Thursday 30 April 2015

A Walk on the Wild Side, and a little excitement.

Today was bright and sunny but with a chilly wind, the forecast said 60% chance of rain. So with no hesitation I got the last little bit of my garden bed forked over, plenty of dock and creeping buttercup roots were duly evicted. I am not even wasting my weeds, they are being used to fill the gaps in the bank behind my greenhouse plot. This area was claimed back last year from a sea of brambles, nettles and various unwanted undergrowth. To increase the height of the existing bank  I layered all the branches trimmed from the tree and the hedge and stuffed in all the weeds. All this has helped to make a tall bank and reinforce the boundary between my garden and the one behind. When this has settled down I aim to plant it up with some of the mint that runs rampant and other thuggish plants.

Before I go further let me share the pork and bacon dish that I cobbled together for my guests.

This was a man size portion, I had enough left overs for dinner last night, Yummy.
While I am still in yesterday, I went out and covered some plants with fleece yesterday as there was a frost predicted (didn't happen) and within 20 minutes this happened.

A rather intense hail storm, it lasted for several minutes but luckily the sun came out and melted it.
Back to the here and now, and a bit earlier.

As the sun kept out and the clouds passed us by I popped Ben in the car and took him to the park, on the way we had to pull over to let a police car come screaming through.

I remembered my camera and took some pics of the wild flowers.

This little flower carpets the grass in long swathes.

There were lots of busy bumble bees around.

Daisies everywhere, lovely long stems, just right for making chains. No I didn't, Ben was in a hurry to get all the way round.

Just one or two sweet clover open.

There was the sound of a helicopter very close, I looked up and there it was.

Bluebells, lovely in the garden but so much better in the wild.

Celandine and Broom glowing away.

This plant was the jewel in the crown for me, wild garlic. I had a good source in Norfolk and the sites that I know well in Wales are in Ceredigion, 75 minutes drive away. I was chuffed to bits to find this and of course....

a little came home with me, some found its way into a fritatta for my dinner, I was just going to stirfry a heap of veg and have with a jacket potato, an idea I lifted from Mean Queen. But the garlic and some fresh Coriander persuaded me to change my mind. I made a big salad to go with it and am now stuffed to the gills.

Now for the Really Good News. The Postie brought me another parcel, from a fellow Blogger who is having a good clear out. She found this and thought of me. A gardening apron, far too nice to wear in the garden and perfect for cooking. Lots of deep pockets for the things that get lost on a regular basis. Why is it that I put my little whisk down and it vanishes, and why does it take my spatula with it?

I will wear it with pride and a whole heap of pleasure. I will not be making tomato sauce though, I would hate to have red splodges down it.
All in all a very good day.
BTW I called at the library on the way back from the park and the Police Helicopter was hovering overhead......I will be watching the news avidly.
     TTFN                                                                       Pam

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Food Glorious Food.

I am cooking for 4 today, 3 meat focused and me, I do not want to overload on meat so put my thinking cap on and looked at my freezer lists. Aha, a lonely pork chop, cut from a RTC loin in December and a bacon chop from a pack of Lidl cooking bacon, £1:50 a Kilo.
A quick shufti through the fridge revealed 1/2 green pepper,2 sticks of celery and 3 little leeks. I had an onion and 4 cloves of garlic at the ready. Here we go with the photos.

Sweat onion, celery and pepper in a spray of frylight, in Cajun cookery this is known as "the holy trinity".

Add the sliced garlic, I do mince it fine sometimes but never just chop, I like it to almost dissolve into the sauce.

Add 1 desert spoon of smoked paprika and fajita seasoning, this gives warmth without searing heat, and a couple of good pinches of black pepper.

Stir well and cook the spices for a minute or so on a low heat.

Dice the pork and add to pan.

Stir to coat with the spicy mix,

Add the bacon, I soaked this in cold water for 2 hours to remove excess salt, and stir in.

Slice the leeks and add to the pan with a tin of chopped tomatoes and a tin of whatever beans you have. I used baked beans and the sauce. I do cook dried beans, cook and then freeze for cost and ease but have none now. I add a tsp of sugar and a big pinch of dried Basil for that warmth again.  Then into a preheated slow cooker for 6 hours or so on low. When I serve this I will stir in some fresh Basil and Coriander leaves.

We will have this bread to soak up the juices, made from half and half white and wholemeal flour. 500g of flour makes these 1lb loaves that take 35 minutes in my mini oven. This would last me for at least a week but I suspect they will both go tonight.
For pudding I have made a lemon drizzle cake and will make a fruity sauce with some Blackberry jam thinned down with some water and a squeeze of lemon juice to serve with it. 
My cup is empty so I am off to the garden, I have a small bed that needs forking over and some sweet peas that need planting out.

