Thursday, December 27, 2012

Smashing Pumpkin

This splendid pumpkin is a Golden Delicious although it isn't teardrop shaped as they normally are. But just look how thick the flesh is, a very small seed cavity! I've found a website which has a few hundred varieties to choose from - KCB Samen . I may have to find a bit more space in the garden next year for a couple of Yuxijiangbinggua.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Four Eggs!

Egg judging at the Poultry Club of Great Britain Annual show via The Guardian. Below is our take for today. The dark bespeckled one is Miss Havisham's first ever.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Spiritual Parts of the Tea

"The Jesuite that came from China, Ann.1664, told Mr.Waller, That there they use sometimes in this manner. To near a pint of the infusion, take two yolks of new laid-eggs, and beat them very well with as much fine sugar as is sufficient for this quantity of Liquor; when they are very well incorporated, pour your Tea upon the Eggs and Sugar, and stir them well together. So drink it hot. This is when you come home from attending business abroad, and are very hungry, and yet have not conveniency to eat presently a competent meal. This presently discusseth and satisfieth all rawness and indigence of the stomack, flyeth suddainly over the whole body and into the veins, and strengthneth exceedingly, and preserves one a good while from necessity of eating. In these parts, He saith, we leave the hot water remain too long soaking upon the Tea, which makes it extract into it self the earthy parts of the herb. The water is to remain upon it, no longer than whiles you can say the Miserere Psalm very leisurely. Then pour it upon the sugar, or sugar and Eggs. Thus you have only the spiritual parts of the Tea, which is much more active, penetrative and friendly to nature. You may from this regard take a little more of the herb; about one drachm of Tea, will serve for a pint of water; which makes three ordinary draughts."
Receipt from The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Published by his Son's Consent 1669

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Last of the Late Late TPS

Wednesday night's -3° finished off my TPS experiment for this year - an early August sowing. But two of them show great promise I think just for the sheer number of tubers set. And they look big enough to save (see coin) and plant out in the spring!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

... And No.4

Minus 3 last night and staying frosty until Friday. Rime over all and water is frozen within the greenhouse. I put a duvet over the bees and a curtain in the hen house.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Cauld Frosty Morning No.3

The ice was about half an inch thick on the hen's water bowl this morning and the ground is crunchy. The cab driver the other night told us this will be the coldest winter in 100 years. I'm not sure where he gets his information but I'm thinking I might construct a styrofoam surround to help the bees retain warmth throughout. Hmmm, I'll just put the kettle on and give it some more thought...

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Late Late TPS

Back in August I decided to test the viability of the seed that I had collected from some of last year's potato fruits. They germinated quickly and I potted a dozen of them on and on and on... Then I moved them into the greenhouse late October to see how long I could keep them going. Now after the second night of hard frost I decided to start to dismantle this experiment. I'm hoping that some of the tubers are big enough to set out in the spring (that is a 1 inch grid) and the little ones I'll taste test tomorrow. There are four more which I will grow on until they show signs of expiring.
The top row are grown from seeds of last year's No.11 plants. Each one is unique. The two outer ones have very white flesh and the one in the centre is quite yellow fleshed. The far right one has lovely markings on the skin. Below are offspring of No.6 plants.
The one on the left has a white ring around a very purple centre, the third one over has yellow flesh and the other two are flecked with magenta/violet marks in white flesh.

(as always, click on picture to see it properly)