Monday, 20 May 2019

Watch Out For Frosts

Watch out for late frosts around the third week of May.

 In Devon May 19th, 20th and 21st were once known as Frankanmass, the feast of St. Frankan, (or Franklin) who is a saint unknown anywhere else. Not surprising as he seemed to have sold his soul to the devil.
Exactly the same story in other parts of the country says it was St Dunston........... St Dunston's Day was 19th May.
The story goes that Frankan/Franklin/Dunston was a brewer who had severe competition from the cider-makers so made a pact with the devil that he could have his soul in return for the guarantee of a frost every year on the 3 days in May, just the right time to attack the blossoms of the  apple trees in the orchards so that the cider makers would have less cider to sell.

This year the blossom has mostly been and gone and as yet it's impossible to see how the fruit has set and how many apples there will be

Little apples be gone away avore sheep-shearing and won't be back 'til harvest.

Other sayings about the this time of May I found

Saint Urban drives his mother form the fire
Urban brings summer.

St. Urban's day was 24th May and hopefully by then all frosts have finished and Urban's mother can venture outside instead of sitting by the fire!

There were a couple of early morning frosts  last week. They didn't do any damage as far as I know.
In most of Suffolk we usually don't get a frost after the third week so everything ought to be OK now and there's nothing too cold in the forecast for this week.

Back Tomorrow

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Saturday Round-up Again

It's been so good this week to have a few warmer days, Wednesday was the best as the East wind dropped away making it warm enough to sit out a while in between gardening and grass cutting. My gardening mojo came back with the sun - thank goodness and I spent a while clearing a huge patch of hooligan "foreign" bluebells out of the oval rose garden. What started as one small clump two years ago had got to an area nearly a metre round. They are pretty but just so invasive. I've replaced them with the rose "Thinking of You" that friends had sent last year when Colin died. Also started the big job of edging round that has two rows of bricks, laying flat set into the ground that grass and weeds grow through........ and I'm also weeding in the quarter circle muddle - it's full of aquilegia again, they are invasive too but in a nicer way.

 My shabby-chic ladder isn't so shabby this year as I gave it a coat of paint before putting it away in the autumn.

 It's almost planted up, I managed to drill holes in the clay flower pots (which were here when we moved in) to thread a wire through so I could wire them onto the ladder sides, that saved me spending more money on things to stand on the ladder. Just 50p spent on the two little square baskets from a boot sale. Must find something for the bottom rung -  perhaps 3 pots wired together.
To the right of the ladder (dreadful photo - I was in a hurry) are my two small Blueberry bushes that came with the bargain offer from T&M earlier in the year. One is looking better than the other but both are much healthier and bigger than when they arrived. Above are the two flat backed baskets waiting for Tomato Cascade to be planted. I'll need to put something else in to hold compost as the Poundland coir liners aren't big enough. Some plastic at the back and sides should do it.
 I was pleased to see a frog return to the mini pond, hadn't seen one in there since I hauled out lots of oxygenating plant last autumn

It's only a tiny pond but keeps a couple of frogs happy.

 Swimming early for the last few weeks  at a general swim-for-all session is working well, aiming to leave home by 7.45am, in the pool by 8.15 and out before 9,  home by 9.30. With plenty of morning still left to get some housework done. Such a good way to start the day, if I lived within walking distance I'd go every day............maybe.

It was nice to catch up with friends for coffee during the week, they are off out to the States in June for 4 weeks to Pittsburgh where their eldest son, wife and two grandsons live. They go out every year if they can. Their eldest is the same age as my eldest daughter and while living next door to them in 1981 we both had our second child within a day of each other! and they became godparents to our son.  I'm so glad I kept in touch through the years we were across the other side of the county.

I finished reading the excellent "The American Agent" crime fiction by Jacqueline Winspear. Such a good series, the first pubished in 2003 and set in 1929. This new book - the 15th - takes the story through the 1940 London Blitz. It re-introduced a character from three books past, which I now need to re-read because that was back in 2016 and I've forgot the circumstances in which Maisie first met the American of the title. I really recommend these books if you haven't come across them but it's best to start at the beginning with the first..... "Maisie Dobbs".

Thank you to everyone for comments about the photos of the houses we rescued. I'm sure everyone thought we were mad to keep moving but we were young, had no money but plenty of energy and didn't stop to think of the problems, we just wanted to own some land and be as self-sufficient as we could. All the house restoration programmes that are on TV now weren't thought of back then so there was nothing to put us off!

This week I'm grateful for
  • A few warmer days
  • The garden to keep me busy 
  • Coffee with friends 

And finally........
Hands up if you have ever got up one morning, gone in the kitchen and found a mole limping across the floor toward you?
T'was  a bit of a surprise,  Polly cat must have brought it in, makes a change from mice.
I won't tell you what I did with it as that would upset animal lovers!

Have a super-duper weekend wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

Back Monday

Friday, 17 May 2019

Speaking at the Big WI

At W.I's all around the country May is Resolutions month. Instead of a speaker we discuss the Resolutions that have been decided on to be put forward at the National AGM. The W.I is a campaigning organisation. Every year all groups can put forward suggestions which they feel strongly about, then these are whittled down to 1 or 2 which each WI debates and tells their representative how to vote at the AGM .(More about this years resolutions next week)

This doesn't take very long and to fill up the evening Big WI  ask 3 members to talk about something interesting in their lives, somehow I agreed to take part this year and decided to talk about how we kept moving and renovating houses so that we could buy a smallholding.
To make it a bit more interesting I printed out some photos that could be handed round as I spoke.

The other two ladies had had careers, one as a podiatrist and entrepreneur and the other first as a nurse and then working with clinical trials for new drugs. They had both written down what they would say and read their bits but I decide to go freestyle and printed out photos of some interesting pictures from the house we renovated and then at the smallholding and used those as prompts to talk about our life of moving up the housing ladder from a two up two down end terrace with garden to 5 acres. I wasn't nervous but found my voice going all shaky - not like me at all! at least my knees didn't knock!

The first 3 photos are of the house we brought from being "unfit for human habitation" to a lovely home in 1984/5. Taking 2 children under 4 to live in a caravan while the work was done. Mostly by Colin in the evenings and weekends.

Then I had 2 photos of what a mess the smallholding was when we bought it in 1992, that was 7 years and two more houses later than Appletree Cottage above

A photocopy from the newspaper when we were interviewed to promote the Suffolk Smallholders Society in 1998

How the smallholding garden and campsite looked in 2013. After 21 years of fun and much hard work.

Then I had a couple of photos that were taken for my old blog of the stall we had at the front gate with some of the things we grew to sell and a photo of some of the fruit we grew. Raspberries, redcurrants and apricots.

I think all the ladies enjoyed hearing our house moving story and seeing the photos......... They said they did or maybe they were just being polite!

Thank you to everyone for comments about the colours of the trees up the lane and around my meadow. The tree that I didn't know down the lane in a neighbours garden is definitely not a Goat Willow, I have one of those at the end of the garden and we had several at the smallholding. I went back down the lane and zoomed in for a better look and have decided that looking at the leaves with their red stems that it's a type of ornamental cherry, one that gets very big!

Welcome to some more followers, hope you enjoy reading

Back Tomorrow