Cat in Pastel..

This is one of the first pictures i did when i started using pastel, it was taken from an online tutorial and i used Rembrandt soft and Pitt pastel pencils.

If you are new to pastels, or any other medium come to that, i thoroughly recommend getting some tution, this will make you more confident and bring you forward in leaps and bounds. It can be quite intimidating when you are faced with a blank sheet of paper and a bunch of pencils, or a box of soft pastels.

Take the time to look around and buy yourself the best you can afford, too many people give up  to soon thinking they are not much good when its all down to materials they are using. Paper also plays a massive part as well, so go for a good brand, good luck…20150709_083215


Windy but warm…

As the wind blew a gale today the real suprise was just how warm it was. It looked like we had had a bit of rain early on as the patio and road were damp, but there was hope in the sky and we wanted to check over the beds again after the last saga.

We duly loaded up the car with the usual suspects, hammer, drill, screws , only this time the  wife had packed soup, Butternut squash soup made from the produce from a friends allotment, yummy.

The drive, as usual was pleasant enough, our plot is some 4 mile from us, not far away but not just down the road either, as there is a lot of up hill and down dale before you get there, but the bonus is viewing the beautiful countryside on our way . On arrival we checked over the produce, the leaves were being eaten as we thought, infact one plant had been tugged on so hard it had pulled out the plant from the bed, we are not sure by what though, so its time to do something about bed

The netting we had bought is so thin its practically useless, and the stakes holding it in place are just  too short and allowing the cabbage to be chewed through it. While we decided what to do we moved on to making a new bed, this one for the peas and beans as we would need even more wood in order to rehash an old fruitcage that need a lot of work.

This went fairly straight forward, and it took 22 bags of BIO canna to fill it, so it was back to the beds, and what to do. Annie decided we needed some refreshment so made us a coffee and some squash soup for lunch on the plot, our first cooked meal there ever.soup

With that we had an Eureka moment, not sure if it was the squash but we were sitting looking at a fruit frame we had bought some time earlier,ans decided tomake up the frame and put it on the bed, so we began. This was a Haxnicks frame, didnt cost much either, iwas pleasantly suprised to find  it was made of metal not plastic, it came together fairly quickly and easily so we carried it outside and placed it on the bed, the most fiddley part putting the netting around, they never seem to fit correctly.frameonbed

After moving a few veg to fit under the frame we had completed our mission for the day, it doesn’t look pretty but it is practical, and as the skies were begining to darken and there was rain in the air we went home..

Cold Sunny Days

There is something about standing in a frosty field, in the sunshine on a beautiful late Autumn day, listening to the cock pheasant calling his little hareem of 7 hen pheasants to gather round as there is a human present, and getting to grips with a  hot freshly brewed coffee in your hand, pondering your next move on the plot.netting

Managed to get a little time today so thought i would spend some of it fastening a piece of netting over the cabbages and kale just incase Mr Pheasant decided to pay a visit with his wives, as the winter draws closer and less food is available to them.

Note to self, (do not buy cheap netting in future), as i tried to fasten it down with the new staple gun, the staples just cut straight through the meshing, rendering it almost usless. I did however manage to get the job finished, but it wasn’t without hassle.beans

The plot in itself is looking really good, i am pleased with it. We now have a few broad beans and a few more peas breaking through, i am amazed how quickly they have germinated in an unheated polytunnel, in Canna Bio compost. It has to be said that i dont think my little experiment with the carrots wont come to fruition, it is possibly to cold for them to germinate, but i have been told they will grow all year round, inside obviously at this time of year.haul

Checking in on the lettuce I planted a few weeks ago, it is quite big now and a couple of them will give us a few side salads or help bulk up a ham sandwich, my son has decided to leave his chillies now,as its getting colder there is less time to ripen, i bought one home the other day , it was partly green with hints of red, but after a couple of days in the house it was an amazing sight, bright pillar box red, and not too strong either.

Well we went ahead and ordered what we think will be a massive bonus to us, a wheelbarrow. As it came flat packed, I must admit to it looking like the backstage venue at Robot Wars after a really good battle, spanners were all over with nuts and bolts and pieces of barrow everywherebarrowbits

After a few minutes grunting and twisting it was all up and running and waiting for its first employment, which just happened to be a couple of bags of compost.

So, thats about for now, as the winter takes steps ever nearer and the weather turns colder i cant help but think of next season and the fun prospects it will hold.barrow

Venetian Mask..

