Saturday, 20 July 2019

They try to make us believe....

That chocolate and sweets are not shrinking. Cadburys flakes used to be thicker:

They are no longer that size now, don't care what they say. Both images from The Wonderful World of Chocolate.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Another present of a plant...

Also part of my present was another new to me item for the fruit cage, a Honeyberry or edible honeysuckle. One web site says it needs a companion to ensure pollination, others say not. We shall see. Our blueberries never had any problem in there being pollinated although they flower later. These can grow to 4' wide and 6' or so tall, hopefully, it will remain small enough for the cage!

It has a few flowers on it and two embryo fruit. The fruit is similar in size to a blueberry but more oblong in shape:



In this country, we tend to only have access to the Russian based strains, which are a bit more tart, so we shall see. The best ones for sweetness are the Japanese strains, ah well. If they prove too tart for eating raw, they apparently make fabulous pies and jam.

As we don't have much of a garden in the back, I have decided to now only grow items that cost more money to buy. You wouldn't see these for sale in the shops, blackcurrants are rarely seen and if they are, are very expensive, same with gooseberries.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Too hot....

We have been doing a little planting and tidying of our pots. Way too hot but we had to wait for the area we wanted to pot up, to get into the shade. Each large pot was given a whole can of rainwater:
The two large pots at the back, and plants, are an early birthday present from DB. The other pot was already in situ. Some close ups of the new pots:

In the middle at the base of each pot is a dwarf alpine Canterbury Bell. Either side are pansies. The top shrub is a dwarf leylandii type plant, growing to 4' in 10 years. The bottom pot has a dwarf picus, which will also grow up to 4' but a bit faster.



It is warmer in our north facing room, by two degrees C, than it is in the shaded area where our weather station sits. All temperatures are recorded in the shade I believe, so that is what we do as well.


Tidying up Ruby

Although Ruby moults twice a year, she does lose hair every day. She was beginning to look a little tatty down her back area so we decided to invest in a Furminator deshedding tool/brush/comb gadget.

These retail for between £16 and £30 depending where you buy them from. However, we found one online for just under £8. We were worried it might be fake but seems to be genuine.

She has her ear fur combed every day otherwise the ends get crispy from rootling in the undergrowth and her food bowl. She is beginning to look better now. This was from one session, with a coaster for size comparison:
Not a huge amount but better than being on our carpets!

Monday, 15 July 2019

Date and oat slices

This recipe is from Cranks and can be found on my recipe tab above. Here is the tray, fresh from the oven:
It is left to go cold before slicing, you should get 16 good sized slices but as we find it so sweet, we cut ours a little smaller and get 24:
My tin is slightly larger than the one recommended so I increase all the ingredients by 10%. I also like to turn it out before cutting. I used a palette knife around the edges to loosen them, put a chopping board on top, turn over and all being well, it comes out, upside down onto the board. I cut it iupside down as well.

Some people, who must have a very sweet tooth, like to put sugar in the crumble mix but it really isn't necessary, the date mixture is very sweet. It can be eaten cold as a snack, or warm with custard as a pudding.

I have decided now to bake once a week, portion the baking up and freeze most until needed. That way, it can cut down on my single use clingfilm a little.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

A bit of the back garden

After worrying about my rhubarb plants looking sad, they eventually took off after lots of watering:
We have picked around 4lb off the four plants in there, so not too shabby at all. The herbs are growing away nicely. Thyme in full flower. The empty looking pots have two different types of mint in them. They were getting ready to flower so I cut them back:
The vinegar containers that were recently planted up, near a south facing wall, were getting too hot for the soil. I cut a double thickness of black weed suppressant material and pegged it around the containers - a whole lot cooler for the soil:


Friday, 12 July 2019

So blooming difficult...

You wouldn’t think finding curtains would be so difficult would you. Most shops that we would have used in the past, no longer stock them. Those that do, are primarily selling grey and a few other colours that are of no use to us. We trawled around Norwich yesterday, nothing to be found.

