Sunday, 28 December 2014

Garlic and Onions

Gentle Reader ~~~ Where does time fly? One day I was scurrying in to wish one and all a Happy Thanksgiving, with all good intentions of a couple of posts before Christmas, and here we are, Christmas is now an almost distant memory ~ excepting the few extra pounds that linger to accompany me to the scales ~ and the New Year, replete with resolutions, is nearly upon us!

I was, as ever, late posting out my Christmas cards, but this year there was a deep sadness in the village as our lovely village Post Office closed it's doors forever on December 6th.  Oh, such a sad day indeed.  

I fondly recall the village Post Office as a special place, central to village life, a meeting place on Tuesdays as pensioners stood in line to collect their pensions, a place to exchange news, read the bulletin board and find out what is happening, pick up a magazine or newspaper in the adjoining newsagents {run by the husband of the Post Mistress} the big, red pillar box, a sentinel standing proudly outside waiting to receive letters for the postman to take away for delivery ~~~ to the next town, the neighbouring Shires, over the borders, to countries far and near as the soared into the air on planes, or by surface on ocean going liners ~ ah! the romance of a letter in the post ~~~ the deliveries still happen, but the heart of our village Post Office is gone forever.  We now have a sterile, void of all personality counter, an annexe to the Express Checkout, at the local supermarket.  If I say any more I think I shall cry again, so I am moving swiftly on ~~~

So, there I was, barely getting my cards out in time, but here are some pictures of some of the ones I made ~~~

The first four I made by embossing some plain white card stock topping them with some pretty Victorian scrap papers and plaid card stock.  I kept these flat as they were being posted overseas ~~~

For the next ones, I embossed plain card stock before layering with a coated card stock that I inked up and then added some dinky little plain toppers that I ran through my Cuttlebug with embossing folders carefully placed ~~~

One of my favourites this year was the stag {below} ~~~ I had a beautiful stag embossing folder and inked the card stock before embossing, then using a black Archival Ink I stamped over the trees using one of the trees from this Clarity Stamp set.  I used a freebie stamp from a magazine for the sentiment and cut it out using a shape from my Brother Scan n Cut, then I echoed it using Mirri card in purple.  I think this is my favourite of all ~~~

I am not terribly brilliant at making cards, but I do so enjoy the simple pleasure of putzing about with paper, ink, stamps, embossing folders, and cutting machines;  making a mess too, while creating something, made with love, to send through the post to a faraway friend ~~~

Maybe we should talk a little about the garden now?  Of course, the weather and it being Winter now means very little is happening, but there is always something that can be done, even if it is sitting in the comfort of an armchair in front of a blazing fire perusing all the inspiring seed catalogues that plop through the letter box at this time of year.

Two of my favourite things to eat, yet something I have not grown for some time, are garlic and onions. If truth be told, I adore all the allium family ~ chives, leeks, onions, scallions, shallots, garlic ~ yum yum ~ happy tum!  Here is a little extra reading for you, a little information on alliums, if you want to take a peek.  I've also been reading some very nasty things about garlic that is imported from China ~ and it is so hard to find garlic on sale in my area that is not grown in, and imported from, China, so, in mid October I sent off an order to Franchi: Seeds of Italy for some onion sets and garlic bulbs. These are from Italian grown stock and I totally trust the sourcing of Franchi, and I am always happy to buy from them because they will also take the time to personally help you with any questions you have. 

So, back to the garden ~~~ a few weeks ago, when the weather was not too wet, or too cold, or too windy, in fact on some of those mid~Autumn days when, like a bowl of porridge, the weather is just right, I managed to squeeze in a few hours in the garden ~ oh, how that made my heart sing with joy!

During the horrible time when my back was bad, and I could not take care of the garden for many weeks, the weeds took such advantage and grew like ~ well, weeds ~~~ so the first thing I had to do was clear some space ~ what I mean to say is, weed and turn over the soil! 

I dug and I pulled the weeds {mostly long rooted dandelions} ~ very carefully, turned the soil over, always guarding my back against any strain or cold breezes, and eventually I cleared a small piece of ground, enough to pop in most of my onion sets ~ oh! I chose a variety bag of red, brown, and white onions so I will have a choice in the late Spring when the harvest should be ready.  

