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Spring Life In The Garden.

Monday, 28 November 2016

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

A cosy good morning to you as I type this. 

Jon lit the Rayburn just before he went to work; I dropped him off as I need the car to fetch the boys from Urdd then him from work this evening. I have lit the living room fire, too, so we are more than ready for the cold weather they are forecasting for later on tonight. 

Bring it on I say!

Prep for Christmas has begun, a little. When food shopping on Friday I picked up these little bits in Lidl. Not sure what to use the little bags for, maybe to put teacher presents in for school, hope to make biscuits with the boys and have them decorate them. 

 The clips will be used for holding up decorations or maybe on the tree. 

The tags on the right I bought from Waterstones. Aaahh, I feel the same way about Waterstones as Holly Golightly does about Tiffany's in Breakfast at Tiffany's; nothing bad could ever happen when you are there, especially when you are stroking lovely notebooks! I plan to use the tags to make garlands as part of the decorations for the boys' rooms.

I have wrapped the small presents we have bought for the boys and they are languishing at the bottom of our wardrobe but the larger ones are in the shed; some need packing and some need big bows on them.

This week I made some red onion relish/chutney. 

To be honest I needed to use them up before I started to use our own onions (eeek), some of which I have in the kitchen; it's yummy and had it this morning on some of our eggs and my toasted homemade bread. Sorry, bit of a smug fest there. 

We had a very short notice Airbnb booking come through on Friday night but money is money so there was a bit of frantic work on Saturday morning. They were coming from Hastings to pick up a puppy; they were a lovely couple and we would gladly have them as guests again. They were the first paying guests to have our delish continental breakfast and they very much enjoyed it.

Yesterday I made my mincemeat and it will sit until I make the first couple of batches of mince pies at the weekend. I think I've made enough but who knows! It's a recipe my mum used to use but I have altered it a bit over the years.

Also yesterday we were doing a few jobs in the garden and here we have some before and after photos. Our latest building project to begin is making a better parking area. Currently we park at the side of the house; you can just see the old car in the distance I think. (Obviously this a photo from earlier in the year!)

This is ok but if we are, hopefully, having more people eventually staying as paying guests we need to have better arrangements for a larger number of cars.

So.this is how the garden looked at the side of the conservatory previously....

and this is now we are starting to look. 

The wall has been cleared as it will be knocked through to make the entrance; Jon will then make a fence where the initial posts have now been placed. We will have to make a trailer trip to the local quarry to find some gravel to make it suitable for the cars to stand on the area.

After I had cleaned out the chooks and got round to covering over three of the tyres near the veg patch,

the small number of turnips I'm growing in the Poly House, hopefully for Christmas or early New Year seem to be coming along..

and the leeks look strong but small; they are about the thickness of my index finger so have some way to go or will be nice as just baby ones.

I was inside doing a few chores; I made a big pan of veg and pearl barley soup for lunch - it was yummy so will be today's lunch, too.

On the list of jobs today is to make a pie for tea - pastry and filling - my bread yeast mix has been started, eggs have been collected, a large rat has been spotted in the compost bin!, Alfie's bed is stripped for making later and I hope to get a couple of the last pages of my December Daily finished; I am sooo close to being done and can't wait to show you the end result. It makes me feel really festive when I am working on it. I have a few things to check on my Christmas plan today as well because the calendar slots of jobs to do and events coming up is filling up fast!

Best have my last cup of coffee and get started.

Bye for now.

Lou. xx


  1. You post makes me smile with delight and then laughed out loud when I read about the rat as I found one in the same spot at ours!
    BRILLIANT re more guests - they are lucky to have found you as I know you will be the nicest host they could have had. That pearl barley soup looks right up our street too, I think I will do some this week for us, maybe Wednesday when the veg box gets delivered. Would you mind sharing your recipe please?
    I have some leeks that are very similar to yours but there's one or two which I planted in February which are monsters now. I'll use them in the soup I think.
    I am going to make some mincemeat too now you have inspired me! I'll take a look at your recipe for that.
    You have me feeling all festive and I can't wait to catch your post on the December daily - I'll pop on to youtube tonight to see what you've put on there xx

    1. We hope to have more guests after Christmas but you never know, people may be looking for a room for the odd night over the festivities and we are ok with that. Re my soup, I am afraid I am a bit of a wing it soup maker. This has some bacon lard ons in it that I didn't use for something else, an onion, a leek, a bit of cabbage that needed using up, a couple of tomatoes that were going soft, a few strips of red pepper, a courgette, two or three mushrooms, chicken stock cube and water the cover then added the barley, herbs and seasoning. Sorry, nothing technical.x Hopefully you can see the mincemeat recipe but if not let me know. I'm just finishing my soup, have some washing to put out if it isn't too cold, won't dry then, and pie to make for tea then I should have an hour or so for my December Daily as I don't have to leave for the boys until 4.20pm. End of waffle.xx

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  3. you always have so much going on! You are one busy lady, one busy family.

    That onion relish looks so good. That's the sort of thing I would sit and scoff by the jar. Because I'm greedy like that! 😊

    Ooh, cold weather. I say Bring it on too! It's cold out there today, I wore fake fur this morning, that always makes me happy. Tales of it being -4°c this week. Feels like it's heading in that direction, that's for sure.

    have a lovely Monday evening, cosy warm by the Rayburn, enjoying your onion relish! x

    1. I do like to be busy, Sadie, I must say. The onion relish goes with just about anything! We awoke to frost this morning, not loads but definitely a chilly morning - hope it helps my garlic! We did have a lovely evening in front of the fire actually. We had Alfie sending Christmas tunes from the piano up the stairs from the cellar and Harry practicing While Shepherds Watch on his cornet. What a sound?!

  4. You remind me of me, 25 years ago! The Mincemeat recipe sounds delish. I make an apple-based, (windfalls) suet-free variety, which has never failed me. If I have any left over after Christmas I make Mincemeat Cakes. The best ones have chopped preserved ginger in. I usually end up making an extra earthenware jarful though, and that lasts me well into the next year.

    Soup-making is good when it is bung-it and you are using up what you have in the bottom of the fridge/back of the cupboard. Yours looks really yummy.

    1. Hi BB. I used to put rum in the mincemeat but I just put Gluvhien in it now as well as in the cake. Your mincemeat sounds delish, too. I like to try different toppings on my pies and one of my favs is viennese swirls,mmmmm. Yes, more soup today for lunch; can't go wrong with that and a slice of home made bread, and onion chutney!


Thank you so much for finding the time to comment. I really appreciate it and will always try to reply.xx