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Autumnal colour catch.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Know Your Onions!

I don't normally write two posts so close together but what the heck.

Yesterday I had to leave home at 12.30 as it was the boys' swimming gala and I was to take them plus one of Harry's classmates to the pool at Tregaron. Out of the three schools we came third but they all tried their best and will get certificates at the next assembly.

As I had to leave at lunchtime and eat early I thought I'd better get something done outside. Here is what is going on in the Poly House just now; first my salad leaves coming along well

and the beans are close to flowering.

Oh a couple of odd photos. I had been requested to make a cheesecake for the men in the house so here is one I made at the weekend, with foraged blackberries, but the base asked for 400g of biscuits which made it too thick so will change that next time.

and this is Alfie all dressed up to help Jon start work on the cellar store room last Sunday.

They began working on this first stage with all the walls having the flaky paint scraped off. They were both down there again last night and one wall has been rendered. (Can't actually see that in this photo as that wall is behind the door.) Can't wait to get the floor clean and see the colours properly as it won't get all dusty as it is at the moment.

Very exciting as Jon still says it should be finished by next week! I have a vision of red gingham curtains covering the things that will be underneath the stone tops, it will have white walls definitely then I plan on storing spare crockery and my preserving jars until I need them along with jars of things which I have made. We will look for large storage containers for bulk keeping of flour, pasta and rice, too.

Anyhow, in the morning I took a few photos of the veg patch. Here are the leeks which still have some way to go with growing; maybe the cold will help them a little. 

The beetroots are looking a bit better than last week; these are a bit bigger than a golf ball so I'm going to hold out for a bit longer in the hope that they improve before lifting them.

You can actually see the swedes here! I literally only have a couple of these but they are about the size of a small turnip I think.

So the far end is starting to look a bit bare as there are just half a dozen turnips left along with the swede and a few carrots.

It is looking a little bare because.....

I lifted the onions. Eeek! Here they are laid on hessian sacks to dry in Jon's tool shed...

and here is a close up. I think they need a couple of weeks and in the mean time I'm looking for some of those old fashioned but fab string shopping bags to hang up in the cellar room. 

I haven't managed to grow lbs and lbs of them, but I have learned about spacing for the next planting. Our own onions, and next year we will have red, brown and white ones!

This morning, Thursday - how did that happen? - I got the boys looking smart for school photos and then had an email at 9.15am to say they had been postponed until after half-term. Ho hum.

I cracked on and got the yeast started for bread, lit the Rayburn and then I sat and looked through my recipe file seeking some inspiration.

I think I found a few new or different things to throw into the mix. 

After I'd collected the eggs; still getting four or five a day, I started some baking to make use of the oven. I made what should have turned out as Maids of Honour for the school harvest festival but I like to call them lemon curd and almond pop-overs! These will NOT be seen in public!

I also made some biscuits which didn't go as planned either, hey ho! They are about one and a half times to size of my palm but smell really nice and I would make them again but not quite as big!

In between taking the bread out to cool and the baking of the biscuits I went and cleaned out the chickens and managed to fork over the part of the main veg patch so I could put in one row of garlic, and the row was straight, very exciting. Did I mention we are planning on adding another veg bed in the garden when we get some more railway sleepers? That will make a real difference to planting for 2017/18.

It started to spit a little and so came in to do said biscuits and I also made myself a little chicken and lentil curry for lunch. Mmmm.

Then I  have some dusting to do in the kitchen caused by the Rayburn but such is life and I really don't mind. Pork Belly is defrosting then that will go in the Rayburn so it is ready for tea to go with wraps, corn on the cob, salad and some noodles. Not sure what I will be having... may treat myself as I have been so good these last couple of weeks.

Ok I'd better get on with stuff and at least the boys won't mind that the biscuits are a bit wonky!

By for now.


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Let Me Entertain You!

Well not me....

but hopefully my youngest. Alfie loves dancing, singing, acting, music and everything else that goes along with those things so I registered his name on the waiting list for the Act Two Stage School which is run at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, last year I think. (I say school but it is each Saturday in term time for a couple of hours.)

