Thursday, 24 January 2008

...And they're off!!!

Even though it's January it feels like Spring is springing into action a little earlier every year. All the Daffs are on the way up and some of the Hyacinths have been flowering since before Christmas.
I am also pleased to announce that all my girls have started laying again for the year and Basil is keeping them all in line, or should I say giving them all a good seeing to, to keep everything moving! I found 2 brown and one white egg this afternoon and was elated at the sight. The chickens have been out and about scrabbling all over the dormant veggie patch today in the cold Winter sunshine. They are actually helping me quite nicely in keeping the weeds down and digging over the soil so the pesky roots don't take. They look happy and healthy and a world away from the miserable specimens they were when they went into molt at the end of last year.

A fellow Patcher of mine gave me some Elephant Garlic bulbs for Christmas so they were the first things to grace this year's patch. I have put them in where the potatoes grew last year to ensure crop rotation and potatoes are always really good for cleaning up the soil ...or so I have been led to believe. Parsnips will take up the rest of the spot where the spuds were last year as I have read that they should do exceptionally well! So there you are, another busy year has started and I am frantically trying to plan the patch for this year's croppage and am going to attempt the 'Art of Staggering', not home from the pub I might add, I have already perfected that, but to learn to stagger the sowing of vegetables so that hopefully I should have them growing throughout the year instead of having an abundance of any one thing at any one time.

The Bramble Jam was a real hit this year and went down a lot better than last year's recipe which included all the fruit and pipps. The secret for
the best flavour is to strain all this crap out and then the flavour is really intense. After demolishing his 3rd Jar my Father offered me £25 for a fourth. I had to refuse as stocks were limited and I can't imagine the wife being to happy with that!

He has been very busy too, pulling out all the stops to repair my beautiful big greenhouse. It took a reall battering a couple of years ago in some very strong winds that managed to lift the whole structure up and slam it down in it's place. Needless to say, the glass didn't survive and it's been standing there ever since looking very sorry for itself. All the glass has now been replaced and all it needs is a bloody good clean and then we're good to go. Let the growing begin!