Tag Archives: vegetables

Bonfire night and veggies

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What a wonderful time of the year. I have totally refreshed my enthusiasm for Halloween and bonfire night by having such a beautiful daughter to share it with and such a happy little family unit. I feel totally and utterly blessed at how lucky I am at the moment. We had a super night on Friday. Here in England, the 5th of November is bonfire night. I really must refresh my memory about the gunpowder, treason and plot story of guy fawkes behind it all. Add that one to the to-do list! I have just the person to ask, luckily…. My dad! He is my historical encyclopedia! We’ve never really kept b up past her bedtime before, so our firework display night was very exciting! She’s normally tucked up in bed just after seven and well on her way to dreamland shortly after. Well…. We got back in at gone 9pm and the little monkey was so tired but still managed to ask for a hot chocolate as we carried her out of the car! Of course I obliged! She snuggled up with it and her favourite story and drifted soundly off to sleep. We’ve had some bedtime traumas just lately…. Lots of tears and not wanting mummy to leave. It’s been very upsetting. Thank goodness though, I think it’s over! We’ve had lots of different visitors staying just lately and I think it has been a reaction to that.

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Here’s my happy little family! We are going to just do sparklers in the garden tomorrow night and then have a family bonfire to go to at a friends house next weekend. I love bonfire night!

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There was the added bonus of a fire engine at the display! Little b was so happy about this! She even got to sit inside! I was worrying about the bangers frightening her, but I had no need to worry at all! She just enjoyed shouting ‘bang’ along side them!

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More autumnal loveliness came her way by way of her first pomegranate experience! It certainly passed a nice half hour of time!

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She enjoyed poking it very much. We got on much better in the end with a sweetcorn skewer instead of a cocktail stick though.

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She soon learned what ‘bitter’ meant after biting the yellow pith!

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It’s a wonderful time for home produce again….

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Little b is a massive fan of her daddys sweetcorn, and today, m has brought in our first batch of carrots! I’m happy to say that they are of a lovely size too! They are roasting away at the minute for our Sunday roast with our homegrown beets and squashes.

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Fantastic! What an array of colours, lovingly sewn by m and now waiting to be devoured in their honey and balsamic glaze! Yum! Xxxxxxxw

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Graves and leaves

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There was a beautiful sunset here the other night, I only caught the last few moments, but it was glorious.

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Here is our local church from my bedroom window, right at the peak of our ancient hill. The house to the back of it is aunty s’s. There is something so magical about this church. It is really, really ancient and has an eerily electric feel that whips around in the wind up there. I keep meaning to look into its positioning because I am absolutely convinced it must be on a lay line if I have spelled that accurately? I know many ancient churches were built on these mystical, geographic lines and there is something so strong in the energy up there. It’s graveyard is the most beautiful I have been in. In a completely none-morbid way, I like graveyards. They are so peaceful and so steeped in history. I’ve taken b up to our church and graveyard many, many times. The graves are from the middle ages to the end of the 20th century. It’s full now, shame really as I would love to fertilise the earth up there.

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This grave that b is placed by is said to be that of will scarlet, robin hoods pal. Maid Marion is said to have been born in our village, I’m not sure how true either tale is, but it’s a nice thing to consider.

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The view from this peaceful place is wonderful….

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And far reaching.

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And although it doesn’t look much, this bench is my favourite spot. It feels like your batteries are being charged on this bench as the air almost crackles with energy. I get the same feeling at aunty s’s house. I think they are on the same lay line. The bells were ringing earlier this week for two and a half hours.

It was a very blustery day, I put b’s jacket on when I got her up and we walked up to the church to see why they were ringing. It was deafening standing right outside. Little b loved it! The bell ringers were presenting the surrounding area with this immense display to celebrate the 40th birthday of 4 of the bells. I can’t imagine how tired they would be after doing that for 2 and a half hours. It was super. I passed on our enjoyment to the warden, but other than me and one lady tending to a grave, no one else was there. Other things then….

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These felt squares are the focus of my attention at the moment.

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I have had the idea of turning them in to Autumn leaves and

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Stitching on some embellishment and then dangling them from fishing wire in our living room.

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I have to share my love of small pleasures with you and capture that cosy, excited moment when the sewing machine is switched on and the light comes on!!!! I really, really love Autumn and want to represent this new season to little b in so many ways so hopefully, when I can live in some normality, rather than this

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I can share my Autumn crafts which I have planned and buzzing around my very dusty brain! Before I go, I have to show you my butternut squash plants once again. It’s like something from the little shop of horrors!!!! They are taking over!!!!

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Now climbing up b’s elderflower tree….

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Reached the top of my lilac tree and….

