Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Longest Day

If I’ve got it right, today is David’s and Mel’s wedding day. I wish them every happiness. And I'm looking forward to dozens of pictures, and news of whether or not that final kilt ho’ went through the ceremony toe-less.

Vegetable- and fruit-growing

No disasters, plenty of disappointment.

Our beloved Keswick Codlin has set a very poor crop of apples – my first thought was bee-less-ness, but I’m sure my husband is right to blame frost. Although the vegetables, a few yards away, are fine, except for four or five decapitated beans. The weather forecast last night, after we got back, mentioned the possibility of frost in highland glens. For a planet in the grip of global warming, it’s rather late in the month.

Some caterpillar has stripped the gooseberries. I love gooseberries, and am useless at growing them. American Gooseberry Mould is the usual enemy. I am also absolutely useless at spring onions, which are meant to be as easy as radishes. They will not grow for me.

Almost everything else is getting on rather nicely. I tasted some orach as I was thinning it, and was pleasantly surprised. Most “unusual” vegetables are somewhat bitter. Orach isn’t, it fact it’s rather interesting.

However, unlike CT, London, – where Rachel’s husband Ed has started bringing artichokes home from the allotment – and Musselburgh, there’s nothing to eat yet except lettuce. We ate some of that.

The greyish leaf behind the lettuce is an opium poppy. They alight on cultivated land as unbidden and as enthusiastic as pussy cats seeking a lavatory. I have pulled up dozens, but I always leave a few because they are so beautiful.

Sorrel is doing splendidly, and I am ready to venture on a sauce. I wondered whether to bring some back here, but the weekend promises to be mildly fraught, so I decided in favour of taking north next time whatever is to be coated with the sauce.


I’m within four or five rounds of finishing the ribbing of the Araucania rugby shirt. I probably said that last time.

Here in Edinburgh, I discovered last night that I had ribbed too far on the front of the dinosaur sweater, on too many stitches. I had cast on the number I was supposed to have after the post-ribbing increase row. This is typical of the slapdash way I have approached this entire project. I ripped it out and started again, and am now starting the pattern band underneath the first set of dinosaurs.

Today's knitting will be severly curtailed by the need to put in an appearance at the annual Dr*mmond Pl*ce Garden Party, unless the Good Lord gets me off with rain again this year.

The need for the swallowtail coat of a beautiful blue has been postponed from early October to a vague Somewhat Later. Maybe I’ll slip in a month of Princess-knitting when these blasted lizards are finished.


  1. If only I could pop round with a punnet of gooseberries for you: we are drowning in them and it is a shame to see them go to waste. I'm thinking chutney, as jam does pall a little.
    One of our pears has set very little fruit; last year they were like great golden bells. But I think that's just how it is: one year a glut of strawberries, the next the slugs reach them before we do.

  2. I can't grow poppies of any kind. They grow all over the place, but never ever in my garden. It's the only plant I have run across that I cannot grow, at all, even if I try hard.

  3. An organic remedy for most plant moulds, but especially effective on gooseberry moulds is to let some milk (any kind) go good and sour then dilute one part milk with five parts water and spray on the gooseberry bush every couple of days. It works on the same principle as yoghurt and thrush, by changing the ph of the environment so the mould grows less well. It's not 100% effective but it's worth doing.

    My gooseberries are starting now, but most will be ripe when I'm away. Fortunately I have a local friend who loves making jam and all that sort of stuff, so we have come to an arrangement.

  4. remind me: gooseberries are sort of pale greenish and sort of a very large sized grape? I need to look them up.

    We are having basil come out of our ears already, and a tiny bit of lettuce. And hours and hours of sunlight -- we are at GMT+7 here.

    To remind you of my never ending Earth Wrap stole: it is 3/4 done, but I think it's too hot to work on now -- once it gets over a certain length, it is warm enough to think you have a cat on your lap! I may just have to pack it up as we are moving back to the US in a couple of months, and not much time now for knitting much (although I'm working on a triangular shawl I can every easily pick up and put down).