Tag Archives: #growyourown

Just Five Minutes

24 Jun

6 Oystermouth

If you’ve only got five minutes, draw. Even when you’re so short of time, draw. It only takes a few minutes every day to keep up that regular practice and it all adds up over a year, decade, lifetime. I only had five minutes this evening after we left the allotment with our first summer berries.

berries

Winsor & Newton willow charcoal into a Khadi sketchbook at Oystermouth Castle. Gooseberries, raspberries, Alpine strawberries, blackcurrants and loganberries.

Potager, Leftovers, Castle. In That Order

10 Apr

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Hot hot hot today! It was too good to stay indoors and we’re lucky to have an enclosed garden so I spent most of the day working on it. It’s the silver lining in the lockdown, having time to do stuff like this. The garden was really scruffy and overgrown after the very wet and mild winter. We’ve got a mixture of fruit, vegetables and decorative plants so I suppose that technically it’s a potager. My Japanese acer is just coming into leaf and the colour is fabulous.

pizza

I had some leftovers in the fridge, a bit of pastry from when I made quiche the other day, some laverbread and a scrap of bacon, so I put them together to make a Welsh pizza, topped with Tintern cheese and a few tomato slices. Into the oven, Gas mark 5 for 30 minutes and it was delicious. Leftover meals are great. I never waste food.

 

castle

And we went to the allotment quite late to do some watering. We have a permit from our local authority to go there as long as we practice strict social distancing. It’s easy enough as the site is so large. As we left, the lights by the castle came on, it was lovely. We’re so lucky to live here.

 

 

Clean Green Space

4 Apr

allotment 1a

We’ve just had our letter from the local council giving us permission to go to our allotment during the lockdown. We’re so lucky. We’ve had the plot about 12 years and it’s not been easy – a very heavy clay soil, surrounded by woodland. A few times we’ve considered giving up but I’m so glad we stuck with it because now it’s a godsend. We were there for nearly 3 hours today, getting exercise, fresh air, sunshine and growing food. It’s just below Oystermouth Castle and you can see the castle behind the trees in the first picture.

allotment 2

Because we’re overshadowed with woodland at either end, it’s hard to grow crops in those areas so I’ve created a small woodland garden between the shed and Compost Corner. The hellebores and primroses are in full bloom but the little daffodils are dying back. The wild garlic is about to flower and the arums are flourishing. The apple and plum trees are just budding.

allotment 3

This is the view that greets us. There’s a wooden shed hiding behind the greenhouse. There’s loads of wildlife here too. The birdsong was beautiful today and we’re visitied by foxes, squirrels and badgers, who are very fond of sweetcorn. We’re so lucky to have this space at the moment. I really feel for people who live in the larger congested cities with no access to clean green space.

 

Survival Kicking In

27 Mar

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I seem to have gone into some weird default setting, a deep seated survival instinct. I’ve been wondering why I’m finding it so hard to do any art at the moment – surely the greatest crisis within living memory would kickstart some creative ideas? But no. Instead I’m digging my allotment, planting seeds, picking crops, cooking, preserving, using up leftovers, recycling, storing.

Art is a higher function. Food is a basic need. Something deep seated has been triggered and the energy I would normally be putting into my studio is now going into my kitchen and allotment. Today I bottled some rhubarb and made rhubarb cordial. We’ve got a glut of rhubarb this year. Normally I’d be making crumble and upside down cake with it but Husb has decided to give up sweet things for a while because he thinks he’s putting on weight and I can’t take cakes around to friends and relatives because we’re on lockdown. There’s loads more in the ground ….. tomorrow I’m going to make rhubarb gin.

Growing and Baking

26 Mar

amelanchier

Husb and I are taking advantage of the enforced national lockdown to spend time on our allotment – it’s one of the few places that has been sanctioned. It’s great, we can drive there and avoid people and it’s so huge that it’s easy to remain isolated. We’re practicing the enhanced hygeine and getting so much work done, getting crops ready for the coming months.

The allotment is on an old site at the top of a hill behind a Norman castle, with woodland bordering the site along two sides so it’s a bit dark at the top and bottom ends, but it’s worth it because the place is so idyllic.

We have some crops ready to pick – rhubarb and wild garlic, Ramsons, that’s self seeded onto the plot from the woods. Sorrel is nearly ready too. I’ve been digging over some of the beds and preparing for beans and leeks while Husb has been doing maintenance to the shed and raised beds – and clearing out a rat infestation in the shed!

scones

We were home by lunchtime and I carried on with some work from our home office while Husb made cheese scones. They’re lovely.

Plants from the top: Amelanchier lamarckii, or snowy mespilus; a Mirabelle plum in the foreground of the photo of the allotment; rhubarb; loganberry flowers just budding; plum in full flower.

 

Cooking Game Of Thrones Style

25 Mar

squash 2

Day two of lockdown and I turned into a psycho cook, channelling Game of Thrones with a butternut squash …….

Hack a squash in half with a big dagger. Lay them side by side on a metal tray and roast them in a furnace until you can squeeze their flesh easily.

Flay and dismember two onions and cast them into a cauldron of hot oil and saute them until they are soft.

Scoop out the fleshy innards from the squash and cast it into the cauldron with the onion. Scald it with boiling water.

Add vegetable stock. Okay, I know vegan stock isn’t very Game of Thrones, but hey, I’M NOT JOFFREY!!!! Pulverise it with a masher, blender or liquidiser and smash it into small pieces. Boil it in the cauldron a bit more until it’s thickened.

squash 8

Serve it up at the Red Wedding. Or for your supper. Whatever.

 

Rhubarb And Beansprouts

24 Mar

Today started weirdly. I’ve been pretty gung-ho about the coronavirus so far but when I got up this morning (I didn’t want to get up) I stayed in my pyjamas for ages and comfort ate from a huge bag of salt and vinegar crisps. But then I pulled myself out of it and got stuck into sorting out the garden – it needed a good clear up after the winter. I picked a tidy crop of rhubarb as well – haven’t decided what to do with it yet – crumble, chutney, bottled and gin are the options.

rhubarb

I also started off some beansprouts. I had a box in the pantry that I’d forgotten about. They’re a quick crop, 3 – 5 days and there should be a decent amount and they’re really nutritious. I’m still finding it hard to get motivated to make art, but there’s plenty to do in the house and garden which seems more appropriate for the times really.

 

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