Archives

A Bedroom Makeover And Taking Stock Ready For Winter

This last week I have spent some time at home, rather than at the allotment due to the rain.  Hopefully the wet weather will make the soil easier to work now, as it has been so dry recently and the soil has been rock hard.

.

I have used this time to do one or two overdue jobs at home and one such job was to replace my daughters bed.

For the last few years my daughter has had a high riser bed, with a wardrobe and a desk underneath.  My wonderful, generous friend gave it to us for free and it has been fantastic, but my daughter is now sixteen and wanted a more ‘grown up’ bedroom.

SAM_0155

So I spent a day taking it down and trying to find someone else who would like it, as it was in really good condition.  I knew no one who wanted it, so I rang a few charity shops that take furniture and I was amazed that none of them would take it as it was dismantled (even though I explained it wouldn’t come out of the bedroom if it wasn’t dismantled).

I then decided to put in on Freecycle and it was collected quickly.  This is what their website says:

“The worldwide Freecycle Network is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It’s a grassroots movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns.

Freecycle groups match people who have things they want to get rid of with people who can use them. Our goal is to keep usable items out of landfills. By using what we already have on this earth, we reduce consumerism, manufacture fewer goods, and lessen the impact on the earth. Another benefit of using Freecycle is that it encourages us to get rid of junk that we no longer need and promote community involvement in the process.

There are now 581 Groups spread across the country, with 3,708,994 members!”

SAM_0157

My daughters bedroom is very small, but cosy.  I bought a cheap bed (which incidentally I had to replace the slats to strengthen it using old slats from another old bed) and a cheap canvas wardrobe.  I didn’t want to decorate at this time so I gave the curtains and nets a good wash and wiped the paintwork down.  I think the bedroom now looks lovely and my daughter is very pleased with it.

I made the quilt and curtains about five years ago and they are slightly faded but I think they still look good.  The bed and wardrobe came to approximately £120, which I don’t think is bad for a bedroom makeover and after a little alteration to the bed, I think it will last for years:

SAM_0182 SAM_0184

 As a last ‘touch’ I put up a couple of strings of butterfly fairy lights around the picture rail.  I found the lights in the gardening ‘clearance’ section in Wilkinsons and managed to buy two sets for £5 and the bedroom looks beautiful now in the evening when the lights are twinkling.

SAM_0181SAM_0190

.

Taking stock ready for winter:

.

This week has also given me time to take stock of what crops I have preserved or stored and those I still have growing at my allotment.  I now have an up todate list of what exactly is in my three freezers…

SAM_0167 SAM_0166 SAM_0165

… and what I have growing ready to use at my allotment and stored crops like potatoes, onions and apples:

SAM_0090 SAM_0088

SAM_0079 SAM_0171 SAM_0169

I have also moved my winter squashes into my greenhouse so they can ‘cure’ with a bit of protection from the frost (they will be moved inside my house soon for the winter).

By leaving the squashes in the sun to ‘cure’, the skin will harden and the squashes will store for longer. Move them inside when frosts are due.

SAM_0159 SAM_0158

I also know exactly what is still growing at my allotment and will soon be ready to harvest e.g. brussells, leeks, parsnips and winter salads etc.

SAM_0063

And I know which of my last summer crops that need to be eaten up soon:

SAM_0162 SAM_0163 SAM_0164 SAM_0173

 .

I now have a list of exactly what I want to be growing on my allotment next year and I have been saving seed accordingly:

SAM_0043 SAM_0161

And I managed to buy lots of seeds in the Wilkinson 75% off sale this week:

SAM_0187.

.

So it has been a week of organising, but it has been nice to be inside while it has been so miserable outside.

Hopefully the weather will be better next week.

SAM_0146

Thank you for reading my blog today, I will be back next Friday.

Have a good week!

Advertisements

Winter Vegetables And A Parsnip Cake

This weekend at my allotment I noticed that the snow drops I planted last year have begun to flower.  Where on earth is time going to?…I can’t believe it will be February on Saturday.

