. A few of them I couldn't get into so will have to try later; if you fancy a look yourself just click this Blog Village Icon
CLICK TO ENTER

the early bird

I was quite surprised to see a Blue Tit in the garden this morning; they seem to disappear from our garden once the summer's over and don't usually reappear until late Spring.

Grass seedlings I'm really please the way these Stipa and Fescue (the small one on the left at the base of the fluffy one) are doing. They were seedlings I found in the crack of our paving slabs; I gently lifted them and replanted them in the well drained area outside our front door and they seem to be thriving and grown a lot.

Daphne cutting Something else that's really coming on strong is the Daphne odorata cutting I took last Spring.

Daphne bud
It's even got a flower bud on it!.....this will smell absolutely gorgeous when it opens.

A lot of "positivity" in this post...I guess I really am in a Carnival mood.
p.s. if you missed mine click HERE

Friday, 26 January 2007

WHAT A GEM

Did any of you watch the Carol Klein gardening programme tonight...Grow Your Own Veg. It's one of my "must see" TV programmes. Featured on it was Harry Wardle, he is a BLIND allotment gardener and an inspiration to all. His vegetables are wonderful yet he can't see a thing! If you missed it I think it is repeated on Mon 29 Jan, 19:30 - 20:00.

Talking of vegetables I usually start some Little Gem lettuces indoors during the Autumn and plant them out under cloches for the winter. We get a nice early crop that way. I didn't do it last Autumn so think I may have to do an indoor early spring sowing; any excuse to do some gardening!

Our Little Gems May 9th 2006;

these had been outside ALL winter under one of Mick's home-made cloches.

SLUGS AND SNAILS AND VERY OLD TALES

It's strange how things happen sometimes...this morning I saw this snail climbing up the window DOESN'T HE KNOW IT'S WINTER
I can't believe that they are out and about at this time of the year. Then when all the JUNK MAIL dropped through the letter box what was lying on the mat but this!
I NEVER KNEW THAT It's actually an advert for a credit card company!!.......I had to check their facts because I'd never really thought about how many noses a slug or snail has.....I'm afraid they aren't welcome enough in my garden for me to take that close a look. I did a Google search and sure enough they do have FOUR....no wonder they manage to sniff out all my lettuces so easily!!! I pity them if they get a cold......imagine having four runny noses!

THE TIMES 1ST MARCH 1927I also received the copy of the Times that I'm giving my Dad for his birthday..........no Page 3 girl in this!!!......and all the Obituaries are on the front page!!!
CERTIFIED It came with a nice Certificate of Authentication.........(his surname is on the original but thought I'd better crop it out). I think he's going to be really pleased to receive such a piece of history.

RUTH'S SHOOTS

To protect peach trees from leaf curl, grow garlic at the base of the trunk.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

IT'S SETTLED

We finally had some snow that settled last night, not enough to rush out with the sledge or make a snowman though. The weather forecast says that it may get a little warmer over the next few days (up to 5 or 6oC) so I don't think we will see any more for a while.
first settled snow this year
What we have is thawing quite quickly; it was another beautiful sunrise and the sun is at the moment streaming into our living room window and feels really warm on my face. Of course if you're OUTSIDE is still bitterly cold.
a beautiful start to the day
I read on Libby's post yesterday that she has now potted up her ginger and DATES. She has done so well to get the dates to germinate. I really hope she manages to keep them growing; I've never had any luck with them at all and it's going to be interesting to see her photos of them as they get bigger.

Tescos have made their delivery and luckily did have some ginger in stock so I'm going to have a go at growing that.

Come on ginger..GROWAs the idea of puting pieces in a bag of compost and keeping it in a warm place seems to work I am trying that. And the rest of the ginger?; well some has curry written all over it and the rest I'll freeze...I find it grates beautifully straight from the freezer.
Here's hopingFingers crossed I'll have some success.

ANOTHER HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Steve's an 'ANDY guy to have around

Today is another son-in-law's Birthday; Steve this time.
Happy Birthday Steve; could't find a "bad" enough photo of you to print so had you WARHOLIZED!

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

SIX WEIRD THINGS ABOUT ME

Well it's just like British buses.......you get tagged once and before you know it another one comes along! I quite innocently went on to Libby's blog and there I saw my name tagged for "SIX WEIRD THINGS ABOUT ME". I don't mind doing this sort of thing if I have the time; it's a good way of finding new blogs to read when you see who else has been tagged. The big problem is trying to find your own people to tag!!! This one is going to be particularly difficult as what could be WEIRD about me!!!!!
  1. I used to do lots of acting on stage when I was younger yet I'm incredibly shy and HATE walking into a room full of strangers and would never be able to initiate a conversation!
  2. I hate wearing gardening gloves but HATE having dirty hands!
  3. My waist line measurement is rapidly catching up with my hip measurement!
  4. I started menstruating at EIGHT and am still going at 54!
  5. If I do something like 'scratch my right ear' I have to scratch the left one...to make it fair!
  6. I am not at all frightened of creepy crawlies, mice, snakes or ghosts!

I tag ('cos they did the last one) Gledwood, Analia, Claire (though I'm sure she's done this one before) and anyone else who fancies a go (let me know in my comment box so I don't miss the post).

THERE' SNO SNOW YET

sunset Yet another incredible sunset last night; I just had to share it with you. This morning the skies are completely grey, it's frosty but we have no snow. When Lynn sent me this photo on my mobile this morningmax in the snowof Max playing in the snow in Surrey I thought I'd better finish the mulching I started yesterday before the snow reached us. It was absolutely freezing outside;
brrrrr and I couldn't believe the fish were still happily swimming about.hardy fishEven a little Anemone blanda was poking it's head into the chilly air.
first anemone blandaStill I got the job done and the house felt soooo warm when I came back inside. I've just done an online Tesco shop.....and made sure I've ordered some ginger. My "pip challenge" stones are showing no sign of germinating and so I'd like to see if I have anymore success with a piece of ginger root. I really hope they have some in stock.

SKY ALBUM -

EVERY SUNRISE AND SUNSET WE SHARED WAS PRECIOUS

A TOUR OF OUR GARDEN 2006

MEET THE FAMILY

www.flickr.com
This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called family. Make your own badge here.
Thanks Akelamula

DENISE'S WISH FOR US ALL

A 1st Birthday Gift to my Blogpals

Thank you from Ruth

Thanks to Akelamula

creative blogger

Thanks Shaz

Thanks Skittles...worn with pride

created by Denise - given with love

AWARDS!

Rockin' Shaz sxhmoozed me From Mags, Gill, Libby,Denise and Meeyauw