Monday 29 September 2014

Three pies


"Why do we grow pumpkins if we do nothing with then?" asks D.
Actually WE don't grow them our grandchildren do and they love to see the big yellow balls growing and growing. I do put pumpkin into soups, last week half a Pumpkin went into the tomato soup and nobody knew, as it was willy whizzed into the pulp. I also roast the plumpest seeds for a snack, so we do eat some pumpkin  He was getting a touch narky because he had banged his head on the mobile that is three pumpkins in nets hanging in the end garage
. "Why don't we have pumpkin pie?" he says.
 I'm pretty sure we don't like pumpkin pie as I made it MANY years ago and I'm sure nobody ate it. However tastes change, so I determined to make one for Sunday's pud. The family were round for tea ..Roast lamb (don't ask) I had picked up a few brambly windfalls too. So I made two pies so that we had a choice of puds.
Crikey! life really is too short to spend, I don't know how long, getting the pumpkin puree right! However I persevered and in the oven it went with the apple pie.
 A couple of hours before tea our eldest daughter and husband with their daughter arrived with a bag full of veg. YGD's homework was to make a Woolton pie. They are studying WWII and she is really interested in the subject. I thought it was something she fancied doing, but it really was homework for the whole class! (I really can't imagine ALL the children doing it) Anyway, off she set with her recipe and copious amounts of veg were peeled and chopped. "Good grief" I said. "Is this for one pie for a street party?" She kept doggedly to the recipe and a huge saucepan of vegetables were bubbling away on the stove with the Marmite and oats.
She then made the pastry which went together well. Meanwhile her dad was taking pictures for her schoolwork. After the pie was made there was a huge quantity of chopped cooked veggies left, which will make a soup and a cheese and veg pie with some left over cheese sauce from our main meal.
The pie went in the oven  at 180 which was an educated guess on my part as there was no temp give in the recipe (just "moderate")
 After our roast (delicious) it was time for ...THE PIES.
 Everybody had to try the Woolton pie first and it was very good.
Then came the the pumpkin pie......mmm... NOT a success ! D. valiantly ate his "It's okay, but I wouldn't want it often" and the rest of us had one spoonful and went onto the apple pie.
The apple pie was eaten before I could take a photo of it , but here are the other two..
I think the Woolton Pie might make an appearance another day, the apple pie definitely will  and the Pumpkin pie.........?I think not!

Back soon

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Potatoes and Tomatoes

Hello fellow Frugellers
  Firstly a warm welcome to Julee on the follower bar and Sue Aimee and Jane on Blog Lovin

 Disclaimer .... If you don't grow potatoes or tomatoes you will probably find this post boring

  I finally managed to get all the potatoes up today. we don't grow a vast amount, just a few pink fir apples and a few maincrop. This year I grew from my own seed, which is not really a good idea, but I found twenty little Sarpo Miras  potatoes in a bag under the stairs and thought "Why not?" So in they went next to a few pink fir apples. If you read an earlier post you will know that the PFAs got blight, but the SM looked to be free, as per the claims.
  Here are the SM earlier this summer

  And here is the blight-affected PFA with the SM next to them a little later.

 And here is the first SM plant being lifted on Sunday.
 And being taken to the shed for drying before bagging (Adam is showing an interest)

  As you can see the crop is VERY good. I have weighed the potatoes from each plant. They have ranged from 3 kilos to 7.50 kilos. The total crop was 102 kilos from 20 plants - an average of 5 kilos a plant. I planted the seed in two rows approx 5.5 feet apart with 18 inches between each seed.
As is usual there are a few that have been speared with  the fork and a (very) few that have been slugged. I will proccess  these this week. As I have quite a bit f fish I can feel fishcakes on the way!

  You may remember that earlier this year I experimented with aspirin and willow water sprays on the tomatoes to deter blight. I can't tell you how successful this was as NONE of the tomatoes in this greenhouse have had blight, nor the smaller greenhouse in the front garden. Meanwhile the outside tomatoes are showing some signs. I will try again next year to assess with Aspirin and/or Willow water. Not very helpful  really.
 The tomato crop has also been good this year. After a week away there were lots to pick and sort through. Split ones to make puree/passata,  really rubbish ones for the chickens and good ones to eat and sell. Today my friend, who was here for the day, picked ten kilos from the big greenhouse.We never went near the small greenhouse, which has a slightly later crop of  Romas and Marmande. I'll do that tomorrow.
  In the next post I will tell you what did badly!

  Off to try to clean my nails out (yes I know I should wear gloves!) before I start the first of several baking sessions for the Civic Society events... thank heavens for freezers!

 Until next time

Saturday 20 September 2014

Back in blogland

Back from Cornwall
The weather was lovely. A little bit of mist that lifted to beautiful afternoons and evenings,
D. Was able to fish every day and we bought home a  travelling freezer full of fish. I had some pretty good CS finds - gardening clothes, a lovely boucle jacket and a pullover. My friend J, with whom we stay, had collected several bags of rubbish flour from the mill she volunteers at, for our chickens. Good hauls all round.

 We collected an animal trailer from a friends on the way back. We need this to take the sheep on their final journey on monday. As we keep so few animals nowadays we can't justify keeping an animal trailer, so sharing is the answer.

Tomorrow we will be picking and picking and gathering and collecting. Some stuff for eating, some for selling. The garden looks as though we have been away for a month not a week! A friend is coming to cut the family's hair (whoever turns up gets a haircut!) and then staying for tea. Then it's over to some friends for the evening and another weekend's gone.
 Just a quickie tonight as I am taxi for my daughters who are getting together at the nearest town with some friends.
Back soon

Saturday 13 September 2014


Just about to leave for Cornwall.

