Friday, 24 August 2018

Some fruit trees and a puppy picture

Hello All
Thank you for your thoughts on how I might sell our excess produce. I am still unsure what to do. I was excited when I heard that the local council has an open market produce day at the end of next month, but the stalls are £35 !!
Anyway there is still time to decide. In the meantime I will try to improve our roadside signs and carry on processing what I can. This is taking up a huge amount of time, but it would be criminal to let anything go to waste.
The fruit trees are exceptional this year.
 Here is one of our twelve apple trees, a Bramley

 And one of our two Victoria Plums (with a couple of Marjorie seedling plums hanging down in front of me like a pair of clackers - remember them?)
 One of our ten Damsons
 Our Leon Millet grape

The Medlar

And most exciting of all, for the first time...Peaches! (Red Haven)
Hope this doesn't sound like gloating, I'm just so pleased!
Extra busy weekend as twenty or so folks descend on us, most camping or caravaning with just a couple or so on the house. Copious amounts of baking etc done before hand , much by my youngest daughter and her daughter, so that we can all enjoy ourselves. This is easy peasy after the big party we had in July with well over a hundred and thirty odd tents!
I still haven't taken a picture of the new family dogs to put on the blog, perhaps I will remember to do so this weekend.
Here is one photo I DO have. This is Hattie. This was taken two months ago when she was sixteen weeks old. She is my eldest granddaughter's dog (company for her yellow Lab, Coda) Hattie, who  has a delightful personality,  is a Bernese Mountain dog and is going to be HUGE.
It is getting late so will close for now and hope you in the UK are keeping as warm as possible on this cold Bank Holiday!
Love Gillx

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Where to Boot or Farmers market?

Hello All
I'm looking at those fruit/veggies that I have a glut of and want to ensure there is no wastage.
In a few weeks I will have huge quantities of damsons, apples, plums, beetroot, blackberries and spinach and other sundry stuff.  I will be making copious amounts of wine and preserves, but there is only so much jam a family can eat ( not so sure that is true of the wine!) So I am planning on having a go at selling our excess. The door sales aren't anywhere near as popular as they used to be, possibly because of the road getting much busier and people not wanting to stop in such traffic. I have bought some new jam jars so that stuff is up to scratch. Second hand , i.e re-purposed, jars will do US nicely,  but I am told that I can't use these to sell.
So, okay then, where to sell? I am told that Farmers markets are good and interested in such produce and there is one in Belper, which is only 4 miles away. There is also a large Car Boot at Tansley, near Matlock which is approx. 8 miles away and has a greater footfall.
I will also have honey and wax to sell and am planning on using up some of my huge fabric stash for tote bags and veggie bags. ( as I am typing this I keep thinking of other things I could take along)
What do you think then?
I would love to hear your views
For now

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Courgette and cheese bake and green beans with tomatoes recipes

Hello All
The gardens are giving generously now and it is time to think creatively about what to do with the courgette glut. The abundance of tomatoes and green beans are never seen as a challenge though. Here are two tried and trusted (by me) recipes that you might like to try.

Courgette and Cheese slice  - as a base I use
2 large courgettes, grated - I used yellow and green
one onion, chopped
a little oil
3 eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, crushed
a cup of tasty cheese. grated
salt and pepper
parsley chopped
 You could add some grated root veg if you want. I added a large potato (grated) too last time and went really well.
Grease a tray and set oven for 170
Grate the courgette and put into a sieve to drain off the water.
While draining, saute the onion and garlic in the oil.
Squeeze the courgette in a cloth to get out as much fluid as possible.
Tip courgette (and any other grated veg you might have) in with the onions and fry gently for about 5 mins. Add the rest of the ingredients and tip into your tray.
Cook for about 25 mins until set.
Eat hot or cold. Good with salad, or as a packed lunch, or with jacket potatoes, or with the next recipe.