Luckily, I found a place online that offers free samples. They were waiting for us when we got home. One was no good, the other had potential. We held them up to the wall and pondered for quite a while. Whilst we didn’t want plain material, these are similar to crushed velvet so although plain, shimmer in different shades if you see what I mean.

The material on its own, is quite thick, and looks as though it will cut out a lot of sunlight when needed. They come lined so an added bonus.

Will let you know what they look like when they are delivered and we are happy with them.


Thursday, 11 July 2019

The front gravel garden

Is still in a relatively quiet mode but there are some flowers and more to come:


Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Repurposing - updated

My 5 litre vinegar containers, the contents of which are used as a fabric conditioner in the washing machine:


Plant pots! They may well bulge around the middle but we will see. If I don't like them, they are recyclable.

Herewith filled with plants in garden soil and compost:
I think they will be fine once the plants have grown more. They are big enough for vegetables or herbs, as here:
 Image result for plastic bottles into vegetables
 see link here,  but as a trial for this year, I wanted to just fill them with something to see how they grow and how they need to be watered.

They are planted with two osteospurnum, which will be replanted in the garden, two gazania's which are annuals, and one fushia which I might be able to overwinter in the mini greenhouse.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

How annoying is that...

After chasing up the curtains we ordered from a store, which failed to materilise after nearly 4 weeks, we had a phone call this morning, 2 weeks after chasing them up. The company that makes them have discontinued that particular colour. Why couldn't the company have said that when the store order went in.

We will receive our deposit back shortly and now we have to start again. Guess the doggy fleece blankets will have to stay up for now!

Monday, 8 July 2019

Preserving...

I now have a few more thick rhubarb stems ready and picked 1lb or so. They were added to a large bag of thawed blackberries from last year, still 11 or so more bags to use. Some were used to make rhubarb and blackberry jam:
I think I added a bit too much lemon as it has set so well it may rip the bread when used! Tastes gorgeous though.

The remainder of both was cooked and thickened with gelatine to make us 2 small puddings each:
Slightly tart but will be lovely.


Saturday, 6 July 2019

A second reduced plastic shop

It ain’t easy.

This time for our weekly shop, we tried Lidl and Sainsbury’s, who did have a few more loose fruit and vegetables but not many. Herewith a picture of mostly recyclable:
We also had 2 x 2 litres of milk in recyclable plastic but they had gone in the freezer. A lot had cardboard outlers but plastic inners. The crumpets and potatoes had no recycling mark on the packet, so the wrappers went in the bin. Although I bought some lace to make myself some net produce bags, I didn’t get around to it. The fruit and tomatoes went in plastic bags which are recyclable.

And fully recyclable:

Not good is it. We prefer to shop at Morrison’s. Some stores will be bringing back loose fruit and vegetables. Let’s hope one of them will be close to us. The above cost £35.


Friday, 5 July 2019

Well...

I enjoyed watching some of the Brits at tennis yesterday. I didn’t want to watch them all so I would still be fresh for Andy and Jamie. Unfortunately they were both playing at the same time. From what I saw of Jamie and his new ‘temporary ‘ partner, Skupski, they were playing well.

Really enjoyed watching Andy and Pierre. The BBC still managed to mess it up though, three channel changes, mistakingly rounding up the days play, twice, whilst he was playing. I had to keep changing channels during other matches as well. If you were at work and were trying to record matches, you would miss out often. Sort yourselves out!

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Reduce, reuse or repurpose

I like to think I don't use much single use plastic but I do. If you look online what constitutes single use plastic, the same few things come up but there are oodles more we don't even think about. We don't drink bottled water and rarely buy single drinks in general.

Cereal boxes have plastic bags in them which most of us don't use. I decant my cereals into plastic containers but they are donkies years old and will not be thrown out until the time comes for someone to clear our house. Inside is usually a plastic sleeve. These can be reused, especially in the freezer to seperate slices of things but it isn't something I use because I don't make those type of things to freeze.

