11 April 2011

First Harvest

We've been blessed the last couple of days with the most gorgeously unseasonal weather. Temperatures reaching for 20 degrees - at the start of April! Amazing!

Yesterday we went to the Farmers' Market in Stirling and picked up pigs' cheeks and bacon, and a piece of hot smoked salmon. Delicious.

In the afternoon, I went to the allotment. I was delighted to see that an allotment holder a couple of plots up, has returned and seems to be working on her plot. We thought that last year she had given up after being told that she could not paint her shed pale blue and had to paint it brown again. Which might come as a bit of a shock to her neighbour, whose young girl was gaily personalising their shed by painting flowers, handprints, squiggles and her name. I have to say, I really love those allotment plots I see from other parts of the country where the sheds and other buildings are a kitcsh, higgledy-piggledy and eclectic mish-mash of individuality. Alas, the planning permission for the field our plots are on, were specific in their rules about what is and is not allowed. So no trees, no painted buildings, no structures over 1m tall (more on that in a sec) and no livestock. That last is a disappointment, I had harboured hopes of a bee-hive...

The rule about 1m tall structures - being conveniently overlooked by the allotmenteers. Walk-in fruit cages and greenhouses etc are appearing all over the place as people plan a little bit more permanence and possession over their plot. Be nice to see them remain, but I know the people who live round about the field being quick to complain about any infractions to the planning rules, given they didn't want allotments there in the first place. Apparently there were vociferous objections to turning the field into allotments - living next to a farm I honestly am bemused by this: allotments are a darned sight quieter than a field that needs plowed, fertilised, harvested, cleared, etc etc.

Anyway. The highlight of the visit was taking a couple of rhubarb stalks which I stewed today to have in a crumble for breakfast tomorrow. The first harvest of the year! Very, very exciting! And, a purple sprouting broccoli plant that's been growing in the garden doing absolutely nothing, has now, suddenly, sprouted purple broccoli! I know that theoretically that's what it should have done, so hardly a surprise, but yet it is. So in another couple of days it'll be ready to eat. Makes me think I really should grow some at the allotment.

Update on the mice, the peppermint essential oil was an absolute... failure. It achieved absolutely nothing. They still seem to be there - at least, the cats are still enthralled by some of the clumps of geranium and the flap of the compost bin, and when I sowed sweet pea seeds this morning, one of the clumps shook violently and I thought I saw something flash by out the corner of my eye. *sigh*

Weather's supposed to break tomorrow, I'm not too disappointed in a way: Summer here is too brief most years, you always worry that a spell of good weather in advance of the summer months means it's peaked too soon! We expect cold, windy, even snowy weather in April, the last few days have been a welcome respite from the Winter we've endured, but I'd hate to think that this was as good as it's going to get!

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