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Spring Life In The Garden.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Foody Friday, Baking Bonzer.


Today I have managed to bake quite a lot, even though I have been quite busy with other stuff, too.

I wasn't going to bake bread but changed my mind after I'd checked on space in the freezer, so in the oven went a half wholemeal, half white loaf and six rolls.

The tins were getting a little empty so it was time for a cherry oat bake which is always a winner with the boys and Jon. A pal of Jon's is coming to stay over this evening so wanted something to go with a brew, too. I think he may be watching his weight but not in my kitchen today!

I marked some pages in this book to try. 

This copy is not the one from the library but a copy very kindly sent to me by Sue at The Cottage At The End Of The Lane. Thank you again, Sue.x She saw I was having trouble finding a reasonably priced copy online and as she had picked this up in a charity shop decided to send it to me. How very, very, very kind was that? 

One of the things I planned to make were Welsh cakes, simple ingredients really; I have made them before and they were a bit too biscuity....

however these have come out a lot better. 

I plan on giving them to our next Airbnb guests as part of their breakfast along with our boiled eggs and my bread. I also took some to one of the Welsh ladies who works in the village shop as I had told her I was making them; she said they were good.

I went into the garden this morning and picked a few goodies.

The herbs are oregano which I put in the dehydrator yesterday. They are done and I have sage in there at the moment. I hope the weather is good at the weekend as hope to put some gherkins in to keep for use at a later date.

So for lunch I was able to have a green salad of homegrown things. How cool is that?

Oh yesterday I used up the last cooking apples and stewed them for the freezer.

There was enough for two small crumbles, to add more fruit to or to have with ice cream etc.

A good and productive day in the kitchen. Need to get outside for a little while now, once the clothes are folded!

Ok well that's it for now I think.

Bye for now.


Thursday, 24 August 2017

New Camera!


This post is a little self indulgent as I wanted to properly try out the new camera we have just bought, Ebay bargain for a great point and press - suits me just fine.

I decided to take photos of the Poly House to give a good outing. 

These are the three main varieties of tomatoes I have growing.

Cuor di bue, an elongated beef variety

The above are beef toms, obviously, but not sure if they are the Costoluto Fiorentino or regular beef! Monty is growing Costolutos.

These are the Capriccio F1 variety I am growing for bottling but leaving them as long as possible, keeping an eye on them not splitting, before I pick them as want to do as many as possible at once.

Onto the beans and squash. The beans are growing really well so hope to harvest some of those in a week or so as would like to have some to go in the freezer but I only have about four planted, I think, so not sure what the yield will be.

The squash was really overgrown and no light was getting to the underneath so.......

....I gave it a good haircut and there was a pile of leaves for the chooks.

Next up is the corn. I checked back and ;ast year I was harvesting the small amount I did manage to grow at the end of September so this has a bit of a way to go, but looking good.

Here is something which is off the shopping list; these are looking good....

as the gherkins continue to do, too. I have pickled some but we are using them in stir fry and I hope to dehydrate some if the weather is good over the weekend. Talking of dehydrating, I have dried this oregano for the kitchen and today put some sage leaves in.

These are something I am chuffed with, look at my piquant peppers! Dawn, anybody, what colour should they be as I did not have a packet; the seeds were a gift from Dawn.

I am very confident my Sweet potatoes will be a much greater success than last year. They are getting watered well and having had a little root around I can tell they are a good size at this point already; I LOVE Sweet spuds.

I usually say that I only grow things which we can eat, however I love the sweet peas and even more the freesias I have managed to grow!

Finally my broccoli Raab is coming on well...

as are the Spring Cabbages.

Yesterday i spent some time preserving some of the damsons by making jam, courtesy of Marguerite Patten.

All the damsons were put in my preserving pan along with the water - soooo excited about using this as I had it as a present last Christmas!

When the fruit had gone quite soft.....

I added the sugar.

I had to fish out stones, did get most of them but won't be entering this in the preserve section at this year's horticultural show!

Then it went into jars...

and I have a few to keep in the cellar store room and one has gone in the fridge.

That is about it I think. I love the camera and it is super easy to use. I just put the card into the laptop and download really easily instead of having to plug my phone in or email them to myself. I just have to get out of the habit of grabbing my phone when I want to photograph something!

By for now.


Monday, 21 August 2017

Happy Homestead.

Good morning!

My last post was on Wednesday so what has been going on at our little homestead since then? Well, I have to say the weather has been very wet since then, as it is now, so I have not done too much outside. 

The most important thing is that happily our boys came home on Thursday from a few days with the Gramps.Yay! Ready for them coming home baking for the tin was required, almond pound cake - so easy and so delish.

Also this was the day's little harvest. Some wonky carrots, gherkins (the glut has begun!) and some toms and turnips.

I was brought from Grandad's garden the gift of a big basket of damsons and a box of cooking and eating apples. (Attempting to keep the basket!)

We have sold a few punnets of damsons outside along with the eggs and have given some to people in exchange for stuff, always useful to be able to trade. I plan on making damson jam this week. It's something I prefer to do when the kids are not around so I don't have to stop in between the process; I may do it in the evening after a quick put together tea, that is probably a better idea. Apple crumble has been requested so that will definitely be made this week and of course eating apples are off the shopping list for now, yay! 

We had burgers with everything for tea with the boys, a family favourite, and I had one of my Slimming World burgers with gherkins (not mine as they need to sit a little bit longer) and chips made with our Salad Blues and Maris Piper spuds. Mmmm. Gotta love purple food!

