Monday, 28 May 2012

Gardening, resting and doing the old family tree

Feeling hot and sultry already. Been busy in the garden planting up my two front window boxes plus two hanging baskets. Just letting them rest before putting them out. Hope to get my tomatillo's planted as well and maybe move on the peppers.

Hubby has been busy weeding the paths around the back garden. We are both sitting inside having a cup of tea and a small cake as a reward!

We've re-started tracing our family trees again after quite a break. It is amazing how much you forget where you had got to previously. Also, having just upgraded our Family Tree programme, we have got one free month on Ancestry – not that we can access everything we need though but it does give us access to other people's family trees – predominantly bad I have to say.

People seem to put all kinds of rubbish in their trees without verifying things. On the bright side, we did get good details from an unknown cousin (which we double checked) and her information was correct and filled in some blanks. Also have obtained one or two photographs of people, especially my g.g. grandmother, so that was nice.

We hadn't put ours on there but gave a partial copy to the husband of a cousin. They uploaded it and so... much of it is incorrect – don't know how they managed it as it was perfect when we gave it to them. They have the details for one g. grandmother attached to the details of a 'married in g. grandfather'!! That will send people off in the wrong direction completely. Ah well, generally it seems, some people think they can spend an afternoon on the computer and find all their relatives in an afternoon. Wrong!

We have being doing it since we first married many years ago and still have gaps which we can't yet verify. Thoroughly enjoy the hunt though. Received a certificate this morning for what we though was the death of a g.g.g. grandfather – nope – a 5 week old infant – ahh.

Anyway, enough of that, took another couple of photographs through the front window this morning:

Oriental poppies looking good and the peonies should be out very soon.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Happy Anniversay!

Welcome to my new follower Mrs. Sutton from Norfolk.

Today is our Wedding Anniversary and we will be going out tonight for a meal. Other than that, we don't really do anything but we plan on carrying on potting up plants and generally having a lazy day.

Yesterday, whilst at Houghton Hall Horse Trials, I took scenery photographs as we wandered around the course. Here they are:

 Then one of the side of the house, church and stable block:

As we wandered around the stalls area, we came across these lovely Alpaca's, then finally my lovely OH 'I wandered lonely as a cloud!':


Friday, 25 May 2012

Houghton Hall Horse Trials

As it was another nice day we headed off to Houghton Hall to see some of the horse trials. This meet has apparently been extended as Chatsworth, one of the qualifying meets for the Olympics, wasn't on due to the awful weather.

As we don't know much about this world, can't tell you who we saw but they were the 'lower echelon' as they only had 1* against their category. 2* and 3* are on at the weekend which we wanted to avoid as we knew it would be more busy.

Here are some of the horse pictures I took on my little camera. Tomorrow I will post scenery ones.

These are the ones taken by OH on his posher camera!

And... although not the best of pictures, it does prove that horses have NO feet on the ground when they gallop!!

We walked around almost the whole course which took us about 2 hours - so quite a long way.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Today in the front garden

We decided today (and it may only be a one off) to do our shopping ourselves, visiting different places etc., rather than having most of it delivered from Tesco.

We left home around 8.40am and returned 10.25 after visiting 3 shops in order – Farmfoods, Aldi and Tesco. Check out my food challenge page for more details.

Today dawned slightly misty but it has now burnt off and the temperature is climbing. Will have to put the blind out to protect the bedroom etc from a build up of heat (south facing!).

I have just taken a photograph from my front window of the front garden. It is really changing on a daily let alone weekly basis.

The first one was taken on the 6th May and the second today 24th May. The third one is just the middle close up. On my stand alone page at the top 'In my Garden', you can see close up shots of the flowers as they bloom.


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Warmth at last

Welcome to my new follower Daisy – glad to get to know you.

Well, today the weather has been lovely. It was sunny but cool first thing, still with a stiff cool breeze. However, by lunchtime it was warm and although still windy, it too was warming up.

OH has changed the hinges on my new mini greenhouse doors so I can remove them to let the plants harden off. Hopefully, I can get them in the ground the end of May as they are all growing well. Still don't like this new compost from B & Q, it just dries out too much and goes hard – goodness knows how the plants will cope when the full heat of summer arrives. Next year, I'll stick with what I normally buy.

