Friday, 30 August 2013

A Day of .... All Safely Gathered In ....

Hello there ... just a quickie tonight ...
today's doings ... 
'gathering it all safely in' ..
 and what a lot there is of it ... 
veg coming at is from all directions ...

Hubby P decided to pick the plums ... not quite ripe yet but the wasps were having a go at them ... such a lot of wasps this year.

Our first crop of plums .. I planted the tree just last year so I am pleased with these.

Yet more courgettes ... and look at this monster that had managed to hide away under the leaves ... its just about a marrow.

So that's Marrow and Ginger jam then.

 Hubby P was just joking earlier ... suggesting that jam was the one thing in which I couldn't hide courgettes ... it reminded me of the Marrow and Ginger jam ... very nice as I remember.

Oh ... and whilst we are in the fridge ... I got one of these huge tubs of mustard from Approved Foods (for pennies ) ... anyone else get one ...
What does one do with a kg of mustard? 
I made honey mustard sauce (packet of white sauce Approved Foods 10p and added honey and mustard... very nice) ...
to go with ...
Yes ... tonight's ...BEANS!

 Yes folks .... they are still coming thick and fast.

Hubby P feels he is beginning to look like a bean ... its healthy I tell him ... the green tinge to the skin .. most appealing!

 And we have peppers ... very hot peppers ... 
gifted from a friend .... how many we will eat I don't know ...
 a little goes a long way ...
 but they look pretty hung in the kitchen  ....and they will dry and keep.

We had to work this afternoon sourcing stock and whatnot ... 
and look what we found at the side of the road.

 Lovely Damsons ... we gathered a large bag full... all free and frugal and all that.

They now look like this ... yummy Damson Jam ... all ready for the colder mornings when we eat it greedily ... spread thick on our morning toast.
We always had Damson jam when I was a child ... I think everyone I knew did .... perhaps it was the cheapest ... Strawberry jam was for special occasions (on your scones) .... or the 'posh' people.

Decided I will never be a 'posh' person ... and anyway I like Damson jam ... and it reminds me of 'Home' ... home being that warm loving childhood home.
So what reminds you of home ? ... is it just me with the Damson jam thing?

Bye for now x

Friday, 23 August 2013

This Years First Blackberries and .. Lieutenant R H Burkhart ...

Hello there ....
are you looking forward to a nice weekend ... I do believe the sun is going to shine.

 We had a little wander up the lane today and picked a few blackberries. Not many ready yet ... but they are on their way ... lots on the brambles.

 Hubby P in his 'Hunter Gatherer' mode ... he reached up into the tree to provide me with a few apples to put with the blackberries ... I shall jam these few we picked today.

I picked a few sprays of some rather lovely rose hips too ... they were dangling over the hedge and so far into the road I'm sure it would be no time before a car knocked them back ... or a horse and rider got tangled in them ....

 I thought they would look nice in one of my jugs ...brings quite an autumnal feel to the house.

A couple of finds this week I thought you may like ...

This huge .. huge table cloth .. a pretty pink ...
(its a bit crumpled ... its just out of the washing machine) 

 Someone has lovingly embellished the printed cotton with pretty hand embroidery ... a lovely thing.

And how about this ....
This is an American Officers uniform jacket ...

It belonged to Lieutenant R H Burkhart ...
Cincinatti 1943
(this information is in the jacket)

It is rather moth eaten and has had its original buttons replaced ... I found a 5 cent coin (1940) in the pocket and a small comb.

Now this jacket was found packed away in a house/attic belonging to a little old man in Wales ... now where is the story in this? ... is there a romantic element presumably there would have been a lady of the house at one time ... is there a touch of GI love? ... was it a gift? ... was it mealy lost ... and found?

And who was R H Burkhart?... die he get back Cincinatti
(where is Cincinatti exactly?... Ohio....I'm just guessing)

Life is so full of stories ... I like to think it has seen happy times.

That's all for now folks ... take care x

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Beans .. Buttons and Bunting ...

Hello there ...
Yes I know .... more beans...

 ... but hey ! 
...this is my life folks
 ... more bean picking and slicing today I'm afraid.

I tell myself .. 'I will really appreciate these little bags of frozen beans .. a taste of the summer .. in the long cold winter' ... 
I hope I am right.

On a more exciting note ... Buttons !

Of course I have jars of the lovely things at home...

 And I use them for all sorts of things ... from replacing Hubby P's buttons on his trousers... to attach his braces (an ongoing job I'm afraid) ... to embellishing pretty cushions and the like.

 Some I just keep ... well its more a case of not being able to let go ... I just love their colours and shape and even the cards they displayed on .. well ... you know what I mean.

So ..yes .. I like buttons .... I sell them on the stall ... lots of them.
Large ones .. small ones ... 
mixed bags of buttons like Grannies tin
 ... buttons for knitted baby cardigans
 ... fun ones
 ... plain boring ones for your work trousers 
... and of course
.. exciting pretty Vintage ones. 

So ... last weekend ... trading as usual ... nice people ...having a chat over the buttons....
One nice lady brings over a huge handful of buttons picked out of the Vintage Button Case ...we get chatting...

She only happens to be one of the wardrobe people/costume makers for Downton Abbey .... ! 
My buttons are destined for Downton Abbey ...
 fame by association or what!
Can I claim to be famous cause of my buttons?

 So back to the everyday .... making bunting.

 I've been selling quite a bit of bunting the last few weeks so I needed to make a few more lots/strings of.
I must say it does get a bit mundane ... triangles and triangles ... still its nice playing with the colours and fabrics.

This Fireman Sam fabric is quite cute ... lets hope someone else fancies it as bunting.

That's all for now ... take care x

Saturday, 17 August 2013

A Sleepy ... Wintry Sort Of Day ...

Hello there ....
hope you have all had a nice weekend.

 Its been rather wintry here today ... dull and ever so windy with lashings of rain ...
quite a change from the sunshine we were so getting use to.

Mind you it gave me an excuse  to have a day doing ... well .... not a lot really.
The wind and rain stopped play/we can't stand the car boot sale when its raining ... 
So I had a day indoors ... and didn't do a lot ... to be honest I dozed in the chair ... and very nice it was too.

I had a wander around the garden this afternoon ... I felt I had to have some fresh air.
These believe it or not are the 'sticks' I used to support the peas. They were dead looking trimmings from the Elder tree that I used to make a wigwam .... not only did they support the growing peas they sprouted themselves. I think most of the sticks/twigs had started rooting but I just kept the two most vigorous and planted them up .. so I have two baby Elder trees. They are Cut Leaf Elder trees ... they grow in the hedge and provide the most wonderful elderflowers and berries. 

I so love this colour ... the flowers on my Cardoon.

Hubby P pulled the onions ... not a great crop .. but we will not let them go to waste.

 Some things just love this weather ... my Bears Breeches look just fabulous.

 And we still have the zing of the Marigolds to brighten up the beds.

 Plums are doing well but showing no sign of ripening .... I can't remember what they were called .. it was just a cheapo tree from the market ... its taken to where we planted it (we had out doubts ... it looked a bit sad and weedy)... and its growing great guns.

The Rowen tree (Mountain Ash) reminds me of my childhood home ... up on the Lancashire moors conditions are harsh .. winters long and the Rowen was one of the few trees that grew well and gave us fruits for jellies.
It was one of the first trees I planted in the garden ... to remind me of home ..... today it looked like it could be right up there .. on a Lancashire hillside... as the wind tore through its branches and its fruit glistened all the more in the lashing rain. 

Take care 
 Bye for now xx

Monday, 12 August 2013

Mmmmmm Apple Jelly .....

Hello there ... enjoying your summer?
...I must say I am loving this nice weather ... just the thing to set a Girl up for the winter months ahead.

Now apples ...

How are yours doing? .... we seem to be having a lot drop off the tree .... mind you we do have an awful lot on the tree ... maybe its a natural thing ... leaving space and nutrients for the more choice apples to grow big and rosy.

Anyhow ... Hubby P picks them all up and brings them into the kitchen ... I had a heap of them ... not brilliant fruit ... but waste not want not.
A jar or two of Apple Mint Jelly will be most welcome come the colder months ... nice with a bit of cheese. 

So I chopped them up kinda roughly ... disposed of the really bad bits.... put them in a pan with a cupful of nice fresh water and cooked them to a pulp. I put the pulp into a jelly bag and let it hang for a few hours ... doing its thing.

 Added sugar to the extracted juice ( 1 lb of  bog standard granulated sugar to a pint of juice)... and boiled it up.
I picked a nice handful of fresh mint from the garden .... I put a couple of stems in with the jelly (and removed them shortly before the jelly began to set)... I finely chopped the leaves of the mint.

Just as the jelly had reached setting point I mixed in the finely chopped mint ... I poured it into hot sterilised jars and screwed on the lids.
Lovely ... a taste of summer come the long cold months. 

Hubby P.... keen as ever to do his bit in the Waste Not Want Not .... Make Do and Mend campaign ... was charged with picking the runner beans ...

Brave soldier that he is ... can you see he has a poorly hand ... a casualty of seeking out .. and carrying off ... unusual and interesting things from far off .. far flung places. 
He came home with various exciting (heavy) objects and his hand tied in a blood soaked rag .... he tells me its all worth it ...

 Lots and lots of fresh ... good for you ... beans ..

 I slice them up .... blanch them and freeze them ... and some for tea ... of course.

So how is your garden growing ... there seems to be lots of fruit on the trees ... it means we can put plenty by for the winter months ...
Lots of yummy pies and crumbles ... can't be a bad thing. 

Just thought I would share with you my latest find ... do you like my old hip bath ... how lovely... old and battered is this!
The bottom is very corroded and holey ... but great as a planter. I think I may line it with plastic and make it into a small bog garden and grow some pretty cowslips and flag iris ... something to plan for next year.

Take care ... bye for now xx

Thursday, 1 August 2013

When A Girls Afraid To Go Near The Courgette Plants ...!

Well hello....
Bit cooler today .. but a more manageable 'working day' heat.
Worked this morning and had a couple of hours catching up with the garden this afternoon ... and what catching up ....
everything had grown like crazy..

 Hubby P decided to dig up the potatoes .. the tops had started to die back.
I was there in my official capacity of adviser/consultant .....
and fetcher of bucket etc.

 This was the first year we had grown potatoes in the tin bathtubs ... it seems to have been a good idea ... we have two bucketfuls of potatoes from a bathtub and a water tank ... don't you just love the technical weights and measures! 

And they tasted lovely ... of course we had some for tea!

Not to waste all that lovely growing space .... I put in some (rather lacy/nibbled ) kale plants ... hopefully they will pick up and give us some greens come the Autumn. 

 How quickly the year seems to be turning ... already the garden is full of plants with their blooms turning to seed heads ...

 Poppies are about to shed their nicely dried seed ... I collect some for sprinkling on bread and the like.

 Allium seed heads ... different varieties.

 This is the seed head of Sweet Ceciley ... wonderful colour amongst the green.

 After some time faffing about with the camera ... and bucketing spuds into the house  ... it was time ... i couldn't put it off any longer ....
time to visit the huge courgette plants and decide what on earth to do with mountains of courgettes.

 Today's haul .. lovely things ... but lots of them.
I looked in the fridge to see what I had lurking in the depths of the veg drawer ... dragged a load of oddments out ... and decided a pasta sauce would use up a few of the courgettes.

 I chopped up some onions... mushrooms ..bit of red pepper ... celery.... tomatoes..and the courgettes ... fried them up a bit in frylight ... added a bit of garlic and herbs.
Put the whole lot in a bigger pan with some tomato puree and soya sauce .. bit of sugar too .. and let it simmer away for a couple of hours.

Till its rich and thick ... and tastes yummy...
 I sterilised some jars and ladled the hot sauce into them ... 
this should keep a good while... and beat the pants of your supermarket pasta sauce.

So ... what have you been up to ? ... anyone else having a glut of the dreaded courgettes ... how many is too many? Whats to be done with them?
Bye for now ... take care xx