Monday, 12 October 2009

Baci quotes

A few christmases ago a friend introduced me to some wonderful litte chocolates which had quotes on a slip of paper inside the wrapper. I was clearing out a draw today when i came across a pile of them, so i thought i'd share them.

"There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved." George Sand.
"The only gift is a portion of thyself." Ralph Waldo Emerson.
"Music is love in search of a word." Sidney Lumier.
"Love comforteth like sunshine after rain." Shakespeare.
"I like not only to be loved, but to be told that i am loved." George Elliot.
"Real friendship can be enjoyed in silence." Anon.
"Hold a true friend with both your hands." Nigerian Proverb.
"At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet." Plato.
"When you really want love you will find it waiting for you." Oscar Wilde.

Belated 2nd Birthday & My First Award

My Calendar on my laptop did remind me of my 2nd blog birthday but things have been a bumpy with the mental health and depression this last week. So for the 2nd October (i think) happy blogversary to The World of Me - Jennyb!

So what prompted me to get those sad fingers typing?

I was given my first ever blog award - Kreativ Blogger.
Ok i'd better go through the official blog award procedure, before i ramble off in another direction.....

1. Thank the person who gave this to you .... Thank you very much to Rebecca

2. Copy the logo and place it in your blog .... I'm going to put it in the side bar too

3. Link the person who nominated you .... A superb & informative blog that everyone should read! - Life as a Mum to 2 children with Cystic Fibrosis

4. Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know ....

  1. When i was born i had to wear a green knitted hat because i was cold.

  2. I talk to my plants (a lot!)

  3. I have 2 tattoos

  4. I've never broken a bone in my body

  5. I can't knit

  6. I don't have any cousins because my one (paternal) uncle is still (and always will be i think)single and my (maternal) aunt, Susan, and uncle, David, both passed away around the age i am now, of cystic fibrosis.

  7. I used to have handwriting lessons as a child - and i hated it so much i cried!
5. Nominate seven 'Kreativ Bloggers.' .... i don't follow too many blogs so i might not reach seven.

  1. Tales of Jenny - by my good friend Jenny, who crochets funky things. She made me a carrot and raddish!!

  2. Siren Voices - Spencer's creativity is in his writing, although the posts are based on true stories, its the way he writes them that really captures your imagination

  3. Worthless Words - Laura shows her creativity in her meals as she fights her way courageously against an eating disorder.

  4. RePlayGround - is a fab blog on recycling and creativity

6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate ... (see above)

7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them .... must do that now before i forget

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Update in Photos - August 25th

Ok, so these are not in the order i wanted them to be in really - so enjoy some randomly ordered photos of the last month!

This is all the onions, now strung up in the garage. Apart from a few that i'm taking down to Sussex for Nan & Grandpa, and a few little ones that were too small to string.

This is how my tomatilloes should look (and apparently Nan's do look something like this) This photo and the next were taken at RHS Hyde Hall in Essex. If you go between 10am and 11am on the saturdays when they have a farmers market (not sure which week of the month that is) then you can get in for free for that first hour.

Theirs were grown ourdoors & were much bushier than mine. I'm not giving up hope yet though, mine still seem to be growing - no thanks to the cucumbers which have taken over the greenhouse. I'm taking on of those to Sussex too, although that is in exchange for one of Nan's round yellow cucumbers, as mine didn't stand a chance against my other more advanced plants.

Found this critter on the rubbish bin in the kitchen. We haven't seen any of the swarms here, and as much as i like ladybirds, i'm not sure i'd like them in those vast numbers that they've had in norfolk & suffolk.

This is my first white cabbage of the year. There are another couple in the garden this size. Its made about 4 or 5 batch of coleslaw so far and theres enough for another couple still yet!

These are my number one enemy! According to a collegue, the newspapers said that due to the weather they had bred twice this year! No wonder there are so many about. There for i feel even less guilty and more justified to dispose of them. The weapons of choice include an electric bug bat - the stun and stamp method, fly and wasp spray & jam jar traps. There is a deterant method i heard someone text in to the BBC yesterday & that is to blow up a brown paper bag, tie the neck with a piece of string and hang in up. The wasps then think it is another wasps nest and won't invade another nests' territory.

For some reason the purple haze carrots don't seem to have grown as well as the others, the white, yellow and orange seem to be bigger. I think i prefer the flavour of the yellow out of all of them, they taste sweeter to me.

This was some of the onions before they were strung, its been a gradual process.

This was possibly the longest runner bean we had this year, measuring a total of 14 inches. not sure it would be good enough for any competitions.

This was my first Kohl Rabi, which have learnt it quite nice cut as crudites and eaten with a cool tomato salsa (not homemade although we have got 3 selfset tomato plants which all have fruit, albeit still green at the moment right now, but mum spotted the neighbour has blight so they might have to be ripened indoors!)

