[growth]

Apr. 20th, 2019 10:41 pm
kaberett: A very small snail crawls along the edge of a blue bucket, in three-quarters profile with one eyestalk elegantly extended. (tiny adventure snail)
Apparently I haven't posted any photos of the allotment since last August, whoops.

Four photographs. )

I'm really pleased with how it's coming along? This is the very first plot you see when you enter the site, which fact I am occasionally a little daunted by, but I am making progress and I sincerely hope sorting the raised beds out will facilitate a bunch more.
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
  • Movement. Read more... )
  • I got a phone call from a Dublin number while I was at the gym. ???, I thought. And lo, it was the passport office, wanting to confirm my card details so they could take a payment. (This does not mean I'm getting the passport any time soon; it just means they're processing it, which means that in the next phone call we'll get to discuss a. my name and b. my godmother's phone number, I expect.)
  • A's lavender -- that we got for 50p from a stall by the side of the road on our trip to the south coast to pick up [personal profile] chiasmata's wheelchair, and which has spent the winter resolutely grey and miserable and dormant -- is sprouting with enthusiasm from its base, and getting visibly larger day by day. (This is going to be one of the plants that lives on the back porch at home, at least until it gets big enough to layer, at which point I might move a baby plant over to the allotment for the sake of pollinators.)
  • w8rose had more reduced thyme! so I have another bucket of thyme that I HOPEFULLY won't kill off instantly, which gets to go live... on the porch. (Also there were reduced tiny carrots and cavolo nero, so dinner tonight was sausage + mash + veg, and reduced yarg, so belated lunch was cheese + ajvar + Ryvita + cucumber.)
  • I have allllllmost finished moving the furniture around. (It's not perfect but then it wouldn't be with the constraints we're working with; it is nonetheless an improvement, I think, and I'm appreciating having A Book Corner.)
  • On Monday I collected some rhubarb from the allotment; we have spent the week consuming pear-and-apple-and-rhubarb crumble.
  • Bread bread bread. A continues to set the oven to be hot when we actually wake up, which is making fresh sourdough for breakfast a much less time-consuming and sleep-disrupting process, hurrah. (Still working on the timings of feeding the tiny god for optimum rise. Unfortunately, this means lots of experimental bread. It Is A Trial, etc.)
  • I have more-or-less decided where I want to stick the comfrey on the plot. At least one of them can go under the cherry tree, and I will probably attempt to distribute the other two in the Awkward Corner.
  • [personal profile] rydra_wong has pointed me at some footage of Beth Rodden being amazing, and I have the firm intention of curling up with it tomorrow afternoon in the post-meeting adrenaline crash (if I don't just disappear off to roll around in the mud, which is also a possibility).
  • A is great and has spent the evening wrangling soldering irons and heatshrink in service of streamlining my life; we have sorted a batch of towels for disposal; more bits have been put on freecycle/freegle; I have Progressed Some Of The Mending (by which I mean "I have taken the memory-foam travel pillow out of its wrapper in order to facilitate sewing repairs to the disintegrating wrapper, also lol whoops the pillow... has a massive tear? never mind", but this is a significant executive function step); make house a home, etc etc etc.

