Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Higglety & Pigglety

I realize that I haven't even immortalized them here with a photo or description. My two Exchequer Leghorns who hatched June 5th along with two brothers that were later transported back to the farm. Here they are at a few weeks old and then again at three months.

Higglety's Egg

Higglety laid her first egg on Friday. Small and slightly pointy compared with Blanch's Grade A extra large. I guess Pigglety will start laying very soon as well.

Saturday, October 15, 2016


This past week I spent in New Brunswick where the leaf colour was 'mind-blowing'. I'm not sure I've ever seen quite such a spectacular display. Photos don't do it justice. It's more like wandering around in a Franklin Carmichael, Tom Thompson or A J Casson painting.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


... is gharsley.

Ogden Nash Further Reflection on Parsley

The parsnip, children, I repeat,
Is simply an anaemic beet.
Some people call the parsnip edible;
Myself, I find this claim incredible.

Ogden Nash The Parsnip

Celery, raw,
Develops the jaw.
But celery, stewed,
Is more quietly chewed.

Ogden Nash Celery

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Late Early Risers

"The most productive early pole bean I have ever grown. The huge long flat pods are produced at about the same time as the bush snaps are ready and continue producing all summer long. The long pods keep their excellent texture and flavour even when quite large. Highly recommended!"
From Heritage Harvest Seed
I concur. Started producing early July, these just picked September 17th.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Grape Harvest

This is my first grape harvest. Last year the birds or squirrels made short work of them while my back was turned. I got about 8 lbs. of very tiny, but perfectly formed grapes and spent a day reducing them into about 3 litres of what can best be described as 'slops'. Even using pectin-infused sugar and boiling it up to 'jam' on the candy thermometre, I couldn't bully it into setting.
Ah well, it's not bad dribbled over yoghurt. Next year I'll make wine.

*Footnote - Injury added to insult! The hour of squeezing grapes between my fingers has resulted in contact dermatitis. Grrr.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Leopard Slugs

On Saturday just enough dampness drizzled out of the overhanging cloud to moisten the ground. And that was all the invitation the slugs and snails needed to have a night out. I took this picture of the group congregating at the chicken feeder and, as they are rather well camouflaged, I have outlined the ones I can see. Mostly leopard slugs (Limax maximus) and the odd snail. Apart from that spritzing it has been bone dry since June. Click on picture to enlarge

Sunday, August 07, 2016


Not only is she our star layer (5 or 6 eggs a week over the past year, right through winter!), but she is also quite photogenic. Four of the six Leghorn eggs that we put under Doris in May hatched and it looks like two are pullets and two are cockerels.

Saturday, August 06, 2016


Pollinators at work on a male flower (c) and female flower (r)

The recent warm weather has kickstarted the squash. The vines had been rampant and lots of tentative fruiting, but finally some look determined to go through with it.
'Anna Schwartz' Hubbard on the left, 'Black Futsu' moschata (top) and 'Oregon Sweetmeat' (bottom)

Sunday, July 03, 2016

The Mrs.

This is the third female stag beetle I've found in the garden this week (different sizes). She spends 6 or 7 years underground and then comes above ground for a couple of months to mate.
Her final act before she dies is to make her way back to the place from which she emerged where she buries herself into the ground about 12" down and lays her eggs.
I just saw a male 'flying' around tonight ...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Alpine Meadows

Just back from a week in the mountains following the Annecy Animation Festival...

(the big picture)

(and the detail)

Friday, June 03, 2016

Here in Canada

'Robin's' eggs look like this.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Winter Arrives

Snow in the night amounting to a couple of inches, gone by noon.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Or Be Electrocuted

Back in September I took part in a group art exhibition in Bruges. And for that I produced a silkscreen print - 3 colours plus spot hand colouring - in an edition of 35. Fits neatly in a standard 30 x 40 cm. frame.
Click on image to read and get in touch if you are interested... a snip at £50.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Oca 2015

Just dug up my oca crop. I find them to be really beautiful objects with their intense, luminous colour.
If only I had protected the foliage in time, before mid November when we got 2 days of light frost, they might have bulked up a lot more through this unusually mild December*. Just by putting a few back in each year I've been getting a good supply. They don't seem to be affected by any pests or disease (so far) and are happy to go on growing in the same corner year after year.

(click on picture to see it in close-up splendour)

* The average daytime temperature on the winter solstice was the same as it was on the summer soltice!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Communal Bath

A daily event in their social calendar.

Monday, December 14, 2015

December Fourteenth

I've been in the garden today cleaning up and doing a little transplanting. So Mild! I found a few strawberries that will never turn red now, what with no sun. November was officially the dullest on record. It doesn't look like we'll be getting a white Christmas this year, maybe a lighter shade of grey if we're lucky...

Sunday, December 06, 2015


I never got around to posting this picture of the only variety of aubergines that I grew this year. H, after 9 months working on a farm in Lewes that specializes in Japanese vegetables, has convinced me to grow 'Kurume Long Purple' next year.

And, on the subject of eggs, 3 more again today! The hens haven't yet slowed production for the winter. Possibly because the weather has stayed so mild.

Sunday, November 08, 2015


This year for the first time I had some blossoms on my pomegranate bush! It was a gift cutting from Dr. K back in 2012. They fell away before forming any fruit, but, hey maybe next year...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Voice On Record

One of the many great radio shows to have been broadcast on ResonanceFM over the years is Voice On Record with Sean Williams. It still gives me great joy to replay these podcasts on occasion while I'm working. Most especially the wildlife recordings and episodes 35, 36 & 38 featuring Peter Scott are ones I'll never tire of hearing.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ripe Strawberries!

Detail from William Morris design 'Strawberry Thief'

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Recipe For Gruel

I never did post a link here to my little animated film based upon a piece of prose by Frank Key. It's done the rounds of festivals and is now on line for all to view. (Hopefully not on your iPhone.)
You can watch it HERE.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Loads of chard in the garden right now and some of it quite remarkable in size ( Fordhook Giant).
I've put the book there for an indication, but they measure 28 inches in height and the stems are nearly 3 inches across!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Whiskey Galore!

Last weekend we made a little detour to Rye to see friend Paul Bommer's exhibition of prints now on (for another week) at the Lion Street Store. And I bought this beautiful new edition of Compton Mackenzie's 'Whiskey Galore' with cover by Paul.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Choices, choices...

... a bit like the ballot paper.
(Photo taken down in Selbourne area - Gilbert White's neck of the woods)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pole Beans

Yesterday I got my bean poles up. That always feels like a major achievement to me. Suddenly the garden starts to have some structure, some backbone (back-bohnen?).
Anyway, they will lend support to this year's crop.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015


This time of year as I'm sowing seed and potting on, I get all my 'Rootrainers' out of storage and cleaned up. And not only are they great for propagating but they seem to make a fine winter hidey-hole for all sorts of beasts. One must be very careful not to put one's sweet young seedlings into a tray that is harbouring a fat slug (see bottom left).

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Very Late Harvest

Winter has been so mild thus far that I decided to leave the oca underground until now. This is the crop of edible sized tubers that I dug yesterday and then there are many more pea sized ones which hardly seem worth washing. I have saved out several more that are covered in sprouts which I intend to pot up and keep frost free until spring.
I do think they look jolly appetizing.