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Aaaah I love our life!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Foody Photos Inside and Out.

Hi!

I've tried a couple of new recipes recently as you really can get a bit bored with the same old same old sometimes.

I sat down and had a good root through my Save With Jamie book, which I love, and I've been a little inspired due to watching Celebrity Masterchef just now, too. 

I made Koftas but with turkey mince instead of lamb and also rustled up some flat breads to go with them. They went down a treat so will definitely be making them again. (Unfortunately no photo.)

I had some puff pastry in the freezer so made this with a filling of chicken, peas in my homemade mint sauce, tarragon and all put through a bechamel sauce. Mmmmm.



Then I decided on pork belly-filled ravioli which was ok in the end but I have misplaced the bracket that holds my pasta machine to the island! I had to roll by hand but it came out alright.

I've taken delivery of a kitchen gadget which I've used for tea last night - a meatball maker and I love it! Jon cooked the meatballs whilst I was watching Strictly and he said they cooked really well; the texture seemed to have been improved by the pressure of the gadget making the balls into a really good shape.







Now, I've finally got round to processing, almost, all of my garlic which I took up when we came back from our holidays. It has taken ages for it to dry out as the soil was so very wet but it looks great and I am so very pleased with it. I have it in the basket I bought in Menorca hanging in the kitchen as most things I read say it should not be kept in the dark incase it sprouts so that is why I didn't put it in the cellar store room.




I have on order a small amount of garlic but need to get some more.

Yesterday I had a bit of a tidy up in the Poly House. It looks a bit better...


but there are a few jobs to do yet.


I also need to clean out the planters etc before I store them away for the winter.


My next door neighbour works at our local plant nursery and he brought me these two thyme plants. They are now in the herb sink and I was very grateful for them as mine had not grown well this year.


In the Poly House these are the broccoli raab and Spring cabbage; I intend to get them outside quite soon before they get too leggy and spoil.



Also yesterday I took up the last of my Maris Piper spuds, as I was worried the blight may get to them, and left them to dry until today.



I brought them inside this afternoon along with something else!


I have some in the kitchen to eat at tea tonight and the rest I have stored in the cellar. Don't want the precious few to spoil. I am very pleased, though, that I have these, the Christmas spuds and also the sweet ones.

Oh this really is turning into a ramble, sorry. I just remembered the mum of a friend of Alfie's, who spent the day with us yesterday, gave me a huge courgette she grew on her allotment. I am chuffed to bits as I wanted to make some of the courgette and apple chutney as I did last year but only had the apples. I've put some of the many cooking apples I was given in the cellar, ones that are not bruised, on a flat box as most of them have been put to the compost heap or the chickens. That is a job for next week I'm looking really forward to.

Right I think I should stop now or there will be no end to this!

Bye for now.

Lou.



Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Storm Damage - Aaarggh!

Good afternoon.

I have finally got round the taking some photos of the Poly House after the recent bad weather.

The rain, lashing down as it did,has caused quite a lot of damage. This is damage which will not be mended very soon as the contents of the PH are diminishing with the end of the season but also because Jon is very busy with all his spare time getting the second Airbnb room finished - oh I think I have a few photos of the first stages.

The very start and needing to keep the door open until the electrics are in to shed some light on the proceedings.


 

Jon has been collecting/acquiring windows for various projects we have planned so he made a lovely wooden frame for this one. As it so high up it doesn't need to be frosted.


Sink and toilet are in possible position before pipework is done then they'll be set in place.

 

The shower tray has been put in place and the stud walls are up.



More photos of the next stages soon.

Now these are photos of the main damage from the far end of the PH looking from the door... these were taken earlier today and you can see for a change we have beautiful weather here!



left hand side from the door....


and again the left side. Obviously that was the direction of most of the wind.


The cold frame has suffered a bit, too.


My seedlings in the Poly House are close to wanting to be panted out soon so i guess they will survive until then. 

But in other news, I went to my Slimming World group last night in the hope that I had lost just .5lb to get to my target weight and ......



Yay!!!! I did it. I have lost 2 stone 10.5 lbs 
since I began the first week of February.

