Posts

Showing posts from August, 2010

Tuesday and cold

Image
A different perspective of the garden from under the boughs of the magnolia......

Yesterday turned out to be a good day with just a light breeze and intermittent sun and cloud, perfect drying weather.  The washing machine was in service all day as load after load of washing went through and out on to the line.  That is the easy part now I have mountains of clean washing waiting for the next stage.  It is always nice and easy to take curtains down but so much more effort to re-hang them.  I still have further washing to go before I feel satisfied that house is on the clean side rather than the dirty side.  Once the cleaning bug had bitten I was away and made a start on a good clean of the kitchen.  White furniture is lovely but it does show the dirt, anyway, I got stuck in and did all the cupboards down one side of the kitchen; today the other side will get a birthday and as Jane is due the cooker and the floor will get done.  It was not until I had taken down the net curtains that I r…

Bank holiday Monday

Image

Sunday morning and damp

Image

Saturday morning

Image

Friday morning

Image
Six little hardy fuchsias that I am going to have to nurture over the winter. 
Mike bought these to put in some pots in the front garden but I think they are too small to survive the winter out of doors so I intend to re-pot them and keep then in the shed over the winter. Yesterday was a very noisy morning with next door having a tree removed - lots of chain saws and then a stump grinder.  It took three men about 3 hours to remove the tree and get rid of all the debris.  While they were at it I asked if they could sort out my Rubinia so I have booked them for next Friday when they will come and bob the tree and sort out some of the clutter of branches that are crossing in the centre. 
I had made a Cullen skink for lunch and just as we sat down to eat it Sandi and her sister June turned up.  Sadly the soup was all gone so they had to make do with cups of coffee while we ate our lunch.  Sandi's sister had her arm in a collar and cuff sling as she had had a major tumble down the stairs …

Thursday morning after the deluge

Image
The cyclamen are in flower it is definitely autumn.....

Yesterday we decided to give the shooting a miss as no one really felt like going.  Instead I made a batch of blueberry muffins which got devoured hot straight out of the oven.  For lunch I did pasta in two ways half was served with a  lovely tomato sauce made from the copious tomatoes we have and the second half with pesto made with a big handful of basil that came in my vegetable box.  James put the mower over the lawn for me which was a job that had been hanging around for sometime and was desperately in need of doing.  No sooner had we settled down for dinner than the heavens opened and it rain heavily all evening and most of the night.  I managed to dash out in one of the lulls and get the chickens put to bed.  The silly girls were soaked they seem to like sitting in the rain either that or they are too stupid to seek shelter.   For dinner we had one of the rabbit pies that I had made and frozen - it was very scrumptious and I…

Wenesday morning

Image
When you need a hug there is always one you can rely on!!!!!!!

You might think it a bit of  a problem to have a dog of this size jump up but he only ever does this when invited and only to me never to anyone else.

Yesterday was a day of culinary mishaps.  I made the gnocchi but they were too soft and while they didn't actually disintegrate they did spread about a bit. Then I had made some bread dough for pizza bases which was also too soft, and as I was completely unable to handle it I put it a bowl and left it.  Later, in the evening I decided to bake it off and if necessary feed it to the chickens.  As luck would have it, it has made a very passable loaf.  It just goes to show that if your heart is not in it cooking is difficult....

We took the dogs for a nice walk, the weather was lovely it was sunny cool and breezy - When we got back to the car there was a lady who was walking a yellow lab she was disabled and needed a crutch to walk with.  She asked us for directions back to …

Tuesday morning and chilly

Image

Monday morning

Image
What a miserable day I had feeling really rough so I have finally succumbed to the antibiotics. Fortunately, I have a course stood by so that I can start them when I need them rather than days too late when I have finally managed to get a prescription.   I decided to water the vegetables yesterday as it was all looking very dry, it might have been better if I had looked at the weather forecast before I started as we have had a deluge with gales over night so I really need not have bothered.  We had had a fatality in the pond and one of the fish was floating belly up so that has gone to join the rest of the compost.  We could do with loosing a few more as the pond is very over stocked.
James arrived shortly after lunch and had brought with him three cows knees, huge knuckle bones, for the dogs. Tuc immediately got stuck into his and worked extremely hard on it, so much so, that he was completely breathless by the time he came up for air.  Nip tackled his with a bit more dignity and slo…

