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Spring Life In The Garden.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Bits And Bobs And Corn Cobs


Today is a lovely blustery Autumn morning but not that cold for the end of September.

Jon and I were sitting at breakfast longing for when it will be properly Autumn - I can hear somebody saying "careful what you wish for".

These are the two other birthday gifts I hadn't got round to photographing.

Last week we had a really good week for eggs so made a quiche for Jon's lunches.

After last weekend being so hectic I have had a quiet-ish time this week, but the usual bread baking and cake making and managed to fit in a quick visit to my elderly neighbour - I haven't seen her since the boys went back to school. 

This morning I got the boys off and then vacuumed all downstairs and finished wiping down the kitchen shelves as still dusty after moving the boiler out and some other jobs over the weekend! Then I headed outside to the Poly House; temperature still good in there. 

A quick look round at the few things going on. The beans are growing very well but hope they live with the canes I put in at the beginning. 

My trays of sowing are coming through. These are the caulis, salad leaves and turnips. (I'm taking a punt on the last ones).

Other bits and pieces are spring onions I have growing which I think I'll pick soon. Realised a little too late that I have been mollycoddling them (sorry Dawn) and should just be growing them outside like leeks! 

I collected the eggs and anything else that was being offered up. 

You can see that I have the very last three corn cobs; they are really not the most fantastic but I grew them! I can boil them and use the kernels in something for tea tonight and the few we have had have been so delicious. This is how the bed looks now, it has been such a feature outside of the Poly House.

The girls are enjoying chowing down on some of the stems and have the others put to one side to drip feed to them. 

I have some work to so on the bed as this is going to be my brasicas bed! There are some big juicy worms in it so that is a bonus. 

Still taking up yummy turnips and the latest tomatoes plus a few to turn yet.

I have ordered some things from Thompson & Morgan using my gift vouchers and already I have received some seeds for Pak Choi and tomatoes called Capriccio which look a lovely shape and size for bottling so that is my plan for those next year.

I also bought some daff bulbs. I wanted to buy a couple of packets as I am sure I lost quite a few of the ones we had last Spring when we had the garden scraped down. I so loved being able to pick flowers straight from the garden.

These I got from Charlie's whilst asking, again, if they had their Christmas seed potatoes in yet! The answer was no last weeken - nearly out of time!

Right, I think I'm going to bake a ginger cake - first go at one of those but on Jon and the boys' list for new bakes. Oh, didn't some of the citrus meringue pies look yummy on the Bake Off last night? If the weather remains dry I think I'll try and forage another lot of balckberries for the freezer after lunch. I have the guest room to vacuum and bed to change so that is another job to be done before lunch.

Bye for now.


Sunday, 25 September 2016

Birthday Boots And Other Stuff.

Saturday was my birthday and I received some lovely things including these wellie boots to replace the ones I was bought last year...

this lovely set of notebooks, and I think you know I have a bit of a thing about stationery, from one of my sisters will be added to the pile of notebooks I have yet to use...

and they came with this book, too.

I also had a lovely hand and nail kit from The White Company and an old cooking book. (Photos of those next time.)

Even though it was my birthday life doesn't stop. I had to go and do the food shopping plus Jon's dad and his wife were here so that he could help do the final switch over of the Rayburn. I gave Jon a little hand taking out the oil bolier so I now have another cupboard for storage in the kitchen....

...and this will be getting painted and have new shelves.

The oil tank was drained of all the oil although Jon was having trouble finding enough recepticles to put it in!

At lunch time Jon went to fetch a piano we had bought for Alfie on Ebay for the ridiculous price of £4.50! Luckily we have a friend who is always happy to give Jon a lift. Again there will be a photo later on.

We went to Aber today and I had some clothes for my birthday. This included underwear and I have to brutally honest that it must be too long since I bought certain items that I could not remember my size!!

Now onto our Airbnb guests. They were just lovely people who thought the room and facilities were fantastic and were thoroughly appreciative of the complementary continental breakfast we gave them on their first morning.