Almost all prepacked fruit and vegetables that have a plastic tray and wrapper, are single use. Biscuits and bought cakes, ready meals, frozen items, plastic cotton buds, nappies, panty liners and other sanitary products, sachets containing individual use items such as face masks, make up products, hair products, condiments such as sauces and vinegar etc. There are literally hundreds of these items.

The free from plastic movement is gaining momentum and many articles and challenges, appear in newspapers and magazine. Lets face it though, unless you live in a big city or have access to shops that sell products you can decant or pick up yourself, the rest of us will have a hard time.

When we did our grocery shop last week, I could only pick up a few loose items of fruits and vegetables without using plastic. We don't have access to farm shops, even things outside of houses locally to buy are often in plastic bags or plastic trays. Its bewildering and hard work but I will continue to try.

In that vein, yesterday I bought 5 litres of Ecover washing up liquid and 5 litres of Ecover hand soap online. Yes, it will come in a big plastic container but it is using less plastic than the equivalent in normal sized bottles. I can also repurpose/recycle those containers.

The hand wash came today, in a cardboard box with paper packing. Inside, the container was sealed in a plastic bag, but hey, it can be actually be recycled as it has a number 2 code on it, see link further down. 

I make our own washing machine liquid, reusing constantly, the same 2 x 4 pint plastic milk bottles, which have been on the go now for more than 2 years. It is unfortunate that the things I need to make it start off in plastic, see, you just can't get away from it.

Can we do anything to stop putting plastic that cannot be recycled into our rubbish dumps, we can as it happens, in the shape of Ecobricks, see here.

These seem a bit slow to catch on here and there are not many places where even if you fill one up over time, you can take them to, to be used. Maybe one day.

Herewith a quick guide to what can mostly be recycled:here.
There is also a nice chart at the end for a quick check reference.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Bummer!

We ordered our bespoke curtains nearly 3 1/2 weeks ago. We were informed they would take 2 - 4 weeks all in. That is for them to be delivered to them, sent away for alteration, then returned to them. Having not heard anything DB gave them a ring.

Sorry sir, they haven’t arrived from the manufacturer yet, we’ll chase them up. So how long to wait we wonder? Another 4 weeks? It’s anyone’s guess.

I wonder if the order actually got sent in the first place!

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Don't get caught out

If you are a BT customer, don't get caught out, like we did, by an extra charge plan they have added to everyones account. It is the Anytime Call Plan and can cost up to £9 per month.

We have chosen for many years, a free weekend tariff, meaning we can make free calls, up to an hour long, without charge, anywhere in the country, to a landline.

This new charge, the information for which, was apparently sent by email in March. We must have missed it as you needed to opt out said plan via that email. Now you have to phone them up and they don't make it easy to either find the number or deal with it when you do. DB spent nearly 15 minutes this morning trying to cancel it before finally succeeding.

Now, if you like to make numerous phone calls anytime, then this plan is fine for you, but we choose not to. Luckily for us, as a valued BT customer, our charge was £2.50. Still they have taken £7.50 off us before we realised.

82 million or so customers, each being charged £108 per annum, probably unaware of it, a nice little earner for them wouldn't you say?

Monday, 1 July 2019

Sandringham Horse Driving trials

We try to visit this once a year and this weekend it was on. Normally we would drive over there on a Saturday when lots of events are on. It was too hot to do so on Saturday so we went Sunday.

Although it is free to the public, it really doesn't cater much for them. It used to be a huge event but now, tiny. It really is geared around the carriage driving.

Anyhow, getting there for 11:15, we decided to have a bacon butty as we were both hungry - no bacon. Plenty of burgers but we don't eat them. You would have thought plenty of burgers left should be telling them something!

That was it on the eating front, other than pancakes or donuts and even he was clearing up to leave. We found a bouncy castle stall who were selling hot pork rolls, the pork in a slow cooker:( My instinct was to not have one but hunger prevailed. Moist but absolutely tasteless, neither of us finished it.

