Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Siblings' adventure 2012

Instead of buying each other birthday gifts, my brothers and I decided to take quality time-out together instead. Last weekend the three of us camped near Swanage on the south coast.

Here are a few pics...

Swanage itself is nothing special, but it does have the most amazing off-licence with lots of local beer, interesting wine and cider by the barrel! I keep some (very poor) cider-tasting notes. Mark helped me out this time - he described the above, Dorset Cider Company 'Smoke Oak', as "Dry with a throaty twang, hint of autumn crabapples with wasps on them".

The next two pics are by Mark.

We spent our only full day walking, climbing, swimming, and sitting along the coast path. We saw lots of wildlife including butterflies we remember only from childhood, beetles, bugs and a slow worm. Oh and I made them both taste random plants...

We visited the Square and Compass pub at Langton Matravers for more cider. I enjoyed a half of 'Eve's Idea' (home pressed), but Mark said it was not waspy enough for him. It's a great pub, deserving of its fame. It even boasts a little museum (of very random objects)...

After packing away our little camp we drove home via Durdle Door which is very beautiful, as is that whole stretch of coastline.

There are a few more photos on my Flickr.

The siblings' adventure was great! Happy belated birthday Mark and Chris! :)

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

0518/2102 Recent things

A few photos from July (so far)...

At the beginning of the month Matt and I camped at Symonds Yat (near the Forest of Dean). It's such a beautiful place! He has written a lovely blog post about it, so I will say no more.

A week later, adventuring in Brighton, we discovered a hidden wildflower meadow right next to one of our favourite pubs. It's actually a cleared but unused building site, completely enclosed by corrugated iron fencing, but there are a few holes big enough to poke a lens through...

Last weekend we had an allotment barbeque to celebrate the end of all that rain. Whilst waiting for my meal I rediscovered the joy of plaiting with plants (I remember making corn dollies as a child).

And lastly, I was given this amazing box of fruit! Always a good idea to be helpful to greengrocers (it's a long story)!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

0502/2117 My allotment

My allotment is long and thin which makes it difficult to photograph it properly. This picture really emphasizes the middle part - there are lots of things hidden at the back and my lovely bbq area is behind the camera - but I suppose it gives an impression of the place. It's only a small plot and I've not managed to grow many new crops this year, but it's doing OK. My perennials and self-seeders are just about surviving the rain and the slugs.

I decided to write a list of all the useful plants currently growing on my plot, whether they are in season or not. Some (actually, quite a lot) are planted by mother nature but I harvest them as regularly as those I grow myself.

July 2012 flora, in no particular order:
3x apple trees (you can just see one next to the old greenhouse)
Greengage tree (in the dustbin to the right)
Rowan tree (blurry, front left, growing in a pot but I will plant it somewhere good one day)
Raspberries (planted for me by allotment creatures)
Redcurrants (cuttings from the woods if I recall correctly)
Blackcurrants (first ripe fruit today!)
Strawberries (standard and alpine varieties)
Grape vine
Hop vine (wild)
Jerusalem artichokes
Parsley (self-seeding)
Chives (self-seeding)
Bay (I thought it was dead, but a new shoot has appeared)
Mint (various types)
Lemon balm
Pot marigold (self-seeding)
Comfrey (for compost)
Nettles (wild)
Ground elder (wild)
Sorrel (wild)
Oxeye daisy (wild)
Dandelion (wild)
Horseradish (wild)
Hogweed (wild)
Hairy bittercress (wild)
American land cress (one of the few seeds that actually grew this year)
Red orache (self-seeding, originally from a fellow plot-holder)
Opium poppies (self-seeding)
Foxgloves (for decoration, they were a gift)
Parsnips (last year's in flower/seed)
Beetroot (last year's in flower/seed)
Alexanders (introduced from wild, struggling but persisting)
Leek (last year's in flower)
Walking onions (being attacked by slugs, not doing much walking)
Burdock (front left, introduced from wild)
Courgette (hanging in there)
Pumpkin (hanging in there)
A few pathetic beans (very slug-munched)
An almost-dead fig tree
An almost-dead lemon tree
An almost-dead chilli plant

I might keep this list for reference, and update it as new things appear and old ones disappear.

Considering the rubbish weather, and the fact that I do this on my own whilst also working full-time, it's not too bad really :)