29 Apr 2014

Gardening in March and April



This is the corner of the garden which has undergone some changes in recent months because we wanted to create a seating area under the fig tree and a small vegetable plot.  
We've given up the allotment (plot for growing vegetables) that we've shared with our daughter as she's moving away from our neighbourhood and my husband felt it was too expensive to keep it on - the council have increased the rent considerably from last year. Our daughter was one of the first to clear her plot, which was covered in brambles, as she could access it from her back garden.  The grandchildren had a play area there when they were younger and as it was very secluded it was a good place to have a picnic. Of course my husband could grow a lot of vegetables on this large plot, but now he wants something more manageable.  Our other children have allotments so we shall continue to enjoy seeing what they're growing in theirs.

                                       

The peas and broad beans were planted out at the end of March. There was a hailstorm just afterwards, but thankfully no damage was done to the young plants.



More vegetables will be planted out when the soil warms up.  There's a rhubarb crown in a corner and a box for composting.


The covered yard between the house and the double garage is another good facility for growing vegetables, saplings from seed and storing plants during the colder months. There are two types of tomato -San Marzano Lungo (long) and San Marzano Romano (plum), Cuore di Bue and Tigerella and some sweet peppers, French, Runner and Borlotti beans.


                                                        Schlumbergera (Christmas cactus)

                                            The peach sapling grown from a stone is now outside.
                                       
An orange tree grown from a pip.  There's also a white fig cutting. (The one in the back garden produces black/purple figs).

             There are other plants in the plastic 'greenhouse' and tubs of leek and garlic by the garage wall.





This is the other end of the garden.  Behind the hedge is a rough area which is good for the wild life.

                                                                       Pear blossom

                              Our pear tree and neighbour's cherry in blossom at the end of March.

                                               
                                                 These are the flowers in our garden at present.

                                                                                   
                                                                                                   
                                                           Pansies and Mossy Saxifrage

                                                                          Wallflowers

                                                                             Pieris

                       
                                                              Tulips - a favourite Spring flower

                                                                   Saxifrage (London Pride)

Although our garden is small it's lovely to have one especially now that the days are sunnier and it's possible to sit out for a while.
           





26 Apr 2014

A visit to an Alpaca Farm


During the Easter weekend we spent some time at a farm that keeps mainly alpacas as well as a variety of other animals. The weather was good and it was only a short drive to the farm through the Mayfield Valley on the northern outskirts of Sheffield. We spent a good hour or two walking around and the two grandchildren enjoyed feeding the friendly alpacas and Shetland pony.




                               




                                                                                    







We're fortunate to have these pleasant valleys on the outskirts of our city.


A chocolate and orange marble cake which our daughter made for  Easter and for her sister's birthday tea .




18 Apr 2014

At the foot of the Cross


Tideswell Parish Church, Derbyshire

For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3. 16

Help us to help each other Lord, each other's cross to bear; let each a helping hand afford and feel each other's care.
Charles Wesley



10 Apr 2014

Italy: a hill town in the Ciociaria region (part 2)




After the views of wide open spaces from the hilltop town walls of a local hill town, the walk through the narrow streets to the main piazza was quite a contrast.  There are interesting mosaics and murals to see along the way done by a local art academy and the little passageways, courtyards and old buildings add to the pleasure of a walk which takes you through different levels of the town.
I hope you enjoy the pictorial walk!




                                 The castle and palace from the promontory below.

One of the mosaics depicting the life of St. Thomas Aquinas.







The church in the piazza


I included this photo taken a few years ago
when there was a festival with musical entertainment.



The piazza was full of cars because of the Saturday market.
The evening before it would have been full of trestle tables and food stalls
as there had been a festival associated with St. Thomas Aquinas.








We had coffee in a little cafe in the piazza before returning home to our village.
                                                                   
      Everywhere along the way the mimosa trees were in full bloom.


 A map of the region in south Lazio (south of Rome)