Thursday, 31 January 2013

Paper and Pencil time

The snow has finally gone and the month has gone with it. This time tomorrow, I'll have flipped over the page on the calendar and all of a sudden it is February. February the 1st is a special start to the month for us though because it is Amy's birthday. We're still not sure what we are doing yet because our minds are all over the place for varying reasons. Unfortunately Amy's Mum is currently in hospital and we don't think she will be out for another week, it's nothing too serious I must hasten to add but it is a shame she won't be there to celebrate Amy's birthday with her in the way she would have liked.

Aside from not knowing what we will be doing tomorrow, I have a few plans for the rest of the weekend and for Monday. I'm not going to give away too much, but I'll share the results with you all on Monday, that is for sure. However I will give you a clue.. It involves allotments and a lot of hard work. No matter what the weather is like, I will be getting things done nonetheless!

So not only is a small bit of excitement around the corner for me, but also for all of us gardeners. I went in to the garden centre on the way home from work yesterday to buy Amy a birthday present and I could feel the smile on my face at pallets upon pallets of seed potatoes, onion sets and even small tomato seedling. Still a bit too early to be thinking about the latter in my opinion, but it certainly won't be long. End of February maybe? Crikey! That's only 4 weeks away! Time certainly does fly.

It definitely is time to get a piece of paper and a pencil and start making a physical note of my plan for the allotment this year. I have said previously that we are changing the layout of the allotment slightly. Last year we created 5 beds with nice easy to use paths, but after all of the vandalism we are reverting back to the traditional row of vegetables. It really knocks your mentality when something so severe happens, and we don't want to waste hours again for it to be destroyed. But anyway, it may be a less aesthetically pleasing layout but we will actually gain a lot of growing space thanks to the elimination of the paths. I'll be sketching that out tonight I am sure, and I'll share the plans with you over the weekend.

Anyway, I hope you all have a good weekend, no matter what you are doing.

Thanks as always for reading,


Monday, 21 January 2013

Frozen Fircroft

Well the snow certainly persisted, and we now have approximately 7 inches of snow all around us, maybe 8 inches at home. But today I'm back at work and back at Fircroft College of Adult Education where I am on a year long placement.

You may remember I did a walk around the college and it's beautiful grounds when I first joined back in August/September time if you can't remember then here it is. Well, it certainly looks very different today in comparison with that pleasant Autumnal day last year when I did the same walk of the gardens, because today it was covered in thick snow! The main house at Fircroft looks idyllic at the vast majority of times but in the snow it seemed even more grand and magical.

I intend to sign off this post with a host of pictures from today's walk around the grounds of Fircroft which mainly involved following footprints left in the snow by a fox. If you want to find out more about the fantastic work that Fircroft does for less privilidged adults in and around the Birmingham area then click here or click on the logo on the right hand side of the blog in the sidebar.



Fircroft House and Teaching Block

Former Cadbury Family Home in the Snow.

Orchard in the snow


Lots of untouched snow, I simply had to run through it!

Isn't there just something mesmerising about snow settled on trees.

A wintery path leading to the woods..

Following fox footprints..

Magical trees

Friday, 18 January 2013

A walk in the snow..

Well today is what you can officially call a 'snow day'. It is far too dangerous to go to work so it's simply a day to bask in the wonders of winter.

It started snowing yesterday at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and it has not stopped since.

So having phoned work and decided to have a walk to see the extent of the blizzards. Instead of waffling on I'll just post the photos and a small sentence here and there.

Ok, so first call was my grandparents house...

The park as we go by..

Coming up to their house for a nice cup of tea..

Off towards the high street now after a nice warm drink..

The very wintery and very beautiful St.Nicholas church.

Perfect postcard scene...

Fields on the way up to the allotment. Very white..

The allotment site..

A nice amount of untouched snow on the way up...

Believe it or not this is our allotment. it looks like the brassica nets have collapsed under the weight of the snow.. sigh!

Time to go home again for another cup of tea..

Thanks for reading as always. Enjoy your very own 'Snow Day'.