This week I had an email saying a place had become available so we talked to him about it. He flatly refused because he said he didn't want to do things in front of people, just at home, and he also thought that just girls went and he would be the only boy. We reminded him of how fab he was in the Christmas show at his last school, when he had more words than anybody as he was the main narrator, how he didn't fluff his lines and that people constantly came up to me at school to say how wonderful he was.

Anyhow, we left it and I contacted the co-ordinator to say he didn't want to do it but she said we could go along on Saturday and he could give it a try; if he really didn't want to join the school then that was just fine.

A new week and Jon had a little chat with him yesterday and, unbekown to me, offered him a fiver just to go and give it a try and he has agreed! I felt slightly bad that we were bribing him as we are SOOOOO not pushy parents, but we do see on a daily basis that he has some talent that could be nurtured. Only yesterday afternoon he told me he had been given some more words for the Harvest Festival concert thing because he had already learnt his first lot.

Also, this morning he said he wasn't going this Saturday just becasue of the money. He asked if they did street dance and I said maybe and he said what kind of acting did they do and I said some serious but probably some comedy and he really liked the idea of that.

I am confident he will really enjoy it when he gets there because it is the perfect outlet for all that he enjoys doing. Last night he said he wanted to write his own song so Jon showed him how to print sheet music fromthe internet.

We are hoping he wants to stay and take part because he really wants to.

**** Just on the Follower thing I still can't see the list of followers which is very annoying!****

Bye for now.


Monday, 17 October 2016

Where Has My Follower Gadget Gone?

I can't seem to add the followers gadget to my sidebar. 

Does anybody else have experience of this problem?


Saturday, 15 October 2016

Weekly Wot Nots.

Good afternoon. 

Hoping to get most of this post done and then a couple of jobs before "Da da da da da da da, da da da da da, da da"  - bring it on, Sequin Central!

Most of this post is a catch up of stuff from the week, nothing too exciting but life can't be a "glitter" ball all the time! See what I did there?!

At the suggestion of you know who over at DIFOIW I have started some apple cider vinegar with some of the apples I was gifted.

The jar is a large at least 4 litre Kilner, probably more actually, and I have it sitting in the cellar room, which Jon is talking about starting work on very soon. Eeek!

I love Autumn!! My decorations are up! I normally just put things in the kitchen and the living room. This is the front kitchen window, very happy with this - I just love the colours. The book in the background is a Pretty Nostalgic issue which talks about Windfall recipes.

I took the berry and leaf sprig from the garden, the Gerberas in the terracotta pot are in a plastic bag with water in and I have used twine from my craft things along with a couple of the pots I bought from the vintage shop in Aber. The pumpkin was a really suitable size for the basket from Morrisons at 95p I think.

I always like to put something on top of the microwave to brighten it up. I found these fab gourds in Lidl at 99p I think and I can't bring myself to actually use them as food! The image is from another of my Pretty Nostalgic books being held open by some of the pegs I found in the quirky shop in Borth.

In the living room I keep this tea set out a lot of the time as the colour seems to go with lots of seasons. The books are my Beatrix Potter Squirel Nutkin, the old faithful The Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill and A Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady - all showing lovely Autumnal images.

On Friday I had a new neighbour and a friend round for cofffee and was very pleased to have these lovely roses on the table.

This week I have unfortunately finished something...

... my yummy fridge pickles I made with our own cucumbers. They were delicious and I may even make some when cucumbers are on super cheap at Lidl as I enjoyed them so much!

We have had a good day in Aber today, makes a change to just going in the food shopping them coming home - bit of a treat really but were also buying extra school trousers and sweaters for the the boys and a few other bits and pieces, and I bought this little lot!

I have a good diet in general but I really do have so much trouble with my joints at the moment Jon says I am grumpy at times and I just need a bit of get up and go now and then so will give these a try - must be my age!!! Jon calls it my permafrost (peri-menopause!) which always makes us both laugh!

We are heading out to the garden in the morning to sort out the area for the fruit trees and get a grasp on some of that cheeky bamboo that has come up in just a couple of places; will share before and afters later in the week.

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend and, as ever, I'll be keeping up to date with stuff going on out there in Blogland.

Bye for now.


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Postal Delights And Other Goodies.

Good morning!

On Friday I received a parcel from Thompson & Morgan; it was my garlic cloves and onion sets! They are currently in a cupboard until they are needed. 

