Archive | August 2012

Propagating geraniums – how to take geranium cuttings.


 Picture of man in shed from the internet.

The geraniums in the tub below are beginning to look a bit tired.  Time to take cuttings.

I decided to start with the red one in the pot. Look at the next picture.  Can you see the larger stalk on the right of the red geranium?

That’s the one I’m starting with. Cut it off with your secateurs, just below a growing tip. See next picture to make sure you know what I mean by a growing tip.

Now remove and discard all the lower leaves and any flower stalks that are still apparent.  If you do this then the growth will go into the making of new roots and not into the production of more flowers. The larger leaves would die anyway so they need to come off. Now you are left with a perfect cutting. This will become a new plant, which you can put in your border next year, but you have to keep it indoors all through the winter.

Find your compost.  I put mine in a large blue tub, which doubles up as a play piece for my grandson when he comes round.  He loves to dig in here and it is relatively free from germs.

Put some of the compost in a small flower pot.  This one is a four inch pot. Incidentally this is not very good compost. I bought it in the Supermarket and it was cheap, but it is quite woody and not ideal for this job. The best compost is John Innes no. 2 which is a much finer compost. However I’ve put it in here so you can see the difference.  This would not be suitable for sewing seeds into. For that job you would need a much finer compost.

Poke the cutting into the compost in the pot until the growing tip is covered.  I’ve left this one a bit proud so you can see what I mean. You will need to poke it in further than this one.

Notice that a caterpillar has had a chew at this leaf.  Make sure he’s still not on the leaf when you plant the cutting (for obvious reasons).

This morning I did several.  I planted them together in a tub in the garden. They should be fine in there for another month and will benefit from the sun and the rain.  It will also make them hardy.  When I come back from America in mid October, I will take some more pictures of these cuttings so you can see how they’re doing. By then they will need to be put in pots and brought indoors before the first frosts arrive.

In the tub I have a selection of white, red, pink and peach cuttings.  It will be interesting to see which ones do the best.

These are cuttings of lychnis and Sweet Williams.  I’ll talk more about them another time.

After all that work, I reckon I deserved a nice lunch so I went into Oma’s kitchen and made myself a fry-up. Yummy!

What are you doing today?

In a village lives a scarecrow…


In the village there are scarecrows, so you’d better watch out.

You never can tell when one of them will pop up and give you a fright!

like Mr. Pumpkin head here…

or this irate farmer!

Sometimes they appear over hedges with large sharp instruments in their hands…

…and quite often they creep up behind you and throw their arms wide…

It’s hard to tell which of the people are real and which are not!

Some are jolly happy people and some are not!

Some are lazy and prefer not to chat!

Some carry guns!

…and some can’t be seen, but you know they are there…

Scarecrow, scarecrow turn around.
Scarecrow, scarecrow touch the ground.
Stand up tall and blink your eyes.
Raise your hands up to the sky.
Clap your hands, then tap your knees.
Turn around and tap your feet.

Scarecrow, scarecrow touch your toes.
Scarecrow, scarecrow tap your nose.
Swing your arms so very slow,
Now real fast to scare the crows!
Tough your head, jump up and down.
Now sit down without a sound.

First Encounters in America or ‘How the hell do I get out of this airport?’


My first impressions of America were made in Atlanta, on arriving there from England for the very first time in April 2006. I was going to spend ten days with my Fanstory friend, L and I was very excited about it.

Atlanta airport is massive and I, having been detained in the immigration office for four hours, was unsure of where to go next. I was alone with my carry-on bag as I found my way down the long escalator to the two waiting underground trains.

I had no idea where they went. In my mind, I thought they probably went to downtown Atlanta and that was definitely not where I wanted to be. I needed to meet up with L and as quickly as possible. Would he still be waiting for me, after four long hours with no communication? He would know that the plane had arrived and must be wondering where the hell I was since everybody else had already come through the International Arrivals.

I discovered all too late in the immigration office that my English mobile phone did not work in America, despite the fact that the young man in the telecom office in my local shopping mall in England, assured me that it would work!

I decided to ask the immigration officer if he would be kind enough to phone my friend and let him know that I had been delayed. He did let L know, but not by phone, so at least L knew I was in the airport, but other than that, L would not know why I had taken so long to reach him. Perhaps he would guess what had happened or perhaps not. I had no way of knowing. I began to worry that L would get tired or fed up waiting and return to the hotel he had booked for us to stay in that night.

