Thursday 25 April 2013

Another stinky blending...

I've processed some more of the wild garlic leaves. First, I made some wild garlic butter using a total of 250g of butter (supposed to be non-salted but I forgot), 100g leaves and 10 good turns of a black pepper mill:
Once processed  (had to do it in two halves) and scraped out the mixer, it looked like this:
This mixture was once again divided between 2 ice cube trays, wrapped very well and put into the freezer. There was a small amount left over so it too got wrapped and frozen.

Processing 50g of leaves at a time, I also made up 3 sachets of leaves and froze those for later use. I have no idea if this will work but you have to experiment don't you?
I'm going to hunt around the internet for more recipes. I have already found one for wild garlic soup which I shall try sometime and report back on it.

Whilst looking, I came across this pdf file of information and recipes. You can find it to download  here

If you are foraging around for wild garlic, happy hunting. If you can't find any in your local area (or don't know where to find some) try searching on the internet for your area. Failing that, grow garlic chives. Whilst not as strong, they do a similar job.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

A stinky day!

Yesterday, we took Lynne's advice over at Textile Treasury Blog and went to get some wild garlic. On the way home (with one carrier bagful), we stopped off to buy some oil, cheese, nuts in order to make something with it all.

Once home, it was put into cold, salted water to wash it clean
then spun in the salad spinner before being weighed
I looked at lots of recipes on line for wild garlic and nut pesto then adjusted it to our tastes. In the end I settled for 50g of leaves, 20g of parmesan, 20g of walnuts, 10 turns of the salt and black pepper mills and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Can you spot the mistake - yep - filled it up then realised I had forgotten to put in the blades - doh!
Had to tip it out, put in the blades and refill. I whizzed it up, scraped it down and whizzed it again. A second batch was done then I did two more using mixed nuts. After 4 lots I had this much:
I had also bought 3 silicone trays in which to freeze ice cube size amounts and set about filling them up, one flavour at a time. The tray were double wrapped and put into a sealed bag whilst they froze. The other bowl was treble cling filmed and stored in the fridge overnight.

The remaining leaves were washed, spun, checked for nasties (found nettles, dog mercury and a few other things in with them), then the 5 sealed bags were put into the fridge to keep their crispness and colour
This morning, I removed the now frozen cubes and tipped them out - very easy with silicone trays
These were then put into one closed bag, then into a second one and put back into the freezer
After that, I then did the same with the second bowl. I tried some of the scrapings on a tomato sandwich for lunch - boy is it hot and garlicky!!!

Hope to use up some more tomorrow - might do wild garlic butter and freeze in the same way.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

St. George's Day and other things

Happy St. George's Day.

DB and I were out and about this morning, wearing our red roses. We didn't see one person, other than us, wearing them. Time was, on this day, that many of the older generation could be seen proudly wearing theirs, but not today. How sad!

On Sunday, we had to drop DS. off for dog training with both S. and M. (their dogs, not ours, they are our grand-dogs). We drove over to Crich and parked at the memorial to The Sherwood Foresters, that stands on a hill at the top of the quarry. You can find out about it here
Just the other side of the quarry is the Crich Tramway Village. You can also find out about it here We didn't have time to visit (going to the WWII day in August) so decided to take part of a marked walk that runs from the monument, around the quarry (and would carry on the other side of the museum and back again) for a total of 7 miles. We didn't have that long so walked for 45 minutes then turned around and came back.

Here are some views from the start of the walk and around the quarry.

As you come around one side of the quarry, the walk goes across the top tram stop. You can't cheat and enter for free as you'd have to walk on the line to get down! Two trams arrived and departed as we got there.

The red one connected to its power source by pantograph and the yellow by a pole. Aren't they just beautiful?

We got back to DS. and dogs in time to see them do their last bit of training. We then had to follow one of the women home as FDiL is going to do some photographs of them in a nearby bluebell wood (not in flower yet though).

After that, we returned to their house, ate some soup I had prepared earlier, then DB and I drove home.

Monday 22 April 2013


I seem to have lost a follower over the weekend - sorry to see you go!

Anyway, we were away last weekend visiting DS. and FDiL, who was only there for the night as she was shortly going back home to see the musical 'Hairspray" with her family.  We had left whilst she was travelling back so look forward to seeing her next time!

We had a very busy time, helping DS. shave 1" off the over-sized  skirting boards in their hall and lounge. The front and back gardens had their last few remaining shrubs taken out. They have now retrieved another 5' or so of garden space and when they have some spare time, will be able to start planning what to do with it.

