Tuesday 29 October 2019


                      My baby Oak trees are doing their Autumn thing !
                             The beginning of a new forest maybe .

Monday 28 October 2019

Greenhouse Winter Protection

 I am hearing people saying that it is going to turn very cold during next week . So I pulled down the shade netting running the length of my little 10ft x8ft greenhouse under the rafters so that it will now become windbreak net and give all my plants some protection from the wind as I enter through the door .
  I have hooks around the door to fasten it to and it is easy to step in and refasten the windbreak net quickly as I go in , behind me .

    Here it is pulled into place around the door and if the wind is really wild I can weight the bottom of the netting down with a couple of pots . After locking up , I also plug the keyhole with a piece of polystyrene or cloth to stop the draught and also prevent the lock from freezing up .

        I then use a roll of bubble/foil insulation to roll out over the rafters  .

I just need to fix up the other end of the roll somehow and right now , I cant remember for the life of me , just how I did this last year !  So I need to go and work it out again and I,ll update you on that later on .

       I have put polystyrene sheets under the most tender plants and have newspapers at the ready to throw over the plants , which are mostly Cacti , Succulents and Epiphyllums .  Oh ! and a few Pelargoniums .

I have candles for when we get freezing and frost warnings....which is rare here , but wise to be prepared !
 Winter preparation list - lots of little ,but important , jobs to be done .
 I must find (somewhere in the shed ) and have ready the bubblewrap cover to slip over the water tap .
Bringing in logs for the fire .
New hot water bottles ....and I have already begun using my old stone hot water bottle !
New duvets and blankets for beds and cosy throws to snuggle into on our sofa and chairs .
Cleaning the pathways around the cottage so nobody slips and falls -  we had someone come and do this for us .
Gathering in my beautiful apples and freezing away for pies , crumbles and apple sauce  -  sad as someone came and stole my best apples .
 I planted my trees , watched the bees enjoying the blossom , waited patiently as the apples began to ripen and then just the week before I was going to harvest the best ones . Some very dishonest person stole them right from my back door !
  Little by little the jobs are done .
The rain is lashing down ....
 Are you ready for Winter ?

Sunday 27 October 2019

Surprise Echinopsis Cactus Flower

I was very surprised to see this old cactus of mine with two buds on it a few weeks ago and had half expected these buds to drop off so late in the season .

 Delighted to see that one of them made it to fully bloom before all this miserable and gloomy weather started . Gales and heavy rain showers ....it is coming up from the South though so it is still quite mild . They are saying that it will be turning much colder next week .
 I will be pulling a roll of foil and bubble insulation over the greenhouse rafters later today and checking my supply of candles to go in the lantern on the coldest nights .

                             I am so delighted with this pretty pink flower .

  It is an Echinopsis , but I have no idea which variety it is ? So please if anyone knows please do let me know . I,d like to put a label on it .

Saturday 5 October 2019

Blackbirds Robins Choughs

 Birdie Girl ....my little friend..in fact she's one of the family ....September 9th she came to show me why she wouldn't  be coming around  for a while . Feathers you see?  Fallen out ! A couple of years ago she lost all her feathers from just the crown of her head at about this same time of the year . How she survived the cold Winter I just don't know ..but she survived !
 However ,this time I could see that she had  lost all of the feathers from her head and neck poor thing....she took her grape and flew away into the Blackberry bushes behind the shed .

So today is the 5th October and I haven't  seen her all this time  and she is quite old now and that Sparrowhawk has been around .
  I was sorting out tubs and pots that had been neglected round the side of the shed .
   Making cuttings out of some sad looking succulents and a large vicious Aloe ferox , when I heard a familiar peeping sound .

   There she was ..up in the tree ! ..... the sweetest Blackbirdie Girl  in Cornwall !

   I moved one of the tubs over to reveal some nice juicy fat worms for her ....

