Sunday, January 12, 2014

Very Late Harvest

Winter has been so mild thus far that I decided to leave the oca underground until now. This is the crop of edible sized tubers that I dug yesterday and then there are many more pea sized ones which hardly seem worth washing. I have saved out several more that are covered in sprouts which I intend to pot up and keep frost free until spring.
I do think they look jolly appetizing.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Blanche's Whopper

"One-A-Day" Blanche surprised us (and possibly herself) the other day by laying a comedy egg. Times and a half the weight of her normal large eggs, with a double yolk. Stella and the other two freeloaders (who remain nameless) just stand by and watch ... and eat ... and sleep.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Seventh Birthday

Hey, it was seven years ago that I started this blog - well, last Friday would be the exact date. My first post celebrated the 'freak' carrots that I had unearthed that harvest and that has been a recurring theme here - witness this and this! Today I dug this handsome specimen out of the ground ...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Der Bratapfel

Kinder, kommt und ratet,
was im Ofen bratet!
Hört, wie's knallt und zischt.
Bald wird er aufgetischt,
der Zipfel, der Zapfel, der Kipfel,
der Kapfel, der gelbrote Apfel.
Kinder, lauft schneller,
holt einen Teller,
holt eine Gabel!
Sperrt auf den Schnabel
für den Zipfel, den Zapfel,
den Kipfel, den Kapfel,
den goldbraunen Apfel!

A bumper crop of Keswick Codlins this year - actually most fruit crops have been good. These cook down to a beautiful frothy purée and when baked are truly scrumptious.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Random Harvest

Here are some of the potato clones which I grew on this year, originally from TPS that I gathered. It wasn't a great year for anything in my garden and I won't blame the weather. The potatoes did all right considering my lack of attention and the absence of rainfall. Many have skins that are quite russety/scaley and tuber size is small.
Two that produced bumper crops and I may continue to clone are the ones below. The first - a red fingerling - I am referring to as Custard right now due to the colour of the flesh and the second with slightly paler yellow flesh I call Humbug. It had a very thick stemmed sprawling habit. But reading the debate here does give me pause. (The film is quite naive but the comments are thought provoking). I worry about carrying disease over to next year's tubers and I think that I'll continue to grow most of my crop from TPS.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

World Porridge Day

Gosh! I have just realized that today IS World Porridge Day. How do I celebrate? I have already eaten my morning porridge unawares. Tsk.

Meanwhile, here is a handy reference for working out just how old your goat is.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Recipe For Gruel

The 10 minute film I have been making for the past year is now finished. HERE is a trailer which should leave you crying out for 'More'!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Then & Now

One of Samuel Pepys 'Cries of London' via Spitalfields Life and a vendor at the Fredericton Saturday Market ('north shore' being that of New Brunswick).

Thursday, March 21, 2013

First Day of Spring?

Ugh! More cold wet weather. Last year at this time the temperature was in the 20s! Indoors, however, the tomato seeds I sowed last Friday are an inch high now and leeks have just germinated.

Update - even worse!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

... And the Clones

Here is the assortment of tubers that I have saved for growing on this year. All grown from open-pollinated seed saved from earlier TPS. They have been chitting for the past 6 weeks and will probably get buried Easter weekend. It might be time to assign names to them to make labeling a bit simpler. Click on pic for better view.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Whaler's Wife

Robert Poulter's New Model Theatre blows in to town for two shows only at the Art Worker's Guild. While your seat will be only ten feet from the stage, it is still a good idea to bring your opera glasses!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

TPS for 2013

Four weeks after sowing, I've just buried my TPS seedlings up to their necks into the next size up (8 inch) cubby-holes. A great variety of leaf shape, colour and growth habit - woolly purple leaves to green savoy-cabbage-like ones. The first two rows on the left are F2 No.6x?, only dark seeds selected! Then some seed from last year's Minnie's Pig, then (all from Tom @ New World Seed) this year's Minnie's Pig, then ten Fiesta Gold and 10 F3 Skagit Magic. Soon I hope to be taking them out for afternoons in the sun!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Front Gardens of Note No.4

            Dundas Street near Euclid Avenue, Toronto

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Wrapping Pigeons

The approved method for wrapping pigeons to be dropped from an aircraft (via retronaut) Click on picture to enlarge.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Green Shoots of Recovery

Snow's all long gone and it's a blustery but sunny 10° outside. Yesterday I started two trays of seeds - one assorted peppers and the other 7 types of true potato seed. They are resting comfortably on the radiator in the dining room.

