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~~~