Friday, 30 September 2011

Last Day of September

Today is the last day of September and the temperature is soaring high at 28C...... but feels hotter after having such cold weather.  28C is about as hot as we could ever expect in the height of summer here in North Yorkshire.  We have cloudless blue skies..... glorious... but too hot for me.  But it is all set to change again on Sunday (if we are to believe the weather forecasters).

My poor battered ten foot sunflower is still standing after all the storms, now set against an amazing blue sky ......

and as you can see the seeds are developing beautifully.

The fennel looks stunning in the late afternoon sun....

... and there are still some gailadia and verbena flowering....

a spider spins her web..........

and I collect the last (somewhat weedy) courgette.........

...... but the gargoyle still looks grumpy. 

Perhaps the weather is far too hot for him too.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

At Last!

well, at last I have a date for my gallstone operation....... two weeks today!   I've been waiting for 19 weeks.  seems such a long time when you are on a restricted diet of mainly beetroot, green beans, courgettes, cucumber and humous LOL

will keep you updated.... but for now I have a bit of jumping around with excitement to do ;-)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Goings on in the village

Just a quick update on goings on in the village.  I'm refering to our pub :-)

The rendering is all off the south side nearest to the Tescos and the new sewage pipes have their trench dug.

The old archway is now all exposed and ready to have all the in-fill removed.

The foundations are all in for the new and probably impressive bay window (the cause of all the road narrowing and road closures).

There doesn't seem to be much left of the old, original, pub but I'm sure it will look old when it is finished.  I discovered today that the pub has been in a state of restoration/repair for well over 10 years, so I'm sure everyone in the village will look forward to it looking less like an eye-sore.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Cherry and blossom

I’m well blessed today.  Look what I found in my breakfast strawberries!  

Who would have thought some pretty blossom would greet me today.

And before I could finish off my strawberries and yogurt I heard someone cutting down a tree.  So I rushed off to investigate (like you do).  It is so sad that the cherry tree had to come down as it wasn’t diseased…. just in the wrong place!  But I couldn’t do anything about it so I begged two lovely pieces from the trunk as seats, and some smaller branches for my whittling. 

The trunks have beautiful ring patterns and will look lovely as a 'stool' and a small 'table' by my seat next spring.

I have half a dozen branches now waiting for me which I need to keep 'green' :-)

Now……. what shall I whittle today?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Village

I took a walk into the village today to get shopping.  I don’t normally walk when I have so much shopping to do but the village is impassable at the moment, and to get to the shops at the north end of the village I would have to drive south into the next village, then on to the roundabout and join the bypass, then drive a further mile or two along the bypass, and join the village at the north end.  The local ‘Lord of The Manor’ is restoring one of the terrible rundown pubs in the village to its former glory with a bay window!!!  So for 6 weeks our village is closed!!!  It doesn’t matter that the pub has looked derelict for at least 10 years……. now is the time to disrupt the whole community and cause chaos to the independent retailers.  The jeweller’s is closed until October… not sure if that is because of the road-works or for some other reason. 

Anyway I thought I would show you what my walk was like today.

Here is the first notice to say road is closed

The trees are decidedly autumninal

The road to the west is closed as you can see..... so no detour there with the car... and the two roads running east are also closed with access only with police waiting to give motorists an on-the-spot fine :-(

Cars and trucks still think they can get through somehow so ignore the signs

But as they get nearer they can see that barricades block the whole road

Here is a view of the pub and road closure from the north end of the village

But despite the chaos, the day ended beautifully with this wonderful sunset ...........

So I suppose we will manage and get used to the disruption.  Well there are far worse things happening in this world than the road closures in a small village in Yorkshire :-)


ps...... I'll post pictures of the pub when it is 'restored to it's former glory'

Just blogging

Gosh!  I’m really getting into this blogging thing.  I spend up to an hour a day searching and reading other people’s blogs ~ at first it was to get a feel for blogging ~ but now I can’t stop coz I am so ‘hooked’.  I’ve found some amazing blogs and bloggers.  Crafty people; gardening people; family people; and just plain talented people!  You can see for yourself what I mean by clicking on one of the bloggers in ‘My Blog List’ on the right-hand side of my page.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Self sufficient? I think not!

Weather has been pretty grim for September.  First it was the tail end of Hurricane Katrina which battered all the plants in my garden and then the storms arrived with rain and cold temperatures…. and more winds. 

The ducks even thought about having a dip in the bird bath but decided it was too turbulent!

Having said that, we have had some gaps in the clouds and a little sunshine peeking through from time to time.

I have a tiny greenhouse of about 5’ tall by 2’6” wide which I put in to use this year.  Most of the produce has been harvested or died off while I was away on holiday.  Everything I’ve grown has had to be in pots as I have a very small garden full of stones, and underneath there is builder's rubble so I have no energy to dig it over to make it suitable for growing veggies (maybe I'll get a 'man' in next year lol).  I do grow herbs in large pots and they have been very successful again this year.

So am I happy with my first year of greenhouse growing? 

I’ve raised cucumbers and tomatoes.  The cucumbers were a good crop of dwarf fruits but the tomatoes were very poor, with very few fruits at all.  Perhaps I didn’t feed them enough. 

The seeds planted have given me butternut squash plants ~ but as yet no fruits (probably planted them too late);
beetroots ~ lots of lovely medium sized ones;

courgettes ~ beautiful dark green skins with creamy insides (delicious);

8 lemon ‘trees’ (a big surprise as I didn’t think any of the 10 lemon pips would germinate);
and cabbages ~ all eaten by caterpillars!  (I need netting for next year!).

