Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Autumn Leaves

This year the Autumn leaves seem to be hanging on and on and on.  It is late November and still these are all still clinging to the branches.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Ta dah!!!!! Allotment progress

Ta dah!!!!!
This is what happens when you take a lot of free wood, help from family and friends and a bunch of weekends.
Support for fruit tree cordons
Raised beds with wooden pathways
View up to the fruit cage (just awaiting more plants and the netting)
Wires for support

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Raspberry and Oat Muffins

Using up a handful of raspberries that I had been able to harvest the day before.  The oats come from Stotfold Mill - somewhere that I must visit properly next year and write a post on.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Fishfinger Sandwich

Ever since our trip to RAF Lossiemouth in September I have been craving fish finger sandwiches.  The one in the Officers Mess (no photo unfortunately) was quite something .... so this my own version with home made dill pickles.  I am guessing that a food fit for Tornado pilots is going to keep me going through the day.


Last week one of the primroses that I transplanted from the back garden has started to bloom.  I was bit worried that these wouldn't survive the dry conditions in the summer as they were planted in the most awful heavy clay soil.  However they have proved to be tough old things. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Leaf mould

Every Autumn I watch on Gardeners World as they extoll the virtues of making leaf mould.   For several years I had access to the most sublime and inexhaustible supply of  leaf mould.  We could date the age of it through the layers by identifying the year according to crisp packet design!

When we first set up the allotment I penciled in the leaf mould pen in my initial drawing and it so it was constructed.  All summer it has sat there empty, patiently waiting for the seasons to change.

Finally the leaves started to fall and I was out the front of house picking up pile after pile of leaves. (The advantage of living in a garden city is the plentiful supply of trees outside my house.)

The bin is now full and I wait for the leaves to their magical stuff in decomposition.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Wednesday afternoons

Shuttleworth College


Every week I pass a Quince tree on the way into the walled garden at college.  After one lesson (with permission) I collected the windfalls as I was intrigued to use some of the fruit.   

I remembered the lines from The Owl and the Pussycat '
They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon.'

Referring to my Diana Henry book I made Quince and Star Anise Jelly and Quince Cheese.    The jelly was easy to make but the cheese took a bit more effort.  To be honest I nearly lost the will to live trying to push the paste through a sieve - maybe Lear wasn't talking nonsense and a runcible spoon was what was required to make the task easier!   However once tasted all the effort was much forgotten.

The quince cheese was eaten with Dan Lepard's Pumpkin and Raisin Sourdough Loaf (which was a perfect combination) and some Somerset Brie and Wensleydale.

The cat sat in the trug

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Garlic Planting

Red Hot Poker

Pruning the Ceanothus earlier this year has finally allowed more light onto the border.  For the first time since planting it, the Red Hot Poker has actually bloomed.  Not the most impressive I have seen but a massive improvement just the foliage of previous years!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Fruit Cage Progress

Early November Morning

Cosmos 'Sensation'

The seeds (from the wonderful Higgledy Garden) were sown almost to the limit of lateness and I lost some plants due to some rather enthusiastic hoeing ... but two made it through and finally burst into bloom by mid October.

The withstood Storm Jude and carried onto give a wonderful splash of colour until this weekend.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Musings on Photography

During the week I spent three days up in Barnsley assessing for photographic work.   In a previous part of my life I was a photographer and then a photography teacher.  Looking back I realise that for over half my life photography has been a fundamental part of who I am and what I know about.  However since leaving full time teaching two years ago, photography has become more and more on the periphery of my life.  My involvement has dwindled to a handful of distance learning students and taking many (and mainly dodgy) photos on my phone.

The last week was spent intensively looking at student work, and then in the evening spent even more intensively talking about photography.  It was refreshing to find that my knowledge was still there.  I found myself remembering critical theory sources that I had read 20 years ago and terminology that I hadn't used for many years started to pour forth.   It has made me pull out some favourite articles since I have been back and re read them.  A desire to start writing again is within me and the one thing I can write about is photography.  So what am I trying to say, from time to time this blog may see some jumping around as I track the progress of garden and allotment (its original aim) to where I start to exercise my thoughts on photography.  

Cocktail Kiwi

Cocktail Kiwi planted Sunday 20th October.  James Wong describes these as if Haribo were to invent a fruit - so here's waiting till next year.

Actinidia arguta

Storm damage

Being of a certain age, I remember the big storm of '87.  The storm of 2007 however holds the most vivid memories and resulted in me, a colleague and 20 students being stranded in London for the night on a trip as we couldn't get home.   I have memories of commandeering two taxis at Kings Cross to try and get as home only to have my plan vetoed by senior management on health and safety grounds.  We ended up in a backpackers hostel in Piccadilly, wandering around Eros trying to avoid tiles flying of roofs.  

This year with the approaching winds gathering we put as much away as we could and moved the big pots into shelter.  The resulting casualty was the honeysuckle and fence panel which disappeared into next doors garden.  

Autumn raindrops