There wasn't much point in showing you photographs of empty ground, but things are starting to move along now, and here are some I took today; you can see the tiny onion sets that are now several weeks in the ground showing lovely, sturdy, green shoots ~ which I hope is a good sign, because I have never grown onions over winter before, but I am assured they will be fine, and this means I get a little crop of something from the ground next Spring ~ of course, as you can see, the weeds are growing too! 

I have put up the metal supports from my tunnel cloches over the patch and strung green garden twine back and forth to stop cats from digging and birds from pulling ~ for that is truly heart breaking when they come in and destroy your crops and undo all your hard work ~~~

Do you see the cheeky little weeds?  They won't be there much longer ~ I will be at them with my four inch wide hoe!  Perfect for scratching along the ground in between the rows of onions ~~~

The garlic is planted in two big, recycled rubbish bins that I filled with compost.  Each bin has two bulbs in it, each with about a dozen cloves, so between them that will be about two dozen bulbs to harvest in the mid to late Spring ~ I do so love garlic, so I must work out space to help achieve a constant, year 'round supply!  I still have one bulb left, so hope to plant that in soon.  At about £5.00 for a bag of three, beautiful, fat bulbs they will not be that much cheaper than ones in the shops, but I will have the satisfaction of knowing how they were grown and what compost they were grown in! 

The first two show the cloves that were planted in early November and they are growing very well indeed, I think.  Of course, as I have not done this before I have nothing to compare it with ~~~ time will tell ~~~

These two show the second tub, planted about a month later, and they have just started poking their tiny shoots above the soil into the freezing cold Winter ~~~

So, Gentle Reader ~ it is that time of year when resolutions are made ~ there's a surprise! I have resolved ~~~
~to spend less time on line using social media
~to enter some words and images here at least once a week {maybe shorter entries and more often than longer and less often}
~to grow more food

~to eat more healthily
~to get fit!!! {I bet that sounds familiar to many of us}
~to read more new authors
~to try some new recipes at least once a week! {sounds like a plan!}

What are your resolutions?  Have you made any yet, or are they a work in progress?  Do please share!