 .....and she immediately flew down . People ask me "How do you know it's her and not another Blackbird ? "  Well she has a couple of twisted claws on  one foot ...but even before she had that injury , I could recognise her ....she knows me , she comes when I call her , she sometimes will come to my hand  for grapes and  she talks to me !  :)

 While she was on the ground , I was able to see and check on her head feathers .

 I took lots of pictures so that I could have a good look close up later on .

 Very relieved to see that her feathers have almost come back , pretty much over all of her head again ....so she's going to be alright  ! 

 Next job was to smarten up this Trachycarpus fortunii  .
      Tidiness and orderliness is the way to go now as we head into Winter .

                                      That's better..what do you think ?

                ....and my other little friend flew down as soon as I stood back !

 Next job give the Epies in the greenhouse a watering . Lovely and warm in the greenhouse . I noticed my Lophophor williamsii in bloom again , it is always blooming ....but I am really excited to see this other cactus with two buds fast swelling ......not so excited to see  mealie bugs on it , but no worries , I will deal with them .

Came in for for lunch and then off for a walk at the Lizard Point again ......this photo is one I took the other day ...I forgot my camera this time and guess what ?
  Yep , we saw four Choughs just a few feet away from us on the cliffs and a sweet baby seal on the rocks  !
  Anyway , it made our day !   
As we walked back to the car park it began to rain , we got back to the car just in time .
 I think there will be more rain tonight , before another lovely sunny day tomorrow .....which is how we like it !

Autumn Planting Onions - 4th Oct 2019

Out into the veg garden again . I didn't really feel like doing it ,  but taking down the Runnerbean frame just had to be done .
 Back in the Spring I coppiced my Hazel and Willow ....and had taken the Willow by mistake to use for the Runnerbean frame ..only realising after I had fixed it all up ......and planted out  the young bean plants ...and then couldn't be bothered to do it all again .

            I,m trying to be a "no-dig" gardener ....but these had to be dug out .
                                               One hell of a job !

 Look at those roots !  I have nowhere to plant these so they will now be left to dry out and eventually become kindling for the fire .
                  Unless you know anyone who would like them !

 The French-bean frames are fine , I used Hazel for them , some have dried out and will be cut up  for kindling and some I can use again .
 I,m going to grow Sweetpeas here on this wigwam and will be sorting out my seeds to do this later on today .
 I harvested a few more beans from them yesterday , I think I will just sow the Sweetpea seeds in amongst the the roots of these beans and keep the netting onto keep the bunnies out .
 We are forecast heavy rain tomorrow to get  them all germinating fast in the still warm earth .

 What I really needed to do ,  was plant out all my onion sets .
 I had bought double the amount of them this year , to share with my daughter .
I like to start them off in modules...it is worth the extra effort ,to get a good root system growing away before planting them out . I have found that I get  much stronger , healthier plants which grow away faster and also with a better root system the  birds are less likely to pull them out ; they mistake the onion sets little shoots for worms . Some people cut off the new shoots......if that works for you fine ..... but ...I don't do that , poor little onion sets need those leaves to photosynthesise . Anyway this works  for me !

 So I gently planted them all , about 200 of them into the still warm earth .

 I found a bit  more space over in the brassica bed where I had harvested some of my Brussels-sprouts  the other day . Sprouts now frozen and in freeflow packs in the freezer . There are still more Sprouts to come , and I,m much happier now that we are seeing less of the Cabbage White Butterflies as Autumn is now much more noticeably approaching .  ( no frosts though )
 Further up country I think frosts are beginning to happen , we rarely get frost here .

 So I planted more Onion sets into this bed . This bed was heavily manured last Winter ....and the Runnerbeans will have fixed nitrogen into the earth in the other onion bed .
  It is so important to give back to the Earth and I always make sure to do so .

                   Back aching and I still had quite a few onion sets left over .

So these I planted into the Veg-Trug , in amongst the Lettuces , Coriander and Dill . I have covered this with Environmesh just to give a bit more protection from the wind and cold .

 The big storm Lorenzo just brushed past us here in the far South West of  Cornwall . It is very warm and humid  ....but there are gloomy rain threatening clouds overhead ......which for me is good ....meaning that I wont have to water the onion sets in !

