What I’ve been up to…

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Another week has flown by and I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot and barely made a dent in my to-do lists. I say lists because I’m generally working off several that I tend to write on the backs of envelopes or any other scrap paper that I fish out of my bin. Organized chaos…welcome to my life!

Last weekend I spent both Saturday and Sunday manning my market stall at the Southern Agricultural Show. Again I booked a pitch with the Farmers Market and had a fantastic time meeting returning and new customers alike, as well as catching up with other local producers and friends who stopped by. My next big event will be on the 8-9th of August and you’ll find me at the Royal Manx – again with the Farmers Market.

I’m about to admit defeat on my allotment for this year. I feel terrible as the Secretary of the association but the time I’ve been able to dedicate to it has dwindled to basically nothing. I’m going to cover up half my beds in carpet next week and am going to leave it until I can really spend time getting it back into order. Looking at my schedule I’m unlikely to have much time between now and September to really tackle the jungle my plot has now become.

On a positive note, I grow a lot of flowers and herbs in containers at home and this year I’ve started growing greens as well. It’s so much easier to keep an eye on growing plants when they’re literally just outside the door. Take the below containers of lettuce and salad greens for instance. To help myself I literally just have to open the door and pinch out a handful of leaves. I also have tomatoes in the conservatory but this year I’ve only been growing a new variety from Suttons Seeds called Indigo Rose. The fruit are supposed to be nearly all black when ripe but it’s taking quite a while. I’m looking forward to tasting them though!

I also have to mention a new composter that I’ve been using recently just because I’m super excited about it! Back in April I was contacted by Straight Plc in the UK who manage the getcomposting.com website. They’re a commercial company passionate about composting and the environment and offered me a couple of their Anaerobic kitchen composters to try out.

So far so good and the kitchen waste that I’m not sending to the wormery goes directly in the bin that I keep in the kitchen. The units take meat, bones, fish, dairy, flowers, and vegetable matter that I can’t give to my worms such as onion skins. It doesn’t smell at all and uses an interesting bran-based composting activator called Bokashi that helps speed up the composting action. My first bin is full and is now sitting outside finishing up composting and I’m about half way there with filling my second bin. After 14 days of general composting, the contents can be emptied into your ordinary compost pile or buried in the garden. I’ll let you know how my experience goes.

It’s August now and berries are coming in thick and fast. Right now I’ve got loads of red currants that I’ve been transforming into jelly with this recipe – I love red currant jelly with Swedish meatballs. Yum! I also have big juicy thorn-less blackberries ripening at the allotment. The Isle of Man is thick with Blackberries but this variety is long like a Loganberry and juicier than any wild berry I’ve ever foraged from the hedgerow. I’ve been having them scattered over my yoghurt and honey in the morning.

In other news…I was contacted recently by a lady who follows me on Facebook and who happens to be married to the editor of one of the local papers. They’ve asked me if I wanted to be featured in the Examiner’s ‘A Day in the Life’ column next week which I was more than happy to agree to. I’ve written up a short piece on what my typical day is like and it’s going to be accompanied with the photo below in next Tuesday’s edition.

With pieces like this and my new regular column with the Southern and Northwest Chronicles I’m trying to raise more local awareness of both my blog and handmade beauty business. It’s amazing how much online traffic I get from overseas when I have so many people to reach out to here on the island and in the UK.

I generally work every day at least part time but this week I took an afternoon off and spent it at Niarbyl with two of my friends. Well, there was a tiny amount of work involved since one of them, a photographer, took some pictures of me including the one that will be in the Examiner.
After that tiny bit of ‘work’ we set out along the coastal footpath and ended up on a secluded beach where we sat on the warm stones, had a laugh, and played in the water. It was a beautiful day and we finished it off at the Niarbyl Bay Cafe with coffees, scones, and cheesecake.

I took more than a few photos of the day and you can see many of them on my Instagram, including this one of blackberries on the footpath. Even though I have plenty of berries at the allotment I was happy to see that wild berries were coming on too. I have a mind to try making blackberry wine with nearly all juice this year so I’ll need a big bucket of fruit. I’m going to have to chat with Ben Hardy, my wine making friend/guru, about what he thinks about my idea.

It’s on days like this that I feel so fortunate to live in such a beautiful and magic place. I’ve said more than once that there’s no place like the Isle of Man when the sun is out! Hopefully we’ll get a few more weeks of summer sun to spend exploring the wild and windswept places on the island. It’s easy to get bogged down with work and lose sight of enjoying the outdoors so my friends and I have made a pact that we’ll plan an excursion once a month. Next time I’ll be taking them to see the Wallabies at the curragh.

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4 Discussion to this post

  1. CJ says:

    It's a beautiful photo of you Tanya, and how lovely that you'll be featured in the paper. You've been working hard, I'm glad you were able to take some time out to enjoy the countryside, it's always wonderful to get out in summer. I hope you have a good weekend. CJ xx

  2. It can only mean more customers! Well done.
    Looking forward to hearing how the composting does.
    My tomatoes, despite being planted earlier than last year have only just started getting flowers on! The Two 'tumbler' tomatoes planted in a pair of old wellies have loads of small fruit on.
    I will have to move them to a higher spot away from the hens, they are rather fond of tomatoes and shouldn't have too many as they are from the Solanum family of veg (deadly Nightshade is one of them) but, you probably already know that, being a keen grower!

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