Archive for April, 2012

Robin Hoods Cortina

What started out as a simple stroll along the banks of the river Maun with my new OS map 270 ended up being a most enjoyable 24 mile hike through the countryside and into the centre of Sherwood Forest.

My route started at Mansfield town market place and walked under the impressive viaduct until reaching River Maun as it leaves the town and heads into Maun Valley. On this day, not a soul was around and I had miles to myself. I was even treated to a King Fisher diving into the water whilst I ate my own packed lunch (and really wishing I’d brought my camera gear…seriously need to look into lightweight monopods again)

Onwards along Badgers Hill and the sweeping views from High Rocks before descending down towards the River Maun and the Five lakes that run parallel. Stopped to chat with one of the local anglers who was happy to be out on this (rare at it would seem of late) dry day!

Past a campsite (waypoint dropped as reference as I’d like to pitch up here one day) and into Cavendish woods and a glimpse at the chocolate box Cavendish Lodge complete with regal Peacock parading the grounds.

Temporary loosing sight of the river as I head through Kings Clipstone and under railway bridges and an old fashioned signal station before rejoining it just south of Sherwood Forest. Here I followed the last bit of the trail and into village of Edwinstowe for a bite to eat and a looksee at the marriage grounds of Mr and Mrs R Hood at St. Mary’s church.

Refreshed, i headed north and the short walk into the heart of Sherwood Forest and to my final destination.

The Major Oak at Sherwood Forest – Robin Hoods weekend retreat ๐Ÿ™‚

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I followed the west path out on to the national cycle route (no.6), which then turns south by the Archway house and a glimmer of blue caught my eye.

I wonder if this was Maid Marion’s Ford Cortina ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Exiting Sherwood Forest and back towards the river and to follow my footsteps home. Four hours later, coffee, armchair and feet firmly up ๐Ÿ™‚

StiGGy's Blog

The past few weeks, iโ€™ve been playing around with a freebie mapping app called โ€˜Outside Mapsโ€˜ โ€˜ which displays open ordnance survey maps on my iPhone and used in conjunction with my phoneโ€™s compass and GPS functions which is proving to be an invaluable aid whilst out walking. The app has a whole list of features including setting waypoints and offline map pack downloads in the event that mobile or 3G signal is weak.

You canโ€™t beat having a proper map with you though and I usually like to carry an appropriate OS Explorer map with me but having a little GPS โ€˜meโ€™ moving along the map as I walk the route and having a directional indicator is rather fun!

I recently picked up a new walking book called the Robin Hood Way which details the 105 mile 18 stage walk from Nottingham Castle to Sherwood Forest, takingโ€ฆ

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Sowing begins.

Rain, rain, thunder, rain, is that blue sky?, nope…..rain. Pretty much sums up April here. Doing the odd bit of weeding, mowing and general garden upkeep has had to be done during brief respites when it’s not chucking down…or, at times, putting ones waterproofs on and getting stuck in!

So with the rain pelting down again I raided my seed tin to see what I’m short on for this years veggie beds.

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We’re still getting the odd bit of frost in the morning and so I’ll be starting this first batch under cover in the main greenhouse, experimenting with the new mini greenhouse and having seed trays in propagators inside we’re it’s warm.

Despite the rain, I’m happy in the greenhouse, with a good cuppa and Radio 2 on my iPhone. I could stay here all afternoon….and I did ๐Ÿ™‚

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Todays sowing –

Cucumber (mini, white a Apple variety)
Tomato (Large yellow stuffing) – will be getting more varieties from my folk in the next few weeks.
Peas
French beans
Runner beans
Chillies
Peppers
Potatoes (Charlotte and Maris Piper)

I’ve placed my potatoes into the grow sacks again after being indoors chittin away. In previous years I’ve added a third of compost to each sack, added five potatoes (one in each corner and one in the middle), covered with a few inch of compost and earthed up as they’ve grown. However, this year, and on recommendation from various friends, I’ve staggered the potatoes into two layers. One, containing three spuds after filling each sack with a third of compost, half filled, added two more potatoes and finally added more compost until the sack is full. No earthing up required. Let’s see if it works.

