Sunday, 30 September 2012

For all the readers who are local, this is the next craft fair I am doing. Why not pop along and make a start on your Christmas gift list.

A Trying week...

Once again another week has flown by and all is not well in the house of woo, that probably should be the house of woe. As the title suggests it has been a topsy turvy week, lots of tension, flaring of tempers and a broken foot/ankle/leg to boot!

As you all know I have stopped smoking and hubby decided he would also forgo his pleasure of alcohol. It has been almost a month and we have both managed to go without our habitual sidekicks. It has not been easy and we have both been very snappy and waspish and I hate wasps!

On Wednesday I got a phone call from the school, Ben our youngest son had had a slight accident whilst playing rugby. After a trip to the hospital it turns out he has broken a bone in the lower area of his leg. I am unsure of what is actually broken until we go back to the hospital on Wednesday this week and have another X-ray and speak to the specialist. However Ben will be on crutches for possibly the next eight weeks.

And to top of our week the car decided it was going to have a breakdown. The head gasket has gone so it is not going to be a quick, easy nor cheap fix. So it is going to be a bit of a nightmare with no car and with Ben having a broken bone and being on crutches.

So that has been my week oh and I also had a craft fair which went quite well, and I am preparing for another one this week. Good old dad will be taking me and Jay will bring me back.

We have had lots of rain and the pumpkin and squashes have really benefited from the wet weather. The pumpkin is huge I would say it is as big as a basket ball and the smaller one is catching up quick. The butter nut squashes are about 5 - 6 inches long now and filling out. The photo below does not do much justice to their actual size.

The girls are looking a bit scrawny, both Bell and Dory are still malting and Matilda has started now also. We are still only getting one or two eggs a day. I cleaned them out earlier whilst they had a forage around the garden, I have never seen so many feathers in their coop before. Last year they lost hardly any feathers, but they were only still young. I have put some tonic in their water which is supposed to help whilst malting.

Well that is it from me for another day. I hope you have all had a great weekend. Until next time x

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Mud and feathered

Like the rest of the UK we have had our share of the rain, thankfully we have not had the floods that some parts of the country have had. I have been watching the news and it looks awful, and even more rain has been forecast, who has the plans for building an ark?

AS you can probably imagine the run has turned into the swampy mess again that it was earlier on in the year. Upon entering the run you risk life and limb, slipping everywhere whilst trying not to stand on the girls who are flying up at you after the goodies you may or may not be bringing!

Yesterday they looked a right mucky crew, they were soaking wet and covered in mud. Bell and Dory are malting also so there are feathers everywhere. We had a small break in the rain yesterday do I popped on my wellies and coat so I could clean out the coop and change all the bedding and I let the girls had a roam around the garden for a bit.

The only good thing about this rain is that my pumpkins and squash are swelling up nicely.

The sun is now shining and it is looking rather pleasant outside, the dogs need a walk so I am going to make the most of this break in the rain. Bye for now, until next time x

Monday, 24 September 2012

Wet & Miserable Monday

Well what a miserable start to the week. It has been raining all day and has been rather chilly and very dull. The poor girls look like drowned rats and have spent most of the day sitting under the coop looking very forlorn. It has finally stopped but how long for is anybodies guess. The girls have come out for a little wander and a preen.

Even the dogs have looked rather peeved today, I am taking them for a walk in a minute. Boots hat, gloves and scarf all out and ready.  Winter seems to have arrived a little early, but then what else should we expect with the topsy turvy seasons we have had so far this year.

I have spent quite a large part of my day trying to mend the washing machine, I finally accomplished this after giving it a thump, kick and a few choice words.

The craft fair was not a big success but then it was raining most of the day, I would of stayed indoors too by the fire watching TV! I have my next one this coming Saturday. It is in Felixstowe at Charlie Mannings and is on from 10am til 4pm for any local readers.

Jo I did take my camera but being the dope that I am I had left the battery in the charger! I will take some this week for you to see.

The bread maker is busy whirring away, we are having Moroccan Meatballs for dinner tonight, perfect for a chilly evening and some tasty warm home made crusty bread.