snippets

Mar. 27th, 2019 08:47 pm
kaberett: A green origami stegosaurus (origami stegosaurus)
  • a bag of rice... exploded... in the car... on the way back from Belfast, and I hadn't had the cope to do anything about it until yesterday; it is now mostly in a plastic tub for me to (eventually) dry seeds with, give or take the bits that'll require removing a seat to get at properly. In the process, I found half a belemnite; I'm absolutely certain I didn't put it there, so apparently my habit of finding interesting rocks in unexpected places continues. (First prize is still going to the chunk of iron meteorite the age of the solar system.)
  • [personal profile] ewt and [personal profile] me_and are the both of them superstars; ewt risked life and limb to articulate the main mass of the greenhouse skeleton on Monday afternoon, and this evening after dinner A took me over to the allotment and flailed around up a stepladder in the dark to put up the roof. I now just (just!) need to finalise its footing, clean the glazing, and actually glaze it (probably via roping A back in, bless him). I keep having warm fizzy feelings about it starting to look like A Proper Grown-Up Plot.
  • My gym has been failing spectacularly at actual reasonable standards of accessibility for Some Time Now (it's possible to get in, with no reliance on a stairlift, because they bought a ramp with very little prompting when I initially e-mailed them, so it's doing better than the other gym in central Enfield -- but the accessible changing room doesn't have a working shower or toilet or, as of a few weeks ago, a door, and also half the lights are gone) and I finally sent them a Chirpy E-Mail Asking What I Could Do To Help... and have been apologetically informed that they'll freeze taking payments from me until the issues are sorted. Which on the one hand is likely to be a little while yet, and on the other is Financially Useful.
  • Not least in that I now feel justified in Actually Spending Money on The Raven Tower, which I had not yet got my act together to do, though I will probably delay it 'til after I've worked through the... kind of ridiculous... backlog of books I've got on loan (or hold) from the library.
  • I spent 15 minutes doing some work I'd been putting off for a fortnight, related to the PhD, and it all works, aaaaaaaaaaah, I have a first-order explanation for what's going on. Ish. So THAT'S exciting.
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
right, so, that pasta dough I was having a panic about the other day?

I'd intended to make 500g-of-flour's worth of pasta. I... ended up using the full kilo bag. (Next time I might try actually weighing the spinach, but also, I grew the spinach for the green pasta, I am very proud.)

Thus far I have made: ravioli for three on Sunday, tagiatelle for two plus... a lot... to dry... yesterday, and ravioli for two today. Along with 48 ravioli in the freezer to be future food, and... just over a quarter... of the dough... still left...

... along with some of the roast garlic/butternut squash/ricotta filling...

So tomorrow's food-job is to Finish Up Making The Damn Pasta

-- STOP PRESS THERE'S A NEW ERIN MORGENSTERN BOOK OUT IN NOVEMBER --

... probably some of which will be for dinner but most of which... will go into the freezer to be Yet More Future Food, hopefully thereby mostly finishing up the filling. (If not, that too can go in the freezer.) (If I do finish the filling and still have any dough left over then I... suppose... I make... lasagne...?)

I have tidied the kitchen... some. I had hoped to Finish The Pasta today so that the entire worksurface that is currently given over to the Pasta Production Line could be Emphatically Reclaimed but Alas I am Not There Yet and apparently I should go to sleep instead of just... pasta... forever.

(This is not the most exciting thing that happened today, honestly, but it's the easiest to write about, and comes with an accompaniment of "and yet SOMEHOW I have spent the past several days wretchedly anxious about how I am clearly An Indifferent Cook At Best and everyone is just humouring me", so, there you go, there is a vignette about my life that honestly probably gives you a better flavour -- see what I did there -- than the actual Events.)

!!!

Mar. 13th, 2019 01:31 pm
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
A passion fruit is hatching! I did not expect that to happen this soon and honestly I was not holding out enormous hope for it happening at all, so, !!!

My therapist is going to make slightly arch remarks about stubbornness and the desire to grow and the benefits of a supportive environment. And then ask me what I can to do make my own environment more supportive.

So: I've got a big vat of soup cooking up, and some bread gradually getting going. I've been hydrating and taking appropriate drugs and making sure I'm warm enough. I've set the dishwasher and the washing machine going. I've got somebody coming from freecycle to pick up some packing boxes, hopefully. I am gradually doing small tidying, and mostly nesting a bit blearily on the sofa.

And my passionfruit is hatching.
kaberett: A green origami stegosaurus (origami stegosaurus)
Reading. Read more... )

TV. Leverage Leverage Leverage. Aaaaaaaalmost to the end of this season, at which point we will switch back over to Orphan Black for a season.

Music. A concert! EChO's spring offering, as an audient rather than a player, as mentioned yesterday. Our Patron's latest, Mozart's second horn concerto, Beethoven pastoral.

Living space. Garage storage has arrived! Which was very helpful, because the bubble wrap et cet it was delivered in proved extremely useful for Transporting Greenhouse Bits. We haven't yet started filling it up but we are making progress on sorting the next box of charity shop stuff. Finalising bookcases is currently blocked on sorting out (i) where the new Internet comes into the house (which means I need to speak to a neighbour), and (ii) some bonus shelves for something that looks for all the world like an IKEA Billy bookcase but is 24cm deep and 68cm wide instead of... anything even remotely standard for the Billy system.

