Clicking on any of the pictures will open them at full size in the browser window, which means you will have to use the 'back' button to return to the main pages, whereas clicking to the left or right of any picture will open them in a new window, if you fancy a closer look at any of the piccies we've posted! We've included a Google Earth satelite picture of our plots and this years planting plan at the bottom of the page, next to each other. If you choose the Earth view on the satelite image you can rotate the image until it is lined up with the planting plan, then use the arrows in the plan to scroll from Plot 2 to Plot 1.

Friday, July 02, 2010

So, just who are 'the Dobbies' and why a 'Pumpkin Patch'?

As we've had a few new folks sign up to follow this blog (plus we've been doing it now for almost 4 years and still havent posted a proper intro of who we are), I thought I'd start today with a bit more about who we are and why we grow our own fruit and veg!

Ok, we'll start with my (Toyboy) husband, Lee, aka Dobby or Mr Dobby (Mr D), his nickname came from when he decided he wanted to realise an ambition and grow the food that we ate, and joined the Grow Your Own magazine forum (the Grapevine), being a Harry Potter fan he chose the forum name of Dobby, and when I then followed him onto that Forum, I took the name of Mrs Dobby, hence the allotment became (because we grow a large number of pumpkin and squash each year) 'The Dobbies Pumpkin Patch'!

Lee is rapidly approaching his 40th Birthday, is a wonderful guy with a high IQ, but is also dyslexic, so although hes very smart, hes not so good with writing, hence I tend to do the blog!

I first met Lee 10 yrs ago on Mayday, when we were both doing volunteer work for a charity together, we soon realised we were soul mates, fell in love, officially started dating at the end of August, moved in together 2 weeks later, after about 6 weeks Lee proposed on my Birthday, and we were married 10 days after that (on Samhain - or Halloween for you non-Pagans!), 6 months to the day after we first met!

We've been together for the past 10 years now, never even having so much as an argument, we share interests and our religion (of paganism), plus a deep respect and love for each other.

So, this is me, Suzanne, aka Mrs Dobby (Mrs D), I'm currently 42 1/2 years old, tall, naturally blonde (going grey - its work pressure that does it to you!), and am not as photogenic as Lee, hence I'm usually the one behind the camera!

I work as a retail superstore manager for a large automotive and bicycle retailer, and have been with them for 22 years now, only another 22 1/2 years until I can retire to the allotment! Lol!

I'm a Pagan Witch of the British Traditional persuassion, and have trained with 3 families / groups / coveen's at one time or another, plus held Handfasting ceremonies for friends in the past. I'm the sort of person who likes to puzzle things out, so during our first footsteps into Paganism together I found myself asking questions others couldnt answer, so ended up writing a 65 page, 180K word website (Silver Wolf's Lair - now defunct, but copies exist on the wayback machine) about the answers we had found, and how what works for you spiritually is much more important than what anyone else can tell you!

Also living with us is Bella (Belladonna to give her full name), a rescue Great Dane Alsatian crossbreed, 7 1/2 stone of fun who thinks shes a lap dog!

Our final pets (for the moment, I know we are going to have chooks sometime, just dont know when!) are the bees that we have living in our 6 hives on the allotments. We look after them with our fellow beekeepers, Pat and Colin (from the plot opposite ours), so the four of us have split the costs of startup between us all, making it a bit easier to handle! In total we've got 6 hives, 2 National design and 4 Smiths design, each of which will hold between 50K and 75K, so currently we've got about 400K bees flying around the allotment (or as I've also been told, 400000 stings flying round! Lol!)

So, why do we have the allotment? Why Grow Our Own? Why Keep Bees?

For many reasons, but amongst them.....

We have the allotments because we cant yet afford a house with enough land to enable us to grow all that we want, I'd be quite happy with an earth sheltered eco house for us to live in (off grid and small if needs be) as long as it had enough land, but until then, the allotments are the only way we can start to live the life we want to!