Green beans with tomato
1lb french beans cut into similar lengths 2 to 3 inches suits us.
1 chopped onion
3 crushed cloves garlic
2 tbs oil
2 tbs vinegar (whatever suits you)
1 tbs honey or sugar
1 and a half pounds of fresh tomatoes, skinned and chopped. or a tin of chopped tomatoes.
chopped basil.
Salt and pepper
Place beans in a saucepan of boiling water, cook for 5 mins and then drain and steep into cold water, drain and put aside.
Saute the onion and garlic in the oil for 5 mins.
add the sugar/honey and caramelise for a couple of mins.
Add the vinegar, tomatoes, seasoning and chopped basil and cook for a further 5 mins.
Add the beans.
This is best eaten when warmed through.
This freezes very well or can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days until needed.
I served this up with some new potatoes and the courgette bake for a tasty veggie meal, all from our garden.

I was cutting out a dress pattern yesterday and was reminded of the days we saved the tissue paper cut away for loo paper. Anyone else remember doing that?! We also saved the paper that was wrapped around bars of soap to draw on. It sounds like those days might be coming back when we don't waste anything. Not a bad thing.
All for now.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Events, dogs and plastic

Hello All
I realise that it has been over two months since my last post. I have rather lost my blogging mojo and goodness the time flies nowadays! Much has happened and I have been really busy. However, onwards eh?
This glorious (too hot.. give us rome rain!) weather has meant that I have spent many waking hours in the gardens and next to none in the house. The blossom has been exceptional this year hasn't it? The trees are now groaning with smaller than usual fruit  The bees have been busy for the last four months  Yesterday while I was hanging out the washing the smell of honey coming from the hives in the garden was very strong. It looks as though it is going to be another good honey year.
 The vegetable patches are now producing well, what a great feeling that is. I have tried to fill every available space with something useful.
I have quite a few events taking up my time, which I am actively involved in setting up/ running/ hosting etc and I didn't quite know how I was going to really fit them in. I guess it is time I learnt to say "No" more often. The most significant (i.e I am heavily involved) are -  our Civic Society meeting, the AGM of a Hydro project, co-hosting (and cooking for) a yearly meet of a Book Plate Society at my friend's mansion, our yearly family and friends Festival (30+ tents 200 people) and a couple of heritage exhibitions. I usually have a few fishing trips to Cornwall thrown in, but David is not well enough to go. These events have now passed successfully I'm relieved to say and I am now  girding my loins for some more happenings and of course the honey and garden harvests that will now roll out over the next couple of months.
 We have new dogs added to the family pack! In the header picture is, from the left,Sammie, Coda and Jed. Unfortunately Jed passed away last Autumn, aged 14. He was a gentle soul. Now that his mum, my eldest daughter, has moved jobs, house and county and they are finally settled  they have rescued a lab/springer cross called Bailey. He is such a livewire, I guess it is the springer in him. Coda now has a new sister called Hattie. She is a Bernese Mountain pup, quite delightful and already huge! Finally, my grandson and his partner now have a Shiba-inu (no neither have I!).called Freja (the J is pronounced Y) Our dear Sammie, my youngest daughter's rescue is still with us at 15 an a half. So it is fun and games when they are all here on Sundays for tea. I will try to get some photos this weekend, maybe it is time for a new header.
I went to "Belper Goes Green" last month. It is a two day/ three evening event. It was very interesting, though I was surprised not to see The Green Party represented and little made of the drive to reduce our use of plastics.
Talking of plastics, when we were coming home from Cornwall at the beginning of May we called in at our favourite services at  Gloucester. There was a pretty impressive display of plastic-free items for sale. However the prices were extortionate ( e.g.£24.00 for a wooden brush for cleaning your computer!!) and I'm not sure everyone is understanding the principle. One woman picked up a couple of wooden with bristle sink brushes declaring that she would throw her plastic ones away when she got home. I was all set to ask her if there was still some life left in her plastic ones or could they at least be repurposed when my mind reader of a husband steered me away! (incidentally I bought a couple of wooden and bristle sink brushes from B&M for less than £2 each)
In common with many I am working in reducing plastic use. The throw-away/use once bags/containers have  bothered me for some time, if only for the cost but mostly because of the earth's finite resources. Now seeing the impact on our oceans and rivers (Hail ! Saint David Attenborough) I have decided to be even more active in reducing my use of these items. I stopped using plastic shopping bags several years ago, but am now ramping up my fabric recycling with bags for fruit and veg. Guess what everyone will be getting for Christmas this year?!
While this doesn't really cover a couple of months in my life it sort of brings us up to date and gets me back into the swing of things.
Won't be so long next time
Love Gillx

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Friday, 27 April 2018

Can you identify these old (antique) pans?

