Have a great week
There are particular places where we have greater hopes of spotting a few, depending on season and weather conditions. You can't ever rely on seeing anything at all, so any chance sightings are a bonus. Of course, getting a photograph is the cherry on the cake, especially as I only shoot with my 50mm prime lens, so cannot zoom, plus I also operate on manual settings and focus.
Imagine my excitement when we unexpectedly encountered a pair of dragonflies flying around together in union over the river! From the small amount of research about dragonfly mating I carried out, it appears that after the main act of copulation they can fly around together to lay the eggs in the water. Dragonfly rituals can apparently be a rather brutal affair, but we caught this pair in the aftermath, once the main event was
It was astonishing to capture this moment on camera in reasonable quality, with the sunshine and the sparkles. Possibly the most exciting picture I have taken this summer - or maybe even ever!
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
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.
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.
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.