             TTFN                                                  Pam

Monday 27 April 2015

Scrapalicious Start to Monday

Well in truth it was not the start of my day as I have been busy since just after 6:00.
The upstairs has been bottomed and the bathroom had an extra special going over, it has been a bit breezy and all the nooks and crannies were full of dust. The only time I close the window is when the curtains are blowing in.
The banisters have been dusted down with a damp microfibre cloth, wonderful invention those.
Two loads of washing out having a blow round, some already in waiting for the iron.
A check in the greenhouse and round the pots and beds, lots of plants seem to have grown considerably overnight. My troughs of spinach and coriander are romping away, good thing as I use them most days.
I sat down for a much needed cuppa and heard the postie, oooh a parcel.
I was not expecting anything, and when I read the senders details I was taken aback, it was from Jenny who won my quilt.
The first thing that I pulled out was this.

The last time that I was in Durham it was September, many years ago. My late hubby and I had just come back from Menorca, we had met a couple there who lived just outside the city. They invited us for a long weekend, the weather was glorious, it was warmer than the Med and we had a wonderful time. Sadly both of them have died since, but they were several years older than I am now.

Then I tipped out the glories within, a sharp intake of breath....

Four orphan blocks.

Some large and medium pieces of colour. Love the trees on blue.

Last but my no means least a pile of little scraps, be still my beating heart, how I love scraps.
I was out on Saturday and picked up this little basket from a CS and now it has been given a purpose.

Perfect, I need to go through my scrap boxes and bags again, I will cherry pick some colours to add to these and then my next make can be born.
Maybe, just maybe this will help me retain some control, the last scrappy session seemed to spread into every corner of the house.
I am only indoors now because the sky darkened and it felt as though rain was imminent, there were a few drops, now the sun is pushing through and I see lots of blue. 
Time to empty my cup and get out there again.

              TTFN                                             Pam.

Friday 24 April 2015

Almost there, I am almost there.

With a heartfelt sigh I can tell you that the Glory Hole is well and truly sorted. The utility is tidy, walls washed down and floor scrubbed, I normally do this in the first week of the month so it is a bit early, and I have made room for a small chest freezer. I left my cavernous monster behind, the purchaser was pleased to have it and as it was fitted into an outbuilding I was glad to leave it.
I no longer need anything that huge, it was 6' long! I have just ordered a smaller one from Curry's and it will be delivered free of charge tomorrow, woop woop.
Now I just want/need those tomato plants to be bountiful and the rest of my plants to join in. This will be for my veg and fruit and all the things that I will make with them. Roast Tomato and garlic puree springs to mind. I have missed it sorely since moving, I only made enough in 2013 to last the winter as I planned to move last summer.
I have found another new blog, Sooze writes about her rural life in Somerset at Her Indoors, Him Outdoors. She has only recently started but I am enjoying the posts, first follower to boot.
I used to holiday in Weston super Mare when at school, the youth club that I was a member of rented the church hall for 2 weeks and we camped in there. It was great, I do not remember a single wet day.
I have gone through half my compost and the 6 bags that I have left will not do what I want. It is an expense but one that I budgeted for, all the spent compost will go into then garden at the end of the year and help the soil structure. All bar the pots that have John Innes no 3, as that is for permanent plants, I have 2 gooseberries and 2 blackcurrant in that. 
I did look at the option to buy a bulk bag but the cost is almost double that of the bagged stuff. I do remember that a friend in Lincolnshire with a small nursery used to buy pallet loads of bags , obviously cost led.
My rhubarb crowns are putting on a good show but I will not pull any stalks this year, they need to get established first. I was toying with the idea of buying a potted crown and planting it in the greenhouse, with the idea of getting an earlier crop without forcing.
Has anyone tried that out, I also wondered about having some in a large pot so that I could move it into the greenhouse in January.
I will have to find room for shallots next year, I can see that my lawn will become a curving path eventually.
I must not forget to look for some French Tarragon, it is not frost hardy but has a much better flavour and scent than the Russian one.

We still have not seen rain, although the morning brought a heavy mist that slowly crept down the mountain and engulfed the village for about 30 minutes. Then it began to lift, we had a few brief flashes of sun shine but all is grey now.
I am having a break with a cuppa and soon will be putting the kitchen to rights and I will be done for the day. The rest will happen tomorrow, then I will have to have a cooking for the freezer day.
  No pictures today, it is too grey outside. Nothing new on the crafting front, too busy in the garden ,Oh, I nearly forgot, my parsnips are up, I threatened them with the hoe yesterday and they were listening, 2 rows standing to attention with hardly a miss. Now to sort out some parsley, every time I turn round I realise there is a gap in my planting.

