Sixty at Sixty

In 2022 I will reach the fine old age of sixty, one of those milestones in life that you imagine will never happen, but there you go. I hated reaching fifty but these last ten years have taught me many things, including that life will throw things at you in ways that you don’t expect. So Sixty is to be celebrated. I plan various ways of doing that (see end of post for details) but one is to see if I can harvest sixty different edible plants from the garden and allotment this year. It sounds like a lot but … Continue reading Sixty at Sixty

Apple and walnut scones

It was a day for using up nearly the last of the Howgate Wonder apples. I remembered making apple and walnut bread a couple of years ago – all on the blog here – and that it had been slightly unsatisfactory, my conclusion being that the recipe would be better adapted as scones. So scones it was – and gosh they were good. So revised recipe here: Apple and Walnut Scones 250g wholemeal flour 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 100g grated cheese 50g chopped walnuts 2 apples, chopped up small (or one Howgate Wonder) 3 eggs … Continue reading Apple and walnut scones

First harvest of the year

This New Year has been milder than ever, according to the weather people. It’s certainly been quite balmy here so I’ve been out in the garden, surveying the raised beds and doing a bit of weeding. The worst bit of the garden was probably the patio – a functional place where we can eat outside and a place to store random pots rather than a thing of beauty in my garden. It was even more messy than usual though so I got out my ancestral kneeler and old kitchen knife and got to work. Between the cracks in the paving … Continue reading First harvest of the year

Reclaiming Paradise Awards 2021

We come to the end of another year. What is there to say about 2021? Too much really but here on Reclaiming Paradise it is time to celebrate all that has been good, surprising or downright disappointing in the garden and allotment. Wonderful weather The winter brought some wonderful frost, snow and ice The cowometer came back into use – for a view of its highest reading since records began, see here We also had impressive thunderstorms and flooding in July (no photos) but the award goes to the ice on the pond in February which enabled Bella to perfect … Continue reading Reclaiming Paradise Awards 2021

Christmas cooking

Dedicated vegetable growers will be able to make an entire Christmas dinner from the garden. I am dedicated but not sufficiently organised or successful to do that. However, we did manage to have Howgate Wonder apples for every meal on Christmas Day: some fruit salad for breakfast, some pieces of apple as part of a snack lunch and in both the red cabbage (a family tradition, cabbage from the farmers’ market) and the Christmas Pudding for the main feast. We also had our own Brussels sprouts, rosemary in the roast potatoes and bay leaf in the bread sauce. For Boxing … Continue reading Christmas cooking

Happy Christmas

Here we are at Christmas Eve and the Advent Calendar is complete, finishing off with a festive robin and the traditional Christmas pudding, fully alight! In my search for all things wild and wonderful, I discovered that a hedgeful of sparrows has moved into my neighbours’ hedge, providing us with festive tweeting whenever we open in the kitchen door – a true joy. Finally, today I harvested the sprouts from the allotment, a little nibbled by some of our allotment guests but still quite juicy and edible. So we’re all set for Christmas, with a few more family members than … Continue reading Happy Christmas

Solstice

I usually try and capture the light on the shortest day of the year. Yesterday I wasn’t convinced there was any, there certainly wasn’t any sunshine. I lit this candle at breakfast time as the ‘sun was rising’ but the sun hid behind fog and clouds all day. Oh well, at least it’s getting lighter now in theory and the sun will no doubt emerge some time over the holiday period. Advent calendar update: we’ve had Bella, sprouts, redcurrants, tomatoes, pink peas and some festive holly I’ve fallen behind a bit with the small moments of wildness and wonder, but … Continue reading Solstice

Moments of light: multiple gardening and wildlife advent calendars

This year I set myself the challenge of two advent calendars: the hand drawn one, which is jollying along nicely, and finding something wild and wonderful in my surroundings every day. Here are some highlights: sprouts, red tinged lettuce, seedlings, peas, rhubarb, ladybird runner beans, snowdrops, strawberry and roses. On the wild and wonderful theme, we’ve had: trees in daylight and lit up at night at the Botanic Gardens, a heron by the river, wintersweet coming into bloom, a beautiful slug shown to me by my neighbour’s grandson and finally getting the Christmas cake baked. I have also been joining … Continue reading Moments of light: multiple gardening and wildlife advent calendars

Onions and an advent update

This week has turned out to be rather oniony, the result of two impulse onion buys which were probably a mistake. The first lot of onions were actually flowers – alliums – but onions really. They were an impulse buy from my local garden centre, which was selling off all sorts of boxes of overpriced and overpackaged bulbs at 70% off. I bought these because I felt sorry for them and was worried they would just be dumped if nobody bought them. So I’ve filled a big pot with flowering onions and another one with tulips – something to look … Continue reading Onions and an advent update

Preparations

I like to leave my festive preparations as late as possible but I have my own little ways of celebrating a non-religious Advent. A light dusting of snow at the weekend has got me in the festive mood. So you’ll be delighted to know that the only things necessary for festivities in this household are now done. Sprouts – which start as tiny seeds in the spring – are coming along nicely at the allotment. Christmas pudding – complete with an apple from the garden – made and maturing nicely in time for Christmas Day. First snow of the season … Continue reading Preparations