Monday, 30 May 2011

new neighbours are moving in

I was talking to Ian in the kitchen this afternoon when we both saw a female black bird sitting on the fence. Nothing strange about that but she had some nesting material in her beak, we both looked at each other and smiled, waited for her to go then took a look into our small tree in the garden. She is building a nest! I'm so chuffed and its so near to the house.


This afternoon whilst digging over the veg patch, lugging tons of compost around the male black bird came so close to me to pick up some worms. They have always visited our garden, eaten my strawberries and sat on the fence singing, so its probably no surprise they chose our garden to raise their family. Even so its the first bird family for us and in such a small garden.

I finally got round to taking out the brocolli, the last meal we had with it was only a few days ago and I felt rotten digging it up! Oh well the compost bin has had the benefit. Talking of compost my compost bin must be super speedy. I don't do anything to it apart from give it a good supply of veg peelings, shredded paper and far too many tea bags! But today when I needed compost it gave me four big trugs full which I just about managed to carry. I only emptied it in April, our bin must have very greedy worms!


Sitting having a cuppa I wondered what to do with my cold frames when everything has been planted. So I moved a small cold frame to the freshly dug veg patch and planted my cue plants and some chilli plants inside it. Looks a bit odd but I think it might just work. The top of the cover has little holes now so it shouldn't get too hot. I'm into year four of growing veg so maybe, just maybe I will get a small greenhouse next year! Raining here and very dark so finished just in time.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

the ones that didn't get away!

Ian went fishing yesterday in Sussex and came home with these two fine specimens! So tonight we will be eating baked trout stufed with shallots, lemon + a dash or two of white wine + herbs served with new potatoes and some fresh beans + brocolli from the veg patch. Enjoy your weekend. Amanda x

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

and today it's my birthday!


No pictures of me, couldn't find a good enough one to publish! I made lots of cup cakes last night to bring to the office, well big fairy cakes, yes I have to work on my birthday. Ian is taking me out for dinner on Thursday night so I can celebrate my birthday a bit longer. I did get a sloppy kiss from the dog this morning, no one else was around! Anyway here are some photos of my desk with my cards and presents. Amanda x

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Happy Birthday Moss


Happy 2nd Birthday to Moss

When you rescue a dog you never know what you are going to get. At first it was difficult because he had to adjust to his new home. One year and a month on he is the best decision we ever made!
His training is coming on and now he comes back when he's told to, well most of the time. He is a little character, very clever, very loving and very much ours and part of our family.
So happy birthday Moss xxx

Monday, 23 May 2011

Are you new to crochet and want to make a present, this could be the answer. I found this searching for yarn today and had to share it with you, the colours are really lovely but sadly this shade is discontinued. You can find similar colours in the sale from one of my favourite yarn stockists Cucumberpatch wool shop I bought the 'Frosty' colour today for my scarf and you can find this free pattern here Eskimmi knits self designing scarf pattern. I made a similar one for a friend about a year or so ago and used a similar yarn but turned at the end of every row, this pattern suggests you break the yarn at the end of each row to obtain the stripes and the piece you. I'll let you know how I get on. I know it's summer but if you want to make them for presents it gives you time to get ahead :-)

Friday, 20 May 2011


along the path

I woke up far too early this morning, 5:30am! Unlike me but the sun was shining and I wanted to make the most of my weekend. Here are some pictures taken of a few of my hostas growing in my gravel garden, well my main garden. They grow really well here and I don't have a problem with slugs, I don't think I get any which is good. I have a small bed next to the pond which is shady and the other hostas love it there. Having a small garden means I have to cram everything in, veg patch, plants and washing line all in a small planned space. Seems to work really well and no grass to cut, which is a bonus. When we moved to this house almost eight years ago we had a nice garden but decided we wanted a pond so the garden was demolished literally and the pond planned around it. Last year a new fence was put in to keep the dog off the garden as he loves to eat everything! I have a couple of gaps and need to look at what else I can fit in, I recently planted two Hollyhocks to give some height. Enjoy your weekend. Amanda x

this one was a cutting taken two years ago

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The RHS Great Garden Swap

I've been invited by the RHS to join the Great Garden Swap at Hyde Hall on Friday 3rd June, how wonderful. I'm taking my sister Danielle along as it can be a belated birthday treat, my birthday is next week. So if you are within driving distance (it's about an hour or so from Sittingbourne) maybe we will bump into each other. Ooh and they are providing a picnic lunch, it just gets better. Have a look at the link for further details Hyde-Hall The RHS Great Garden Swap

Monday, 16 May 2011

I was meant to be sorting out my wool stash yesterday, but came across some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK yarn from last years bargains in a biscuit colour. So instead of clearing out found myself searching for a suitable pattern and remembered this one! v kneck jumper free pattern

Got home and started in and its such a lovely wool to work with and an easy pattern if I can follow! Thought I'd share it with you because you can adapt it to your wool stash. The wool the pattern lists Debbie Bliss Cathay, has been discontinued but I think most Debbie Bliss wools will knit to this pattern. Not that I'm an expert, so I checked the band and its very similar so will just have to see what it turns out like. Must be the cooler weather than is making me want to pick up my knitting needles.

Blog award


The lovely Jo at The Goodlife gave me an award on the 9 May and I've been meaning to post this and to say a huge thank you because after three years I am now up to 35 followers! So thank you to all of you for reading my ramblings, trying out my recipes and for offering your gardening advice along the way. I really enjoy reading all your blogs too and finding out about your gardens, pets and holidays.

