Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Grass snake at large on the allotment

sunflowers in vase

For the first time in perhaps forever, I felt distinctly redundant at the allotment this weekend. Over spring and summer it's been a hive of activity with so many tasks clamouring for attention. Upon arrival on Saturday I took a lap of the plot to make a mental list of things to do but precious little presented itself. C had procured a (second- but don't get me started) rotivator which took a bit of a faff to get into the car. As designated labourer I knew that my priority was to barrow lots of well rotted manure from the big heap onto our plot, before C would rotivate it in. However, after an initial lap of the empty patch, the machine refused to work again. Cue me struggling to maintain composure when I was feeling incredibly frustrated. So my job was put on hold and instead I resorted to picking big stones out of the beds and filling the centre path.
rotivating the allotment

C spent quite a while tinkering on Saturday evening after a good google and had the rotivator running again by Sunday morning. So back we went and thankfully all went well. C prepared the ground, I layered on the manure and C went back over it to churn it all in. Not only do the two empty patches look neat but also they're already enriching themselves for next year's growing season.

The biggest and most exciting news is that a grass snake (we've called here Sally) has taken up residence in our allotment compost bin. Apparently we came across a snake a few years ago but this memory has all but deserted me. Imagine my surprise when I pulled the lid off, poised to throw in a bucketful of weeds when a basking green snake slithered off down the side of the bin! I shrieked with surprise, then yelled SNAKE! As C would dearly love to see it himself. He missed it but we bided our time and saw it on several other occasions over the two days. I took a few pictures and even a video but from now on we'll give her a little more space and hope that perhaps she stays with us on a permanent basis.
grass snake living on the allotment

grass snake living on the allotment

grass snake living on the allotment


simple flower display

gladioli in vase

I picked more of the gladioli that have come into flower to add to the few I already had in a vase. The two colours are so pretty and I like how they look together. Also (and daringly) I cut three little sunflower heads off one of the multi stalk plants. I love the simplicity of them, so cheery and bold, but wow they drop an awful lot of pollen! I'm collecting vases,jugs and vessels to display flowers in from charity shops. Next year should be colourful.
preparing the allotment for spring

Sophie

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Fitness update time

blogger fitness update
Aha, an elusive fitness update. The good news is that I have been putting in a bit of effort lately. The last month or so I've been getting out and running 2-4 times a week and usually heading to a boot camp workout once a week. It still utterly confuses me how I've found myself in a position where I'm at my strongest ever but still increasing my fat content. I guess it just goes to show how taking your foot off the accelerator can have ramifications which are so hard to recover from. Currently, I weigh myself once a week just to keep tabs on things. If I suddenly start piling on the pounds I want to KNOW about it. Treading water is how I'd describe the situation at the moment. Exhaustingly neither breaking free, nor drowning in things. In an attempt at positivity I would applaud myself for putting in the time and energy into trying. Things could be worse. While I'd love to report that I'm getting back on track; losing the additional fat that's been creeping on, getting stronger and increasing my cardio.... it's not the case. But equally, I'm not letting negativity bring me down. I haven't thrown in the towel.
blogger fitness update
My days of running in races are most probably over. Running feels hard, so hard. Maybe it's all in my head. The important thing is that I hold on to the drive and motivation to keep going, to keep trying. Any little glint of improvement is to be cherished. I'm congratulating myself for completing runs, in the same way I'd applaud anyone else. Hurrah! Well done me. On to the next one.

I do keep mulling over the idea of getting myself under the thumb of a personal trainer. My character thrives under instruction. Getting told what I need to suits me well. In fact, I think that's the direction my active life has been missing. Unfortately, my schedule, lifestyle and location has meant that getting to a gym (regularly) is pretty much impossible. Hand on heart, I loathe group workouts. There is little that appeals less than having to make polite smalltalk with sweaty strangers and working with them in any format. Once I'm clad in an outfit with a significant amount of elastane it's down to business. I don't care what your name is or how many reps you're up to - please just stay away. I'd rather work alone. Solitary is my way, it's how I push myself. Go hard or go home, I don't care for politely holding back.

So how are things going? About the same, but that's an achievement in itself.
Sophie

Monday, 22 August 2016

Wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine
Starting the week off in style with plenty of joyful pictures of the wildflowers in the sunshine. I have plenty to come this week, so there is much to look forward to in terms of countryside goodness. Hopefully you will enjoy these as much as I will.
wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

wildflowers in the sunshine

Start the week off on the right foot. Smile and enjoy the summer sights as they won't last for ever.
Sophie

Friday, 19 August 2016

The summer harvest and allotment plans

 It's been a strange time over at the allotment for the last couple of weeks; instead of a plot brimming with life, it's gradually emptying at a rate which is gathering pace. The onions have all been taken away now for drying so a big empty square has appeared there. The last remaining turnips have been removed so with just a few beetroot on the front to go before that big space opens up. We're lucky to be able to make use of the communal burny bin so at the weekend we burned the broad bean stalks which worked really well. And a bit of straw. Ideally, we may be able to burn more waste rather than attempting to 'compost' aka piling it in a big heap which never turns into anything remotely composty.





I finally got round to buying a trug each and surprised C with the large parcel last week. They are the BEST buy I've made in ages and C was thrilled with his, especially as it had his name on it. I'm in his good books! They are handmade to order from Loldean Timber right here in Norfolk, very sturdy and will last us forever. I'm so impressed! C's is in colour Willow with text in white, mine is in Coastal Mist with my name in black. They were £21 each including delivery and that includes personalisation. Perfect for taking home our harvest and carrying hand tools as well. Definitely a treat we will be enjoying for a long time to come.


We harvested all of one variety of sweetcorn (which amounted to less than you might imagine) and made a large vat of chicken and sweetcorn soup with it which was delicious. I'm going to hog the remainder which is hiding in the freezer. The babycorn are getting eaten but we'll have to pick the rest soon, along with the rest of the sweetcorn  before they get past their best.

Did I mention that we popped the cardboard rolls over the leeks? I'd been SICK of collecting them for weeks so I'm thrilled that we've used them and I can move on with my life now. Hopefully the leeks will repay my patience.

The pumpkins are getting big and ripe (seems far too early???) and the courgettes are insanely prolific. Trust me, if you want a guaranteed crop, go for courgettes. They keep producing! I do have a courgette glut to use up this weekend, so courgette cake and courgette jam/pickle is on the cards. I've got through plenty with just eating it with (many) meals and making courgette fritata - fritters don't work so I just made it in one pan sized piece.




We've used about half the potatoes, so that corner looks untidy. The broccoli and cauliflower are done now and we're eating our way through the carrots. Sadly, the parsnips have suffered with the stoney ground and have twisted and mutated.

But although the plot is emptying, we have plenty of winter veg to keep growing and also I have plans for growing more flowers on the plot so we will start to prepare the ground for next spring. Manuring and rotivating will take a lot of work so there is no shortage of demand on our time.

Sophie