Growth. SO MUCH HATCHING (peep peep peep peep). Both kinds of pea (in an egg box in the bathroom) are determinedly Wearing Hats; several of the chillis are now coming up with visible leaves and all, and stems that are starting to be purple; comfrey continues enthusiastic in spite of today's actual literal snow; Passiflora edulis is not doing anything detectable, but then I wouldn't expect it to be. Infrastructurally, I've acquired scaffold boards and The Greenhouse (including water butt, gutter connection kit, and some staging). The compost bin is slowly heating up again (and I've got some more food for it to eat tomorrow); I've ordered some legs to arrive later this week, and at some point will get A to drive me over to B&Q to buy some concrete to anchor the legs with. (And dither over paving slabs. And whether to use cheap flower pots or cheap pipe to contain the concrete. And and and...) But: Adam's away next weekend, which means I can just spend the entire thing rolling around in the mud, which in turn means that hopefully I'll at least take steps toward getting it up then or thenabouts.

Cooking. First batch of bread since getting home (which reminds me, I need to get the tiny god out of the fridge so that I can cook with it again tomorrow). Spinach for ravioli outards prepared; butternut squash-roast garlic-ricotta-pine nut innards likewise prepared. Fingers crossed for scraping together the brain & cope to make a big batch tomorrow.

Language. I am... not getting on terribly well with the FutureLearn Irish 101 course so far; I find "here's a bunch of set phrases and we're not going to give you the grammatical background to understand how they're being constructed for an indeterminate time" stressful, so I've stalled partway through the first week. This is frustrating but, eh, maybe I will manage to scrape together brain and cope.

Board games. Read more... )

Pokemon Go. New-to-me species this week: Dialga (BLUE SPIKEY BIOLUMINESCENT DRAGON FRIEND, current legendary raid boss), Mantyke (oh NO it has a SMILEY FACE on its back), Happiny (I... am not sure about this baby Chansey). I caught my first wild Shieldon (having previously hatched one), along with A's first one full stop. I also hatched a shiny Budew and caught a shiny Mankey. (Hopes for a shiny Machop or Makuhita before the end of the current event are... dwindling.)
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
greenhouse: gutted, flayed, dismembered! to my astonishment we... did not? break any glass? we bent a strut but that! appears to be all! we managed to unload the glass at the other end and it was all still in one piece??? HURRAH for toughened safety glass.

we did not erect it again at the allotment for A Variety Of Reasons, including (1) it was 6.30pm by the time we'd finished unloading and was Getting Dark, but more pertinently (2) there are gale-force winds predicted this week and I need to buy the necessary aluminium brackets (... and some quick-setting concrete...) to actually anchor it to the ground. (... also I need to level the ground a bit more and probably dig up the grape vine, BUT HEY.)

So my allotment is currently... mostly... covered... in dismembered greenhouse but IT'S OKAY I might make people take me to a garden centre tomorrow morning so I can spend the next week stubbornly constructing it solo.

And then I made A dinner, very gratefully, and disappeared off down the hill to listen to the concert I wasn't playing in. There was a new composition by Our Patron including A Paean To Voyager, and the second Mozart horn concerto played by a kiddo from the local borough music service, and the Beethoven Pastoral, and I enjoyed all of it and AS A BONUS my godmother + her children were present (in addition to her husband), so I got to very cheerfully greet all of them and chat a lot and also! my godmother! signed a bunch of paperwork for me! including witnessing me finalising the application paperwork for SMI and also MY IRISH PASSPORT APPLICATION. FINALLY.

SMI paperwork is in the post; passport application I'm gonna finalise tomorrow and then take into the post office on Monday. It is good to feel in motion.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
MY CHILLIS ARE HATCHING. Four of them showing signs of life, so far, of about 16; hurrah for the warm plant box.