So the rules are that the award must be passed on to blogs with less than 100 followers. So I would like to nominate the three following new blogs that I have started reading. I hope you will click through and have a read to.

If anyone would like to swap some climbing French bean seeds please let me know. New packet with use by date June 2011 surplus to requirements but will be ok for next year too!


Urban Veg Patch
Me and Tilly Too
Project Forty

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Kentish bluebells

We got up early and went off in seach of bluebells in Cobham Woods. Due to the warm weather in April they arrived early and we almost missed them, well we did miss most of them! Anyway managed to get one photo on my way back to the car alongside the Darnley Mausoleum on the Darnley Trail which we don't normally take. It was a lovely morning and we hardly saw anyone, which was great because we always bump into people with un-social dogs. Moss was tired out after a five mile walk taking in lots of steep bits which I'm not keen on, luckily I took my walking cane today as it did come in very handy. I feel a bit of an idiot taking in then relieved that I did!

After a bit of rest, some knitting and lots of tea drinking I managed to get an hour in the garden. One thing is bothering me, do you take out purple sprouting brocolli once it has finished producing or do you keep in the ground for next year? I'm sure I read somewhere that you keep it in. Really need the space but have loved eating it as it doesn't taste anything like the limp stuff you buy in the shops. Looking forward to your replies. Amanda x

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Rhubarb sponge

I had more rhubarb again this morning so what to do with it? I'm fed up making rhubarb + stem ginger jam and fancied baking. I found this recipe whilst searching the internet, like you do! This is mine finished, although I used the wrong size tin it turned out lovely and moist and didn't stick. I cooked it for 30 mins in a fan oven. The sugar over the rhubarb makes it cook and is nice and sweet!

IngredientsPrep: 15 min
Cook: 45 min

Serves 4
100g soft butter
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs
100g self-raising flour, sifted
500g ripe rhubarb stalks
100g extra caster sugar

METHOD: Heat oven to 180C/Gas 4. Beat the butter and caster sugar in a bowl until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well.

Gently fold in the sifted flour until you have a batter of dropping consistency.

Cut the rhubarb stalks into 2cm lengths, discarding any leaves. Arrange loosely in a buttered one-litre pie or baking dish and scatter with the 100g extra caster sugar. Spoon the batter mixture on top of the fruit in clumps then smooth out the clumps to cover the rhubarb. Bake for 45 mins, or until the topping is golden and cakey. Serve with rich cream.

Monday, 9 May 2011

what a neat idea

I came across this neat little idea today, what do you think? I was only saying the other day I needed more space and this could be the answer. You find further details at Lladder Allotments

Saturday, 7 May 2011

garden update

Here are some photos of what I will be eating this summer! I have two plastic greenhouses full up with courgettes + tomato plants, window sill with chilli plants and my dining room acts as a greenhouse too! No idea where I am going to put it all in my small garden! I have grown climbing courgettes again this year and Jack made me a wigwam in a big pot to put one in. Since we got Moss II I can't grow anything on the large patio because he likes to eat everything green.

I have bought some grow bags for the tomato and chilli plants. Not sure what to grow in the raised bed next to the brocolli as its got so big. Thought about sweetcorn but have left it too late to grow from seed. I think I'll grow carrots inbetween the onions as they are ones grown from seed that my friend Debbie gave me as they will be slow to grow. I think I need another raised bed or a bigger garden!
dwarf French beans my sister gave me + raspberry canes behind, next to it onions

peas and mange tout, next to it sweet peas + room for one courgette plant

dwarf berlotti beans in the dining room

gardeners delight tomatoes (the one in the middle came inside a week ago)

raddish + Swiss chard bright lights

strawberry plugs I grew from last year

tote shopping bag

Yesterday I read an article in my local paper about guerilla bag making, sounds strange but groups around the country make tote bags out of reclaimed/vintage fabric and then hand them out to shoppers to encourage them to stop using plastic bags. Sounds like a great idea to me and I've wanted to make one for ages. So last night I spent most of the evening making my first tote bag out of some Laura Ashley fabric I had in my stash. After reading the instructions about 50 times as I went along I was surprised that it turned out so well! Including making the little box sections to secure the handles in place. This morning I've cut out my next bag ready to sew tonight but I've made the handles a bit longer and will line it so I'll get more use out of mine as a day bag for books, knitting etc. You don't have to join but maybe make one for a friend, that's my plan. Enjoy your weekend. Amanda x

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Most of my seedlings are outside in my two plastic greenhouses. Normally my dining room will be full to the brim but thankfully the weather has been so warm I've managed to use the garden instead. I read on another blog tonight that tomato plants grown in these greenhouses can actually turn out better and hardier. If you start them off too early and inside they become leggy so maybe I've made the right decision. As normal I've grown far too many for my personal use so will give them to work friends and neighbours.

My courgette seedlings + basil have all emerged today, also grown outside. Those little plastic greenhouses are actually very good and cheap. I don't really have room for a proper one so I'm sticking to these for now and they can be used to grow on chilli plants + cucumbers when everything else has been planted out.

I planted out my peas + snow peas today. I took Moss for a long walk and collected all my pea sticks which were far taller than I used in previous years. Came home put them in and gave them a good water, hopefully we will be eating peas very soon! Tomorrow I'll sow some more in my Row Planter boxes, they are brilliant.

Lots more to do but just where to plant it all! Enjoy your bank holiday. Amanda x