Well that is it from me for today, the dogs are raring to go. Until next time x

Saturday, 22 September 2012

what a whopper!

Look at what I found lurking undercover in the raised vegetable bed! I was having a root round to see if there were any more courgettes when I spied this big fellow. I have placed it beside a gardener's delight tomato of average size so you can gauge how big this courgette actually is.

Once I had cut it of and had it in my hands I came running in to show everyone whilst squealing like a mad banshee! It's not quite as big as my pumpkin though but it is sure a whopper. I am planning to make a batch of courgette chutney and also some soup from it.

As you can see in the photo I have another tray of red tomatoes, just one more tray to go now. I finally had my decent crop of tomatoes after all.

They girls had a wonderful time running round the garden today, up in the empty raised bed, down the end of the garden and in the empty pots and containers. I had to have a good sweep up once they were back in the run. Bell and Octavia decided to pop into the kitchen. Bell knows exactly where the corn is kept and  she was jumping up and pecking at the container!

Well that is it for today, I am busy getting the last bits ready for the craft fair tomorrow. For those of you that live locally, the fair is situated in the scout hut, next to the tesco's on grange farm. Until next time x

Friday, 21 September 2012

94 days til Christmas!

Everywhere you look the fast impending expensive season is approaching. However it does not have to be expensive with lots of money spent to still be enjoyable. I have been busy reading lots of new blogs over the past few months and one of my favourites is My beautiful life by foster mummy Over the past few weeks foster mummy has been blogging useful ideas for a frugal Christmas and how being prepared can help you save money and time and to enjoy the preparation for the festive season with much less stress!

I will be following and implementing some of foster mummy's ideas for my families Christmas and I just wanted to say a big thank you to foster mummy for sharing these great ideas. To view Foster mummy's blog click on the following link. My Beautiful Life

Talking of Christmas I have been busy booking craft fairs yesterday. I have one this Sunday and I now have thirteen dates booked up to Christmas. My crochet hook will be hot hot hot!

I had another tray of red tomatoes which have already been turned into sauce this week. The final tray is almost red too. I'm glad I managed to keep the tomatoes this year and bringing them in I am sure was the best idea.

One of my butter nut squashes, it is about 3 inches long and so far I have counted about nine on the one plant, surely I will get one to ripen!

The girls are not their usual selves, we are only having one egg a day and there seems to be plenty of squabbling going on in the run. Dory and Bell had a little set too yesterday and Octavia kindly intervened and  stood in between the pair of squabblers, as always very amusing to watch. The weather has turned rather chilly so that may have something to do with the girls being unsettled. 

Well that is it for now, I hope you all have a great weekend. Until next time x

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Wigglywoo's Brewery!

Well what do you know, mum and dad came over today for lunch and look what they had been and got on their walk yesterday, my much wanted sloes. Now all I need is to purchase some gin and away we go. I have popped them into the freezer and they will be perfect for use once I purchase some gin. One very boozy Christmas is on the cards!

As promised here are the recipes from the other day.

Christmas Spice Chutney
1lb elderberries
1lb cooking apples, chopped
1lb onions, chopped (I used red onions but you can use what you prefer)
12oz sugar
1/2 pint red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2  fresh ginger (or dried ground)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon

Place all ingredients into a heavy bottomed pan and simmer for about an hour. Place in warm sterilized jars, label and store. As with all chutneys this taste better after a few months of being made.

For the elderberry syrup I used the recipe from Ashridge Nurseries which you can access from this link
I did not add the ginger or the cloves from this recipe, I just used fruit, water, sugar and lemon juice. For every pint of juice you add 1lb of sugar and the juice of a lemon. This will keep for ages, put in to airtight bottles and store in a cool dark place. Once the bottle is opened keep refrigerated and will last about 3 weeks (it will be gone before then!)

To make the liqueur I just put the desired fruit into a wide necked jar/bottle fill it about a 1/4 with fruit add the same amount of sugar then fill up with desired alcohol. The jars I use are 1.5 ltrs. Store in a cool dark place and be sure to turn or shake the bottle everyday and in about 3 months it should be ready to decant into your desired bottles.