The boys and I left Jon at the train on Saturday morning as he went to pick up a car we were buying in Abergele. We three went to do the food shopping and a few jobs in town. I picked up a copy of Smallholing magazine and it came with a chicken mag, too.

I've always fancied taking a look at a copy of this just to see how people do stuff! I was chuffed there was a competition to win some electric fencing but then, darn it, I realised the competition time had run out! I should say that the man who owns the sawmill where Jon works has said we can have some of the piglets when he puts his sow to boar (I think that is the correct term). When home the postman had brought my Grow Your Own magazine, along with my calendar for next year and I love it; this year in addtion to the usual stickers there are fridge magnets!

I was trying to think how long I've been using this particular calendar and it must be about eight years as I know Alfie was born; it is THE best way of organising me and mine.

On Sunday morning I got busy in the garden and sowed a few more cauliflower seeds and finished the winter prep on the bed I had started; carbooard and then polythene topped with a pallet to keep everything flat. Lovely to think the manure will all rot down and hopefully the bed will be a treat for the brassicas.

On Monday morning I weighed myself following the changes to my diet and I found I had lost 2¼lbs. Wish it had been a little more but as least it is a loss.

I set to with a couple of jobs outside once the bread had been started. I finished preparing the spot on the main veg plot by first taking down the last tomato plant, giving it to the chooks then adding the contents of the grow bag to the plot and forking it through ready for the garlic to be planted.

I also put some fleece over the beetroot just to protect them a little while longer before I take them up, thanks Dawn. It isn't the prettiest looking effort but I hope it will do the job. (I have tidied it up a bit since this photo was taken!)

The postman brought more delights. I have been having trouble deciding where to put the washing line/whirly gig when we finally got round to buying one.After dicussion we decided the best thing was to have a retractable one and then it wouldn't matter where it was as we could just pull it back in when not needed, so...

and it is already in full use.

I had a friend over for coffee this morning, Tuesday, so a couple of hours of garden, craft and other chat and she came bearing gifts of more apples. Yay!

These are awating some attention and may be turned into apple sauce and stored away in my new Kilner jars! The ones given to me at the weekend I have blanched and put in the freezer for another day. 

Just as said friend was leaving the postman delivered my part of the stationery swap I have taken part in. Eeeek!

Washi tape, post-it notes, a note book, stickers AND some cute candles.

This morning I managed to dust the living room before the kids went to school then before my coffee chat put the washing on. I've also got round to sowing a few more Pak Choi seeds, collected the eggs and am currently having a very late lunch whilst writing this post. 

I'm amazed the boys will be home shortly as I'm not sure where the day has gone AT ALL!

Bye for now.


Friday, 7 October 2016

That Was The Week That Was.

Well, here we are at Friday again. Hmmmm.

This week has not been too busy. We have been experimenting lighting and using the Rayburn but only for water and cooking as not quite cool enough for the heating. We have actually tunred off all the radiators downstairs as we won't need them when both the Rayburn and the woodburner are fired up. We may keep it in today as it is gradually getting colder. I'm having to get used to the right temperature for things especially baking. Earlier in the week I made some sandwich biscuits filled with lemon curd or strawberry jam and yesterday I made scones and a lemon and chocolate cake; the latter was done on the top some time before the inside so had to keep popping it back in with the top covered. But everything came out ok in the end.

I took part in a Stationery Swap and posted off my little parcel and very excited to hopefully receive mine today - maybe in time to post a photo today!

I have caught up with my Box of Experiences; I use this old Oxo box. 

This is where I write a quick note of somethings we did as a family through the year and then we will read through them on NewYear's Eve. Really looking forward to that as I don't think the men of the house know I'm doing it.

I have done some work outside. I finally got some manure from our neighbour yesterday to put on what will become the brassicas bed. He also gave me a basket full of apples which were some he had picked off another neighbours tree...

and there will be more hopefully, and I can get more manure when I want, too! This is how the bed looks after being cleared of the sweetcorn, some of my compost added along with some egg shells.

The manure is well rotted so going to add that to the bed with some bought-in compost as not in a position to get any top soil at the moment. The bed got very few weeds in it when the sweetcorn was in it so I'm taking a chance that once I have turned it all over with these additions and then coverd it with cardboard it will be ok for when I'm ready to put the plants in. As ever, any advice on this is always welcome but this is the best I can manage at the moment with current supplies.

