Saturday, July 28, 2007

Round yellow things.

On the BBC weather forecast chart for next week for the Tintagel area there are unfamiliar round orangey yellow shapes depicted. Not sure what they are, haven't seen such symbols for a while.

Trying not to get too excited, but do hope it is right!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


We have had a bit of a move round of stuff at Michael House.

Simon and I now sleep in the little cottage behind the house. This means that the top bathroom is now a private bathroom for guests sleeping in room three, the standard room. It has also allowed me to remove all my craft materials from the back of the sitting room to the room at the top, where we used to sleep. They are currently mainly in a big heap on the floor, but it will be very exciting once I get things sorted out. The sitting room is much nicer and guests will have the top bathroom entirely to themselves.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The real price of milk.

I hope you will spare a few moments to read the excellent blog by Richard, who runs a vegetarian guest house in the New Forest, about the way in which most milk and dairy products are produced by cows kept in vast sheds throughout their lives. 'Zero Grazing'. Click on the link to Richard's blog. This site also gives a useful list of vegetarian resources, and invites feedback on places you have visited.

Whilst I hope organic produce is healthier and I know a lot is tastier, the fact that the welfare of the animals is better is a far more compelling argument for it's use. Where I have long bought only free range eggs, and mainly organic ones, I have only more recently made an effort to source organic milk, yogurt and cream whenever possible. Most of ours comes from Riverford, see earlier blog for praise heaped on them! Cheese will be a whole further challenge, and I doubt I will achieve this in the short term.

Monday, July 16, 2007

hallow, Ted The kat here.

wi, o wi, just wen i am settled in the big kervd plastik hows i hav with funi plants in, maybe sleping a bit, dus Vanesser hav to start spraying worta everiwere. It menes i hav to muve or get wet. i thinc she dus it just to annoi me. she is jelus of me, resting. she corls it a politunnle or sumthing. Hu is Poly? it is my tunnle, not Poly's.
Rules of running a guest house

Number One

Never throw snails at your guests.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Prize winning courgettes etc.

We officially have prize winning courgettes at Michael House.

OK, so they only came second.

OK, there were only three entries.

Oh, and it was only a tiny village show.

But, still they are prize winning. We ate them this evening, there is nothing like the first courgettes. They tasted like winners.

There is something lovely about the village garden show. Everyone gathering things together they have grown, making beautiful pies and flower arrangements, and the children producing amazing creations on plates, making masks and cup cake creations. Fierce competition, yet also willing each other to do well, bringing us all together.

Oh, I also won third prize for the strangest shaped vegetable. There were only three entries to this. So, not many strange shaped vegetables in Treknow then, or no-one wished to admit they had created something other than perfect specimens. Mind you, there was only one entry in the radish class. Fortunatley, it won first prize. I heard of a cucumber, the only entry in its class, which only won second prize somewhere.
Surprising, really, that there was anything at the show, after the last entry I made, moaning about the effect of the weather on our gardens.
The picture at the top of the page, which I cannot get to move down here, won second prize, out of quite a lot. I'm not competetive a bit (??), but it would be nice to win a first prize sometime. Oh well, next year. Perhaps they will introduce a class for largest snail. Then I'd be in with a chance.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vegetables - or not.

The vegetable garden is very depressing this year. The main things doing well are those in the polytunnel, where there are lots of courgettes coming along, cucumbers galore, chillies, peppers, and tomatoes shortly. We have had lettuce in the polytunnel too, and have some strawberries as well. It is great to be able to make salads with most things being home grown. We also have cornflowers and calendula for cutting and start off the herbs etc.
The image on the right was probably taken last year or the year before, but it looks similar this year, although my experiment of sweetcorn in the polytunnel did not really work!

But, outside, the story is rather bleak and windswept. The soft fruit is doing fine, there are lots of raspberries, although I do not think they are the yummiest variety, so may need to be replaced. Black-, white- and red currants are all doing well, adding a sharpness and colour to the breakfast fruit salads, and I may have enough to make a few pies etc. The rhubarb is lovely. The strawberries have looked good, but, where do they vanish to? They are in a fruit cage, but seem to have mostly disappeared!

Otherwise, a sorry state. Simon spent hours preparing the soil, adding compost etc. and then planting seeds. Of the carrots we have one. That will be a precious carrot indeed, if nothing has eaten it underground already! The fennel never showed at all. The beetroot should be OK eventually, and the broad beans have done a bit. The sweetcorn may be OK. The peas were hopeless, and my favourite, runner beans, have been eaten or blown away, i have tried about three times, using seeds and bought in plants. The winds, rain, salty air, seem to have had a dramatic effect this year. And as for the slugs and snails, they have feasted and reproduced and feasted again...

I only feel comfortable confessing all this because I know others have had a similar time locally in their gardens and because we have had far more success in previous years! We are still novices and have little time to devote to the garden, but it is very exciting to bring the produce in and use it in the kitchen for our guests, and there is enough to still get some satisfaction and not give up, and the pain will be all forgotten by next spring!