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From the beauty of Greece yesterday, to the slightly drearier shores of the UK today. This past weekend we actually got down to our allotment and planted four rows of Charlotte potatoes. We always seem a little behind on planting our potatoes, but were reassured when our local farmer told us he was only just getting his in the ground.
In the process of uncovering the soil Mr Rigg came across a frog. First he thought it was dead, turns out it was just enjoying the heat beneath the plastic that had been covering the ground (at least I think that’s what it was doing).
After an attempt to pick it up it leaped down a hole and disappeared. It made me realise there were a series of ‘tunnels’ that had been created in the soil and I wondered if this was the frog who had made them? Anyone know?
There was also a bit of time for sitting and reading – Buddy was busy on bee patrol…
This morning I have attempted to make millet porridge using millet flakes and rice milk with a hint of vanilla. I searched the internet to try and find out how to use the flakes to make porridge as most recipes I came across used the whole millet grain. There wasn’t a lot of information but it seemed to suggest double the amount of milk/water to millet flakes, so I took the suck-it-and-see approach.
It took quite a while to bubble away – I’d read 15-20 minutes, but for my little pan for one I was worried about burning it dry. Anyway, after adding a few more sloshes of the rice milk and a tiny drizzle of agave syrup for a little extra sweetness I gave up stirring and poured it into a bowl.
It looks ok, although it reminds me of wallpaper paste. It has a slightly bitter note in the middle of tasting which then disappears. The texture I imagine is a bit like eating wallpaper paste, but then again I have no idea if I’ve cooked it correctly. I’m not sure I’m a convert, but as my breakfast’s recently have consisted of a small carton of chocolate rice milk I thought I should attempt at some other breakfasts on this new way of eating I’m following.
I must say, the new way, which I will share more about one of these days, is doing wonders for me – body and skin – so I can’t diss it. Anyone else make millet porridge with millet flakes? Any tips or advice would be much appreciated as I now have a bag of the stuff! Perhaps I’ll try quinoa next time as I know I already like it.
Oh, and as promised – I came across this picture of a mummy partridge and her babies that my parents took on my camera when I was staying with them last weekend – so cute!!
Today we have been trying to finish off our wedding invitations, but we also managed to go for a lovely long walk along the canal and lanes near our house. It was pretty nippy but beautiful crisp blue skies.
Scenes from our walk…
A gorgeous horse caught in the sunlight…
The canal all frozen over…
A cute tiny cottage…
Seeds in the hedge twinkly with frost…
Now it’s time to huddle up by a cosy log fire and keep warm. Hope everyone else has had a happy weekend.
I thought it was about time for some wildlife pics after all this talk of food and eating and recipes!
Aren’t they so sweet? I discovered these teeny tiny caterpillars on my nasturtiums this evening – I don’t mind them chomping on the leaves as there are so many and I do so love butterflies in my garden.
I love how they all huddle together…
I especially like this picture, not only because of this rogue caterpillar who was brave enough to leave the huddle and explore the leaf, but also because you can just see three tiny yellow eggs clinging to the underside of the leaf – on the right in the picture.
Aren’t these babies adorable?! My mom works at the primary school in the village where they live, and they have chickens – and at the moment chicks! They are sooooo sweet and I sooooo want chickens. But I’m not allowed at the moment – boo hoo!
More lovely photographs taken with the little sisters snazzy camera. I might have to steal it!
Today on our way out we came across a tiny lapwing chick stood in the middle of a very busy road – two of his siblings sadly squashed beyond recognition. I immediately stopped and jumped out and managed to catch the tiny chick as it hid in the grass on the verge.
I could see its parents wheeling overhead calling for their chicks, so I attempted to leave the chick in a field hoping the parents would find it. But there were so many busy roads around that I decided that the best chance we could give the chick was to take it to a local wildlife rescue centre.
Thankfully the chick seemed quite a tough little thing and apart from peeping all the way to the rescue centre it seemed in fighting condition. We left it in the hands of Lower Moss Wood – an educational nature reserve and wildlife hospital outside of Knutsford.
We wish the chick lots of luck and hope that it survives. I have its patient number at the wildlife hospital so hope to call back in a couple of weeks and find out if it made it through.