Sunday morning and windy

Image
This was a card that arrived in the post yesterday and I had to laugh so I thought I would share with you....
I left home at about 10 am with only myself and Basso in the car, Mike had decided that he was not feeling up to the BBQ so he and the terriers stayed at home.  Saturday morning driving through Maidstone is not much fun and to add to the mayhem there was some sort of motor cycle meeting so the town was crammed with bikes.  Once outside the town I thought it would be plain sailing but I picked up a tractor which I ended up following for miles as there was no where to overtake on the twisty windy country roads.  I finally arrived shortly before 12 so the hours run had almost doubled.  The weather was miserable with a light drizzle but being  stalwart types we sat and ate our barbecued meat and salad in garden and then headed for the shelter of the conservatory.  Basso had a great time and begged a few sausages from the BBQ.  He also took it upon himself to accompany anyone who wa…

Saturday morning

Image
An ominous sky with Sheerness docks in the distance.

Yesterday was off to a busy start the crumble was made and also a potato salad.  Mike went and got some venison sausages from the butcher not to mention a few other bits and bobs.  Then it was off to collect Len and Margaret and on to a plant nursery at Wateringbury just the other side of Maidstone.  It is a lovely small home run nursery that specialises in Fuchsias but in their lovely old fashioned wooden green houses they also have the most wonderful selection of tomatoes growing.  They have a pick your own policy and about 12 different varieties to choose from. Len and Margaret bought a large pot and some fuchsias and a hydrangea.  Mike chose 6 nice fuchsias for the pots in the front of the house.  They are all hardy varieties I hasten to add.  I in the mean time picked some wonderful black tomatoes with the most delicious flavour.  Once the car was completely stuffed with plants we made our way to Yalding for lunch.
That was a r…

Friday morning

Image
The girls make their way out of the night sanctuary for another days scratching......
Yesterday was a fine bright day with just odd moments of cloudiness and today looks even better with a clear blue sky.  I took the girls on a foraging trip and we picked 6lbs of damsons in a matter of minutes we also picked an assortment of other fruit for me to make a crumble.  As we were picking a couple who were picking blackberries asked us what we were picking so I explained that they were wild damsons which they thought were sloes.  As it happened there was a sloe bush near by so they could make a comparison.  We then move on to the wild rocket, sea beet, purslane, hips and haws all of which are growing in profusion.  They were very interested in foraging and glad of a guide help them identify the plants.  Mean while the dogs took themselves for a paddle in the large puddle that accumulates on the key side.  Once we got home we settled down to going over the fruit and removing any that were dam…

Thursday morning and still dark

Image
Basso happily shares his crate with some friends!!!!!
Yesterday morning I got side tracked there was an update for Picasa the photo program that I use.  It has a facial recognition capability but the old version had ceased to work but the update is fully functional so I spent a good few hours relabelling photos.  It is a slow and tedious job as I have some 5,000 photos to go through. Around lunch time Elaine arrive with her three kids who we sent up the garden to pick raspberries which gave us a bit of time for a chat and a coffee.  When they returned they were happy to play with Basso.  He was wonderful with them and allowed himself to be pulled around mercilessly.  He seemed to join it with the whole spirit of the game.  The two terriers just looked on with pitiful looks of disdain!!!!  They were all fascinated by the Flip camera which is easy enough for the children to use.  The photo is a still taken from a demonstration strip of video.  By the time they had left it was well past …

Wednesday and bin day

Image
A years worth of damson jam.....

This morning I feel somewhat bereaved as I am now minus 30,000 of my pets.  Last night my bees were taken away to live in High Halstow which is a very nice area for them and they will have lots of lovely woodland to forage in.  They were collected by Terry and a very nice family with two teenage sons who made themselves very useful fetching and carrying.  I kept well out of the way as I didn't want any parting gifts.  Not all the bees were back so Terry has left a super with a floor and roof to collect the stranglers which he will collect tonight.  The family are about to go on holiday to Egypt so they will come and collect the remaining gear when they return.  In the mean time the bees can settle in to their new home.  In some ways I will be pleased to regain the foot of the garden which has been a no go area for a while.

Earlier in the day I turned down paid work!!!  Jane asked me if I would tutor her son with his maths for which his father would…

Tuesday morning

Image

The story of the Giant Puffball

Image
What on earth is this growing in my vegetable bed?

Looks like a giant puff ball 


Better get on and eat it

Yum Yum fried in butter and garlic...Yes I am still alive to tell the tale......

