Saturday, August 21, 2010



Jase was up at the crack of dawn and I woke up at 7.30, stumbled out of bed, let the girls out and made a cuppa. Lots to do today.

Day 2 of 3 off and need to get on with some sewing, so a very quick update on the blog was called for.

Cornelia has decided to start moulting and her neck is bare, except for a few tiny quills where the new feathers are starting to grow back. She did decide to start laying at the same time. Most unusual for a hen, but she is quirky like me. 2 huge very dark brown eggs this week and she was sat on the nest when I let them out this morning. Her eggs were getting lighter, so nice to see she has recharged her ink cartridges! The others are fine and laying well.

I managed to get hold of some Bubble jet set 2000 liquid from Quilters dream!! You soak cotton fabric in it and then leave it to dry. You can then print on it with any ink jet printer!! I now need to sort out a logo and can then print out my own labels!! Dead exciting (well for me anyway)!!

I fished out my old mini stencils and made a few tags for the chutney that took an age last week.

Just something a bit different to the usual labels.

Received my first email of the year with an order for 2 medium Christmas puddings from a Lady at work. Must get on with that. Might prepare the fruit today and start it on it's week long soaking in brandy. I have lots of ceramic bowls ready as bought extra last year.

The raspberries are starting to colour up, the sweetcorn looks great and I need to dig up the potatoes soon. Tomatoes are filling the fridge, along with massive supplies of beans. The courgettes are doing ok, but not as well as I'd hoped. Probably for the best. My borlotti beans are actually doing well as it would seem the mice haven't discovered them this year. I think next door's new cat might have something to do with it.

Mum and Dad have gone to their house in Germany today, with my brother, niece and nephew. Don't envy that car journey! Hopefully it will stay nice for them.

Better get my backside in the shower and start sewing. Not long until the fair. :0)

Have a good weekend.

C x x x

Monday, August 09, 2010

What's that smell?

I decided to use up more plums today and attempted pear & plum chutney. Now, as a reasonably competent jam/jelly maker, I thought chutney would be simple. What a faff! Meticulously cutting up pounds of pears, plums and onions (even though I said I wouldn't do onions again)! into equal sized pieces, then simmering away for a few hours. A whole jam pan full of what looked like cat sick, the house stinking of vinegar and me, with the patience of a hungry dog, stirring away for an eternity.

"This chutney should be cooked in around 2.5 - 3 hours" Ermmmm, no! 4 hours later it finally resembled a brown chutneyish mush and I put it into jars. How many jars did I get from a mountain of fruit? 8. And a bit!! We aren't talking large jars either. The small 1/2 pound size. I will be selling it at the fair for around £7 a jar. Hee hee.

Pretty uninspiring brown stuff in a jar, but a fabric topper will transform it! Only 8 weeks until it is ready. It does smell good though.

Whilst watching the chutney with hawk eyes for fear of burning, I cut out some toppers for the onion jam I made the other day.
Only a few at a time, in between stirring.

The weather has been odd today. Kind of will it/won't it, rain thing going on. It didn't rain, well it hasn't so far. Nipped out quickly to get some vinegar for the aforementioned chutney and returned to the Citylink man delivering my paper bags for the fair. 100 should do it! He says anxiously.

I picked our first tomatoes yesterday. Small and juicy with a few hundred still to ripen. Have a recipe for green tomato chutney that I was planning on making, but maybe not now.......

His Lordship will be home soon, so off to start dinner, once I have removed a broody bantam from her nest.

C x x x

Sunday, August 08, 2010

No more tears.

I finally have my days off and have very been busy. I got an email from the Weyhill Fairground, offering me a stall in September! Lucky I have been preparing for it for months as 6 weeks isn't enough time.

Managed to get leave at work, so have the weekend of the 25th/26th September off now. Will try and get the week off before it too, to give me time for last minute baking etc.

Jase and I spent 1/2 an hour picking plums.

..and another 1/2 an hour picking the squashed ones off the lawn. Very windy last night and a few more pounds have fallen overnight. The blackbirds and Bluetits seem to like them!

One basket went into the pan.....

.....which resulted in these..... -

......and these! -

I have another 5 pints of plum juice in the fridge and a huge basket of plums on the porch. Plum and pear chutney is the next job to do.

Decided to go for a more savoury jam as well. Rachel Allen's onion jam is delish, so I made one or two jars! After peeling nearly 3kilos of onions, I'd had enough.

I did manage to make 17 jars though. Lovely with cheese on toast or added to gravy! Have labeled them and just need to add a fabric topper.

Have made a list of everything to take with me to the craft fair. Have quite a bit of stuff and will bake oatie biscuits the day before, as they went down well last year. Still not sure if I have enough, but time is now limited so I won't have a chance to make much more. If I can get the week before off, then it will be 'sewing central' at the cottage.

Cornelia is no longer broody *smiles*. Exactly 21 days since she started, she snapped out of it. What a text book chicken! She hasn't laid yet, but insists on keeping Agnes company when she goes into the eglu to lay.

We are looking after next door's bantams again and Marigold is broody (for a change)!.....Lily is laying, but Lavender appears to be moulting. I am turfing Marigold off the nest a few times a day, but she is a determined little fluffy Madame.

The house is back to some sort of normality. I said to J the other day, that it was cluttered, making my mind cluttered. He stared at me blankly. I know what I mean. The office (my dumping ground) is such a mess that I can't see the bed. I have to get it sorted out as it is getting me down. The lounge is reasonably ok and just needs a quick dust and hoover. Kitchen is getting there slowly. It is clean, but the table attracts paperwork that needs filing away. I popped into The Range and picked up some plastic storage crates, so at least my craft fair stuff is neat and tidy.

The shed is full of old layers pellet sacks and general stuff that should have been thrown away a while ago. It will get a spring clean before autumn. He says hopefully!! Am tempted to give it a fresh lick of paint, as it hasn't been done since we put it up 4 years ago. I'm thinking forget-me-not blue as I have a can in the outbuilding.

Enough waffling on, Mum and Dad are on their way over as I haven't seen them for weeks. Better clean the downstairs loo!

C x x