Good morning, everyone. I hope you had a very pleasant Easter weekend making plenty of happy memories. Beth and Alex came over for Sunday lunch and we enjoyed a roast lamb dinner with roasties, loadsa veg and a slice of toasted hot cross bun loaf for afters.
As it happened, Leonie (my Thermomix consultant) had sent a recipe for this loaf on the Saturday and, as I had everything needed, I thought I'd give it a go. It's so easy making loafy things in the Thermomix and it turned out extremely well.
My Easter treat to myself (as if I need any excuse or reason) was things for my own garden. I've mentioned before that I'd like to try a 'columnar' style fruit tree or two so I've started off with an apple.
This is a 'ballerina' type apple. The bumph says that it's the easiest type as it naturally produces very small fruiting spurs off the main stem and rarely needs pruning It's also happy in a pot (with appropriate feeding/watering) which is what I want. The apples are 'flamenco' apples which I have never heard of so I looked that up (what would be do without Google?) and it says they are sharp and refreshing and that they don't keep. They might be OK for cooking as well as eating - I do love a refreshing apple. I used to adore Granny Smiths but either my taste has changed or they are just not as refreshing as they used to be.
It's not self pollinating but we do have apple trees in the immediate area so fingers crossed. I'm expecting to get a few more anyway, in time, if this in manageable. I would love a cherry, for instance.
Another plant that I've keen to have for a while now is a bamboo, both for leafage and for a bit of height. However, bamboo is highly invasive; even the clumping kind isn't really suitable for a small garden with limited soil space but, again, it can go into a pot.
So I have looked around and ordered a black bamboo, so called because after a year the stems turn an attractive dark colour (the leaves are green)
Both photos have been borrowed from where I bought the plant - I am under no illusions that they will look like that when they arrive but, just maybe, after a couple of years of TLC. . .
I also bought some codling moth traps, one for the apple and pear trees (they work over a reasonable area) and one for the plum as, apparently, they are different. The plum may be on its final warning, but I'm trying to give it every opportunity!
(not to mention the fact that we love plums and all things plummy - plum sauce, plum jam, plum chutney, plum liqueur made with either gin or vodka, etc)
The fleece arrived on Saturday but as Beth couldn't get over to help on Saturday anyway, that was OK. We ended up covering the plum and the pear trees on Sunday, plus there was enough for the strawberries as well. The accompanying sheet said that it could be washed before reusing so we will treat it oh, so carefully!
It wasn't as simple as we had expected, getting such a large piece of fleece over the trees and they looked ridiculous when we had finished, giving not only us a fit of the giggles but also the chap two plots along who was politely trying to hide his laughter until he heard ours, whereupon he joined in. He said it was a good idea, mind you
See what I mean . . . Those sticking out bits are pegs, as Christine advised the other day
However, when I woke on Monday, it was quite windy, creating concern as to how well the fleece had stayed on. Fingers were crossed and Monday afternoon we just drove to the allotment to see how well it had withstood the wind. It had - you'd never have known we'd had wind. I'm so glad we made the effort because this morning (Tuesday) we have a frost.
The other thing Beth and I did on Sunday was make the wigwams for the sweet peas which are almost ready to plant out. I read that once you have two sets of real leaves (rather than seed leaves) you pinch out the top and the plant then sends out side shoots and is ready to go out. I gather they are not susceptible to frost but it makes sense to leave the planting out until Thursday-ish. Ditto for the potatoes.
I did intend to do some garden stuff but it was so chilly in the wind, I chickened out. We even had snow at one point, real proper snow that didn't settle but looked pretty falling.
The afternoon was milder and really sunny but Beth was over and we had plenty to chat about.
Today, the sun is shining brightly but the forecast is for more chilly weather. I might go and dig the trenches for the seed potatoes - that should warm me up nicely. I also want to prepare the ground for the new raspberries. That area is covered, with holes cut in the ground cover. I think they are wide enough to take a fork - finger crossed. And there's weeds - always weeds.
I will also be continuing to work on the cat cushion for Beth. I've done the background squares and a few of the cats (not in the photo) and I think I said that Beth will be doing the features as she's so much better at that than I. There will be a border around the whole thing and I am hoping that the cushion pad will stretch the whole thing out a bit because, being acrylic yarn, it won't take well to ironing. The back is just one granny square made to the same size as the front.
Today I need to make the cats - the only tricky thing is making sure the yarn changes don't show on the right side - it's harden than knitting, I find.
I think that's it for today - no, I have a chat with Dad as it is Tuesday. It's too cold for any face to faces in the garden this week.
I hope you had a really lovely Easter. Were you able to meet up with family or friends?
Have a great day. Stay warm and stay safe, everyone. xx