Posts Tagged ‘tomato patch’

This morning I was doing my Yoga for Softies routine under the trees in the garden when I heard a noise overhead–a sort of chug-chug. Odd sort of bird sound I thought. In fact it was a red squirrel doing his rooftop rounds–checking out the early fruit on the wild mulberry.

I watched as he elegantly progressed past the church facade and towards the hedgerow, disappearing from sight and sound and leaving me to my contortions.

Two days ago as I was on my way to the tomato patch to water-in the last six plants, a branch of the Judas tree snapped overhead and fell at my feet.

I looked up and there was Beau–looking down big-eyed at me from even higher than this morning’s squirrel–clearly surprised but otherwise unworried. I was the worried one and started shouting for him to go back when Meredith came out and said calmly “ignore him”!

Sure enough as I returned, watering over, there he was on a low branch readying himself to leap onto the garden table!

If you stand still in the courtyard these days and listen carefully you become aware of a low tweeting and twittering.

If you listen harder you might be able to locate the three little hens–working the undergrowth like fully grown adults and on their very own social network–keen to show us that in fact they were the trend setters and the whole world has followed their lead!

Resting tweeters …

Searching for a trowel in the pigeonnier last week, I heard a snoring sound.

Quite loud–the sort you might expect to hear in the lounge of a traditional men’s club in London–after lunch.

I looked high and low–and eventually found the source–snugged in deep on a shelf against the wall, masked by a small bowl.

Marmaladesoundfully asleep!

He is not well. His left cheek shows signs of swelling and his eyes run–the cancer in his nasal passages causes the snoring sound. He eats and shows his customary friendliness to us and has some quality of life, but at some point we’ll have to make the painful decision.

For the time being though he still likes to encourage me to keep going on the yoga mat and not be distracted by a chug chug from above!

“What on earth is he doing?!!…”

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I’ve been neglectful of the tomato patch and it has got out of control.

I’m too ashamed to show a photo of it!

I didn’t do a proper job on the staking and when tomatoes get riper they get heavier and need strong support.

My efforts to put things right yesterday were comical, and I decided to let them go their ways and be grateful for what they offer.

I apologised and promised I’d do better by them next year!

Mother Nature’s been in a forgiving mood and the yield has been sweet and generous so far.

I collected enough ripe tomatoes to make this salad.

It’s based on the wonderful Riverford Farm Cook Book with some rocket added.

a handful of rocket

1 jar of cooked cannellini [white beans]–rinsed

3 courgettes–sliced into 1/2 centimetre–ie not too thick and not too thin!– strips

a generous handful of cherry tomatoes

a generous handful of basil leaves

1 clove of garlic–peeled and pulped with a pinch of salt

3 tablespoons olive oil


more olive oil to brush the courgettes and to annoint the warmed beans

Heat a griddle  to hot.

Warm  the beans through in a little water.

Drain and moisten them with a tablespoon of olive oil.

Add them to a large bowl in which you are going to mix the salad.

Brush the courgettes with oil and grill them on both sides until tender and nicely charred.

Add them to the bowl.

Add the cherry tomatoes–halved if they are on the large side.

Combine the basil, garlic, a pinch of salt and the olive oil in a food mixer and whizz.

Add this to the salad and turn it over carefully.

Lay the rocket in a wide bowl and gently empty the mixed salad into it, and  turn the salad again.

You can serve this tepid or at room temperature.

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