(Today has been... A Day. I got up and put the bread in the dubiously-working oven and set a load of laundry going and un/loaded the dishwasher and set that going and was all "behold! I have spent 45 minutes acting almost like a normative functional adult human! ... can I go back to bed now?" to which the answer was "no, you have your first therapy session since DECEMBER, out the door with ye." Whereupon obviously a lift at KGX was out of service in a way that would have been trivial to route around if it had just been announced and given the givens would have made me late for therapy had I not gritted my teeth and braved the escalator, but I was on time for therapy, and we shouted a lot, and then I managed to trick [personal profile] alexwlchan into taking away an aloe when we met for lunch, and then I came home and wanted to nap but there was to be The Oven Repair Man, who I very bravely dealt with all by myself, and then I jittered a bit and then I managed a small amount of work and now I'm making dinner and I could? just go to sleep? but also I... will be a happier Alex if I Do A Sum And E-mail My Boss before same. TOMORROW: a greenhouse, and also some scaffold boards yielded by my tiny magic.)
kaberett: A birds'-eye view of an Aeonium tabuliforme in a blue ceramic pot. (succulents)
... it needs thinning out again, you see. (People I'm going to see in person probably best. I can provide pots and soil.)

([personal profile] evilsusan, this is still your aloe!)

Bulletin

Mar. 5th, 2019 07:59 pm
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
  • The Enfield Poundland is selling 10l of coco coir (compressed bricks; volume once made up), which appears to be much better value that is achievable on eBay, so I am somewhat suspicious but We Shall See How It Goes.
  • I... accidentally a low-tech heated propagator from Robert Dyas in town... yesterday? Yesterday. It's got a 10W base, has in the last 24 hours made it up to 32°C during the sunniest part of the day (but is happily hanging out at 25°C even when it's cold and dark), and will hold two ex-dozen-egg-boxes if they're squished a little.
  • It therefore currently contains (i) chilli seeds, and (ii) passionfruit seeds. The chilli should germinate in another week or so; the passionfruit might... take up to a year, lolsob, but at least I've got them nice and cozy now.
  • Meanwhile, there's the first sowing of peas (two types) in the bathroom (which is the warmest room in the house; the chillis might even have managed in there, as it's routinely around 20-21°C, but they'll be happier in the Warm Plant Box.)
  • Today has been a day of A largely working from home, and also repair humans. The oven has been bodged so as to work provided one is careful, and will hopefully be fixed for realsies come Friday; I have got the first loaf of back-in-London sourdough going.
  • The other Repair Human was someone who was supposed to be hooking up our new internet connection. This did not In Fact happen, because the human in question wasn't qualified to do the necessaries (we don't have a BT socket inside the flat) and hadn't looked it up in advance despite having all of the necessary information (that there's an internal hub) so it didn't even matter that we didn't have the relevant keys (and everybody else in the building who might have done was out).
  • We... shuffled a lot of the furniture we hadn't first thought of shuffling around, a lot, in the process of confirming that things weren't where it would have been convenient to have them be, but in the process we have at least identified more tributes for the charity shop.
  • ... I want my plants to hatch.
kaberett: A birds'-eye view of an Aeonium tabuliforme in a blue ceramic pot. (succulents)
The post this morning brought my permit to erect a structure on my plot; I therefore headed over early this afternoon. I achieved using all the secateurs, and specifically:
  • got somewhere over half of the dead teasel into the compost bin (Dealing With the teasel is a prerequisite for setting the greenhouse up)
  • pruned the jostaberry and became reluctantly convinced that it really is going to take me several years to get it back into a reasonable shape, but Never Mind Eh
  • discovered a bit of jostaberry that I... need to layer, which DOES AT LEAST save me the angst about But Do I Like It Enough To Want Another One.
  • pruned the gooseberry a very little and decided I need to give it some protection some way or another
  • put out the misc pizza boxes as weed-suppression and weighted them down with wood
  • fed the bin A Lot
  • weeded a small patch under the cherry tree (slightly half-heartedly) and put most of the saffron corms in
  • ... put more saffron corms in around the bay tree in its pot at home


... which obviously means I have just as long a list of things to do, still, lolsob:
  • actually... locate and layer the jostaberry as desired, which means I need to decide where it's going
  • which means I need to measure up the space I want to put the greenhouse in and confirm it's large enough for the greenhouse
  • and then clear and level it
  • ideally by next Saturday
  • ... okay and also prune the redcurrant
  • and manure all the Ribes
  • mulch the saffron so they don't just drown in weeds (and/or decide to turn the patch into a tiny wildflower meadow and put the poppy in)
  • measure out the raised beds
  • make??? and fill in??? the raised beds???