Now a few photos from a day by the seaside at Southwold in Suffolk that mum and i enjoyed together.

Of course i've been in the kitchen! And now i'm enjoying eating my products too!
Jam i have discovered is not a strong skill, possibly from lack of practice, but it is far too stressful!

This was plum jam made with plums from work, i think i ended up making just over 30 jars of it! No more plum jam for me this year! I just had real trouble getting it to set despite following all the tricks of the trade i googled.

This is my Strawberry wine that is now brewing in the garage. It is an old recipe of my late uncle, who i never got to meet. I found it in mum's old recipe folder when i was looking for zucchini bread recipe (no photos, i at that already but it didn't turn out looking too great, bit stodgy - should have drained the pineapple, but i like my cake stodgy!). The wine is due to be bottled on the 20th september, so we shall have to wait and see. something else i got a bit too stressed over.
On a day off work, i filled my time by making those who were still working out in the fields some oaty banana mini muffins! devoured by all, and with compliments. In fact sam has asked me since when i'm cooking/baking next, sadly i don't think i have time before he goes back to poland in a couple of days time.

And something else i made and took to work - guilt free (almost) baked blackberry cheesecake, made with cottage cheese & fat free yogurt. I had so many blackberries from work that were just going to be chucked that i made 3 of them!
And tomorrow i'm taking in 5 cucumbers as they are getting out of control.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

B & B for wildlife?

Mum was startled by a visitor this morning in the garage, as she was continuing to paint the (over running) weekend DIY project. When you hear the call "Jennifer! come quick!", and you know someone is using a paintbrush & holding a paintpot, you tend to respond pretty promptly. DIY usually means disasters.....
A better call would have been "get your camera quick!", as when i saw what she was calling me to see i then had to, i then had to run back into the house, find my camera & discard its case. By wich time the visitor was swiftly scuttling away:

Mum was unsure as to whether s/he came in and went out again, or had perhaps sneaked in last night and was distrubed by her & was on her/his way out. The theory that s/he slept the night was almost made slightly stonger when he turned out, once we stopped talking and i was sat waiting silently with my camera.

I didn't want her/him coming back inside and getting stuck in there, as i don't think a few woodlice & spiders would satisy her/his hunger greatly. Especially as when s/he headed firstly into the hedge i could hear her/his crunching something in the undergrowth - presumably a snail - what a good little hedgehog!

Anyway we've shut the garage door down, hoping s/he hasn't snuck back in, even if it does mean the garage stinks of paint fumes, and i made D check under the tyres before he moved the cars this morning too!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Too busy harvesting.....

Another apology. Life just seems to get busier and busier. Not only am i busy mentally trying to deal with my change in size (i gained the 3 stone that i need to, to reach a healthy weight) and the fact that i now have some fat on my body (which i'm not overjoyed about), but physically my body is having to cope with digesting all this food its not used to. That alone leaves me tired but i am also now working part time at a fruit farm (packing fruit, tidying the plants and bushes, pruning, hulling berries for jam making etc). Then of course there's our own garden to look after as well, with everything growing like mad. So little energy or time for blogging really.

So a couple of slide shows:


July (mainly flowers)

the only other things i have from the growing side of things recently are a couple of videos but they seem to be the wrong file type to both edit and be able to upload and share. But i took them the wrong way round on my camera anyway, so you'd be looking at it on your side. I'll try and remember to take some more photos for a slide show soon.

Harvests so far: Brocolli, Cauliflower, Runner Beans, Dwarf Beans, sugar snap peas, Strawberries, Cucumber, Blueberries, Lettuces and Rocket, Spinach.

Soon to be ready: beetroot & chard, onions, carrots, courgettes

Failures: Tomatoes - blight contaminated soil in the greenhouse, now disinfected and replanted. fingers crossed.
Fennel - bolted. I give up with this.

and now its time for bed, as i am exhausted and have to get up for work in the morning.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Fighting other battles.

apologies for no updates recently but i have been fighting a rather large battle recently which has kept me rather occupied.

About 4 weeks ago, something came over me, something very strange, amd i started eating things that for the last 3 years have been "forbidden". This in turn has kick started my appetite and now it seems i have unleached a monster! A monster than wants lots of chocolate and cakes and stodge.