Okay we thought, lets console ourselves with an ice cream, nope, it was shut. When it did eventually open, it was only to let air in so they could clean up ready for leaving. There was a gin stall but at £6.99 for one shot, no thank you.

The event was open for quite a few more hours so we were not impressed and think we may not bother again. We were so cheesed off we came home.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Yesterday....

Was our first really warm day, almost 31C in the shade. Curtains were kept closed, large blind on the bedrooms was out. Curtains were only opened once the sun had moved around.

Ruby for the most part, stayed in the shade but we didn’t allow her to stay out too long, it was cooler indoors. DB went to the attic for the electric fan, which helped a lot. Despite all that, the bedrooms were 26C come night time.

Had a lovely chat with DS, always a pleasure. Glad to hear they have at long last sold their old car and previous young horse. DDiL has found herself another job thank goodness. Her employers were not at all bothered. Same hours but over 4 days so that will help enormously.

This morning it is warm but with a bit more breeze. Just been out for an early walk, we all feel warm and sticky now.


Saturday, 29 June 2019

Slowly slowly catchy monkey

After much reading, I am finally ready to start reducing plastic in our home. We have quite a lot of 'permanent' plastic containers which I shall continue to use, no point throwing them all out as that just adds to the problem.

We usually shop at Lidl and Morrison's and I am pleased to say, the latter are making some good improvements in reducing their plastic use, see here.

I usually buy all my fruit and vegetables at the former but with the introduction of paper bags in Morrison's, decided to wait until we got there, second on our list.

It took a little longer and was a little pricier, plus it took longer to get through the checkout. The bags are a little fragile and there wasn't much choice in loose items, plus you have to remember what variety of what is in each bag and how many.  Anyhow, we bought apples, pears and carrots:

I gave up with the tomatoes but half of the packaging I did chose is recyclable. New potatoes were in a recyclable bag.

I think I need to use some homemade (or bought) vegetable bags and go from there. We do have a grocer relatively close to these shops but their produce isn't always good.

I had taken my two empty Quorn bags to recycle them. Had to ask a staff member where their plastic bag recycling was. Squashed in between trollies and the letter box! Come on Morrison’s put it near the doors where you enter so it can easily be seen and used.

Once home, I decanted a jar of honey into our old squeezy bottle as we find it less messy to use:

Friday, 28 June 2019

Quorn Madras Curry

A few weeks ago, we bought some Quorn chunks to make a curry, they were still sitting in the freezer so I got on with it. We like Quorn and use both the mince and chunks and have used on occasions, the 'beef' strips. All are fine for us.

Its a bit like Tofu in that on its own, it has little or no taste, but readily picks up the taste of what it is put in, especially if served the day after it is cooked.

I fried 1 onion, 1 green pepper and a tub of mushrooms:
1/4 of a jar of Madras curry paste was added and gently fried before 2 cans of pureed chopped tomatoes went in:
It cooked for 30 minutes before 1 1/2 packets of Quorn chunks were added:
Another 20 minutes, an added chicken stock cube and some oat bran to thicken and it was ready:
We had one portion between us (3 ladles), plus rice, and got enough for another 3 joint meals.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Liver leftovers and dwarf raspberrIes ...

Yesterday quite frankly was cold. We took Ruby for her first long walk and had to sit outside for a meal. She had a strange cough last night for several hours, grass seed maybe? We will see how she is today.

I don't know about you, but we find liver has quite a bit of rubbish in it nowadays so we cut it all out. I used to throw this rubbish away but now we have Ruby, she takes care of it. We had liver and onions for tea, Ruby got the rest.

Now liver, on its own, is a bit too rich to feed as is. I chavelled it up with a little water and managed to get 6 liver paws to freeze:
She will be given one to mix into a days worth of food when I use a tube that doesn't have offal in it.

