Sunday, 24 October 2010

A day for being outdoors

We woke to sun streaming into our bedroom this morning and it just felt that it was going to be a day for being outdoors.  So after a hearty porridge breakfast we set out, destination: our favourite pub for pub lunches on a sunny day and a walk to DH's favourite sloe bush - he is quite particular about which bushes he likes to pick his sloe's from!  I wish I had bought my camera with me as Flopsy Bunny looked a picture - her chosen outfit for this walk was a pink fru-fru tutu type lacy skirt, pink stripey tights, bright pink coat with fur round the hood and pink glitter wellies!  She looked gorgeous - although may be not entirely appropriately dressed for a walk - and she made all the walkers and cyclists we past smile!  So having gathered our sloes we headed back to the pub for ham rolls all round washed down with lemonade.

Then it was home to tackle the veggie patch.  A friend had told me about green manure about a month ago and then I read Alys Fowler's article in the Guardian magazine about it and decided Green Manure was the way forward.  Hopefully it is going to improve our soil quality and keep the weeds at bay.  So I weeded, raked and sowed the seed - I'm going for an overwintering variety and then it's just a case of waiting.  Hopefully something will grow - I'm keeping the deer deterrent up as I thought they might get a bit partial to some rye grass over the winter months!

DH was busy inside while all this was going on and he cracked on and made the Sloe Gin!  Now the fun bit watching it turn an amazing deep red colour as the Sloe's leach out their colour and flavour.  The Sloe Gin will be warming our cockles on cold evenings this winter!

Monday, 18 October 2010

A deadline . . .

I've always worked best to a deadline so a throw away comment to a friend recently that I'd share a table at a local Christmas shopping night has got me a little bit nervous to say the least - mainly as I have made NOTHING to sell at all at this point in time . . .!  So a quick rush around and I've pulled these lovelies together - any guesses for what they are for??  Now on with the sewing.  I've got lots of other ideas - just hope I've got enough time to make it all in - still got a month to go!!

Other news: there is a very relieved Flopsy Bunny in the house at the moment.  She was most dismayed every time she came home last week to find the strong smell of chutney in the air - 'you're not making chutney AGAIN are you?' she would cry and the answer was yes!  A friend gave my loads of green tomatoes and so I ended up making two batches of chutney.  It did use up all my cooking apples but having to chop 4lb of onions was not my most favourite experience!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Squirreling: part two!

The squirreling continues . . . this time grapes.  When we moved into our little cottage 8 years ago this was a very small vine which didn't really produce any fruit and as the years have gone by, the vine has got bigger and more grapes have been produced.  Last year we had quite a few but I didn't really know what to do with them.  Anyway, this year help came in the form of a newspaper magazine which told you how to make Mosto Cotto, which is really cooked grape must.  I was so excited, finally I had something I could make with the grapes.  So last Friday I picked all that I could reach then squashed the grapes - alas not using the method suggested - squelching them with bare feet! - I used a potato masher instead - I know the other method would have been much better (and more fun) but time was not on my side and I had two small people running around, so it was the potato masher!  Anyway, the squashed grapes and juice were put into a jelly bag and hung overnight.  The next day I just simmered the juice down so that it had reduced by about 2/3rds and bottled (OK a small bottle) the juice.  It has the most amazing intense taste.  I'm not sure what I can use it for, salad dressings were suggested, but I'm going to enjoy finding out!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Squirreling away

There's been a lot of squirreling away recently.  Jams and Chutney's made and stored away, apples peeled, cored, cut and frozen for later use in pies and crumbles, logs stacked by the back door and this bounteous pile of nuts.  DH and I spent a lovely Sunday evening  de-husking these nuts, chatting with a glass of wine.

All this makes me think how lucky I am to live in the countryside.  I'm not sure I would be so productive living in a city but with all these goodies on the doorstep it's hard not to want to harvest and store.  I feel so connected to the seasons these days, I have my little rituals, - ah it's October, time for making chutney from the many windfalls we've been given! -  and I love the way that they are becoming part of family life.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Sew, sew, sew

I think there must be steam coming off my sewing machine at the moment as I whizz up and down these stems, appliquéing (is there such a word?!) away.  I so want to finish this project, every spare moment I am hopping onto my machine and sewing away.  I'm also pretty pleased with how it's all coming along and can't  wait to show the finished article . . . soon I hope . . . soon!