At least that’s what it feels like to me. Standing up in the ‘back’ vegetable patch, looking down through the eastern garden, all I see are great swathes of green: potatoes, garlic, leeks, peas, apples and peaches – the potato vines are now up to my waist – interspersed with blackboy roses. At the back door and running down my back boundary is a massive hawthorn hedge interwoven with wild pink roses – it rises about 30 feet high, absolutely amazing. Because of all the rain, everything is so green this year – the hedge has never looked better.

Today I have potted on more tomatoes and about six capsicum. The tomatoes continue to grow well but are waiting for some really warm weather to push on. I have now got about 15 that are potted on into their final big pots before they go out into the garden. That first seeding was a bum lot but the second seeding is doing fantastically.

I planted some fennel out into the garden, too. All the peas and the garlic are growing on well.

Yesterday I had to start giving away pumpkin, artichoke and spearmint plants – I have grown too many, but better too many to give away than not enough. An artichoke I’d put in the garden during winter and which I thought had died has resurrected itself! Yay for the artichoke! (These are globe artichokes.) All the apples are now growing lots of fruit so I shall have a good crop of apples this year. The peaches, too, but they’ve got a touch of the leaf curl this year – didn’t get the spraying done fast enough … note to self for next year. The walnut should have a good crop, too, after producing nothing in last year’s drought.

The bed full of bean seeds … I dug a fair bit of manure into this bed before I seeded it out and – for some ungodly reason I cannot fathom – when I was digging through the manure pile I found lots of pumpkin seeds from a pumpkin I’d buried in there months ago (chemo brain, I can only blame chemo brain). So now there are pumpkins sprouting all through the bean bed – and no beans! I do have pumpkins growing elsewhere in the garden but they’re doing nowhere as well as the self-seeded ones.

For Christmas I will have onions, garlic, leeks and new potatoes from the garden, as well as saladings and maybe some beetroot and carrots.

The garden is doing good and I am happy – even the elderberry flowers are close to being ready to be plucked for elderflower champagne.

Talking of bum lots, I have redone young Jamie’s Guinness casserole in my thermal pot today – but cut down the amount of Guinness by over a half – if it turns out well I will post the recipe which I have adapted a little to suit my own tastes. The only reason I keep trying to get this right is because I can drink the left-over Guinness before the meal. :)

Does anyone else here use thermal pots? They work on the old hay box principal – you have a stainless steel pot in which you start off your meal cooking on the stove top, and then after about 10 minutes of simmering you transfer it to an insulated pot and close the lid – and the meal continues to cook under its own retained heat, meaning you have beautiful tender meat and a slow cooked meal that has used almost no energy. A casserole takes about 6-7 hours to cook under its own retained heat … and this morning I popped some dumplings in there, too. Oh, can’t wait for this evening.

The past few days have been warm and uncomfortably muggy – we need a change in wind, soon, please. On Thursday I had to take one of my cats to the vet – huge lump on his chin. Of course I thought it was cancer and had him dead and buried, but it turned out to be a blocked scent gland. *roll eyes* So cat is un-deaded and un-buried and at home happily snacking on antibiotics.

Talking about cat snacking – it is now blackbird baby time (please God come and take them all to heaven!) and the other day I walked outside to see a plump blackbird chick trundling its happy way down one of the cats’ walkways. Behind it in a fierce-eyed and drooling line came four cats. Eventually the chick trundled its happy way out of the walkway leaving four feline faces mashed up against the mesh in frustration – I don’t know who was more stupid, the chick or the cats. (The single hunter I have among the cats was curled up inside, asleep. Never about when she’s needed, that one.)