... also I have hopefully got some chilli started at home, and need to think about starting some bell pepper, and have decided I do after all want to get the peas started at home in egg boxes (two varieties), and ahhhhhhhh suddenly Everything Happens.
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
Reading. The Audacity of Hope. So far I like Obama better when he's doing personal reflections than when he's talking about How Unreasonable Liberals Are, surprise. (It's obvious that he is attempting to Reach Out To A Broad Base! I'm still finding it irritating.)

Growth. BOUGHT A GREENHOUSE OFF EBAY. \o/ Subsequently ordered the plants I was holding off on until I Knew Whether I Was Getting One (a cut-price lemon tree because I'm ridiculous; some Passiflora edulis seeds because I want passionfruit), and also some bonus seeds (two kinds of basil, caraway, Nigella sativa, some rocket). Hi [personal profile] ewt wanna grow some loofah in my greenhouse?

Additional point of excitement: I'm going to keep the compost bin in the greenhouse, which will (a) reduce watering requirements and (b) keep the frost off over winter provided I keep actually feeding it.

Things done: appropriate size of van identified and also hired. Things to do: apply for a permit for the structure (this is a formality), work out what I'm going to sit it on, find a paving slab to sit the bin on in its forever home, consider acquiring a Big Pot to put the passionflower in, aaaaand massage the budget sufficient that I can Acquire Some Edging For My Raised Beds during the weekend the van exists anyway.

TV. More Leverage! They're still all really incompetent! That is not how airports work and is absolutely not how international flights and fuelling thereof work. I continue to enjoy the Somewhat Useless Humans, though.
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
I didn't (unsurprisingly) get the greenhouse, but looking at it did substantially clarify my thoughts and the eBays do regularly contain less fancy greenhouses that, actually, probably will perfectly well do the job now I know what I'm after.

In which I ramble about hardware and tell stories about secateurs. )

In terms of my upcoming jobs and planting...

Well, I need to spend some quality time pruning the Ribes bushes various; the plot came with a red dessert gooseberry, a redcurrant, and what-I-think-is-a-jostaberry, all of which are a little neglected and tangled. Tidying them up was on the list for Sunday immediately after the teasels, but a pair of secateurs that couldn't handle a teasel was... erstrecht not going to cope with actual wood. They also need top dressing with manure and then probably mulching, but that can wait until after I've tidied them up a little.

Next door, I've come to the conclusion that what I want to do with my ground-level bed (squash, pak choi, and failed calabrese last year) this season is set some broad beans and peas going down the middle around now, and then sow quinoa down the edges some time later. On the one hand, it's not known that this is a good idea; on the other, intercropping legumes and quinoa is a topic of active research and growing trials, and it looks to me like it ought to be sensible, so no doubt you will collectively get Running Commentary while I experiment.

At home, it's time for me to get the purple chillis and the orange bell peppers started (if I'm going to); that can't really happen until we're back full time, and while I'm happy to heat the house to a temperature that is safe and adequate for me to exist in when I'm actually there most of the time, that is... less the case when I'm away. (I'm attempting to resist the temptation to acquire a heated propagator.) Also the tomatoes, though there the thing I really need to do is work out where I want to put them -- whether I want to grow them on at home again, or if I'll be looking to plant them out at the plot.

Which is a general problem -- the working-out-where-to-plant-things. I'm dithering but probably about to come down on the side of putting the saffron bulbs in around the base of the cherry tree; I think I know where I'm going to put the comfrey once it's established itself a little better; and I'm tentatively leaning towards growing the poppies-for-seed in a patch of mixed wildflowers. (WHERE, though, Alex, you need to work out where you're going to put this. Probably also in the general vicinity of the cherry, if we're honest.)