All my wild flower and garden flower seedlings are growing well and I'm now planting out the hardier ones. I hope to shortly do the 2 hanging baskets and troughs that sit outside my lounge but they will have the option of being brought into the garage if a frost occurs.

T. popped around to check on details for a mini, very slow walk at the sea side tomorrow. She is still waiting to see if she has a broken (but now mended) vertebrae in her back or whether it is something else going on. Either way, she definitely has a kink in the base of her spine that wasn't there before she hurt her back. She is still off work but so fed up she's decided to dose herself up with pain killers and come with us. She wouldn't manage one of our normal walks but as B. is on holiday, the rest of us thought we'd go somewhere flat – like a promenade.

We all had freshly made baps filled with Coronation Chicken and salad for lunch. Mid afternoon, we decided to have a cup of tea in the garden and I got a burnt neck. Must make sure to protect it tomorrow.

Well, that's all for now folks!

Monday, 21 May 2012


It has been a cold, overcast day all day. Temperature hovering around 10 Celsius with a very cold wind. After a quick walk to feed B.'s rabbit and gerbils whilst she is away on holiday, we have stayed indoors. Even then, it has not felt very warm.

The Oops refers to yesterday. OH has had to invest in a new laptop as his other one was falling apart at its seems. Less and less peripherals were working so it had to be done. Anyway, he needed help sorting out the transfer of our money as it wouldn't work properly.

Made and poured up a cup of tea, wrapped the chicken and turned on the oven. Sat down to help. Two and a half hours later it was finally done. Phew. 

Went to put the vegetables on for tea only to find – yes you've guessed it – the oven had been on but the chicken was still sitting on the worktop. I have to admit, an expletive fell out of my mouth unexpectedly, more to do with the waste of energy having the oven on, than tea not being nearly ready.

Put said chicken in and quite frankly was so hungry, waiting for it to cook was making me not a very happy bunny.

OH suggested we go out for a roast so we did. He had roast pork and I had roast beef. Very nice and tasty. Came home to find the chicken done so it was left to go cold before putting away in the fridge.

We had all the brown meat tonight with mash and vegetables. The white meat will be used in the next couple of days. So much for my new menu!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Water, water everywhere...

Welcome to my new follower Bets – pleased you could join me!

Today has dawned grey and cool with quite a stiff cool breeze – not pleasant for doing any outside tasks at all. 

Yesterday, our new water butt arrived – what a monster. We had thought we could just tag it onto our current arrangement...

We spent the best part of yesterday afternoon, emptying water butt 1 to replace it with the new one. Butt 2 was then not at the correct height for the new one to overflow into so that needed jigging around.

The small dustbin (4) needed to be moved to accommodate butt 3 so it had to be emptied and its water put into the new monster number 1 butt, before we could move said dustbin. 

Then we had to build a brick platform for number 3 to sit on. Couldn't build it as high as needed otherwise butt 2 wouldn't overflow into it. Now I need to invest in a lower watering can to fit underneath it!

Eventually, after around 2 hours it was almost done and we gave up, had a cup of tea and a bath. I think number 3 is too close to butt 2 (the taps sit at right angles to each other and although I could squeeze in to fill it, trying to lift a full watering can at such an angle will probably pull my back. So...

Number 3 will have to be moved about 6” to the left (have no idea if all the overflow pipes will reach) then it can finally be connected to the dustbin which overflows into our little back pond!

Our water butt storage area is at the back of the garage. The floor consists of arrangements of bricks and concrete blocks, leftover from other jobs. It's a good job they were there as it kept our feet clear of all the sloshing water. I'll post a photograph when it is all done.

Are you still awake or have you lost the will to live!!!

I've just done a 5 week (mainly pro points recipes) menu to get us to pay day next week plus the following month:

Friday, 18 May 2012


If you pop over to my page In My Garden, you will notice I have added some more photographs of plants as they flower. No doubt, these squares will soon be getting filled in thick and fast!

Before the first shower of the day came, I nipped out into the back garden to take some more photographs to show you the Spring progress. First of all, the back 'dustbin' pond area - still more to come but the frogs should feel nice and safe now in their forest.

The fruit cage is beginning to fill out nicely.

As are the 'nursery' flower and vegetable seedlings and broad beans in one of the raised beds.

