Monday, November 18

A plotless week

We didn't visit the allotment at all last week. As we can only do damage trying to work in soggy conditions, our main reason for visiting the plot is to harvest some vegetables. Last week we had plenty of fresh vegetables to get us through the week and so didn't need a harvesting visit.

The weather continues along the theme of cold and wet days with some occasional breaks, when rain and drizzle takes a rest to recharge the clouds and start again.

We were fed up of being stuck inside, so we decided to brave the weather and have an afternoon at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

As we headed there the weather didn't look very promising, but we thought that at least we could have lunch in the restaurant if it proved too wet to walk around.
There has been quite a bit of flooding in the park with the worst affected area being the tiger enclosures. The platform on the left is the walkway that divides the enclosures from a natural wetland area.
The water level  in the wetland area had risen considerably spilling over into the enclosures. In the photo below the bridge that can be seen on the right will eventually link the existing park to a new area which will just about double the overall size.
The tigers would be quite happy in the water but the electric fencing wouldn't and so the tigers were temporarily moved to a smaller enclosure which is set aside as a nursery for when the big cats have cubs.
Some of the animals, like this okapi braved the conditions.

The lions were also out although, Maria seemed as fed up of the rain as we were.
Others had disappeared indoors whilst some like this family of baboons took shelter just as we were doing. We had a large umbrella whereas they made other arrangements. Can you spot the tiny baby between mum and youngster?
The meerkats watched from indoors thinking that we were crazy to be out in the rain.
 One seemed to wave goodbye as we headed for the exit
With lots of the enclosures devoid of animals it wasn't a good day for the visiting schools but we had a walk and a tasty lunch so we were happy if a bit soggy.
The rain held off on Sunday so we managed a bit of steam engine filming  but other than that it was a week indoors.
Let's hope the weather is set fine this week - well we can hope can't we?

Wednesday, November 13

Season's Palette









Monday, November 11

It's been relentless

The rain has just kept on coming causing the inevitable flooding. Fortunately we don't live in an area that is prone to flooding but there has been quite a lot of flooding fairly close by. 

I think the rain gods like to play rather cruel games as the rain falling on our part of the world is very much needed in other parts. 

We seemed to have been confined to the house much of last week as it has even been too wet to get out and about. It's been cold too.

We only managed one visit to the allotment which as usual was primarily to gather some more vegetables but whilst we were there we managed one or two non-digging related tasks. Not only is it now too wet to dig but we have to vary our route around the plot as our feet are in danger of turning the grass paths into a muddy mess.

I managed to prune the thornless blackberry - I bet it thought it had escaped its date with the loppers this year as normally this task would have been carried out some weeks ago.
I cut out all the canes that bore fruit this year and tied in the new canes. The area around the roots needs clearing but this is another job that will have to wait.

Whilst I was doing that, Martyn cut down all this year's growth from the cardoon that escaped being prematurely flattened by the winds earlier in the year.
You can see that it is already making some new growth but not as much as the other cardoon that was cut back by the winds.
I always find it incredible that each year the cardoons grow from nothing into monsters.

Before we headed home we also cleared away the hazel, sweet pea, support frame that had been situated between the two cardoons.

Surprisingly,despite the miserable weather, the spinach seeds that I sowed in a create in the plot greenhouse have started to germinate. Can you see them?
I intended to sow more seeds in the garden greenhouse but never got around to it - do you thinks it's too late? Maybe I should just go for it as there's really nothing to lose is there.

Finally, last weeks harvest is more or less a repeat of recent weeks.
The parsnips vary - some are as perfect as we can expect and others are deformed although usable.

The carrots suffer from pest damage  - mainly from the slugs that are really in their element in these conditions. Careful preparation is required before cooking.

Another problem this year is that quite a few leeks have produced flower stems meaning that they have a hard central core which has to be discarded. This hasn't been an issue before until early in spring when the leeks are coming to an end of their growing season and are ready to set seed.

We cut a Kilaton and a Sabrosa, savoy cabbage both of which are fairly small once the slug attacked outer leaves are removed but they are really solid which makes up for their diminutive size.

That's it for last week let's hope we all get the type of weather that we need this week. Wouldn't that be nice?

