Header Photo

Header Photo
Aaaah I love our life!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

(Trumpet sound) Last Post!!

Hello.

This will probably be my last post, see what I did there? before we go away.

There isn't a lot of sowing going on at the moment;  I don't want to leave lots of things for our very kind neighbours to look after than necessary. However there is some growing going on therefore this is a bit of an update prior to us going away to see where we will be up to at the end of this month.

At the front of the house the sweet peas I planted have just come into flower which is lovely for when people stop to buy the eggs. 

I was thinking it was a shame that the small bed in front of the Poly House was looking a bit empty but didn't have room for much to go in it so from this.....



 to this, looking quite healthy.














I planted some carrots in a container, can't remember when, and decided to take them up the other day to have them for tea.



I was chuffed that we could eat both our carrots and our own cabbage.



I mentioned the other day to Tracey that I was "baking for the tin" and thought I would share the recipes I used,and use a lot. Jon loves a cut-and-come-again fruit cake I bake; it comes from this Baking bible which has a tonne of useful recipes in.



Here is the cake recipe. I switch it up a little depending if I have everything it asks for on the shelf.(If you enlarge it you should be able to see it better!)



The method goes as follows;







The second thing I baked were these.





What makes these yummy, even though they don't quite look the same as the photo, is the cinnamon and sugar sprinkle you put on the top just before they go in the oven.




Here are the two finished articles.


In the Poly House I have some rather quirky shaped tomatoes growing.




Nothing has turned red yet, hope there will be a transformation on our return. To be honest I am rather nervous about being away. I have great neighbours who are going to water and look after things for me. However it means I cannot pick and weigh stuff, so keeping an eye on the harvests as it is too much to ask them to do this. I have told them to take whatever they want from the garden whilst we are away and they are going to sell the eggs for us, too, taking what they need from there, too. I just can't bear the thought of things going to waste, over ripening and spoiling etc but there really is nothing I can do about it. Rant over!

Here is my sweetcorn and carrot bed. There should be cobs when we get back as no sign of anything as yet;  the carrots are coming on well, though.

 

This is a tyre hosting the squash at the bottom and climbing beans up the tripod. No beans off this as sown later than the climbing peas so hopefully harvest will occur some time after we come home.

Finally from the garden I have Swiss chard in the dehydrator. I tried some with my lunch the other day and admit I didn't like it. Sooo, taking a leaf out of Tracey's book I decided to dry it to keep for putting in stews etc. as a seasoning of sorts.


We have wonderful weather forecast for the next week so look forward to seeing how it turns out today or tomorrow.

Ok, I am off to get some jobs done outside. As I said I don't think I'll do another post before we go as will be a LITTLE bit busy!

Take care and I look forward to a loooong read of what everybody has been up to whilst we are away - I am excited just thinking about all you will be sowing, growing and harvesting in the coming weeks.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx



Wednesday, 12 July 2017

My Little Prince Meets HRH The Prince! - Edited Version

Who would have thought living where we do there could create such excitement.

Do you remember I said my boys had been doing schoolwork about Strata Florida Abbey?

Well, the projects they were completing were put into a competition and Harry won a prize for a story he had written.

We had a visit on Monday at the Abbey. All the school children went including those who had won prizes and the exciting part was that the winners were awarded their prize money by Prince Charles!

I don't count myself as a massive royalist but I am so grateful, and just thought it was so exciting, that we have something as precious as the Abbey to warrant such attention. 

Here are some of the children, with me in the background?! and Alfie in the foreground to the left, practicing their flag waving skills before he arrived!



I didn't expect to be near HRH but parents/family members lined up with the children and shook his hand a and had a little chat. (I'm still waiting for the photos of the children shaking hands with our visitor and hope to get them from school soon.) When he got to him he asked Harry what his story was about and Harry spoke really well and clearly to him. I was very proud!

 *****Here are the photos of Harry receiving his prize money from HRH*****























Here they are with our headmistress, Mrs George, after the event. She was so proud of all the children taking so much time and effort on their pieces for the competition, as well as those who were lucky enough to win.  



Whilst at the Abbey he also looked at the Nanteos Cup. We were lucky to see it very close up, too, without a glass case over it, before it was returned to the National Library. 

It really was a special day and one the children will remember for a long time

Bye for now.

Lou.xx

Friday, 7 July 2017

Weekend On The Way

Good morning.

This has been a good week in the garden in general.

