Chilli in the shed

I’m not sure why my chilli plants always seem to fruit in autumn and winter but once again they are doing it as it cools down and gets darker.

It might be hard to see the green chillies amongst the foliage but there are several of them in there.

I had thought about bringing the plants (there are two) into the house. However, there they run the risk of being consumed by aphids, so I’d rather they stay in the shelter of the shed. In any case, as I’ve never overwintered chillies outside before, it will be interesting to see what happens next.

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Tulips from the Eden Project

After a change in my timetable, I realised I could have a day off work today so that amongst other things I could have some unexpected time with my daughter, with it being half term. It also meant I could have some time in the front garden, while she went off with a friend.

At the start of the month, I had been raring to get the tulips, which I had bought at the Eden Project back in August, in the ground. Then I had learned that they were less likely to succumb to tulip fire if planted later. So, now we are down to low temperatures, I reckon they are good to go.

The front garden was surprisingly compacted. Okay, it used to be a lawn, although it wasn’t walked on particularly often. And then the grass was cleared using the lasagne gardening technique, which I thought was supposed to soften the soil.

Another issue was the number of roots I had to dig through to get the spade in. Most of the garden is planted up now, so finding a patch of uncultivated ground was the other challenge.

However, most of them are out and I’m waiting for the marigolds to stop blooming before the rest are planted. I’m so looking forward to spring to see how they turn out.

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An explosion of autumn

In spite of weather reports forecasting subzero temperatures, when we got home yesterday, the nasturtiums were still going strong. However, there is no doubt autumn has arrived.

The first photo was taken in the Belton Estate, near Grantham. We had been trying to find it a couple of Christmases ago, but found a mound of sugar beet instead!

The second walk of the weekend was a sedate perusal of Bluebell Nursery in Leicestershire, which we went to in August for a Cornus alba Kesselringii (white dogwood). Then the ground had been so parched there were huge cracks, which were actually still in evidence in places. I guess it will take some time to get over this year’s drought.

However, the trees charmed us with their autumnal glory

and I took a photo of the Asian birch which I had dithered about photographing last time.

And I noticed a plant with no name attached. This, unlike the dogwood, I won’t be hunting down as I don’t think I can fit it in. Just look at its flowers, though!

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The case of a missing lunch bag

Whilst crocheting on the bus this morning, the ball of wool decided to leap off my lap and roll under the seat on the other side of the aisle. Then as the occupants of that seat reached down to retrieve it, the ball took another dive down the bus, with me scrambling on my hands and knees to bring it to a halt.

Once it had been rescued, one of my neighbours remarked that today wasn’t my day. Except that not only did the bus get to Leeds city centre in good time, but I felt I had made much headway with my research at work.

Then on the way back home, I found the lost property office at the bus station and the lunch bag I had left on a seat yesterday was there. Admittedly, it wouldn’t be of much interest to a thief but I had wondered if it might have been dealt with by bomb disposal or some such.

On a roll myself, I noticed a rather large branch which council gardeners had chopped off one of the trees which decorate a green space on my housing estate. Since they didn’t seem to want it, I thought it would do very well in the next hugel bed I build, so that came home with me.

Coming full circle, on the last stage of the journey home I ended up feeling as embarrassed as I had on the bus this morning. Just about all my neighbours happened to be getting into or out of their cars just as I was passing with a large piece of wood. Fortunately, no one stopped me to enquire why I was liberating it from the undergrowth.

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As it has been dry and reasonably warm over the last few days, it seemed an appropriate time to finish off the fence-painting. Except, inevitably, I realised the new fence could do with a third coat, so the job isn’t finished after all!

I touched up the worst bits of the fence after giving the final part of the back fence a second coat. Then we went out to a village called Heath, near Wakefield, which one of my Knit and Natter group said was a favourite place of hers.

The village seems to consist of a very large common surrounded by grand houses. Quite different from what I’d expected but, as I enjoy discovering new places, I was pleased to have seen it.

A horse on Heath Common

We also did a walk which took us into the countryside round Wakefield. I’m not particularly familiar with this part of the world and am continually surprised by how pretty it can be. I didn’t take any photos on this occasion, though, as nothing stood out, apart from the horses on Heath Common. I have no idea who they belong to.

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Nettles for trees

An event is happening tomorrow which I dearly wish I could go to: The Tree Conference 2018, in Frome, Somerset. However, I’ve found out too late and it’s too far away.

Still, it is good to know about these things. And while I wait for a book mentioned on the website linked above to arrive from the library (about wilding a family farm), I have been tinkering around to prepare for this winter’s trees.

I made sure to pick the nettle’s leaves (for soup) before I dug the plant out the ground

but sadly it needed to go as part of the ground preparations. For one thing, I thought I needed to unearth a hugel bed behind it in order to pull out plasticised cardboard. Except there was none.

On the other hand, it would be hard to plant the Scrumptious apple tree where I plan to unless the nettles moved on. And I’m sure I’ll get some more before long.

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Upcycling with the WI

My sister has long been a member of the Women’s Institute but I had never thought of it as an organisation that would be of interest to me. That is, until one of the members of my Knit and Natter group told us about a local WI foraging evening. Now, that sounds perfect for me!

With it now being dark by 7 o’ clock in the evening, foraging wasn’t an option yesterday when I attended my first meeting as a guest. However, we did another activity which I think is just as worthwhile.

I hadn’t brought along any garments which could be cut up and made into gloves or mittens but one kindly member gave me a pair of socks. Another lent me a needle and I spent a merry evening transforming the socks and getting to know the women at the meeting.

The fingerless gloves have yet to be finished but now I know what to do with old socks which can’t go in the compost bin because they won’t decompose.

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