                  TTFN                                               Pam

Thursday 23 April 2015

Wednesday 22 April 2015

D. Day, We Have A Winner

It was a glorious morning and the weather report said it would be quite warm, a few of us put our heads together and made plans. Two of us, Jill and I, have not been to Porthcawl so it was decided that was to be our destination. It was brilliant, bright sun, wide open beaches, rocky bits with rock pools, sand dunes, grass and lots of level walking. We each packed a small picnic, with the idea of sharing, and enjoyed this sitting with our backs to a wall, gazing over the sea. My it was warm, I was happy that I had popped a bottle of lemonade in my cool bag.

This was the most populated part of the beach, we trotted this far to try the ice cream, ab fab, I had peanut butter overload with some honeycomb LUSH.

There was a brave windsurfer, he was quite acrobatic, with an attendant who just could not keep up with him.

These little cuties came over to say "hello, and could we have a lick of your ice cream, please" Their person allowed them to have the tip of a cornet with the merest dab of ice cream.

And now to the important bit.

I went to see Mr Muscle, he has been absent for a while, a nasty accident left him with a sliced open hand. But he still agreed to do the honours, he  had just had a new dressing applied so was having a little lie down to recover.

A quick rustle around, and..........

Jenny Larking, Come On Down. If you drop me an email with your snail mail address I will get it posted off.

Thank you one and all for taking part, unfortunately there can be only one winner.

I enjoyed my day out and if the weather holds fine will have another tomorrow, I am up to date with seed setting and pricking out until Monday probably. The weather should turn on Friday so it will be the dreaded housework.
Now I am off to make a brew and sort out some Pork Escallops for dinner, I will have 2 with some salad, I am ravenous, all that sea air and the walking.

           TTFN                                                                     Pam 

Tuesday 21 April 2015

I'm Late, I'm Late, For a Very Important Date.

My abject apologies, this post should have gone out last night but.............. I had a pressing engagement with Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom and a really bad Dragon. Yes indeed it was the final part of The Hobbit Trilogy, Sigh.... It is over. 
But I now have the complete works and in the winter can look forward to a whole week of crafting to Tolkien's works, and I then have the books to read, again, although they are getting a bit dog eared now.

Anywho, the whole point of this is a TAH DAH moment, the giveaway quilt is completed and ready to be posted off to the winner.

I have to say that at 72" by 76" this was a bit of a beast to hold while sewing but I still enjoyed the whole process. I will be a bit sad to say goodbye but I am already planning the next one.

My garden has some highs and lows so far, one high is that I now have more cucumber plants than you can shake a stick at.
A low, so far, is that my Rocket potatoes are more of a Damp Squib

Can you see that poor little cluster of leaves, this is one of many that were planted TWO days later than these Sharpes Express.

As you can see they are almost over the tops of their buckets and will have a little more compost today to bring the level about 2" from the brim. The Purple Sprouting Broccoli just in front are also growing nicely. My Duke of York white earlies are looking just as good and the Arran Pilot are also romping away. Today I am going to move the Rocket to another part of the garden to see if that helps. 

My tubs of tulips are still giving me a lovely display and the little strip going up to the greenhouse is filling out also.

Last year this was a sea of nettles and couch grass wound through a pile of discarded rubbish, next year, I hope, there will be no bare soil visible.

My little bright eyed bunny has company, isn't she cute. She was nestled into a pot of primroses, that need putting into the garden now, that was a gift from a neighbour. I may have to find something else to pop in there, just for fun.

Now I have just realised that my tea is cold so the kettle has to be charged, yeuk I detest cold tea, it has to be almost boiling for me.

Don't forget I will be putting all the names into something vaguely hattish tomorrow and you have to be in it to win it, come on you followers, if you don't want it for yourself you can always donate to a charity.

                       TTFN                                             Pam

Sunday 19 April 2015

Quilt Heaven Today

The weather was perfect today, bright hot sun and a brisk breeze. I pulled all my summer bedding out and put through a short wash to freshen it up. All my quilts are now dried, aired and put away,well all except this one, I will take it up later.

I think that this is my favourite, lots of bright colours, mostly from Bonnie & Camille for Moda. Log Cabin, my way, no dark side, just brights and white.

The giveaway quilt has the binding sewn to the front.

I am now halfway round hand sewing it to the back.

Last night I was late coming in from the garden so whipped up a fridge bottom pizza, in fact I made 3, the extra is in the fridge and will make either a fast lunch or dinner tomorrow. Very tasty and soooo economical.

There is no peace for the wicked they say and Ben has just told me in no uncertain terms that he NEEDS a walk, RIGHT NOW.

I hope that you all had as good a weekend as I have. Until next time, It will be the big 500.

     TTFN                                                                        Pam.