But. Yes. Priorities: getting misc. seeds started; actually sourcing and constructing my proper raised beds so that I can plant out into them (which will inevitably involve More Weeding); pruning and dressing the Ribes; and working out what I want by way of asparagus, because my mother has offered to buy me some crowns.

So, you know, if you have asparagus cultivar recommendations, please by all means go ahead! I prefer the stems to the tips, and I am resigned to growing at least some purple...
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Reading. I finished Predators' Gold! It did not redeem itself, to my tastes. I then proceeded to have a bit of a tailspin about "do I object to fiction that portrays people doing bad things without getting 'adequately' punished or without it getting called out in the text? am I secretly an anti?" but the answer is, on reflection, no -- I don't think it's Immoral Art That Should Be Banned, it's just that I've got a very long reading list including a bunch of books I am actually excited (rather than cross) about, and I abruptly Really Don't Care about these characters enough to invest any more time in them at all whatsoever. Meanwhile, I have not been reading much because reasons, but Dreams from My Father reappeared from the library so I'm working slowly on that. Also I finally scraped together the brain to read the most recent shortfic associated with your blue-eyed boys ("shortfic": one of them was 23k words), which was immensely soothing.

Growth. I went to the allotment today! The fennel died back a lot in the frosts but I'm hopeful that 1. it will continue turning into food (it's putting forth new feathery growth) and 2. some if it will get as far as making seeds. I pulled up all the teasels and got as many of them as I could before the cheap shitty secateurs broke, so those are in a neat pile, and did a very little hand-weeding. Happily, though, the combination of manure + weed-suppressant takeaway pizza boxes + wood chip meant that there was really very little weeding as needed done, which impressed me. Spinach is coming along nicely but probably needs thinning (and eating); to my surprise a nontrivial chunk of the remaining pak choi also survived the frosts and are now doing their determined best to flower.

When I got in on Wednesday night, I discovered that my comfrey crowns had finally arrived (on the second attempt) so I've now got those potted up on the patio to establish while I work out where to put them. This means that I also received the last of the seeds currently on order, though I am now seriously considering acquiring two kinds of basil, some caraway and sesame seed, some rocket, and maaaaybe some chickpeas, though chickpeas seem possibly even a step too far for me.

Alas I did not win the greenhouse I had been pining after, but it ended up going for about three times what I was willing or able to pay for it, which means I successfully do not feel bad about having "just missed out" or similar.

Lab supplies. So many lab supplies. I got to campus at around 9 on Thursday and... slightly didn't leave again til 2pm on Saturday, though hopefully by the next time I want to do anything of the sort I'll have 24h access enabled on my card so I'll be able to actually kip on the sofa in my head of group's office rather than drowzing underneath the computer table in the Bloody Cold. (I was wearing three jumpers, a scarf, and fingerless gloves, and I still spent most of those three days shivering.)
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
Some of you have specifically mentioned being interested in seeing other people's responses to this week's [community profile] thefridayfive, and I'm sitting around nervously watching the mass spec run without the concentration to do anything more useful, so here you go.

Content note: this week's theme is grocery shopping and meal planning. My answers therefore involve mention of sensory issues with food, dietary restrictions, and disordered eating.

Read more... )


Of course, what these questions don't touch on is HAVE I MENTIONED I HAVE AN ALLOTMENT. :D I make choices about what to grow (and where) for convenience; for example, I don't like buying cut herbs because (i) I feel vaguely guilty and (ii) they're never the right quantities, but I do like fresh herbs, so in pots on the verandah I've got mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, chives, and bay. I'm on the verge of buying seeds for two kinds of basil; an honourable mention to the ancestral wild garlic, that springeth green. I also had tomatoes on the patio (... I still haven't decided what to call it; "decking" seems awfully USois, somehow, and isn't quite in my active vocabulary) this summer, which was convenient and enjoyable enough that I'm likely to do it again. (I might also try cucumbers on the patio, depending on how the weather goes and whether I actually buy a greenhouse.)

