The Land Rover Owners Wife


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A bit of a mess

Much improved

Much improved

That’s the only way you could describe the state of my largest greenhouse. In fact it was far more than a bit of a mess, it was a bona fide disaster zone and I needed to sort it out pretty quickly. You see with the Jack Frost just around the corner, it was imperative that I moved the chilli plants which were in the smaller greenhouse, into the large one, so that I could set the small one up as the winter lodgings for some of the outdoor plants which weren’t frost hardy.

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A Chilli Greenhouse

I'm thinking this is enough chillies now

I’m thinking this is enough chillies now

On a morning like today, with the sun shining and the outdoor temperature an impressive 14.5C, you could almost believe that Winter was finally losing her grip on our part of the world and that Spring had arrived. That’s ‘almost believe‘ though, not ‘know for sure‘ because one thing that gardening has taught me over the last few years is that Ma Nature doesn’t read books and most certainly does not follow all the rules, or that the advice in regards the seasons and specifically their start and end dates, written by experts can only ever be regarded as guidelines, best case scenarios and should not be followed verbatim. Warm as the day is today, there is still the possibility of snow and hard frosts have been known to hit as late as the back-end of May, as I learned to my cost back in 2010. Continue reading


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Potting on and more seeds to sow

I'm thinking 27 tomato plants is enough

I’m thinking 27 tomato plants is enough

I spent an enjoyable if lengthy amount of Saturday, potting on the large quantities of chillies and tomato seedlings that have spent the last few weeks developing their root systems and putting on growth, in the seed trays they were originally sown in. In total I had 72 tomato seedlings across 5 varieties, 11 sweet peppers and 56 chillies across 4 varieties. Of course 72 tomato plants is a little excessive for a family of four, even with two tomato loving Mudlets’ who are happy to snack away on the red fruits as if they were sweets and no amount of chutney making could utilise the huge quantities of fruit that we could find ourselves harvesting come the summer. Continue reading


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Another year, another season begins

Ready to start.

A little while ago I sorted through my seeds, throwing away the very out of date ones, seeing what I had left and making a list of what I needed to buy. Thankfully I’d managed to buy several packets of fresh seed, in various sales at the end of last summer and so I only had half a dozen packets to buy. My next job was to draw up a seed sowing timetable and for this I decided to utilise the calendar and Quick Note app on my phone. Continue reading


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Christmas in Mudville

The Mudlets did a good job on the tree

The Mudlets did a good job on the tree

The run up to Christmas was a hectic one in Mudville, starting with the putting up of the decorations on the 1st of December and culminating with the youngest Mudlets finding all manner of surprises left by Santa under the tree. A broken hearted and poorly Eldest Mudlet came across for the day, stayed the night but went home Boxing Day to languish in the comfort of her own bed, taking with her the warm hug I had knitted for her. But as much as the build up to Christmas Day was busy and filled with the pent up excitement of the younger girls, all too soon it was over and we found ourselves ambling along to New Years with an exhausted and flu ridden Mud taking to his bed for the best part of two days. Continue reading


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Pickle, chutney and sauce

I've pickled them, made them into sauce, used them in cooking and I've still got loads drying across two plates

I’ve pickled them, made them into sauce, used them in cooking and I’ve still got loads drying across two large plates

I’ve been quite busy just recently and realised this morning that I was  little behind in terms of my blogging, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to rectify this oversight whilst the Mudlets and Mud were otherwise engaged. The weather hasn’t been conducive to me getting outside and clearing anymore of the garden, although to be fair I haven’t had chance to get the manure and topsoil yet so there hasn’t really been much to draw me away from the warmth of the house. I’ve also been a tad occupied with knitting more fingerless mitts but this time on double pointed needles and starting Eldest Mudlets’ Christmas present, both of which will feature in their own posts, although the latter won’t be until after Santa’s done his rounds. Continue reading


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Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce 2015

The recipe doesn't yield a lot of jam/sauce, so I'll need to make a second batch.

The recipe doesn’t yield a lot of jam/sauce, so I’ll need to make a second batch.

This was the same recipe I used last year but despite the use of a jam thermometer which was a birthday gift from a friend last year, and boiling the mixture twice, the ‘jam’ this year is definitely more of a dipping sauce but just as sweetly fiery as last year, although not as hot. But then we’ve found that the whole chilli crop hasn’t been as hot this year which (in spite of what Mud may think), isn’t such a bad thing really. Continue reading


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An abundance of red

For a few weeks each Autumn, this tree makes a striking centre piece

For a few weeks each Autumn, this tree makes a striking centre piece

Although the grower me mourns the demise of my garden, as we move into Autumn, the artist me appreciates the glorious colours that arrive to lessen the blow, as we move towards winter. In the centre of a local village is a small triangle of green that is host to a lovingly tended flower bed, a wooden seat, flagpole and one tree ……. but what a tree! For most of the year it is lost amongst the greens of the trees across the road from it but come the autumn, it comes into its’ own and is a stand out feature as you walk towards it, clothed, as it is, in its’ autumn finery of fiery leaves. For a few brief weeks, the maple casts its’ neighbours into the shade. Continue reading


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Chilli crop 2015

The start of the harvest: chillies make a vibrant display piece!

The start of the harvest: chillies make a vibrant display piece!

With the threat of rain forecast for today, I was a little concerned that some of the outdoor tomatoes which had been nearly ready for picking yesterday might split if I didn’t get them in, especially as we had already had some rain overnight. So I decided to pick what was ready when I went out to open up the greenhouses first thing this morning and I thought that I might just as well pick the chillies that were ready at the same time. Continue reading


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Pickled chillies

Very pretty: Pickled Ohnivec and Cayenne Chilli Peppers

Very pretty: Pickled Ohnivec and Cayenne Chilli Peppers

For the last few weeks, the chillies in the greenhouse have been tucked up under horticultural fleece overnight, to protect them from the rapidly falling nighttime temperatures whilst the chilli peppers continue to ripen. I have watered, removed dead and decaying foliage, cosseted and pampered this precious and abundant crop, waiting for the time when I could pick and then pickle them. With the smaller Cayenne chillies ripening rapidly, it was the Ohnivecs that I was waiting for.

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