Monday, December 6

Hunkering down

It's one of those very rare weeks when I am really struggling for anything to write. It's been a bleak week weather-wise. We've had brief glimpses of brightness which has quickly been consumed by gloom. It's been wet and freezing cold, not the sort of weather that could tempt us into the garden or to the plot especially as we weren't really needing to harvest anything for cooking. Even, Ruby, at times, would stand at the door reluctant to venture out into the rain.
Even had the weather been better, we would have had little time for gardening 

Martyn had a hospital appointment on Monday. As I wasn't allowed to go in with him, I sat in the car with my iPad to keep me company. We are never confident that we will manage to grab a car parking space, despite the car park being huge, so one of us needs to be available to move the car around whilst the other attends the appointment. Amazingly parking was free, probably a Covid safety measure. Parking at the hospital can be an expensive business especially if appointments are running late.

Tuesday, I couldn't stop sneezing and had a permanently streaming nose. I hadn't been anywhere so goodness knows where that came from. I was a bit concerned so took a lateral flow test which happily was negative. Remarkably the 'cold' had disappeared completely by the next day. 

Thursday, Martyn has another hospital appointment - this time by telephone and on Friday we took my sister for a flu jab. Her doctor wasn't offering flu vaccines this year, as they are concentrating on Covid vaccinations, so we had to make an appointment with a pharmacist.

I finally was contacted to arrange an appointment with a dermatologist. The appointment is in January. As the rash comes and goes in intensity, I'm concerned that by the time I go to the appointment things may be going through a calm stage and I'll feel as though I am wasting everyone's time! I will go armed with photographs though which go back at least to June.

So other than medical issues it's been a week for hunkering down indoors. At least we have had, heat, light and a means of producing a hot meal.  The poor people further north have been without power for over a week now. I do wonder whether problems with power supplies will be something we will all become familiar with in the future. For now we are the lucky ones.

As we weren't venturing out, I decided to make some sausage rolls. We don't eat pork and so I made some turkey and mushroom rolls. As usual, they are very rustic. Most have now been frozen.

I didn't use any of our produce in the sausage rolls but did use some of our harvests in other meals.

I used our onions, garlic and frozen peas in some sweet and sour chicken. The recipe, that the meal was based, on calls for sugar snap peas but I didn't have any. I really only used similar ingredients but cooked it in a pan rather than the quick microwave method described.

I used some of our potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic in a vegetable version of a 'shepherd's pie'. I never think I should describe something without lamb as a shepherds pie and a cottage pie should contain beef. On top of all that a pie should have a pastry top shouldn't it?  Can anybody come up with a more appropriate name?

I used some roasted tomatoes from the freezer, along with some of our carrots, onion and garlic to make a pasta sauce that I didn't photograph.

My final meal of the week was a bean casserole into which went some of our leeks, carrot and garlic.

By the way, I did a bit more research and now I think that our leeks really have been attacked by allium leaf miner so it looks as though we will end up growing leeks, onions and garlic under enviromesh in future, as well as our carrots and brassicas. Soon we will need to cover the entire allotment. To be honest there were signs that the leeks may have been affected last year too. The article, that I read, states that there is a second generation which is active in October and November so I am now concerned that the overwintering onions and garlic which are doing so well will be affected. I know that this pest has been active in other parts of the country for some time so if you have this problem I would be interested to know how you deal with it.

Other than cooking, curling up with my iPad and looking out at the miserable weather, I have been designing my Christmas cards. Now I just need to set to and print them out. I just hope that my printer keeps on working as in the past it's chosen times like this to throw a wobbly!

I'm hoping for a better week next week, until then keep safe and well. 

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Wednesday, December 1

November in pictures

Sunday, November 28

Snow in November?

Last week started in much the same way as previous weeks. We went to the allotment and cleared and tidied up more beds.
It was bitterly cold and so we needed to do something energetic and digging certainly fitted the bill.

With even colder weather forecasted, Martyn decided that he had better increase protection for the dahlia tubers in the plot greenhouse and so they were covered with a huge pile of hessian sacks and enviromesh.
This was a good decision as by the end of the week things certainly took a turn for the worse. The temperatures dropped and we actually had snow! We don't usually get snow in November so it was a bit of a shock to the system.
It looks as though this may have put paid to anymore work on the allotment, that involves digging, as the melted snow is likely to have made our soil unworkable. On the positive side the frosts should help break down the clumpy soils that are a feature of some of the beds.
We managed some walks with Ruby before the snow came. All three of us wrapped up in warm coats and managed a shortened visit to Nostell.

Ruby then had to content herself with gazing out of the window, which I don't think impressed her very much.
At least it was warm and cosy inside, the poor birds had it much tougher. The bird feeders were very busy.

I'm afraid the photos that I managed to take are of rather poor quality. The light was poor and I was shooting through our leaded windows. The birds didn't tend to stay still for long either, and who can blame them?
On Monday we brought a few leeks home from the allotment. I found a tiny bug in one of the leeks and some on the leeks have brown streaks on the white shafts which I hope isn't a sign that the allium leaf miner has made it to our area. I have looked up information and I don't think this is the case. Fingers crossed. Soon we will be at the stage where everything that we grow will need to be covered!
Some of the leeks along with homegrown carrots and parsley were added to turkey when I made a pasta bake.
More leeks, along with some of our pink banana squash, small potatoes and parsley were used in a chicken and vegetable casserole. It was based on this recipe but I used apple juice instead of cider. The photo makes it look very oily but it wasn't.
More pink banana squash, onion and green beans from the freezer went into a Thai curry. Some coriander that I had frozen also was used in this meal.
Here's hoping that the snow doesn't hang around.  Keep safe, well and, if you have freezing cold conditions, keep warm. With power outages in some parts of the UK we are lucky that we still have heating, lighting and can cook a warm meal.

This week I am once again joining in with Dave’s Harvest Monday collection of posts over at Our Happy Acres

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett