April favourites

April was not as warm as it sometimes is but neither was it wet. Easter was gloriously hot and sunny but after that the sunshine seemed to allude us.

Every moment we could spare we spent at the allotment and our efforts were rewarded with the first crop of rhubarb. We have weeded and mulched the whole plot. Planted summer fruiting raspberries and a second blue berry bush.

At home we have sown sweetcorn, zinnias, white cosmos, dhalia’s. Pumpkins, carrots, sunflowers, courgettes, a cucumber and tomatoes and will transplant them out at the allotment when they are bigger and the water is finally switched on down there.

We visited Sir Issac Newton’s birth place at Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire. The children enjoyed the excellent science centre very much and I was inspired by the display of snakes head fritillary that had been naturalised under the tree’s in the famous apple orchard. In the autumn I think i will get some bulbs and do the same under our walnut tree.

Every April this beautiful rambling rose flowers against the old houses at the top of the High Street in our village. It puts on quite a display. Rosa Banksia Lutea is a prolific rambler with very little scent that only flowers once but it puts on such a show when it does flower. Every year it stops me in my tracks. I am delighted to say I have successfully managed to take a cutting from it which is now 2 years old and growing healthily.

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September favourites

September is a funny month I like to keep telling myself it’s still summer for as long as possible (summer is my favourite season) but as the nights draw in and the mornings become chillier it becomes harder and harder to keep kidding myself. By the end of the month autumn has properly arrived and there is no denying it.

This September was a blur of frenzied activity. My daughters returned to school and one short week later their brother (my baby) joined them.

He and I made the most of this last week just the two of us and visited Wimpole hall and garden. My son adores gardening and has developed a real enthusiasm for walled gardens so that’s what we checked out first. I won’t lie my heart felt heavy at the prospect of sending him to school just 1 week later. It marks the end of an era for me of having a small person at home with me for over a decade. It’s been hard work, always busy, never a moment to myself but genuinely some of the best years of my life. I always feel like I’ve lost a limb when I send one of them off to school for the first time.

As the weather cools it always sends me into a frenzy of squirreling away winter provisions. This month I made Dumpsy Dearie jam a lovely jam made of Victoria plums, pears and apples that’s proven very popular over the years. We’ve been baking too and made our first batch of pumpkin spiced doghnuts and this trusty peanut butter cookie recipe that’s quick easy and gluten free.

  • 150g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180’C and line your trays with baking paper.

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl to form a sticky dough.

Drop 1 tbsp of the mixture into your prepared baking trays and press down with the back of a fork. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the trays and allow to cool on a wire baking rack.

Not the most elegant or pretty cookies in my repetorire but tasty, satisfying and very easy to make.

Next month I have plans to begin to make our own natural cleaning products in a bid to have less nasty chemicals in the house and reduce our plastic use too. I hope to be able to share some successes with you in October.