Tuesday 24 May 2022

Garden Diary May

So far this year I have not been keeping my vegetable garden diary, perhaps a little embarrassed by how far behind I seem. Two years ago we were so keen to get going, but also it was in the first lockdown, so there were not many other distractions and it was a great way to get out the house.  But my eagerness to get on with gardening, also led to a few diasters. I still find it hard to think about the late frost getting all my runnerbeans. So perhaps taking a bit more time is not completely a bad thing.


But I do have quite a few seedlings on the way. My method is to pop seeds in soil in a pot or tray, while my husband likes to put the seeds between layers of paper to get them going. Between the two of us we seem to manage. The pea seeds we saved from last year totally failed with my method, but he is having some success. 

Some seedlings are still in the polytunnel ...

... and some have made it outdoors

I have been reading about companion planting, and am going to try and mix in a few more flowers to the vegetable plot. The sunflowers and sweetpeas that I normally grow are started, and I have also planted some nasturtiums, cosmos and blackeyed susan seeds, and a few french marigolds plants. 

Potatoes and onions are on the way, and this year I have planted some beetroot. I have to admit that none of us really like beetroot, but I heard a programme on the radio about how good it is for you, and am determined to find a way to cook it that we enjoy. 

My other sowing which is not going well are the carrots. The first seedlings were coming up, but have now completely disappeared. A second lot have been sown, and I am worried they may go the same way. I don't know who is eating them, but also don't want to put any chemicals on our garden plot, as they will just go into the food chain. We are going to try a beer trap, but I am not even sure it is slugs or snails.

I also think we may get a few strawberries from the planting last year. I have cut up some felt tree matting to put under them, as straw tends to blow away in our rather exposed garden. 

Thursday 19 May 2022

Having A Snooze

Found my little old lady cat having a nap on the wool for my next project.

Saturday 14 May 2022

Morris Traveller Number Two


It seems a long time since I wrote about the morris traveller that I made my mother-in-law for Christmas. You can read about that one here.

I thought the pattern was almost ready to publish, and have taken a break from the granny squares to do another test knit. Thank goodness I decided to do this, as while knitting this second version I have had to make changes and additions. I somehow had lost my instructions for the wings, so had to work this out again. I have spent a lot of time looking at this little car with my husband, and discussing the curve of the bonnet, the depth of the windows, is the back boxy enough etc. etc.

I am fairly happy with the result, except that compared with the first car this one just seems a bit too wide, and the back view (which I am not going to show) doesn't seem right. So there is going to be a morris traveller number 3 (perhaps I am think blue, or maybe burgundy). Hopefully this next one will be perfect, and I can publish the pattern.

Saturday 7 May 2022

Brewing and Bottling

My husband and son have spent some time bottling our homebrew blackberry wine. I had the idea to try and make some labels, but when I showed my daughter my efforts she was very harsh with the criticism. She didn't like the layout, font, artwork .... If it was "The Apprentice" I might have thought she was setting me up to blame for the failure of the project. She was right though, as my efforts weren't very good, Then by asking me want I wanted in a label (rustic but not too complicated or fussy) she got working on some designs. Here is a little video of the labelled wine. So rejected from the marketing and production departments (although I did pick a lot of the berries last autumn) and have decided to move myself to tasting!


But with the demi-johns empty we decided to start a new brew, and this time are going for the slightly more unusual dandelion flower wine. Plenty of dandelions in the field. Thank goodness, as on the first attempt I did not read the recipe properly. Only the yellow petals are needed, as any green included can make your wine taste bitter. So after one false start the dandelion wine is now bubbling away in the airing cupboard.

Sunday 1 May 2022

Granny Chic (and Crochet Technique)


I have been busy making some granny squares, as my daughter has asked me to make her a top. She sent me this photo, to give me a bit of an idea of what she was thinking, and at the moment I am just working on lots and lots of squares.


We have a joke that her style is granny chic. We both enjoy a charity shop or boot fair, and recently she seems to go for clothes that we both call granny. (Beige jackets, embroidered cardigans, you know the sort of thing. (I hope this doesn't sound like I am being rude, as I am old enough to be a granny, although will nover be a chic one.) At first I would try to put her off, but somehow she seems to be able to put these clothes together in such a way that it turns into "granny chic". It makes me a bit sad that my mum is not still alive, as I think they would have a great time comparing their Edinburgh Woollen Mill tops, and sensible rainwear.

So if the granny square top works out, this will just be part of the granny chic look ...  I will keep you updated.

I do occasionally crochet, but really I am a knitting gal. Part of the problem is I don't crochet enough, so every time I decide to have a go, I have to get my books out and reteach myself the basics. The other problems are I can't follow a diagram pattern, and I am really, really slow. 

But this time I decided to use Youtube to remind myself how to make a granny square. Here is a link to the tutorial I used. It was really good, but what I realised on the first run through was that I was crochetting as a knitter - wrapping the wool around the hook, instead of hooking it. Kept having to pause the tutorial, as I was probably going at less that half the speed. I don't think I had realised this from following instructions in books, so am a real convert to the youtube tutorial, and am trying to work on my technique. When this top is done I may try and branch out to another sort of block. If you can suggest any for a learning novice I would really appreciate it.

I wonder if someone who regularly does crochet, knits in a different way. Hmm ...