Friday 28 October 2022


It's become our tradition that when one of our pet cats dies, we bury him and plant a shrub or tree as a grave marker.   Our cat Minuit died at the end of long hot dry summer, so the options on offer at the local garden centre were limited.  I settled for a hardy Fucshia, the best of a tatty-looking bunch, but still alive at least.

The grave lies in a shaded corner of the garden near the grange, not ideal for Fuschias, but sheltered from wind and protectd by the thermal inertia of the building.  I have been keeping an eye on the plant for the last few years, making sure that it's thriving.   This year it has rewarded us with a big diplay of flowers.

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Preserving food

I had a basket of unshelled walnuts left over from last year, and this year's crop was plentiful too.   So I set out to shell the lot and get them ready for use, preserved in vacuum packing plastic bags.   It took about half an hour per bag, and I have a lot of bags.

There's a good crop of beans too, so those are being treated the same way.   Cassoulet (and baked beans) on the horizon!

Friday 21 October 2022


It's a voyage of discovery to visit the veg patch.   This morning I found a hitherto unnoticed, perfectly ripe butternut squash in amongst the leaves.   And a dark green, well-camouflaged Courge de Provence nearby too.   The courge is about 18 inches diameter so I don't know how I failed to notice it.

The leeks are doing well this year, I planted carrots alongside them to keep the bugs down.   This seems to have worked as there are hardly any bugs on the leeks this year.   Of course this is only anecdotal evidece so I should stop planting carrots alongside leeks until a carefully-controlled double-blind experiment proves that they are effective.

I have pulled out the tomato plants, but I left in the little French marigolds that are also said to help keep the bugs off.   After all, they look pretty and are doing no harm.   The green tomatoes will be sliced and fried.     And the last of the beans are waiting for the first air frosts before I harvest them.

Sweet corn wasn't very successful this year: I got two nice fresh ears off the 20-odd plants that grew, but those that I pulled later proved chewy.   Perhaps I have to pull them all off when they're still tender, and hope that they keep.   I will try to do better next year because I do like sweet corn.   The sunflowers grew well enough but don't seem to be good for anything.   Perhaps the birds will eat the seeds.

This metal grille in this picture was supposed to be a climbing frame for sweet potatoes, this year was the first time I tried them.   They got swamped by the squashes, so I'm not expecting much from them.   I found that they didn't seem to like being transplanted outside, perhaps it was still too cold when I did it, or perhaps I didn't let their roots grow long enough first.

In other news, green peppers, aubergines, beetroot and parsnips are doing well, as are carrots and scorzonera.

Thursday 6 October 2022


Following swiftly on from my last post, here's a wicked walnut and fig tart.   With lashings of Calvados.  The recipe called for a glass of it, but didn't say how big a glass.

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