Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Damson Fest!

Another busy week for me. Interupted by a couple of days at work, but that doesn't stop me!

I popped over to my friend's house at Ruby Cottage and left with a fair old bounty!

Apples, plums and damsons aplenty!! Literally more damsons than I could pick. The tubtrug picture above is about 5% of what was on the tree! I managed to pick some elderberries and wild crabapples on my way home too!

The raspberries are doing fantastically! Even though they are an Autumn fruiting variety, they are growing well and giving me a handful a day! I guess summer is over, so Autumn is on the way. The trees are starting to turn to gold and red, so not long until the first frost :0(

Getting there with the stall preps. Not long until the fair now. 24th of September is D-Day! A shame to waste the garden bounty, so made a few jars of apple and blueberry jam -

With some many damsons, I spent hours and hours destoning them in preparation for damson ketchup. A mind numbing job, but necessary. It took so long to prepare and after a life time, washing, stoning and sorting them, chopping onions and trying to scrub my hands of brown damson juice!! It was well worth the effort as it tastes wonderful with sausages!!

12 jars of plum and ginger jam -

and 13 bottles of damson cordial that I forgot to take pictures of!

Jase and i had to go to Hungerford to get his car serviced yesterday. I had to bring him back home as the garage needed the car all day. Shame to go so far and not wander around, so we had tea and croissants in a pub and then headed to Hungerford Arcade. I am not sure if I have mentioned this place before? It is an Aladdin's cave of stuff. Loads of little rooms filled with nic naks and lovely things! I am not to be trusted. Especially when I am moving soon, it seemed daft to buy anything.

That was until I came across an old quilt. The label said £57. Who am I to refuse such a bargain??
The man at the till said it was £51 as he 'was being nice'!! Made my day!!

Delighted with my purchase, we celebrated in the attic of the building - a small tea room serving breakfasts, scones etc. According to Jase, the chef was very interested in me. *confused* I said he was just being friendly, but Jase was convinced I was getting the eye and the chef kept staring. I must have had a bit of scrambled egg stuck to my mouth or something??

Agnes is finally over her broodiness. Cornelia is moulting and the other two are laying an egg every other day. Luckily nextdoor have gone on holiday, so I am bantam sitting the 3 balls of fluff. 3 eggs today! Woohoo....!

The survey came back on Bramble Cottage. Loads of problems, new windows and drain pipes needed, damp everywhere, but I don't care! It is lovely (or will be, when I am finished). About a month now until I am hoping to move in. Scary!

Right, time for bed. Up at the crack of sparrows tomorrow for a 7am stand by.

C x x x

Friday, August 12, 2011

Burying nuts?


Firstly, sorry for the typos that will no doubt be in this update. My fingers are freezing (who would guess that it is August) and I am watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on the tele......

Ok, so what have I been up to this week? The big news is that we have sold the house.....for those that didn't know. My offer has been accepted on Bramble Cottage (yes, I have named it already) and things are plodding on, with solicitors, estate agents and surveyors. I would love to move in the first week of October, but time will tell if everything goes to plan.

Jase and I went to the house last week as he hadn't seen it and I wanted to measure the windows and see if some of my furniture would fit through the doors. We managed to get a picture of the garden. There is at least another metre or so of land behind the stone trough - that is where I plan to put the hens. The lawn will go and be replaced with raised veggie beds. The working garden.

There is a small courtyard off the lounge, that I will gravel and put out a table and chairs. A few pots and that will be my garden.

I am now starting to worry about getting logs and oil for the winter, the single glazed wooden windows and the lack of heating. I have the Rayburn - have I mentioned the Rayburn before??, yes, I HAVE A RAYBURN, in cream, it is stunning - and there are God awful-electricity-munching storage heaters in the lounge and bedrooms. The Rayburn should keep the kitchen warm and there is a fireplace in the lounge - hence the need for lots of logs. I won't freeze, but after the winter we had this year, I am not taking any chances. Time to start making another patchwork quilt; one that I can leave on the sofa.

I made the kindle case and it was picked up this week! I was happy with it and so was Bev!

I had lots of oranges, so decided to make candied peel. It is such a faff to make, but tastes wonderful. I plan to make lots and sell it at the Christmas fair in November, once each stick has been dipped in chocolate of course....!

The weather hasn't been that good this week or this summer in fact. A good year for fruit, but the veggies really aren't doing well. The little pear tree is nearly at braking point. I must thin out some of the fruit this week.

The blueberry tree I bought 6 years ago as a little green twig for £2 has gone mad. This is the second bowl I have had this week and there are plenty more left on the bush. I had some raspberries from the supermarket and made a couple of jars of blueberry and raspberry jam.

I finally have runner beans! Only a few but many more flowers appearing.

The autumn raspberries are fruiting already. Most are green, but I picked a couple of handfuls today. The hens got a few over ripe ones that I missed.

Jase and I picked up 24 boxes and 50 metres of bubble wrap today. That should just about do for my books and half my cookware. I should start packing soon, just bits and pieces that I don't need urgently. It would be a good time to declutter, highly unlikely I know. I like to hoard. Whether it is books, jams, bottled fruit or 'winter stores'.....I should have been born a squirrel. Popped in to visit my Mum and left with a couple of bags of apples and some oranges, so more candied peel started this evening. Will make apple and blueberry jam tomorrow. One I haven't done before, but fruit combos seem to sell well.

Cornelia must have heard me bad mouthing her in my last blog entry, she has been laying quite well - as have the others. Mum and Dad had 4 boxes of eggs last week and I have another 2 boxes full today. Cake baking is in order tomorrow.

A couple of days left until I am back at work. A nice 5 day block and then 3 days off again. It comes around so quickly!

Better dash, as I have a 'number 4' felt badge to sew for a young man's birthday on Sunday!

C x x x