Monday, 12 October 2009
So what prompted me to get those sad fingers typing?
I was given my first ever blog award - Kreativ Blogger.
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 ....
- When i was born i had to wear a green knitted hat because i was cold.
- I talk to my plants (a lot!)
- I have 2 tattoos
- I've never broken a bone in my body
- I can't knit
- 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.
- I used to have handwriting lessons as a child - and i hated it so much i cried!
- Tales of Jenny - by my good friend Jenny, who crochets funky things. She made me a carrot and raddish!!
- 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
- Worthless Words - Laura shows her creativity in her meals as she fights her way courageously against an eating disorder.
- 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
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 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!
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
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
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
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
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.
Saturday, 14 March 2009
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
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.
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.
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!
I know it was a sunrise, but i think the sunset setting on my camera works just the same!