29 December 2010

You can never have too many books!

Santa was somewhat late delivering this year as our youngest was still awake until not long before 1am. She then woke up again at 4.09am. Oh yes, 4.09am! Her brother woke at around 5.30am. The neighbours got up at 6am. And finally ours woke up and got up at 7am. Mrs D and I drank a lot of coffee that day.

Despite spending most of the morning in the kitchen (and over-cooking the turkey - cry), we all had a great day and shared lots of lovely presents. I'd already had a blackcurrant bush delivered (Titania from Ken Muir), which is still being kept alive in the kitchen with regular 'baths' in the sink! The 'library' was increased with a number of fruit books:

Nigel Slater's Tender: Volume II, A cook's guide to the fruit garden

'The Apple Book' by Rosie Sanders

RHS 'Growing Fruit (Royal Horticultural Society's Encyclopaedia of Practical Gardening)
' by Harry Baker (retired Fruit Officer at RHS Wisley)

'How to Grow Orchard Fruit' by Richard Bird and Kate Whiteman

You may have noticed a bit of a theme! Following on that I also received a 'Aluminium 3in1 Apple Peeler Corer Slicer Suction Stand - which is amazingly addictive!

Is that a thaw I see?
That white stuff seems to be disappearing and we've finally turned off the heating (for at least some of the day), so I'm hoping the soil will also have defrosted enough to get the blackcurrant in the ground and salvage the brassicas under the collapsed netting. Before the next lot of snow strikes...

23 December 2010

If I'd wanted frozen veg...

... I'd have gone to the supermarket!

Sadly this extended cold spell has meant frozen soil for ages now - I forget quite how long, but it's getting quite boring not being able to do anything down on the plot. Unfortunately the frost got my potatoes stored in the outhouse, not hugely surprising given how cold it's been but it was a sad day today having to buy potatoes in the local fruit and veg shop for Christmas dinner.

There's some sprouts in there somewhere

However the sprouts have survived the snow and frosts. The snow brought the netting down and I don't think the purple sprouting broccoli is going to survive. [Cry] The sprouts are frost solid though and it was oh so cold picking them. Thought I'd pick them a couple of days early to let them defrost! I was going to get some 'reserve' sprouts from the fruit and veg shop in case my frozen ones aren't so good, but all the ones in the shop were frozen from when they been picked in the field too.

The snow down on the plot had formed some great flakes/crystals too:

I'm keen to get some above freezing temperatures as I'm desperately trying to keep a new blackcurrant bush alive inside the house before I can plant it out anywhere. It's currently living in the kitchen still in the bag being regularly watered, but it really needs to get planted. Somewhere. Anywhere.

Finally, from the less grumpy cat of Sheffield:

Happy Christmas!