Sunday, June 29, 2008

Getting Pickled

There was a recipe came through the door this week in the latest HDRA newsletter. Called 'I Can't Believe It's Not Mango' Chutney - made with squash. So I decided that this would be a fitting end for the last of last year's squash (the Marina di Chiogga pictured). Where corn starts to convert it's sugars to starch directly after picking, I believe I've read that squash does the opposite. So, after all these months it's sweeter than ever. Well I'm not sure if the quantities were correctly printed, if it should have taken 5 hours to reduce or if the finished product should look like the devil's own poo poo. We can sample it in a month and let you know if it tastes like mango.

Red & Black Currant schnapps infusing.

Friday, June 27, 2008

N.I.W. No.3

This morning's round up of some of the locals and holiday-makers spending their summer in my garden.
The Good...

...The Bad (passed away shortly after the photograph was taken) & The Ugly (also no longer with us)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More Bugs

Here is a sample from Georgii Georgievich Jakobson's illustrated book 'The Beetles of Russia, Western Europe and Neighbouring Countries' (1917). Click on the picture to enlarge, and the link for hundreds more beautiful beetles. And then if you're in the mood for a tear-jerker, have a read through the biographical notes on Jakobson.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

EntOmology 101

It's National Insect Week here, in America it's National Pollinator Week. And look what crawled out of the woodwork today...

Click on the picture for greater detail
... a female stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) about 5 cm. long. I spotted her on a stump in the chicken corral and got to her before they did. Let the Great Stag Hunt know if you find one.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tiny Fruit

Stuff is starting to happen!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Doris went broody again this week (the second time in a month), so today we forayed south of the M25 to get some fertilized eggs to put under her. And, along with the eggs, we brought 'Tiny Enid' back with us, in the pannier.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Finally got my maincrop beets and carrots sown. Or 'carrosts' as they're called in our house. (you must see 'The Big Snit' if you don't know why).
This year the beets are Lutz Winter Keeper again (self saved seed) and Bull's Blood. And the carrost are both new for me - 'Rodelika' (very productive and vigorous with strongly red roots) and 'Purple Dragon' - from Kokopelli.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Indelible Ink

Take 1 part sal ammoniac, 1 part verdigris, 1/2 part lampblack, and 10 parts of water; mix thoroughly together and keep in a glass-stoppered bottle; shake before using; write with a medium-pointed steel pen. Another useful ink can be readily made by dissolving half a teaspoonful of sulphate of copper in an ordinary penny bottle of writing ink; use with a quill pen.
Garden Recipes from The Horticultural Note-Book

You may have guessed that these are all varieties of tomatoes.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Friday, June 06, 2008

Black Aztec

After several years of 'Stowell's Evergreen' and 'Inca Rainbow' I'm trying a new (old) variety of corn - 'Black Aztec'. I planted out a couple of dozen about a month ago (on the left now) and then got greedy and started another tray (right) which can go in next week I guess. I got the seeds from Baker Creek and their blurb states that the corn is sweet eating at the milk stage but will make a fine corn meal bread if left to mature. So here's hoping.
Below, from Strange Maps (originally from a satirical blog) - illustration of a possible correlation between GM corn production and neo-nazi violence. Hmmm...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Outlook Tonight

Here's the view from the top of our allotment plots (it looked a lot crisper in real life). You'll have to click on it to read my labels.