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A double birthday week

Last week was another flying visit to the allotment but not before we had swathed ourselves in as many layers as possible. As in previous weeks, our aim was to gather a few vegetables.

The state of Martyn's gloves, after digging parsnips and leeks, may give you some idea of why any gardening is out of the question. I should have taken a photo of his spade which was caked in mud.

Whilst, Martyn harvested the leeks and parsnips, I cut some cabbages and picked some sprouts. You can't pick sprouts wearing gardening gloves so that was a particularly finger numbing exercise.

The state of our winter vegetables is disappointing and we have lots of waste when preparing vegetables for cooking. During autumn it looked as though our brassicas would produce a good crop and would last us through the winter months. For months now, however, they have been sitting in cold damp conditions and as a result they have spoiled.
The conditions have also suited the slug population meaning everything is holey as well as slimy and soggy.

I mentioned last week that here in Yorkshire we were under tier three restrictions but that could change quickly. Sure enough it did, and the UK is now in lockdown mode. Primary schools went back to school, after the Christmas break, for a day on Monday and on Tuesday the schools were closed again. This situation will be reassessed in the middle of February but, as things are going, I can't see the restrictions being lifted then. This lockdown doesn't seem anything like the one in March. More shops seem to be open and the roads are nothing like as quiet as they were back them. For us personally lockdown 3 hasn't changed things as we can still visit my sister under the social bubble conditions. In effect we combine to create a household of three. We haven't met anyone else since March, other than to have socially distanced chats at the allotment and even that has been curtailed during the latter months as often we are the only ones on site. One thing that I do wonder about is why so much junk mail and so many charity bags are being popped through our letterbox. Our supermarket delivery people won’t take back carrier bags at the moment but we are supposed to carry on receiving all sorts of unwanted mail.
Unlike previously, under the latest lockdown restrictions, the grounds of Nostell Priory can remain open to provide a place where people can have some outdoor exercise. We booked a visit for Friday which was also Ruby's first Birthday. It was bitterly cold. In places, the lake had even frozen over.
There was plenty of unfrozen water for the birds to swim and forage. Unfortunately, they were more interested in the bread that someone was throwing to them. It's a kind thought but bread really isn't good for them.
Our bird baths in the garden have been freezing over so as well as filling the feeders we are thawing out the water for our feathered visitors. They will drink and bathe in the pond if they can't find water elsewhere but that's not the safest strategy.

Ruby didn't seem to feel the cold as she dashed around. We knew that she would end up dirty as she likes to run back and forth across the paths. However, she found a couple of spots where she couldn't resist digging. As it was her birthday and she was already very dirty we let her have her fun, although what she didn't know was that there would be a price to pay later.
Note the knees of Martyn's jeans, Ruby likes to share.
On returning home, Ruby was carried straight upstairs and birthday or not she was given a good wash - this comes very high on her most disliked things and as usual we both ended up as wet as she was. She was soon back to her fluffy self.

I have only one new vegetable recipe to share this week as other meals didn't really qualify having not included home grown vegetables in the recipes. I did, however use a tub of frozen tomatoes, onions, some parsnip and some Crown Prince squash in a pumpkin and parsnip cassoulet.
The remaining squash was frozen.

Now for my second favourite gadget. I always found that removing the core from an Apple Corer after use was a real problem, so I searched for something better and found this. At first glance it looks like every other apple corer but there is a very useful difference.  After coring an apple you can open it up and remove the core easily.
Finally referring back to the title, I mentioned that it was a double birthday week so who's was the second birthday? Martyn's birthday was on Thursday, the day before Ruby's. It was the first time since we retired that we didn't celebrate by going out for a meal. Here's hoping we can manage to celebrate next year's birthday or better still my birthday in May. On a positive note, it does take Martyn nearer to receiving his vaccine. Now that a third vaccine has been approved, we need someone to come up with a way of speeding up the roll out before our National Health service buckles under the strain.

Until then stay safe and healthy and be positive, better times will come. 

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

This post first appeared on Our Plot At Green Lane Allotments, please read the originial post: here

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A double birthday week


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