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Working rapidly up the Forsythia. Well…. Better go and lend a hand downstairs where the mess is taking over, like the butternut squash!!! Goodnight xxxxxxx

Elderberry juice and traditions

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So, September is here!! I can’t believe it. August seems to have passed me by. I’ve been busy in the kitchen more than usual this week, blanching runner beans to freeze as we just can’t keep up with them, and preparing berries. I showed you my elderberry produce last time you visited and since then I have even more. After washing them and painstakingly taking the red berries only off of the stalks (the stalks are apparently toxic, so steer well clear of those) they need to be boiled and simmered. Thankfully, my lovely mum told me a tip about removing the berries with a fork for the second lot and I whizzed through them much faster. You just use the fork as though you are combing hair.

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Boil them up…..

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And simmer for a good 20 minutes.

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Now get your masher and squish all the berries down. Once you’ve squished as many as possible, strain and collect the juice. I then added one clove and about 4 tbsp of honey. By the way, I used one and a half cups of berries and to every half a cup, use a cup of water.

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And you get a lovely, pink liquid.

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A jar for our house, and a jar for my parents. Now why oh why have I made this, as it is certainly an acquired taste!! One, which m is still yet to acquire!!!! Well, there are certain things (that’s the scientific term!) in elderberries that prevent nasty viruses from implanting in to our bodily cells and so it is a preventative measure to keep nasty bugs out of our bodies. These marvelous little berries are also stacked with vitamin c, and with m about to return to work following the summer break to his school, I want to safeguard us all! The jar for my parents is instead of the flu vaccine. Not that they’ve needed any persuasion as to refusing it. All of us are not in favour of certain mass vaccines and the flu jab seems a frighteningly pointless ingestion of unnecessary chemicals in our humble opinion. Rant over!!! My mum has always instilled into me that ‘prevention is better than a cure’ and I totally believe in this. Hence my Echinacea plant I have been tending to, but the root needs to get bigger with that yet. So next stop for hedgerow remedies will be rosehips which apparently, one rosehip contains more vitamin c than 4 oranges! These need to be gathered after the first frost though, or no later than October 31st.

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I’ve also dried a batch of berries so that I can make more anti bug potion later. A very simple preserving process where you just spread them out on a low heat (100 degrees c will be fine) and keep your eye on them until they start to wrinkle up like a current!

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Other things then…. Look at these lovely windmills! Bought for little b by loving grandparents and I think I am as excited about them as b is. I love them!!!! I have found a cute little crochet pattern in a star shape, so when I finish aunty s’s present I will make each windmill a colourful star to sit on.

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It’s been a super day for home grown goodies….

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And m has patiently tied up the onions to dry out a little. Some are on the small side, but we’ll probably end up pickling those ones.

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And I have started a new tradition in the house…. My memory jar…. Funny, happy, loving, life changing memories only allowed in this gleeful jar, written on paper with the date, then on new years eve, over a nice tipple of something yummy, we will empty the jar and look back on the year.

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I’ve also made b a weather clock…. So far it seems to be centred on the windy tree picture most days, not that we mind though, because we love it here on windy hill. Xxxxxxx

Flowers, flowers…

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What a beautiful rose and I didn’t pick it!!! I have found it in a lovely vase from the rose fairy! It seems that m has a soft side! My roses are hidden at the moment behind our gigantic butternut squash plants. Neither m or I realised that they needed to climb until I spotted tendrils on them. After a little web exploration I discovered that indeed, they need to climb! M strung up some wiring and….

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Hey Presto!!!! They have grown magnificently!  So much so, that they will soon compete with my elderflower tree!

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We’re hoping for a good crop so that we can have plenty of these….

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Yum!! Here’s a nice little snack for you….

Half the squash, don’t worry about the seeds, you can scoop those out much easier when the flesh is all squishy after it’s cooked.
Score the flesh and grate some garlic over the top. Add black pepper and a little salt. Now lay it on its back on a baking tray and add an inch of water around it in the tray. Put in the oven on 180 degrees for about 40 mins…  I then grate some cheese on top and pop under the grill.  Serve with buttered toast, scoop out and spread on! Delicious!

I’ve been pottering around in the garden today and I took a picture of these orange flowers that I love!!!! They last for ages in a vase and are so cheerful, but I don’t know what they are called so please, if you know then do tell!!

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B is head over heels with ladybird love again….

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This little beauty arrived from granny and granddads recent excursion to the seaside!   It is sitting pretty next to my now fading Echinacea…

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There’s something really satisfying about seeing flowers that you have planted providing yummy pollen for the bees, butterflies and insects.  Especially as I heard on the local radio the other day that our lovely honey bees are starving to death at the moment.  Apparently, pollen can only be collected after the Sun has warmed it.  Our lack of sunshine this year has had such huge implications on the poor things. I feel very happy to see them on my flowers.  I think one day, m and I may look into bee keeping, but until then, I will keep planting flowers!!