My last ramble is a personal one. Since Monday of this week I have been on a bit of a detox, no carb, white meat diet. I have eaten no bread, potatoes, pasta or red meat. No coffee or tea or cakes. I have drunk only water and eaten eggs, pulses, salad, cooked and raw veg, chicken and plain fish, smoked haddock, nuts, dried fruit, seeds and porridge made with water topped with fresh fruit and linseeds. It may sound a bit boring but I have really enjoyed it as well as making veg soup. The first couple of days I had a terrible headache which I think was from the caffeine withdrawl but that passed after a couple of days, as did the lethargy I felt until Wednesday.

I am very proud of myself I have to say as I have made said cakes and sat in the car whilst the boys all ate Snickers bars! I have continued to make dishes such as lasagne and sausage and pasta bake for the boys, too! I expect to lose weight and will weigh myself on Monday morning to see what progress I have made. I think I will continue with this next week but will add some plain yoghurt to my puddings of fruit and nuts

Has anybody else tried anything like this? 

Will keep an eye on what people are up to over the weekend.

Bye for now.


Monday, 3 October 2016

Crikey - So Many Photos To Share!

Hi, one quick baking item and a couple of other photos to share. 

I made three ginger cakes on Friday as I didn't have the same sized tin as the recipe required, but this is ok as was easy to freeze when cut into good pieces for lunch boxes.

The piano we collected the other weekend is this and a corker for a tenner. Alfie loves it and he likes using the pedals.

I have bought a diary for the garden, fruit n veg dates, info etc but always have to papercraft a bit and decorate a plain cover. Here is is making use of some pages from one of my Pretty Nostalgic books.

Nice huh?

Anyhow, this weekend we've been getting a few things done outside as well as other stuff. 

On Saturday we headed to Aber to get the food shopping but not before Jon had been to the sawmill for a supply of logs, these are in Jon's shed drying out, and we lit the Rayburn to start getting used to it. 

When we came back my parcel I had been waiting for had arrived. I used some birthday money to buy some Kilner jars. I do consider these an investment for preserving food so very excited to have them even though won't use them for a little while yet so have found them a new home after a bit of a shift round.

Jon fitted a new present for the girls. We had stopped to get laying pellets and then Jon saw on offer a water feeder which is now hooked up to one of the water butts;  this will proivde them with fresh water each time the reservoir is empty. Jon buried the hose pipe underground...

then the ladies seemed happy!

On Sunday morning we lit the Rayburn again to slow cook some pork for tea. Jon got busy with the conservatory side of the house from where the oil tank had been removed. This is how it looks now, ready for the basket ball hoop that will probably arrive at Christmas, but we also plan on a little table and chairs for this spot! 

Another area around the house tidied up and ticked off the list.

Whilst Jon was on that I cleaned out the chickens and washed out some planters so they are clean in the Poly House for when I need them.

On Sunday we took a ride out to see a car Jon was interested in buying but it had been taken so we went into Aber for a walk on the seafront and a play on the arcade games. On the way back to the car we looked in this fabulous vintage shop which we found the other week. Great stock and not all massively expensive - I bought my teracotta plants pots from here. I had to take a few snaps of some things I liked.

I am desperate to get some taxidermy in the living room at some point; loved this hare with its horns!

Love this gas mask, complete with beret.

A fantastic array of vintage garden paraphernalia.

This chest caught my eye last time....

but this was new in and fab-u-larse, darling!

So to today. This morning I have sown some pak choi seeds. I have decided to germinate them on the bench and then put them in the bed in the Poly House in a couple of weeks. I know them can bolt if the weather is a bit warm so people grow them outside but now the weather is getting a little cooler I think they should be ok in there, unless anybody else has experience of growing the Chinese lettuce, I think that is another name for it?

I have picked my one and only pepper today. As you can see by the scale it isn't very big but I hope Jon enjoys it; I don't like green peppers.

I ate my lunch outside today, lovely, and Jake was soaking up the sun!

Not too busy a week coming up but we have a check up at the hospital for Jon on Wednesday; we are aranging for the boys to be watched so I can go with him; he always forgets to ask something!

Bye for now.