Sunday, 29 August 2010

The sun is shining and I have just finished a plate of haggis

In other words, feeling quite chirpy just now! The boys voluntarily offered to help in the garden today, for a modest financial reward, and they actually did the work they were retained to do without whingeing, and they didn't even complain when the rain came on and cut the work short, resulting in less cash than they were anticipating. They then got their waterproofs on and headed off to spend their earnings on a DVD, which they are now watching upstairs (hence I can get hold of the laptop to blog in peace).

The garden badly needs some attention now as the constant rain and warm days have led to the weeds running riot. I have not managed to deal with all the weeds, but at least the grass is cut. I will have to get round to that task soon though, as the sight of the encroaching weediness is bugging me. I tend to see it more nowadays as I have been wandering about my garden on a regular basis recently, partly to see what the cats are up to and partly to marvel at the fact that the seeds I planted earlier this year actually grew. Into stuff. Stuff you can actually EAT.

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I tend to be the kiss of death to all plant life. Houseplants curl up their leaves and die in my presence, even (or especially) the ones people tell me are impossible to kill. Hence I have never gone in much for gardening - if I can't grow plants in a sheltered atmosphere, what chance do I have when I am also competing with the elements, cats, snails and birds? But I do like to eat, so always wanted to grow veggies. You may remember, therefore that back in May I decided to plant some dead easy lettuce and some courgettes (zucchini for you North American types).

Well, to my utter astonishment, those little specks of green turned into these:

"Oak leaf" salad bowl lettuce, and

Courgettes! Yellow ones (they are supposed to be yellow. I checked.) I harvested one teeny tiny one today because the rain had gathered in its flower and the very end was starting to rot a bit. So I cut that part off, sliced it lengthwise and stuck it on the barbeque when I was cooking some chicken earlier. Husband and I then shared the most wonderful morsels of courgette ever tasted by mortal man. Seriously, they were fabulous. We are considering having a barbeque tomorrow purely so we can pick the rest of what is there, douse it in olive oil, lemon zest and thyme, grill it and gorge ourselves. (That being "gorge" in the sense of "eat the entire harvest in one go". I doubt there are enough courgettes there to constitute an entire meal!)

So I am converted to home grown veggies. Suggestions for other low maintenance crops gratefully received. (Croila, your photos of your produce make me drool, but I suspect I don't even look after my kids as well as you care for your tomatoes!)

In other news, the cats' occupation of any cardboard box left lying about continues. We have started saving any odd-shaped boxes we come across just to see if there is any sort of box they won't sleep in. So far, there isn't. Even the long, high-sided and narrow box that FB's drumkit pedal came in is acceptable. Bit of a squeeze mind you.

That photo makes both cats look much more angelic and well-behaved than they really are. Zyra (the tortoiseshell minx) in particular has been bringing in a steady supply of mice and birds throughout the summer. Nowadays, however, she is finding that small rodents and fledgling blackbirds no longer pose enough of a challenge and is moving on to bigger game.

I wish I had had the video camera ready that day, as the racket that squirrel was making was unbelievable. I am now keeping my fingers crossed that Zyra never manages to actually catch a squirrel. Can you imagine what my kitchen will look like if she ever does?


  1. Yum! You could call them gourgettes.

  2. Too funny! Right now I've got Arnie and Greta playing around the family room waiting for me to feed them. It's another 20 minutes, and not a moment before!

  3. I'm not even going to tell you what happened to my tomatoes.

  4. Whatever I've tried to grow has been eaten by the local wildlife before I could lay a hand on it. I've given up. I weed a neighbour's garden (two dogs and electric fence guard it) in exchange for produce.
    Love the kitty photo! Reminds me of Silver Paws and Shiny Eyes.

  5. Ooooh, the lettuce and courgettes look brilliant! Think I'll try the courgettes next year ... They obviously grow ok in Embra!

    Growing stuff to EAT is amazing isn't it? I'd never done it before this year, and I got such a kick out of picking the first lettuce.

    I've had a few disasters along the way (maggots! wind! drought!) but I've definitely got the bug now. And I've got all sorts of fancy plans for next year ;-)

    How did your garlic turn out, by the way? Have you pulled it up yet, or is it still growing?

  6. We get badgers round at night if Zyra would like to have a go. They hardly ever climb up walls.