Tag Archives: NaBloPoMo

#NaBloPoMO: Hobbit Homebrew Gin infusions

Gin infusions
Gin infusions

Have decided to do some more home brew experimentation. I have to confess that I have not grown any of the fruit products in this concoction. All of the fruit in this experiment is frozen fruit, from the frozen food section of a value supermarket. The Gin is also the cheaper stuff from that particular value super market. Blueberries apparently work better when they have been frozen, so we shall see. Notoriously difficult to grow, I don’t have blueberries on the plot for that very reason. At the back of the picture, the rhubarb vodka awaits decanting. More on that later.

On the left, the jar contain black forest fruits. Blackberries, red and black currants, grapes and sour cherries. The jar on the right, contains blueberries. Both have a generous helping of sugar. I’d say about 250g of normal granulated sugar. In addition, i have added coriander seeds and cinnamon. Especially for the blueberries. I was surprised as to how popular a combination blueberries and coriander actually was.

Both jars were then filled with 70 cl each of the gin. Shaken vigorously and stashed into an airing cupboard. There they will stay for six weeks, but will need to disturbed regularly for the first week, and then once a week.

#NaBLoPoMO: Planting Autumn Garlic 2014

IMG_4005 IMG_4007

Once again, I am planting garlic. I have already planted one batch of Provence wight into a raised bed. So today, I have plugged in garlic into a second bed. A third has been prepared and tidied up as I might plant some more yet. Every year, I try to identify and plant an appropriate variety. it’s been fun trying to establish the best, the results have been quite interesting. The one key finding, is that raised beds are beneficial. In the past, the cloves planted into raised beds have been bigger and more flavoursome. By that, I mean pungent!

On the other hand, cloves plugged into open ground, have been much smaller. Ma has complained that these are then very difficult to peel and prepare. You would easily use a dozen of those smaller cloves in the place of three larger ones.

Beyond the Provence wight, I am also trying Elephant garlic this year. It is technically, a leek with garlic tendencies, The first that I have tried this, and the difference is already clear in the size of the cloves.

The garlic arrives in bulbs, as you can see. This year, I have found some from http://www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk/ I was impressed by the size and quality of these. As well as the fact that this is a nice autumnal collection. Whilst there were three loose elephant garlic cloves, the rest of the bulbs are broken down into singular cloves. These cloves are then plugged into the dirt, with only their tip exposed.

Many people, will use supermarket garlic. There has to be caution with this, I think, In some cases, the garlic is for different climates and may not necessarily take off. I’ve never done it, but that’s not to say it can’t be done or isn’t successful.

In the past, when there has been an abundance of garlic, some the crop has been pickled. Rather nice actually, and has kept rather well. The majority has been used successfully in cooking. There is just something about fresh, home grown garlic. It certainly keeps longer, and definitely tastes different.

#NaBloPoMo: Welcome to the Plot

Welcome to Hobbitland
Welcome to Hobbitland


Welcome to Hobbitland, or at least my little part of it. In Birmingham, England. For the benefit of new and future readers, this is a patch of land. A vegatable pot, rented from the local council for, the cultivation, funnily enough of fruit, veg, and flowers.

What started off as 100 square metres, is now 200 square metres. I took on the second half last year, and to be fair at that point; it felt as though I was running out of space.

There have been perils and puddles, you can read all about them in the past posts. But now, the plot is starting to get going properly. The amount of things you learn, is phenonemonal. Yet one growing season won’t necessarily be the same as the next.

The black and white diagram that you see above, is something of an annual exerise. An opportunity to plan out and prepare for next spring. Each of the squares is either a raised bed or a bed in open ground. The shaded boxes, are the smaller wendy house and the large 2m x 3m Polytunnel. The polytunnel is currently home to a clutch of Chilli Pepper plants.

As it stands, now is time for me to tidy up the plot and to also grow over wintering crops such as garlic. Sadly, there are times where the British Winter does get in the way. Come to think of, the summer also gets in the way too. Especially when it is wet, windy, and downright drab. At the moment, the one bed does have garlic in it. There is also fenugreek and spinach still cropping, as well as lovely red vulcan chard. In years passed, I have at this time of the year sunk lots of bulbs for the spring. However, I am happy for now to have roses up and down the plot. There two dozen, perhaps, roses, that in the height of summer have produced fantastic blooms. I concede that they are not really edible. But what would an English Garden be without a few roses. There is even one called William Shakespeare 2000.  As well as would be posh roses, there are some less posh ones. Some from a poundshop, some that are mysteries entirely. They are lost label roses, and could be anything. All of them will be pruned in the coming months to help them regenerate for next year.

