Wednesday, 24 June 2009

My family and other vegetables

Only my husband could send his 15 year old son into a sex shop without realising what he was doing. They were in Angers collecting some upholstery supplies for me and Ralph got bored (there's only one person working in the shop and it can take a VERY long time). So he told Ralph to go and check out the toy shop 50 metres away. It didn't occur to him to wonder why there would be a toy shop in such an out of the way place - he of all people (he used to be in the toy business) knows that there are few enough left in the town centres; and of course Ralph didn't think - he is after all 15. Off he went and in he went. The French don't like using anglo words very much so the very fact that this was called a Toy Shop should have been a clue in itself but of course Max hadn't really done the thinking and the name of the shop had been partially hidden behind another sign so he'd missed the rest of the sign, "Votre Espace Coquine", altogether.

Which brings me to the potatoes. We've started digging the Charlottes. A little early but with every plant there are at least six enormous orange slugs. At the end of the line we turned around and there was an army of them marching off in disgust. However, this afternoon I dug the ones out of the flower bed and there wasn't a slug to be seen. Why the flower bed? Well, the soil is very poor and it just seemed a good way to break up the soil and get lots of lovely manure in there all at once. I'll plant it out again in the autumn so it looks nice next year. We still have about eight more slug lines of Charlottes to go. These are in the new veg patch and quite a way from the moat so perhaps the frogs haven't come up this far. Also, the chickens don't go in there because of the electric fence - next year we'll plant potatoes outside of the fence.

Anyway, they all need storing so I was back in the workshop afterwards making my potato sacks. They are about 45cms x 60cms and after filling them we store them in a cool and very dark shed. I bring them into the kitchen as I need them and store them in the big vegetable rack covered over with a large feed bag - again cutting all light. This last is considered eccentric by the family but on the whole it prevents them from going green.

I've also been dealing with some of the garlic. Max rigged up a rack in the barn (see below) where we've put most of it but I suspect that some won't store for too long (they'd started bolting) so I've taken the smaller ones and any others that looked a bit ropey or had bolted and roasted them. I then put them into jars in olive oil. Oh, yes, delicious! Well, ok, they won't store for long either but at least we will have enjoyed them!

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