The dogs as ever were a delight. Here are some photographs of S. and M. doing their stuff (retrieval in water practice).

They were lovely and clean after that.
It didn't last long though, as the area was bone dry, and they were soon the colour of the mud as they ran around in sheer happiness. Forgot to take a picture but you get the idea.

Sitting in our pile of post delivered no doubt on Saturday, was my lovely 'win' from Compostwoman.
If you click on the picture you should be able to read what I got. Inside the brown paper bag were a few 'soapnuts' something I have not used so shall have a go. Thank you Compostwoman, it was all lovely and useful.

I'll post a few more pictures tomorrow.

Friday 19 April 2013


I have updated the Walks II page with this weeks walk.

Quite a few areas in Norfolk are now receiving delivery of two new grey bins. A small one to be lined with a compostable bag to take all our food waste - say what - what food waste! Once full, said bag is then put into a large bin outside for the bin men to empty each week.

In our close, around 1/2 to 3/4 of people are putting them out either weekly or fortnightly, some are refusing and we are using them for something else.

Underneath the right side of my sink cupboard, is the area where I store washing up and machine washing liquids plus the ingredients needed to make them. However, I have not lined my indoor grey bin with the bag as they are exceedingly flimsy. All food 'waste' such as peelings are put into here and when full it goes out into our compost bin.
We are great tea drinkers here and save all our tea leaves for the blueberries into this can, which when full, gets emptied onto said soil.
What little food waste is left and which I can't/don't compost, such as meat fat, bones, citrus and onion do not go into flimsy bags. Nope, they are wrapped in half sheets of newspapers that I can pull off my little hand made dispenser (courtesy of DB) (a hook screwed into the side wall of cupboard)
Once wrapped, they go outside into the larger grey food bin for disposal. Even the newspapers are recycled as our walking companion E, brings them as and when needed.

So, newspapers from E, kindling from B and in exchange, I buy or make a sweet treat for our walking days. DB supplies the Tia Maria (another thank you gift from B for looking after her house and garden when she goes away!) and E. and B. supply the coffee.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Busy, busy, busy

I started off with a long list of things to do this week. Don't know why but there you go. Never worry if they don't all get done, that is the good thing about being retired - manana/manjana!

Anyhow, I did manage to make two bloomer loaves according to the recipe by Paul Hollywood. Not easy to cut with the slicer as they tend to widen during rising but we managed. Would however, need 2 sandwiches each as they are so long and slim!
Also 'cooked' a half batch of frugal laundry liquid (the red line is to remind DB not to throw them away)
Finally, I washed the second bedroom curtain, cut up the new king size black duvet cover (very cheap) and sewed a half onto each curtain to darken the room on these early sunny mornings. They have cut the extra light down by around 30-40% and are a lot better now.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

A nice surpise and a garden build

Our doorbell rang yesterday afternoon and it was B., paying us a quick visit with some thank you presents for helping her clean out her pond. We considered the job just a friendly thing to do and also feel better about taking the dilapidated shed for kindling. She obviously thought otherwise and gave me 2 Cowslips (I love them) and a small Dianthus. DB got 4 cans of Guinness!

The garden is now moving at quite a pace. Lots of hardy perennials are around 3" - 4" high, rose bushes and other wooded bushes and fruit are showing their leaves. We have finally finished emptying the compost bin, the other half full one was tossed into the empty one and 2 sacks of horse manure and seaweed chucked in for good measure. We shall continue to fill this one unti 3/4 full then close it off and begin on the empty one.

Elsewhere in the back garden, we have sorted out the drowned strawberry problem. I have for years used one of those 4/5 tier soft plastic cover greenhouses but last year the zip tore away. Not wanted to throw the whole thing we have utilized some of the shelves as a strawberry, tiered table.
The top trough has the original 'new' plants from last year which we are calling year 2. The two bottom tiers have the babies from those in them. Next year, the top one will move onto the black blocks and become year 3 and the bottom two will each move back one space and become year 2 (if you get my meaning). They were potted into a mixture of garden soil, bought in compost and home made compost. A small amount of pelleted blood, fish and bone were sprinkled onto the surface before it had light gravel put on. I'm hoping the gravel will not only reflect the sunlight up to the plants but also help with moisture retention.