I painted this particular piece when i was really up for a challenge, not that i’m not nowdays, its just i had more time then than now, or so it seems.

I hadn’t been using coloured pencils long when i decided i would like to challenge myself to produce something that woud take some time but also be satisfiying along the way, and with a sense of achievment to boot.

As i didn’t have that much experience i decided to try and follow a tutorial by someone else, now began the task of hunting down something i felt  i wanted to do and where to find it. There were a few pictures in books that i liked but i wasn’t confident enough to go it alone, as parts of the pictures were quite detailed and had a depth of colour i could never attain off my own back, i definately needed some help.

On searching for a suitable pattern i came across an Australian lady doing just the sort of thing i was interested in, her name is Karen Hull and her site is Here . I hope you agree, she has lots of lovely patterns and advice there for anyone to be interested in doing, and she is a lovely person too, if you need questions answering, she will reply.



A good productive day…

We couldn’t make up our minds this morning whether to take a drive over to Derbyshire and view the last remenants of autumns wonderful colour display in all our native trees, in a warm car with the radio on, or battle the ice cold winds in an open field planting cabbage and assorted veg, guess which one won..Thanks Annie…bedsplanted

Well the more we get done now the easier it will be for us later on, so the first act was to take out the plants from the tunnel and place the remaining cabbage, turnips and  few cauliflowers into the beds.

The plants planted yesterday were still ok and had not been touched by the cold weather, nor any roving animals either, so it seemed ok to shove the rest in. After we planted them all and had a photo call for the blog, we then moved into the tunnel and out of the wind.

Carrots in Trays

There is not a lot one can plant at this time of year, especially as we already have peas and sweet peas on the go, we planted broad beans too but  we thought we would give a chance to  carrots, it will be interesting to see if we are in with a chance of picking any before christmas, we have started them off in trays covered with a lid.

After doing all this is was lovely to sit down and have a spot of lunch, we have a gas stove with which we boil water for a drink, and we take packed lunch with us, annie always does a lovely meal,and bakes cakes and biscuits for afternoon tea.lunch

We are so looking forward to next season, picking crops and making a meal for us straight from the plant, we will use a BBQ to enhance the meal, but it will all be organic and so fresh..

Started the planting..

After spending the morning finishing off a garden we maintain, we found ourselves with some spare time this afternoon, so after a quickie dinner we ventured over to the Plot to see if we could get some planting done.

Annie was adamant she was going to cut down the hedge growth in the gateway to the field as we have to manoeuvre to far into the road before we get a clear view of oncoming vehicles, so i left her to it.

Garlic and onions

Meanwhile i checked out the onions we had started early in October, they were growing away well, so was the garlic, cabbage and cauliflower, time to put them outside in the newly filled beds, we also wanted to get our newly aquired potatoes planted as well.

Annie finished off the hedge and came over to offer assistance in the planting, as they have forecast quite a cold night here, we thought we would try and plant a few of each thing as a failsafe to any mishap that the weather may bring, , particularly as they have been growing under the shelter of the big polytunnel, and something,  what ever it was, had been scratching around in the compost beds before we got there, so another reason not to plant out too much too soon.

Annie with cabbage

Our final act today was getting the blueberries into new pots, we selected two fairly big pots and filled them with organic compost, we then planted the ‘Northland’ blueberries. They will be placed outside tomorrow on our return.


blueberries done

A job well done..

After filling the beds with compost the dark skies that threatened earlier in the day started dropping water. As the rain got heavier we decide to go into the tunnel  and repot the strawberries from the small pots they were in to the sky cradle they will be living in from now on.both potting

It is quit a nice feeling to be planting plants at head height, so easy to see what you are doing, and whats more it will be even easier to harvest the fruit next season.

So far we have about 40 strawberries but i fear they may all fruit at the same time so we need to aquire some of a later fruiting period and get them into our fold.

Shortly after planting the strawberries we checked around to see what,if anything we could plant to start off for next season, all we really have is a few packets of assorted half hardy perenials, so we agreed to plant a few and watch them come up over the next few weeks.line finished

On visiting a friends allotment we have now taken hold of a lovely group of potatoes, we shall be planting these very shortly into the beds and some in the tunnel for early cropping .

On Sunday we should be starting on the pea and bean beds,this was the fruit cage but we have decided to re hash it into a long pea bed, should be fun..