In between the bouts of rain that we had over the weekend, we had decided to start work on the allotment, and make some more wine. We still have masses of blackberries from last year, and so some are now in the first ferment. When done, there will be two gallons of the stuff. We also have two gallons of dandelion wine on the go, and whilst out and about in the countryside, we picked some nettles to make a gallon of nettle wine.
Only the very tip of the new plants are needed, and so of course we needed a little protection from the stings. We plan to eat nettles this year as well. They are delicious if sweated down in a similar way to spinach, with a little butter added before serving.
It was a lovely day to just drive around looking for new foraging spots. We even found a really quiet spot where hawthorn berries will be in abundance later on.
The lady who lives in the middle of the countryside had been making jams and chutneys again, and so many different kinds, and did we take some for home?.......well, you have to don't you.
I found a lady farmer in another part of the countryside, who keeps around 30 miniature ponies, as well as a herd of cattle. She wanted to get rid of her manure pile which had been built up over the last twelve years, and so offered us as much as we could take for £10. We turned up with the empty trailer, and she loaded two tons of the stuff using her JCB. I was a bit worried, as the trailer was on it's maximum payload, and the suspension and tyres were groaning under the strain. It needed full revs in first gear to even move the thing, but once some momentum was gained, we trundled along the road like a heavy train, a journey home of about 15 miles.
It was lovely stuff. Very well rotted and crumbly. At this point the allotment was dry, and the rain hadn't started, and so while Amanda started to weed, I spread the manure over the areas we had already dug, forked it all in, and set the bean canes in readiness for runner and french beans.
The heavens did eventually open up, and torrential rain prevented us from doing any more. As you can see from the picture, things were well and truly waterlogged!
It was frustrating to have to stop, but we could still make some progress by potting up some of the seeds at home. Compost and plants were spread over the kitchen table, Classic FM put on the radio, an obligatory bottle of real ale cracked open, and the task was started.
We had two different types of beetroot, rainbow chard, calendula, sweet corn, borlotti beans, broad beans, pumpkin, butternut squash, borage, teasel, honesty, yellow and green courgettes, marrows, sweet peas....the list is quite endless this year. Meanwhile, I had Hobie staring adoringly into my eyes for the whole time. And yes, that is his chair.
All we need now is some dry weather so that we can get back down to the allotment, as there is some more weeding and digging to do. We also have a couple of areas down there, where we shall be scattering a whole assortment of wild flower seeds to encourage insects and wildlife. Exciting times!
Thanks for dropping by.