Monday morning

Image
Basso at the beach!!!!
Yesterday was a bit of a mixed day with sunshine and showers.  I did my usual thing of collecting the eggs in the morning and also collected some of the apricots that I am so proud of and yet another portion of French beans and a hand full of figs. The raspberries are in full swing so I will need to have a picking session today and get them into the freezer.  Finally the tomatoes are beginning to ripen but the cucumbers have been a total failure this year.  Then it was time to walk the dogs so I equipped myself with a large polythene bag and off we went.  The wild damsons are in such profusion it is difficult not to pick too many - I called a halt at 2.5 lbs which should make sufficient jam for the odd scone or rice pudding.  We are not jam eating people so I have to keep a check on how much I make; it is very easy to get carried away.
I was hoping to hear from Terry with regard to the bees but as yet no word so I will probably give him a nudge today.  I need t…

Sunday morning and raining

Image
Cyclamen in bloom so that is really a sign of autumn.....
I had a cooking day yesterday and started with the hedgerow fruit that I had collected and made a nice crumble with damson, apple, raspberry, elderberries and blackberries - I used eating apples so I added no sugar to the fruit but there was certainly enough sweetness in the fruit and with the sweet crumble topping it was fine.  Then I tackled the rabbit which had been in brine over night.  I took the meat off the legs and saddle and removed the sinew.  The carcass and bits and pieces all went into the pot to make stock.  I then cooked the meat with diced onions, carrots, potato and a few mushroom and a handful of frozen peas all ready to go into the pies.  In case any of you are interested there is a wonderful site that gives you a step by step video of how to make a rabbit pie.  They have recently added how to make sausages and burgers with rabbit also.  It is a ferreting site but the videos can be found with the reviews and …

Saturday morning

Image
Well definitely a better day yesterday - the photo shows the giant puffball being sliced ready for lunch.  I was unsure how long to leave it before picking so decided not to be greedy and cut it yesterday morning.  We had it for lunch fried in a little butter with garlic and parsley and I am pleased to report that it was delicious.  The weather was very unpredictable so I got out fairly early with the dogs but put on my wet weather coat in case so needless to say the sun came out and boiled me.  While I was walking I picked some elderberries, blackberries and wild damsons all of which are going to be added to an apple crumble.  The damsons are in such profusion that I will pick a large amount and make some jam with them as the flavour is just stunning.  While I was walking I noticed that the two terriers were lagging behind and are of an age now when they really don't want such long walks but of course Basso is in his prime and needs the distance so it is a bit of a dilemma.  On o…

Friday morning

Image
Plenty of flower on the runner beans now that the aphids have been dealt with. Now, where to start, yesterday was one of those days when I really should have stayed in bed!!! I was pottering at the far end of the garden sorting out the chickens when a bee got trapped in my hair - I made great efforts to shake it free but it just became more entangled and finally stung me. I trundled back to the house and by the time I got there I was reacting violently to the sting. Fortunately, I had and empty stomach and quickly took some Piriton to dampen the reaction. I cannot describe to you the horror of the symptoms, suffice to say, if you can imagine being eaten alive by ants then you will get a rough idea. It took about 2 hours for it to subside and in that time I had made the decision that the bees will have to go as they are posing too great a risk to me. So, with the decision made, I reluctantly rang Terry to ask him if he could find a good home for my girls.
That done my next trauma …

Thursday and just light

Image
Is this a sign of autumn - these lovely hips on one of my roses? Well where to start - I am feeling really down in the dumps this morning my eye is as bad now as before I had it done and it is like looking through frosted glass. I phoned the hospital yesterday but did not receive a call back if they tried they would have found the phone engaged. It was only at 6pm when my mobile rang that I found out that the land line was showing permanently engaged. So I will have to start the process off again by ringing them first thing this morning. I made a batch of muffins yesterday morning and discovered that the recipe on the iPad was now in metric but it had made a nonsense of the tsp. of baking powder and bi-carb. Could I get it back to imperial - no way so I just guessed the quantities. Well to cut a long story short I had in fact doubled the quantities which meant that the resulting muffins were a bit soapy. However I made a well in each one and filled it with fresh raspberries wh…

