First Blackberries of the Year and Harvest

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Having a rather bohemian evening among seeds, weeds, and berries. Unfortunately according to my sample, only 30% of the really black blackberries are not jolly sour. 

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Always on the lookout for interesting plants, I’ve discovered that these pretty things have gone to seed. Not only that, but I have also discovered a rich vein of the plants themselves (although I dared only take one for the new trough). Apparently some soil from the big garden was tipped here a while back, and since then all sorts of wonderful plants from that garden have been popping out every year. With only a shallow root system, as far as I can make out, they will make a perfect filler for all sorts of places; looking forward to my collection of seed germinating next year.

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This little contraption (connected to a rather not very little meter) is used to measure moisture content in grain. Here the order of the day - rapeseed. 

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Did you know that bumblebees used to be called humblebees? There are quite a few examples of similar word-swaps around; this particular came to me whilst reading a rather antiquated book on bee anatomy last summer.

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The gardens continue to be heavenly after a very short lull a couple of weeks ago. I might have let a stray garlic or two go to flower, just for good measure. 

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This little snap was stolen to commemorate what I keenly foresaw to be our last two red currants before the birds had them.

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Which reminds me -  these mildly mutant strawberries are turning red fairly quickly in the good weather we’ve been having. The largest one has already been nibbled by, I suspect, an over-friendly blackbird; time to source that netting I’ve been on about for the last few months. I’ve been growing these from seed since last year!

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The micro-orchard is paying off; even the worse for wear, salvaged tree we came across last year is bearing fruit - exactly one, long-awaited apple (not pictured, unfortunately)!

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Nobody wants these, thank goodness. Another little while and they shall enter the kitchen.

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Finally, the plum tree is plentiful again this year. The downside that it is, without fail, as plentiful in fruit as it is in greenfly and wasps. Having given it a good spray last weekend, I foresee a ladder and more spraying later this week. Luckily, the vintage brass sprayer I shall use is a joy to play with.

A gooseberry bush, earlier in the year.

A gooseberry bush, earlier in the year.

One of many critters that were discovered to be inhabiting a greenhouse this morning.

One of many critters that were discovered to be inhabiting a greenhouse this morning.

Supers - on!

Supers - on!

Another go.

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The old (previously repainted) mantlepiece is finally gone; it just never quite worked. Hello white, cast iron beauty.

It is debatable whether or not it already looked perfect just quickly screwed to the wall, but one has to fiddle, - the whole area is now being remodelled, sanded down, and re-painted. Moreover, led lights have now been installed behind a specially-cut wooden insert.

Finally, the tiles are ghastly and will be replaced with the red quarry type shown in the first photograph. Hurray for fiddling with one’s home!

Squashed helix. Who sat on it?

Wake with a start. Thursday morning. Indulgently lie in, financial times, nibbles and a seat with green leather. Scientific analysis? A new city, walking. Wrong presentation. OBE over a cup of hot water tells how it is; arrogance is key if I can be of any further assistance. Beautiful business model, so elegant, in awe. Ex-ray in space? Tasting, good dance, bad waltz. A talking to. Don’t! Someone will help. How slow, high levels, oh, dear. Sickly sandwiches. Slow, so slow; just close… Hop in, drive out. Days blending into one. Hello old catty friend. What fabulous ships! Etchings to take away. EU, illegality, and milk. Cast iron radiators, everywhere. Take one! How about a UK-wide campaign? Or two? Sorted. We are the three marketeers. Driving home. Marvellous change, inspiring nature. Preparing for summer. Sheep cavorting. Will you? For sentimental reasons? Joy. Chosen? At last? Joy. Real estate and capex. F1. Solipsism and nihilism. Do you really think I’m that stupid? Joy. Three in a row, all in the sun. Walking? Giant bulrush. Felt even better than one imagined. Fields, woods. Numbness fades the next morning. Jill Hazelbaker. Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.

Awake!

(The board needs a spring clean…)

Awake!

(The board needs a spring clean…)

Springy

Everything’s perked up in the last couple of weeks - daffodils are everywhere (quite literally.. I may have to do something about that once they go over…) and some already flowering profusely (the little ones), crocuses have come up through the lawns and doing much the same, a single, shamelessly pink primrose is brightening up a border next to a few violas, snowdrops have been going strong for a little while now.

Never mind all the flowers, the box and roses have really taken off! Can’t wait to see what one of the red ones does, on the wrought iron fence; it really did nothing last year except produce a couple of misshapen blobs (still very pretty), - and now it is covered in fresh, new, red growth.

Today the large holly finally got it. Another go and it will look quite perfect, instead of being dark, odd, and monolithic. It’s a shame it doesn’t produce berries.

Squashy

Cooking butternut squash soup with last year’s crop.

Cold bees

Frost overnight, bright sunshine in the day - perfect weather for a mid-winter disturbance of the bees. I’d like to think of it as their Christmas - fondant in the stocking.

Managed to miss one bee which got so cold it slept on me all the way home. Took me by surprise as the kitchen suddenly started buzzing! Off home it goes now!

Blow it!

Waxing an old set of scales and masses, and polishing a multitude of other objects received and acquired, is just not enough. Enter three grotty blow torches (one partially de-grottified by now)!

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Lining up the kitchen with festive things with my darling.
Dried fruit, mince pies, and lots of wrapping paper!

Lining up the kitchen with festive things with my darling.

Dried fruit, mince pies, and lots of wrapping paper!