Just a quick note to say the garden hasn't been neglected, mum has helped get me motivated to plant things, although when i'm on my own that motivation isn't really there. Maybe i just prefer the company, probably what it is. So here's a quick run down:

Parnsips: not great germination, in fact very poor but my own fault really as i took the risk of last years seed.
Carrots: Purple Haze and Rainbow Mixed which i then mixed together to get a proper rainbow! Great germination, should be good.
Salsify: First time for this, i bought some from Borough Market to try (after sowing the seed...), seems to have germinated reasonably, although looks like grass so must remember that when weeding.
Onions: Red and white sets both doing well. i had a few red left over and lots of white so i filled a couple of trough planters our neighbour gave me.
Tomatoes: All varieties (Beefsteak, Sungold, Sungella, some seed Nan saved and one from an expensive seed grandpa bought by mistake) doing well. About 2 thirds planted out in the greenhouse now, and i have an idea for an spares.
Peppers: first sowing i got 1 out of 4 but that 1 is doing well. so i did another sowing of 3 and 100% germination that time but they are only about a week old.
Aubergine: 4 sown, 100% germination, doing well but not quite big enough to be planted out in the greenhouse yet.
Cucumber: 4 sown, 100% germination, planted out around the mini greenhouse frame (to use as support) which is in one corner of the greenhouse. Nan sent me some yellow round cucumber seed from the eden project, 3 sown yesterday.
Tomatillo: more eden project seeds, 3 sown yesterday.
Sugar Snaps: 1st sowing in a large pot on the patio with a make shift frame for them to grow up. about half a metre high so far. these were started in the greenhouse but have now been evicted by tomatoes! 2nd sowing germinated in the greenhouse but then planted out in the garden about a week ago.
Runner beans: Most seem to germinate upside down but eventually righted themselves. Planted out and starting to climb their poles.
Dwarf beans: Not great germination and mum did a second sowing as well. about 8 plants planted out next to the greenhouse, but i think she plans to sow some more direct.
Lettuce: despite trying to start some in the greenhouse, i'd sown in cardboard plugs, which seem to be crap. so the seed i have sown direct into a herb/strawberry planter is doing better! will so some seed direct into the ground just outside the greenhouse i expect.
Beetroot: tried to start some in those plugs, which are now planted out in the greenhouse, i put some in one of those planters/troughs the neighbour gave me and i've sown one row direct in the fruit cage in the front so far. i hope to do more.
Chard: one row sown in front of the raspberries which has just germinated.

In the Nursery cold frame, almost ready to be planted out are Brussels Sprout, Red and White Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Broccoli and Cauliflower.

In the fruit cage doing well and showing their first flowers are Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Gooseberries

I think thats about it. Theres probably something i've missed. No squash this year tho, just not enough room.....

And next week I'm planting strawberries at the farm, so it will be interesting to see it from a commercial side too.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Baking Days

I decided to split the update into topics. This post is the recent bread adventures with a few cakes for mum's work for her birthday too.

First attempt at rolls since my baking revival. Made with Malthouse Flour. Soft and fluffy inside.

Supposedly Ciabattas..... but more like a soft white loaf. One with herbs, one plain. Just not flat enough or holey enough to be called a ciabatta.

Wholemeal rolls with a few seeds (a mix from Tesco)

Buckwheat bread - not a success. Ratio of buckwheat was far too high i think which caused it not to rise. It had a very strong (too strong) flavour too. Birds had half of it, and even they at the other scraps put out before they ate that!

My first attempt at choux pastry - a success. But some how i messed up a second batch which didn't rise (not enough egg i think) and that went out to the birds (although i think a neighbours cat ate most of it instead)

So i went back to the exact quantities as the first batch and it turned out fine again. I then attempted to pipe in the cream, and soon gave up and sliced them along one side to open them up.

With melted dark chocolate on top, they were ready to go.

None came back, or were even left at the end of the day. Apparently devoured and enjoyed by all.

Kew Gardens in March

No words just lots of pictures of the crocus and Orchids on the final day of Kew's exhibition to celebrate their 250th anniversary.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Rare and brief update

Neglected for 2 months. Sorry blogger readers (if there are any left), but i've not been doing too great motivationally. Managed to kill the first lot of seedlings (onions, leeks and caulis). But with mum and david off this last week building a greenhouse (plus preparing the ground for it first) and landscaping more of the garden and converting to veggie and fruit patch, more has been done. Mum got the ball rolling by sowing runner and french beans yesterday.

Seeds sown today:

In pots - Aubergine, Cucumbers and Peppers. 4 types of tomato (beefsteak, sungella, sungold and one Nan saved from seed, possibly a plum type), various lettuce (lollo rosso, tom thumb, radichio and rocket). Sugar snap peas.

In the nursery bed (a glass cold frame i got from a freecycler): Leeks, Purple Sprouts, Red and white cabbages, kohl rahbi, caulis, brocollis

Mum put in some spinach outside the front of the greenhouse and continued digging the main veggie patch (removing root from various plants like azalea and hydrangea) and i put in 2 rows of red onion sets.