Over the week I lay things out on a spare bed when I come across them/ iron them etc. Yesterday I put the bag out to pack and look who packed herself !

Do you think we should take her with us? I shall certainly miss her while we are away.
many thanks for your comments yesterday.
In haste

Thursday 11 September 2014

Adam, Tomatoes and The Wall (and fishing again)

Hello All,
Thanks for your comments and good wishes for Adam
Here is a pic of his newly designed head
Looking nice and clean and dry now don't you think? the softy rested his head on my legs so that I could get this shot.
(whisper this) Is this a good time to remind you why we bought Adam as a cade lamb?

Moving swiftly on....The garden is still doing well and the tomatoes are exceptional. Here is a picture taken this week of the first part of the greenhouse. For September this is pretty remarkable for us.

As is often the case though our beans continue to be awful!

It has been really hot today and the Goathouse crew (that motley selection of orphans) were out half in the sun and half in the shade of some old redcurrant bushes. What a lovely group they are and so good natured.

These redcurrants are next to THE WALL. that D. is rebuilding after it was demolished by next doors' bull. Here it is. I think you will agree that is substantial and bull-proof. In fact in the case of a nuclear attack you could be pretty safe behind this wall. - or at least you will be when it is finished!
I have just looked back at this post so far and realised that I have posted pictures of a sheep's head, some tomato plants and a wall!  Good grief it's a wonder people bother to visit this blog when you think about it!

I have finally finished writing, printing and then posting ( with a HUGE amount of help from Nigel,) the yearly newsletter from our Civic Society. We post to 400 houses in the district to let people know what we are doing and what events are to be held in the future.  This Autumn/winter we are particularly busy with a Memories get-together for a local firm that closed in 1995,(October) A weekend Heritage Exhibition (early November) and  a Remembrance Evening (Mid November) There are pamphlets to be written, exhibits to be staged, walks to be organised and  histories of those fallen soldiers named on our little war memorial to be collated into booklet form....and copious amounts of cake to be made for each event!!
So no problem, as my mother said. "If you want something doing.. ask a busy woman"

On Saturday morning we set off for Cornwall for a WEEKS(!) fishing. not me you understand, D. will be fishing, while I help my friend, with whom we stay in Callington, with two handed jobs she saves for me, CS shopping and of course processing any fish D. catches. I am hoping to have couple of days completely to myself and will be taking the means to make a couple of Christmas presents I have in mind. Can't say what they are as the proposed recipients may be reading this.
As usual YD will be here holding the fort while we are away. If I can get the mice that power the treadmill that works my friends computer to do some work I shall blog from Cornwall.

Bye for now Gillx

PS. I have just remembered the new hens we have "rescued" Will tell you next time.

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Of harvest and lost horns

 hello Dear Frugellers                                                                                                                                                                    Before I ramble on with some random stuff I must say Hello to Pat on the Follower bar and Michelle, Kimberly and Aimee on Blog lovin. Glad to have you on board.

I also need to apologise to Beth as I gave her blog address wrong, So here it is again. Pop on over to see her great Hob Nobs recipe. She can be found at  "ten tiny toes and a button nose.blogspot" (thanks Helen for your help with this)
                                                                                                                                                                 It's been quite a few days again since I posted, but I am sure that many of you are like me with buckets of stuff coming from the garden to be processed. We can't move in the kitchen for buckets of apples, tomatoes, courgettes, beans and sweet corn. On Gardener's World the other night Monty Don was saying that harvest were 2 to 3 weeks early this year. The next day I went out to check my mid-seasons apples and... he's right! I picked several buckets of apples and even some of the Bramley's were ready.  I usually pick the Jonogolds (which are laden this year) in October/early November. I shall have to keep my eye on them. They are a good keeper and give us apples into February/March.

 We still haven't had time to jar all the honey and will need to put a day a side to get this done. I am pleased with how it is selling, something we haven't been too successful at before. Most of our sales have been to people who have asthma and believe that local untreated honey will help them. This year we have kept the honey from each hive in separate buckets as we have extracted it. Each of our hives is numbered, which helps us to keep accurate records. As we have jarred from each bucket we have put the number of the hive on the jar label. Our honey customers have this pointed out to them when they buy a jar and we have taken to saying "This honey is from Hive No. ... Would you like to view that hive?" Not one person has said No and have been excited and happy to look at the hives!

 When I was picking apples the other day I looked through the orchard fence into the field and saw something bright red moving about..On closer inspection I realised that it was Adam the sheep covered in blood!. I scrambled down from the ladders and ran into the field. Poor Adam had lost most of one of his horns. It was shorn off about an inch from his head and blood was allover his face and chest. it had obviously happened some time before as the bleeding had stopped.We cleaned him up and set about drying the wound. the biggest problem was the flies, who saw an opportunity to lay eggs in an attractive place and were bothering him. We have been seeing to him several times a day and it is all completely dried up now and looking clean and tidy. We still haven't found his horn though!

D. has been spending much of each day re-building the dry stone wall between ourselves and next door. Dry stone is not exactly accurate as he is using quite a bit of concrete too. The main reason for this is that the wall was breached some while back by the neighbours' bull, who fancied the fresh grass clippings on the compost heap. Even the best of stone walls get be pushed over by a determined bull. So D. is talking no chances and firming up the wall as he re-builds

I have just realised that it is gone midnight and I'm tapping away here as though I don't have to be up tomorrow.
So I will return tomorrow and tell you about our new chickens and what else has been going on here in deepest Derbyshire
Good Night All
Gill x