Saturday, 24 October 2009

New friends

We have new friends!

Three little brown hens. They are a bit bald at the moment as they have just come from a battery. We collected them today from the Battery Hen Welfare Trust. On arrival at their new home they needed a little encouragement to come out of the boxes we had collected them in. Here they are exploring their new home.

We have names for them - Miranda, Callie and Caroline but we are not sure yet who is who! but I'm sure they will tell us.

After a cursory look around two went straight into the house and have been there ever since while the third who is much braver came out to explore just a little bit.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Normal service will resume shortly!

Oh my, I have been so slack with this blogging malarkey!
So, apologies, I am still here honestly, I have just been a tad busy lately what with friends, family and work and also:

The garden is now winding down for autumn but we have had a fantastic crop of sweetcorn and runner beans and the chard is still going strong. Most of the tomatoes stayed green and we didn't get many, only about 4lbs. So I made green tomato chutney with the green ones and we have eaten the red ones all up....mmmmm yummy.

Unfortunately the squash never got round to making any squash, not sure what that was all about. There are five plants, loads of leaves, loads of flowers and NO squash! humph! if anyone out there has any ideas on what we did wrong I would love to know as I want to try again next year. The courgettes on the other hand... well they made up for the distinct lack of squash by pumping out loads and they are still going strong with little ones still. I suppose they will keep on courgetting (hey, new word!) up until we get a frost?
I also got a second row of chard and one of beetroot in and a row of pak choi. The carrots and the first row of beetroot need to come up over the following few weeks so I'm looking forward to that.
On the flower front, the sunflowers have been lovely, all happy and cheery as they look out over the garden wall at passersby. I will definitely be growing them again next year.
Also, great news, our Parish is going to get some allotments; so exciting as we currently don't have any. The Chairman said that "land has been identified" and "negotiations are ongoing" so hopefully there will be space for little'ol me to have, maybe, 1/2 an allotment to start with? Then I can grow DH loads of sweetcorn....he likes that idea, lol:-

Cooking and Brewing
Lots of cooking has been occurring as well. Well, with all the courgettes, sweetcorn and beans! So, as well as the green tomato chutney, mentioned above, I have also made more onion marmalade, some courgette salsa and a load of blackberry & elderberry wine.

The onion marmalade and salsa went down very well with our lovely friends from Devon who we went and spent a weekend with during September. If fact the salsa is so good that out of the six 2 pint jars I made we have only one unopened jar left which tells me that I must plant more courgettes next year!

The wine should be ready for the Solstice Dinner Party and should make approximately eighteen bottles, not that we will be drinking it ALL that evening you understand!. It has calmed down now as it has been in the demijohns for about one month. Prior to that it was exceptionally lively so it was just as well it was in the brewing bucket! otherwise it would have been all over the kitchen floor like a pink monster! Mind you it made the kitchen smell lovely:-). It will need racking soon to separate it from the sediment that is forming at the bottom of the demis, probably next weekend? we'll see.

Well, not much knitting has been happening although when I went up to stay with my folks in September I did take my latest knitting project - The Thrifty Knitters Woodland Shawl, which I am knitting in Olive Grove from the wonderful Yaffle Yarn (created by the supremely talented Ali).

While I was there my mum took a shine to my Garter Yoke Cardigan so we bought the pattern online and went to her LYS where she picked out a contrasting yarn to make the yoke as she already had some lovely yarn for the rest of the cardy. For me, well, being in a yarn store was just too much of a temptation so.....I bought some green aran so that I can knit another GYC for myself.

On the photography front, in order to try to get to grips with the finer attributes of my DSLR and achieve a level of bravery that means that I can take pictures without the auto functions I have been going to photography evening classes (although they don't call them that anymore). It's been fun, and I'm learning stuff! so I am hoping that my skills will improve and you may (or may not!) notice a difference, lol!

So that's kind of what I have been up to lately. Ill be back in a bit, honest! take care and love to you all, Em:-)


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