Monthly Archives: April 2015

Spring In our English Country Cooking Garden.

First daffodil to flower. © Sue Todd 2015

First daffodil to flower. © Sue Todd 2015

I don’t know about you but I don’t do Winter.  The idea is just great, warm house, roaring fires, lovely food.  But old English Country Houses are NOT warm, they tend to be draughty, and so keeping them warm is a full-time job, so while the idea of the English Country House in Winter with roaring fires is just fantastic reality falls a little bit short especially if you are no longer 20 and have Raynaud’s Syndrome.   So how cheery is it to see flowers and leaves bursting out all over?  It’s fantastic!

For all that I’d not swap English country living for the world. But how folks live near the North Pole with little to no daylight hours all winter I’ll never comprehend.  I ‘need’, ‘crave’ sunlight and lots of it.  Having said that I can’t do extremes of heat or cold either – there’s no keeping some folk happy I know!  I am ‘that’ person!

As its Easter and the Good Friday here has been so cold, wet and grim I thought it was a good time to look at what is going on in the garden and take some comfort from the fact that things are changing in the garden.

Spring’s arrival shown by flowers in the garden at last.

Daffodils to brighten up the garden. © Sue Todd 2015.

Daffodils to brighten up the garden. © Sue Todd 2015.

Hellebores by the back door © Sue Todd 2015.

Hellebores by the back door © Sue Todd 2015.

A clump of primroses hiding at the edge of the wood. © Sue Todd 2015

A clump of primroses hiding at the edge of the wood. © Sue Todd 2015

So while Autumn and its vibrant colours was my favourite season for many years, it’s now Spring when it’s really ‘sprung’ closely followed by summer which I long for all year round.  My ideal world would now encompass an England where there was sunshine from now until the end of October, the rain fell overnight, and the wind would stop until November.  I suppose that’s a tall order but, you must have dreams you know!

It’s our first Spring here so it’s lovely to discover all the flowers coming through and the Hellebore’s above are just outside the back door so we see them each time we come and go from the house.

With the clocks going back, at last the nights are truly getting lighter, the days are longer, temperatures are slowly getting warmer and green is beginning to burst out everywhere.  I’m writing this as the log fire crackles and we’ve got the heating on full blast, but I do so knowing that today I was out in the garden viewing the changes and loving every minute of it.

There’s so, so much to do in our garden now, it is almost overwhelming but we’re both still here and almost in full despite our various accidents/illnesses over the past 12 months.  So instead of feeling there’s little point in starting what we can’t complete, we’re full of enthusiasm and delight – we’re just a bit slower than we’d like.

I’m out almost daily (depending on the level of cold and rain obviously!!) to inspect and look about the garden.

The Vegetable Garden

Luckily we managed to get the vegetable beds cleared in March and the onions and garlic are coming on well.

Onions and Garlic coming away quickly now. © Sue Todd 2015

Onions and Garlic coming away quickly now. © Sue Todd 2015

We’ve bought some new fruit bushes, two blackcurrant, one redcurrant and a red gooseberry, all we have to do now is keep the deer off them!  We’ll have to protect the cherry trees this year too.

Blackcurrant, redcurrant and gooseberry bushes for the garden. © Sue Todd 2015.

Blackcurrant, redcurrant and gooseberry bushes for the garden. © Sue Todd 2015.

And tomorrow we’re looking forward to our first rhubarb of the year.  I was delighted to find more coming through too.

First Rhubarb of the year. © Sue Todd 2015

First Rhubarb of the year. © Sue Todd 2015

Time to prune the roses. © Sue Todd 2015

Time to prune the roses. © Sue Todd 2015

Thankfully I finally managed to prune the rose bushes as they are throwing leaves out now at some pace and I think if I’d left it any longer it would have been a major fight (which I’d have lost) to trim them back.  However as shown below, keeping a hold on them is will be a fight as the deer have already started grazing the garden!

Deer eating our garden! © Sue Todd 2015.

Deer eating our garden! © Sue Todd 2015.

We’ve planted the first seeds, we have rather a lot of tomato plants on the windowsill now,  along with some courgettes and lettuce, the cucumber have begun to come through today.the potatoes are chitting and waiting to go in shortly.  So while there’s lots still to do, progress is underway.  How are things going in your garden?

For now,

Sue.

 

We took delivery of six Quail today!

Our Quail arrived today.  © Sue Todd 2015

Our Quail arrived today. © Sue Todd 2015

Today we have taken delivery of our little group of Quail and we got our first egg!! How amazing is that?  I didn’t expect to see an egg for days yet after their upheaval.  In this first picture most of them got the hang of going in and out of the house really quickly but this little one at the side was on for ages trying to work it all out, bless her.

We were due to get some last year but with Gary’s broken leg there hasn’t been time or inclination to add to the task list until now.  We have five hens and a cockerel so in time we may even have little Quail too!

"You can't see me I'm hiding" - new Quail © Sue Todd 2015

“You can’t see me I’m hiding” – new Quail © Sue Todd 2015

We are settling them into an old hen house and run to start with and while we worried it may have been too large, actually I think it will work a treat.  They are extremely timid little things and startle very easily, so when both spaniels escaped this afternoon I was very worried.  However the spaniels made a beeline for the wood and totally missed the Quail – phew!

Quail © Sue Todd 2015.

Quail © Sue Todd 2015.

We had to add planks of wood all round the outside of the pen and underneath the house as they are quite nimble and within seconds of being in their run one of them had made her way under the house.  Luckily we got her back and they are all safely installed now.

We had to re-assemble the run today, of course that took longer than we could have dreamt of, and we did manage to connect the wrong parts to start with doh!

I’m rather excited by their arrival and I’m looking forward to more Quail’s eggs coming into the kitchen.  I suspect posts this month may be rather Quail based … Sorry.

Sue.