Remember that ~~~

~~~A Gardener's Work is Never Done~~~


  1. I am so sad about your Post Office. We are very close to losing ours in Knickerbocker. It is only open for a few hours a day. It is really just a shame! If they close our post office, our mail box would be 2 miles from our house ( the post office is only about 31/2!) or we will have to drive 20 miles into the nearby city. It is just wrong.
    So glad you were able to get back in the garden. I hope to work on some of my beds this winter when we get a mild day.
    My resolution for the new year?
    Well, I am reading "the life-changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondo. The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. What drew me to the book is the way she instructions you to pick up each object and hold it in your hands and ask " does it bring me joy?" Sooooooo there lies my New Year!
    Thank you for taking the time to write. I always love to hear from across the pond.
    Sending you best wishes for 2015 from West Texas.

    1. Thank you Chris ~ I think decluttering is high on the list of priorities for many of us.
      Slowly, we are adjusting to the new facility ~ we have no choice ~ but many hearts are heavy at the loss of such a core part of village life ~ who would have thought it?
      Good luck with the decluttering!
      Sending Warm Wishes for a Happy New Year ~~~

  2. Deborah, I hope you put a little note on the back of your cards that they are handmade by you because I would have thought they were store bought! The embossing and the plaid and the pictures you added all came together so nicely. You do, indeed, have a green thumb. You always have interesting things going on in your garden. As for resolutions, I will be sharing mine on my Blog post after the 1st and talking about the ones I made last year, and those shared by my readers. Yours are quite worthy and I hope you will be successful in keeping them. Until then......Happy New Year!

    1. Great suggestion, Cathy ~ thank you ~ I am afraid I don't, but will do so from now on. Yes, the plaid and Victorian scrap papers did come together well, considering they were from two separate sources!
      Looking forward to reading your blog tomorrow!
      Sending Warm Wishes for a Happy New Year ~~~

  3. First of all, I beg to differ...I think you ARE brilliant at card making!

    I am glad to see your onions and garlic doing so well. I have about a dozen garlic up and growing well. I have never tried to plant onions in the fall here, but may look into it and see if it is recommended for my area.

    I want to read a book a month. I have two stacks waiting on me.

    I want to try a new thing each month. For January it will be to make my own vanilla. I have all the ingredients and just need to get started.

    I want to declutter my home. I would love to actually get this done and stop talking about it.

    I want to continue to walk daily. If I can make it through Winter, I can do anything! lol

    I think I'll stop there. Happy New Year to you Deb and all your readers!

    1. tee hee hee ~ okay, Darlene, I won't argue with you my dear friend :)
      Won't it be wonderful to have fresh garlic next year? Do try and find out about the onions, it is very worthwhile to be growing things during the winter if you can.
      Good luck with your resolutions!
      Sending Warm Wishes for a Happy New Year ~~~

    2. Oh Deb, I LOVE this font...absolutely love it! It is beautiful, but still easy to read. You asked what I thought, I love, love, love it. Really, I think it's adequate...not, I love it! lol

  4. Oh, Deb! It's so wonderful to see your new post! I'm so sorry to hear about the closing of your Post Office in the village. What a great loss to all of the villagers! Your handmade Christmas cards are just lovely! Isn't it fun to make special cards for special friends? I always think about the special friend the entire time I am making the card. You are so fortunate to have things growing in your garden over the Winter months. I really miss my Midwest perennial and herb gardens during this time of year. Wishing you a very healthy Happy New Year, Deb! ♡

    1. Hello Dawn, my new friend found in 2014!
      I am sure you miss your garden ~ you can always grow some things indoors, herbs in pots on the window sill, for instance?
      I agree, handmade cards are great to make, and customise too!
      Sending Warm Wishes for a Happy New Year ~~~

  5. How lovely to see your post, I have not been on the internet with Christmas so am a little late in seeing your post. I must admit I was getting a little worried about you!
    I am so sad about your post office, how things are going the wrong way & we will not get things back. We do not have a post office as we are two miles away from a market town, they have a big Victorian post office which is still nice & friendly. The old folks must miss it so much & may be lonely now.
    I love your cards, the Victorian ones are so pretty.
    I wish you a very happy New Year, this year has been such fun for me finding new blogs & starting my own.
    Fondly Michelle

    1. Thank you, Michelle ~ I missed being here too! Sometimes we just don't have enough hours in the day, and I am not the best organised of people. I am working on it!
      I would love to see your Victorian post office, and market towns are such lovely, friendly, community oriented places. We pay a heavy price living so far out from the hub of the county, the kind of places that feel the cutbacks first.
      Sending Warm Wishes for a Happy New Year ~~~

  6. I've missed reading your posts, Deborah. It's good to hear from you. First off, your cards are just lovely and I agree with Cathy-make sure you sign them. Your gardening is coming along quite nicely considering it's winter. I have never grown garlic or onions. There is very little sun in my gardens, but in the winter with the leaves gone, there is more sunshine. So maybe I should consider growing garlic. As far as resolutions go, I received a new camera and hope to learn more about photography. There is always the continuing health and exercise ongoing goals. Happy New Year to you! ♥

    1. Oh! Martha Ellen ~ a new camera! That makes me very excited for you. It can be quite addictive, and you will start looking at things in a very different way, and seeing things you might not have noticed before ~ oh! and everything takes twice as long because you stop to capture that extra shot or ten!
      Sending Warm Wishes for a Happy New Year ~~~

  7. Deb, I so enjoyed seeing your cards and reading how you made them, . . . and how exciting to see mine in the mix!! I just returned from Texas and need to catch up here. But more later!! Keep up the good work!!

    1. Hello there! So pleased you liked your card and looking forward to hearing all about Texas soon!
      Sending Warm Wishes for a Happy New Year ~~~

  8. I also love your handwritten font. Very nice.

    1. Thank you, I found a font called Jane Austen online but could not get it to work here, but then I found this. I have been testing out different fonts, and think this is my keeper!


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