We plan on offering this as an option from now on until we decide to offer cooked breakfasts. 

Now something else. I have lost the photo but the men who Dawn saw carrying the cross came past my house on Friday and then we saw them in Aber on Saturday morning.

And then, of course, Strictly is back on and Bronllan is usually referred to Sequin Central during its run. Loving it already; Tamika is outrageous, loving Anastacia with Brendan and I could go on and on.and on. Eeeeek!

Bye for now.

Lou. xx

Friday, 23 September 2016

A Lot Going On - And Some Exciting News!

Right. Today is Friday but what has been going on this week?

I think it was Monday that I picked two of our corn cobs for tea and they were gorgeous. I am still AMAZED that I have managed to grow these!  

On Tuesday I had a bit of an admin day as well as a bit of baking and cleaning out the chikens,

On Wednesday I had a lovely visit from Dawn at Doing It For Ourselves In Wales and she brought me some lovely things. These fantastic chicken plate holders? to use with the Rayburn....

a pile of magazines...

and a bag of chilies. 

She came to help me with my sowing and growing and now have a plan up to around July of what to plant and when. I am continually grateful for her advice and she never thinks I'm completely daft with the things I do, like being too careful with some plants and treating them too kind, well just a bit!

Thursday was a glorious day here.

I used the Rayburn to get a few things done. It is hot enough to use the top so I made the mix for a meat and potatoe pie, the pastry top (with a bit of grated cheese under the pastry top and in it, too...

and it came out very nicely.

I've been given a list by Jon and the boys for some new things to bake so I started off with creamed corn and cheesy bacon muffins. Mmmm.

Whilst all this was going on I had the egg shells for the garden in the warning oven, too.

And then the outside jobs consisted of giving the Poly House a good tidy and sweep after I had taken out the cucmber plants and mixed some of my compost through the bed.

Oh, I've been meaning to post a picture of  this tool which Jon made for me when he found the head of it in the shed and fashioned a new handle for it. 

Now, what else. I've started off some cauliflowers which can be sown in September/October and also a few more turnip; taking a chance on those just because they seemed to grow really well for me. One of the other trays is a salad leaf mix at the suggestion of Dawn; it has rocket, radichio I think, beetroot and mixed leaf seeds all together.  I have spring onions and lettuces in the drainpipes still.

My Father in Law was kind enough to bring me these fruit bushes which I have not moved outside, Dawn! There are two each of Spring and Autumn Raspberries, two Blackcurrants and one of grapes. The patch where they are going needs some attention next week.

The dwarf beans are coming on a treat and a flower appeared on Wednesday.

Now, the exciting news is that on Tuesday night we received an email via Airbnb to say we had a booking for the room this weekend! This is it but there are also two tub chairs and a coffee table.

The room had been advertised for about 10 days but was not available until Tuesday, and we got the booking at 9pm. I am amazed, grateful, nervous etc so we are preparing to welcome our first guests this evening at about 10pm. I have been into Aber this morning to buy a few things as we plan on giving them a compementary, continental breakfast tomorrow morning. The couple are also Airbnb hosts so hope to get some useful feedback from them on our efforts. They COULD be repeat guests if they like what we have to offer as they are coming to view porperties.

Anyhow really must go. I'm getting this post done just now as I have a bit of tidying to do in the garden and have bread to bake, too, then a final check on the room later this evening but the guests are calling when they have a more firm time for their arrival.

Ok, I'll be checking what everybody is up to, as usual, and then I'll see you on the flipside of the weekend.

Bye for now.


Monday, 19 September 2016

Bits and Bobs Between The Raindrops

Haven't got up to too much over the weekend. Jon spent Friday night and half of Saturday fixing the water as we had an airlock. I am so lucky to have a handy husband!

I made some more fridge pickles; the cucumber have come to an end so I made these yummy things again but used red onions this time.

Forgot to say we visited a new vintage shop in Aber the weekend before and I found these for £1 each. A lovely addition to the Poly House but I shall probably end up using a couple of them for Christmas decorations; they are just my thing for that!

