In the kitchen and in the garden

One or two people have asked for an update on the kitchen.  I suspect this is so you can remind yourself how lucky you are!  Well, weeks and weeks ago we found we had to take down all the plaster to reveal the stone walls in all their glory.
The stone looks quite good in the photographs but it is what is called rubble stone, soft and shaly and never meant to be on view.  There were gaps and holes and a constant fine rain of dust.  So we accepted the inevitable and had it plastered, using a special plaster which would breathe and allow the old house to breathe along with it.

So here it is, very beautifully plastered by Roger and his son Dylan.  This, to put it gently, was not the work of a moment.  And painting it was not the work of a moment either.

Then today the electricians came, another father and son business and another cheerful, charming and highly skilled pair.  They connected up the sockets and wired the new lights and all of a sudden the place looks like a room and not like a work in progress.

The sharp eyed will perhaps have noticed that there is no oven, no cupboards and that the sink is not connected, but no matter.  It feels like a room, very like the dairy it once was.  It feels like a kitchen in the making.

Outside the crososmia Lucifer is flowering fit to burst.

There is a persicaria in front of it whose pink spikes should clash horribly with the red.  Maybe they do, but I love the combination and love the sedum in front of it waiting to take over as the Lucifer fades.

The giant sunflower is a sun in the sky, its flower bigger than my head.

There are zinnias in the cutting garden.  I have never grown them before and am still not sure about their soldierly bearing, all stiff and straight, but I love the colours.  They may be the ideal cutting garden flower, where flowers on parade look fine.  In a flower garden I think they might look a bit like a suburban park.  I love suburban parks, but don't want my garden to look like one.

The walnut tree is fruiting generously this year.  I am doing that deliberate ignoring you do when you are not quite sure what happens next.  If I pick them now, as green walnuts, I will need to remove the husks.  This is a huge messy job, needing rubber gloves and leaving everything stained black.  If I leave them to dry out, the squirrels will have them.  OK, yes, I do know what I should do.  I might even do it.
And my lovely sweet peas are still flowering away, still can't keep up with them.  The autumn raspberries are just starting to fruit, huge sweetly tart berries which put the summer ones to shame.  I might be falling in love with my house and garden again.


  1. It's so exciting when a room gets to this stage, the bit when you can start to dress it up and make it what you really want - no wonder you're fallin in loe with it all again!

  2. On the photograph, the rubble walls of the kitchen looked good, but they look beautiful plastered and painted and with the lights up things look beautiful. I can't wait to see the room completed and neither can you, I'm sure. What an exciting prospect.

  3. I’ve been keeping up to date with your site, but just don’t always have time to comment (sorry). Just thought I’d say hello again so you know I’m here!

  4. I can't wait to see the finished kitchen - what a work of love!

  5. It looks as if all is going to plan. We really need to be doing the same thing, but...

    Don't you leave your walnuts to drop? Surely the squirrels can't half-inch them all.

  6. Oh Elizabeth, the kitchen is looking fabulous even without all the cupboards etc., you must be so pleased.
    Zinnia are one of my favourite Summer flowers, so bright and cheery and they keep flowering week after week. Great value for money. I cut armfuls of them last Summer and bought them inside. They last a long time and then you can let the flowers dry and they take on a faded, aged look about them, which has a completely different charm altogether.
    Love your sun flowers, do you let your 'girls' eat the seed heads?

  7. Great work of kichen......I am loving it..

  8. The kitchen is beginning to look exciting now, rather than daunting! New plaster is lovely, isn't it - sometimes feels a pity to paint it, so perhaps it's a good thing that it marks and chips so easily in its naked state.

    I do hope you'll take photographs for us of whatever it is you do with walnuts - I don't think I've ever seen a walnut growing before, let alone the process that follows.

  9. Wow, the kitchen is well on its way to being amazing. What a lovely room! The garden, as always is looking wonderful - I've never seen a walnut tree outside France before. Hope they taste good.

  10. Glad to see that the kitchen is progressing nicely.
    Isn't Lucifer magnificent? He is flowering away in my front garden and shouting to be noticed.

