It is officially one week to go until Christmas, are you excited? I don't know if it's just because I'm getting older so appreciate the stress of the festive season a bit more, but there doesn't seem to be much christmas spirit around. Personally I blame the lack of Christmas films that have been on TV, it's just not right that Elf hasn't been on channel 4. Anyway.... I'm trying really hard to start feeling festive. Last weekend I put up the tree and decorated the flat, I even went for a wander around the Christmas market but didn't manage many photos before the rain came.
This week is going to be hectic so I'm in planning mode. It's the last week of work and there is that big rush of things to get done before we shut until 2014, I need to finish wrapping presents and adding all the trimmings - because you HAVE to have trimmings, but also this Friday is my Nan's 90th birthday! So putting my degree in Events Management to good use, I've gone into party planning mode. I've hired the village hall, ordered a beast of a cake, I've made decorations, tomorrow I will be food shopping and on Friday night I will be baking/cooking my ass off. Anyone who gets to such a ripe old age deserves a little party, and fingers crossed (if everyone turns up), it will give her the opportunity to have all of grandchildren and great grandchildren together.
Are you feeling festive, or are you crumbling under the pressures of wrapping paper and curling ribbon?
My nephew, Jack, is totally obsessed with all things farm related. To say he loves tractors is an understatement, show him a book on them and he can tell you which is which in his cute little voice, my favourite being when he says bombine (combine), adorable! Ask him what noise any farm animal makes and he will do an impression, it's just great. So on Sunday Erica, Jack and I joined Dad & Julie on their annual pilgrimage to Cotley Farm to get their Christmas tree. As soon as I heard that they have reindeer I was sold on the idea and was looking forward to seeing Jacks reaction to the animals.
The staff at Cotley Farm put on a great christmas experience. A couple of the sheds are opened up so you can go and see the lambs, piglets, calves and reindeer, all accompanied by free mulled wine and mince pies, then there is the christmas tree shop & the farm shop, full of meat (from the farm), cider, mulled wines and christmas decorations, it couldn't have been more festive. Obviously the animals were my favourite part, I mean I got to stroke a Reindeer for crying out loud. But Jacks reaction was just priceless. He adored the piglets and squealed the place down when they came near him, and there was a digger so it was a win win for him. If you're local to the Exeter/East Devon area then you should definitely go. For a free little outing it's brilliant and so entertaining.
At this point Jack was finding it hilarious to say "eat coat" to the lamb, while backing up and poking his arm through the railings.
Last week Rich and I made a start on building some raised beds. Our aim over the next few weeks is to prepare the existing raised beds by turning ground over and then covering them, ready for planting. We collected up the spare wood and got to work. I cleaned it all up and Rich drilled them together, he wanted to do the manly jobs with his new tools! Considering we'd never done anything like this before I think we've done quite a good job. It took us around 2 and a half hours to make 3 beds, not bad hey!
We made the beds in Rich's garden so we could take advantage of flat ground and electricity. As he lives 30 seconds away from the allotment, we carried the beds down and then began putting them in. We'd hoped it would be fairly easy as the basic shapes were there but we had a lot of leveling out to do to get them to fit. Plus it was nice to have two little helpers watching us while we worked, Percy and the ginger cat are best buds and excellent supervisors.
I love the view from our plot that looks over the allotment and the center of Exeter, it will be great in the summer.
We've had a week off from allotmenting due to birthday celebrations and a catch up with great friends, but it's full steam ahead this weekend. I'm planning on planting some onions and daffs ready for spring, yay!
Helloooo, welcome to my newly named and new regular feature 'Pomps Patch'. Here I will share tales of our allotment, our progress, produce and all other nerdy allotment related things.
Last week Rich and I had our first weekend 'up the allotment'. I'll be honest, we have NO idea what we are doing, so we have set ourselves a few missions to get going, the first being to clear the existing raised beds. We took advantage of the dry weather, donned our scruffiest clothes & wellies, and got stuck in with pulling up everything (minus the Asparagus, Rhubarb and Strawberry plants, which we will be keeping). I've definitely had to grow a pair after getting our plot. I really really hate spiders but there are so many creepy crawlies that you have to just suck it up and get on with it.
One of the perks of having an allotment is making new friends as different people appear to tend to their crops. We're pretty lucky to have two experienced gardeners, Jenny and Cathy, next to us so it will be handy if we need a bit of advice. We even bonded with a couple of slimey looking creatures, Francine and Francoise frogs. Whilst pulling up some grass, Francoise had a good old chuckle and jumped at me, I screamed, Rich caught him, we took photos and set him free, only for another frog, Francine, to appear shortly after and do the same to Rich, twas brilliant!
We also experienced our first bit of scandal... when you acquire an allotment everything that was left by the previous tenant becomes yours. We were very lucky to have a shed and some raised beds, some of which had come apart and the wood was stacked up ready for rebuilding. Whilst in the midst of weeding we realised that the pile of wood had been stolen. After a tip off from a neighbour we went for a nose and found them a couple of plots away from ours. As we were 100% certain that it was our wood, along with the tip off, we quickly took it back and locked it in our shed. Obviously we do not condone taking anything from another plot unless you have proof, and we did inform the allotment manager before we did anything. It was pretty disheartening that someone would steal from us in our first week, but we got it all back and hopefully it will be plain sailing from here.
I'm also really excited that I can share allotment life stories with Anna, a lovely friend, blogger and fellow plot owner. She has very kindly donated a big bag of magazines and seeds to help us on our road to home grown goodness.
If you're of the green fingered persuasion I'd love to hear any tips you might have.