I looked at the two trains and decided not to get on either of them. I would ask directions first. There was no-one around down there in the train hall so I went back up the escalator to find the Enquiries Desk and asked one of the airport officials if they could tell me how to get to the International Arrivals desk? They looked at me as if I was stupid and indeed I did feel stupid. On the other hand, I had never been to Atlanta before or America even and I was not familiar with the airport or the systems they had in place there. They told me they couldn’t help me, which to this day I find remarkable, so back I went down the escalator again. Since there was nowhere else to go but onto the train, I tentatively got on it and went a couple of stops. Then I got off.

I looked around, but could find no map of the airport to help me and still there was no-one else around to ask. I decided it was pointless to ask a fellow passenger, who would probably be as befuddled as I was. A cleaning lady, pushing a large trolley full of mops and buckets and cleaning equipment came into view. I asked her for directions.

‘I want to go to the International Arrivals,’ I told her.

She was more helpful than anyone else I had so far encountered, telling me to get back on the train and go to the Baggage Hall, which was at the end of the train ride. I was relieved to hear that. At least I wouldn’t find myself in the middle of the metropolis, out of the airport and completely lost.

I got back onto the train.

The stops on the train ride are labelled in letters of the alphabet and a mechanical voice tells you where you are, not necessarily where you want to be.

‘This train is now stopping’, the disembodied voice kept telling me. ‘The next stop is Concourse C’….

At the baggage hall I felt my feet getting sore. I was wearing high-heeled shoes and they had begun to pinch. I looked around for the console containing the luggage from flight BA226. There was none. I concluded that everyone else had already got theirs and mine was who knows where! My heart sank. My new camera was in that bag. Again I would have to find help and ask where the bag was likely to be.

All this took more time than I wanted it to. Eventually, I was told that my bag would have been taken to the B.A. office at the front of the airport and I would be able to claim in the next day after 12 o’clock noon. I did a quick time check. That would mean that L and I would have to stay near the airport in order to pick up my bag from the left luggage after noon, when the Check-In office opened. That meant that we would not be able to leave the airport when we wanted to, but would have to wait at BA’s convenience. ‘Could this get much worse?’ I wondered, scenes from the movie ‘Terminal’ playing in my mind. Perhaps I would be marooned in the airport forever more unable to find a way out or locate my friend. Plan C suggested looking for food in rubbish bins in order to stay alive and sleeping in corners where no-one would see me, but the mind was playing tricks because I was tired.

Fighting off the need to cry, I saw another escalator ahead of me. Surely this one would lead to the Arrivals Hall? If I didn’t see L soon, I would go mad. There is only so much one person can stand and I was reaching that limit.

I walked towards the escalator, clutching my carry-on bag tight. Stepping on, the escalator began to ascend. I could see an enormous mural at the top, welcoming new arrivals. I must be in the right place, but would L be there for me or would I be all alone in this new land?

Getting in a spin!


I’ve been spinning up a storm this week and now have enough of this cream-coloured merino wool yarn to make a garment.

I always admire the yarns I see on Etsy.com but quite often there is only enough available to make a scarf or a shawl or a pair of socks. These days I prefer to make something a bit more substantial, which takes at least 500 gms of yarn. I haven’t decided what to make yet, but it will inevitably be something for the winter months because this yarn is so lovely and warm.

Already there is just a touch of Autumn in the air and when I get that feeling I start looking out my knitting needles and sewing kit and planning what I’m going to do during the darker evenings.

I have all my knitting needles in this handy hold-all, which can be used for coloured pencils too. I love having them in here because I can find just the ones I want without difficulty.

Maybe I’ll even do a little quilting…

and a little wishing and cauldron lighting when the fancy takes me…

Have a great week everyone.

Beautiful Blogger Award


I have received a beautiful blogger award from Tamara at My Botanical Garden. I would like to thank Tamara and also pass on my award to 7 more bloggers whom I admire very much.

The rules are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Nominate 6 of your favourite bloggers you admire
  • Leave a .comment on each of the blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated

7  things about myself:

1)  I live a double life, some in England, some in America.

2)I am proud to be British.