SAM_8149 SAM_8148

I planted the snowdrops last year after my good friend passed away.  The day she died I noticed that snowdrops were in flower and they looked beautiful, so I decided to plant some in my ‘woodland area’ at my allotment.  This way I will remember her each time I see them in flower.  I will plant some more this year too, as eventually I want to see a mass of snowdrops in this area.

I still miss my old friend very much.

.

SAM_8147

I also noticed that I have some primroses in my woodland area that are in flower too.

There are also one or two early flowers on the poached egg plants and in the photograph below, you can just see a daffodil bulb poking through too:

SAM_8154

These are all reminders that Spring will soon be on it’s way, (though we do still have some cold winter weather to get through first).

.

This weekend I brought some vegetables home from the allotment for dinner.  I have decided that I am very pleased with my winter vegetables this year:

SAM_8158

I put a twelve inch ruler next to the parsnips so you could see the size of them.  I tried various methods of growing parsnips with limited success, until I started to grow them in kitchen roll tubes.  This gives me an almost perfect germination rate and also nearly always gives me straight parsnips that don’t fork.

You can read how I grow my parsnips here.

SAM_6064.

I have had a problem in the past with my brussell sprouts ‘blowing’.  I always thought that this was due to the soil not being firm enough around the plants, but I knew my soil was firm as I dug manure into it the autumn before and stomped around on it before I planted into it.

I then read that F1 varieties were less likely to ‘blow’ and I planted these last year….and I’m pleased to say I am very happy with the result.  The photo below shows a variety call ‘Igor‘, which I will definately be growing again this year:

SAM_8157

.

I am still picking carrots at my allotment.  I grow my carrots in a raised bed each year and then move the raised bed completely, to a different part of my allotment.  I fill the bed with homemade compost, leaf mould and a bag of sharp sand mixed together and this gives me good results.  After sowing I cover the bed with environmesh to keep the carrot fly out:

SAM_2465

You can read about carrot fly here.

I picked a monster carrot at the weekend, it weighed just over half a kilogram.  It was almost a meal on it’s own!

I put a teaspoon in the photograph to demonstrate the size of the carrot:

SAM_8146

.

The swedes are still good at my allotment too.  I love swede mashed with a little bit of butter and pepper, though I had never tried it until my husband introduced it to me a few years ago.  I think it is one of my favourite vegetables now.

SAM_8156

And I’m still using homegrown onions and potatoes from my storage boxes outside:

. SSAM_8159

.

All in all, I feel like we are living like kings on the winter vegetables that I have grown.  I’m sure they would have cost us a fortune in the shops to buy and it’s nice to know they are all grown organically, without any chemicals.

SAM_8174 SAM_8175

.

I finished the above Sunday lunch with ‘Parsnip Cake’.  Parsnip cakes are very, very moist and taste very much like carrot cake.  This is how I made it:

Parsnip Cake

175g margarine

250g soft brown sugar

100ml honey

3 eggs (beaten)

250g self raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice

250g parsnips grated finely

1 apple grated

1 orange – use the juice and zest

130g cream cheese

100g icing sugar + extra to sprinkle on top

.

Preheat your oven 180C / gas 4 / 350F

Grease and flour two 8 inch sandwich tins

Put the margarine, honey and sugar in a pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar has all dissolved.

SAM_8161 SAM_8162

Allow to cool for a while.

Add the eggs to the pan and stir thoroughly.

SAM_8163 SAM_8164

Sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into the sugar and egg mixture and stir.

SAM_8165 SAM_8166 SAM_8167

Then stir in the apple, parsnip, orange juice and zest.

SAM_8168 SAM_8169

Divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cakes.

SAM_8170

Leave the cakes to cool.

SAM_8171

Make the icing by mixing the cream cheese with the icing sugar and then spreading it over the bottom layer of the cake.  Put the top layer of the cake on top and dust with icing sugar.

SAM_8172

Enjoy!

SAM_8173

.

Thank you for reading my blog today, I will be back on Friday.

I hope you have a good week.