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  12. Kitchen looking good. I always find when you do big projects it looks rubbish for ages and then all of a sudden it is transformed and you can start to see your end goal

  13. At last , the light at the end of the tunnel moment ! You're going to have a beautiful big kitchen , well worth the wait , but isn't the whole process agonising .
    But , by the time those walnuts are ready ( if the squirrels leave you any ) , you'll have loads of space to go into the Chocolate Chip Walnut biscuit business . Delicious !!

  14. I guess they used lime plaster? The way the windows has been finished with a curve on the return is quite lovely.

    Garden pictures are gorgeous too, love the sunflowers :}

  15. Wow - such a light airy room! I wish you well with it. And look forward to the next pictures. As to the walnuts, I have eaten pickled walnuts picked, I imagine in the state you show. The pickle permeates the fruit and the young nut inside (whose shell is in any case soft at this stage) just dissolves leaving a slight crunchiness like the outside of a prawn. They look ugly, black and revolting in the jar of pickle but they taste delicious.

    Otherwise you can just leave them to fall to the ground when they are ripe and the outer casing withered.

  16. hiya

    just signed up and wanted to say hello while I read through the posts

    hopefully this is just what im looking for, looks like i have a lot to read.

  17. Tattie - it is the best bit isn't it, when it stops being a building job and starts to look like a room!
    Nora - am trying not to get too excited as may take a bit yet (but secretly I am bouncing around!)
    Kate - hi and thanks for commenting. It is good to meet people!
    Pondside - it is a work of love and thus not the work of a moment.
    Cro - well last year I tried leaving them to drop and every last one was nicked. Bigger crop this year so that might make a difference I suppose.
    Sweet - the hens do love the seeds and young grandson loves picking them out and feeding them. Before we pick the heads we leave them for a while for the goldfinches which adore them.
    Maralyn - thank you. I will love it too!

  18. Rachel - having a walnut tree of our own is a real privilege. It is a beautiful tree with foliage which is a pleasure in itself. The nuts are a bit of bonus!
    Marianne - the kitchen will be fabulous. Hasn't quite got there yet!
    Weaver - I love the crososmia. I think I shall split it up and move it about. You can't have too much.
    PG - it is funny isn't it? You are so right about the jerky pace of things!
    S&S - chocolate chip walnut biscuits? mmmmm, that could be the answer to world peace.
    Bilbo - not pure lime plaster but a plaster with a lot of lime in it. I don't really know the details.
    Fennie - I like pickled walnuts too. They may be the answer.
    Anon - hi and welcome. Hope you will be back.

  19. Do think kind thoughts about your zinnias - they bloom forever. I had them flowering waaaay into Autumn last year, when everything else had given up. We planted fruit trees last year and they are bearing for the first time. I had no idea what pears looked like on a tree, but there they are in my back yard, Jacobean and delightful. We have peaches too, apples, and autumn raspberries as big as thimbles. I love your monthly updates - it's made me get out and take photos and having a garden record is really fulfilling. Thanks.

  20. The beams! Oh, the beams... they look swell!

    Any flower named "Lucifer" is okay in my book, especially since it is living up to it competely with that wicked color.

  21. This is no small undertaking , I sympathise , still sorting our cottage out after seven years !!

    Your garden looks amazing - love the sweet peas , I am a big fan , got them in the Welsh garden too and like to cut one or two and mix them up with a few other bits and pieces to make an impromptu posy for the house . . ah, it's the small things .... : )

  22. I want to see what is going to be the result of that renovation. I am sure that it will turn to a very amazing room. I am so excited to see it.

  23. Your kitchen looks lovely! I could really enjoy working there!! As for the walnuts, at one time I lived in Ontario in a town where walnuts were regarded as a weed tree as they grew everywhere - what you want to do is harvest your walnuts the second they start dropping and then take them to a covered dry spot or not even covered if you can watch for the squirrels and put them in a single layer on and old tarp to protect your floor or patio/terrace and keep turning them and covering them at night until they dry up and the outer layer shrivels.
    BTW if you have white socks or etc that have become gray you can make a soup of hulls and dye things in it - I used to do this with my daughters' grayed white socks.
    I also had cut down several trees that were growing too close to the foundation of the house and took them to a nearby gunstock factory where I was paid handsomely for the trunks.

  24. Looks like a great kitchen in the making.


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