Friday, 27 June 2008

Friday with a difference................

Up very early this morning to go down to Wimborne with MrL on the first stage of my non-shop shopping project; spent a lovely 2 hours wombling around the market; did the week's shopping. Lots of fresh stuff - fruit and veg (veg local, the things that aren't ready here yet), very nice leg of lamb for Sunday, local cheese and butter, free range ham, bacona nd black pudding to try, big lump of Blue Vinny, chestnut mushrooms and some lovely iwld boar and pheasant pates. Very pleased with my purchases, it seems it will be entirely possible to do this weekly. If for any reason MrL doesn't go in on a Friday, there is a Farmer's Market in Sherborne we can try instead. I spent an hour or so browsing the other stalls - lots of interesting bits and bobs. There's a lovely lady who sells vintage jewellery, and her friend on the next stall, so I invested some of the housekeeping in jewels! Will post pics next time, but their stuff is very lovely, and cheaply priced. I treated myself to Knitting Today magazine - the best one of the rash of new knitting amgazines I've found; several things in there I want to knit, including tracking down the pattern for a Peacock shawl from Socktopus, which I then found on the net, so will probably order that, along with Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise jacket; nice men's pullover, ladybird slippers, gorgeous christening shawl - I want to knit them all :0) :0) :0) Made pizzas for tea; I now need to go and tidy up and clean the kitchen, then get ready for the Guild meeting tomorrow - looking forward to that, as I missed the last one due to illness. The talk is on tapestry weaving letters. Like to have a go soon at tapestry weaving; there are sufficient hours in a day, but I might quite like another day in the week..........

Thursday, 26 June 2008

We had the first of the new potatoes last night for tea; teh whole meal was home -produced - cheese omlette with own eggs and homemade cheese, spring cabbage and potatoes from the garden, lemon meringue ice cream with our eggs, meringue and lemon curd. Very satisfying to have produced such a great proportion of a meal yourself, and the thrill never goes. These potatoes are Edzell Blue, a heritage variety - they are violet coloured before cooking, though, a truly stunning colour. Unless you steam them or bake them, though, they lose most fo their colour in teh cooking, but retain the taste, which is the important bit!

I'm getting back into the twice monthly KAL dishcloth project; I hadn't done any for a while whilst the printer was out of action; this is the current one, knitted up in a gold coloured cotton, needs a bit of concentration, though!

This has been lurking in my docs for a while, now got around to posting it. I picked this up on my favourite jewellery stall at the market; she does lovely vintage stuff at really cheap prices, and I found this lovely little horse in the 50p box; I'm fairly sure it's silver, probably South American, but there are no marks on it at all. Not that it matters, I think he's all the more lovely for it!

7 days, 7 meals...................

Tuesday 2nd July; another favourite - sausage plate pie. I got this recipe eyars ago from susan Hill's lovely Through the Kitchen Window, and it's a regular here. It's sausagemeat and chopped onion in a pastry case - simple, easy, cheap and tasty. This was with some free range pork sausagemeat I found half price in a local shop, so bought a few of them. Usually, though, it's homemade sauasgemeat. We ahd this with buttered new potatoes and peas.

Tuesday 1st July; nice and easy tonight, pasta and cheese sauce, one of my favourites.

Monday 30th June; tonight's meal is leg of spring lamb, cooked with lavender, honey, garlic and olive oil, based on a recipe by Jimmy Doherty in his rather excellent book. Have cooked a pan of rice too,s o will have the lamb cold with rice salad. The smell when you open the oven door is unbelievably gorgeous........

Sunday 29th; we always get Sunday off to a good start with a cooked breakfast! This is mine, our own eggs, everything else local, followed by juice, fresh coffee and toast and marmalade.

Saturday 28th June - tonight had to be quick and easy, as I didn't get back until after 4pm; so, egg salad it was - our own eggs, home made mayonnaise, own lettuce, rest of the salad and potatoes local, bought in the market yesterday.

Friday 27th June - made pizzas for this evening, tailored to everyone's tastes. This one is mine, though!

Thursday 26th June - joining in with greentwinsmummy's idea of showing how we eat here, but with the main meal only; the rest of the day is help yourself, so no set meals as such - my two are grown up and feed themselves throughout the day, OH at work, main meal in evening. Tonight was toad-in-the-hole with mash and homemade chutney; sausages were free range, local and half price; pudding was local organic yoghurt and stewed gooseberries in elderflower cordial.

