Friday, April 25, 2014

25th April 2014

April 25th 1777  "The titlark rises, & sings sweetly in its descent. The Ring-dove hangs on its wings, & toys in the air.' Gilbert White

A wise old gardener would tell you with an intake of breath and a knowing shake of the head that it’s customary to sow maincrop potatoes by Easter. 
Well, as Easter is a moveable feast that lets me off the hook slightly, but yes, I promise I will plant mine today. If I’m looking for excuses, I’d say that I’d been been waiting, hoping for a good downpour so that I could feasibly ease my fork into our heavy clay soil. 

The rain came. Finally. 

I’m loitering in the vegetable garden, triumphant! I’ve just planted all my potatoes, to the centuries old accompaniment of all good gardening

...a pair of inseperable collared doves chatting gently in the birch tree and a hovering skylark, quivering and trilling, transcending the tuneless crow and it’s stupid caw.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

OK it's Easter, time to give Mary a big clue.

Yesterday I’d just laid another secret egg when I spotted her on her ‘coffee walkabout’. She was loitering under the Indian bean tree, her gaze scouring the banks of the pond. Little did she realise, she was barely five paces from where I was sitting, smirking. 

So I slipped noncholantly off my eggs, ducked through the tangle of sedge and then shoulders back, strode across the lawn to join the gang.

Mary spotted me instantly…. I'm not very camouflaged against green! She retraced my steps and started to poke around in the undergrowth. She was getting warmer...

and warmer...

 and warmer...

and warmer!

Her prize?

The best kind of Easter Egg ever!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Easter egg hunt

Hello, I’m Hulanicki. I’m one of Mary’s chickens... a Silver Spangled Hamburg bantam seeing as you asked. 
I've made up this really good game for the Easter holidays. It's called an ‘egg hunt’! 

All the other hens in my gang are a bit middle-aged and indoctrinated so it wouldn’t occur to them to lay anywhere other than the hen house. But I’m a teenager in chicken years, so I’m going through my rebellious stage, obviously, duuh.
For over a week now I’ve been hiding my eggs and I’m waiting to see how long it will take Mary to find them! 
They’re all in one place so it shouldn’t be that hard should it? 

What I do, is sneak away when the cockerel has his back turned, make a dash for a secluded clump of sedge by the pond and pop another egg out. 

Hah, it’s driving Mary mad! 

She twigged immediately that my eggs were missing from the coop because my eggs are a   glossy white, while everyone else lays dingy brown ones.
I’ve been watching her. Every time she stops for a coffee she’ll have a wander round the garden. And I know she’s not just checking on her precious vegetables because she’s busy poking her nose under bushes, peering behind hedges and ferreting around at the back of the borders. I even caught her shouting at the crows, accusing them of stealing my eggs from the henhouse. 

I’ll let you know when she’s found them!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

London Book Fair

Just off to visit the London Book Fair where my Farmer's Market image will be displayed… poster size!

So if you need some fresh and juicy illustrations for a new cookbook, per chance, come and say hello on The Artworks stand. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Keeping pace...

'All good work is done the way ants do things: Little by little' Lafcadio Hearn

potted on tomato Red Cherry and Gardener's Delight
planted onion sets and shallots in individual cells in the greenhouse
sowed Butternut Squash, courgette Napoli and summer squash Tromboncino
aubergines have almost germinated… couldn't resist poking the soil for evidence
planted out Little Gem lettuce seedlings under cloche
picked salad leaves from the greenhouse for lunch…

…and enjoyed a cup of tea in the sun under the flowering Cherry Plum