Tomorrow's jobs include white onion sets, and then sometime i need to get round to doing parsnips and carrots.

I just can't find the motivation on my own. In fact motivation in general even when they're around is a struggle.

i might get round to posting some photos...maybe.....sometime.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Baby it's cold outside

This is it, the final photos of 2008. Another year done and dusted. Not a great year but not as disasterous as some i've scraped through.

So to start with are the final mini Christmas cakes, all package up and ready to go into the hamper. The board's were gold coaster i spotted in sainsburys which were just the pefect size and i bought some cellophane from a local florist. When we got down to Nan's i wished i had made a 4th cake for her next door neighbour, who is also caring for a deteriorating husband. And i fear her husband is further along in the progression of the dementia, that the husband of the other friend, for whom i had originally planned the 3rd cake. I shared my frustrations with Nan and Mum, and it was actually Nan who suggested that she give a cake each to her friends and then keep one for herself and grandpa. In the dining room it became clear that they were not desperately in need of more cake, given that Nan had made a large cake of her own and also had cakes, sweets and biscuits that she had gained from raffle prizes at her coffee morning and from the walking group.

I used the remainder of the cellophane to wrap up the loaf of bread that i baked on Boxing day, ready for the hamper the next day.

I experimented slightly with this loaf by adding some seed mix that we had in the cupboard. D was supposedly going to have it on his cereal of a morning but that intention didn't last for long. so when i mixed the dry ingredients, i added a couple of handfuls. It worked out fine and in fact this is how mum prefers the bread now. With us visiting Nan had, of course, got bread out (2 different thicknesses of brown and white 'petit pain' rolls) for lunch and dinner. So before dinner i sliced it for her, re-wrapped in in the cellophane and put it in the freezer.

Please excuse this next photo. I tried to trim off the background because it was far too cluttered and detracted your eyes from the hamper. However it didn't work out as neatly as i had hoped and i soon got fed up with editing it.

The 'healthy' hamper - healthy in the sense that its rather full as opposed to full of health conscious items! The bread is probably the healthiest thing in there along with the cakes, biscuits, wine, beer, sloe gin. There is some cheese and cured ham under there somewhere too.

The garden is still producing goods.

One of the things i love about growing your own, is the variety of shapes and sizes that grow, i love the lack of uniformity.

Since the New Year, it has been rather chilly, certainly for south east england. One day last week the temperature didn't make it about -3 degrees celcius.
It does make for some pretty pictures though.
Thats so long as my finger don't get to cold that i lose all feeling in them and can't operate the camera!
It doesn't seem to worry the birds at all. The Robin has a particularly red breast this winter. I'm sure i heard somewhere that the redder the robin's breast, the colder the winter.
Mr/Mrs Robin hangs around the nuts waiting for the great tits, blue tits, sparrows, starlings, squirrel and other finches to peck away and then cleans up the scraps on the floor below.

Unfortunately the feeders are just a little too far away to get a perfect photo, but my little camera (when on a tripod) can still capture the subject well enough.
These are mum's favourite winter visitors here with a blue tit. The long-tailed tit, who arrive in a little flock to feed. I think we've had a maximum of around 15 at once, and if you see one you can be sure his/her friends aren't far behind. They are a beautiful soft pink colour, and every so scatty. They flit about, on and off the nuts and up into the trees, yet despite this they are quite brave, and have no fears about feeding when i am in the garden, over by the shed for instance.

They don't seem to mind the cold. I guess they have no choice, afterall they need to feed and i don't know of any indoor bird cafes. For me on the other hand - it is too cold, which leads me to staying with indoor activities, such as bread baking!
This is my latest bread experiment, that i saw when browsing online. I had a dilema. Mum wanted bread with seeds whereas i wanted bread without seeds, i'm not keen on bits in my soft, light, unadulterated homemade bread. So after i've mixed the dough, i split it in half, putting one half in a bowl to proove as it is and the other half i add the seeds to and knead/mix them in. The packet of seeds that we have in the cupboard right now is a mix of Sesame, Pumpkin and Sunflower but when that's finished i might see what other mixes Tescos sell.
Once both have prooved in their seperate bowls, i put them in the tin, one in each half and let it proove again. As they proove together, they join in the middle to create one loaf ready for the oven.
A couple of early(ish) morning shots to end with. It was 7.15am sunday morning when i got up and went downstair fo find mum having just put the kettle on. She pointed out the moon, which was still up, out the back of the house.
Then about half hour later when we were back in our beds with a nice warm cuppa she called through the bedroom wall for me to look out of the front of the house.
I know it was a sunrise, but i think the sunset setting on my camera works just the same!
Best of Luck for 2009 to everyone.