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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 03:48pm on 10/07/2014 under
The nice thing about my recurrent mastitis is that it is relatively mild. One day of feeling like I have flu, and then I'm back to normal except for having a sore boob. And it forces me to spend a day resting in bed, which presumably my body really needs. I certainly feel ten million times better just for having some rest.

Cut for length. )

It's all looking great, actually. Last year they had a "fayre" around this time and our plot was the best on the site. This year they held the fayre back in May when ours was one of the worst. I think we'd be up with the best again if they'd held it around the same time. The raspberry harvest in particular has been phenomenal. We've already had some rhubarb, gooseberries, currants, courgettes, lettuce, chard and beetroot. Beans, peas, cabbage, kale, carrots, turnips, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, sweetcorn, tomatoes, peppers -- all to come. It's so exciting! The only setbacks so far have been rabbits attacking the beans and brassicas (so Matt and his brother erected a fence around that part of the plot), and rabbits and slugs eating the ripe strawberries (so I covered the bed with fleece and scattered a few slug pellets in there).

And this year we've made a space on the plot for picnics when we bring the girls with us. River has a little paddling pool and her own folding chair. We have two parasols to keep the sun off (the Isle of Man is enjoying an amazing spell of hot weather -- only a few days of rain altogether in the last two months).

I love my allotment. I don't think it's saving us much money, except with the soft fruit (but even there, I think without the allotment we would simply not have bought any soft fruit from the supermarket. I prefer to think that it's making us happier in the summer months, having free access to so many delicious berries). But it's wonderful outdoor exercise. And a garden spot of our very own -- somewhere that the girls can consider their territory as they grow up.

Okay. What else happened? River and I made some little cornflake/white choc/peanut butter cakie things as a treat (which she completely forgot about eating once I'd put them in the fridge to go hard). Then off I went teaching. It was only a shortish session -- people away on holiday etc -- so I was back in time to have tea with everyone. We ate all the fishcakes with a salad of beetroot, toasted walnuts, lettuce and grilled halloumi in a balsamic dressing. Really delicious. Everyone wanted more fishcakes. I'll have to remember to make them next time we have a party. We had homemade vanilla ice-cream with fresh fruit and a raspberry sauce (it'd been hanging around in the fridge for ages -- in fact, most of the day's food was because I wanted to make some space in the fridge).

Matt took Willow up for a bath while River finished off her meal with a slice of toast (!) and I started the washing up. We played a game where I was Tom Kitten and she was inviting me and lots of other Beatrix Potter characters to a picnic at the playground in Douglas, where we were having delicious food made from leftovers of the tea we'd had last night. Except she couldn't work out how to say it -- she knew "yesterday" wasn't quite right because you have tea in the evening time, not the day, and she'd never heard us say "yesternight" (I saw her mouthing it and rejecting it). So I helped her out by suggesting that "last night" might be the phrase she needed. She immediately brightened up and used it. And then made a point of using it again a few minutes later.

Then off she trotted to join in the bath, while I finished off the dishes and laughed at I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue on iPlayer.

A happy day, on the whole.
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 07:26pm on 03/11/2013 under , , ,
The first few months of Willow's life have been a huge contrast with River's early weeks. No pain, no despair, no isolation, no borderline PND. It's been wonderful, in fact.

The only downside is all the enforced sitting we have to do. I can't feed her in the sling -- she just seems to hate it. Instead, we're spending many hours sat on the sofa. It's been getting me down, because I do like to be busy and productive as much as possible. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I realised I could get things done while breastfeeding. So I've started learning Italian on Duolingo and I also dug out my knitting needles.

Here we have Willow modelling the delightful Pebble:

Read more... )
And a bonus picture of BatWillow with her grandad, pondering all the crime she's going to fight.

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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 10:32pm on 22/10/2013 under
Matt and I spent a couple of hours looking through my LJ archive on Sunday night. We had a lovely time, remembering little unimportant events that we hadn't thought of for years. Life before children: simpler, easier, a little more self-absorbed. Recently it's felt as if our days are spent running triage. What's the next most urgent, overdue task? Panic! There's always a basket of damp laundry to hang up, and dry laundry to put away, and toddler crises to fix, and food to prepare, and dishes to wash, and bills to pay, and and and. I'm back doing part-time teaching again now as well, which has put a lot of pressure on Matt (I'm back to full-time in January, which I'm dreading).

But reading my old LJ entries reminded me what a great resource this is. With the chronic sleep deprivation I've had since February 2010 my memory is basically knackered. I can barely recall what we had for tea last night, never mind what wonderful, "memorable" thing might have happened last week. So I'm going to try and make more frequent, regular posts here.