Right I have several bottles/jars that need turning. Until next time x

Monday, 17 September 2012

It's going to be a very merry Christmas hic!

As you can see from the above photo I have been quite busy in the kitchen. All this has been made with free foraged fruit. I have plum jam, elderberry Christmas spice chutney, blackberry schnapps, elderberry vodka and at the back is five bottles of elderberry syrup, which can be added the wine, champaign or any alcohol that you like to give it flavour.

I still have some blackberries and elderberries that I have frozen to make some more liqueur. Elderberry port is supposed to be nice so might give that a try. Just waiting for the sloes to make the gin now. It is quite surprising how much I managed to make with a small amount of fruit.

The butter nut squash are growing quite well there are quite a few on the plant and they are about 3 inches long! I'm so excited as I have not managed to grow these before and so far this year is looking very promising.

Nothing to do as such in the garden today, so as Jay is off we are tackling the bathroom! Have a great day everyone, until next time x

I will post the recipes later on in the week for the liqueur's and chutney 

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Foraging for freebies!

Just a quick one for now. Last night myself and Jay took the dogs for a walk, the car is playing up and I did not fancy going alone in case it conked out. Anyway I had heard a little whisper that there were some trees laden with plums in the hedgerow around the field.

I had forgotten to take anything to collect them in however I did have a pack of nappy sacks. I know not ideal but they done the job. I have enough to make a batch of jam which I shall do later on this afternoon.

Whilst walking round the field we noticed there were also several trees full of elderberries. It is not often I walk round the field, I usually walk round the woods and there are very few elderberries in the woods. So when I go and walk the dogs later on today I shall take my trug and a small pair of scissors and collect some to make a liqueur of some sort. There are lots of different recipes to choose from online, I'm not sure what one I am going to attempt yet.

Right I must dash as mum and dad are picking me up shortly and I still have to ice the lemon cake I have made for them. Until next time x

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Making decisions

It has been a roller coaster of a week! I have been trying to keep myself busy but it has proven quite difficult as I can't seem to settle down to anything. Trying to sit at the computer to write has proved an impossible task, hence why there has been a lack of postings from me. So please bear with me as I struggle to sort myself out.

At this time of year there is not much going on in the garden, most of the vegetable plot is empty and has already been dug over. I just need to add some compost and cover the ground up until spring. The large raised bed has five scrawny swedes sitting in it, the caterpillars ate all the stalks and there does not look like there is much of a root. However I shall leave them in as there is still plenty of growing time for them and they are not in the way.

Last year I decided to grow some vegetables over winter, it was not much of a success so I will not bother with it this year. I will however be growing some garlic but I have not decided which variety to grow yet.

I have decided that this is in fact a pumpkin, it is the same variety that I grew last year however it does look a lot different. If it does not start to change colour then Perhaps I will change my mind yet again!

As you can see these are my butternut squash, there are several on the plant and the plant is spreading far and wide. It is in the small raised bed and has spread up onto the decking. Last year they got to the size in the photo then promptly fell off. Fingers crossed I will get at least one to grow to full size.

This is a courgette plant that has finally decided to produce something, not sure what variety this is as they look different to the ones I had earlier off one of the other plants that was grown from the same seed packet. They were black beauty which is a slender green courgette. I'll keep you posted on the outcome if it does not drop off!

I had quite a few tomatoes turn red and I have made a couple of batches of tomato sauce to use with pasta ect. which have been frozen for later use. I had a look earlier and there should be enough to make another batch by the weekend.

I made more soup again this week. We had bean and cabbage soup which has all gone and yesterday I made some more creamy courgette and potato. I have also been making cakes which the boys have thoroughly enjoyed and they did not hang about for long! You can find a host of recipes on the recipe page.

The girls are being rather vocal at the moment, they are waiting to have their mad chaotic time running round the garden, whilst I clean out the coop. Egg production is still down. I am convinced it is the rhubarb as they girls will not leave it alone. They make a beeline for it as soon as they are out of the gate. I have netting round it but the little dears jump so they can still get it!

I hope you have enjoyed following me through the gardening/growing year. I have gone of topic at times but then that is only natural. I titled this post making decisions, when I first started this blog my intentions were to keep it to gardening, however I have so many different interests that it would be impossible to maintain several blogs for each topic.