At the allotment I'm prioritising things it's ridiculously expensive to buy (poppy seed! caraway seed! hopefully, if I get my act together, asparagus! bay leaves! soft fruit! hopefully some saffron, thanks to [personal profile] ewt!), things that come in entirely the wrong amounts always and are awkward to store (spinach!), things I always wince over the cost of and can rarely be persuaded to indulge myself on (fennel! purple sprouting broccoli! pak choi! shallots! interesting salad leaves! hopefully passionfruit!), things that are Brightly Coloured (this season I'm going to be experimenting with Painted Mountain sweetcorn, rainbow quinoa and purple chillis, among others), things it's otherwise tricksy to find (root parsley! :D), and things that are Just Better when they're really ludicrously fresh (hiiiii peas). I'd already been trying to eat seasonally; I'm looking forward to spending more time paying attention to plants, and trying to remind myself that I'm not going to be starting everything off hideously too late even if I am only getting back from Belfast at the end of February.

This is of course my first year with the allotment so I don't... entirely have a sense of how my shopping patterns will actually be affected, but I Am Excited To Find Out: I've already been enjoying working with the rhubarb and beetroot neighbours have desperately fobbed off on me, and with the things I've managed to get going already. So, you know, if compatible with your diet, should you visit me over the summer there's a very high chance that you'll be fed Things What I Grew (That Aren't The Sourdough), and should I visit you you might get brought A Tribute...
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
In that I want one! Given a greenhouse I could start things at the allotment off earlier in the year, and probably grow a passionfruit, and have somewhere to actually store my tools a bit more usefully, and actually be able to grow the cucumbers and sweet peppers I'm hoping for, and so on and so forth.

(I'd want one with automatic openers on the roof vents because there is no way I'm actually going to reliably make it to the allotment twice a day, sorry, which is also why I don't get to keep any kind of livestock.)

The specific dither I'm having, though, is that greenhouses are Expensive new. I would probably be able to get one for less than fifty quid off ebay... only then I'd have to dismantle and remantle it myself, and probably hire a van, and have an enormous anxiety about how to transport the glass in a van without breaking it, and also either look pathetic at Adam some more (who has driven A Lot of vans for me) or look pathetic at You Lot for a volunteer who doesn't mind helping to dismantle a greenhouse etc etc etc. And then I get anxious about what kind of footing I'd need to work out putting it on, as well; breeze blocks or concrete paving slabs seem like the obvious options but, also, I'm having a massive executive dysfunction about it.

So probably what's actually going to happen is that I'll keep dithering through the start of this season while keeping appendages crossed that the DWP is going to give me the back-payment I'm theoretically owed, which would let me pay off the last non-mortgage house-purchase debt and hopefully have enough left over that I can, in fact, just Pay To Make The Problem Go Away, which... would be lovely. (Fingers crossed: I've got an upcoming phone call about SMI and my PIP reassessment is on Wednesday, when all else aside I'll be able to tell them that I have in fact recently had a fall while sitting down that resulted in broken bones.)

But! Advice and input and suggestions are very welcome, so. Please feel encouraged to tell me what I'm missing. <3
kaberett: Euphorbia cf. serrata, green crown of leaves/flowers central to image. (spurge)
I'm a cliché, I know, but the fennel I have been growing on the plot ('Colossal') is genuinely the nicest I think I've ever had: it's sweet and aromatic and delicious and I am delighted by it, and in addition to the bulbs I'm eating I'm intending to leave some to go to seed so I can grow More next year.

Something I had failed to properly anticipate when sowing it, however, is that fennel fronds are... a thing. A big feathery... thing. On the plot at dusk they almost manage to resemble a tiny forest, and it would be ridiculous to just put all of that straight back in the compost, so I've... been eating it? I've been eating it and working out what on earth to do with it with a certain degree of perplexity.

