Enjoy Figs

We pruned our fruit garden tree quite drastically last spring. As a result of the shock to the trees, we expected a few fruit, if any, this year. To some extent, we have been proved wrong.

For breakfast, we’re enjoying figs from our black and green fig trees with our muesli and yogurt. More figs are ripening.

Figs (chopped) with muesli and yogurt

Our figs with muesli and yogurt for breakfast

However, the few pomegranate buds fell off the pomegranate trees.We’ll have a big celebration for the one remaining pomegranate fruit!

 

Why Are You Worth It?

It’s important to preserve our sense of worth. Occasionally, think about your life now. Is it going the way you wish? What have you done (today) that makes you feel proud (a song!)? Be positive and mull over these things. They can be simple. Perhaps they involve work or home, interests or family and friends. Make a mental note of the good things. Quietly allow yourself to be satisfied, pleased.

Fuschia

Simple achievement-Each year this fuschia survives the winter (7 degrees centigrade) in our garden.

We don’t have to tell others unless we feel they are happy to share our thoughts.

By being positive about our achievements, however simple, we give our lives a meaning. This way we feel a desire to continue, maybe even with more goals.

Let’s keep trying!

 

Visiting The Vet

We great danes, Stellar and Venus, like going in the box on round things. We see lots of trees and big boxes and people like him. Calm, she says as he takes Stellar on the lead and she takes me, Venus, to the box thingy. I pull. She opens the door. I jump inside. Then Stellar. She sits in the middle of us on the back seat. Sit, she says. We step on her and our giant paws and claws push on her knees. Her face goes wrinkly and slowly she lifts off a large paw. Ouch! We go h,h,h,h. In front, he turns the round thingy. Cold wind pours on our heads. That’s better. We drool over the big bed seat cover thingy they put inside. She pats our heads and we go h,h,h,h. Calm, calm. Our black and white hair is all over her.

The box stops. I know this place. I want to jump out. He takes Stellar. I want to go too. The door is still open. She holds on to the lead and she says, stay. I don’t know why he shuts the door. He looks inside the big box. He calls her and says, OK, no cats.  She opens the door. Calm. Out we go. Calm.

They talk to the man. Inside, I want to sniff all over. Stellar goes away. The door shuts. I go h,h,h,h. He smiles and comes out with a piece of red wooly stuff. Stellar chewed a rug and a bit stuck between her teeth. He got it out! I hear clip, clip. Talking. Out she comes. I go in. He cuts my claws on my legs. She holds me still. I won’t let him cut anymore. He puts something in my neck. Finished. She holds my head and he presses my bottom. All done!

Talking. A lady comes with a small dog. She goes. Why? Is she scared of us? They take us back to the box. H,h,h,h. She goes in.

Me-It’s interesting how simple changes can cause a slight problem. In hot weather, we let Stellar go in and out of her crate at night. Venus remains inside her crate. Stellar chewed the corner of an old rug on the cool stone floor. By day, she kept licking her lips. Unbeknown to us, a piece of wool was stuck between her teeth. Venus had a blockage in the tubes leading to her anal sacs. It took the vet just a squeeze to unblock them. No more bad smell!

Vet Visit 1

Venus is tired after her vet visit

So two one yearly check-ups (heart, teeth, search for tumors, etc), yearly vaccinations for serious dog illnesses, small treatments, and claw trimming, as much as Stellar and Venus would allow! I’ll have to be sneaky and try to trim their claws again at home.

Yearly check up and vaccinations- so worth it.

Vet Visit 2

Stellar seems to have lost her tail at the vets!

Try Lemon Curd

Instead of jam, lemon curd can be sharp and refreshing. The secret is to keep the sugar content low, just enough.

2016-06-12 Making  lemon curd 1

Simple ingredients for lemon curd

Whisk the sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter. Cook in the microwave for one minute at a time, stirring after each minute. Once the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon you are finished.

2016-06-12 Making lemon curd 2

Heated ingredients

I place quantities in squares of cling film to freeze. Whenever I need some lemon curd, I thaw a  cling film sachet, undo the tie and squeeze the contents into a very small bowl, just enough for one or two helpings. This way, no lemon curd is wasted. It’s delicious on wholemeal bread.

For an extra tang, I place a layer of it over my Pavlova meringue. After this, I add whipped cream followed by chopped fruit to decorate. It contrasts well with the sweet meringue.

Lush lemons!

 

Crafty Cicadas

As I went for my morning swim, I met a new companion. It was sunbathing on the handle of the pool steps.

Cicada

Our cicada visitor

It was content and so it didn’t want to move.

Cicada 3

Our laid back cicada

I placed my dry towel around it gently and carried it to a shady area.

Cicada 4

Resting on my towel

Again, it stayed put. A sudden vibration and blur and it was gone. It had darted to the fruit garden.

Can you see it?

Cicada 5

Camouflaged in the fruit garden

If you have some die back on the ends of your tree branches, this may be due to cicada damage. This is where the female cicada has cut a slit to lay her eggs and so the tips of the branches have died. In our case, a Ficus tree is affected. The nymphs remain below ground eating tree roots for years. Eventually, they appear for a few months and make noisy sounds as they call for a mate. The males die after mating. Hard luck!

 

Children And A #Social Life

We love our children but maybe we can miss out on going out. Try to find pubs and bars where there are facilities for children and adults to be together happily. UK National Trust attractions can include child-friendly cafes and outdoor eating and drinking areas. Find other places with high chairs along with necessary good nappy changing and toilet facilities. Some museums have excellent child-friendly facilities as well as displays involving children to keep them interested.

Bar, child friendly 2

Sundown at a beachside bar

Keep the contact details of all these various entertainment areas you have searched out so you can invite friends to join you with ease.

 

#Burning Garden Refuse

It can be a problem removing garden waste.You may not have adequate transport to take it to a recycling centre or tip. Perhaps you have to pay to have it collected or accepted by the recycling centre. Maybe you need help chopping or sawing large boughs so more cost.

It’s time to feel the burn! Are there regulations about bonfires in your area? Try an old oil drum. You may need to pay for delivery. To remove excess oil, have it cleaned out first before you buy it. Alternatively, turn it upside down for some time. You may need help carrying it. Make sure your waste is dry before burning.

Oil drum, well used

A well-used oil drum

To prevent smoke travelling to other areas, choose a windless time of day. We peep round the curtains and arise early if it’s still outside. Occasionally, we burn in early evening if the air is still. Position a full watering can or garden hose nearby. Place the oil drum on level ground away from overhanging branches. Fill it with your dry garden waste. Use a rod to push the waste away from one side. With gloved hands, light a fire lighter using a match stick. Drop this down space you made at the side. It’s easier and faster with two people. One collects the bundles of wood while the other feeds the fire. Leave a “fire break”  around the drum.

Remember the drum is very hot. Pour water over the final ashes. Check  on the oil drum after use. It takes some time to cool down.

Oil drum with ashes

All that’s left of a drum full of twigs and branches

Job done!