Wool and curd-filled day!

Got up early to get some lemon curd on the go for the WI market tomorrow; greentwinsmummy came over this afternoon and kindly picked it up to take there for me; sent some duck and chicken eggs too, the boxes resplendent in their newly printed out Lynn Cottage labels, looking very smart.

The pictures above are of yesterday and today's spinning efforts; I have completed two skeins of knittable wool, one of which was then knitted into the sampler of garter stitch. This was some Gotland fleece from the Guild I was given for a challenge, so I challenged myself to get on with it!! I am really, really pleased to have got the hang of it, more or less, and feel confident enough to tackle the fleece mountain that is lurking behind the front door (and on top of my wardrobe, and in the cabin, and in some drawers.........)
Up early tomorrow morning to trial the non-shop shopping - hope the weather is better than it is at the moment, though!
Teh rest of the day was spent on research - alternatives to paraffin for the lamps (lloking hoepful); researching uses of meadowsweet, just coming into bloom here in teh damper ditches and verges; more grain research.
It's a full and happy life.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Wheat field

The wheat is beginning to show signs of ripening - not quite a field, but a decent sized patch to make it worthwhile. I wanted to prove to myself I coudl grow it, harvest it, mill it and bake it. On course at the moment, although it has taken a bit of a battering from the weather. Pleased with progress, another piece of the self-reliance jigsaw falling into place. The lawn's days are numbered, I fear :0)

Pasta, knitting and General Custer.............

On this day in 1867, a patent for barbed wire was granted to Lucien B Smith..........

Today is also the date of Custer's last stand in 1876, the infamous day when he led 650 soldiers into battle against thousands of Native American warriors in teh vally of the Little Big Horn river. Custer had been ordered to wait for reinforcements before launching the attack, and his decision to "go it alone" - variously seen as an act of great courage or great folly - resulted in the deaths of 267 officers and men, including Custer himself (Chambers book of Days - note to self : wonder why the number of Native American deaths seem not to be recorded?)

In between cooking and washing yesterday, I got some more squares knitted for the blanket swap, and made up the quilt squares int he evening; this is a nice block, simple and effective. I think it would lovely in a red and white quilt.

I decided to make pasta yesterday, as I hadn't done it for a while; turned it into a "How to........" for the forum, which can be found here:

It was to use up some bits too; a rather elderly pot of dried wild mushrooms lurking in the alrder served well as a base for the sauces, with some tinned tomatoes, pesto and cream; topping is yoghurt and mozzarella. It was very good, if I say so myself!

Not sure what's happening today, apart from going to work for a while - I do a home help for someone in the village a couple of times a week, so always need to remember to go and do that!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

No-shop shopping.................

I've finally done it - convinced OH that we should try out my non-shop shopping idea. I am not a fan of ordinary shopping, be it food, clothes, whatever. When I moved down here, back in 1987, we had little choice apart from a large Safeway, so we shopped there; then there came along a couple of farm shops, and the supermarket started stocking organic milk. It has boomed since then, down here, and now, where we live further up the county in an agricultural area, we are spoiled for choice for everything. Within a not very large radius, we ahve numerous farm shops, game dealers, local meat consortiums, farmers' markets, fish delivery man, local butchers, local cheeses; also, a small independent shop, which does sell an excellent selcetion of local, organic and Fair Trade. However, it's not enough for me. The difference in the Farmers' Market I went to at Wimborne the other week, and the food in even the local independent wee shop is astounding. The market food was alive - fresh-vital; you wanted to touch it, eat it, cook it, take it home! The producers had time to talk and have a laugh, lots of info freely given, you could taste, touch, smell, choose your own.