Unsuccessful seed-plantings were:- coriander, basil, chives, spinach, cucumber (all died before maturity), cherry stones, blueberry seeds, apple pips.  I still live in hopes for the fruit pips and seeds, and I’ll give them a bit longer before giving up on them.  The rest of the ‘failures’ are relegated to the compost heap which I started this summer.  It is very surprising how many kitchen peelings and scraps can be saved from the dustbin and landfill… and next year I should have some compost of my own to use on my garden.

Most people would say that I had a bad year… but I say that I had a good year… I learned a lot…. mainly that plants do not grow successfully by themselves … there is a right time and a wrong time to plant…. and that there are more things wanting to eat my produce other than ME!!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Hetty Tump!!

At last the wind has subsided and the clouds have deserted the skies above. my poor sunflower is in tatters, with no petals left and only raggy leaves to show on a ten foot tall beauty. it was fortunate that I returned from my travels on Sunday night as the winds were whipping up a storm so I tied her up to every stable structure in the garden. I battled with the elements as the rain and wind lashed around me. it was worth the effort.... she survived. but then anything that grows to a height of ten feet deserves to survive.... doesn't it?

my travels? this time to glorious Gloucestershire.
the first day I saw the delights of Slimbridge Wetlands, and the fabulous birds and of course the famed Peter Scott's house.

North Nibley Monument was next, on Sunday, I was met with a strange site as I approached the monument .... 100 white plastic chairs!! after viewing the monument and then a subsequent walk around the area I came back to the answer to the riddle of the chairs. a procession by locals to a picnic by the monument... a celebration of their victory in buying the land around for future generations to enjoy... hopefully forever. power to the people!

Monday I climbed Cam Peak and Longdown. the views were spectacular although the wind nearly blew me away!

Tuesday was a visit to a dear lady in Torquay and a welcome rest from all that walking :-)

Wednesday was the highlight of the trip and a visit to Hetty Pegler's Tump, a longbarrow dating from around 4000 years ago. the tomb consists of a main chamber with two sub-chambers to the south side (the north side chambers collapsed in the early 19th century when the stone was robbed for building materials). I'm claustrophobic so managing to go inside the longbarrow was amazing for me, especially as it was dark inside and I only had my flash on my camera for light lol (should have taken a torch!). the longbarrow is named after the wife of a local 17th century landowner.

next was Nymphsfield Viewpoint and the longbarrow. the Nymphsfield longbarrow has, in the past, collapsed and now has no top to it... so not anywhere near as impressive as Hetty Peglar's Tump... but interesting all the same.

then on to Uley Bury hill fort which was approached through the woods. once at the top it boasted lovely views.

apparently it was a settlement from about 300BC to 100AD. on the way back I found some beautiful and succulent elderberries so picked half a carrier-bag full and made them into Elderberry Vodka (recipe in 'Foraged Fruits Recipes').

Thursday was coastal day at Brean with a picnic on the sanduned beach watching up to 20 model airplane enthusiasts fly their beloved models.

a visit to Somerset's Brean Down and Fort was after lunch. what a climb!! but worth it for the view.
the fort is interesting but deserted since WWII I believe.

then back down to Brean and a lovely sunset on the incoming tide.

Friday was a visit to Crook Peak in the Mendip Hills. I'd seen it so many times when travelling on the M5 motorway down to Devon that I felt it was time to get up close and personal. I wasn't disappointed! although it looks grassy and lush from below it is very craggy when at the top.

interestingly enough I spotted at least ten different kinds of fungi on my way to the summit.

next on to Cheddar Gorge. well, what can I say about the Cheddar Gorge? spectacular just doesn't describe it well enough. I was in awe of the power of nature.

Saturday I was back to Hetty Peglar's Tump with a large torch! now I could see the longbarrow inside in all it's glory. amazing!

then on to Selsley Common to stretch my legs :-)

Sunday I headed for home with a detour to the Rollright Stones, a spectacular stone circle called The Kings Men, a cluster of taller stones known as The Whispering Knights, and a lone standing stone called The King, all within about 100 yards of each other. worth a visit, with parking in a layby and a farm shop and cafe about a mile away to enjoy morning coffee or lunch.

hope you enjoyed reading my blog. and well done for anyone who got this far!!!

with blessings,

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Elderberry Vodka

I made some Elderberry Vodka yesterday after making it for the first time last year. it was so lovely that I have made 5 litre Kilner jars of it this time!!! this should make around 3 litres of drink. I am meeting up with a lot of friends in May when I go off in my campervan so will take a couple of litres along with me.

here is my recipe

1 pound of elderberries
1 bottle of vodka
half a pound of sugar

take all the berries off the stalks as the stalks are very bitter
wash berries
place in a kilner jar
add sugar and vodka to jar
fasten the lid down

place in a dark cupboard
shake once a week for a couple of months
strain and bottle in clean glass bottles
try to leave it for 2 years before drinking.... although I found it very palitable as soon as it was strained and bottled lol

tastes like port wine :-)


well it has taken me over 2 hours to get to this stage and STILL I'm not happy with my page LOL.  never mind... tomorrow is another day :-)

haven't a clue!

I've never done a blog before so bear with me please while I find my way around :-)
yesterday I spent the whole day foraging for hedgerow fruits to make into drinks and jams and actually washing and preparing them.  collected elderberries, rowan berries, sloes, wild plums, hawthorn berries and crab apples.  we now have 8 kilner jars with fruits steeping in vodka...... hic!!!  and a couple of pounds of fruit in the freezer to make more.  today it is raining so not venturing out for more just yet.... hopefully it will be fine tomorrow and I can forage in a different area for more :-)   I've been away on holiday so I think I've missed all the blackberries.  the fruit is all early this year compared to the last few years when I've been out foraging.  last year my most successful concoction was elderberry vodka..... it was like a lovely port wine so taking advantage of the lovely elderberry crop this year and hopefully have some ready for the Yule celebrations.