Tag Archives: compost

The Hunter

7 Feb

27 sparta

Another dead rat in the hallway this evening and one very proud psycho-kitteh strutting around, well pleased with herself. We’ve had a spate of dead rats in recent weeks, some of them quite large and we found out last week where they’re coming from – our compost bin. Husb noticed that our kitchen waste was breaking down very quickly – too quickly! He poked around and found a network of tunnels through the compost. Rats have been burrowing in and scoffing our kitchen scraps…..and Sparta has been lying in wait and killing the rats. Well, that’s what our species domesticated the little furry ones for; protecting our homes and food from rodents.

14 my chair

Although I sometimes think that WE’RE the ones who’ve been domesticated! Husb has secured the bottom of the bin and there doesn’t seem to be any more rat action inside the compost, but this evening’s corpse shows that they’re still coming round to take a look. I’m amazed that she can drag a rat through two cat flaps, across a large kitchen and down a long corridor in her tiny little jaws. She’s a very small cat. The top image is a photopolymer plate etching of Sparta and the lower one, a drawing from one of my sketchbooks.

Shopping, Compost and Donny Osmond’s Hat

23 Jun

I hate shopping. I don’t understand why people love it. I’m happy to spend hours browsing in art supplies shops and tool shops but general shopping, in malls and stuff, I loathe it. Husb is the same, so after an hour or so in the city centre earlier we bolted to the cafe in Waterstones bookshop and chilled out for a bit with a nice hot drink and a biscuit. Hot drink necessary because this is a British summer, so it’s cold and wet outside. Did my usual of scribbling away at the people around me. The young man on the left seemed to be a student studying hard while the man on the right was with his wife and child and sported the sort of outrageous hat I haven’t seen since the 1970’s – they were called Donny Osmond hats back then. The man below was immensely tall with huge hands that dwarfed his cup of tea.

Scribbled in a couple of minutes each with a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen [size S] into an A6 leatherbound, recycled sketchbook. When I got back from town, I transplanted a couple of loganberry plants that had tip-rooted themselves in my rhubarb patch using the first of our home-made compost made in one of the council’s free compost bins. The plants are destined for the gardens of friends. I love loganberries, but the fruits don’t last long so I guess they’re not suitable for growing commercially.

Rhubarb And Compost

18 Mar

I spent a few hours in the garden this afternoon, potting up some peas, leeks and mange tout ready for the allotment and tidying up after the winter. We collected some large compost bins from Swansea Community Farm last summer, put two onto the allotment and kept one for the garden and I had a look through the hatch today and there was loads of nice crumbly compost, not smelly at all. I love compost. I’m a bit obsessed with it. I like to visit the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth just to look at their compost corner. They experiment with making compost in different ways and I find it fascinating. Well, it keeps me off the streets 🙂

I dug some out and spread it around the rhubarb which is growing away very nicely – might have some for crumble in a couple of weeks. It grows really well in the back garden but didn’t like the allotment at all when I tried it. It’s really expensive in the shops these days but we get so much of it each year that I have to make chutney. It’s delicious. Here’s the recipe.

Rhubarb chutney

Great with cold meats, cheddar, cheese on toast, smoked fish, curry.

For each kilogram of washed, roughly chopped rhubarb, add –

  • 250 g of sultanas
  • 850g white granulated and 150 g dark brown sugar
  • 300 ml cider vinegar
  • 10 peeled, chopped cloves of garlic
  • 30g sea salt

Put everything into a very large pan and bring to the boil.

Cook at a good simmer for at least an hour until it is thick, stirring occasionally.

Pour into clean, hot jars and screw the lid on immediately (use waxed and cellophane jamming circles if you have some).

Label and date and store for at least a month before using, if you can resist it.

The drawing was done with Faber Castell Pitt pen size S and a lump of graphite. I have a twisted hazel [corylus avellana ‘Contorta’] in a large pot in front of the rhubarb patch and I drew through some of the little twisted branches. In the background are a couple of Spanish bluebells [hyacinthoides hispanica] spearing through the ground. They were already here when we moved in and although pretty are also very invasive.

%d bloggers like this: