Things I did in February

Well, the short answer is: not much…

Books I’ve read:

Bandieten op Bali
De discus valt aan

Currently reading:

The Delicate Storm

You see, my TBR pile has grown quite a bit again. A friend of mine asked me to pick up 3 boxes of books, which we split evenly amongst us. But they are all children’s books and I love reading children’s books. Many of the books in the boxes I have read as a child.

I’ve had problems with my thyroid levels due to working a few night shifts. This meant that I haven’t been reading as much as I wanted. Luckily my boss and I have decided that it’s not advisable with my health issues to work anymore night shifts. I am so relieved about this decision.

The 365/365 challenge is going well. I haven’t released many books in Feb, but I’m currently on 82 released books. As for the 52 books in 52 towns challenge I’m up to 18 towns/villages/hamlets. A pretty good score if I may say so myself.

I’ve started working on the vegetable patch. I’ve been digging and removing lots of grass. I’ve also cleared the tiles in the garden from grass. My sis in law has a dethatcher which we can borrow. This is very necessary, as the front lawn contains more moss than actual grass. And in the lawn at the back there’s a large patch of moss that keeps growing bigger and bigger.As for making the vegetable patch bigger, I’ve still got to remove 3 square meters of grass. Which I believe I can do in about 3 hours. But I won’t do it all in one go and it has to be a bit dry. The grass is very heavy and I don’t have much room for it in the green wheelie bin. The bin can’t weigh more than 80 KG and you will be surprised how quickly it’s up to that level.

I’ve made a chart of what seeds I have and when I need to plant them out. Of course, after I made it I bought and been given more seeds, so it’s completely out of date again.
I did sow some bell pepper seeds about 3 weeks ago and yesterday I saw there’s already 3 showing the first leaves. Which makes me very happy.
The cement bucket and pots still haven’t been bought. This I will (try to) do later this week or next week.

As for the fencing that blew down last October, our neighbours have bought a fence online and it’s been delivered last week. In the last weekend of March it’s supposed to go up.

I am hoping to do a few more blog posts next month.

What have I been doing in January

As I posted in the beginning of January I wanted to get on with my TBR pile of BookCrossing books. So far it’s been going well. I’ve read 8 books and am reading 2 at the moment. (un)Fortunately my TBR pile grew with 9 books, so basically I’ve gotten nowhere with that…

Books I’ve read:

I’ve made a beginning with reading at least 4 books, which weren’t to my taste. So they’ve gone from my TBR pile to my AVL pile.

I’ve started with the 365/365 challenge, which is in the Dutch forum of BookCrossing and started by Aaltsje. So far I’ve managed to release 66 books. I’ve also found out the stats on Bookcrossing.com are broken. A week ago they’ve displayed a total of 63 released so far this year. Then, a couple of days ago, I found out the stats have gone done to 61. I’ve been through the whole of my bookshelf, even when I kept score all the way through this month, and I know I’ve released 66 books, not 61. This is a bit odd, but I’ll keep counting and looking at what my BC stats say throughout the year.

Two weeks into this year I’ve managed to get myself into a 52 books in 52 towns challenge as well. Not entirely sure how that happened, it must have been something to do with my night shifts… So far, with help of my lovely colleagues, I’m up to 10 towns. I’ve been searching around on the map for hamlets and villages nearby where I can release books. I think I can get up to 52 in a day. But I’m not going to do that. I do keep a list of places I want to leave a book in though. At the top of that list is a tiny hamlet called “De Hel” (Hell)!

And that’s more than enough about books. On to the next topic, the garden.

In January the weather, the cold and the short days meant I simply wasn’t interested in the garden at all. But now that the days are getting longer I’ve become more interested in the garden again.

I’ve thought about making the veggie patch bigger. This will mean I have to get something to make a clear line between the grass and the vegetable garden. I’ve thought of those wood rolls that you can get, but they are more expensive than the concrete band. So I’m going with that. I’ve also made a list of things I want to buy, mainly big pots for aubergines and bell peppers and a few more potato tubs. The latter have been purchased online and I’m waiting on delivery within the next week. We also need to talk to the neighbours about the fencing that’s been blown down last October. I’ve sent them a text and they’ll get back to us shortly. I’m just hoping it won’t be too expensive…

I’m going to make a sowing schedule and have decided to buy a few seedlings to make my life easier. But I haven’t bought those Samla boxes for nothing, so I am going to sow most of my seeds. Yes, I use Ikeas Samla boxes as greenhouses. Much cheaper than the dedicated ones and they work just as good. I think I’ve got 6 of those.

Right now I’m waiting on a few item to go on sale. I want a tiny garden greenhouse. They were on sale last year in Aldi, but I didn’t get them. A few weeks after, when I did want them, they were sold out. I also want a few more seeds. And I’ve got my mind set on a mini garden pond. I decided to buy a cement bucket (65 Liter) for this purpose.

The next few weeks I will get busy with everything.

My hopes, dreams and wishes for 2014

I’m not one for New Years resolutions. I joked on Twitter about it.

But there are some things I’d like to do.

Life, home and garden:

Lettuce and strawberries

  • I would like to visit the nearby Zoo a little more often. We went to a different, bigger Zoo last year and it really was a disappointment. We still have enough tickets to go at least 4 times this year, so I would like to do that.
  • I’d love to get the hallway done. Right now, we (still) don’t have a coat rack. We haven’t had one since we moved here 2 years ago. I’d like to try and finish that next week.
  • I hope my dad can get a Velux window for the attic. There’s a really old Velux and it’s drafty and leaky. We have talked about glueing it shut, but I like to have a new Velux, so I can get it open in Summer. My dad knows a few homes that are being demolished and they’ve had new Velux windows installed about 3 years ago. So he’s going to ask them if he can buy one or two for a reasonable price.
  • I haven’t yet made plans for my veggie patch. I have learned a few things from last year and I’d quite like to try to get more out of it. I think I can do that quite easily.

Books and Bookcrossing:

Books from the summer lottery

  • I have signed myself up for the 365/365 Challenge. It’s in the Dutch forum of BookCrossing and it’s started by Aaltsje. It’s nothing much, just release at least 365 books this year. Now, with lots and lots of books already registered and more to go I think I need something like this to get books out of the attic. I’m quite the hoarder…
  • I think I’ve said this last year as well, but I’d like to get on with my TBR pile. Right now, there’s more coming in than there’s going out. There’s at least 135 books on the pile, but I think it’s actually more. Sometimes I move books from the Release boxes onto the TBR box, but forget to update their status on BookCrossing. And yes, the “onto” was deliberate…
  • I’m going to try to make a list of which books I’ve read and am reading every month. Just to keep the books flowing. There’s so many books I’ve had for years now and I think it’s time to see them go.
  • I should go through my TBR pile to see if there’s books that can travel further without reading them first. With so many books on there I think I should be more picky about what goes on there.

Crafting and Hobbies:

  • I have to find a way to get googly eyes and coloured paper without paying too much for them. I have agreed to make lots and lots of little owls and other cute paper crafty things for a charity in our town. They give out boxes of toys to people who don’t have money to buy toys themselves. I might have to contact them and ask for sponsors. Not sure how I can do that…
  • I want to do more sewing. Sis in laws baby is having her birthday in May and I’d like to sew a slip dress for her. No idea what size it should be as I have no idea about babies… Might have to get help from mom in law to get the right size.
  • I want to do more cooking and baking. I have been doing a lot of it last year, but I love it, so I’d like to do more. Main problem is that I’m picky with food… Oh well, we’ll see what happens.

 

I think that’s about it. What are the things you’d like to do?

Veggie Garden 30th September

After my last update on my veggie garden I’ve been doing a lot of clearing out. Most of the lettuce is gone. What’s left is not eatable anymore. I’ve made the last salad of our homegrown lettuce this weekend. It was delicious.

Almost all tomatoes have been cleared out. There are only 4 plants left that had healthy tomatoes. And they’ve given loads. I’ve made a huge batch of tomato soup using all kinds of recipes put together.
The endive are no more. I’ve taken them. Only used two plants. Next year I’ll try to make a sowing plan, so we don’t get everything in the same few weeks. We’ve eaten lots and lots of beans. unfortunately I’ve managed to cock-up when clearing out the freezer, so I’ve accidentally threw away the last of the chinese beans…

Still left in the garden are a few tomatoes, the strawberries and the berry bushes. The raspberry is flowering again and there’s a lot of raspberries growing on it. I’m delighted with that.

Another thing that happened… My elderly neighbour yanked out one of the flowering hygrangeas as she thought it was a weed. How she ever managed to see that one hydrangea as a weed is beyond me. I’ve been very mad about it. Since then I’ve replaced it with a new one. Sadly it’s not the same colour, but there was a big gap between the three remaining hydrangeas that I did want to fill. And it was 50% off, so not a lot of money.
Since then we agreed that she would keep out of our garden and we would keep the tiny bit of space she can’t quite reach (which is why she went into our garden in the first place) a bit clear of weeds. Let’s hope she’ll remember this next year and not yank out any other plants…

One last question. Can anyone identify the mushroom that I photographed? It’s in our lawn and I have no idea which one it is. Is it eatable?

Veggie Garden 8th August

Okay, I messed up. My veggie garden is one big mess. And it’s giving out way more than we can eat…

As you can see the tomatoes are all over the garden. I should have bought sticks to keep them upright, but I thought the wouldn’t get so big. When I realised they were groing out of hand it was too late. They collapsed and grew all over the place.
But they are still producing lots and lots of tomatoes.

The lettuce is about 1 meter in height. It’s growing so fast we can’t eat enough of it. Even giving it away doesn’t help one bit. Next year I really need less lettuce.

The endives are shooting up too high too. But they are enjoyable. We’ve had endives yesterday and it was delicious.  I’ve dug out the potatoes as the plants were dying and have gotten 1.6 kilo from it. Some very tiny ones, some bigger. But very tasty.

The strawberries are getting less good. They are tiny and not as tasty as they were just a few weeks ago. And I think I ate all the raspberries. Not many have even made it inside the house. I ate them as I picked them 🙂

So, next year; less lettuce, less tomatoes, buy sticks for the tomatoes…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

You really can’t get much fresher produce then the produce from your own garden. I have posted lots of pictures of the garden before, so check those out too.

These are some new ones:

For more entries, click here.

Veggie Garden 11th July

Another update on the veggie garden. It’s ridiculous how quickly everything grows. It really is.

I think I’m going to get a buttload of tomatoes, there are flowers everywhere… The cucumber is the same. Loads of flowers.
Cat Dipsy has finally moved her ass out of the herbs, so everything is growing swiftly. Most of the herbs are rather… spicy. We don’t need a lot of it in our food.
I’m ashamed to say I have no idea how the bell peppers are doing, since the weeds are growing along the fence at an alarming speed. I do water the place where I think they are, but I haven’t seen them for the last week, I think.
The Lettuce is doing great. I’ve given away a few plants already and I think I have to give away even more. I still get the lowest leaves off for our own salad, so we can eat more from it.

The potatoes and chicory are growing like mad. I can’t wait to see what is going on beneath the soil. I have seen the first chinese beans and they look delish. They’ll just have to grow a bit bigger before I’ll get them off.

As you can see everything is doing great. The cold weather has slowed them down a bit, but everything is catching up.

Celebrity Chefs and Cooking Shows

Earlier today I read Melanie’s post here. I totally agree with her on the fact that I can watch cooking shows all day. I love them. But I think they make it all seem a bit too easy. I can never get anything to look like they do. Plus it always takes me way longer than the celebrity chefs.
Of course this is probably because it’s their job. If they would do my job they’d take ages too…

What I learned from cooking shows:

  • I really need a bigger stove. Just 4 burners is a bit tight with most recipes.
  • I need more pots and pans.
  • I need generally more workspace.
  • I need a chef to do my cooking! 😛
  • I need a dishwasher.

Lettuce and strawberries

Chefs always make everything seem so easy. So quick, so simple. Yet it’s almost never as simple as they make it look.

That’s one of the reasons I love Nigel Slater. His Simple Cooking show really is simple. The recipes are usually made with only one pan, sometimes two. And in his Dish of the Day show you can see how you could use up the left overs. My left overs usually end up in the garbage can…

So, I’m sorry Melanie, for not voting in your poll, but my favourite chef isn’t on there.

Veggie Garden 25th June

Sorry for not posting these photos earlier. But I simply haven’t had time. I’ve been working a lot this week.

Anyway, everything is doing great!

The tomato plants that survived the weather are doing well and some of them even have flowers already. I had sewn a few more and I’ve planted those out earlier this week. I haven’t had the courage to check on them as the weather hasn’t been that great.
The two cucumber plants I had in pots are out in the garden and have flowers too.
The basil is outside, but isn’t doing so well. Thyme is doing great either, since Dipsy chooses to lie down, with her behind right in the thyme… I’ve planted the bell peppers along the garden fence, as the garden is bursting with vegetables.
The lettuce is doing so well we have been eating salads at least twice a week. I think I’ll give my neighbours some of it later too. I’ve been planting way too much, so a good lesson for next year.

I’ve planted some chicory as well, as I love chicory and would love to grow my own. The potato plants are growing like mad and I’ve put the soil up to the top of the bag. I’m dying to know how much potatoes I’ll grow, because I’ve just paid 2 euro a kilo and I think that’s ridiculously expensive!
The beets, carrots and chinese beans are growing like mad too. I hope I planted enough chinese beans as they are so tasty from your own garden.
The strawberries aren’t red yet, but they are a nice size. The red currant, blueberry, tayberry and raspberry need a little more sun too.

They say the weather will be better next week, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Veggie Garden 30th May

It’s been two weeks since I last posted an update.

The weather has been appalling. It’s been way too cold, with temps that would look great in February, not May. As a result, some of the tomatoes have given up and died. As have the cucumber plants. I have two cucumber plants still in pots, but I’m hesitant to plant them in the garden yet. I might wait another week before doing that. The basil is still inside as well, as the temps were just too low for those to survive. And the bell pepper plants are inside as well, but almost ready to go outside. I’m not sure though, where they need to go, as the weggie garden is full and the plants do need space. I think I may place them along the fence.

The other herbs are out and are doing great. I’ve placed a pot around the marjory and the thyme to prevent the cats from digging them out.
This hasn’t helped my tiny lettuce and endive plants, though. This morning, after mopping, cat Dipsy walked in leaving muddy paw prints all over the garden… After mopping again (the third time, see this tweet) I went into the garden seeing if she had caused any damage… She had. 4 tiny lettuce plants are missing, along with 2 endive plants. And she managed to kick out a lot of the seedlings that were alongside it.
Thanks a lot!

As you can see, the red currant and blueberry are doing great. Even the tayberry has flowers. I didn’t expect that, as they said it would take another year before they’d be flowering. I’m hoping for lots of strawberries.

Let’s hope for lots more sunshine and warmth the coming weeks/months.