Friday 22nd July 2016 – Back where I belong!

My Jury Duty has finally finished. They’ll have to find some other people to sort out the criminals. I can’t be called for another 2 years at least. I may never be called again! It was a very interesting thing to do, and I learnt a lot. I had 2 cases and neither of which were gruesome, which was something I wasn’t looking forward to. So now I’m back where I belong, where the pigeons fly, to the trees so high! I had a great 3 hours on my plots today and harvested the first of my Potatoes, Sugar Snap Peas, Lettuce, Cucumber and Beetroot. Plus I did a load more weeding, watering a feeding. So all in all a very pleasant time. Plus a little update on my Squash, Pumpkins and how everything is growing in the greenhouse.

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Sunday 17th July 2016 – A very pleasant Sunday morning.

Because I’m in the middle of my Jury Duty, I’ve been unable to go down to my allotment at all this week. Emily, bless her, has been going down and watered my greenhouse. I leave early and get back late, and am totally knackered! So I made the most of this morning and after bell ringing I went and had a play for a couple of hours. My allotment seems to think that just because I’m busy that it can do what it likes and all the grass can grow really fast and the weeds think that they can have free run of everything. I soon put some of them back in their right place (or the green waste area). I weeded, watered and fed a couple more beds that contained my other variety of Sweet corn “Swift F1”, and some brassicas that I planted in between them.

Swift F1 Sweet corn. All fed and watered.

Swift F1 Sweet corn. All fed and watered.

The brassicas have been nibbled by the birds, but the centres are still in, so I’m hoping that they’ll recover to some degree. I also watered and fed everything that is in the greenhouse. Like the greenhouse at home all the plants are growing really well and I may have a Cucumber to harvest very soon!! Before I came home I harvested some more Spring Onions, Radish and a Lettuce. It’s all growing well, and hopefully it’ll continue to grow well and I’ll be harvesting masses very soon.

I'm very proud of this lettuce. I've got more nearly ready.

I’m very proud of this lettuce. I’ve got more nearly ready.

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Saturday 16th July 2016 – Side Shooting Tomatoes & an Update!

Sorry I’ve not been blogging for a while, but I had Jury Duty last week and also this coming week. Hopefully I’ll finish early this week, so I can get back to normal. But the greenhouse at home is growing well. Well, not the greenhouse itself is growing, but the plants in it are. The Cucamelons are trying to take over and if I don’t keep an eye on them I have a feeling that in a few weeks they would have crept their way everywhere. Still the little fruits are starting to form which is really exciting. The Tomatoes are in need of some side shooting and tying in, and the flowers are appearing on my Sweet Peppers and Chillies. Here is a little update on how it’s all doing.

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Friday 8th July 2016 – Harvest, weed, water, repeat!

Another very busy 4 hours on my allotment today. I’m now systematically working my way through each bed. I harvest, weed, then water, then move onto the next bed and do exactly the same. If I find any spare space, then I sow some fast growing crops. I’m not going to waste the space once it’s been vacated by one plant. Are you ready for this video? I got a lot done.

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Monday 4th July 2016 – A stolen day of fun.

With Emily not at school, because she’s finished her exams, and George having an INSET day today, AND the weather being dry (yes I know shock horror). I decided that the kids and I would go on an adventure. We left home just after 10am all packed and ready with a blanket, picnic lunch, a change of clothes, some suncream, 3 chairs, as well as lots of other things.

All packed up and ready to go on our adventure.

All packed up and ready to go on our adventure.

You’re desperate to know where we were heading off to aren’t you? Well this is where we went. We drove to Petworth House and Park and arrived about a little after 11.15am. A very pleasant drive and no problems with the traffic. We’ve been here before, but not for a while. As we’re National Trust Members, it didn’t cost us anthing to get in, and we’d only stopped to break up our journey, stretch our legs, use the loo and have a snack to eat from our picnic, as well as have a little wander around. The sun was shining which was a bonus, but the clouds were gathering. The weather report in the morning had said that there would be the outside chance of a shower where we were going. But we were confident it wouldn’t rain, so refused to pack any sort of waterproof or umbrella. Jumpers on the other hand we were taking. When we arrived at Petworth we had a little snack, and then went to the house. We’d just missed a house tour, so decided to go and look round the kitchens instead. Very interesting and the experts in each room were very helpful. Being a school day there weren’t many people about, and we did get a few weird looks from people who may have thought that I’d taken my children out of school to come and visit. George got into the spirit of being a cook back in the 1920’s. He’ll find any excuse to dress up. I’m not going to stop him from having fun. There are so few kids his age (let alone parents who will let their kids)  having fun like my 2 do. It’s something he’s never grown out of, and to be honest I hope he never does grow out of it. He makes us laugh so much by his little expressions and his willingness to take part in anything.

What are you cooking for us today chef George?

What are you cooking for us today chef George?

We went into the preserving room, and myself and the expert lady in the room had a long in depth discussion about making Strawberry jam. I’m not sure how long we were talking for, but the kids went for a wander. When I went looking for them, I couldn’t find them, and finally found Emily, but neither of us knew where George had gone to. Emily popped outside, but still we couldn’t find him. Where had he got to? He didn’t have his phone with his, so I couldn’t call him. So Emily and I stayed together and walked into each room again to see if we could find him. Finally there he was! He’d been playing with sand and making his own land creation. I said to him, “What are you doing?”, his reply was “I’m playing God!” It kept him amused for ages. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him concentrate on anything for so long.