We recently invested in two dwarf raspberries, Ruby Beauty, and managed to find another one a few days ago. It got planted before the rain came so should be nicely settled in. The fruit is amazingly sweet, even the slightly underripe ones. Each of the three plants only has one flowering stalk so not much this year. Each plant has loads of stalks ready to fruit next year.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Oops!

Although Andy wasn’t serving properly yesterday, elbow I reckon, Melo just was not there! Shame but that is how it goes.

I decided to have a go at making a Brioche loaf in my bread maker. Everything was put in, an additional amount of butter was cubed and put in the fridge for adding later, as per the recipe. I set the machine going and put the timer on for when it told me I would need to add the butter. I don't always hear the beeper if I am in another room.

Beeper went and I was about to add the butter when I realised the machine was flashing to tell me it had finished baking, say what!

Double checking my instruction recipe book, I realised I had chosen the bake time for the next machine up to mine - doh! It didn't have the chance to get its second lot of butter.

Anyway, here it is, a little brown around its crust and missing half its butter. Oh, I also reduced the sugar by a quarter and for me, it was still way too sweet even though it is meant to be so:

Not bad at all considering.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Cherry and Chocolate Ice Cream

We used the recipe from here for this ice cream but opted to use normal chocolate. It wasn't too difficult to make although we made it more difficult by not reading it properly!

I didn't have good quality vanilla extract so used what I had (unfortunately only 1 tablespoon was left) but used maple syrup instead of honey to help the taste.

We found 1 cup of cherries equated to a 200g punnet of fresh cherries which we stoned. 175g of frozen and thawed pitted cherries would also be the right amount.

1 cup of 70% dark chocolate, cut into chunks measured 135g.

If we make it again, I shall use half of the liquid ingredients at a time in my tall Bullet container to save using my big processor.

There was just a little too much liquid to fit comfortably into our 1.1 litre ice cream maker so we divided what was left between 2 chinese takeaway cartons ready for freezing. It may affect the outside texture a little so we will see. If it does, we shall just drink this extra amount:)

It was churned for 30 minutes which was about right for our ice cream maker. It struggled to incorporate the chocolate and cherries at the end but we just left it running. The end product filled the 2 takeaway containers. Here it is ready for the freezer:
The taste wasn’t too bad but it needed 15 minutes out the freezer to use. We both think the texture was more like sorbet than ice cream and neither of us enjoyed the solid chunks of chocolate. I think I will make it again and try melting the chocolate.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Ruby at the beach

We took Ruby to the beach last week. It was slightly windy and the tide was quite a way out. We did however, manage to find a big puddle:


She enjoyed herself immensely.

Once back at the car, we drove off to find a fish and chip shop. Chips and curry sauce was consumed, both in cardboard boxes I am pleased to say, although we took our own water to drink. We then wandered off to find ice cream for a pudding.

All in all, a pleasant few hours passed with some quality downtime. Welcome to Valerie via Bloglovin.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Wow!

Well done Feliciano Lopez, a full singles match, finishing off a quarter final doubles, immediately followed by a semi final doubles, he must have been shattered to say the least! He has a single and a doubles final as a reward.

Touches of the old Andy emerged during both these double matches but he still has quite a way to go. I think his nerves kicked in trying to serve out the match but between them, they got the job done. Lopez started to flag a little so Andy stepped up a notch, when Andy got tight, Lopez stepped up. Andy was very attentive to Lopez throughout, constantly geeing him on.

I shall look forward to the matches today.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Ticks

Damn things, I hate them. I have been trialing a more natural approach to ticks.

Firstly, Brewer’s Yeast. The idea is it creates a smell on the skin that ticks dislike. So far, not so bad, just two ticks in the first week found but we have just removed another two ticks, the first day of week two in the trial. She doesn’t seem to detect it in her food and it gives her a lot of vitamins and essential minerals. For that reason alone, we will stick with it.

