Friday 29 April 2016

Liebster Awards times Three....

I have been nominated bu three bloggers so I am going to combine all three together 
Thank you to  

The idea of the Liebster Blog Awards is to discover new blogs and here's what you need to do to take part:
  • Ensure you thank the person who has nominated you and include links back to their blog, after all it's important you share their lovely blog too!
  • Include a photo/badge of the Liebster Blog Awards logo on your blog post to show you've taken part.
  • Answer the 10 questions asked by the blogger who has nominated you
  • Nominate 5 bloggers that you want to share with your followers and blog viewers
  • Create 10 new questions to ask your nominees - have some fun!
  • Ensure you make your nominees aware that they have been nominated so they know to answer their questions!
First up Louises questions 
1)   Do you prefer to send email or write letters?
email as its quicker although I love to get a letter 

2)   What is your favourite vegetable?
Depends on the season at the moment Asparagus 

3)   What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Monsters Inc I think it was so long ago 

4)   Do you subscribe to any magazines?
Not now I have enough magazines to open a shop 

5)   What is your favourite thing for breakfast?
At the moment it is weetabix but that could change 

6)   Do you like a particular era in history and if so why?
I love the 50's the fashion, music hairstyles and the dance

7)   What is your favourite season of the year?
I like them all my favourite is what ever season we are in 

8)   Do you wear a watch?
 No never only have one clock in the house working, I hate being ruled by time

9)   Photos on a disk or in an album?
Both disk keeps them safe but love going through albums with family 

10) Favourite holiday taken in the UK?
Oh there are so many, Lake District climbing and walking springs to mind
Now Emma's Questions 
1. What was your first pet and what was their name?
A white rat called Lucky, I used to take him to school in my shirt

2. If you could live a day in a different era of time, when would you choose?
The day the 2nd world war was ended such a great occasion of celebration

3. What would your ideal 3 course meal consist of?
Scallops for starter, Lobster for main, chocolate pudding, 

4. What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?
Yeah my sisters arrives today 

5. If you were given £1 million what would you spend it on?
I would pay off our mortgage, buy Martin his boat, get all new stock fencing, Have animal shelters built and perhaps a few more log cabins, A bore hole for water, and the latest in solar wind power.
6. What makes you smile the most?
Waking up on the green side of the grass each day

7. What holiday destination would you most like to visit?
Canada I would love to go to 

8. Chocolate bar or packet of crisps?
Both depending on what mood I am in

9. If you could meet any famous person (present or passed away) who would it be?
John Seymour would love to have a chat with him 

10. What are your top 3 favourite animals? 
My dog, The Alpacas and My tortoise 
Now for Frugal In Essex 
1) What is your favourite biscuit?
Digestives I do like a nice plain digestive 
2) What is your favourite cheese?
Dont eat cheese  

3) What is your favourite perfume?
Poison in the purple bottle 
4) Who is your favourite TV chat show host?
I dont watch chat shows  I dont know any 

5) What car do you drive?
Range Rover I think thats what it is, I know its black
6) What is your favourite TV soap?
 The only one I watch is Casualty

7) Who is your favourite book author?
There are two many, at the moment its Helen Forrester
8)  How do you prefer your eggs?
Cooked dont like them raw 
9) Do you still have siblings?
Yes two sisters although one has gone AWOL so only one  

10) Do you keep a diary? 
My blog is my diary  
Right that is everyones questions answered I am going to nominate 

I know I picked six 

The questions are

1. What is your favourite cartoon character ?
2. Walking or Cycling ?
3. Prefered method of preserving food ?
4. What is your favourite bread ?
5. Your favourite cookery book ?
6. Your favourite tool ?
7. Rain or Wind ?
8. Favourite Herb ?
9. What time do you go to bed ? 
10. Seaside or Countryside ?
Reminder of what to do
here's what you need to do to take part:
  • Ensure you thank the person who has nominated you and include links back to their blog, after all it's important you share their lovely blog too!
  • Include a photo/badge of the Liebster Blog Awards logo on your blog post to show you've taken part.
  • Answer the 10 questions asked by the blogger who has nominated you
  • Nominate 5 bloggers that you want to share with your followers and blog viewers
  • Create 10 new questions to ask your nominees - have some fun!
  • Ensure you make your nominees aware that they have been nominated so they know to answer their questions!

