Thursday, October 29

Late flowers

Monday, October 26

Living under threat!

We've managed to escape tier three lockdown for another week but the spectre is looming ever closer.

At present, we are still managing to get out and about so on Monday we headed to Fountains Abbey which is an hour's drive from home. They were lighting up the abbey at dusk so we had booked our entry for 15:00 to give us time for a walk around the park before dark.
I  think the resident pheasants were taken by surprise by the later opening time. The sound of the males calling filled the park. There were literally hundreds of them. Some were content to hide away in the shrubbery but others gathered on the grass, challenging one another which at times led to some flapping and scuffling. The females seemed to be keeping well away.

At dusk the homecoming geese added to the chorus.

After some initial interest, Ruby ignored them all, having more interesting things  to sniff and occupy her mind.
As  darkness fell we headed back towards the abbey. As we walked closer to the ruins the calls of the pheasants were replaced by the atmospheric sound of monks singing.

It was also possible to wander about amongst the ruins and view the effects of the lighting. We were lucky in that as we headed to the car park the rain, which had managed to hold off for our visit, was just starting to fall.
As we knew that we would be arriving home for a late dinner, I had prepared a turkey cottage pie ready to go straight in the oven. I'd frozen the turkey mixture when we last had this dish as I made enough for using twice. Last time the base was topped with a sweet potato and potato mash but this time I made the mash from a mixture of our potatoes and carrots.

We only visited the allotment twice last week. During our visits we managed to clear a few more beds and remove the climbing bean supports. The canes were bundled up and popped in the greenhouse for winter. 
It's starting to look rather bare although some beds are still planted up.
Our trial of two ways of growing overwintering onions is now at the stage where there is no noticeable difference between the onions planted as seed-sown plantlets and the ones planted as sets.

Our afternoon on Sunday was shorter than usual due to the clocks being put back an hour but we left time to gather together a small harvest before heading home.
25 October - Flakee carrots, Clapton cauliflowers, Safari French beans, Mixed tomatoes and a few peas.

Our cauliflowers look as though they are all going to produce heads at once. At the moment the heads are quite small so we are hoping that they will do a bit more growing. I needed some cauliflower for a meal, that I have planned for this week, so we brought home a couple in spite of their diminutive size. Other than the carrots the rest of the harvest was made up of odds and ends from plants still hanging on. 

The few peas combined with some Uchiki Kuri squash, onions and sweetcorn to make a risotto which we had for Sunday's dinner.

We are harvesting some fresh produce from our garden greenhouse. In there we have tubs of lettuce and herbs which we harvest as and when we need them

Another of our vegetable based meals last week was bean and vegetable curry. Into this went some of our potatoes and carrots along with sweet corn and peas from the freezer. I replaced the spices in the recipe with a tablespoon of Rogan Josh curry paste. I made enough of this for two meals and our second helping was accompanied by one of Martyn's home made naans.  He hadn't tried making them before but they turned out well. We enjoyed them more than the shop bought version shown in the photo above. Next time I'll remember to take a photo of them.

That's all for this week - will next week be the week that we enter tier three, whatever that will mean.

As always Stay safe and well

As usual, I'm linking to Harvest Monday on Dave's blog

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. 

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

Wednesday, October 21


Monday, October 19

Allotmenting on hold

It's at that stage in the year when there isn't any real urgency to get things done on the allotment. There are still spent crops to clear, but the on and off rain means that would be a rather soggy business. The soil is now really too wet to dig and our overwintering crops are just ticking along without any need of attention from us.

While we still can, (we are now a level 2 Covid area), whenever the rain holds off, we are taking the opportunity to get out and about.

One of our weekly walks with Ruby is around Rothwell Park. 
Rothwell Park
It was here that Ruby had her first experience of walking and running through carpets of fallen leaves. A month or two ago, the leaves would have provided a distraction and she would have been picking them up and trying to chew them, but she is now a dog of the world and can ignore many objects lying on the ground.
Now she is far more interested in intriguing smells and likes to check out where any other creatures have been. Nuzzling in the wet grass means that her furry snout is often dripping wet.

She is becoming a well traveled little dog and is always impatient to be lifted into the car when there is the exciting prospect of a journey. After the initial noisy excitement, she likes to watch the world go by and finds it really hard work deciding which window she should look out of for the most interesting view. Although it may not be obvious in the photos, whilst we are traveling she is safely attached to her own doggy safety belt.
Some curious doggy extra sensory perception always seems to mean that she knows when we have nearly arrived at our destination and excitement begins to mount again.  When he car engine stops and her seat belt is unfastened, she is eager to get out and explore. Coming home again is a much more subdued affair which usual involves snuggling up and having a well earned snooze.

Nostell Priory
We had another afternoon’s walk at nearby Nostell Priory where I had more opportunity to practise my camera settings. It’s difficult to tell, in Blogger but the settings did improve the definition in the sky. (Martyn isn’t very impressed by how Blogger handles photos). You can probably guess from, some of the photos above that our afternoon was cut short when it decided to rain.

Benningbrough Hall estate 
We had a second afternoon out at the Benningbrough Hall estate.

Squash and chickpea curry
Last week, we used one of our stored Uchiki Kuri squash in a curry based on this recipe.

Moroccan chicken stew
Homegrown onion, carrot and a courgette went into a Morrocan chicken stew based on this recipe.

