The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Friday, August 19, 2011

Start All Over Again...

I finally got to the end of the 8s yesterday. Hurrah! 40161 of them. I skipped through quite a lot near the end - not too concerned about adding them to the cardbox if they required a blank to ever actually be played.

I must say that the back end is stacked with Jewish and what I would guess are Afrikaans tongue twisters.

Back to the beginning again now. Scary how I am struggling with these - I am getting them but some are taking a lot longer than I would like.

Study plan now consists of
1) Clear cardbox
2) 500 7s
3) Clear cardbox
4) 500 8s
5) Clear cardbox
6) Do a 'set' of words - this can be anything. 4s, 5s, a particular suffix...
7) Clear cardbox

How long I will keep this up I don't know.

I have my BEST quarter final against Wale Fashina fixed for next Tuesday/Wednesday.

The garden has been largely ignored lately - but I don't feel too guilty as the weather has been pretty awful on the whole.

But I can knit socks while I am studying...

Which is just as well, as I seem to have accumulated quite a lot of sock yarns in a fairly short time...

Saturday, August 06, 2011

On The Menu Tonight

Forewarned is forearmed. The 24-hour plus expected rain has started. According to metcheck 40mm today and another 10mm tomorrow.

But yesterday was lovely, and we both sprang in to garden action.

Paul cut the lawns and the verges. Then took advantage of the continued warmth and sunshine to give both the dogs a bath. They are both moulting like crazy, so a good going over with the grooming gloves once they had dried off has given the lawn a fur coat.

I got rhubarb picking. 5 pounds cleaned, chopped, bagged and now in the freezer.

And then I could get to the nettles growing at the back of them. Piled them on to the stairs to nowhere rather than struggling to get them into the rubbish sacks in situ. And then I had to clear all the nettles growing in the stairs to nowhere to get to them. And cleared all the other weeds and crud that had accumulated on the stairs. They now look better than they have ever looked before, and will get a good wash down now. Finished off with weeding the middle raised planter.

This morning, after the dog walk, out to pick yet more alpine strawberries. As long as I keep picking them they keep producing more... I have given up weighing them, but I must be getting a couple of pounds every week. And that doesn't include the ones I pick and eat as I walk down the garden. Even Jen has her own small patch that she sticks her head in and delicately pulls the ripe ones off!

And then out the back to pick the veggies for tonight's stir fry. A mix of curly kale, pak choi, onions, mangetout, peas, mangetout that are now peas, and the first of the purple dwarf beans.

And a few more sticks of rhubarb to stew up. That is probably the last of the year.

And then I spotted these...

I thought I had a rogue tomato plant amongst my potatoes.

But no, they are potato fruits!

Careful examination showed a few more. Just on the Maris Piper's.

Investigation shows that
1) They are highly poisonous - potatoes (and therefore tomatoes) are members of the deadly nightshade family.
2) They are the only way new varieties of potatoes are created as they do not come true to seed.

I do also have a few baby tomatoes coming...

Just need to make sure I don't muddle the two up.

And then on to the fruit tree bed. Now that I have cleared a large number of the rogue potatoes growing there I can get to the cordon fruit trees again. Armed with scissors and garden string I started tying in the new growth of the leaders to their canes. I finished off in the rain...

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Fruits of my Labour

My jam pan has been earning its keep again.

Gerry and Jane came up for a few days just before Paul went to Toronto, and one evening we went out to pick the wild raspberries up the road. The next day I gave Jane a jam-making demonstration - and a small jar to keep her going for a few day's worth of toast.

I had another picking session a week or so later with Penny, and those are now in the freezer.

Won't get many more as the hedge cutters have now been along there now, severely limiting the canes to those actually in the hedge. Not a good year compared to the previous few, with me only getting about three pounds but at over £12 a kilo for "tame" ones in the shops I shouldn't complain.

Next came the rhubarb and apple chutney. Unfortunately bought cooking apples - but give it time. But my own rhubarb and onions.

A little improvisation from the recipe. Brown vinegar instead of white. And white sugar instead of brown. Should balance itself out :)

I added some ground ginger and cinnamon for flavour.

I forgot how long chutney takes compared to jam, with frequent stirring to stop it becoming a gungy mess on the bottom of the pan. There was an almost disaster when I forgot about it and accepted a scrabble match on ISC.

But it seemed to turn out okay. We will find out in about three months time when we get to taste it.

My rhubarb crowns have excelled this year - it is coming to the end of the season so I must get out there and pick a load for the freezer, if this rain ever stops.

And this year, for the first time, I have managed to pick the blackcurrants before the birds demolished them all. A couple of sessions, freezing the first lot whilst waiting for the rest to ripen. About a pound and a half - enough for my first attempt at blackcurrant jam. If I thought the raspberry set quickly this is the Usain Bolt of jam making, needing only a couple of minutes of rapid boiling.

Just over three pounds of fruity loveliness to join the two and half pounds of raspberry jam...

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