They had loads along with lots of other lovely stuff. Will definitely be going back as I hope to find one of those red metal fire buckets for the hearth.

Yesterday we harvested our first turnips. Eeeek! They are a good size but have left some in the ground.

Can't wait to use them in something; it won't be tonight as tea is already planned. We make a lovely chicken broth in the winter using turnips and carrots, just root veg really, and hope these will add some special flavour. I'll be looking for some recipes later to make the most of them.

At about 3pm yesterday I went out, trug in hand, to pick what I thought may soon be the last of the balckberries. I hoped I would not get caught in a rain shower as the weather is definitely on the Autumnal turn - can't wait frankly. I picked what turned out to be 1lb 4oz; don't you just love free food?

There were loads more so plan on making time to go out again this week to get more to keep in the freezer. Lovely to be able to have a handful on your porridge in the morning or add to a smoothie, one of Alfie's fav things for breakfast.

I plan on making a blackberry, peach and banana crumble today, mmmm! Unfortunately our apple tree has come to the end of its fruit but we have enjoyed it. We need to prune it I think ready for next year but will have to get my book out and see what to do as unsure. 

The boys are back at Urdd after school club today so I have the car from taking Jon to work so that I can collect them, and then Jon, later. I plan on going to the farmers co-operative in Tregaron to see if they have some seed potatoes or any fruit/veg trays of anything useful. I don't often get to go there because of not having the car.

Right I better get on as I have bread proving just now, a few jobs to get done over the next couple of days including cleaning out the chooks between the possible rain showers we may get. My visitor is here on Wednesday, it is our community monthly lunch on Thursday and my birthday on Saturday. No time for celebration for the latter as we are having the Rayburn put over to the house heating when Jon's dad comes to visit on Friday/Saturday but we will be all sorted then!

Bye for now.


Friday, 16 September 2016

Word Of The Week.

I'm taking part in Word Of The Week in connection with Jocelyn over at  The Reading Residence.

My Word Of The Week is.....

Image result for NOISE
For, hopefully, some new visitors to my blog I should say noise has been around the house all week. I have two boys so noise is a given but this week we had a birthday celebration and other things.

For the birthday there were a total of five boys after school running, shouting, play fighting in the garden, you name it for a couple of hours.

But we also are embarking on music lessons. Alfie is starting to pratice his piano lessons and coming on well. Harry is being a bit bolder and came home on Monday with a cornet! Luckily we have a couple of places around the house where he can practise without us all getting a headache! But we are being very supportive and encouarging lots of practise. Being in Wales there are lots of opportunities for the children to take part in performances at various times of the year as well as regular Eisteddfods.

So my

 The Reading Residence                                               

may have been a loud word but it is very exciting for the boys!

Bye for now.


Thursday, 15 September 2016

Round-up Before The Weekend.

I really don't have much to ramble about at the moment. We are just recovering from Harry's birthday. On Monday I spent the day baking and sorting stuff. I made the cake the night before but this was the finished item with the edible topper which I ordered from the internet. After school he had three friends round which lead to much running up and down stairs, around the garden and finally some quiet when they had burgers, homemade lemonade and chocolate cake for tea.

That was Monday and since then have really not done much. Oh Harry came home from school on Monday with his cornet which is commencing lessons on next Monday. Cue practising with doors shut! Did I also say Alfie had his first piano lesson the Wednesday of last week. Well he did well and at his lesson last night the teacher was very happy with him. We have swapped his lesson to Sunday now as the Monday slot clashed with Jon getting home from work.

Oh, also on Monday I thought two of my corn cobs were ready. I did the test thing and they looked good so brought them in. 

But, you have to pull the leaves right the way down or all the way up or you don't see the kernels that are still white. I'll be leaving them a little longer I think!