Last week I also used some of our stored potatoes and onions to make a batch of cheese and onion crisp bakes. Most were popped into the freezer but we had a couple for dinner served with some of our Savoy cabbage and carrots. I asked, Martyn to plate it up prettily but as you can see he was more interested in eating  them than displaying them.
Cheese and onion crisp bakes
We paid a visit to the allotment on Saturday intending to take down the runner bean frames. As the weather didn't look promising, we decided to do a bit of harvesting first. This was just as well, as once we had gathered together our harvest, it started to rain putting paid to any further activity.
Ethiopian Cabbage

We brought home an extra cabbage so I cooked Ethiopian cabbage. Some of our potatoes, onions, carrots and tomatoes were added to the cabbage. I think I have mentioned this recipe before. It was based on this recipe.  I hadn't a green pepper so I used a red one instead and added vegetable stock instead of water, I also omitted the cayenne pepper as we prefer to taste the vegetables and the cayenne is somewhat overpowering.

Along with a Kalibro cabbage we brought home a Cordesa, savoy cabbage.

We lifted more Flakee carrots. We don't thin our carrots and so some have developed sinuous shapes as they curl around to avoid or cuddle up to their neighbours.

Although the leaves of our Safari dwarf French beans look a bit battered, the plants are still producing a supply of beans, just enough to have fresh for dinner on Saturday.

Our late sowing of peas have lots of pods but these don't seem to be swelling very quickly. I would have thought that the damp conditions would have suited them. I managed a tiny picking but I'm wondering if the remaining pods will now swell at all.

There are still plenty of green tomatoes in the allotment greenhouse which are ripening only very slowly. It's probably getting close to the time that we will have to pick them green and hope that they will ripen off the plants. I know we could make green tomato chutney but we don't really eat that sort of thing.

Surprisingly I am still managing to cut flowers for the house. Although the dahlias are less prolific, they are still hanging on.

That's all for this week - I wonder what next week will bring?

As always Stay safe and well

I'm linking to Harvest Monday on Dave's blog

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. 

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

Wednesday, October 14

We have lots of of fun(gi)

Monday, October 12

Home and away

Last week we only visited the allotment once. Various other things took priority besides which the on and off rain meant that working on the plot would have been a soggy business. 

I had another dental appointment. This time they had added another strand to their list of safety protocols as I had to pop my coat into a box which was then closed and popped outside the door of the consulting room.

We also wanted to manage a couple of afternoons out before Boris makes his pronouncements of any further restrictions. Living in the north of England we are guessing that we will be hit hard.

On Monday we had a walk around Walton Country Park which is about four miles from us.

I haven't been satisfied with how washed out the sky is in some of my photos so I used the walk to practise with camera settings. What with aperture priority and spot metering my brain tends to fry.

On Friday, having renewed our annual passes, we decided to pay a visit to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. It was a cold day and many animals were sensibly staying inside. Two things that did surprise me were firstly, there were two school groups walking around and then on the other hand there seemed to be quite a number of school aged children visiting with parents. Is the return to school voluntary?

Again we took a packed lunch rather than venturing into the restaurant, although we did buy a drink from one of the kiosks. We drank it tucking ourselves away at a table situated in a jungle setting surrounded by shrubbery.

As well as catering for more exotic creatures, the park has areas that provide habitats for native wildlife. The tigers are just on the other side of the bridge.
The natives are happy to take a share of the food provided for the residents. Can you count the number of ducks? I couldn't.
On Sunday we actually managed a visit to the allotment. Showers were forecast but we needed to stock up on vegetables. Although the sky threatened, the showers never materialised so we dug over a couple more beds, The soil was just on the right side of being too wet. It was workable but heavy going.

You may remember that we are comparing two methods of growing over wintering onions. The photo above shows four rows of onions planted as plug plants which were grown from seed and one row of onion sets. The row of sets are third from the left or of you prefer third from the right. All were planted at the same time. The sets have now produced shoots.
11 October

We gathered together quite a good harvest to say we are heading for mid October.

Tomatoes are still slowly ripening in the plot greenhouse and we have now started digging two other varieties of carrots - Autumn King and Flakee. Having been in the ground longer, there is more damage caused by various nibbling creatures but this is easily trimmed off leaving  a good amount of usable root for us.

We cut a couple of cabbages - one white cabbage and a savoy .
Despite the cold conditions the late planting of Safari, dwarf French beans are producing a good crop.

The pods have finally started to swell on the last sowing of peas. I don't think we have picked peas so late in the year before. They have been happy in the cooler conditions.

We also had a mini harvest from the Conference pear growing in the garden. I think that it and the garden apple trees are having a rest this year.
I often use up odds and ends of vegetables in a stir  fry. Last week I added some pieces of chicken to home grown cabbage, courgette, carrot and sweet corn. I'd love to say all the vegetable were home grown but I also used some shop bought red and yellow peppers. The stir fry was based on this recipe although I use sweet chilli sauce rather than soy sauce which is something we don't use.

Our onions, potatoes, carrots, courgettes and tomatoes joined shop bought sweet pepper and celery in a vegetable casserole. We had enough for two days so one day it was served with rice and on the other it was served with couscous. It was based on this recipe.

Finally, I'm still managing to gather together enough cut flowers to fill a vase. The dahlias are hanging on well.

As always Stay safe and well
I'm linking to Harvest Monday on Dave's blog

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. 

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