Happy Fiesta Friday all! Today you will be pleased to hear that I have cooked something for you! Though sadly it was just a barbeque with some improvised ingredients, because the day dawned so beautiful we couldn’t help but want to cook outside. That and the Italian neighbours had family visiting from Sicily and the smells from their cooking wafting across the garden as we worked were just too tempting! No actual recipe, but next week there will be three – I promise!
What felt like the very first day of the English spring (and no doubt may well be our last day of spring, knowing our weather!) seemed the perfect time to get on with planting some seeds for our new vegetable patch. We have turned the very bottom of the garden by the river into a large veg patch, and have been composting and preparing the bed all winter, except for the long period of time when most of the garden was underwater thanks to the flooding. Now it is time to actually begin growing some things!
It is still too cold to plant things out directly, so we got some little lidded propagators to keep on the windowsills inside the house. Lids are crucial to prevent cat theft of any baby shoots. They eat all our plants, the little sods. I chose a selection of veg we use often, and planted half of a propagator each with the seeds. As a first time gardener, despite reading a few books on the subject, I confess I am not really sure what I was doing. But at least my earthy fingers look the part, clutching some red onion seed!
It took quite a while to plant all the various seeds at the different depths and varying spreads which the packets recommended, and once done I gave them all a thorough watering, along with our other babies, a raspberry and blackcurrant plant, and left them to sunbathe on the deck.
Whilst I was doing this, Ste was mowing, then raking and finally re-seeding the lawn, because parts of it had died under some huge trees we took out over the winter, before turning his attentions to other man duties, namely the barbeque!
Once finished planting, I started work on the veg patch itself. It was rotavated before the flooding happened, and was all ready for a second rotavation, except for the fact that the floodwaters had left behind all manner of stones, rubbish and debris, which we didn’t want to bury into the bed. So I raked the whole area. By hand. It was hard work, especially in what was actually pretty hot sun! And I loved it! When I finished and stood back to admire my handiwork (admittedly rather creakily as I felt permanently bent over from the raking) I was pretty chuffed. This weekend we will add a layer of compost and rotavate again, and then we can lay some pathways around and through the bed for easy access. Our little veg garden is almost ready for some veg in it, which is very exciting!
And the river is finally back to normal levels almost – the ducks and swans were happily swimming past and taunting the dogs.
They were loving all this outdoor activity, and both are absolute sun hounds – they love to sunbathe! Billy especially, I think it reminds him of being back home in Italy. They even snuggled up together at one point to appreciate the sunshine – too cute! I love that they are becoming best buddies now – a far cry from being terrified of each other when they first met back in October.
Here they are admiring my raking – annoyingly both decided it was fun to pick up the newly raked away stones and branches and put them back where they started. I was not too pleased about that development so we distracted them with sausages instead!
Even the cats were out enjoying the sunshine. Both are relatively new to the great outdoors, so I have no idea what Julian was thinking as he climbed some trees! He happily took himself inside for a nap on my bed later on though, so thankfully he is not so enamoured we will never see him again.
After all the hard work – we rewarded ourselves with a delicious barbeque. I marinaded some chicken breasts in a jerk sauce, and we cooked some sausages from my parents home-reared pigs which were delicious. I am sure they taste best when barbequed. I made a couple of quick salads to go with this, and some sweet potato wedges.
The salads were cucumber and marjoram in creme fraiche, and a salsa with tomato, onion, chilli and lime juice which went so beautifully with the jerk chicken. I love the fresh colours of the salsa and the zing the lime gave it. We even treated ourselves to a beer – one of Ste’s favourites by BrewDog, a brewery in the UK which I bought him shares in for his birthday (so all the more reason to increase their profits by drinking lots!).
It was the perfect finish to a perfect day. Maximum happy all round, and a super tidy garden with plenty of progress made on the veg patch. Long may spring continue! Happy Friday everyone, and I wish you all a sunny, productive and enjoyable weekend! Preferably with pugs!