This week I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

Thanks to those who responded to my invitation to make a comment. I appreciate you taking the trouble to say hello. I know I get lots of visitors who never comment and I'd love to know who you are - unlike the annoying spammers who can't seem to grasp that their comments go straight into my spam folder and never see the light of day I am getting lots of Anonymous spam comments which go straight into the spam folder and then deleted as there are far too many to check through so I'm afraid that if you comment anonymously this may happen to your comment.

You don't have to have your own blog in order to join in conversations. It may seem that everyone who comments knows one another but bloggers always welcome new commenters, after all that is how we all started. 


Wednesday, November 6

October in Pictures









Monday, November 4

Here comes winter

As if all the rain and drizzle wasn't enough to contend with, last week we had a frost. We already dress in full winter gear when we visit the allotment which last week was just twice.

As expected, Jack Frost's icy breath had put paid to our dahlias, so the plot will no more be providing us with cut flowers this year
As there was no rain forecast for Sunday afternoon, we decided that we would dig up the dahlia tubers whilst we had the chance. After lifting the tubers we removed as much soil as we could, completing the job with a power washer. The tubers were then labeled and placed, stems down, in the greenhouse to hopefully dry off before storing them in potato sacks in the garage. 

The frost also meant that, if there had previously been any doubt about whether the French bean harvest had come to an end, then that doubt had been removed.

Another victim of the frost was the row of oca. The tubers of these plants develop very late in the year so we were hoping that the plants would survive into November, but that was not to be.

As the plants were not going to do any more growing, on Monday, we decided to dig one up to see if any tubers had been produced. There was an initial surge of excitement as a decent sized tuber was revealed. The excitement was short lived when we realised that it was in fact a potato that must have strayed from the adjacent row. Disappointment then set in as all that was finally revealed were some tiny oca tubers.
The photo above may be misleading as the oca tubers look a reasonable size when there is nothing to compare them to. Maybe the photo below will give you a better idea. The tubers are sitting alongside the two medium sized potatoes which caused the initial surge of excitement.
We didn't dig up the other roots but I don't expect they will fair any better. Does anyone know whether the tubers continue to develop when the tops are dead? I'm guessing the answer is no!

You may remember that a few weeks ago I potted up some runners from one of the old strawberry beds. Last week, I decided to detach these from the parent plants and bring them home to spend winter in the greenhouse where they will at least have a bit of protection.
 At least the autumn planted onions don't seem to mind the frost.
Our complete harvest for  last week comprised of a Savoy cabbage - Sabrosa which went along with some of the Musselburgh leeks into a Lazy Cheesy Vegetable Hotpot. We also cut two Kilaton cabbages, one was used to make a curried coleslaw and the other went to my sister. 
25 October
We dug some Autumn King carrots but again quite a lot were spoiled by slugs and also due to sitting in muddy soil. 
Finally we dug the first of our Gladiator parsnips. One looked a bit like a sputnik but the others were fine. It's always a 'hold your breath' moment when lifting the first parsnips of the season.
On Sunday, we replenished our stocks of leeks and also pulled up a few of their small cousins - spring onions.
It was apparent that we were not the only ones harvesting on our allotment. Something had been sampling the seeds from one of the sunflower heads and ants were feasting on some windfall apples,  No doubt these ungrateful little creatures will try to bite me at the first opportunity.
It was a week of all creatures great and small as we spent an afternoon at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. As we have annual passes, we are regular visitors and find that there is always something different to see and photograph. 
Last week we were treated to the spectacle of two of the polar bears sparring whereas Simba and his mum, Maria were enjoying some quality time in their den. Other residents just concentrated on filling their tummies. If you enjoy animal photos I post lots more on my Facebook page and also our Youtube channel has both videos and photo slideshows.


This week I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres

Thanks to those who responded to my invitation to make a comment. I appreciate you taking the trouble to say hello. I know I get lots of visitors who never comment and I'd love to know who you are - unlike the annoying spammers who can't seem to grasp that their comments go straight into my spam folder and never see the light of day I am getting lots of Anonymous spam comments which go straight into the spam folder and then deleted as there are far too many to check through so I'm afraid that if you comment anonymously this may happen to your comment.

You don't have to have your own blog in order to join in conversations. It may seem that everyone who comments knows one another but bloggers always welcome new commenters, after all that is how we all started. 


Wednesday, October 30

YWT Potterric Carr Nature Reserve