You might have observed that there are some fruit trees. I have forgetton, to label the rhubarb. Most of these trees are two-three years old. I have victoria plum, braeburn and falstaff apple, rochester peach, a cherry tree the name of which escapes me. Concorde pear as well. The plot is home to one domesticated ‘Reuben’ Blacberry. In being domestic, this is thornless. Wild blackberries are full thorns and will tear you to shreds. I am lucky that the plot is edged on the far side by such wild blackberries. These have been jammed quite a bit this year.


#NaBloPoMO: pen, paper,Blog


I mentioned previously how I like using Moleskine notebooks. Have been using them for years, particularly since I trained to teach. There was just something about them. Especially given the literary history to them. I’ve had many different versions. Okay they are pricey, that is an issue! If they weren’t imported, they would distinctly cheaper.But they do last forever, they are fairly robust.

I now have a notebook dedicated to blogging. Especially since I might not be around a PC/phone/tablet. There really is something about seeing your words fill lines and the space of a page. Think I wrote two bits yesterday with a large pot of tea-hobsons in Stratford upon avon, £1.75, bargain-could have written another, but I had to depart.

And Jean was correct. Still don’t improve my handwriting.

And nl

#NaBloPoMo: Sampling Shakespeare: Much ado about nothing

Funny. This was play was funny.

imageFrom the opening moments, there is laughter, guffaws and giggles. Definitely more bang for buck compared to ‘Loves labours lost’.

The lavish sets and costumes are back, and boy do you still channel Downton. Though I did feel a bit of Jeeves and Wooster this time. The actors have done a switcheroo and the minors from the first show now occupy the major roles. To be fair, the fella who played bendick was a heavy weight in the first show. He now carries the show, complete with dirty giggle. You’ll know it when you hear it.

And talking about hearing things. The bad butler, he was a Bollywood! I for once, wasn’t the only Bollywood in the house! That was a surprise and a half I tell you. But his accent. Oh Dead Gods. Maybe, in being a born and bred Brummie, I can hear the idiolect rhythm and rhyme a mile off. And boy was it ghetto, or close to it. I got sounds of Dudley and Sandwell. It was rather disturbing. The boy butler, from the Black Country. I may have squirmed a little in my seat.

The costumes are exquisite. Lots of dapper looking chaps in twenties suits. Girls wear the most beautiful of age dresses. The word really is sumptuous.

Dogberry was a spot of light relief. The teapot scene was wonderfully crafted. Akin to something out of the Two Ronnies. Not a single word is uttered, but the meaning is clear.

Definitely more bang for buck compared to loves labours lost. A good night out, with good clean fun. A more positive story, written in a more fluid way. There was no part where you wondered when it would end.

The last word though. So much better than Joss Whedon’s attempt. Love that fella and his universe; but leave Shakespeare alone.

#NaBloPoMO: Starting off some where, some how.

Later today I am sampling Shakespeare for last time time this season. I have had the privilege of seeing quite a few productions at the RSC over the last eighteen months. Some of the were lovely, one of them less so. Tonight I will be watching ‘Much ado about nothing’ and with no Joss Whedon in sight. Hopefully I will post the verdict later If I am fully cogent.

I am watching it at the RSC, arguably the cradle of all things contemporary Shakespeare. Sat on the river Avon, it has a certain something about it. As long as you are polite to the geese, of course.

Makes sense to me, to start the month of NaBloPoMO here. The birthplace of a Great British wordsmith does the job by way of inspiration. I have my black biro and moleskine notebook ready to craft. As nice as it is being sat typing. Having a notebook and pen is something unique. You can see the words exit on the page and watch a whole world being created. Sadly my writing does resemble a spider having crawled through ink; so typeface is fine as an end product. I have quite a few ideas to draft out. You’d be surprised as to what crosses your mind when you think about it.

NaBloPoMo: Why not…I do like writing….

I have heard about the one where you attempt to write a novel over a month. Only recently, have I heard about NaBloPoMo, Not sure that I could write a novel over a month, and I already write fan fiction (I am part of Star Trek Fan Fiction RPG, you can find it at sectorg,org) Have been involved with that for nearly ten years, but have been writing that sort of fan fiction for 12 years, So you never know, I might send out a few horticultural themed star trek posts, trust me, the horticultural theme is present in star trek. I was convinced that I saw Kes and Neelix grow tomato plants in Voyager, and in DS9, there is a whole day of planting that one colony does before it is unceremoniously wiped out of existence. Even TNG does not escape, there is a botanist and an arboretum on board.

There has to be more gardening and GYO in star trek,,,,,somewhere!

Oh, I remembered something. I did mean to start a blog novella…it’s called dandelions and gerberas, so it is waiting to be written. The blog category is there, it’s just a bit empty that’s all. I think I was waiting for a burst or a boom to act as a muse. I guess that will turn up at some point then. Just watch this space.

So this NaBloPoMo business. A post a day for the month of November. That seems plausible, an outlet for things that I find interesting and want to share. I’m sure I will think of something.