From KimIlJongLookingAtThings

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


"An intense frost usually befalls in Jan: our Saxon fore-fathers call'd that month with no small propriety wolf-month; because the severe weather brought down those ravenous beasts out of the woods among the villages."
Gilbert White The Natural History of Selbourne

The snow ( about 6 inches now) reveals the path that the ravenous fox takes through the yard.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tea WITH Milk

Refreshment stall in St. James Park c.1910 (via Spitalfields Life)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Teapots of Note No.3

Saturday. Rose at eight o'clock in the morning. Sat down to my toilet.

From eight to nine. Shifted a patch for half an hour before I could determine it. Fixed it above my left eyebrow.

From nine to twelve. Drank my tea and dressed.

From twelve to two. At chapel. A great deal of good company. Mem: the third air in the new opera. Lady Blithe dressed frightfully.

From three to four. Dined. Miss Kitty called upon me to go to the opera before I was risen from the table.

From dinner to six. Drank tea. Turned off a footman for being rude to Veney.

Six o'clock. Went to the opera. I did not see Mr.Froth till the beginning of the second act. Mr.Froth talked to a gentleman in a black wig. Bowed to a lady in the front box.

Between twelve and one. Dreamed that Mr.Froth lay at my feet and called me Indamora.

Sunday. Indisposed

From the Diary of a lady of fashion, reported in Bath by Edith Sitwell

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Shape of Potatoes

This year I am resolved to keep better records of my potato 'breeding' program, starting with more accurate descriptions and observations. As well as taking photos of blossoms and tubers (whole and cut), I'm going to make a note of growth habit, berry production, yield, cooked texture and flavour, and how well they store.

Diagrams from 'The Potato' by W.G.Burton

So, for example, the tuber pictured on the left December 15th would be described as obovate red-skinned with yellow eyebrows and yellow flesh.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Smashing Pumpkin

This splendid pumpkin is a Golden Delicious although it isn't teardrop shaped as they normally are. But just look how thick the flesh is, a very small seed cavity! I've found a website which has a few hundred varieties to choose from - KCB Samen . I may have to find a bit more space in the garden next year for a couple of Yuxijiangbinggua.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Four Eggs!

Egg judging at the Poultry Club of Great Britain Annual show via The Guardian. Below is our take for today. The dark bespeckled one is Miss Havisham's first ever.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Spiritual Parts of the Tea

"The Jesuite that came from China, Ann.1664, told Mr.Waller, That there they use sometimes in this manner. To near a pint of the infusion, take two yolks of new laid-eggs, and beat them very well with as much fine sugar as is sufficient for this quantity of Liquor; when they are very well incorporated, pour your Tea upon the Eggs and Sugar, and stir them well together. So drink it hot. This is when you come home from attending business abroad, and are very hungry, and yet have not conveniency to eat presently a competent meal. This presently discusseth and satisfieth all rawness and indigence of the stomack, flyeth suddainly over the whole body and into the veins, and strengthneth exceedingly, and preserves one a good while from necessity of eating. In these parts, He saith, we leave the hot water remain too long soaking upon the Tea, which makes it extract into it self the earthy parts of the herb. The water is to remain upon it, no longer than whiles you can say the Miserere Psalm very leisurely. Then pour it upon the sugar, or sugar and Eggs. Thus you have only the spiritual parts of the Tea, which is much more active, penetrative and friendly to nature. You may from this regard take a little more of the herb; about one drachm of Tea, will serve for a pint of water; which makes three ordinary draughts."
Receipt from The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Published by his Son's Consent 1669

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Last of the Late Late TPS

Wednesday night's -3° finished off my TPS experiment for this year - an early August sowing. But two of them show great promise I think just for the sheer number of tubers set. And they look big enough to save (see coin) and plant out in the spring!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

... And No.4

Minus 3 last night and staying frosty until Friday. Rime over all and water is frozen within the greenhouse. I put a duvet over the bees and a curtain in the hen house.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Cauld Frosty Morning No.3

The ice was about half an inch thick on the hen's water bowl this morning and the ground is crunchy. The cab driver the other night told us this will be the coldest winter in 100 years. I'm not sure where he gets his information but I'm thinking I might construct a styrofoam surround to help the bees retain warmth throughout. Hmmm, I'll just put the kettle on and give it some more thought...