With the mini greenhouse placed closer to the house, sheltered but in full sun, I’ve sown a small batch of Rocket, mixed spicy salad leaves, Pak Choi, Swiss Chard, Mustard Cress, Lettuce and Purple Basil.

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My homemade compost is looking rather good and has been applied to the veggie beds were required. It looks like I’ll be playing catchup what with all this rain but I’m sure all will turn out ok in the end.

Here’s hoping for a dry May ๐Ÿ™‚

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Haircut time.

To StiGGy, this weekend is the weekend you gave the garden trees and larger bushes their annual haircut. In the case of the cherry blossom, crab apple, holly, red robin and (unknown) elm tree, you could say a short, back and sides lollipop. Saturday was a case of dodging showers but Sunday was all bright, dry and warm.

It’s been a considerable number of years since I last climbed a tree…ok, I’ll admit it, its well over 25 years ago, so shimmying up our elm tree and surveying the garden from a lofty hight was quite exhilarating….until the time to descend…not so good.

Whilst up there I must admit, after checking that no one was around, to treating myself to a bit of a Tarzan yodel. However, all thoughts of swinging to the next tree would have to remain in my mind, to accompany the rather down to earth note of extending and adding a couple more flower beds.

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We’ve (my wife that is, not Jane & Cheetah) have also decided to add fruit trees to the garden this year. Nothing to large, and am going to try the dwarf stock/patio cherry and apple(s) as well as a ‘no more that 2 metre’ Victoria plum tree. We haven’t decided on cherry/apple varieties yet but need to make up our mind soon and get them ordered. Any dwarf recommendation?

I was hoping sow a few items and place in the mini greenhouse this weekend but the tree pruning has taken up nearly all of the weekend. I guess though, especially as we’re still experiencing frosts in the early hours of the mornings, it’s prudent to hang on for a bit longer?

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Potato invader from Mars?

Potatoes chitting away and this one with way too many long shoots reminded me of dodgy looking monster from a 50’s B Movie. Thought I’d apply a few filters on my iPad. Firstly, with PSTouch (Invert and TV scan) and secondly to apply colouring, grit and frame in Pixlromatic to give it that low res CCTV look.

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Grab the masher and take up arms, the invaders are here!

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Top Pea Variety

My first years peas where ok, the second a little better, a move to a different veggie bed/location for the third year really increased our crops but this year thanks to the article by the Telegraph, I might change variety.

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/howtogrow/fruitandvegetables/9188228/Easy-to-grow-peas-please.html

Has anyone had much success with Mangetout grown in a container?

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Heritage Tomato and Lettuce

Two new packets again thanks to my sister-in-law.

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Lettuce Relic

A breeding development of the heirloom ‘Deer’s Tongue’ to give the improved uniformity and good mildrew resistance. A distinctive and attractive, eye catching loose leaf plant habit and reddish maroon, narrow pointed leaves with a pleasant taste and texture’

Tomato – Yellow Stuffer

Blocky, firm, thick walled, shiney yellow fruits up to 200g in weight. The central core is easily removed making it one of the best varieties for stuffing and baking. Fruits keep up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. Excellent for baking, can also be used as a slicing tomato. Grow indoors or outdoors as an indeterminate/cordon.’

Well, with any luck, the greenhouse is certainly going to be colourful this year!

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Apple Cucumber

These where given to me as part of a heritage set of seeds by greenfingered sister-in-law. Up until then had never heard of a Apple Cucumber!

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This variety originates from Australian as far back at the 1900 and quite the fashionable item in edwardian times. It’s certainly different!

I’m quite looking forward to seeing what the results looks like and with any luck, we might get to sample one.

Looking at the packet instructions, they’re no different to growing regular Cucumbers and it’s about this time of year that I sow mine so will be adding these too. I’ll be back with progress as they (hopefully) begin to grow.

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