The raised herb garden is growing well and the chives will soon be flowering - the thyme front left is just starting.

These alpines outside the bedroom patio door are in full swing.

We have invested in a new mini wooden and polycarbonate greenhouse as the cover on the old one had perished and we can't get a replacement as the shape has changed. In here are my tomatoes, beans, peppers, tomatillo's and a few other things.

Finally, outside the kitchen window is an alpine bed sitting on top of one of our half size log stores. It is really coming into its own now. It was newly planted last year so this year will be very exciting to see what each flower is like! Unfortunately, our neighbour feeds the birds every morning from outside his kitchen window - guess where they sit above to wait? (You should see what our dustbins are like).


Thursday, 17 May 2012


Welcome to my new follower John Gray. Glad you could join me.


The frost that had been forecast for Tuesday night (and made me cover up things in the garden), didn't materialise thank goodness. Everything is now unwrapped and opened up so the plants can enjoy the nice weather for themselves.

The first blueberry has almost finished flowering and little berries are forming. A few strawberries are setting along with quite a few gooseberries. Yum!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Making Coleslaw - my way

I can't abide bought coleslaw. It always seems so sloppy and soft – not pleasurable to eat at all. Plus, you have no idea how old it is.

We eat this at least once a week and have it with fish fingers/fish cakes, cold meat, sausages etc. We usually only make enough for one serving but if a little is left over, will always use it up the next day – in sandwiches if necessary. Anyway, here is how I make it.

Take an appropriate sized bowl and for 2 of us, I put in one heaped tablespoon of mayonnaise then add 1 heaped teaspoon of flavouring. This can be, as in this photograph, wholegrain mustard. I also use apple/tartar or horseradish sauce, sweet chilli sauce, chutney or fruit based jelly. You can use fresh chopped herbs – anything really that you think will taste nice. Also, if you want a bit more zing to it you can add a little lemon juice or fruit based vinegar.

Anyway, mix whatever you have chosen together well.

Now grate or finely slice white and/or red cabbage, radish, carrot, cucumber, celery. 

Chop up some fruit such as apple, pear, grapes, orange etc. Then add tomatoes, peppers and anything else you have around or fancy eating – there are no rules, except onion which can overpower it. If you want to use onion, add just before serving.

Then about 1/2 an hour before it is needed, sprinkle generously with salt (normal or garlic or celery) and pepper. Mix it all together well, ensuring all the fruit and vegetables are covered.

As you can see, ours is a dryish mix, add more mayonnaise if you want it more sloppy. Serve with your chosen food – this time we had it with German Bratwurst and more grainy mustard. Delicious.

Should you have any left over, transfer it into a smaller container, cover and store in the fridge. Use within 24/48 hours maximum, otherwise it will be soft and horrible.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Wild Plum Yoghurt 'Ice Cream'

Yesterday we had our survey for having a water meter fitted. We have done all our tests and calculations and think we should save somewhere between £100 - £200 a year. It will be fitted in the next 3 weeks or so. We have already begun to change how we use water so will stay like we are for a couple of months to check out our usage, then adapt more if necessary. Still waiting to have our final water butt delivered.

As the yoghurt I made the other day came out a little thin, we decided to make some yoghurt ice cream - see recipe below.

Wild Plum Yoghurt 'Ice Cream'

15 fl oz yoghurt
(I used home made but any natural yoghurt will do, it doesn't even have to be Greek style)

330 g of sweetened Plum (any) puree
(that was all we had – again you could use any fruit, probably 1lb of fruit before cooking it)

We had 2 tablespoons of double cream left over from making the rhubarb crumble ice cream so added that as well!

Mix it all together

Then pour into an ice cream maker. One of these has proven to be a good investment as we now make lots of ice cream and rarely buy any in.

Anyhow, if you don't possess one, you will need to pour it into an old ice cream container. Put it in the freezer for about 40 minutes. Break up with a fork then put back and keep doing this (probably for less time in between) until it is nearly set then put into a smaller container to finish freezing.

Here is the finished 'ice cream'. It hasn't churned and set as well as normal but once frozen and partially defrosted, it will be great.

We tried it last night and although a little more solid than normal, tastes like a creamy if slightly tart, sorbet. Now to make some more!