Most of these pictures were taken in the early part of January (the corn pic was taken this morning), when we were more or less still in summer, as I had intended to include them in the blog when I had finished the first Fairy block (which I had expected would be around the 3rd week). Now it is February, and although February is usually the hottest month, we are definitely in Autumn, and have been for a few weeks. An early winter is most certainly on the horizon.
The garden is still doing its jungle-y thing.
My Moulin Rouge sunflowers have finally rouge-ed up, and are looking quite spectacular.
The second of my wonderful Dianthus Rainbow blend has started flowering, filling the small garden with a heady scent. These are such a wonderful, gorgeous flower. Thank you to all the unknown, unnamed people who worked so diligently to bring it back from near-extinction.
The water lily has produced its first flower.
The corn is doing spectacularly, and draws comments from every person - even strangers - who pass by. It has hit the 10ft mark, and is still going up, up ,up. the most fascinating thing about it though, is the Bloody Butcher variety. The other two blue varieties have the standard whitish silks, but the Bloody Butcher has deep crimson silks.
The thing that seems to amaze people the most though, is when they ask what sprays and fertilizers I use, and I tell them I don't use any sprays of any kind, and only compost and manure are my fertilizers (and fish heads, of course). Many of them look quite stunned, and some don't believe me. So many people this year lost their tomatoes to bugs and blight, and they sprayed - but still lost them. Meanwhile I am bottling tomatoes and tomato puree madly, giving tomatoes away left right and centre to all the neighbours, and still can't keep up with the crop.
Here we have Juane Flamme, Tigrella, Indigo Rose, and Black Cherry.
I grew 16 different heirloom varieties this year, to get an idea of what I wanted as my regular varieties for future. I have decided on 3 varieties.
My first choice is the Oaxacan Jewel as my eating tomato. It is the best eating tomato I have ever had. A fabulous Beefsteak-like fleshy variety, deep gold with a small red heart, and a wonderful, juicy, tangy, full flavour. Not at all the dry, floury consistency that so many beefsteak varieties seem to have. It is also has a very thin, delicate skin, which is totally unnoticeable in eating.
My next choice is the Juane Flamme, as my bottling tomato. It has a lovely, perfectly smooth, roundish shape, that makes it perfect for bottling. Orange, fleshy, and juicy, bigger than a cherry tomato, but smaller than a standard tomato, and a very prolific producer.
My third choice is the Black From Tula, as my pureeing and cooking tomato. Another beefsteak type, fleshy, huge, all knobbly and gnarly in shape, and a deep blackish crimson in colour.
I had thought I was going to include Indigo Rose in my selection, as it is a beautiful ebony black where the sun hits, and red where it is shaded, a smooth, roundish shape, and very prolific, but I found the skin very tough, and when you cut into the tomato, it is one of those 'fleshy rim, hollow inside' varieties.
As for as my first CQJP2014 block - the Lavender Fairy - I got it a little over two thirds done before the migraines hit. Today is cold, with a steady drizzle, so I hope to get back into the embroidery. I have Susan's block for the 2013 Stitching Only RR to do, and it looks like the Garden and Flowers DYB RR is going to get going soon, so I will need to get those 6 blocks made in the next few days, as well as getting back into the fairy blocks.