You can see, other than the copper poles holding the back up, that we have used two shelves but 4 shelves worth of supports from the original greenhouse to build this. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it will work well as last year, these strawberries spent most of their summer under water. I'm really surprised they didn't rot!

Having invested in a thornless bramble plant (not at all cheap) which drowned and rotted last year, we have risked buying another and hope it will survive. If not, that is it, can't afford to keep buying them.
The gooseberries leaves are just unfurling and the blueberry plants are showing lots of flower buds. Some of the autumn raspberries are also beginning to leaf up, hope they are better this year as well. I doubt we got more than 10 berries off them last year!

Monday 15 April 2013

Weather and baking

After a lovely sunny warm weekend, the weather today is cloudy but still warm at around 16 C. Have washed one bedroom curtain and it is blowing nicely in the wind. I needed to wash it as it has a little mould on the liner, which I treated before washing, and I'm hoping the weather will kill off any remaining spores that I might have missed.

This is the first time I have had mould on a liner but it has been a particularly cold winter with the window condensing almost every night. Although it was dried off every morning, obviously the liner caught the damp anyway. I'll wash the other one tomorrow if the weather holds. I'm then going to line them with an adapted black king size duvet liner as I hate getting woken up too early with the light. Don't get me wrong, I love having the sun pouring in, just not at 4 a.m!

Did a quick bake yesterday using up some of the brambles picked last year. I used the weight of 3 eggs to make a cocoa sponge then stirred them in. The mixture was put into a large tray and baked until done.
Once cooled, it was cut into 2" squares. Most were frozen in small packets, the rest we shall eat over the next couple of days. We also finished off a piece each last night after a small plate of chili.  The bramble sponge was served with half a banana and some custard.

Just come back from having my monthly massage, feel a lot better now. Boy did she find some lumps! Driving along the country lanes to get to her place, it was lovely to notice the hedges are beginning to turn green. Doesn't it make you feel good? Going to take it easy this afternoon.

Sunday 14 April 2013


Welcome to my new follower Frugal Mum of 3.

As if tearing apart an old shed isn't enough work for two, we also helped B empty her pond (10' x 3') and haul out massive overgrown lilies and iris's. We managed to do it all (including refilling) in just under 2 hours. Then she rewarded us with a strong cup of tea and toasted hot cross buns - yum!

She will have to pot on the plants we kept. We had all previously gone to a garden centre as she needed some other things for her garden as well. I bought another piece of oxygenating weed for the back pond as the resident weed has some slimy algae attached to it.

Part of the front pond has some frog spawn in it so that is good.
Also the daffodils in pots outside the lounge window and in the front gravel garden, are flowering.
It is currently 20C here with a stiff breeze. Our neighbour has just got his Harley Davison out, no doubt to pootle off to the seaside. Luckily, he doesn't keep it running for long as it has a very loud growl!

Currently have some carrot and lentil soup cooking for lunch, whilst I am doing this post. Must make some frugal laundry liquid as the past two washes have been done in cheap shampoo (nice and clean and smell lovely). I need to pot on 4 out of my 7 tomatoes as they have now got their true leaves on. The tomatillo's have at long last, started to show some germination.

I have also updated my Walks II page with this week's walk for those who are interested. Have a lovely day folks!

Friday 12 April 2013

Win 3!

It was forecast to rain heavily during the night but we only got a shower. Called round at B's to let her know we have begun to take the wood she offered. Also showed her the dumped stuff in which was a car or trailer number plate. It may belong to the dumper or from someone they removed stuff from.

This is how much wood we came home with today, shan't take any more as the remains are damp and infested with creatures!
We just got back before a heavy shower started so our excursion was well timed. Didn't get around to making either the granola or frugal laundry liquid yesterday so shall do so today, otherwise DB shan't have it for his Saturday treat twice in a row. That won't do at all. I still have to post on my Walks II page, our walk this week. Shall try and update that page in the next couple of days.

Off to rest our weary shoulders and arms now. Oh, also bought back 2 more bags of horse manure which has gone in the compost bin. There seems to be seedlings in it (no doubt weeds), so I hope the bin will take care of them.

Thursday 11 April 2013

Double winner...

Win 1 - I've won a prize over at The Compost Bin, don't know what it is yet so shall wait for the postman to come in the next few days!

A friend has just called around to offer us some wood (she owns a field and someone has dumped on it!). We'll take a walk down this morning and see what we will be able to bring back (unfortunately in the car boot), then she will help us collect it. I'm also taking photographs for her as evidence.