Thank you once again bloggers for the nominations :-)

Wednesday 27 April 2016

One Sleep To Go

Yeah only one more sleep to go 
Tomorrow my big sister is coming for a visit
I haven't seen her for almost two years, 
they popped up for a visit just after we moved in 
I think they will see a lot of changes.
I am looking forward to catching up.

 The white stuff is interfering with my plans
 It throws it down then the sun comes out and it all vanishes
I am glad I delayed getting things planted out.
 Although with the weather putting a kibosh on outside jobs
It means I spend time in my cabin crafting.

Remember that rope
well I have started a project with it
 Yes I am making door mats, this one is nearly finished,
I will put details on my craft blog of how I am doing it.
 I have also been making new table mats not with the rope,
they need pressing yet.
So a lot of time spent crafting and housework
catching up on lots of little inside jobs  all those mundane things.
At least it get them out of the way.
Oh there is something else but I cant lift it out of the car by myself so I cant show you, 
It will wait for another post :-) 

Monday 25 April 2016

Eco Friendly Grass Cutting

The past few days Martin has been trying out Eco friendly labour saving grass cutting
 Moving barriers around the garden
 The Alpacas have been doing there bit
 They do a good job of grass cutting,
Its a shame we cant just let them roam the garden
but they would eat my plants 
Martin has been using the barriers to keep them off the plants.
Looking out the kitchen window it was lovely seeing the Alpacas in the garden.
 Not so nice seeing all the weeds
 I spent yesterday weeding these areas, nearly all done now,
I will show an update when its finished.
I have a lot of plants to get in, I was held up waiting for the Lillie's to start popping up and the young perennials that were planted last year to start showing again, I have before mistakenly dug up plants still sleeping and speared the Lillie's.
This year I have waited.
Tonight's dinner
Vietnamese River Cobbler with
Red Lentil and Spinach Dahl.
recipe found HERE
I do love having fish, it was a very simple tasty meal.


Sunday 24 April 2016

It Started With A Shelf

For sometime I ave been thinking about a shelf in the kitchen,
Not just any shelf, a shelf to go above the Rayburn
Its a place that is nice and warm ideal for putting bread to rise
At last I decided what shelf I wanted and ordered one
 It was Martins first job of the day, and it was a sod to drill the wall as well, we do have plans to re-vamp all the kitchen, but not until we do extension work, there is no rush would much prefer to get everything established outside first.
 Shelf in place, you can see the screw holes up above it, I changed my mind about the position
 I hadn't considered the beam above the alcove
 Perfect place for the bread, now I wont keep shouting shut the door your letting all the heat out and I am trying to get dough to rise.
 Martin brought back lots of goodies, a cement mixer for him
 And crowd control barriers for me.
The cement mixer will be put to lots of use as we have a few jobs coming up that will need concrete, when we do the new Alpaca shelter it will have a concrete floor, as will Martins workshop.
In the meantime 
Its being used to mix the concrete to fill these holes,
The anchor points for the new Poly Tunnel.
50cm deep, anchor point goes in and its filled with concrete.

While Martin was doing all that I was digging
 There was lots and lots of worms very happy about that
Clearing all the weeds away
 That the goats were happy to dispose of, its great having the goats to feed the weeds to, saves having to dispose of them.
I finally got the new strawberry bed cleared and membrane down.
just need to get the strawberries in now.
then a mulch on top.

 We had a try of the violet jelly,
 There is no overpowering taste of violets just a hint, but a nice refreshing taste.
 We also taste tested the canned soup, leek and potato, two of the cans hadn't sealed so we had them for lunch, yes just normal leek and potato soup.

 Those crowd control barriers
 were put to use, we closed off and allowed the Alpacas in to part of the garden to take the grass down, they did a great job.
We will use them as a movable fence.

It was beautiful weather yesterday and today looks to be the same,
The forecasters go it wrong, no Arctic blast and no rain, we haven't had rain for almost two weeks apart from the odd little shower that stopped as soon as it started.  
Time to get and enjoy the sunshine, going to get some planting out done.

