Saturday, 26 April 2014

of derbyshire dales and wild flowers

More pics of our time in Derbyshire, this time taken on mr digandweed's i-phone. 

a nearby stream at dusk, the family of ducklings, a beautiful old watermill, authentic Bakewell tart for sale in a lovely deli and a sea of hyacinths at Chatsworth House.

and some of the wild flowers we saw on our hols

bluebells, wood anemone and celandine.

Sadly many of our native wild flowers are under threat as their natural habitats diminish.
A few weeks ago, Countryfile launched a Grow Wild campaign and I registered to receive a selection of wild flower seeds.
I had forgotten all about it and so on our return from the Peak District, it was a pleasant surprise to find an envelope containing my wild flower seeds
waiting on the doormat.
Earlier in the week, I sowed my packet of seeds on a patch of ground on the allotment and hopefully in a few weeks will have some beautiful flowers to attract and feed bees, butterflies and other insects.

My seed selection includes annuals and perennials such as

red campion, corncockle, corn poppy and meadow buttercup.

If you are interested in finding out more the link to the Grow Wild  website is here.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

lately - easter weekend

 At the beginning of the week we spent a few days in the beautiful peak district near Bakewell, the home of a certain tart.
It was a family break to celebrate mr digandweed's forthcoming birthday, one of those important ones that ends in a zero!
The weather was beautiful.
We walked.
We cycled.
We ate.
We laughed.

Our walks took us along the banks of the beautiful river Wye. Not to be confused with the river Wye that runs through Hereford, the Derbyshire Wye, is a relatively short river of 15 miles. Its source is near Buxton and it flows south easterly through Bakewell to join the river  Derwent.

It is one of those lively hillside rivers whose waters tumble and dance over rocks and stones. At times it is not much more than a stream and so shallow that the bottom can be clearly seen.
We stopped on our walk for a rest and mr digandweed, still a boy at heart, paddled and skimmed stones. Further on we all gathered at an old stone bridge to watch a family of adorable ducklings, bobbing like fluffy corks in the strong current. We counted 18 ducklings, which seemed like a huge amount for one mother duck, but she was a very patient mother, carefully watching her brood and calling if one or two strayed too far.
In Bakewell itself, we stood and stared at the huge trout, swimming against the current and vying with the ducks and swans for pieces of bread thrown in by passers by.
All in all, a wonderful and relaxing time.

Back home and with the sun still shining, it was time to catch up with everything on the lottie.
From left to right:

a welcome ladybird visitor
 lovely daughter number 2 helping out
 mr digandweed taking a break
 the wallflowers are out.

Hoping that the spring sunshine continues and wishing everyone a Happy Easter.



Friday, 11 April 2014

neon pink

A  few weeks ago, our allotment neighbour had a lovely harvest of forced rhubarb.
It looked so good that mr digandweed decided to follow suit and place a large, upturned pot over the emerging rhubarb shoots on our plot.
The result - tall, bright neon pink shoots of delicate rhubarb.

What to make with such a prettily coloured delicacy?


The answer - a variation on rhubarb crumble -

 inspired by a recipe from Mary Berry's latest series, Mary Berry Cooks.
As an antidote to everything that is harsh and cruel, these programmes are a real treat; genteel and thoroughly nice, with recipes that are accessible to all ( and with a slight nod to the seventies!)
Mary's recipe for apple crumble can be found here. I used the rhubarb instead of apple and substituted roughly half the walnuts with pistachios simply because that was what was in the cupboard.
As a variation on the usual crumble mix it was delicious.
Mary says that cooking the crumble separately means it stays crunchy, which is true, although, I do admit to rather liking the sticky, gooey amalgamation of fruit and crumble which happens around the edge when fruit and topping are cooked together.
The crunchy crumble mixture would also make a scrummy, breakfast granola type topping for yoghurt and fruit.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

planting the apple tree

This photo was taken a few days ago of mr digandweed down on the allotment with the little apple tree .
It is a rosette apple tree; a Christmas present from my sister and brother-in-law.

It has been tucked away in a sheltered corner of our garden away from damaging winds and frost, but, down on the lottie,
the ground had already been prepared and it was time to plant it out.
There has been much talk recently in the media about mycorrhizal fungus which can be bought in garden centres and is said to aid root formation and help plants to establish more quickly.
As a trial, we sprinkled some into the hole before planting the tree.

 The tree already looks right at home in its new position.


Meanwhile. the plum tree is covered in delicate white blossom; the promise of a harvest to come!

A quick trip down to the lottie this morning revealed little buds opening on the apple tree.
 Fingers crossed for a bountiful harvest!