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Fig Fig Fig! & Dog & Egg. Oh, & book.

I fear my entries in this journal are a sad mishmash. Ah well.

The fig tree has achieved ripeness! I've now had 3 decent fruit off it: the last one was the sweetest, having turned more brown than the other two, but all three were very edible and with a lovely deep red centre. There are 10 nearly-ripe fruit left, plus a bunch of smaller ones. It's only mid-Aug, so I'm going to leave the tiddlers and see if they ripen later in the summer. There would have been more but I had to prune it back as it was getting too thick and spilling over the path.

The satisfaction of getting ripe figs off a '£1 label fell off' plant special is brilliant!

The grapevine is absolutely groaning with young green grapes, though I note there are some blackened fruits and I saw the odd bit of fungus when it was damper last week. I think I should probably have thinned the fruit more than I did. A combination of removing the affected fruits and the warmer drier weather seems to have stopped that from doing any real damage though.

Even though the poor physalis pubescens in the greenhouse really needs more watering than I've given it, it is fruiting up nobly, and I have had a couple of nice bowlfuls of fruit. At least if I keep it really dry in there it seems to prevent the mould problems I had last year.

The upper garden, however, is a wilderness, and if I don't manage to get a new lawnmower this weekend the rest could be joining it shortly. I didn't plant out those pumpkins early enough: I'm sure they aren't going to be big enough to fruit. Drattitude. Fruiting shrubs and climbers are much less effort than annuals, even if pumpkins are kind of fun.

I have more apples than my Mum's trees, but it's still a pretty crappy apple year this year - not like the last two. Late frost in May: what a bummer.

Mollydog knows how to eat eggs! I came across a site that suggested a raw egg from time to time was a good treat. I thought she'd splash it everywhere so I took her out on the lawn - but no, she took it from me and held it carefully in her mouth, then put it down and held it in her paws while she nibbled a hole in one end so she could carefully tip the white out and lap it up, before taking more shell off and sticking her tongue in to get the yolk. Very expert, though still not something to try on the carpet, I feel.

I really got into the "A Song of Ice and Fire books, but alas, now I've finished the last one published. Woe. I'm baffled by the first two volumes being 'books' and the last two being two volumes of a single book. So far as I could tell they were all one really really BIG book, and one that he hasn't finished yet. I see the next one is out in October, so am faced with that tricky 'buy in hardback, or wait' question (I prefer paperbacks).

I liked all the Wars of the Roses characters - King Robert is definitely Edward IV, and the Lannisters are very Woodville, specially Jaime, when they first appear. Tirion has definitely got a spice of Richard III in him too. I bet Martin has a soft spot for Richard.

The story is moving towards fantasy and away from history in the last (book? volume?), so it will be interesting to see how that side of things moves on. I am sure there is going to be a Rickon pretender at some point, and I would like to know more about the Arya pretender too!



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
16th Aug, 2005 13:01 (UTC)
Ooh, figs! That's another plant to add to our list of stuff we'd like to grow. Don't suppose I'll manage to get one as cheap as yours though. I think the shrubs and trees we grow will end up doing better than any annuals as we're both notoriously lazy when it comes to the garden. Though our excuse so far has been that we've been tending gardens that aren't our own and that don't grow anything useful. Hopefully the prospect of nice home-grown veg will change that.

I think GRRM intended ASOIAF to only be 5 books long when he started writing it and doing the last 2 as volumes of 1 book was intended to help him stick to that. I remember reading somewhere fairly recently though that he'd said it probably was going to stretch to 7 books after all. Still that means several more good books to come. I prefer paperbacks too, but GRRM is visiting the UK in October to do a book signing tour so I think it'll have to be a hardback for me.
17th Aug, 2005 09:13 (UTC)
Well, Amazon lists 6 GRRM I&F volumes already (2 unpublished) so I'd guess 7 is the lower limit!

I'm not complaining though. I thought it was amazing - something that long, with that many characters, and each character is memorable. I know there is a character sheet at the back of each volume, but I was surprised to find I didn't need it, as each character was so neatly drawn and individual. I think it's really rare to find an author who does characterisation so well.

I am increasingly convinced that wall shrubs are the way to go if you can possibly get enough walls. If I had unlimited time and money (lol) I'd take out at least half my annoying hedges that need cutting all the time and replace with nice brick walls that store the heat and bounce it back onto the fruit. My vine on its white wall is doing loads better than my neighbour's which is on a pergola - though I'm not sure what variety that is.
17th Aug, 2005 11:56 (UTC)
We'll have one 70' wall, which I guess is long enough to plant several nice fruit-bearing shrubs along :-)
17th Aug, 2005 13:10 (UTC)
Ooooh, envy! South-facing as well?
18th Aug, 2005 13:57 (UTC)
I think it's west facing. There's a long privet hedge on the other side which we also own according to the deeds. I'd quite like to replace that with a wall at some point provided the neighbours don't object - I know we own it and so can technically do what we like with it, but I wouldn't want to upset them if at all possible. I can't think they would be too attached to a privet hedge though, but if they still wanted a hedge of some sort, perhaps they'd let us replace it with something useful like roses so I can get rosehips.
19th Aug, 2005 10:08 (UTC)
West-facing is good - no sun on it first thing too, so less likely to get scorching if there is frost.

The neighbours would have to be quite weird to want to keep a privet hedge, but privet does have the advantage of being fairly easy and inoffensive to trim without prickles I guess (I say this with feeling as some of our hazel hedges are threaded with dog rose,which is *horrible*. Really pretty, but it lurks under the hazel leaves then swishes round and scratches you unexpectedly)

Have you come across the concept of the 'Belgian Fence'- a sort of thin hedge made of apple or pear trees? I suppose it might be a bit thin for a boundary fence, but I think they are wonderful...

I had raspberries planted as a hedge in Chester: it's not the totally best way to grow them, but with a tough variety you get decent numbers of fruit and they don't need much care.
19th Aug, 2005 11:49 (UTC)
I can't imagine that they would want to keep the privet hedge, as you say they are easy to look after, but they've got to be about one of the dullest things around. The Belgian fence sounds intriguing, I must look that up & certainly raspberries as a fence would get my vote. I hope the new neighbours are nice and amenable, apparently they're a couple about our age, so hopefully we'll get on.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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