Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Here we are. It was a most happy week. The weather, in this uncertain summer, was Not Too Bad. Friday, the day that Rachel and Alexander were there, was splendid. We went out to lunch at the Strathardle Inn to celebrate Rachel’s 50th birthday, ate and drank well, and sat over the table until 4 without being made to feel we were de trop.

James bought his son Alistair a good air rifle. They went out in search of rabbits and succeeded in shooting one – which, after all, I am glad to say, they left where it fell instead of bringing it back to form part of a Jamie Oliver recipe.

And quite apart from our dear middle-aged children, it was a great joy, in this summer when visits to K*rkmichael have been so brief, to watch things happen in my vegetable garden. Instead of leaping out of the car and rushing around the corner to see what-has-happened-since-last-time, I was able to rush out the door as soon as I was remotely decent in the morning, to see what had happened overnight.

The courgettes started blooming on July 4. The first flowers are all boys of course, but things are moving fast and I would hope for some tiny courgettes next week.

The beans are climbing up their poles. Tender beans are always more than a bit of a gamble with us, but some years – and why shouldn’t this be one of them? – we get a good crop in September. Maybe I’ll start them on the windowsill in April next year, since that technique has been so successful with courgettes. The difficulty is that the interval between the last frost of one winter and the first frost of the next, is so brief, and there can be – as so far this year – so little real summer heat between those two dates.

Courgettes don’t like the frosts either, but I think they are able to make use of the if-y weather in between more successfully than tender beans. (Broad beans, which we love, are not tender: they are, for me, the easiest of all vegetables to grow and the difficulty is to resist planting half an acre of them.)

And, what? oh yes, knitting.

I am getting on well with the Araucania sweater, although this pic isn’t very good. It’s perfect Strathardle knitting, easy on the mind and the fingers. And last night, when we got back, I finished the second rank of dinosaurs – the half-way point, dinosaur-wise – and embarked on the next separator pattern. Maybe I’ll establish another line of little feet today.

Here is a picture of pure happiness (mine): the brothers Miles.


  1. Welcome back - glad things went so well. I have had to leave my garden too much this summer, so I understand your pleasure in the morning peek.

  2. Looks like a perfect summer idyll. My garden's been producing some wonderful greens for salads and my bush beans are producing nicely, but my shell peas and pole beans have thus far been a bit disappointing. I suppose we'll see what the rest of the summer holds, though.

  3. Hi, Jean. I've looked for you each day. I hope that you were able to rest with so many people in the house. Now, as to rabbits... In Essex, we are absolutely infested with them. They must be grazing the land bare, especially where there are horses. A nice tender young rabbit would go nicely with some of those vegetables.

  4. Welcome back! It is a pleasure to be surrounded by family, isn't it?

    In my travels around the local countryside, there are signs everywhere offering fresh peas for sale and the strawberries are also around, although less prevalent. Nothing like the taste of a fresh strawberry that has not been shipped over 2,000 miles.