My 'to do' list for today was to make soup, frugal washing liquid and 'granola' so that along with checking out the wood, should occupy me for most of the day. Also hope to do a little gardening as of yet, the rain hasn't arrived.

Win 2 - Here is the wood we managed to pick up in one trip, the other one or two will wait until another day. Some of it is still wet but will soon dry out and most will be used for kindling.

Another bonus is that the field was previously occupied by a horse owner and there is a lovely 4 foot high pile waiting to be moved as and when we or anyone else needs it. Just bought one bagful back for now.

The perspex warming one raised bed has worked and the soil is now dry and warm enough for sowing into. I have just sown 3 rows of lettuce, one of beetroot and two rows of different types of carrots.

Tuesday 9 April 2013


At long last, all raised beds are painted. My wrists and shoulders are killing me, so after preparing two loaves of rye bread, decided to sit and enjoy a rye pizza!

A few days ago, it was so sunny in the back we had to have the awning out to stop the bedrooms from overheating (south facing). Thought I would show you a picture of the full length awning we have, to do this job. It is fully electric and fits neatly away into a metal tube making it weather proof (if away).
If it is too windy it can't be used, then we have to close the curtains but the awning is far better.

I also just noticed that the pussy willow has opened on the branches I picked to make my Easter tree.
The daffodils that we removed from the fruit cage and temporarily potted up are finally beginning to open. I'll post a picture of those when more developed.

I think it is fair to say that Spring has finally sprung! Even if it decides to snow again (shouldn't be surprised) the plants are now growing in the garden so the soil must be warm enough. Hooray!!

Monday 8 April 2013

Bloglovin, Feedly - which to choose - gardening

Have a read of this article which helps explain the difference between Bloglovin and Feedly -  how to decide

If you are still not sure whether to change to Bloglovin, Feedly, both or something different, keep looking as you will need to change before July 1st.

If you read other people's blogs, it might be worth letting them know as well otherwise there will be an awful lot of people in blogland who will be caught out.

Yesterday morning was cold so we went for another walk around our local area. In the afternoon, we were in the garden. I started painting our raised vegetable beds - did two of them before I got fed up!

Also potted on a few early sowing's of vegetables and intend to warm up one of the raised beds for a few days before sowing some vegetables directly into the soil (the cover will be put on each night and removed each morning) if it needs to be. It was so nice to be able to sit out in the sun and have a cup of tea.

The wormery is now outside, up and running and quite lively! It is still sitting in its postal packaging. Not worried if it rains, it will still help insulate it and once soggy, can be torn up and given to the worms. We shred everything private and usually put it onto the compost bin (pretty unreadable after being in there).

Sunday 7 April 2013

Move before July 1st 2013! UPDATED

It would seem that we can't bury our heads in the sand over this issue.

For example, I have another blog where I have uploaded video's to YouTube. As Google links to these video's, it seems they or that link might disappear and I'll be left with a blank screen. Haven't yet figured if bloglovin does a similar thing or whether I will have to do something else to keep the video's. Also, what about all our pictures. They are stored in our attached blog Picasa albums. They too may disappear as Google readers links to our albums. So we really do need to do something.

Here is a link to frequently asked questions and answers about bloglovin support

For example, even though I am not yet registered with Bloglovin, I checked what I looked like and it is this:

Or, if you wish here is a link to the page where it displayed here - not sure how long it will be there for you to look at.

If you want to use another reader that links directly to Google reader for easy export try Feedly a video of which can be found here He has a strange voice but it is okay once you get to listen for a while. You can just type Feedly in on your search engine and go to their home page to find out more.

However, if like me, you use Firefox to access the internet, you can go to Firefox Support and download Feedly for a slightly different magazine style look. The link for this is here Simply click on it and reload your page and a little green icon appears near the top of your address bar. Here is Frugal Queen on Feedly

As it links directly to Google Reader (for now) it is supposed to be very easy to move content from them to Feedly. One man on the many video's I have been watching about this pain in the neck closedown said "Don't limit yourself to just on RSS feed (reader to you and me) never put all your eggs in one basket". So it might be useful to go with both bloglovin and feedly, who knows.

I still can't find out if we will be able to use our blogs as per normal. You can't blog about anything on these RSS readers, they simply let you read what you are looking for. I suppose therefore, that you blog as per normal on your google blog.