3) I adore animals.

4) My three favourite (famous) people are Jewish.

5) I write in different genres and have two pseudonyms as well as my own name.

6) I am a pagan.

7) Music and art are very important to me. I once ran an entertainment agency.

Here are the rules:  

  •  Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and place it in my post.
  •  Thank the person who nominated me and create a link back to their blog.
  •  Nominate 6 OTHER bloggers for their own Beautiful Blogger Award

I nominate:

Futureworld

Rusty Duck

Learning from dogs

Florida behind the scenes

D-Janity

Why not visit some of these blogs and enjoy sharing a little glimpse of an interesting life?

Oma

In the garden with Oma – time to take cuttings!


I always take my cuttings in August so now I need to get busy.  I’ve already taken some Sweet Williams’ cuttings and they are doing very well. The lychnis too are fine but I have yet to get stuck in to plant wallflower seeds for next Spring.

Just look at this rhubarb leaf! I don’t exaggerate when I say it’s as big as an umbrella. If it started to rain, I could stand underneath it and keep dry.

The phlox are in full bloom just now.  They are so pretty and so prolific and welcome at this late summer time of the year. There’s a teasel in the bed too, cheeky!

This pretty pink rose is an old timer.  It’s been with me in the garden for a very long time.  So long that I’ve forgotten what it’s called!

This year it has thrived, other years it hasn’t done so well and I’ve threatened to dig it up, but I never do.

I think it’s done better this year because I’ve been fussing over the petunias, see picture below. I’ve made sure they’ve had lots of water and food and the rose has benefited from the extra attention. (Make note for next year – fuss over old rose more!)


Now back to my cuttings. Must get on and do them NOW.

Oma

Cheese Flan (Quiche)


Once or twice a week we have a cheese meal at the cottage. Today’s recipe is for cheese flan, as it used to be called or the more modern form – cheese quiche. There are lots of variations of this dish. This is the basic one.

Ingredients:

1lb of short pastry, made up. I make my own pastry using self-raising flour, Flora margarine and Trex shortening.

(American readers: I find that Crisco is very similar to Trex.)

80zs mature Cheddar cheese (American people can buy this in the foreign section of Food City. Kerrygold do an aged cheddar, which is very nice).

Small tin of evaporated milk (or half a large tin).

(American readers: If find that your evaporated milk is thinner than the one we buy in England. Therefore, don’t put too much in or your flan will be too loose.)

2 eggs. I use medium size.

1 tomatoe for garnish

 Have you noticed how thin the tins are getting these days? It’s hard to find one that is easy to open now. 

Method:

Make a lb of pastry and leave in the fridge to cool for 20 minutes. Meanwhile light the oven and set to hot. By the time you’ve made the filling, the oven will be just the right temperature and the pastry will be just right, ready and waiting for you in the fridge. (ice-box).

Next make the filling.

Grate the cheddar cheese, keeping back 2 ozs to sprinkle on the top of the flan.

Put the grated cheese in a medium sized bowl, add the two eggs and all of the evaporated milk.

Stir together with a fork.

Slice a tomatoe fairly thinly and set aside until later with the 2 ozs of cheese.

Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out a third of it. That should be enough to line the base of a medium sized flan case.

Line the flan case and trim the top edge with a sharp knife.

Pour the filling into the flan case and lay the tomatoe slices on top.

Sprinkle the remaining 2 ozs of grated cheddar cheese on top of the tomatoe.

There will be enough pastry left over to make a meat pie (recipe coming another day) and a batch of jam tarts.

Cook the flan at the top of a hot oven for 30 minutes. Test after 25 minutes. Take the flan carefully out of the oven and give the flan case a slight shake (note: slight). If the flan filling is under-done in the middle, it will wobble a bit. If it does, put it back in the oven for the last 5 minutes. If the filling is firm in the middle, the flan is done.

30 minutes does it for me. I use Gas 6.Your oven might be different. I usually turn off the oven after the flan is done, but leave the flan in the oven. That sets the filling for sure. Make sure most of the heat has escaped from the oven before you do this, otherwise the flan will keep on cooking and may even burn.

Let’s take a closer look, Yumm!

Serve with a salad.

The jam tarts will be perfect for tea tomorrow.

This is another recipe from Oma’s kitchen.