Latest posts by Obelixx


Posted: 15/12/2016 at 10:36

I'd have thought they should be cut between November and end Feb when they are less active and before the sap starts rising actively - easier to cut and less sap loss from wounds.   Certainly do it outside the March to August nesting period for birds.

pet companions

Posted: 14/12/2016 at 23:29

She's gorgeous.

Here are our two dogs watching Cosmos kitten having a wash on the stairs.  

Minstrel kitten is a bit older and a bit wiser and a bit more cautious.   She likes to watch the birds out of the window - can't go out till they've had their jabs.

Hello Forkers December

Posted: 14/12/2016 at 19:51

Harumph!  Belgian endive or chicon (witloof in Flemish) was discovered by accident in 1830 by a Belgian Flemish farmer who was storing the roots in the usual way in his cellar to make a coffee substitute (thanks to the British naval blockade of France and French occupied ports in the Napoleonic wars) .  Several months later he found they had sprouted white shoots which he tasted and liked.   Now it is farmed and blanched on an industrial scale and, whilst often eaten raw in salads, is also often braised, roasted or done as a gratin.   Lots of what is now the Nord Pas de Calais is part of geographic Flanders so they're bound to claim the recipes.  I like it served as a whle leaf with those tiny brown North Sea shrimps mixed in a bit of mayonnaise and grainy mustard.  Wonderful nibble with apéro or as part of a platter of smoked fish and prawns. 

I quite fancy doing a camper van tour of Spain but I suspect the size and comfort that would be acceptable is beyond our means or driving skills.

Hello Forkers December

Posted: 14/12/2016 at 17:52

No punny stuff from me but that cake is beautiful and the eggy decs look great.  Just need to find out how to blow eggs.........   I also like the idea of hydrangea flowers for the tree.  I just happen to have two rather large mophead hydrangeas here so I can nick that idea for the tree and other bits.  Couldn't grow them in the Belgian garden as they always froze to death in winter.   

DD those endives/chicons in ham and cheese are a classic Belgian dish.  I love them.

Clari - your OH needs some self discipline and also concern for you.  No more going out to play till jobs done and house livable.

Chicky - good news about your dad.   Glad he's improving.

Hugs to all waiting for babies, feeling SAD or sleepless.

Interesting day today.  We had to take the main car for a service and the nearest suitable garage is at Olonnes so we dropped it off and then walked 4kms to the Wednesday morning market near the port at les Sables d'O.  Waste of time as it turned out so we cut thru the pedestrian shopping area to the sea front to watch the Atlantic rolling in while we had a well-earned capuccino.  There were lunatics swimming!!!  Couple of dozen of them plus windsurfers and board surfers and air temps at 6C!!!  From there we went back to the pedestrian streets via the marché des Halles which has loads of local produce including spring greens and pak choi as well as the usual range of seasonal fruit and veg plus local fish, shellfish, 12 kinds or sizes of oyster, poultry, pigs, lamb (Barnsley chops!!), charcuterie, cheese, salt and drinks.  Obxx and OH heaven -except for the oysters.

Lovely fishy lunch at the port with entertainment by fellow diners, some of whom had funny feeding foibles and others were challenged in the parking department.  Imagine a parking strip between the narrow road and the footpath at water's edge, people parked at odd angles, someone trying to fit a large 4 x 4 in a space fit only for a 2CV, people who can't reverse and you get the picture.

Then we walked back along the sea front and picked up our car, only to be told we'd had meeces eating the insulation under the bonnet - huge crater wider than my hand!!   Need to get some poison tomorrow and check they haven't munched the other too.   Humph!

Might need a snoozle now after all that ozone.


Posted: 13/12/2016 at 21:12

Copy and paste it into Google.


Hello Forkers December

Posted: 13/12/2016 at 21:11

Oh dear DD.  Better to have an early night than a hangover tomorrow I suppose but fancy no corkscrew!  Frustrating.   Probably wise to be frugal for the mo but I hope you find some Xmas cheer and remember it's you and the people you're with that make life special, not Xmas decs but if they're yours, can you not take some for your place?    

