Well here we are again, the dawn of another year; at the end of February it will be 13 years since I took the leap into the world of organic vegetable growing, and quite a few of you have been with me from the start. I really appreciate the loyalty that you have shown me, it means so much to me.

So did you have a lovely Christmas? Mine was pretty good, I got some nice presents from Father Christmas, including some new lenses for my telescope. I will try them out on the first occasion when the night sky is clear and it’s comfortably above freezing outside. I also received one of those fitness watches that counts your steps, measures your heart rate and logs your hours of sleep – breaking it down between total number of hours slept, and how many of those were deep sleep. So far I have only been getting 2 to 3 hours of deep sleep (according to the gadget), which I found quite worrying, but having Googled it I discovered that I am getting more than enough, because the ‘experts’ reckon that this part of your sleep cycle should be 20% of your total slumber. Does that mean I don’t really need my 15 minute lunchtime power naps? Look I don’t have them every day, but I must confess that they are an indulgence that I enjoy when I do partake.

Thank you to everyone for your messages of condolence following my brief statement last week about the sudden passing of my sister in law. Grace’s funeral will be on Tuesday 15th in Pembrokeshire; it’s quite a round trip, but one that needs to be made. Because it is early in the week there shouldn’t be any disruption to the normal ordering/delivery service, though on Wednesday I may well be power napping.

Finally two of the new hens have started laying – Betty and Freda, but Florrie the bantam hasn’t delivered yet. They are lovely little eggs, not full size yet, but they’ve got good strong shells and lovely orange yolks. Thankfully they are laying in the nest boxes in the coop, whereas Ethel, one of our old rescue hens, has taken to laying in a nest under the oil tank. Beryl/Barry, the gender reassigned chicken, has become a provider of treats to the girls by leaping into the air to tug at branches of a Cotoneaster plant to dislodge the berries with which it is laden at the moment. While he leaps the others hoover up the bounty beneath the shrub; he rarely gets any himself.

So what’s available this week? Well, there are lemons, kiwi fruit, blood oranges, and Seville oranges – yes it’s marmalade time again. I know, it only seems 5 minutes since making the last batch, but it really is a whole year. There are savoy cabbages, broccoli, red cabbage, leeks, garlic, red and brown onions, swede, squash, parsnips, carrots, and mushrooms. There will be baking potatoes, Cara, and Pink Fir Apple salad potatoes. Apple juice, honey and spinach & red onion pesto complete the list this week.

I had a minor calamity on Friday morning when I was leaving Moyns Park on my delivery round. I was halfway down the drive, in the half light, when my old friend the Reeves pheasant dashed right in front of the van, causing me to swerve to avoid him whilst standing on the brakes. As the van stopped the veg boxes kept going, resulting in vegetables tumbling everywhere. I spent the next 5 minutes restacking boxes, and putting stray items where I thought they had come from, so if anyone received anything that they hadn’t expected – or didn’t get what they had ordered, blame the daft pheasant! Let me know if you had a discrepancy and I will correct it this week.

After an extended break the farmers’ market at Wyken reopens on Saturday; it will be good to get back to normal, though it was quite nice, if strange, to have a couple of free Saturdays.

Right I’m heading off back to the loft. The Christmas decorations were all taken down this morning, boxed up and put back in the loft for another 12 months. However, by the end of the day there is always a small collection of odds and ends that were missed, so up I go again. No rest for the wicked; still it will add to my step count….9,821, 9,822…..





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