- How the Arctic is ‘bustling’ in winter (bbc.co.uk)
We were faster than the starlings this year and harvested 2 buckets of dark blue grapes from the vine on the front of our house yesterday. Those were then washed and picked off the stalks, juiced, filtered, and preserved as a rich fruit juice or light cordial in sterilized bottles.
4.5 litres in total, that’s not too bad for a north-facing wall in London, I should think. And it has quite a nice flavour, too.
As a child, I never quite understood why I should congratulate my parents on their wedding anniversary. It felt like something intimate and private to them, embarrassing to me.
Now I understand that it is quite an accomplishment for many, even though it comes fairly easy to us. We aren’t an old couple just yet, but we are a happy one.
A good pear harvest, which we attribute to the much reduced pear rust infection now that a heavily infected tree in the neighbour’s garden is no more.
Only two Braeburn apples survive from the original five or six, but given that this is a tiny tree in a tiny pot, often fallen dry, I think it has done pretty well. I think I will probably set it free from its pot and put it into a bed this coming spring.
After years of waiting, caring, sometimes neglecting but always hoping, we are overjoyed to announce the first flower of our indoors strelitzia reginae.
It truly is the most amazing flower.
Ah, I love it when the garden begins producing. We enjoy regular and generous harvests of Swiss Chard already. The Mange-tout peas will be ready in two weeks, radishes in a few days, and herbs are available in abundance.
All just 3 steps out of my garden door, how cool is that?
Yesterday’s supper is today’s lunch: fresh garden vegetables soup with slow cooked crisp pork belly and spicy chorizo.
1.20 m above ground, 3 m long, and practically the size of one small bed in the best sun-kissed corner of the garden, not taking any of our limited space away. Container gardening with a twist.
This should be perfect for herbs and some salads, and hopefully be a little less slug- and snail-ridden than ground-level beds.
Can you spot the difference?
Their speed of growth is simply amazing. One plant in the middle stands out, but the others show similar growth (not as evident from the photo).
The banana plants were covered with a sheet of reeds and bamboo to stop harsh winds or heavy snow from reaching them, covered on top with an old linen sack.
When we returned from our short break mid afternoon this Easter Monday, the thermometer reported a glorious 17 Celsius in the shade, and the bananas had lifted their protective covers up by more than a foot. A clear sign that they thought enough is enough.
Monty’s back, so it must be time to get a spring clean started in Ye Olde Orangerie. Now it’s all nice and tidy and awaiting seedlings, while this black and ageing fellow awaits nothing but the passing of time, at least until feeding time at 6 o’clock.
I decided to call him Nutmeg on account of his black and brown fur. While the little General watches proceedings from an elevated position, I believe that Nutmeg might become the boss soon. He is clearly interested in the job.
The saddest thing on Earth (or at least one of the very saddest things) must be a lonely Guinea Pig. While they are usually quite perky, a lonely Guinea Pig just sits in the corner with little appetite and dropping ears. Funny how you can see the ears dropping even though they are never in a different position, but something about the entire posture, the absence of whistling and lack of appetite is just heart-breaking.
So, first things first. The first sad news is that Castor, the black Guinea Pig with the white twirl on his head (pictured here), perished on July 22nd, 2014 as a result of an unidentified illness. (A dead Guinea Pig also is a pretty sad thing, really.)
While away on a business trip, I decided not to replace Castor, but when I saw the little General as sad as described above, the decision was easy. The new one, not named as yet, got 24 hours indoors to cope with the initial shock of the move. All the time, he sat with the exact same expression of loneliness, so I brought the two together for a few hours on Sunday. It’s as if I flicked a switch; immediately, both start acting normally and eat, and are of course quite excited about the new mate.
Of course, now they need to fight for dominance. The surviving General hasn’t woken up to the new situation, or is generally submissive. It is very clear that the new little bugger wants the job as top dog.
They’ll get all day together tomorrow (and maybe I get a decent photo of the new recruit). Starting Tuesday, they should be together all day and night.