Wednesday morning

Image
The oak leaf lettuce and the celery all tucked up under the anti-pigeon netting. Yesterday was a bit of a wash out in more ways than one. Firstly Jane arrived with her son in tow and I ended up spending the two hours giving him a maths lesson. He has decided that he can't do maths so I spent some time showing him that he could. He is a very bright lad and it would be a pity if he were to make a decision like that at this early stage. Anyway I think we have made a bit of a break through and he is going to learn his nine times table for me for next week so that he can have a go on my iPad. There is nothing like bribery and corruption!!!!! The weather was atrocious it poured with rain for most of the morning and again in the afternoon but I am not complaining as the garden is deeply in need of the water. The chickens were pretty fed up as I kept then locked in the short run as they are very stupid and get soaked in the rain. My eye has gone all fuzzy again and I will at some…
Image
The raspberries are beginning to ripen. I had a very productive day yesterday and managed to finish quite a bit in the garden. The chickens were cleaned out and the hostas planted up. I put in an order for some over wintering onions and some broad bean seeds which can also be planted in the autumn ready for an early crop next year. I also spent some time with Basso in the garden getting him to retrieve - not as easy as it used to be - he flatly refuses to pick up a dummy as he recognises that it is not a bird. However I tied a pair of pheasants wings, that I had kept, on to the dummy and this he would return with no trouble. I also had a bit of a clear up in the end shed and refilled the chicken food container. Lugging 20Kg bags of chicken food up the garden is quite hard work but I do have a sack barrow which helps.
Lunch was an interesting affair as we had mostly vegetarian bit and pieces. I made an insalata capreses with some tomatoes that were on the blink, there was a po…

Monday and the start of another week

Image
While I was working on the vegetable beds I discovered this - any ideas? Well I'll make it easy it is a giant puff ball - which will be on the menu fried with a little butter and some garlic. The only problem is that I am not sure how long to leave it before picking it. What a bonus!!!!! I planted up the oak leaf lettuce and the celery and got the netting over them before the pigeons have a chance. I then got on with planting up the saffron crocuses which are planted very deep at 15 cm which meant giving the bed a good dig over first and I also incorporated some compost into the soil to give them a good head start. Half way through my gardening Len and Margaret came to fetch the dogs so I had a coffee break and the muffins that I had made were a great success and disappeared at a rate of knots. i now know what to do with my crop of blueberries when they ripen. Nip and Tuc had their bags packed with their plates and a supply of food and treats then they were off. They have…

Sunday morning and damp

Image
Another photo of Allington lock. The photos have been lifted from a piece of video footage which is a very useful facility. After breakfast Mike went off to the shops and bought me a chicken which I dismantled taking the breasts off to butterfly them and pan fry with some courgettes for lunch the remainder went into the pot and made the most wonderful chicken broth. I took the trouble to make it properly and kept the temperature below boiling so that it stayed crystal clear. We had the broth with some pastina and a good grating of Parmesan cheese for supper which was just what my stomach needed. The meat from the bird which was in the stock is now like rags so it has been down graded to dog food.
The weather was all a bit hit and miss yesterday with frequent quite heavy showers which kind of put the kibosh on my gardening plans. Still that is one of the good things about being retired there is always tomorrow to do the jobs you miss today. I had put the dogs beds through the…

Saturday morning

Image
The paddle steamer heading for Maidstone up the river Medway from Allington lock. This is where we had lunch yesterday, not on the steamer but in the pub by the lock. We first went to our friends for coffee at about 10.30 and then on to take the dogs for a walk. There is a park which was once a zoo and still has the elephant house. The rest of the acreage is just well landscaped with lots of decorative mature trees. The dogs had a good time charging around and we managed to avoid the pond so they came back to the car relatively clean. The weather was kind to us and stayed dry but it was very threatening with some big black clouds overhead.
I am very distressed that my new eye which was so crystal clear has suddenly become fuzzy for no apparent reason that I can deduce. I am hoping that this is a passing phase but if it is still bad on Monday I will ring the hospital and get some advice. The only possible cause is that I am now off the steroid eye drops so I hope it will settl…

Friday morning

Image
Getting drowned putting the hens to bed in the rain. Yesterday was s dry day and I managed to get the dogs out for a nice long walk but some how I managed to forget to mow the grass!!! I had a trip to the garden centre which is fatal. I bought some lettuce plants and some celery both of which can go in the empty veg bed. I also bought a couple of hosta plants to replace some that I have lost. When I got home I discovered the post man had delivered the saffron crocuses so I will have a nice weekend of gardening ahead of me. I would have done it all today but we are going out to lunch with our friends so that will not be possible. Interestingly the saffron is an autumn flowering plant and is planted in August for harvesting in October/November. The flowers are collected at dawn before they have had time to open - well that wont be a problem for me now will it!!!!! Given that saffron is so expensive this may even prove to be an economical enterprise. However I think you need acre…