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These flowers were in a mixed hanging basket pack that I came across.  M started them off in the green house and they are fabulous now. The bees love them. I have no idea what they are though!

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They are nice for Rosie to watch over!  Poor Rosie…. She has had a lot to deal with lately so we must look after her. She did live quite happily for many years on m’s parents boat with her lifetime pal Jim. http://RosieandJim.tv
But poor, poor Jim suffered an injury at the hands of some incredibly curious patterdale terriers and now has no nose! Until his reconstruction is complete…. Which may be some time….. Rosie has been rehomed!  She is currently under the cover of our veranda on the swing, keeping her eye on things!

Today, I took little b with me to deliver some leaflets advertising music lessons. I met a lovely lady in her front garden who insisted on us taking some of her beautiful lavender with us. Wasn’t that so nice of her.  I really love the people who live on our hill. There are some lovely people

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And they look and smell delicious in my porch with my lovely tatting cloth.

Well, today is mostly about flowers and veg, but next time, I have a lovely crochet project for you!

Lots of love xxxxxx

Veggies and farms

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Crikey, we’ve had such a busy, busy time here up on windy hill. Little b enjoyed very much playing with this tractor at a local fun park. She absolutely is fascinated with tractors. Next door to us is a small farm. We walk further up the hill every Wednesday to visit aunty s and uncle b with our £1 coin and come back with a dozen eggs. Sometimes they are duck eggs since the sorry demise of 5 of her chucks to the hungry vixen.

one of aunty s’ three boys is a farmer and it’s wonderful to hear the tractor finally bringing in the hay from the meadow. I never really thought much about the saying ‘make hay whilst the sun shines’ until witnessing the battle he has had with the weather in trying to bring it in. He nearly lost the crop, and a hefty part of his livelihood. But it all turned out ok in the end. B waves to our friendly farmer in the tractor and shouts beepbeep at the top of her lungs. She sits on the mini tractor seat, visits the ducks and geese and runs around having a merry time while we are there. The view from the farm is stunning. 360 degrees of horizons to take in. It feels like you are on the top of the world! I am so grateful to having aunty s’ farm next to us, waking up and seeing her geese that are three decades old and hearing them hooting and clucking. Hearing the church bells from the medieval church up the hill and the wind in my old ash tree. I haven’t always woken to these sounds, quite the opposite and it is that previous experience that makes my gratitude to our windy hill house all the sweeter. Our previous garden was small but we cared for it. It was sunny and we made a tiny veg patch and tried to ignore the random goings on in the alley way that ran alongside it! Now, we are totally private as we are surrounded by farm land and meadows, plus, being higher up is a huge advantage. I really must take some pictures of the views we have here. We can see two other counties besides our own. We can see all the way to Leicestershire and Lincolnshire. Recently, more and more wind turbines are decorating our horizons, much to b’s delight as she squeals ‘mill’ with excitement when she sees them.
So I have already shown you the b garden and its happy outlook but here is our other section which we call ‘tinks garden’ as really, it’s only her that uses it currently.

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We do have plans for it, but It will be some time before we can do them.  At the far end, m has made me a sectioned off ‘fruit garden’.  He has bought me apple and plum trees, I have filled it with strawberries and my parents donated raspberry canes and a rhubarb plant. It’s coming on great but I’m afraid the wind battered the young, fragile blossom on the trees this year and they are bearing no fruit.

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This was taken at the beginning of the summer. Everything is much bigger now and also full of weeds!!!! What a year for weeds, it’s been horrific. I gave up in the end with my hoe!

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This is our wooded area with a natural pond. I believe it is the reason we get so many amazing birds and creatures here but it’s dangers need to be contained now little b is in explorer mode!

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Our greenhouse is starting to bear gifts and is bursting with promise

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Mark has planted several types of tomatoes this year and b is loving eating them straight from the plant. We’re still waiting for our ….

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Black cherry tomatoes to ripen with anticipation and our ….

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Tigerellas and plum tomatoes…

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Our little chillie and pepper plants are beginning to prosper

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And courgettes are looking so pretty with their huge flowers

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Our raised beds are full of weeds!!! It’s terrible, but amongst them, our rocket, giant mustard red and salad bowl lettuce seem to be coping with their presence!

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As are our beetroots

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Broccoli

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And beans

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Our onions are not doing great. In fact, we have never had a successful crop of red onions. Our whites are ok-ish but the reds are failing miserably.

I had intentions of showing my next project and indeed, m’s wonderful invention tonight, but I am afraid I have been Whittering on far too long and I want to catch the men’s 100 meter final. Yes little b, if you are reading this in years to come it is the Olympics and yesterday was sensational watching Jessica Ennis and our wonderful team g.b make us all so proud.

I shall explain our projects tomorrow xxxxxxx