Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Normal service resumed ...

Firstly welcome to Viv Wild via here and Chrissie M. via Bloglovin.

We have returned from DS and DDiL's house, where we have been for 8 days, busy painting, cleaning, tidying, gardening etc, ready for their house to be valued this coming weekend. Getting up at 05:45 every morning and going to bed around 10pm rather than our usual 11pm took a little getting used to but we managed.

Being at home last night in bed, should have been great but when travelling, I never seem to sleep well that night. Hopefully tonight, I shall be well and truly zonked:)

One of the area's we decorated was the hallway skirting plus one door where the previous owner had inserted a cat/small dog flap. Getting this area prepared took nearly an hour on my knees, hence the kneeling pad.

The walls needed F-o- tape putting on them (you know the stuff I mean, not masking tape), the floor needed protecting, plus the big insert of a door mat:

Although the flap area seems dominant here, once painted, it blended in far more.
The kitchen and bathroom were decorated, lots of stuff put away into boxes ready for moving sometime soon. Wallpaper was stuck back onto the main bedroom wall where it have come away.
Part of the hallway had already been painted by DDiL's mum, but some areas's were just too tall for her so we had brought our large ladder to finish off the stairwell but ran out of time.

In the end, we taped off the end previously painted which was at a junction in the wall. We luckily found the correct shade of paint left behind by the previous owner. Once two coats had been applied, it all blended in. Though the hall is now in two slightly differing colours, as a whole, it looks okay.

The conservatory (which is their utility room) was getting sorted so that was cleaned as well - what an absolute pain high ceilings are in these things, poor DB was sent up the ladder to clean the internal roof:(

The previous day I had washed down the outside of it but unfortunately felt my back give way almost towards the end of washing, so for two days, I wasn't much use at all. Luckily I was very stiff and in discomfort rather than in agony.

DS had seeded one area of lawn where a shed had been standing, but the old veg plot was weed infested and needed digging over - that took us 7 days but with DS helping DB towards the end, it was done and seeded.

The raised wooden beds were painted and planted and several skip trips ensued to clear everything out.

The front fascia, doors, window sills, gutters etc were cleaned out and washed. DS climbed on their garage roof to push leading back in. All slabs both front and back were power washed. I had wanted to get the front bed weeded and planted to add 'kerbside' appeal but we just ran out of time.

All in all, a good weeks work. They are both going to try and continue sorting out and thinning out 'clutter' each evening when they return from work.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Working hard...

Sorry for the lack of posts and pictures but we are still around and working hard. We have been helping out DS and DDiL get ready for a house valuation. For 12 hours each day we are in charge of our three grand dogs - never realised how much they want to be around you, especially when trying to do things like gardening and sowing grass seeds. I reckon if we could have attached gardening tools to them, they would have been happy to help! We have now erected a small fence to keep them away from the lawn preparation and grass seeding area, don't want any seed related injuries.

Mind you, they are so well trained it isn't really a hardship to be around them. They have become quite good at interpreting our commands which are probably slightly different to their normal ones:) Also, they sleep a good part of the day as well which gives us time to do outside painting jobs where they need to be absent to avoid getting painted!

We get up around 5:45am with everyone, slowly wake up with a hot and strong cup of tea whilst they have a 40 minute walk. Once their mum and dad have gone to work, we begin working. Decorating, gardening, skip and shop runs are done each day. Actually it is probably a good practice run for any future grand children that might come along one day. Mum and dad return after a long working day (plus a long drive time there and back).

The dogs are fed and sorted out, we have time for a chat and maybe a bit of MarioCart racing, then we all retire around 10pm!

DS and DDiL are taking us out for a thank you meal at the weekend and also to celebrate our wedding anniversary early next week.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

New bread recipe

Welcome to Julie Attwood and Aino via Bloglovin.

My sister emailed the other day asking if I had a decent rye bread recipe. It isn't something I often bake and when I do, do so by jigging around a normal bread recipe. Off I went onto The Iowa Housewife site as I do trial quite a few of their recipes. I found this one here

I adapted it to this, the figures in brackets will be those I shall use another time to get two loaves:

540g Plain Flour - not bread flour (720g)
300g rye flour (400g)
1 tsp molasses (1 1/2 tsp)
60g butter (80g)
540ml water (720ml)
1 sachet of yeast - 7g (2 sachets 14g)
2 tsp salt (2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp caraway seeds - ground (1 1/2 tsp)

First I melted the butter and molasses in half the water, then topped it up with cold to get the right temperature.

The rest of the dry ingredients were mixed together then the water mixture added. I found I need to use another 50ml - 70ml of water to bring it all together. After being kneaded it was put into a greased bowl and left to rise.

I could see afterwards that it was not as much dough as I normally use for two tins so I cut 3/4 of it and formed into a ball which went into one bread tin. The other bit was rolled into 4 balls. Both were left to rise again.

Once risen, the bread tin went into a 220C oven for 34 minutes. Once out, I turned it down to 200C and baked the rolls for 20 minutes. I forgot to dab the tops of it all with water to give them nice shiny tops!
As you can see, it looks absolutely nothing like theirs but does taste nice and the crumb is good. Considering I only used half the yeast, texture wise, it isn't any different to our normal bread. I normally reduce the yeast down as I don't like to use too much. However, as you can see from the adapted amounts in bold, I would use two sachets due to the amount of rye flour.