As for GYOing (Grow Your Own)

Taste! Nothing tastes better than fresh veg direct from plot to table!
Providence! We know where its been, what its been treated with and how its been cared for!
Cost! Although we dont need to GYO to survive, by doing so we eat far better than we would if we had to buy everything from a supermarket.
Food Miles! We live less than 2 miles from the plot, the reduction in carbon footprint from GYO is staggering!
Exercise! We get free exercise on the allotments (no Gym membership needed!), plus a sense of community with our fellow plotholders!
Contact! With the natural world, with growing things, with sunshine and rain, with the changing seasons, with Mother Earth, with nature in all her guises!
Satisfaction! To know that in an increasingly technologically orientated world we are able to provide food for ourselves, from our own hard work, perhaps one day this will then lead us onto further adventures and towards total self sufficiency, which would be our absolute dream!

So why do we keep the bees then? Originally it was something we looked into after hearing that the Honey Bee was in decline, could we make a difference (however small) and was it something else we could add to our allotments? The answer was yes, after getting permission from the council for a maximum of 6 hives between our 2 plots we took the plunge and got our first 2 last year, which quickly became 3, and then this year we were able to increase to 6 hives! Its not just about the honey for us (although an extra product that we can harvest is extremely welcome), but about looking after the bees and enjoying an absolutely fascinating few hours each week working with the bees!

Ok, its getting late here, and we're just in from a relaxing evening with Pat and Colin (Fab Quiche that she made, I'll post the recipe tomorrow), so I'll sign off with these last 2 piccies, the one above is the invisble helper that Lee recons we've got on the plot! (Lol)

The piccy below is a beetle we saw today whilst clearing some grass from around the larger greenhouse, anyone any idea what it is? It was about an inch long and had a brilliant blue edging to the carapace, like nothing I've ever seen before!

So, thats it for tonight, hope you now know us a bit better and have a better idea why we GYO! Whats your reasons for GYOing?

Hope your veg is growing well and the harvests are beginning! More to follow tomorrow, including some piccies of some of the veg we've got growing!


greenfumb said...

Hi Mrs Dobby,

thanks for visiting my blog. Your allotment looks great. I lived in London for 11 years and so wanted an allotment but it wasn't to be. Now we are living in Sydney we don't really need one :-)

Hubby comes from Crewe so we know Manchester well.


Anonymous said...

Great post Mrs D,

It was a good idea to do the intro's and add the pics, which are excellent as always. You sound very happy with your life, that comes across strongly.

Good luck with your future producing, I hope all stays well with you both, and Bella of course, and will follow you with interest.


Mrs Dobby said...

Hi Greenfumb, thanks for the kind words about the plot, they are appreciated!

I've visited London several times, but I wouldnt want to live their, far too built up for my poor country soul, I always feel overwhelmed and claustrophobic when visiting! I bet Sydney is a lot nicer place to live, especially the weather, and judging from your garden, a great place for growing in!

I grew up about 8 miles from Crewe, in Biddulph, so know the area well!

Mrs Dobby said...

Hi Alan, thanks again for the kind words!

Yes, I'd say we are both pretty happy with our lives, tho the chance to leave work and go totally self sufficient would be my idea of heaven, and with working for any big business, it can be stressfull at times, but we soldier on and do what we can!

Steph said...

great post and perfectly timed for me as this is the 1st time i've visited your blog. perhaps you were expecting me!? ;) it seems to be a great read so i will revisit often. i hope your plots are coming on well. i also have 2 full-sizers and as it is just me, find it a lot of work! luckily this season i found me a good helper. he's great for the 'man' jobs like watering/digging but tends to lose interest in the 'fiddly' jobs like careful hoeing, planting and hand weeding! ah well, can't win them all ;)

Mrs Dobby said...

Hi Steph, thanks for the comment! Glad you liked the post, I'm in awe of you running 2 plots by yourself, we struggle to stay on top of 2 with us both! Glad you have a helper, they do come in useful at times (especially for diggin n heavier stuff)!

BilboWaggins said...

Thanks for sharing all that, good to get to know the person behind the planting.

Blessings, Bilbo.

Mrs Dobby said...

Hi Bilbo, no problem, glad you liked it!