I'll try to show it more in pictures than words, if I can manage that; you know I love a ramble!

On Monday I took up the vast majority of the onions and they are now drying on a hessian bag in the cellar store room. don't know the weight until they are dried and then I can compare with last year. I thought I'd planted more this time but not sure....


I kept a few in the kitchen to use and I just love them sitting there, knowing I grew them!


I did a bit of sowing, too. More carrots alongside the ones that are doing very well, some Basil in the top of the herb loo and extra radishes in a spare planter after I ditched one of my tomato plants.

These are the first sweet peas I have had in the kitchen for the last few days until today as I have just had to throw them away.


On Tuesday I had a good little harvest and it was pure joy to bring this basket of goodies into the house!



I did my first bit of blanching, too, as I've put the cabbages in the freezer not being something we are eating just now. All together we have had just over 3lbs of spuds, firstly from the Arran Pilots then the Charlottes with one plant left to harvest. It is so satisfying taking them up, like digging for treasure! Lesson learned though, need to plant more earlies next year I think.The turnips are being used in stir frys and I just pick the sugar snap peas as and when; I don't have masses of those planted but they are yummy just to eat as I am outside or for the boys as snacks.

Now, I have a Twitter account for the Airbnb room and I follow a few interesting people - can't do with trash, tat or gossip; I'm a very discerning member of this form of social media! Following on from this, see what I did there? I had a chat with a company called Dri-Pak who I think a lot of people have heard of. I've wanted to do some product testing for companies for a while so I asked if they were interested in sending me some items that I could review -  and this little lot arrived this week!


I plan on sitting down this weekend to plan how best to do this little project; I've used soda crystals for quite a long time, along with good old fashioned green household soap.

Ok, there we are. I am hoping we may get a shower or two today; the butts are just about empty and I could do with all the main veg patches getting a bit of a soaking.

As ever, I look forward to hearing what everybody gets up to over the weekend.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx




Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Just A Quick One.



Just time enough for a smug fest.

Went to my Slimming World Meeting last night, weighed in and had lost 2.5lbs but I also reached my next goal of 2.5 stone lost!!!



Your new award

I am soooo chuffed with myself as I am now just 1lb over my wedding weight, and it was our 12th anniversary last Friday! Not sure how much more I'm going to lose now; I need to have a chat with my meeting lady. 


My friend who I go with lost an amazing 5lbs this week so she has lost over half a stone in three weeks which is just fab!

I truly think I can continue eating the way I have been doing for the last 21 months whilst losing this weight. For me it has not been a hardship at all. I have eaten steak, curry, rice n chips, lasagne, cottage pie, meatballs but a lot of fruit, veg, pulses and protein. I don't really have a super sweet tooth so haven't missed cakes and biscuits but I do look forward to having some of my own bread and homemade lemon curd in the near future as a little treat.

I need to have a plan for when we go away in a few weeks but I fully intend to enjoy my holiday and eat lots of fish but some tapas and glass of red here and there.

I hope those of you who are trying to drop a few pounds are managing to stay on track and that you get the result you want.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx




Sunday, 2 July 2017

Sow, Grow, Harvest.

Hello!

Well what a weekend of weather we've had, bewtiful (in my best Welsh accent).

There is still some sowing and definitely some growing happening here. On Saturday I decided to take up most of the strawberry plants as there is just nothing happening there;I think the cold frame is in the wrong place for them. I have put two of them in planters so I can move them around in the sunshine to see if this helps at all.



In place of the strawberry plants I have sown some pak choi. I really hope this works out as I failed with it last year. At the same time I sown some more Swiss Chard Lights to add to the ones already growing quite well.



I'm chuffed that the courgettes are coming on because I have been buying a couple each week and so this hopefully will be covered by the two plants I have if I look after them well.



I am continuing to sow spring onions alongside the lettuces; hopefully I have my timings right now as I do NOT wish to be buying anymore through the summer! I have sown red lettuce leaves but can't remember the variety just now. 

Tomatoes are coming along; lots of flowers and quite a few fruit so feeding them once a week to spur them on.




Some things are getting close to harvesting, in fact we have a few lbs of new spuds, which have been great, but the onions are not far behind; they'll probably be taken up at the end of the week so they can dry out whilst we are away.


The beetroot looks like a success this year and as they've been sown in three intervals I should have plenty this year.


Finally the climbing peas have quite a few fat pods on them; really hope we can have our own, shelled peas very soon. Eeek, definitely have been on my grow your own bucket list!