So, from this week, I will be embarking on my non-shop shopping experiment. I should qualify that, and say we will still use some shops, but not the normal ones - we will use secondhand, charity, specialist, hardware shops, etc, but no supermarkets (caveat on that, which I will outline below), notmal clothes shops, etc, to the best of my abilities. So, that is why, this Friday, I will be up at 5.30 am and off into town with OH (he works there, so no extra fuel used), where I will buy from real people who know there food, save some money and not have to face what has become, for me, the soul destoying weekly shop in a metal trolley, full of packaging and tired looking food of dubious origin. I have always been careful of the food we eat, but feel ready now to take the next steps. So, Farmers' Markets, roadside stalls, our own produce, Suma wholefoods, bulk buys from the internet for me. I am aware of how lucky I am to have that choice, and am grateful for the chance to exercise it.

Supermarkets: not for me, but I understand why some poeple like them - it can be convenient sometimes to do a one stop shop in one place; others really have no alternative. It makes me cross when some people come over very self-righteous about not shopping in them, and get snooty and snobby about it, but I realise that for some, the supermarket it is, for their own reasons. Not everyone has lcoal independent suppliers, farmers' markets or the physical ability to shop otherwise, so each to their own. I have also seen the quality of some of the food they sell improve in leaps and bounds - local. organic, fresh, etc. However, for me, the trick is for YOU TO USE THE SUPERMARKETS- NOT LET THEM USE YOU. So, we will not be seduced by bogofs, loyalty cards, bright lights, sneaky marketing tactics, gross overpackaging and habit shopping. We did use Sainsbury the other day - I wanted some tins etc to start off a new store for my prepping endeavours (cheap tins and pasta for storing), so we went in and, yes, dear reader, I USED THEM- THEY DID NOT USE ME!

So, new project - non-shop shopping. OH looking forward to saving a bit more money, I'm looking forward to real food in my wheelie basket and more from the garden.

View across the vale

This is the view from our bedroom window; I have a look out over the vale every morning with the binoculars - what a start to the day! It's especially lovely on mornings like this - early light, clear and bright. The building on the left is an old stone barn the pub uses for storage, and the table you can see in the pub garden is the one we sat at for knitting last night; it was so lovely sitting out there, just knitting away with all that in the background. There are corn poppies in the field too. I don't suppose very much has changed from Thomas Hardy's days and his Vale of the Little Dairies; if you go up on to the hill behind, Bulbarrow hill, the view laid out before you is just stunning. On a quiet day up there, with few people about, it's just you and the wind. If we take the telescope, we can see our house; it's a good hunting ground for gorse, brambles, sloes, wild garlic......... There are about 3 or 4 houses up the hill - imagine living there! Bit bleak in the winter, but I wouldn't mind that, it would be worth it for the views.

Monday, 23 June 2008

New in the garden..........

This is my virginia creeper, which has decided to do its thing properly, and is heading off up the chimney on the east gable wall; eventually, in the autumn, it should be a blaze of colour visible as you enter the village from this end. I love the wee suckers it puts out - reminds me of the feet of tree frogs in the rain forest..........

My philadelphus has bloomed for the first time; what a sweet scent.........

Been in the kitchen.....

Sponge cake for tea this afternoon

Tattie scones - family favourite here!

Fish pie for tea tonight

Off to put the kettle on!

More on Monday................

Starting off today's post/s properly now :) The knitted square is winging its way ot New Zealand as I type, as part of the forum swap - quite pleased with it, it's pretty colours. The rest of the family was at teh dentist on Friday afternoon, so I had a quick whizz around the charity shops in Sturminster Newton; no knitting books, but I did pick up the rose/blue scarf which is so pretty, and then on to the wonderful Hansons, where I could quite easily live, where I succumbed to the light green and rose cotton - a remnant of 0.9m at only 4.28. I think it may be a cushion cover by the end of the day.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Monday looming.......

........feeling much better today, so on the mend. Got the jam wine underway, and baked spiced banana muffins for the imminent visit of a friend bringing me her unwanted carpet loom! What a gift that is.......picture above. Weather been a bit iffy here all weekend, better today, but illness and bad weather put the kybosh on our Solstice plans, sadly. Been picking more sweet peas - the one in the picture is my favourite - Cupani, of the original stock sent /brought over from Sicily by an Italian monk. I got my knitted squares done for a forum project and sent off, so was able to tick that off the list too, and made some dog food after reading about it on Down to Earth blog; luckily the dog has taken to it, so I will keep on with that.

Hahahaha - the computer locked up, so Monday has well and truly loomed, a beautiful morning out there, so need to get up and get on now! ah well...........:0)