4 April 2010

Random things I've learnt

I decided a few weeks ago to make this blog a bit more general, thus the change of name. Until now I've not had a chance to post anything other than the usual blogs about the house and visits to family. I've decided to post a few things that I've learnt this week and to do so on a regular, though not necessarily weekly, basis. Nor will I restrict myself to a fixed number of things as it will depend entirely on what has caught my eye.

So here goes...
  1. Before I could even write the title I had to look up the difference between learnt and learned - something I've not managed to remember in the past. Learnt is common British English, whereas learned is US English.
  2. Aeshna, the genus of the hawker dragonflies is pronounced eesh-na. Source: a wonderful website (even if they did use the word 'Latin' instead of 'scientific' to describe the words) containing information on the pronunciation of dragonfly-related things.
  3. Drinking chocolate was discovered by Hans Sloane while on a trip to Jamaica. Sloane was a physician and botanist who succeeded Sir Isaac Newton as president of the Royal Society. In addition to being a great collector of plants, he acquired a number of natural history collections and an extensive library on natural history. He bequeathed his collection to the British public and this went on to become the foundation for the British Museum. Source: wikipedia.
  4. Adult newts may eat frogspawn. Source: the garden pond blog.
  5. The name of the control centre for the Goldeneye in the James Bond film of the same name - Severnaya means northern in Russian.
  6. In addition to fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meat can also prevent scurvy. Source: Rayner Unwin - A winter away from home: William Barents and the North-east Passage.
  7. Polar bears livers should not be eaten. They contain such a high concentration of vitamin A that this can cause terrible stomach pains, eyesight to dim and skin to blister and peel off. Source: Rayner Unwin - A winter away from home: William Barents and the North-east Passage.
  8. If the top or sides of a loaf of bread cave in during baking then this is probably a result of there being too much liquid compared with dry ingredients. Source: our new breadmaker's manual.

2 April 2010

In the greenhouse

Last weekend we spent some time in the new greenhouse assembling some new shelving. Despite being rather awkward to assemble and the fact that the manufacturers didn't take into account the existence of the sliding doors in the centre of the greenhouse (which meant that Ian had to cut two of the shelves) we're both really pleased. It's doubled the amount of space we have to store our collection of little trees and they're now organised in alphabetical order along the length of the cooler half of the greenhouse.

Opposite the trees is a raised bed in which I intend to grow our herbs (except for mint which I'm only growing in pots because it likes to take over)

The warmer half of the greenhouse has four currant bushes, a grape vine and a blueberry in, which will be joined by more exotic fruit and vegetables such as marrows, aubergines and melons in the summer.