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Walking in a winter plotterland..

It was quite a surreal experience this morning when taking my brother to work. We were driving through icy white fields and the hedgerows and trees were like something you could only imagine  reading about in a book - it was spectacular.

Anyway, I haven't mentioned it as of yet but we're on a bit of a health kick at the moment which includes sensible eating and more exercise. Well, I've managed the sensible eating bit so far but I hadn't done much excercise, so seeing as I had a day off I thought I'd make the most of the winters weather and take a walk up to the plot. Now, the allotment is about a 10 minute walk from our house but seeing as we always have something heavy to take there or lots of plants etc. it is always likely that we take the car. It was nice to feel the crispness of the air and it really was a pleasant walk taking in the wonderful views over the cow fields as I went by. I took these photos on my iPhone and they really don't do the wonderful sight any justice. I am sure if you have taken a walk in any part of the UK today then you may be able to relate to what I am trying to describe...

Anyway I had come with a bag of compost material so I slung those in to one of the compost bins. Here are a couple of pictures of the plot and the allotment site on this beautiful Winter's day.

As I have previously mentioned the shed is still covered in tarpaulin ready for erection as soon as the weather changes. It is a truly depressing sight whatever the weather...

Pick your own frozen veg. Do you think there could be a market for that?

This short little visit to the plot has made my day. I think I'll promise to try walking more often this year...


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

I did it - One more year!

Allotment rent paid. Who's ready to go again? I  certainly am!

The allotment has been a complete no go area over the last couple of weeks. Christmas, New Year, Flood and Snow have made it completly impossible to do anything. I still have a good area of land to dig over and I want to get the shed back up again as soon as possible.

Driving past a local garden centre on the way home from work yesterday, I spotted a big sign saying 'SEED POTATOES NOW IN STOCK', so there is some optimism now that things will be back to normal soon. I suppose it is not unreasonable to start thinking about sowing tomato and chilli seeds over the next couple of weeks despite the bitterly cold snap of weather we are having, with even more snow expected at the weekend. I am going to get some Broad beans under way over the next week or so too. It will be nice to have some green shoots emerging from the plot again. That is all weather providing though of course. Last year, I remember sowing broad beans in an old grow bag by the side of the house and moving them up to the allotment at a later date but the plants weren't as strong as ones sown direct, so I won't be doing that again this year I don't think.

I am going to get a bit of rough paper and a pen out at some point and have a quick sketch of what is going where for the year ahead. I also want to make my plot a little more secure so I am going to remove the paving slab path which leads from the road track to the patioed area. I think they must be using the path to get at our plot. Seeing as the site has been so muddy due to the wet summer and winter, I recon that giving them dry access has made our plot more targetable. I am also going to move the patio over and plant some gooseberry bushes on the side where it can be accessed via a grass path between mine and my neighbours plot. Hopefully these prickly bushes will deter them, but we'll have to wait and see.

On another note, I also seem to have amassed quite a lot of gardening vouchers over my birthday and then the Christmas period. I was adamant that I was going to buy a 3x2m polytunnel for the allotment before the last bout of vandalism. Now I am too scared to put it up there and I don't have room at home. Seeing as my mini greenhouses were also smashed I really need somewhere to keep plants warm come the end of February when I start sowing winter cabbage and the like. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet as such but I am looking forward to spending them when I do.

I've mentioned before that we enjoy regular trips to Disneyland Paris from time to time, and although we are back there in just 27 days time, I have also been planning a couple of more trips away this year. I really want to take Amy down to Jimmy's Farm in Norfolk to see the pigs and also just have a country break. We are really looking in to keeping pigs and are actively searching for a plot of land to buy or rent to do so, I think that is one of my targets for this year. To be a pig keeper. I'm in one of those moods at the moment where I want to do something and I think, why should I let anything or anyone stop me? I'll keep you updated on that anyway...

Pig at Hatton last summer..

But for now it'll be dreaming of Spring, seedlings and salads. Roll on March, that's when the fun really begins.

Thanks for visiting as always,