Yesterday I nearly weeded nearly all the main veg patch and it is looking better. Didn't quite finish as it was sooo hot. I am still taking loads of flippin' caterpillas off the turnips and the odd one off the beetroot but I think I'm going to take them up next week - worried the actual veg will get eaten.

I really haven't done much today. Just a few jobs around the house. We have had a number of views on the room on Airbnb but no bookings as yet so keep fingers crossed they translate into customers.

Alfie and I have been watching some of the Paralympics. Has anybody seen The Last Leg In Rio? It is very funny, irreverent and funny.

Not sure of any plans for the weekend. My vouchers I won from Grow Your Own mag came at the weekend. I have a few ideas about a couple of things I think I may order but waiting until I have a visitor on Wednesday to help me make some decisions and use them wisely!

At the weekend my Father in Law brought me these fantastic hessian sacks he found for sale at a garden centre in Avergele. I think they are just fab. If anybody would like some they are £1 each and we can get some more when he is next at the caravan.

They are for keeping the veg, when I grow a decent amount, in the cellar cold room but I'm tempted to use the last one as a bolster cushion for one of the kitchen benches!

Must dash as the boys will be home soon.

Bye for now.


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Tales From A Local Show!

Well, as my Dad used to say "learning all the time".

Yesterday was our local horticultural show. I had been really looking forward to taking part as I missed it last year, as you know, with us moving here the week before.

My cakes were made on Friday and yesterday morning I filled the Victoria sandwich and popped some strawberries on the top. I put three iced flowers on my lemon drizzle and finished off my chocolate brownie with some icing and pecan nuts.

I got everything over to the show and left it until later in the afternoon as we had family here and the Rayburn was being installed.

Before I say anymore about the show see how well the Rayburn looks. It went in really quite easily; Jon had help from his dad and then a pal from work came later on in the afternoon to help put the one we took out into the shed to sit until we sell it.

It is amazing. The water is sooo hot, I'll be able to boil the kettle and cook on the top and can't wait to go back to cooking and baking in it. All in all it is a great asset to the kitchen. I'm so grateful for Jon being so handy in order that all the refurbishment was done for not a lot of money to save us a great deal of money now and in the future.

Back to the show. I popeed over to take a look at everything and see the prize winners.

I have learnt a lot if I take part next year! My eggs when broken looked super but I had three the same colour and one not quite. Next my cucumbers  were a lot smaller than the rest but I didn't mind that; they were not going on taste just looks. My lemon cake passed without incident but I did win 2nd prize for my chocolate brownie! I won 75p for that.

 Now on the jams and jellies etc I had decorated tops on the jars which I wondered whether or not they had been taken off at all....

I didn't win anything for my button based craft item but this will be a nioce gift for somebody. 

Now, my Victoria sponge. They didn't even bother to cut into it! It had cream and strawberry jam in it -  nobody else seemed to have cream in theirs - but I have to say it look so much better than enybody elses, even if they were following the criteria or rules - which we didn't know of course. Look.

(This is it cut into when we ate some last night.)

I looked this morning and the lemon curd and marmalade had not even been opened! I was spoken to by a lady at the end of the show who said, if I wanted to go further in competition, that I need to have a plain lid and plain label - mine were Cath Kidston! Hate to blow my own trumpet but my lemon curd is a bit special, even more so now with our own eggs.

With all this I was laughing my head off and one lady told me that back in the day when the WI held shows you didn't even get a look in if you put anything other than raspberry jam in your sponge cake!

So it was a bit of an experience, Jon said I should stuff 'em!

Right now we are cooking on the breakfast on the Rayburn!

How fab is this. We have achieved one of our main aims, to heat the house, water and cook with out paying for the fuel!

In other news this last week I turned over the compost heap. I chose to do this on the day it was 77 degrees!

It has broken down really quite well apart from some of the straw so really hope I can use it soon.

Right, must dash as breakfast soon then we are going into Aber before Jon's dad and his wife go home. I have Harry's birthday cake to make today or tomorrow ready for his pals coming after school.

Of course, will keep an eye on what people have been up to over the weekend.

Bye for now.