I am chuffed beyond words. Now I must maintain by not getting complacent and still making good choices. I do know for sure that a lot of the things I have eaten to lose weight I will continue to eat because I like them and I know the choices I have made and continue to make are good for me.

It is my birthday soon so I am looking forward to maybe having a special meal or when we have friends coming to stay in a couple of weeks. I lived across the hall from Alex in London for a couple of years, she was a witness at our wedding 12 years ago, the next time we saw her was at Alfie's first birthday 9 years ago and the most recent time was last October so we are very excited about welcoming her, and her fella!

Right that is my ramblings for today.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Saturday Night's Alright for Camping.

Today, we watched Alfie's football game, fetched layers pellets for the chooks and Harry paid his birthday money into his new bank account. Before we came home I popped into a couple of charity shops and ended up with this fab baking bowl from Craft...


and the clip top tall jar is the same design as the smaller one I found last year. The jar was £2.50 and the dish £3. Isn't it just great when somebody knows you so well? I had seen the jar but put it down as Jon and the boys were already outside the shop. When I got outside they were all standing in front of the window and I asked what they were hiding and they said nothing? but they moved aside and it was the jar so I went in and bought it! So funny.

When we got home there was some preparation for a mini expedition. Jon had promised to take the boys camping down in our field, weather permitting of course considering the recent downpours we have been having. Well, the sky looked ok so we gathered sleeping bags, breakfast and snack supplies, gas camping stove (for emergencies only), dry wood and fire lighting stuff and anything else that was needed.


We had friends pop round for an hour but the boys were itching to get to the field so they headed off whilst we chatted a bit longer. When we were ready to go we took everything down to the spot Jon had picked and where they had put the tent up earlier in the day.

Alfie sorted out the supplies...


whilst Jon got the fire going...



and Harry was tasked with setting out the sleeping bags.


I took this photo as I left them...


and this is the view they have down to the bottom of the field.


I'm so pleased they were all, and I mean all of them, excited about their little expedition. Jon has a qualification in outdoor pursuits so is able to pass on lots of skills to the boys and help them enjoy outside experiences like this. 

Me? I've had a bubble bath and plan on making myself some food in a little while, drinking a fairly large bottle of Indian beer I have in the fridge and watching some trashy TV and maybe a film; the night in the field was a man thing!

I will be thinking of all my men sleeping out, enjoying stargazing, maybe shooting a rabbit or two and whipping up and eating their breakfast outside tomorrow morning - Alfie is on cook duty. 

Our life here is fab and I love every part of it. It isn't perfect all the time and I never mean to imply that it is but it is what we dreamed of. That the boys and Jon are able to do this tonight, close to home for this first trip, but hopefully the first of many more, makes me very happy and reminds me just how very lucky we are to live where we do and how grateful we should be to have these experiences.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx



Monday, 11 September 2017

A Little Success At The Community Show.

Saturday was our local show and I entered a few things. I learned a few rules from last year which I think paid off.

Here is my collection of entries; lemon curd, lemon cake (not a lemon drizzle), refrigerator pickles, pickled gherkins, 'three onions', a Christmas item (not pictured but it was the December Daily album I made) and Welsh cakes.


Well, I ended up being placed third for both my lemon curd and my lemon cake and then first with my onions = total prize money of £2.50. It isn't about winning, really, although that is great, and it certainly isn't about the money, but making sure people take part to ensure something as lovely and parochial as local shows and events keep going.



 Added to this I was talking to one of the parents from the boys' school about the fact that the committee for our community events are all getting on in years a bit and we need to prepare for when they need to step aside. It comes down to making sure for example, we have somebody waiting in the wings who is a local accountant, business person or good at bookkeeping to make sure money matters are taken care of. We need to be ready to inject new energy into projects and events and to this I was asked if I would consider joining the committee. I am considering it; I only have to pop across the road, meetings are once a month or so but more frequent close to larger events. I think I can manage to take part but I'll see. It would be lovely to help keep things alive for the current community and for new people joining us in the future.