I also brought a bulb down to Cornwall with me, having stopped off at the allotment to pick up the fabled Phormium tenax, and subsequently have been doing Further Cooking. Adventures in fennel thus far:
  • fronds (and some of the leggier bits of stalk) chopped up fine, in leek-and-potato soup
  • fronds in courgette fritters
  • fronds in potato salad
  • fronds in non-potato salad
  • bulb roasted, in any variety of useful roasted-veg contexts
  • bulb chopped up fine in risotto (yesssssss)
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
Health: it's about three months since we last upped my thyroxine dose, and night before last (in a room at 18degC) I ended up under three layers of duvet, plus the weighted blanket, plus two folded fleece blankets, plus a hot water bottle, plus wrapping myself around A... which was just about sufficient warmth that I could relax and Go The Fuck To Sleep. (Three duvets + anger blanket + A was emphatically not sufficient. I was shivering.) Also, I'm sleeping more during the day again. Hurrah for probably-seronegative-autoimmune-hypothyroidism that's going to keep declining. \o/

Growth: first batch of mulch out the bin, and lessons so far appear to be broadly (1) it's all very well to put in enough shredded paper to absorb the liquid from the compost caddy, but I kiiiiiiinda need to also put in enough to absorb the liquid from the weeding; (2) also more wood chip for structure; (3) dried grass needs chopping up really small, no, smaller than that; and (4) while sandwich packaging continues A Nightmare Waitrose are at least... trying?

Squash (unsurprisingly) did not end up ripening before the frosts, so I'll try again next year with an earlier start and a better understanding of powdery mildew. I really need to thin out the spinach (and make some pasta?), and we just ate the first of the fennel, and very nice it was too.

Belfast: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
... to the thing that appeared to be grass growing up through my planted-out cut-price live-baby-salad-leaves, when I stepped onto the patio just now -- full moon or thereabouts shining down serenely -- to retrieve something from the garage (we have a garage) and to pick some tomatoes for tomorrow's lunch. (The fact that my patio tomatoes are still happily ripening up, while sat on the patio, in late October, is... Another Matter.)

So I picked it, and I picked another of it, and I was reaching for the third when I thought "... hold on a second, everything suddenly smells of garlic."

I tasted, cautiously, the "grass blades" I had just broken off.

... the wild garlic I brought back from the Mouldering Ancestral Pile way back at the beginning of the year, as I was passing through Plymouth for my pre-op consultation with my top surgeon? That I planted in a trough, watched shrivel up sulkily, and then exasperatedly planted some cut-price live-baby-salad-leaves on top of, in the vague expectation that I would probably actually see them again?

Like wheat that springeth green, indeed.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
In my last post about the NHM there was a Good Bat Fact I failed to include: the pitcher plant that has evolved to be a bat roost. It doesn't bother eating insects any more, really, even! It lets the bat catch them for it! It is So Good.


Meanwhile, I am currently in the Peak District; A brought me up this way yesterday. Prior to setting off, however, we had Things To Do in Enfield: we'd been expecting our ex-landlord (!) to come by to pick up his Misc Shite (incl. half a box of Cuban cigars, obviously) from the garage, but by the time he'd come down with a bug on Friday we'd already made plans around existing in Enfield 'til early afternoon, so we stuck with those. First up was a local repair cafe, where I got someone who knew what they were doing to tell me how to fix a slipper sock and also a fabric bottle holder for t'wheelchair; A got talked through mending some trousers in the other half of my slot. (Skill acquistion dates are the Best Dates.)

Following this A very Patiently drove me out to Waltham Abbey so that I could collect some freecycled Phormium tenax clumps; my mother is fond of the stuff and wants to deposit some in the grounds (ha) of the Mouldering Ancestral Pile, so when I saw it going I very cheerfully said "yes please". A had... not quite appreciated that these plant clumps were going to be almost as tall as me, and sort of trailed after me going "... what the fuck, Alex" as I loaded them into the back of the car... before taking me on a tiny single-track road ("not suitable for HGVs") through a tree-tunnel in London, what even, it was an excellent adventure. (And then I heeled the plants in at the allotment, where I also fed the compost bin and went LOOK AT YOU AREN'T YOU A SPINACH, before we went home to eat lunch and feed the tomatoes and actually pack.)

Today I have mostly been attempting to build LineageOS for the new kitchen tablet (it has been An Adventure but is now almost 25% done), along with cooking some of the quince (quince and rhubarb cobbler, using allotment-rhubarb that I dragged up with us) and A Lot of roast dinner for seven. I am shortly to curl up in a sleepy pile, and Lo, It Will Be Good, and there are Rocks and Pointy Bits and Sheep and I am very contented.

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kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
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