A big thanks to all the dedicated volunteers who run wildlife rescue centres. I was lucky enough to work at the Wildlife Rescue Association of British Columbia whilst I was studying there for a year. It was an inspirational place with incredible people.
Some pictures from my time at the rescue in Canada…
Tonight we enjoyed a picnic dinner at our allotment after an hour or two of raised bed construction. This is what we managed to achieve – one half of my new herb bed:
We ate Majorcan new potatoes boiled then smothered hot in goat’s butter and lots of salt and pepper … grilled blackened sausages from Little Heath Farm in Dunham Massey dunked in Wilkin & Son’s tomato ketchup …
sliced tomatoes sprinkled liberally with salt and garnished with torn basil leaves (totally unseasonal but irresistable as the weather starts to warm) …
and slices of coffee coloured seeded bread from Red House Farm smeared with Oxford Blue cheese …
Sitting on an old rug looking out over our allotment eating good grub – what a blissful way to spend a weekday evening. Buddy peered down at us from the boot of the car, his nose twitching as the smell of sausages wafted up his nostrils.
Two little robins hopped around the allotments, perched on the spade…
then a tub of chicken manure pellets…
and finally an orange plastic bottle balanced atop a bamboo cane…
Mr Robin has returned to my garden! Maybe it is a new Mr Robin, but whichever, I am delighted to see him back again. He sits on a post at the end of our garden, just about the time we get home from work, and sings a cheerful song.
I am so hopefully that he will find a nice Mrs Robin (or already has one!) and that they will consider my garden as a place to bring up a nestful of babies in the spring. This time I am prepared with a selection of nest boxes that I’m going to get N to put up round the garden, so that this doesn’t happen again…
I have also seen a wren in the garden!! How lovely
Other news – my vegetable patch at the bottom of the garden is a jungle. There are nasturtiums trailing and twisting over everything, the raspberries have gone mad and are about 2m tall, the poor little crab apple is groaning under the weight of its orange fruit, and the buckler leaved sorrel has, well – taken over!
Tips on how to sort out the raspberries would be good, I’m never very good at reading a book and working out what I need to do!
Image: The Soil Association
I receive occasional emails from the Soil Association, and today an email landed in my inbox that asked my to help ‘Save the honeybee’. I’m aware of some of the problems the honeybee is facing, so always keen to do my bit to help I clicked on the link and signed their petition.
If you’re interested in trying to help the honeybee, this is what the email said:
‘Over the last two years in the UK, beekeepers have reported a one in three loss of bee colonies. Neonicotinoid pesticides have been shown to kill honeybees and the Soil Association believes that these pesticides should be banned today. We’ve launched an online petition calling on the Government to do just this. Lend us your voice by signing our petition today.’
Please help the honeybee by adding your name to the petition – click here to find out more and sign the petition.
N and I are very excited on our newest garden wildlife discovery – two little mice! It was such a lovely evening yesterday that with Lovage under one arm, and Borage hopping round the new run, N and I went for a wander round our garden. This is something we like to do on warm sunny evenings, just to see what’s growing, what’s popped up, and how things have changed. Our garden isn’t very big, but it’s still nice to slowly wander round.
We were stood looking at some foxgloves when I saw what I thought was a bird under the bird table…but no, it was a little brown mouse! He was busy nibbling on bird seed and seemed quite unfussed by us watching him. N has named him Ernie, although he gets upset when I say this and said he was only joking. But it’s kind of stuck.
Ernie ran off under the geraniums, so we carried on round the garden. When we go back round to the same spot we quietly watched under the bird table to see if he would reappear. He did. And then another mouse appeared too! She’s called Minnie (very originally, I know). So anyway, we have two very cute little brown mice living somewhere under the geraniums, or perhaps in shed.
I called up my good friend Maria (or Maria’s Marmalade Gingerbread) to tell her about the mice – by coincidence, we went to there’s for dinner on Sunday and she was telling us about Dennis – her mouse who lives in the garden wall! Dennis is rather acrobatic, and likes to hang from the peanut feeder. However, Dennis was feeling shy on Sunday and we didn’t see him.
One of these days I will attempt to take a (most likely out of focus) photo of Ernie and/or Minnie, but it might be one of those ‘spot the mice’ pictures…