I'm exhausted now folks, out to do some gardening and maybe painting of raised beds!

Right. I've been busy on the old keyboard and linked my blog into both Bloglovin and Feedy. VERY VERY EASY.

Saturday 6 April 2013

Google reading list to close and Beechgrove Gardening Programme

Welcome to my new followers Janice Piper and L. Hart. It looks like someone else has joined but at the moment, I can't seem to find you - sorry!

Having read a few blog's this morning, it would seem that Google is getting rid of its reader list. This allows you to follow other blog's by adding them to your reading list. I have no idea whether Googoe+ or Google+ Follower, is their replacement but either way, it seems their reading list way of doing things will be shutting down this July - see here

Several of the blog's I read are now signing up to this 'reader' here If someone has signed up to this would they please leave a comment to let me know the following: How does it let you know about updates? and can you join new blogs as a follower using this new reader.

If anyone has signed up to Google+ and/or Googl+Follower, can you also let me know if it is a hassle to do so and do they know if it is a new way to follow blogs?

Thanks for any help. I would not only like to know for myself but also to pass on any info gleaned to those who are currently asking me!

Now for something different. Can you remember last year I let you know about the Scottish Beechgrove Gardening programme I found on BBC Scotland. Well, it is now coming onto BBC2 starting this Sunday 7th April at 09:30am. I am beginning to find Gardener's World a bit annoying and found this programme far better and a lot more informative.

Friday 5 April 2013

Using up leftover lamb from Easter

Welcome to my new follower Frugal in Suffolk.

Having invested in a half price leg of lamb for Easter, I wanted to make the best use of the remains. We hope to see DS. in a few weeks so the majority of the leftovers went into a pie. Gravy was added to meat to ensure it wouldn't be too dry and then it was frozen without being further cooked. 

The remains of the pastry were made into Gooseberry jam tarts. 
The final part of the meat was made into a lamb 'spag bol' type meal.
The bones were boiled and made into a lamb, tomato and vegetable soup.

Thursday 4 April 2013

War Diary Year III

For anyone who has been following my War Diary exploits, another section detailing April to June has been added to the above named page. Hope you enjoy the read. I have also updated my Walks page.

Is it me or has anyone else noticed that if you cut and paste a typed entry, it is putting all the lines you have pasted onto almost one line making it impossible to read? 

I am currently having to type into the new post page as that is the only way it can be read! As you can see, the typing is smaller than normal. How weird.

Wednesday 3 April 2013


Having decided to donate to charity each month, I have quite enjoyed perusing web sites in order to make my choices for this year. If possible, it would be nice to donate overseas as well as here and locally. 

My chosen charity for this month is Operation Smile, whose web site can be found here 

I never fail to be moved when I watch television programmes associated with these types of charities, where highly experienced people, give freely of their time to help others. 

Up until now, I haven't been in a position to do much about it. Now I can and shall do so. 

If you are a gardener or interested in wildlife, perhaps you might like to take a look at this web site here and decide whether to register your vote to get the government to do something to help save our bees. 

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Compost and wood ash...

Welcome to my new follower andrea.rey.

Yesterday, we spent a short time in the garden (just too cold in the wind despite the sun).

Three holes were dug in one raised bed and we half buried 3 containers. Into these went a mixture of compost and soil and then 3 potatoes were added to each. More compost/soil was added and then the bed covered with perspex which we shall open each day.

DB was busy in the garage chopping logs that were too big for our burner. Today he has an aching shoulder! Such is the problem with growing older. Maybe we need to invest in something that chops them for him.

The back garden fences have now all been painted. The driveway ones normally get done in summer. We actually had to water container plants as their soil was drying out!

We had our second roast lamb dinner followed by the final mini sticky date puddings. Also had a lovely long chat with DS. TheyY and FDiL's parents had been busy helping paint their lounge.

Today has started nice and sunny and positively balmy in the sun but still cold in the shade where I am working to empty the compost bin. We have just about got half way and I have put some away into bags ready to mix with other stuff to pot up my strawberries into their new home.

One smallish container's worth has been tipped onto each vegetable bed and hopefully, each will have the same amount again when we have finished.

I've also put wood ash around all fruit except the blueberries. I remembered to water it it as well otherwise it either blows away or forms a hard crust – neither of those situations is ideal.

We have now come in for leek, potato and lamb soup and I shall spend the rest of the day indoors, mincing up the remains of the lamb leg and making things to eat and freeze.