What a mess…

I once said to one of the Mum’s from school, who at the last minute was popping back to my house for a coffee, “please excuse the house, it’s a bit of a mess.”  I think she was a bit shocked to find out it really was a total mess and I wasn’t just being overly house proud (to be fair, we had builders in ripping the back wall section off so everything was stacked in the living room and it was a bit *ahem* dusty).  The same could be said of the garden right now, it’s a bit of a mess, and I really do mean it there are weeds growing all over the place and the grass is about ready to make hay with.  I blame the last 2 weeks of school and pre-school with all the chaos that, that brings but even I was surprised how out of control things can get in such a short time.

On the plus side, because we haven’t been in the garden each day, munching as we go there is a huge crop of the wild strawberries at the moment.  I am going to pick all the ripe ones today, some we will just eat but the rest are going into the bachelor’s jam I started a while ago.

The potatoes grown in the small (14 litre) grow bags have been a big hit, there is no question that this is how I will grow all my potatoes from now on with a single chitted tuber per bag.  Being able to tip it out, have the boys rummage for the contents and have enough for a meal or two is great.

This is the crop (Charlotte variety) from a single bag, the bowl is a very large salad one so you can get an idea of the quantity.

As well as potatoes and strawberries we are also eating courgettes, salad, spring onions, herbs, the last of the broad beans and peas and carrots right now.  The tomatoes and cucumbers are running very late, next year I will probably leave them to get started in the greenhouse for a lot longer, before moving them outdoors.

I have picked the redcurrants, we have 2 bushes in amongst the border of the vegetable patch and they have provided about 2 kilos of fruit each (and that’s leaving a few for the birds).  Half of his has been turned into redcurrant jelly and the rest has been put into the freezer, some as whole fruit and some as strained juice, I simply didn’t have time to deal with it all right now.

I made yet more jam with the final blackcurrants and packed some up for teachers gifts.  The boys helped pick the berries and weigh out the sugar and stir the jam etc.  I made little ‘blackcurrant’ coloured birds for the packaging and then had F write out thank you tags (this was the hardest bit, he’s not keen on writing!).

And so, we are now on the first day of the long summer holidays; I’d like to fall into last years routine of sectioning the day up and getting a little of my chores done as well as entertaining the boys but it may not work out that way.  I hope to sew for the next hour and then once it’s warmed up outside try and sell the boys on the paddling pool as today’s entertainment with maybe a walk later, that way I can attempt to tidy the garden and feel less guilty about the mess.  Perhaps a little ice cream bribe in the afternoon will do the trick 🙂

July Eating…

Oh this is the bit I enjoy the best, popping into the garden with the boys and picking things to eat together.

I was home alone with the boys last weekend and decided to cook a roast lunch.  This is something I’d like to do every weekend, I was brought up with a roast lunch on Sundays and have very fond memories of this family event.  It was a highlight when returning home as a student and even now, when we are back visiting I still really look forward to Sunday lunch together.  I’d love my boys to grow up with a similar memories, especially as like many modern families we don’t spend a lot of time eating together during the week.

I decided to try broad beans from the garden on the boys, we were having roast beef (their choice) and I opted for the old fashioned broad beans in parsley sauce as an introduction for F (6) as he generally isn’t all that keen in any vegetable other than carrots.   This combination really does remind me of home and my childhood and along with cauliflower cheese, and braised celery often appeared on our table.  C (4) was very taken but sadly F refused to even try them.  Shame.

One thing F does eat well are new potatoes so today we have grubbed our first ones out of one the large bags.  These are the Anya variety planted early this year.  We simply pulled the loose soil away from the top of the bag and gently removed enough tubers for one meal, without damaging the plant stems, then we returned the soil to keep the other undisturbed potatoes snug for another day.  We are going to eat them boiled and buttered with some mint from the garden and I am sooooo looking forward to it.

I wanted to include a quick photo here of the Inca Bella flowers, I wasn’t expecting anything different from the usual white potato flowers but I am pleasantly surprised by these lovely purple and yellow blooms.

As it’s such a lovely sunny day we are going to have poached salmon, with the Anya potatoes and a nice salad to include, from the garden;  courgettes, broad beans, peas (raw), mint and feta cheese.  The peas are from the Sugar Snaps that I have let get slightly too big, although at the rate the boys are eating them raw they may not make it to the salad.  In fact this is another minor miracle moment as F hates peas with a passion but has just been converted to raw ones, this along with last years eating corn-on-the-cob, even though he wont touch the tinned variety, do make it all worth while 🙂