Soooooooo I am not sure of what to do, any suggestions would be gratefully received. Well that is it from me for today, until next time x

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Guess the cumbrit & boot sale tales

Well I have been down the garden to take another look at these orbs and I'm sorry the photo is not brilliant but I had my sandals on and as the vegetable plot had been dug over I had to take them the other side of the fence.

This is the biggest one
A small one

So any ideas anyone of whether it is a pumpkin, squash or indeed a melon?

We done quite well at the boot sale today and made £78.00, not bad for getting rid of your unwanted goods. As usual Jay decided to set us a task, Ben was with us too so we all joined in. We had £1.00 each and we had to go and buy something from another stall holder and make a profit on our original £1.00. I bought a lidded soup bowl and a stone goblet, Ben bought two Chinese looking vases and Jay got a mirror with a small shelf.

Ben sold one of his vases for £2.00 and then went off and bought another three items. Jay sold his mirror for £2.00 and then went and bought another two items and he sold one of those for £3.00. I sold nothing and as always Jay was the winner. It made the day more fun and interesting.

Well that is it from me for today, I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Until next time x

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Damn and blast!

Well my leeks have been ruined again this year, the damn leek moth must of got in before I covered them. I had planted them in the raised bed this year and not in the vegetable plot and the moth still got at them. I am so disappointed as they were growing so well. 

I pulled them all up and salvaged what I could and made a batch of the much wanted potato and leek soup.

Damaged leek

leeks not spring onions!
I feel that I have wasted a whole year on the garden considering what has actually been harvested. To say it has been a disappointing year would be an understatement. Lets just hope we have better success next year. I am still plotting and planning for next years crops, I have been looking back and the only things that have grown really well the past couple of years have been the beans. They will most certainly be on the growing list!

I have a bit of a dilemma, If you remember earlier on I said that I was unsure what was the melons, pumpkins and squashes. Well what I thought were squashes are either pumpkins or water melons, they start off a light green and then have gone quite dark and they appear more of an oval rather than either like a pumpkin or a butternut squash.

Now what if I pick one and open it up in case it is a melon but is in fact a pumpkin then I have lost my pumpkin. But on the other hand if it is a melon and I leave it in the hope that it is a pumpkin then it will rot before turning and I will lose it. This is what happens when you don't label things properly! I will take a photo of it tomorrow and post it and perhaps one of you may be sure of whether it is a melon, pumpkin or indeed a squash.

Quick update on my quitting smoking, it has been four days so far without a cigarette and today has been the best so far. I must admit I have really struggled the last three days and have been taking myself off to bed rather early to keep out of the way of everyone. I have been quite busy today which really helps.

Jay cooked breakfast then we took the dogs for a swim in the sea then we went and done a big food shop and once we got back I spent a few hours sorting out the menu for the month whilst Jay cooked dinner. I have also done three loads of washing, cleaned out the girls, watered the garden and washed up after dinner.

We are doing a boot sale tomorrow and the weather is looking rather good, hopefully we will get rid of lots of stuff to make some room in the garage that seems to always be full!

Well that is it from me for today. I hope you all have a great weekend, until next time x

Thursday, 6 September 2012


Well yesterday was the first day of my no smoking, it has been a difficult couple of days, I have a face like a bulldog that has been stung by a wasp! And everyone is steering clear (well they ought to!) I am very fidgety and can't seem to settle at anything and to top if off I have a banging headache. I know it's not going to be easy but I am determined to do it this time.

Not much doing in the garden, picked some more runner beans, the freezer is filling up with these now. The squash are getting bigger everyday, I can't wait to have these. Still no signs of a pumpkin yet though.

As for the girls we have had no eggs for the past two days, they have been at the rhubarb again, they manage to get through the netting or jump up and get to the rhubarb. It does not seem to matter what I do as they will get at it however they can. I can't move it yet or cut it so it's a sticky situation. As soon as I let them out they all hurtle towards to the blooming rhubarb!

I have just had to purchase some eggs so I can do some baking, I need to keep busy.