                                Very happy to have got this job done !

 I quickly threw over a spare cloche to deter the wild birds ...but once they,ve settled in they wont need any cloche .
 So now a more relaxing day .....sorting out my Sweetpea seeds  :)
   Wishing you all a beautiful weekend ! x

Tuesday 1 October 2019

So where is the rain ? The sun is shining here today !

  It has been mild and misty with heavy rain showers the last couple of days  .
We were forecast more today ...it was supposed to be torrential rain with thunder and lightening  . . . .

 ...... but look ! The sun is shining in blue sky !  We went for a walk along the cliffs at The Lizard Point .

The cliffs , the sea , the birds , the wild flowers  .....all just magnificent !
It is possible to see seals , dolphins and basking sharks . Sea birds , Buzzards Kestrels and famously Choughs .
                  The scenery is just breath-taking !

The Lizard is the most southerly point of British mainland and is a place that everyone should come and visit .

  Before continuing on our walk , we stopped off at Polpeor Cafe Lizard Point , who made us feel very welcome .
   We sat at a table with magnificent views over the cliffs and sea .....just wow !
I really enjoyed my cup of tea  and husband had a cup of coffee .We shared a perfectly done toasted tea cake . I,m very fussy about how I like my toasted tea cakes...I do not like them burnt around the edges....this was .... perfect ! mmmm .
    Next time , we will have lunch there too , as it looked good on the menu !

We walked a very long way , you feel as if you could just keep walking here , wanting to see around the next headland and explore the beaches and caves further round at Kynance . I,ll take you all there another day !
 We walked further than we should have and forgot about the long walk back , but we enjoyed every minute of it .

We stood and watched the waves crashing over the rocks below , enjoying the warm sunshine and breathing in the fresh sea air  .

          The red tinged leaves of Carpobrotus edulis or "Hottentot Fig" .

Some are flowering even now , scrabbling over these warm South facing cliffs .
These I love to see ! They are , what I and many visitors look forward to seeing  !

 Also the Mesembryanthemums or "Sally-Me 'ansoms" as they are fondly known by in these parts of Cornwall .
 We didn't see any Basking Sharks , Dolphins , Seals or Choughs today ,  but did so enjoy our walk .


                We were thrilled to see this female Sparrowhawk yesterday .
                  At this point I,m hiding behind a bulge in the Cornish hedge .

            It had caught a pigeon , in the lane , right outside  our front gate .
I quietly crept up as close to the Cornish hedge as I could and at the last minute popped as little of myself as I could ......and took as many photos as I could before she flew up into the trees .
  I hid behind our front hedge and waited . She kept returning , but every time I began to creep out again a car would come down and she would fly off again .

 She came back and I crept up again , my heart thumping , one very hungry bird , she let me get quite close .

               I took lots more photos before she flew up and along the lane .....

                                   ........this time carrying her prey .

   Female Sparrowhawks are larger than the male and will go for larger birds , but this is about her limit in how much she can carry in flight .

                       She struggled to carry it a bit further up the lane ....

She landed here and I decided to leave her be and finish her meal in peace .
   Later on we heard much screeching and we realised that we had not one , but a pair of Sparrowhawks trying to get to the Ravens nesting in our tallest pine-tree .
  I took lots more photos but I am afraid they are mostly blurred as these amazing birds fly so fast ! 

   See !  So I wont put anymore of those on .....but I can tell you I stood outside watching all this going on directly over my head !  Just such an amazing sight !

It was quite a spectacle !  The Sparrowhawks are very determined  ,the female sat watching and waiting for an opportunity to swoop in , but the Ravens held their own and defended their territory and nest . I didn't see them get anything from the nest .
    Wow !
                 Anyway ..... it is October already ! 
     The sweep came and swept the chimney and made sure our wood-stove is all clean and safe to use  . In good time too  .  Much rain ....more on the way...thunder and lightening forecast too  !