Friday 22 April 2016

Wild Violet Jelly

I did the Violet Jelly last night fairly easy to do.
 I will start from the beginning,
In case any of you want to have a  go

Pick 2 cups of wild violet flower heads.
 rinse under running cold water and pick out any stray vegetation,
you want just the heads so remove any stems.
Pour over 2 cups of boiling water stir and leave to steep for 24 hours.
Next day
Strain the flower heads and press out as much liquid as possible
 Into a saucepan add the liquid from the flower heads
add 1/4 cup of lemon juice, the liquid changes to lovely violet colour
 Add sachet of pectin and 2 cups of white sugar, you want to use white to get a nice clear jelly
bring to the boil stirring to dissolve the sugar and pectin,
bring to a rolling boil and continue until the jelly reduces and starts to thicken or like I did use a thermometer and bring to a jam setting temperature 220f 
 Have some jars sterilised ready, I did mine in the oven and lids i soak in boiling water, pour in the jelly and leave to cool.
Now a couple of recipes I read said to water bath for 10 mins, another couple didn't water bath, I water bathed mine.
 Here they are today all set and a stunning colour.
Give it a go its easy.

Thursday 21 April 2016

Doing the Can Can

Yes Big Berth was out of the cupboard today
Put on her dancing shoes and we can canned in the kitchen together.

Last night I made up a pot of leek and potato soup and thought I would can the soup rather than freezing it, as was going to have a canning session thought I would do a second batch of soup and can the lot in one go.
I picked a load of spinach from the poly tunnel
added some broccoli that was in the fridge, some onions, some fresh chives and used up the other batch of chicken stock
Once the soup was made I re-read the canning soup instructions
It is recommended when canning soup not to puree it before canning. Also not to add pasta or rice add them when re-heating, also don't add any dairy products.
I sterilised the jars in the oven and lids in boiling water
and got started.
 The instructions suggested straining the veg and dividing up between the jars
Then add the liquid, this way all jars are equal and you are not going to get some with lots of liquid and very little veg.
 I did the same with the Spinach and broccoli soup
I am using the tattler lids on the jars, they are plastic with a rubber seal and are reusable.
First layer of jars into the canner 
Then the rack and the next layer of jars.
lid went on canner brought to temperature 240deg and kept under a 10lb pressure for 60 mins

 6 jars of leek and potato soup
6 jars of Spinach and broccoli soup
To use pour out warm up puree if preferred and eat, storage is 3-5 years.
I like my soup pureed Martin likes his lumpy now we can have what we prefer.
It was easier than I thought so I think more canned soup is on the agenda.
Now I had an exciting delivery today 
100m of Sisal rope,
I have had this in mind for some time,
Its suppose to rain tomorrow so I may get a chance to try it out
more to be revealed later.
Off to do the Violet jelly now 
catch you later 


Wednesday 20 April 2016

Oh Violet ......

I have made a start on the wild Violet Jelly
Beautiful colour and they smell superb 
When out walking in the sunshine with Sol, I picked the required 2 cups of violet flower heads, 
Sol got a bit bored with picking and just lay down in the sun,
he had a good sniff at them and decided they were not worth eating.  
 after rinsing them and picking over to get rid of any stray vegetation, I then steeped them in 2 cups of boiling water they get left over night and I will continue with it tomorrow.

I took up some of the leeks from the poly tunnel.
 added some potatoes and smoked garlic along with some of the chicken stock that Martin made the other day.
Seasoning and mixed herbs and we have a pot of Leek and Potato soup.
It smells divine with the garlic.
I usually just portion the soup up and freeze it.
I am going to look at canning soup rather than taking up room in the freezer.
Speaking of the freezer there is still rather a lot of veg in there  from last years harvest.
I might just spend the week making up batches of various soups and can them all.
I have also been looking at the dried herbs again they need using up then I can start drying some of the new fresh herbs.
I was busy today getting some sewing orders done ready to get in the post tomorrow.
I don't feel like I have really done much today but the day has just flown by.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

My New Favouite

I love bread 
Bread of any kind
I have always like Tiger Loaf
I have tried various recipes in the past but they have not been up to the mark, until today
Taa daa 
 The recipe I tried today hit the mark
 Nice and crusty with a great taste.
This is one I have added to my recipe book and will do many many more times, its now my favorite.
This is the recipe Here
I started it last night and left it to prove over night
I think my yeast is coming to the end of its time although there is a few months left on the date, it seemed to be taking forever to rise.
Its been another glorious day here,
wall to wall sunshine, the only rain we have had in the past 9 days 
was during one night.
The day has been spent weeding moving more gravel and I gave the poly tunnel a good watering this evening.
All the animals have been relaxing in the sunshine
When I was out with Sol 
I spotted these 
pretty little wild violets
there was loads of them all along the bank.
I remembered Leigh over on 5 Acres blog mentioning Wild Violet Jelly, I have found a recipe Here 
So I am going to collect some flowers tomorrow and give it a go.