We had guests arrive for the the Airbnb room on Friday for two nights, lovely people. Then we were without Harry again as he was taken into Aber that evening for his Sea Cadets summer camp in Llanelli; Alfie was in line to help with a few jobs over the weekend. He is such a different boy when Harry is not here but he does miss him.

ne of these was to put some meshed holes in the cellar store room door along with the draught excluder around it; the door was not shutting properly plus flies had to be kept out.

On Saturday I discovered some cucumbers hiding and these are hopefully going to be ready by the end of the week. On Sunday I gave my strawberries a snip on the leaves and a bit of fertiliser and hope they will have a little sleep until the fruit again; not had a great deal of success with strawbs so hope these two plants do ok.

After I said goodbye to our guests yesterday morning I took up some more Maris Piper spuds; getting on for 2.5lbs. I know now to sow more first and second earlies next year as I should really still be harvesting some of them now and not the maincrop quite yet but that is something learnt which is a good thing.

We fetched Harry back from Aber at 5pm last night and he was tired and glad to be home but had a great time shooting, swimming and messing around in kayaks; he has a boating weekend in September, too. We were happy to all be back together, again.

This morning, as I said, we have rain but the forecast is wet and warm for most of the week; tomorrow I have to clean out the chooks so hope I miss the showers for that job - never a pleasure in the rain!

Right, there are beds to change, vacuuming and other mundane stuff to do today so better get on with it. Looking forward to seeing what everybody got up to over the weekend.

Bye for now.


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Inside And Out.

Yesterday and today I have got a few good jobs done outside and in.

I have weeded, hoed, prepared etc spaces I hope to use soon. There is a good area to be made use of in the bed where the courgettes are and this is looking ready to sow turnips.

I have a good amount of space in the main bed and need to decide what to use that for, I have an idea. I weeded and dug over these as well as putting some new compost in the spot near the beetroot. I hope the beetroot continues to grow well as don't plan on growing it next year if I have enough to pickle this Autumn.

The black polythene is still covering the area where I grew the onions and I had a peek under it and it is just needing a turn over as no weeds appear to have crept under or in. Yay!

I have prepared the cold frame area and in here I'll be sowing pak choi and wild rocket in the coming days. Really like the idea of pak choi but failed before so will look after it a bit more this time. 

Tyres have been dug over, not too many weeds of course and today new compost added and I have put in my Christmas potatoes today, too.

Like Tracy I have bought these varieties, only ones I could find but sure they will be ok.

I had a root around in one of the Sweet potato growing bags yesterday and found a fairly good sized one but will leave them for another week or so before I take any up; sooo excited as mine failed spectacularly last year!

These are my radishes and I hope to preserve them by making fridge pickles with them along with gherkins and some of my red onions. 

Talking of pickling, does anybody buy white vinegar for pickling in bulk anywhere? Having trouble getting some at a good price.

I'd like to ask some advice, too, on my container strawberry plants. These two have very healthy-looking foliage but I don't know what to do with them over Winter months.

By the time I sat down for lunch today I had vacuumed nearly all downstairs, mopped the bottom kitchen floor, had a Hermes parcel collected and had one of the meters read and written most of this post.

I'm going to try a last sowing of lettuce and spring onions in the sink outside; they grow really well there and I'm enjoying having salad for lunch most days right now.

Oh and our new camera has come. Yay!

Right I think that is it for now. I have recently been looking at some initial plans for next year, name varieties of things people have mentioned, things I will and won't be growing etc. so I am on the lookout for a 2018 diary, can you believe it?

Bye for now.


Monday, 14 August 2017

A Bit of Lunchtime Randomness.

Over the weekend we were lucky enough to have a sky like this!

At 11.15pm we were stargazing in our back garden, in deck chairs, coats and wrapped up looking at this amazing sky. We saw quite a few shooting stars but one especially spectacular one which went right above us and had an almost green tail to it. 

It was awesome! 

We sat for about half an hour and then we got some cloud cover so were no longer able to see anything but it was a fab experience. Alfie was too asleep to wake up but we did get Harry to come downstairs and we were so lucky we saw what we did!

In the Poly House my piquant peppers are finally showing themselves, albeit only just.

 I have made a start on some seed sowing, too. Here you can see Broccoli Raab and then Spring Cabbage, Offenham 2 (Flower of Spring), which are already germinating and I only put these in on August 8 so very pleased with them.

Finally lots of tomatoes are ripening! These two plants are doing really well and are specifically for bottling; I have another plant for this, too, so hopefully I will have plenty.

Now outside this is how my sweetcorn is looking.

I don't remember last year's crop looking like this but hope all will be well.

I have been harvesting lots of things from the garden since we have been back from our holiday which I am loving.This little lot I took up on Wednesday and the blackberries came from me and the boys foraging in the hedgerows' getting on for a 1lb. It looks as if there are loads more to come. This lunchtime it has been great to have salad using our own lettuce, beetroot, spring onions and tomatoes.

We have now had the last of the salad blues which have been great fun and the carrots are great with plenty more to come, too. The few climbing peas you can see are always lovely but I have learned a lesson for next year. I will not be growing them in tripods. They are so bushy that it is hard to get to the pods and I don't think they grow as well. Next year I shall put them in a row against netting but in the same spot; learning all the time as my dad used to say.

Right, that is it for me as I am going to an early Slimming World group today; yesterday both the boys went to stay with the Gramps and won't be back until Thursday so I don't need to be in Aber late this evening for Harry's Sea Cadets. Jon has to go to a family funeral tomorrow needing to leave home at 5am as it is in the Lake District; he won't be home until late so I'll have a long day on my own, not that I mind, but must not waste the time and will do my best to use it wisely.

Bye for now.