Hi People.
Anyone any idea what these pans were used for ?  They are for sale in an antique shop in a town near to us and neither the owner, nor my friend who is a collector of antiques are sure what they were used for. My Cornish friend who is up for the weekend suggests perhaps they were used to make clotted cream. I have no idea, but think they are rather lovely.

Back to normal (for me!) stuff  in my next post.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Egg glut, veggie plants, fabric stash and more

Hello It's me again!!
I'm rubbish at this regular/frequent blogging thing aren't I ?
Thank you so much for your comments on my last post, which I have finally replied to if you want to jump back to them. I was going to write something last week as there has been so much going on, but ended up reading other's blogs instead! Easily done isn't it?!

We were in Cornwall sea fishing last week. While David was fishing and my friend was away skiing I "did" the charity shops ( bought books and jeans) and nurseries. The vegetable plants were pretty gruesome and quite expensive at the nurseries and garden centre, so I didn't bother. However, when I called in Tesco for a pork pie (jealous Cro?) for our journey home they had some really strong reasonably priced beetroot and broad bean plants, which I bought to get ahead of the game as the late spring means that we have been unable to get anything in the water sodden gardens.
David did quite well fishing and bought home six pollack and two ling, which, when processed yielded 12lb of fillets. The bones, head etc I bought home as usual and cooked up for the chickens.
The chickens are now laying well, but a week ago Severn Trent closed our road to do repairs which meant we lost our customers and passing trade. So.....
I have started processing the glut. So far I have made mayonnaise, pavlovas, omelettes and dippy eggs and quiche. I have bought some lemons and unsalted butter and intend making lemon curd. Any more ideas? I'm struggling to get waterglass, to preserve eggs,  from a chemist so I guess I'll have to buy online, but am struggling to understand the measures they give. The picture above is of the kitchen surface next to the back door.The leg rings are for 8 hens we rescued last week so that we can keep an eye on how they are doing. The jars are for stick money, egg money and honey money. The diary is for me to record my egg numbers, sales and events such as hatchings plantings etc. (just in case you wondered)
Look at this creature !

At first we thought it was a large leech and then we wondered if it was the New Zealand Flatworm that lives on our lovely and important earthworms ( nasty little blighter) when an half an empty worm was excreted from its nether end this was confirmed. We are now on flatworm watch!
Talking of plants, which I was a couple of paragraphs ago, the greenhouses are bursting with plants ready to go out or be potted on. As mentioned above I do buy some plants,especially those we don't need lots of. Below is my bargain buy of red cabbage plants. The 10 cell tray, for £1.99 yeilded 28 plants, which is good value, but more plants than I need so I will give some away.
I realise this post is even more rambling and random than is usual. So I might as well soldier on with a couple more pictures taken recently.
I might have mentioned that I am intent on using up my stash of materials, which is huge and not for the faint hearted. I have decided that when I use some material for something I will not put any back but use it all up in some way or another.|This has mostly meant cutting out patchwork pieces for another project.
In this picture, from 12.o'clock we have a log cabin quilt I am making for a male friend, using up shirts and blouses, in the margarine tub are hexagons tacked and ready to go, in front pinned to (Christmas) card ready for tacking, at 6 o'clock is net curtaining, muslin and pillow cases for vegetable and produce bags to take to the supermarket to put veggies in instead of plastic bags, at 8 o'clock is all the scraps I can do nothing with which will be used for stuffing and back to the top again are very small squares for a scrappy quilt. Blimey that was a bit of a marathon explanation, thanks for sticking with me!.
I reckon that this has gone on long enough, so will finish with a couple of pictures of our new cat, Baloo
Firstly sleeping with previous arch enemy Sammy and then him keeping warm on my laptop.

Back soon with some eco-warrior stuff.
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