"I make mountain and then crush it with my hand!"

“I make mountain and then crush it with my hand!”

By this time it was getting on for 1pm, so we got back in the car and drove to our final destination which was…..West Wittering Beach!! Yes you heard me correctly. In the June half term we usually go to the beach, but the weather was so atrocious that we didn’t go, plus Emily was revising. So today was the first time this year that we went to the seaside. The car parking is brilliant. One fixed price and you never park too far away from the sea. The tide was going out and the lovely sandy beach was revealing itself. Now it was rather breezy on the beach, it usually is, so we set up camp behind a sand dune. We got settled in our little space and had our lunch. Now I don’t know about you, but when you go for a day out the kids eat so much!! I always take loads of food, but never expect them to get through most of it. I’ve got 2 teenage children and they eat so much!

We're British and we'll sit on the beach what ever the weather.

We’re British and we’ll sit on the beach what ever the weather.

After lunch George played football, but also took with him a tennis ball, so George and I then played catch. I’ve not done that for so long, and have never been a very good catcher. But today I was on a role. I even caught with one hand!! Yes I know, I hope you’re impressed. George catches with one hand all the time. How he does that I don’t know. And he can throw the ball so far. He doesn’t have a dominant hand for throwing or catching, and changes over when one gets tired. He writes right handed, but all the other stuff he does left handed. Mark is the other way round (writes left handed and everything else right handed). Emily and I are right handed through and through. So I have 2 weirdos in my household, and it’s not the girls! At about 4pm he’d had enough of being blown about, so decided to put everything back in the car, go for a paddle and then have an ice cream. I told the kids it was “non negotiable”. Blimey the sea was cold, but we’re British and we paddle what ever the weather.

We're paddling in the sea, and it's bloody cold!

We’re paddling in the sea, and it’s bloody cold!

George on the other hand had to always go one step further.

He kept his shorts dry amazingly.

He kept his shorts dry amazingly.

We had a lovely gently stroll along the beach, and it was wonderful. The only thing missing was Mark as he was stuck in the office at work. We did buy his a special treat of cookies and fudge from Petworth. After our walk we went to the cafe, and the kids had an ice cream, but me being slightly more sensible had a coffee. Decaf of course because caffeine makes me go like a meerkat, and that won’t be good driving home. Knowing that we had about a 2 hour drive home, we all made sure we’d been to the loo before we got back in the car, and then we towelled off as much of the sand as we could, but it gets everywhere. The drive home was very uneventful, until we got about 3 miles away from home, when we got stuck, but hey ho. We arrived home finally, all very exhausted and tired. We all showered before he had dinner to remove any residual sand from places I never even knew sand could get into. A great day was had by all.

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Friday 1st July 2016 – Pumpkins and Squash are forming!

Another busy day on the allotment today. Emily again came with me, and we got loads done. Emily weeded the Kohl Rabi bed, and I finished weeding the Carrot and Onion bed and then moved onto the bed where my new fruit bushes are growing.

Emily hard at work weeding away.

Emily hard at work weeding away.

The soil is still soft, so it’s easy to pull most of the weeds out. We arrived at the allotment about 11 am due to the fact that we needed to pop into town to sort a couple of things out. We then came home, changed, made lunch to take with us and then popped off to the allotment. The skies were very overcast today and the sun came occasionally. So we both took our waterproof jackets down, just incase we needed them. When the sun was out it got really quite warm, so our jackets came off, but when the clouds gathered overhead it got quite cold. We worked for about an hour and then sat down and had our lunch, then worked for another hour or so before we came home. I watered all my plants in the greenhouse and feed them with Seaweed Fertiliser as they are now producing flowers and fruits. As I was filling up my watering can from the butt by the tap I noticed that my Pumpkins and Squash are starting to produce some fruits. They’re all very small, but hopefully they’ll grow really well.

They start small, bot hopefully they'll grow really large.

They start small, but hopefully they’ll grow really large.

My weather app said that it would start to rain about 2pm, and it was right. Just a little before 2pm it started to spit spot, and as Emily and I started to clear everything away it became persistent drizzle. We planned getting in the car very well because by the time we got in the car to come home it was raining even more. Next week is rather busy, so I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to get down the allotment, but even if I end up going in the evenings I will. I’ll keep you posted.

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Thursday 30th June 2016 – My first Melon!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe that we’re now at the end of June. Where did this month go? The last couple of days I’ve been working, so I’ve been unable to get to my allotment, but today I was back on my plots and continued with the wonderful job of weeding. The rain has made the weeds grow so fast, and when you look at a weed covered bed, you wonder where to start. But I find that going up and down the rows in a systematic way is always the best, then you don’t miss any weeds. It can be quite a boring way of doing it, but you can see what progress you’ve made. The soil is nice and soft, so most of the weeds can be pulled out very easily which is great, as this then doesn’t disturb the crops. I then watered the plants inside my greenhouse and was very pleased when I noticed that my Melon plants are now just about to flower, and under the flowers there are some very small, albeit rather hairy, baby Melons. Hopefully they’ll continue to grow well, and I’ll keep you updated on their progress.

My first Melon!

My first Melon!

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