So, how's the allotment been this year?

It's been fantastic! )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 09:48pm on 22/07/2013 under
I love our new allotment. There are no child-unfriendly hazards (broken glass, concrete steps, 3-foot drops onto concrete and broken glass, aggressive neighbours with aggressive dogs, cat poo everywhere, etc) and when we took possession it was totally new -- a blank slate full of potential. The old plot was full of problems caused by the previous tenant's neglect, which took a few years to sort out.

LOTS of photos under the cut. )

We've already enjoyed home-grown courgettes, cucumber, chard, pak choi, turnips, onion, strawberries and raspberries. Looking forward to plenty of cheap, tasty meals over the next few months! I'm especially looking forward to the tomatoes. Still blows my mind that these delicate little flowers can turn into something so sublime.


* Actually, not that bad. We have a couple of chairs stored in the shed, and a big umbrella for sun-shade, so I can do a spot of breastfeeding while Matt and River potter about. But obviously I'm not able to do much in the way of gardening at the moment so the workforce has been halved.
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 03:34pm on 15/05/2013 under ,
Oh gosh oh dear oh my -- a lot of time has passed since I last wrote one of these. Where to start? I'll break it down into sections, and then maybe it won't be so overwhelming to think about. (And now she's nearly 30 months! There's just never enough time these days.)

A LOT of words under the cut, and a couple of videos )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 01:31pm on 01/11/2009 under , , ,
We chose small varieties for our pumpkin patch this year. One smallish pumpkin is enough for two meals for two people, so there's no need to go for the enormous kind. However, one of the small pumpkin plants got attacked by slugs. All but one of the small pumpkins it was producing got eaten while they were still babies. With only one fruit left, the plant put all its energies into making that one fruit as amazing and slug-proof as possible. So what was supposed to be a modest little thing turned into this monster:

To quote everyone who walked past our house this week, "that's a big pumpkin."

I'm particularly fond of the twisty stalk. It gives it a pleasing, cartoony air.

Carved pumpkin nonsense pics under the cut. )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 09:43am on 27/08/2009 under ,
We came back from Paris via Milton Keynes and Aylesbury (visiting friends and godson for a night) and Crewe and Liverpool (eating noodles with sister), and finally crawled into our house at 11.30pm on Tuesday.

By 10.30am on Wednesday I was wading through the weeds and blinking through the rain at the allotment, searching for tasty things to bring home. There were lots, but it was too wet to get a decent photograph of the collection so I arranged them all on a table the next day:

Four more colourful pictures under the cut. )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 10:47am on 22/08/2009 under
Before we went to Paris (more about that when I've picked out a handful of photos to go with the text) we spent a frantic weekend trying to get the allotment in order.

It was all looking rather pretty, which I shall now allow you to judge for yourself by the power of photographs.

First, we have flowers. The lavender plants haven't died! I have managed to keep them going for a whole year, thus breaking my All Lavender Will Die Within A Month curse that I've had for the last few years.

Young lavender, complete with visiting fly:

Lots and lots of pictures under the cut. )

More than anything else, I missed the allotment while we were away. I wanted to get my hands dirty. And eat some home-grown veg. Wednesday was our first morning back, and I spent the whole of it (in heavy rain, no less) picking beans and digging up pototoes and tying up floppy sunflowers and generally having a wonderful time.

I hope these allotment posts of mine give you an inkling of why I love it so much.
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 09:56am on 25/07/2009 under , ,
It's time for the Southern Agricultural Show again. I have no chutney (we appear to have eaten it all) so I probably won't win any prizes this year. I've entered Plum & Mulled Wine Jam and Blackcurrant & Sloe Gin Jam in the jam class, and Apple Lemon & Lime Marmalade in the marmalade class. The other entries looked beautiful and sparkling and perfect. Mine looked a bit crap, to be honest. Never mind. It's important to support the competition, really. If no-one entered, there'd be nothing to look at.

I shall make six different kinds of chutney this autumn. Indeed, I'll have to, because it looks like the allotment's going to produce far too much food this year.

We spent a few hours up there last Sunday, watering and harvesting. We were supposed to be weeding the cabbage patch, but the harvesting took too long!

Look what we got:

Two more pictures and a lot of words under the cut. )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 12:23pm on 06/06/2009 under
I pootled at the allotment on Thursday -- doing fiddly but necessary tasks like tying in the new tomato growth, pruning the grapevine, picking caterpillars off the cabbage seedlings, watering all the wilting things.

Just as I was about to leave, I spotted something -- something red and glorious in the strawberry patch.

Delicious picture of perfection under the cut. )


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