Today’s forecast (18th July 2013) from the Weather Channel
Those of you who live in a climate where summer temperatures routinely hit 30 and above for weeks and months at a time probably look on in puzzlement at the UK (and all the fuss we are making about the weather) which is currently basking in very hot temperatures (for us) for the forseeable future.
Our houses are designed for the most part to keep the cold and the damp out and are not always the best when it gets hot. But like most humans, we adapt – given a couple of days to get used to the idea, so I get up earlier and water plants at the coolest point in the day. I am also practising revealing body parts that are normally swathed in socks and thermal underwear, eat later and do things a bit more slowly.
Of course if I did things much more slowly I would indeed be exhibited in the zoo as the three-toed sloth that I am. I do most of the things that absolutely need to be done and then ignore things that can wait till another day, having discovered that if you ignore them long enough they have a habit of not needing to be done at all, or someone else, racked with impatience will do them instead.
Here are a few slowly snapped pictures to share with you this morning. We start off with the ex-chervil. Doc once commented that we don’t show the gaps in the ground, the plants that didn’t grow, the failures, so here just for him is a special photo. One evening there was a happy plant, the next morning….
… we think the dog may have watered it while no one was looking
But in my hand, Doc, is one of the first sugar snap peas that I grew from your collection and they are good and sweet and snappy. I don’t know that they will do that well on account of the heat, but I am enjoying picking and eating them as I go.
We also put a couple of rows of lettuce plugs in last month which grew rapidly and successfully. There was an odd ugly one which Brian said was ‘red gem’ or so it had been labelled. When I harvested one yesterday it turned out to be a rather wonderful radicchio inside. We have never had good radicchio because the rain always seems to stick their leaves together at the top, a bit like balled roses, but no rain, equals great radicchio.
We have flowers! Here is a lily for Heidi and I am pleased to report that we vanquished the early lily beetles this year and they haven’t re-appeared so far, so we have enjoyed this one with its beautiful curly petals in peace and unmunched quiet.
We had the paths at the front cleaned yesterday, never done that before and the moss and green stuff has all gone, so hopefully when the cold and ice return, we won’t fall on our bums, slithering towards the front door. This beautiful soft and furry leaved plant (Stachys byzantina or Lambs ears) ended up covered in grit as a result, so I have been out there trying to clean it up. It is beloved by the white and golden bees that visit and lives happily in the gravel garden. Anything that the bees like is all right by me!
We are mildly obsessed with French tarragon, that wonderful herb that goes so well with all manner of foods. It is slow to grow and tricky to keep going through a cold winter. We were sent some by post from Rome and we have potted it all up and it is doing very well on the windowsill. We also have a South African blue basil which we traded with a man at the Garden Centre for two oca plants. I love trading plants, such fun!
The photo below is of tagetes lucida, also known as Mexican tarragon, or winter tarragon. I have bought a little one and am hoping it will do well as it is supposed to be a tough plant but we will see as this is not Mexico!
I carefully sowed some special marigold seed that someone had sent me last year and even went so far as to plant them out, only to realise that the plants I ← had nursed were in fact Fat Hen, a weed I was unfamiliar with, but apparently is edible and which has been used as a pot herb for a very long time, (thanks once again to @Rhizowen on Twitter) but I didn’t want Fat Hen, I wanted marigolds so they had to go.
Zeb has found a shady spot to sit in when he wants to be outside but he tends to go in mostly when it is like this and he likes to sit quietly and plot his next move at times like this. I put the kitchen thermometer next to him to see what the shade temp was.
I have baked once since it got hot. I thought I would make French bread. I had forgotten how sticky and impossible dough can be when the weather is warm and I wrestled a couple of baguette shapes together and then gave up with the rest of the dough and shaped it loosely onto a tray and baked it off. The loaves stuck together but do we care really, it is all food. It had a good crust and an open crumb but my regular sourdough is a lot easier to handle than this stuff.
Here is a picture of carrot and coriander soup from when B was still feeling delicate. You will note that one bowl is topped with sourcream – that was mine !
Carrot and Coriander soup has to be one of the easiest soups out there. Chop carrots and an onion, sweat till soft, add stock and fresh coriander, whizz till blended with either a stick blender or a food processor, season to taste and serve.
And I am treating myself on a daily basis to cherries which came first from Turkey, then from Greece, from France and finally yesterday from England. I love cherries!
So that is a snapshot of where we are at, today is supposed to be even hotter and I had better lift a paw and move slowly and elegantly towards the shower. Take it easy wherever you are!