Now aren't these pretty? My first home grown sweet peas and they smell just lovely.


It has to be said that Jon and I don't often get chance to sit down and enjoy the garden very often but today we did, just for a little while. This is the view our Airbnb guests have from the verandah outside  their room just now.


As we sat chatting I thought that I rarely take photos of the back of the house so here it was today with a view of the conservatory. We have plans coming together to replace three of the windows and then the rest will be cladded as we want it just to be an additional room and not a hot house! The boys can't play pool in the daytime in summer and we have to keep the door to the kitchen shut or the kitchen isn't kept cool as we like it.



The dehydrator has been in use again over the weekend, this time for bananas. I like them but can't currently eat them so I'm going to keep them in an air tight jar until I can or use them in some baking. Just proves it does the job on them, too, as with the other things we have tried.

Finally, some cooking I have been doing lately. I tried to make wraps instead of using bought ones. They came out well but next time I need to cook them as they are needed or very close to eating as they tasted great but went a little hard when exposed to the air. Good effort though and my three thought they were ok. 


I have wanted to make stuffed aubergines for ages and I was spurred on my a recipe in the Slimming world magazine.

I cut one in half and scooped out the flesh then chopped it up along with onions, mushrooms and peppers.


I cooked some lentils...


and after I had fried off the vegetables I added the lentils to the pan.

 

Once combined I spooned the mixture into the aubergines and put a couple of strips of cheese then put them in the oven for about 20 minutes.



I have to say they were very yummy!

Right, that's the end of today's ramble; hope you've had a good weekend and I look forward to seeing what you have all been up to.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx




Monday, 26 June 2017

Plot to Plate and Other Stuff.

Hi! 

Both my boys have been a bit under the weather since the beginning of the week with coughs and colds but are both at school today for the new week.

They are both doing homework about the Strata Florida Abbey the ruins of which can be found in Pontryhdfendigaid, the next village to us.


Strata Florida, Ceredigion.


I've had great fun helping Alfie write a slightly tongue in cheek newspaper account of the time the site was part of the dissolution of the monasteries, complete with an advert for insurance! He has worked really hard on it so hope he gets a good mark.

This weekend I harvested these lovelies!



We had the spring onions with tea on Saturday and I shelled the pea pods; the latter was a bit of an experiment as I wanted to see how far on the peas were, some were a good size but they obviously need longer to develop

There was just about 2lbs of Arran Pilot spuds and I am quite chuffed with the cabbage, even though we lost one that was totally nibbled by a little critter. I am going to keep an eye on the others and then probably chop, par-boil and freeze them; currently the boys are not keen on cabbage and I would not want it to go to waste when Jon and I cannot eat them straight away.

So the spuds and cabbage were part of tea on yesterday!  

Yes, I CAN eat this much and still lose weight!



Once again my broccoli has been an epic failure!



I had a head that started forming but this has been got at and as there's nothing on any of the other middles I don't think there's much chance of improvement now. Does anybody have advice about re-sowing the broccoli in the same spot? I do have to think about rotation for next year but could I get away with trying for some again as there as still time? Because everything I grow is pretty much in raised beds, containers, bags, tyres do I have to apply the same rules to rotation if I am replacing/improving the soil with compost? 

Help!!! 

These are the second lot of tomatoes I solar dried; I put salt and pepper on them along with fresh basil and ...




they came out just brilliantly! I really can't wait until we put our own produce in there.


Jon is currently having a proper tidy out of his shed and everything with it. He found this which he forgot to tell me his dad had brought for me. Cool huh?

Not sure where to put/how to use it but useful none the less I am sure.



This morning I have been outside getting a few jobs done because the weather is changeable this week according to Countryfile - best weather forecast on the tv!  I started with cleaning out the chooks; six eggs already which is a better result than in recent days. I have cleaned out the top of the herb loo ready to sow or plant something new in there.

In the empty tyre from where I took up the spuds I have sown three butternut squash seeds to make use of the space.

I needed a few more bamboo canes for the PolyHouse so have cut a couple for now but will do more at the weekend. I read about making up a soapy water mixture in a sprayer to help with aphids and bugs etc so I've done that too.

I decided to sow a different kind of lettuce so have gone for salad bowl lettuce red; nice to add some colour to the plate. 

This is one of two courgette plants and I really hope I get a good few from them this year.



Ok, that is my little catch up.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx