Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's show time!

Hardly slept a wink last night. The Michaelmas Fair is today at 10am.

We set up the stall last night, to take the stress out of today.

Absolutely freezing this morning, just 2 degrees. Better get a wiggle on as sandwiches to make and need to pack the last minute biscuits and cakes. Wish me luck!

C x x x

Friday, September 10, 2010

Anyone for squash?

I usually handle stress quite well. I am a rare breed that CAN multi task. This is due to the fact that I have several things on the go at any one time. More due to a chaotic brain than good planning! However, my brain is aching at the mo, with things to do/plan for the fair. I have so much stuff, but worrying that it won't be enough. I plan to make biscuits the day before, plus mini fruit cakes next week, but it is just fitting everything in.

Today, I woke up at stupid o'clock and got ready. In town by 9am and picked up potatoes and other bits for dinner.
Headed to Quilter's Dream for felt. They didn't have any, so I ended up being incredibly naughty and bought more fabric. I have the self control of a starving dog in a butcher's. These are 'charm packs' apparently. They are beautiful, complimentary colours. Will cut each one into four to start another quilt off.

Got home and made several beef olives for the freezer and then noticed a few over ripe bananas. I am trying really hard to not throw any food away, so decided to bake an apricot, sultana and banana (funnily enough) loaf! It turned out pretty well. Although it doesn't look like that now. A couple of slices were consumed, just to make sure it was cooked.

I heard a racket coming from the hens and dashed out to see what was up. Elsbeth had laid an egg outside again, which Pru was tucking into, orange yolk dripping from her beak! Elsbeth is nearly 4 and still laying most days, her shells are getting thinner and break on impact with the ground. Pru is a nightmare when it comes to fresh eggs! Touching wood here, but she doesn't eat any that are laid in the nest boxes. I placed a rubber egg outside and watched as Elsbeth guarded the egg, pecking any hen that came near her. Shame she doesn't protect her own!

The sweetcorn is ready for picking. I had one the other day and it was so, erm, sweet! I only have a few cobs, but worth the effort.

The pear tree is groaning under the weight of all the fruit. I have supported a few branches with string to stop them snapping off.

I have several pumpkin/squash plants dotted around the garden, but no longer any idea which is which. I think one is a patty pan, as that rings a bell! Answers on a postcard please......

The swiss chard, spinach and parsnip bed was being ravaged by sparrows. I have now covered it over and hope that, with some fleece, it will survive the winter. The chard and spinach is great for the hens, as you can pull a few stems off, hang them up and watch the raptors tear pieces off. The vitamins do them good over winter too.

I have planted some leaf beet 'orange fantasia' in the green house, but it is taking it;s time. Will plant it out when it is a bit bigger. I might have to cave in and get some winter veg seedlings from the garden centre, as mine don't seem to be doing too well. No one needs to know!

Once all the cooking, baking and hen cleaning was done, I sat down with a cuppa and a slice (or two) of cake to chill out. The postwoman knocked on the door with a few parcels. Country living magazine for me, a couple of Christmas presents (yes, I have started shopping already) and a book that I have been waiting for from Green Metropolis. I have been after it for ages!

I have finished the scottie dog brooches! 14 made and ready for the fair. They take so long, but look cute, so will hopefully sell.

Jase has just called to say he has landed, so should be home in a hour. Better sort out dinner and the hens' treats before they start bokking!!

Have a good weekend!

C x x x

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Robinson's Factory?

Am now on days off and spending it preparing for the Michaelmas fair in a couple of weeks. I found out today, I have 2 tables at the fair, so it means that I can take more stuff with me. That is if I have enough to take. I am now seriously worried if I have made sufficient 'stock' (doesn't that sound business like)???

I don't have to worry about jam/jelly!! I made 22 jars of apple and damson jam the other day and another 13 jars today. So we have 40 ish jars of plum related jelly, 16 jars of onion jam, 8 jars of chutney and 35 jars of apple and damson jam.

I bottled the last of the plums from our tree.

3 jars boiling away to steralize them. I used a cinnamon syrup this time and didn't bother to stone them first. Will squirrel them away for later in the year, when I fancy a crumble.

I also made 6 jars of Jumbleberry jam. A mixture of raspberries, blueberries and elderberries from the garden, with blackberries from the lane. It is delicious! I might keep it for us. I went brambling again yesterday, but got caught in a down pour and decided to call it a day, plodding home looking like a drowned rat.

The last of my blueberries were picked for the jumbleberry jam, but the raspberries are doing really well. I planted Autumn Bliss as autumn raspberries grow on this years canes. It means that I can cut them down each year and don't have to worry about tying in this years' canes for fruit next year, like summer fruiting varieties. A quick chop and mulch every winter and they are done!

The runner beans have nearly finished and we did quite well with the crop this year. I only planted a few plants as we can't seem to keep up with the masses of beans they produce. I cannot stomach runner bean chutney and the freezer is packed so the few handfuls of beans we did get were perfect. The pumpkins and winter squash are coming on too. The small fruits are staring to swell nicely.

I did a lovely trip last week and 2 of the crew saw the pictures of the things I am making. They placed orders!! Quite a lot actually. I have made a tea cosy today, but the rest can wait until after the fair. I need to crack on and make a few Christmas cakes soon as I already have orders stacking up. They proved very popular at the Christmas fair last year.

Apart from the above, I am plodding on as always. Still getting tired, which is a slight cause for concern. I am fine one minute and exhausted the next. Mum mentioned diabetes, but I was one step ahead of her and googled that months ago. The NHS website is scary, it is amazing what you could have! Best not to look. I think it is just the aftermath of being ill a few weeks ago. No more trouble with tonsillitis luckily! I have lost over 1/2 stone, which can only be a good thing.

We had an oil delivery last week so winter preps are well under way. The chimney is being swept next week but I still need to organise a log delivery (preferably when I am away and Jase is here *wink*) and then I'll be happy. Bring on the snow!

Time for bed now, as have been busy all day. A couple of chapters left of my book, so will retire now and finish that off. I hate finishing a book. Especially when it is a trilogy.

Night night,

C x x