Secondly, rose geranium essential oil, a natural insecticide. 10 drops diluted in 100 drops of almond oil. Shaken before use, one drop is placed between my forefinger and thumb. It is then rubbed between her shoulder blades and base of tail, first thing in the morning. We have begun to do this, now we are in week two. Time will tell. The smell of this is amazing.

I think the warm summer, autumn and winter of last year, means the critters have been breeding prolifically. Friends I know who are using chemical based tick pills etc, are also reporting ticks on their cats and dogs.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Picking....

I managed to pick some more strawberries yesterday but quite a lot of them are now showing botrytis infection. Another washed out year for them.

We went to finally pick up our rug from the carpet shop. It was a large chunk of the carpet that had been 'whipped' around the edges. An example can be seen on this website carpet.

It measures 1m x 2m and fits in front of our armchairs, where Ruby prefers to sit when we are there:

Being a Spaniel, she sheds quite a lot but we hardly see any of her hairs on this colour. She can also, over a long time, leave behind a bit of oil from her coat, hence this rug to save the carpet itself.

I really enjoyed watching Andy and Feliciano play last night. I wasn’t expecting a win but overall, they did well, getting better as time went on.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

How's that...

For a cute little spray bottle!

I went to my doctor yesterday to seek relief in one ear after having it cleaned out a few weeks ago. I didn't have pain it just felt a little weird and bunged up. He prescribed this:
An Optomize spray. It took me two attempts to get it to spray into my ear after it was primed for use. I have to use it for up to 7 days and see how it goes. Can but try.

Looking forward to watching Andy play later today. I just hope he doesn't slip and injure himself further as there were a few close calls yesterday. Del Potro has had to pull out (due to slipping a few times I should think) with an exacerbated knee injury.

His match will probably be the only doubles we get to see as yet again, the BBC and Amazon, are primarily showing singles matches. Come on you lot, some of us love to watch doubles.

At least the BBC have said they are going to televise all 18 courts at Wimbledon so maybe this year, we shall get to see quite a bit of doubles.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Front Inner Circle Garden...

We were lucky last night, as the storm seemed to have passed us by. We had 4 mini powercuts in about 15 minutes and about 2cm of rain. Today is supposed to be the worst day so we will have to wait and see.

The poppies have finished but were cut back yesterday to save them flopping over onto their neighbours. They will give us another display later in the year:
Some plants are opening, such as the peonies, roses and geraniums, others are finishing early. Again, heavy rain will probably finish those off as well. The poor farmers are having another bad year by the sound of things.

I have sprayed my tomatoes again with disprin in the hope of warding off blight but for a change, I don't hold out much hope. We have had one or two strawberries but they are now beginning to show signs of rot as well. Ah well, onwards and upwards.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Temporary Curtains....

Although our front room is north facing, the sun pours in from its western aspect late afternoon to evening. It is almost impossible to see what is on the tv!

I found two fleece blankets that used to partially cover Ruby's crate and put them up, each held in place with three pegs:

When the white blinds and these blankets are shut, it helps to cut out quite a bit of the extra light.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Oh my goodness

We were just about to go out to a local do when the heavens opened, a proper cloud burst is currently ongoing. If it stops, we’ll have a check as we pass, on our afternoon stroll with Ruby. Don’t hold out much hope though.

Looking forward to tennis at Queen’s tomorrow. Any chance of actually getting to see Andy play? Let’s face it, coverage of doubles tennis by the BBC, ITV4 and Amazon Prime, is often negligible!

Welcome to Natasha Flack via Bloglovin.

Well done....

Dom Inglot and his American partner A. Krajicek on winning the doubles title at Hertogenbosch. Shame that yet again, this win was not mentioned on sporting news.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Its a good job....

I didn't read the reviews on this product before I bought it, as they were all, with the exception of one, very negative. What product:
A tin of curry. I must admit, I trialled it anyway with a little bit of trepidation as most other canned meats products (apart from Ham, Spam and Corned Beef) haven't rung my bell. It costs £1.60 and I wanted to trial it as part of a stocking my pantry up just in case product!

