Always on the look-out for easier and more productive vegetable gardening, I have now established a simpler, more rotation-friendly, plot.
I've split Haddock's into four equal size sections with a narrow path between them. Of course this means I've lost a small amount of growing area, but I intend to make each section more productive (and in certain cases, less wasteful). The 40 cm wide paths were first covered with a landscaping material, then topped with crushed stone.
Digging over my garden in Spring has always been a pain; literally, because I have a bad back (and my rotovator is buggered). But, now having four much smaller areas to work, the task seems far less daunting. Each section can probably be dug over in about 30 mins (back willing).
Manure and compost will be spread liberally, and I shall try to double-dig where possible. I'm hoping that my 2017 veg' campaign will be seriously productive.
All I now need is a statue of St Fiacre on the intersection of the paths, and abundance will be guaranteed.
Haddock's gets smaller and smaller, but the yields are more and more generous. There's a moral in there somewhere!
Digging looms; as soon as the weather gets better.......
The wait is over.... As of today we have 6 grandsons. Kellogg presented us with No 6 at 10.40 am this morning (in Australia).
I bought his tree just a couple of weeks back. I thought I was cutting it a bit fine, but he kept us waiting!
The hole was previously dug, the tree had been placed by it's side, and as soon as word came through it was positioned. I have to add that it was quite cold out there this morning, and only just properly light.
As with my five other grandchildren, the tree had to be planted on his actual birth day to mark his arrival.
I wonder if I'll get to plant any more? Each of my three children now has two children (all boys) of their own.
Boo Boo Minor's tree (for that is his provisional name) is a Royal Gala apple. We only have two other apple trees, so more are needed!
Congratulations to Kellogg and Wills, and welcome to Boo Boo Minor; an equinox-ish brother for Boo Boo Major.
Certain things in nature take my breath away. This plant (above) is one.
I know nothing of flowers or wild plants, so I can't tell you what it is. However, they grow every year, popping up in the most unlikely places. Later in the year they throw up a tall 6 ft tall stem on which there are a rag-bag of insignificant yellow flowers.
It's now, and until they flower, when they are at their best. They just sit there in their symmetrical splendour, making us smile as we pass by.
Many would no doubt call it a weed, but to me it's as beautiful as any other garden plant.
I left the Dandelions in the picture so you can see its size; they get bigger!
Merguez are one of my favourite sausages. Spicy and deep red in colour, they are made from a mix of Beef and Lamb, and are flavoured with Cumin and Pepper.
Originally from the Maghreb, they travelled north with the fleeing Pied-Noir population, after the Franco/Algerian troubles of 1954-62, and have since become a staple in this region of France; especially on Summer BBQ's.
I remember many years ago that I wanted to take a few kilos back to the UK for the freezer. Instead of buying them down here I decided to stop-off at a Supermarket in Calais, and buy them fresher up there. When I came to the meat department there was no sign of any, so I asked an employee where I would find them. He had never heard of Merguez. They had not yet reached that far north. Nowadays I imagine that they can be bought throughout France, and even elsewhere.
If you haven't already done so, I recommend that you try some. Last night I had a few with some Puy Lentils, and the essential squirt of fiery Harissa. Lovely.
Yesterday, whilst walking with Bok in the woods, I came across two long lines of Processionary Caterpillars. One lot was about three metres long, the other about two.
May I remind everyone (who lives in areas where such creatures exist) that these Caterpillars are extremely dangerous for unwary dogs. Our own late Monty once tried to eat one, and not only became very ill, but eventually lost about a third of his tongue from the poison.
It is worth also remembering that they are dangerous for humans as well. I hate to say it, but they are best squashed when found.
You can't mistake them at this time of year, they walk in long lines across paths, etc.
My Uncle Reginald (Father's older brother, above) was sent off to The Colonies to grow, and send back, Tea.
He went to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) where I imagine he did fulfil his remit, although I never heard much about Tea.
What I did hear, however, was of him sending back wooden crates filled with Furs to my father in London, with instructions about who to sell them to, etc.
He also sent back small packages of precious stones, one of which he gave to my father (Uncle R was later repatriated with a nasty dose of Paratyphoid).
The stone he offered was quite a large Ceylon Sapphire which Father had set in gold as a ring. It had finger-like clasps around the stone itself, and was/is a very pleasant piece of jewellery.
In the early 1960's my sister asked her mother if she could borrow it for an upcoming holiday to the Italian Riviera. Somewhere between Paris and the South of France, my sister's suitcase went missing, and we all panicked; simply on account of the ring. The guards were alerted, and a thorough search ensued. Eventually her suitcase was found, untouched, in a guards-van right at the very end of the train. The ring was safe.
Having come to me, sometime after the mid 80's one of the gold 'fingers' broke, and it was taken to a jewellers' for repair and re-polishing. The jeweller also offered a free valuation, which rather surprised us.
The ring is now in Australia, having been given to my daughter Tenpin. I wonder what will happen to it in the future? I hope that a wife of either George or Finn's will wear it, and that it will continue down the line. It's not the most valuable thing in the world, but, rather like our 1735 grandfather clock, it's a pukka heirloom; and we don't have many.
The difference between an optimist and a pessimist, is that the optimist enjoys himself whilst waiting for the inevitable! I AM that optimist!
This is a daily, optimistic, 'photos and comments' blog. I make no judgements (only occasionally), just notes. If you wish to comment in any way at all, please feel free. Everything and everyone (except the obdurate and dictatorial) is very welcome.
I was born just south of London, but for the past 46 years I've lived in S W France. I am a painter by profession, and writer by desire. Lady Magnon and I live in an ancient cottage, in a tiny village, in perfectly tranquil countryside. We have a vegetable garden called 'Haddock's' (this may crop up from time to time), plenty of fruit trees, and a view that takes the breath away; we also have a Border Collie called Billy. I try to treat our planet with respect, and encourage others to do likewise (without preaching).
Contentment is a glass of red, a plate of charcuterie, and a slice of good country bread. Perfect!