Tag Archives: slugs

Catching you on the Raw…

“Catching you on the Raw.” It’s a funny little phrase we have in our family for describing something minor which happens when you are already feeling low and spirals into something which feels much worse than it really it. Or when lots of little things add up and you get the same effect.

Today things have been mostly catching me on the raw.

I know I am lucky that we have a decent income and don’t depend on our tinyholding to feed us.  I’d like to source most of our veg from the tinyholding but we don’t have to and on some level I know we need to build up slowly to get where I want to go.  But as I sit and watch a million and one prolific and abundant vegetable plots emerging throughout blogland at this time of year I will admit to feeling tired, jealous and a little down.

I decided I would write a post about the days it goes badly – with all the glorious bad pictures, because otherwise blogland can look unattainably perfect. Once I’ve put this all out there I can pick myself up, plant some more seeds and move on.

Thing the first… bread making

See that white stuff, that is a flour crust on a loaf with the texture of a brick.

See that white stuff, that is a flour crust on a loaf with the texture of a brick.

We make all our bread in a bread maker.  Maybe one day I’ll get back to handmade bread but for our current lifestyle (read: busy chasing a baby down every 5 seconds – how can he crawl so fast!!!!) a bread maker is perfect.  We can time it so that it is fresh and ready to eat when we get up and we still avoid eating any bread which has more than 5 ingredients in it (unless we add something weird like sun dried tomatoes or raisins!)

But sometimes the bread maker doesn’t work and this is the “bread” you get.

The kneading part of the programme failed and when that happens in a bread maker you lose the whole loaf – you can’t rescue it as you might with hand kneading.  Mostly our bread maker is reliable.  But sometimes it isn’t.  Annoyingly I’ll have to make another loaf to check if it was a one off or a wider problem and risk wasting more ingredients. It also mean another guilt ridden trip to the expensive mini-tescos.  Gah!

Thing the second… Slugs

 

This *was* my biggest and best Cavelo Nero.  I'm hoping she can recover and survive.

This *was* my biggest and best Cavelo Nero. I’m hoping she can recover and survive.

I know I’ve been mentioning my hatred of them on this blog for sometime.  But this morning when I went to feed the pigs it was just a disaster.  The brassica patch (the largest part of the veg patch this year) has been decimated.  Maybe some of the seedlings will pull through but I just wanted to cry.

All over the place everyone’s vegetable gardens look amazing.  Mine looks bare, with plants that are struggling to get established or half eaten.  The peas and potatoes are doing fine but everything else looks terrible and just today I have been struggling to maintain optimism about it. I’ve been growing veg on and off for a while, so I can’t claim to be a beginner but it just looks like I don’t know what I’m doing.  This morning all I could see was all the time, energy and money (on seeds) which was totally wasted.  I’m not even keeping a tally of what the slugs have eaten now it is too depressing and measured in whole packets of seed gone to waste, I can literally cost out how much money they have eaten.

Thing the third… holes in socks.

 

tiny hole - still takes 30 mins to fix!

tiny hole – still takes 30 mins to fix!

I’ve a big post planned on darning socks.  I had a pile of 12 pairs to mend a couple of days ago and managed two pairs in the last two days getting the pile down to 10.  As of this morning it is back up to 11.  Darning feels never ending at the moment.

I’d be able to take more joy in the simple work if a) there wasn’t so damn many of them! and b) the bread and the slugs.  But when I get through the whole pile I will feel amazing.  So I guess I have a date with a darning mushroom again tonight.

I know I need to get back out there and sow some more stuff.  I know the only thing I can do is push through this, keep going, plant more, put down more slug traps, go out in the evening and pick them off one by one.  I know gardening is a slow process and what happens this year will be different to next.  I know I just need to have faith.  I’m just glad that I’m not having to rely on it to feed us.

I’m not looking for advice, I just wanted to write out the frustration . If this blog is going to be worth anything to me I need to write the bad days along with the good days.

I’ve got a 101 solutions to try next year.  But sympathy is much appreciated.

I did eat my first peas today.  A little early but sometimes you need a pick me up!

yum yum!

Variety: Hatif d’Annonay.

 

 

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A Huge List of Things – Part 1

Make Do and Mend Year has written a blog post called “Taking Stock” which is one of the assignments on her blogging course.  It sounded like fun and I could do with some writing practice myself so I’m giving it a go.

I’ve split it into multiple parts though as it was a very long list!

Sock in progress.

Sock in progress.

Making : I have two main projects on the go at the moment.  Socks for Josh and bunting for R’s birthday. I love the speed of sewing but it requires some set up and I don’t always have a clear stretch of time to get stuck in. Bunting I can sort of do bits here and that (especially the cutting out) but my first love is knitting, portable, easy to pick up and put down and no minute of waiting at the doctors or for a bus is ever wasted.
Cooking : It’s Josh’s turn to cook dinner tonight not me but I know we are having a vegetable tortilla.  Since we have guests coming tomorrow though, I’ll be cranking up the bread machine and getting a loaf ready.  Our standard loaf is 50% strong white flour and 50% wholemeal spelt flour and it is very tasty!
Drinking : Diet coke – my main vice.  Terrible stuff and (I’m sure) horrible for the environment.  Something I am still working on.
Reading: I always have a million and one books on the go but the main thing I’m currently reading is “The Wizard Hunters” by Martha Wells.  It is part of a huge box I got from a friend when they were downsizing their book collection and it’s taken me ages to get round to reading it but it is good solid fantasy with a slight steampunk twist  and several interesting and well-drawn female characters. Just my sort of thing.
Wanting: Chickens!  We are in the planning stages for getting chickens.  First working out how big a coop to build, then sourcing the materials and building it, then buying a hen house and finally a feeder, food, water thingy and actual chickens.  We are still a way off getting them but we almost have a plan!
Looking: For some replacement Courgette plants – the slugs have done for ours and the garden centre has sold out.
Playing: We recently bought two new board games (we have a huge collection of board games and role-playing games) Race for the Galaxy and Ghost Stories.  We have been playing them a lot!  Definitely getting our money’s worth.
Deciding: How high the fences for the chicken coop should be and whether we need a lid on it.

Wishing: Death to slugs.  They are decimating the garden, I lost two most cucumbers to the little monsters this morning.  My slug traps are doing well in the veg patch but poorly up with the courgettes and it is hurting.

Garden is coming on (just ignore the weeds).

Garden is coming on (just ignore the weeds).

Much of my current garden news is above – mostly am in full blown war against the slugs. My perennial enemy.  They have now decimated 4 cucumbers, 2 courgettes, 2 squashes, all the chillis, one entire salad crop and one purslane crop.  I hates them precious.

Currently I’m deploying my standard beer traps, but the weather has been so wet and mild for so long I bet this is going to be bumper slug year.  So I’m reading this article with great interest especially the bit about Indian Runner Ducks!