Tuesday, 26 August 2008

August - the end of the holidays




I don't know whether it comes from having a September birthday, but I have always liked the end of summer. Ian went back to work this morning and I am working at home. This is a tricky one because the garden is groaning with produce and it is all calling to me. We are weighed down with courgettes and runner beans and squash and more runner beans and apples by the ton. I should clearly be chutney making, not emailing or making conference calls.




And today more than ever the view keeps luring me outside and as soon as I am out there I find flowers to deadhead, weeding to be done, sweetpeas to pick. Inside there are cushions to be made and the imminent arrival of KittyB is making me very aware of the need to clean. We went visiting elder daughter this weekend and I have also come home with a recipe for marrow and ginger jam which I am assured works just as well with overgrown courgettes (I turned my back on them for half an hour, that's all I did. Honestly, they are like children, need watching all the time).




There are simply not hours enough in the day. When we were at the Centre for Alternative Technology (really interesting, well worth a visit) I bought a book by John Lane called "Timeless Simplicity". Now I can be as cynical as the next person and have spent half my life working in tax which is not a job for the gullible, but the beautiful illustrations of this book showing bread being kneaded or ground being tilled and the calm and careful exploration of the idea of living on less and in a less complicated way spoke to me very strongly.
At lunchtime I picked vegetables for a friend who is swapping her expertise as a therapist for my organic veg and delivered it to her doorstep: runner beans (quite pleased to pass these on actually), courgettes (ditto), red onions, kale, spaghetti squash, leef beet, apples, pink fir apple potatoes and a bunch of flowers from the garden.
In one of my diversionary forays out into the garden I took a photograph of this artichoke in flower.

I love the way vegetables can be as exciting as flowers.

And now I must make a list of all the things I need to do before Friday when the Shrosphire/Wales bloggers will gather together again. "Timeless Simplicity"? Perhaps not.

21 comments:

  1. Crikey, don't clean on my behalf! But I know I'd be panicking if you were landing on my doorstep! Can't wait to see the garden again.

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  2. Did you have sun to-day?
    Regards
    Karen
    Sorry, sorry - I was so surprised at the sun in the top picture - that I forgot to say - lovely post with lovely pictures.
    K

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  3. We had a couple of hours brilliant sun this morning and it has been cloudy since about 10.00.

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  4. The book sounds interesting - I might have to pick that one up! You live in the most stunningly beautiful area. Love your blog :-)

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  5. Beautiful photos! The John Lane book is a real treat...savour it and enjoy it. I'm sure it will resonate in some way.

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  6. Just stick us all in front of a cauldron on Friday with big spoons and set us to work...cant wait to see that garden in all its glory.
    That artichoke made me smile - took me straight back to O level art ....I drew artichokes, I painted artichokes, I embroidered artichokes, I appliqued artichokes ..until I never ever wanted to see another...bit like your courgettes I think!

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  7. Ooh, Elizabeth - so much to comment on here. Firstly, is that sedum in your first picture? It's very impressive, and a lovely earthy shade of pink. Secondly, yes, runner beans. There are always so many and they always come at once. I do like them, but what DOES one do with them all (except pass them on obviously, but as everyone round here seems to have even more than me, I'm at a loss to know to whom. Even having to avoid my usual walk across the allotments in fear of having runner beans thrust on me at every turn). That book sounds lovely - have hankered after a visit to the centre for alternative technology - is it near you? And lastly, please don't clean on my behalf - yes, I'm planning to come just as soon as I can get organised...

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  8. This is just the kind of posting that makes me yearn to live far, far away from the urban landscape that contains me.

    Just beautiful!

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  9. Looking forward to seeing you and your garden again.

    Here it doesn't seem 5 minutes since I was eagerly watching bare earth for signs of life and now we're harvesting - and I have to say, preparing for next year's crops.

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  10. August has never been my favourite month - generally hot, dusty and overblown - I look forward to its end when lighting, colours and mood begin to gradually change. I'm definitely a honeyed autumn person. Though this year I'm panicking - I'm not ready. So much rain even the courgettes have given up the ghost and are rotting; no forgotten marrow-like ones lurking for us!
    The photos are uplifting. Timeless simplicity? Robert is dipping his toe in to test the reality!

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  11. The Centre for Alternative Technology is great isn't it?
    Gorgeous pics, pretty garden and the artichoke is fantastic. Did you have sunshine up there?
    I too love autumn but usually at the end of summer. Where did it disappear to? Summer I mean.

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  12. The radial symmetry of the artichoke is just wonderful!

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  13. That artichoke is just stunning!

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  14. Elizabeth - Marrow and Ginger Jam was quite my childhood favourite (though I don't suppose I have eaten any for 40 or even 50 years - but slouch that I am it is about the one recipe that I don't have. Not that I have marrows, for that matter either, we have little success with that whole brood, for some reason - they flower and a courgette forms but then rots from the tip. I remember in childhood just throwing the seeds as in Jack and the Beanstalk and harvesting enormous marrows - but sadly not here. Do they like acid soil perhaps? We live on limestone.
    What marvellous views you do have up there.

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  15. Been meaning to visit the Alternative Energy Centre for ages. Love the photos and your blog. I will return!

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  16. Sunny snaps: Brilliant!
    Are you thinking about coming to LitFest?

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  17. Oh the joy of home-grown veggies! Love the artichoke flower - there is a textile art happening there - not sure how but too exciting a flower to pass up!

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  18. I love the artichoke in flower; quite lovely.

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  19. Your countryside is simply beautiful. I know what you mean about preferring the time of year one has a birthday. Mine is in early October, and that's the time of year I love best. Isn't it funny how that special attention as a child sticks with us and trains us like Pavlov's dog to prefer a certain time of year? :-)

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  20. Oooh, I'm so sad I haven't been able to meet you all. Your patch of Wales looks especially beautiful, Elizabeth. Mine is beginning to disappear under new builds (yes, still).

    I'm looking forwards to hearing about Friday.

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  21. I always find myself making lists and planning things-almost like a 'new years resolution' list of things once the boys go back to school.


    I love artichokes. Must plant some next year. For the flowers and edible purposes.

    xx

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