Saturday, 17 July 2010

Highland Gatherings and a Poppy Army

Last weekend we went home for a bit of family reunion seeing Hubby's family that now live in China and had come over for a couple of weeks.  It was a lovely weekend; first seeing my folks then off to the In-laws for the meet up.

We went for an outing to the Harpenden Highland Gathering which is 'reputed to be the largest event of its kind outside of Scotland' – raising money for many deserving charitable causes.  It was a really fun day out - I recommend it.  I totally forgot to take any pictures of the events though which was a shame as the pipe bands were terrific and there was even games and battle reinactments.  Typical!

I did, however, remember to take pics of the Boy though when we were walking across the Common. It was a beautiful scene, full of meadow flowers that were in the final stages before cutting.  My M-I-L said that they were late to seed this year so they had delayed mowing them down and we were lucky to be walking through it.  The Boy found the largest dandilion head I've ever seen!

I love my M-I-L's garden, it has a kind of wildness to it with lots of self seeded plants growing, but so interesting with secret places and paths winding around it. I took some photos of a few of the plants and the boy sitting under the apple tree there.

I love, love, love this pic!

Just as a contrast I'll have to include a pic of my Mum's garden which looks absolutely amazing and totally different in another post.  She had the biggest hanging baskets I think I've ever seen!

Back home during the week I went to the plot to pick some fruit.  *sigh* - it was looking so neglected, I feel sorry for some of the poor plants being totally over run by the weed invasion.  We went and had a good go at some of it today, but I'll tell you about that in a minute.  Anyway, the raspberries and loganberries were heaving with fruit, so I spent a good hour or so picking.  I also picked a load of jostaberries - the first semi decent crop from this bush.  The jostas I made into a yummy sponge cake and the logans and rozzas made some gorgeous jam.  Starting to stock up in the cupboard with jam now - we even had a little chuck out to make some room!

At the plot today we set about clearing the onion bed of an army of poppies.  Luckily they pull out really easily as did the rest of the weeds there.  No real docks, just a few for Hubby to dig up around the edge of the bed.  The onions are still rather small (not surprisingly), though they've now got space to grow.....and light.........and the rain can actually get down to them now!  

A before shot......

........and after......

My broadies got a clearing too

The dessert gooseberries were ripe and delicious so I picked them today.  Hubby had made a start, carefully picking them one by one, without gloves!!?  I sent him off to pick broadies and set about with my gloves sort of stripping them into a bag.  I picked 2.8kg from the one bush! I've frozen some in 500g pouches - enough for individual crumbles, pies etc, left 1kg in the fridge to make two crumbles or pies tomorrow and ate the rest with some of our red and black currants on merringue nests with icecream mmm!

At last we have a courgette (though I really don't like courgette - not sure why I grow it!).

Kiddies were busy today and managed to create their own activities.  First was chalking on the paving slabs that run down our plot boundary - I'd bought them huge chalks - a bargain at 99p!  This kept them entertained for a good while and as the chalks were so huge they took ages to wear down.  First pic is by the Girlie (sorry about the photo being on it's side, I'm not sure why, but blogger keeps turning it!? Obviously it's meant to be a rainbow)

Second is by the Boy (Turtwig is a Pokemon for anyone not sure - my boy is addicted :o)  )

The second self devised activity was a 'nature picture' using objects grown on the plot.  First the Boy's.....

Then the Girlie's.  The weird little branch end with buds looks rather uncomfortably like an animal foot to me - I had to look twice!  I thought they did look rather pretty!


  1. That first pic right under the pic of the dandelion looks like a flower with thorns...does it have thorns? It is a beautiful picture.
    And again with all the lovely berries. Sigh. I think we picked 12 strawberries today. :-) Altho, I was at my best friends house the other day and she and I picked lots and lots of raspberries that I got to bring home. I managed to get 9 jars of jam out of them as well as 9 little individual freezer crisps. Actually, you may like the idea of those little freezer crisps with all the different berries you me a comment if youd like the recipe and I can send you the link!

  2. Hiya, it's a giant allium. If I remember correctly it doesn't start off thorny or sharp but gets more and more spiky as the season moves on and the flowers die off. It makes an amazing dried flower too and this one is the size of a football!

    12 strawberries is good! I think we only had 5 in our first year, you wait 'til next year! I actually think I've read about the freezer crisps on your blog?? I'd love the link, thanks :o)

  3. Hey! Here ya go:

    Let me know if you try them out. I have had great luck with them and they are really yummy!

    Oh and I meant to mention, too, that I love the kids art work. My middle guy was a HUGE fan of Pokemon for the longest time. He had this little paper that came with one of his was full color and listed all the pokemon with pictures...he slept with that darn thing. :-) Im not even sure how many times I had to tape it to keep it together.

  4. Thanks loads for that, I'll definately give them a go they look delicious (I'd call it a crumble!)- it's a great idea to freeze them in little portions. Not sure if I'll be able to find the jars - I've had a look before for them. In the UK canning really isn't popular. In America you seem to be able to get them in your supermarket, over here you can't even find them online! I'll have to make do with what I can find in my cupboard.

    Pokemon is the Boy's life, along with all things dinosaur :o) He'd love the paper with the pics of pokemons on it, I'm sure he'd sleep with it too!

  5. Oh yeah...I didnt have that easy of a time finding those wide
    mouth half pints either. But youre right. I did find them at the grocery store! :-)

    Have you tried Amazon before? They seem to have everything....

    It seems like somebody had mentioned freezing them in muffin trays and then actually storing them in ziplocs once they were frozen solid. Then you would just have to find something to put them in when you bake them....

  6. That's a good idea, I'll have a look in Tesco and T K Maxx tomorrow. I can then pop one in a ramekin to go in the oven.

    Alas Amazon, usually so reliable, did not have them - at least the UK one didn't.



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