Sunday, 11 May 2014

This and That

Hello again. I thought I'd give you a bit of a tour round our garden. First, though, I'll tell you about Friday. My dad and I wanted to go shopping in Banbridge and just had to stop off for coffee in our favourite coffee shop. The Greenbean serves delicious coffee as well as scones, tray bakes and snacks. We had cappuccinos and a berry scone between us.

 Here is the wall in the Greenbean. Doesn't it look great?

When we got home I tackled the rhubarb patch. About 6 lbs went to a few friends and neighbours and about 10 lbs into the freezer. There's still a lot left and more will grow later in the year.

Anyway, back to the garden. These photos were taken around 8:15 on Saturday morning. There's not much Iife in the apiary; too cold for the bees to come out.

We put up more bird boxes this year so we now have about 20 dotted about the garden. We can watch the birds bringing nesting material so they can build in the boxes. There must be eggs or even baby birds in some them by now.

This is what I do with the ends cut off after sewing them in. They go into an old bird feeder and then the birds can use them in their nests.

These are the apple trees blooming. The pear and plum have already bloomed earlier.

I love the spring flowers, especially the anenome and clematis. You might just about be able to see the wisteria ready to bloom.

We have blackcurrant, blueberry and raspberries. Also a gooseberry bush in another spot. Here are the strawberries starting to flower. The garlic is well up too.

Later on the husband got suited up in his bee suit and went out to do some work on the hives. There's not a lot to do at this time of year really. He checked the frames to make sure everything looked alright and he added more supers to each hive. This allows for the number of bees to grow and gives them somewhere to store the honey. At the height of the summer there will be approximately 60,000 bees in each hive.


While the husband was occupied with the bees I baked a carrot cake for my dad's 86th birthday. I had looked quickly at the recipe earlier in the week just to make sure I had all the ingredients. I hadn't used the recipe before and didn't read through it all. A mistake. When I came to make the cake on Saturday I discovered that it was supposed to be baked in the Aga roasting tin. Massive! I went ahead anyway but used sponge tins instead. I only had walnut halves so tried to chop them in the blender. I ended up with walnut dust. And not having quite the required amount of walnuts, I added some diced dates. I started putting the ingredients into my baking bowl and soon realised they would never all fit. It had to be transferred to a bigger bowl which was full by the time I had everything added in. It was pretty hard to get it all mixed as there was so little room left in the bowl. But I managed it eventually and put the mixture into my sandwich tins. There was still loads left over though, so I also managed to fill a dozen muffin cases. I got these from Lakeland - I love the Russian theme. After all that, I expected the carror cake to be a disaster, but it turned out well. The recipe for the cream cheese icing produced a huge amount so after icing the cakes and muffins I froze the rest of the icing.

Shortly after this the sky darkened and we had torrential rain, hail, thunder and lighting.

Well I hope you enjoyed that bit of a tour round the garden and will come back again for another look.

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