A little about the latest harvest. Some nice courgettes, and a couple still coming it seems and a collection of tomatoes as well as some of our garlic which I'm really pleased with. There is a lot of garlic still in the cellar as I am gradually brushing the soil off it before it is stored in a basket but I'm getting there.

I used the veg, as well as some of our onions, to make a sort of ratatouille and this has gone into the freezer for another day.


Jon's dad visited at the weekend and brought us lots of apples and damsons. I gave the damsons to a friend who's tree had failed this year and I am putting some apples outside to sell as well as using some ourselves of course. However, I used up other apples we had been gifted at the weekend and made a crumble and froze two lots of stewed apple. (Had to clean out the fridge/freezer in the cellar room first as the door had accidentally been closed but didn't take too long till it was spick and span again.) 

The weekend was mad, especially Saturday. We went into town for me to open Harry his bank account in time for his birthday tomorrow, Alfie to go to his football match then to look at tents for when Jon takes the boys out camping for the night soon then home. I readied the guest room, took my entries across the road and then had lunch. Phew.

I have Harry's chocolate birthday cake in the oven and it will get its Guardians of The Galaxy topper put on last minute tomorrow in time for his pal to come over and watch GOTG 2 and eat burgers after school; I made rolls for the burgers yesterday so that is one less thing to do. We received a 4-day booking for the Airbnb room last night with the guests arriving this evening which is great but with it being Slimming World and Sea Cadets Jon will have to do the meet and greet and not me as usual. We have got so busy for this month which we are so happy about and of course the room had to be turned round this morning, too, after Jon's dad left yesterday so I'm now looking forward to lunch. I love being busy!

Right,time to see what food is left in the fridge after the weekend!

Bye for now.

Lou.x


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Windfall Wonder.

Hi!

Today I got round to some preserving and set to making my windfall chutney. The apples were gifted from friends, the onion came from the cellar store room and it called for tinned toms - nowhere near enough in the Poly House anyhow - most of which were in a food hamper brought to us by friends recently.

This is the very easy recipe I used taken from Country Living Magazine.


A good amount of ingredients.


I love a throw-it-all-in-the-pan recipe!



It took just over two hours to get it cooked down....


then I popped them in a water bath as I really want them to last through the winter.


I have some put aside that I'm entering in the village show on Saturday; I'll try and do a quick post with my entries tomorrow as I will get them all together for taking over the the hall after lunch on the morning of the show.


The jars are now sitting on the shelf in the cellar store room along with other things - I'm gradually getting my stock built up!

Bye for now.

Lou.x

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Two Years On Our Little Homestead - Then And Now. (LOTS of photos!)

Two years ago today we moved to our little homestead.

I thought I'd do a little round-up of how things have changed, and continue to change.

(I am so sorry that I lost my initial photos that showed how we did so much work to the inside of the house but hopefully you will get the idea of how things have developed.)


We'll start with the back garden. This big wood store dominated the garden but gradually it was taken down...


and in the top right of the picture here you can see the previous owners' dog kennel and cage.


Behind Jon you can see one of the many huge bamboo bushes we had to deal with so....





we finally ended up with a better looking space to work with and here we are today from these angles.




Now my pride and joy, the veg plots and my Poly House; thanks to a lot of hard work from Jon and help from the boys they have eventually turned into this.









Finally, you'll be glad to hear, is the chicken enclosure.








Right, this is getting a bit self-indulgent as I have spent lots of time looking at how things have changed and our achievements in the last year or so. I could have included so many more photos but that would have been ridiculous!

Hope you enjoyed some of these photos. It does make you realise how far you have come when you see the differences between now and then.

                                                                      ******
In less happy news one of our elderly neighbours died at the weekend. Pat, in her 80's, was one ot the first people to come to our front door and also to say hello to Jon whilst he was swinging his legs from the scaffolding pointing the gable end. She came brandishing a list of things that would be happening at the community centre across the road from us hoping we would join in. And I did. Also Pat would drop by and have a brew with me and I would stop by to check she was ok. I will miss her very much and was very pleased that her family came to tell me of her passing.