I made some couscous to eat it with (just a few minutes to do) whilst the curry was warming up. It had 8 big pieces of chicken in it and I cut them up a bit whilst it was heating. We had it for lunch today.

Verdict - not bad at all. Most reviews said it was bland, hardly any meat in it etc. Yes, the taste is different to those ready meals you buy for a similar price. Also, if dire circumstances hit us all one day, such as a prolonged power cut, your freezer version would go off, this wouldn't.

However, as a 'just in case' scenario, it wouldn't be too bad at all. I think if you wanted a quick meal and had some frozen jacket potatoes, you would get a decent hot meal in quite a quick time.

If you wanted to make it a little hotter, as well as add a little extra flavour, I reckon just a teaspoon of tikka masala paste would improve it.

I shall now trial a few of their other curry tins and see how they fare.

Has anyone eaten other makes of tinned curry, if so, what was your verdict?

Friday, 14 June 2019

We have been....

On the hunt for a piece of secondhand furniture to adapt into a nice looking lockable sleeping area for Ruby. Why is it, that when you are looking, nothing is available?

We visited a huge warehouse yesterday. Loads of stuff, ridiculous prices. Having thought more about it, we visited a place we have bought from before to explain our dilemma. They probably thought us mad but said they could make us something.

My idea is for a piece of furniture that we can adapt for her, but when she is no longer with us, adapt it back to full use for us. It won’t be cheap but is cheaper than buying a ready made version, will be to our specifications and look nice. It will fit in with the furniture we have and have a nice top that we can use.

I already had the money in my savings, so paid a deposit. They are very busy so it won’t be ready until the end of next month.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Where’s the sun gone...

By Sunday evening, we had 1/2” of rain in a bucket. This morning it measured 6”. Just about 36 hours of rain fell on Monday and Tuesday, alternating between light showers and heavy downpours. Today and Thursday have showers and dry intervals forecast. Wonder what is will measure by then. For us, one of the dried counties in the land, that is a lot of rain!

Water butts and ponds are full. The driveway has had so many puddles in it, that every time Ruby goes out to the toilet, she has to be dried off. The conservatory mat looks like it does in winter!

For some reason on Monday morning, she was a bit off colour. She just slept and slept, curled up tight in a ball. She did eat so that was something. By mid afternoon, she uncurled and began to be more herself. Come Tuesday, she was her usual cheery self.

The June drop on the fruit trees is happening all at once, probably due to the rain. I fear for my tomatoes. Being outside, despite spraying with disprin, which can help against blight, all this rain may prove too much.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Rhubarb at last...

After lots of watering and some good amounts of rain, the rhubarb has taken off. So much so, that at last, I have been able to harvest some. A brand new rhubarb crown, needs to be left alone for at least a year, to help the roots mature a bit. This was a huge crown which I divided into four and replanted.

These were the largests ones I found:
I did peel them to remove the strings. Once cooked in a little bit of water, I added sugar and thickened it with cornflour. I have never done this before but it worked quite well, meaning I could keep all the juice as well:
We had some with custard, some with yoghurt and one bowl was added to two of my breakfast smoothies.


Monday, 10 June 2019

Using things up

I bought a double packet of frozen puff pastry for Christmas and still had one of them in the freezer. Also in there were 4 big slices of home cooked ham, a large uncooked chicken breast and some pork stew gravy.

The pastry was divided into 4 and rolled out. The ham, chicken and 4 mushrooms, along with some gravy, were processed in my blender. I got enough to make 3 large pasties:
The final quarter had cheese put on one half of it, folded over and rolled again. Repeat before being cut into cheese straws and more cheese and black pepper on top:
Here they are, fresh from the oven. We were going to have one each for our main meal plus carrot and swede mash and gravy, but I could only eat half of mine so it was put away for today:
The pastry was flaky and tasty and the inside was similar to a fine sausage roll consistency. Then the cheese straws:
Yum!!