Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Core activities

We are lucky to have a Bramley apple tree in our garden, it is low and spreading and very productive. This year the crop is exceptional; Cliff has picked and stored lots for later in the winter but the tree is still laden with beautiful apples. The ones that fall off will attract a visiting Muntjac for a midnight feast.

The autumn sunshine has given the Bramleys rosy cheeks this year. They make perfect baked apples, with their tummies stuffed with sultanas, brown sugar and a knob of butter - can there be a more perfect autumn treat!

The leafy greens and herbs I sowed in early September have been a huge success. Last night I picked greens to accompany salmon steaks. Mizuna, Pak Choy and some gorgeous Dill. I think fresh Dill is one of my favourite flavours, this year the late sowing has produced lots of blue green feathery leaves. I don't think it will survive the frosts so I'll have to eat lots or maybe put a cloche over it for protection.

In the studio I've been printing stripes. I had a sudden idea and just had to try it out. The plan was to complete the prints on Monday, then the phone rang - a design studio I've been doing some work for - a major crisis - all hands on deck - please - please . . . oh, OK then. That's what it's like when you're freelance . . . the stripes will have to wait. I'll show you the finished prints one day.

The weather has been splendid and my cold is much better (not 100% but getting there) so I couldn't resist getting stuck in to a new gardening project. I got an idea when Cliff and I were dismantling the fences that were around what is now our Wild Wood; we had gained lots of wire netting. My enforced rest last winter and the enthusiasm the under-gardeners have for UGPs* has resulted in the garden borders being out of my control. I need to put my foot down and the wire netting was just what I needed to make boundaries to separate plant from hen.

During my lunch-time garden workout today I completed the first border boundary fence - Sylvie inspected it. I know the under-gardeners are quite capable of hopping over the top, but my cunning plan is that this will stop them from a favourite UGP, merging the border with the lawn.

Meanwhile back in the studio my two assitants have been hard at work all week - they never get flustered even when there's a deadline crisis and the editor changes her mind at the last minute. What would I do without them?

The Tabby One

The Ginger One

* UGPs = Unauthorised Gardening Project


  1. Celia! Now I want a baked apple but it's too late!

    I'm intrigued by those stripes and have been trying to guess what the full print will be.

  2. sylvie looks a wee put out :) at least your assistants are around to demonstrate priorites. mmmmm baked apples! the stripesare intriquing.

  3. Ah, this post has given me so many thoughts to post.

    Just like silverpebble, I am quite energized by your baked apple tribute. Is a sultana the same as a golden raisin? Think so. Wrap that recipe in a pastry and bake it and you've got another treat ... an apple dumpling.

    The hen story is sublime.

    The stripe got me thinking about Agnes Martin. Please do complete your needed business, and get back to those painted stripes.

    Your post has really reminded me of so much that I love about this time of year.


  4. Just when my dill is ready to harvest, I find the most gorgeous Monarch butterfly caterpillars on them, and so, every year I let them have it. The caterpillars also go for the carrots, but at least I can pull the carrots at the end of the season.

  5. My chickens go over anything up to about 4ft high - the more it looks like they shouldn't be there, the more the 'need' to go!

    Stripes project is intriguing.

    I have some late sown Cavalo Nero leaves through now. I put them in when I heard I had my full allotment. They are lovely when young but I'm thinking I might put some in the greenhouse when the toms and peppers are cleared.

  6. My parents have a lot of apple and pear trees in their garden. They now leave quite a few to rot on the ground so the mice can eat them. They don't so much want the mice but the owls that come and feed on them. It works to. Many a night I was serenaded by owls.

  7. Can I borrow Sylvie to clean up the slugs around my late sown pak choi? They were doing well until the rain started.
    The stripes do indeed look intriguing.

  8. How utterly, utterly gorgeous are your cats!!! I looked at all the pictures under your 'cats' post folder - so adorable! I love how they sleep in all sorts of places, like the chicken coop.

  9. The under-gardeners definitely have an air of calm about them. I like the idea of cooking apples tummies full of sultanas! x

  10. We have a few too many UGP going on too! Some boundary fencing would be an excellent idea. I fancy baked apples now. G x
    ps Thanks for the newspapers... very much appreciated and will definitely be used.

  11. My bramley tree has been really disappointing this year - I think it probably needs a bit of radical pruning but I suppose if I did that there wouldn't be many apples next year either.

  12. Cats really know how to reeeelax! they could teach us a thing or two!

  13. Hi Silverpebble - all will be revealed soon...

    Hi Petoskystone - Sylvie is planning revenge!

    Hi Frances - I wan't familiar wil Agnes Martin's work - I see what you mean, thank you.

    Hi Terry - we don't get Monarch butterflies here so our dill is safe!

    Hi Veg Heaven - our hens are more than capable of getting over the fence - but this will hopefully stop them from spreading all the soil from the border onto the grass. So far so good.

    Hi Rose - that's interesting, we have owls too.

    Hi Threadspider - Silvie would prefer the pak choi ;-)

    Hi Melinda - the studio assistants say thank you :-)

    Hi Louise - baked apples are my current favourite food :-)

    Hi Gina - It's so hard to be cross with hens when they look so happy trashing the garden!

    Hi Carolj - how disappointing, maybe there will be a bumper crop next year.

    Hi Matron - you're right there - cats know everythng about relaxing!



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