OH is feeling woeful with his gouty paw but the doc has given him some meds we hope will kick in overnight.   We're off to Chateau d'Olonne (a town) tomorrow for a car service and will go to the market while it's in dock and then to the harbour at Les Sables d'O for a fishy lunch and thence to do some errands when the shops open again after lunch.  

How far away is your mum Liri?  Glad you had a good time with her.

OH and i have decided to treat ourselves to a new camera for Xmas but, since we've both had birthdays in the last 3 weeks we can wait to buy it in the sales along with a robot vacuum cleaner.   Just small presents to find and wrap for Xmas day - apart from Possum's.


Posted: 13/12/2016 at 15:42

I expect they mean keep it dry till you're ready to spread it or it'll be difficult to handle.


Posted: 13/12/2016 at 15:17

Well, I don't see how you expect to keep it dry in the garden in the UK once you've spread it!

Have a look at this thread - http://www.gardenersworld.com/forum/tools-and-techniques/using-ash-from-wood-and-brickettes-in-the-garden/78241.html 

Hello Forkers December

Posted: 13/12/2016 at 12:23

Afternoon all.  Funny morning so far.  OH has had a bad night and slept in and then taken himself off to a doctor as his paw is swollen with gout.   Normally it's his toe and a result of change of diet so we don't know why this has happened.   Kittens had me awake early scatting about so I went down and let out the dogs for their morning constititutional and they both then followed me upstairs into kittenland.  Not normally allowed upstairs but we're keen to get them introduced gently and where they feel safe.  Rasta just wants to mother them and has been upstairs quite a lot "supervising" but Bonzo hasn't a clue whether to be frightened, worried, cautious or curious so does them all at once.

Chicky - sorry about your dad.  Hope he recovers well.  Liri - your present sounds perfect.

Our potential capon and poularde are from Challans which is a reputed poultry area and does organic, free range hens, guinea fowl and so on.  Normal roasting chuck and GF have been delicious so far.  Might try a capon for between Xmas and NY but Possum is insisting on our traditional duck breast with red wine and juniper berry sauce and gratin dauphinois.

Phones - apparently mine is smart but I only use it for phone calls and texts which I've only done since I got this model with a  keyboard.   OH uses his much more, including checking up on his virtual boat in the Vendée Globe.  Apparently 440,000 others are doing this including 3 of the other 4 chaps in our dance class.  He also does phone banking but not with our French account.  It's odd here - in Belgium we had touch screens for doing withdrawals and other transactions, parking meters that read bank cards or can be paid by phone and no checks for the last 20 years.  People like plumbers, electricians and other house services have card readers for payments.

Here we have to write checks and wait for an invoice, no touch screens and we have to lick stamps - when the PO has them!

I like to read papers, magazines and books when I travel unless I'm looking out the window watching the scenery or people watching - but then I don't commute any more.

Advice on planting hedge

Posted: 12/12/2016 at 22:56

It is perfectly possible to make a very good hedge with photinia and every time you clip the new growth will be red.   This picture shows photinia hedges in a garden at Annevoie in Belgium - 


I think you do need to do some decent soil preparation before planting and not cut corners.  They'll be in there for decades and you'll want them to grow healthily so rather than just killing the grass with chemicals and then expecting your hedge to thrive, you'll need to invest a bit more effort.   Take off the grass with a spade or else dig it in and then fork over the whole length of the hedge again to a depth of at least one spade and then add plenty of well rotted garden or bought in compost and some manure.   This will improve drainage and aeration as well as nutrient levels and help your hedge establish and thrive.

Water the plants thoroughly before and after planting and then mulch with more compost or else wood chippings to retain moisture and keep down weeds.   The best time to plant is autumn to late Jan/mid Feb when the plants are more or less dormant and the roots have a chance to get established before they have the stress of providing fuel for the burst of spring growth.  Keep it watered in its first year.

See here for advice from the RHS on photinias - https://www.rhs.org.uk/Advice/profile?PID=145

These people are hedging plant specialists and have this to say - https://www.hedgesdirect.co.uk/acatalog/photinia_red_robin.html 

Last edited: 12 December 2016 22:58:16

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