Thursday, 12 April 2012

Happy Birthday Blog!

Wow! It's been a whole year since we started blogging again and if I might say, we've done rather well in my opinion. I did have the urge to do a review of the year in January like so many other bloggers did, but that would have actually been a review of the last 10 months as opposed to a year. So waiting until our blogging birthday was definately more suitable.

Every year, it is nice to go back and look through the blog posts that have accumulated. Having made around 150 posts, averaging about 3 per week, it can take a long time to look through them all. However, it is really beneficial to refresh your memory of what you should be doing now and also remind yourself of the things that worked particularly well and then of course.. those that didn't!

This is where it all started again. A spontaneous trip to a local garden centre resulted in us returning with a bag of early seed potatoes and some courgette plants...

These courgettes were a fantastic success, but the potatoes which we grew in bags were not so great. After giving up my allotment 2 years ago to concentrate on studies it was definately nice to get my fingers dirty again...


This was a very exciting month. Amy who had never grew anything before was witnessing tomato plants shoot right up  and we also saw those two measly courgette plants burst in to a jungle of foliage. This month also brought our first pickings of courgettes too. Simply delicious..

The above photo show our measly patch turning in to a green canvas of leaves and growing produce..

It was nice to get the bees back. After 3 years of beekeeping I have still not managed to harvest a good deal of honey. I only ever intend to take what the bees don't need and with the bees being quite a small colony they have never produced  a great deal. I'm hoping for a much more vigorous honey crop this year. The first inspection of Spring is upon us!

My highlight of the year was adding the Bantams to our ever growing very, very, very, very small holding. Having had 2 hybrids for eggs already in an eglu classic, it was nice to add some more chickens to the menagerie. Lesley and Geraldine our two original hens were rather shocked to see the impecably beautiful bantam trio of Margot, Barbara and Mrs.Weaver pitch up across the path in another eglu. These young, point of lay ladies came to strut their stuff and takeover the ruling of the roost.
There was some sadness to this story. Who can forget when one morning a 'cock a doodle doo' rang throughout the house, and upon very close inspection we realised that Barbara was more of a he than a she. No wonder there was a short term lack of eggs from these 'point of lay' pure breeds.
Here is Barbara in all of her 'cock-a-doodle-doodlingness'...

Anyway Barbara was replaced with Barbara II or Barbaradeux as we like to call her. The Bantams have been laying better than expected through winter and have been putting Lelsey and Geraldine to shame at times.


Our first green pepper came this month along with plentiful amounts of courgettes, tomatoes and mange tout. The potatoes however were a bit of a damp squib, with the potato in bags experiment being less successful than I had hoped it be. A lovely sunny month full of fresh produce on the table, what could be better?


A new academic year saw our blog posting tail off slightly, but good things still happened in our good life...

This month saw us doing lots of nice things inside rather than out. We got our Christmas cakes baked and I also helped Amy bake her first loaf. It is certainly a taste to savour, fresh homemade bread. We also went foraging in the park for crab apples which made a splendid jelly. Christmas things started to appear in shops and our countdown really began..

One of Martin's favourite times of year and not only for the soul reason that it is his birthday. October is a month of Orange. Orange leaves on trees and of course the wonderful pumpkins that emerge on doorsteps around the world at Halloween. We had an extra special Halloween this year with our trip to Disneyland Paris. A truly magical month, but food produced in the garden started to dwindle..


Our only post in November was an introduction to Barbaradeux. It certainly started to feel like Christmas in this month. Barbara was definately glad she wasn't a turkey...


 We had a very merry family christmas this year, which was splendid. With the bees sleeping for the winter, and the eggs starting to come to a stop we weren't up to too much in our good life venture but we did get crafty and make some homemade cross stitch cards for our nearest and dearest..


A very happy new year! Christmas seemed to have flew by without stopping and it was time to sit exams for us both. Not the best month from the 12. Roll on Spring!


Amy's Birthday was celebrated for what seemed forever. With such a large family we had birthday meals here there and everywhere but she certainly wasn't complaining..

I taught Amy how to make perfect bread this month and I think you can agree she is a quick learner..

February is such an important time for vegetable growers and gardeneres. The seed potatoes are ready to start chitting and it's time to think about early broad beans and garlic. Tomatoes and Chillis can be started off too, a small taste of things to come..
A late Christmas present came to us at the end of February in the form of our new allotment. Initially being allocated Plot 16 brought so much happiness, but when faced with the decision betweet Plots 16 and 114 there was only one clear winner. Plot 114 became our new home and definately ensured next month was going to be a busy one..


Like I stated earlier, Plot 114 ensured March was a busy month for us. Clearing the site and getting it ready for planting took some time but we are sure that it is going to be worth it come harvest time..

What next?
Well here's to another year of blogging for a start. We have really enjoyed giving an account of our good life and sharing it with all of our 54 followers and those who don't follow publicly aswell. We have really enjoyed reading everybody elses blogs too and we always try to publicise others blogs as much as our own, so I think that this month I will start featuring our favourite blogs in special posts. You can learn so much from every blog you visit.

For us, Plot 114 is such an exciting project. We can't wait to get things in the ground and start picking them soon. Martin also fancies some new chickens, but that is something we will have to see about, and we really hope that we get a honey harvest this year no matter how small.

One thing we are really keen on is improving the readability and graphology of the blog. So all of your feedback will be appreciated. We hope to include better quality photographs and more posts sharing hints and tips as opposed to just accounts of our days. We've already taken your feedback on board to remove the word verification process when posting comments.

Last but not least we really, really want to thank all of our followers and readers. Our site has been visited over 10,000 times in just under 12 months and from all corners of the globe too. Thankyou so much and we hope you continue to visit throughout the rest of 2012 and beyond.

Thanks again,

Martin and Amy


  1. Congratulations on your first blog birthday. I think your summary shows how successful you've been and just how far you've come in a short space of time. Here's to the year to come.

  2. Nice to have a quick precise of your last year - and I am proud to say that I never missed a post you made.

    Happy good life 2012

  3. A wonderful Happy Birthday and Congratulations to your blog!! I really enjoyed reading your year in review. I had to chuckle as I remembered 'Barbara'. And the review reminded me that I must look up and see what courgettes are. I was also glad you posted this year, your results with growing potatoes in a bag, as I had planned on trying it. I still might try one, but for now, I went, instead, with trying to grow them in a tub this year. Chickens and moles ate them all when I grew them in the ground (though they did grow beautifully).
    I look forward to reading another year of your posts, and congratulations, also, on getting your allotment! I must go back and read those posts. I somehow missed them.

  4. Happy Blog Birthday! It was a bit of a shock to realise it has been a year ;) Hoping this year is a good one!

  5. Yay - Happy Birthday! I can't wait to read more about the adventures of Barbaradeux.

  6. I really enjoy your blog as it is, that is, I cannot see room for impovement! It is just perfect!

  7. I wish you a happy birthday, and plenty of posts to come with plenty of vegetables, and plenty of sun to help grom them!


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