Monday 29 September 2008

Stourhead and Growing Your Own

I took this picture of Stourhead this time last year.
This last week has been more about cooking than writing. After walking around Stourhead in beautiful sunshine on the Sunday, we stopped off at a little stall outside a house on the way home. They leave bagfuls of cooking apples for sale at £1 a bag, with a box to put your pounds in. We bought 2 bags. That’s quite a lot of apples to peel, core and cook.

We had them first with a delicious stale doughnut pudding, made like a bread and butter pudding with eggs and milk, then on another day with blueberries and custard. I have stewed apple in the fridge and the freezer and there are still four apples left to prepare.

Also, we’ve had a glut of runner beans in our garden. Actually we dithered about planting them this year because we were/are still trying to sell the house. But they went in on the reasoning that sods law says we won’t sell if we don’t plant them, but we might if we do. In any case whoever buys would be welcome to them. Too late now though.

The beans began to form the week before we went on holiday and we had our first feast on the delicious, small young ones. During the 16 days we were away, my neighbour looked after them for me, and I told her to help herself. She said she had picked some. After that they started to come thick and fast. We picked and ate them nearly every day through the rest of August and most of September. Several bagfuls were given away and eventually, last week, I had to blanch and freeze several more bags. I never think they are as nice after freezing, but I just can’t bear to throw them in the compost. I have spent hours stringing and slicing them. The plants are now due to come out but I found enough to go with our roastie meal again yesterday.

There’s nothing like eating your own produce, and we really don’t grow enough different things. Trying to move house has definitely put us off. I remember my dad working in our quite large back garden when I was young. He grew lots of beans and all sorts of other veggies – cabbages, sprouts, potatoes, carrots, onions, beetroot, marrows, etc. It’s becoming fashionable again in the UK to do this. Totnes in Devon was the first town to designate various areas for the community to grow extra produce, and others have followed suit.

We did have some home grown potatoes this August, that we had grown from just one that had gone too soft to cook and started growing tubors in my cupboard. We put it in a tub so it could have gone with us if we’d moved. When we came back from our holiday the leaves had died off so we emptied the tub and found about 3 lbs of good sized spuds that were really yummy when cooked.

I’d love to hear what you grow in your back yards or elsewhere, wherever you are.

On a completely different subject, why not pop over to Rebecca Laffar-Smith’s Writers’ Roundabout to see my guest post which is currently featured there? It gives hints for writers who want to ‘show, not tell’.

1 comment:

Dori said...

Stourhead is just beautiful. It is one of my favorite places here in England. Love the photo. :)

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