Well that is it from me for today, until next time x

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

All hands on deck

Mum and dad came round today and we spent a productive day in the garden. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Gardening shoes were on and gloves were at the ready.

Mum weeded the fruit border and some of the patio whilst me and dad sorted out the vegetable plot. All the manky cabbages have now gone and the area has been dug over and he even managed to remove the tree stump giving me more growing space. I removed the French dwarf beans and weeded the top end of the vegetable plot. All the outdoor tomatoes have been picked and the plants are now in the compost bin. The garden looks a lot tidier and is ready for it's winter dressing.

As a thank you, we had home made soup for lunch and they went home with some courgettes and some runner beans for their help. Mum went home looking rather tired and in much need for a soak in the bath!

The greenhouse needs sorting next so I will hopefully make a start on that tomorrow.

Well that is it for another day, until next time x

Monday, 3 September 2012

Hello - I'm Back!

What an eventful week we have had. Our truck managed to get us there and back safely, just... We were about a mile from home when it decided to cough and splutter and stop. We managed to get it started again, and it has since had some oil and water and is fine again. Fingers crossed it will keep puttering along for another year.

It was very wet and windy up in Gairloch, Scotland, and we were fairly stranded where we were staying with no internet or signals for the phones. The boys were not too happy not being able to constantly text and be on facebook! As soon as we were in the car going somewhere, they were constantly checking for phone signals and whooping with excitement once they got a signal. It's awful to think that they can't live with out these things.

Anyway plenty of fishing was done as well as lots of crocheting. I managed to make five scarves, two hats, two sets of baby hat ,booties and mittens. I even went fishing! We went out on a boat and I even caught a couple as well as catching my fingers on the rusty hook! Sammy the seal followed the boat back and we fed him some mackerel that we had caught. It was fantastic seeing him up so close.

The scenery was fantastic on the way down and depending on how the weather looked made it all look so different. We had a four hour round trip on the Sunday to get the food shop for the week. I am so glad I don't live in a secluded place.

We met plenty of animals on our journeys out and about, sheep were just wandering around on the roads, and we went up to the end of the country, or so it seemed and looked at the lighthouse. On our way back we came round a bend and a huge and I mean huge cow was coming towards us. We stopped and the cow stepped to the side to let us pass, it was quite comical really. I'm convinced it was a cow but Jay reckons it was a bull, but we didn't stop again to check!

We had an eventful trip to Inverness town centre, Ben and Adam were waiting in Subway when Ben got stung by a wasp. Five minutes later the colour had drained from his face, his eyes rolled and he was about to collapse. Jay quickly sat him down, it had decided to rain quite hard. It all happened so quickly, he has been stung by a bee before but never a wasp, so panic was setting in was he allergic. Thankfully he did not pass right out, we gave him a sugary drink and he was back on his feet ten minutes later.

So that was our trip to Gairloch in Scotland.

The twins survived coping on their own whilst we were away. The girlfriends had also stayed over and I came back to a lovely clean house! The hens and dogs were all fine and so was the garden. I had quite a harvest to collect.

I picked the tomatoes and they are now sitting on the windowsill in the bedroom as this gets the most sun. Hopefully they will go a ruby red. Where the tomato plants are situated gets some sun and I did not want to lose them so I thought it was best to pick them and get them in as much sun as possible. I can always make chutney otherwise.

I had another surprise when I went for my walk about in the garden when I got home, I have about five squashes but as yet no pumpkins. The Italian courgette plant is still going strong and producing lovely courgettes. I will plant these again next year.

This is the largest squash on the plant and if you look closely you will see behind the skeletons that are left of my cabbages.

I am already making plans for what I will be growing next year and where everything will be going. I have yet to order my garlic and tomorrow mum and dad are coming over and we are having a day of gardening as the weeds have taken hold and the cabbage stumps need removing and as they are full of caterpillars I won't touch them, dad has got that job!

Here are three great recipes for using up your courgettes/zucchinis and you can print of the recipes.
courgette chutney     
mediterranean vegetable medley     
creamy potato courgettezucchini soup

Well that is it from me for now, I'll leave you with some more photos from Scotland. Until next time x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...