Saturday, 30 August 2008

Some more images of my day; the sweetpeas are, I fear, the last of them for this year now. They are sitting in a pot, beside the packets of seed I recently bought for sowing in September to get another good crop for next year - can never have too many sweet peas! Theeh little caterpillar fell out of the sweet peas and landed on my knitting wool - nice soft landing for him! Paco knows he shouldn't really be sitting in my rocking chair............. the bowl of eggs is what I collected this morning - nice assortment of colours and sizes, taste is indescribably good, too.........

Kitchen aromas.........

At this busy time of the year, the kitchen is filled with all sorts of scents and aromas; these are some of today's....... onions skins in a dye pot, fresh basil, sweetpeas, elderflower cordial, fresh hops straight from the bine, freshly made pizza waiting for the oven.........

The scents and aromas are intensified by the heat - today was very warm, so lots of tantalising smells about the place.

A - Z of homemaking

I found this on allybea's blog ; looked like fun, so brought it over here. Why not have a go on your blog, then I can come and have a nosey............... :)

A ~Aprons--y/n If y, what does your fav. look like? Yes; cream with pink and green roses

B ~ Baking--Favorite thing to bake? Butter sponge cake or blueberry muffins

C ~ Clothes line? All the time, plus pulley above stove in kitchen for wet days

D ~ Donuts--Have you ever made them? Yes, but not since I got rid of the electric fryer in one of my non-electric brainstorms!!

E ~ Everyday--One homemaking thing you do everyday? Open all the windows; cook

F ~ Freezer--Do you have a separate deep freeze? Yes, two small chest freezers

G ~ Garbage Disposer? Never

H ~ Handbook--What is your favourite homemaking resource? Internet for me, or books on simplicity

I ~ Ironing--Love it or Hate it? Or hate it but love the results? Love it!

J ~ Junk Drawer--y/n? Where is it? No

K ~ Kitchen--color and decorating scheme. Lots of natural wood, big dresser, apple green walls, white Rayburn, Italian stone tiles on floor, no ceiling at the moment though!

L ~ Love--what is your favorite part of homemaking? Bringing in fresh washing off the line;baking;polishing

M ~ Mop--y/n? Yes

N ~ Nylons, machine or hand wash? Don't wear tights/nylons

O ~ Oven--do you use the window or open the oven to check? Have to open the door; also to check the temp before using as the thermomenter gave up the ghost about 4 years ago - I just stick my hand in now!

P ~ Pizza--What do you put on yours? Fresh tomatoes,. basil, mozzarella

Q ~ Quiet--What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? Cup of tea and knitting; daydreaming

R ~ Recipe Card Box--y/n? What does it look like? No, but lots and lots of books

S ~Style of house--What style is your house? Semi-detached, post war, built as a house for the cook at the big house in the village , big garden

T ~ Tablecloths or Placemats? Tablecloth

U ~ Under the kitchen sink--organized or toxic wasteland? Organised, non-toxic as a rule!

V ~ Vacuum--How many times per week? Very rarely, as no carpets, so brush and mop here; most days

W ~ Wash--How many loads of laundry do you do per week? 7 -8

X's--Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off? Occasionally in the relevant part on my forum, but quite often veer off course!

Y ~ Yard--y/n? Who does what? I do all the gardening

ZZZ's--what is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed? Checking the Rrayburn so it stays in overnight.

Thanks allybea.........

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Busy time of year

My kitchen is busy the year round, but especially so at this time of year; I love the constant (hopefully) supply of crops from the hedgerow and garden that have to be dealt with - jamming, pickling, brewing,'s a very productive time of year, and gives great satisfaction to see jars lined up on the shelves for winter use. Today I'm continuing with the crab apple jelly - more boiling needed, then straining the juice, so it's out with the jelly bag. One thing I'm trying this year for the first time is salting; I've only done one jar of beans so far, but will do some research and try some other things I think. Even more satisfying to preserve without the use of energy.

There are herbs to be picked this week too, whilst it's dry, and I need to get out today and harvest the hops, almost at the peak of readiness. They will get tied up in an old net curtain and hung above the Raybrun for 3 or 4 days to dry, then stored for beer making over the winter.

Me on TV............


A re-run of the documentary I featured in was shown last night on Sky3; I wasn't going to watch it, but was tempted into the sitting room by the hoots of laughter....!! Back in 2005 I took part in one of a series of TV programmes called Secrets of Suburbia, a programme about the quirkiness of British life - not that I think mine is quirky... :) I was in the one called The Secret Lives of.........housewives. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part, the filming was great fun, and it was nice to have my five minutes of fame too. The pic above is of the crew filming the soapmaking sequence in the garden.

I'd like to do a bit more I think, so am busy making plans in that direction, so we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008


I am very pleased that I've finally got to grips with this particular craft! My lucet is a replica of those found on the Mary Rose; I bought it last year from a re-enactor manning the Mary Rose Trust stand at the Oak Fair. Although it came with written instrucitons, I was unable to fathom out how to actually get it to produce anything at all! One of the girls on the forum suggested learning a new skill for the duration of the olympic games, so I retrieved the lucet and had another go, still failing. So, on Saturday last, I went back to see the chap at the stand when we went to the Oak Fair, where his wife, also in period costume, gave me a quick lesson. Ten mionutes back home, and I was away! It's quite meditative in tis action in teh same way that knitting is. A lot of cordage can be produced in a short time. Although this is a replica of a Tudor one, I believe that similar have been in use since Viking times, so it's an ancient craft. similar in action and result to French knitting, the yarn is wound around teh prongs in a figure of eight, the bottom loop on the right-hand prong lifted up and over the one above it; the lucet is then flipped over and the manouvre repeated. The resulting cord passes through the hole to the desired length. The trick is to get the tensioning right, once you get that sorted, you're away! First project will be some funky laces for my DMs I think :)

Kilner jars

love my Kilner jars, and have been collecting them over the 20 years or so I've had my own house. They get well used every year, and I love bottling all sorts of fruit for winter, plus tomatoes. Mine have come from an assortment of sources - car boots, the tip, donated as no longer used, LETS, boot sales, etc. I've never bought a new one :) I do have a few more modern Le Parfait ones, but I don't feel the same affection for them as the true English Kilner! I spent an hour yesterday cleaning a boxful out ready for use; some of them are qutie old, and I've just ordered some new tops for them. There's another basketful in the shed to deal with, interspersed with jam jars, so I need to get on and get them done. I keep the full jars on the top shelf in the larder where it's cool and dark. My mother and granny bottled fruit as well, so it's continuing a family tradition, and it's very satisfying stepping back and surveying a shelf full of bottled fruit form the garden, or from foraging expeditions, or collected from/given by friends. It's lovely to have fruit and tomaotes ready to eat in the depths of winter, reminding you of the summer months watching and waiting for the fruit to reach its full ripeness for picking. As well as the fruit bottling, they have a lot of other sues - sloe gin, other liqueurs, beans, buttons - all sort of things. A woman can never have too many Kilner

Monday, 25 August 2008

Travels with my knitting.................

Busy weekend, out both Saturday and Sunday; needless to say my knitting went with me! I started anew pair of socks, so I'd ahve something small and protable to carry around. Saturday was the Oak Fair; wonderful as usual, lovely to go to a small enough event where you could meet lots of folks you know too. Some lovely exhibitors; Dave Budd from was there with his Iron Age blacksmithing. OH and I both very taken with his work, and interested in doing at least one of the courses he offers. It was good to meet him as he has recently joined the Creative Living forum too. Lots to see, many interesting people to talk to, came back fired up with enthusisam for trying out lots of new skills too. I visited the Mary Rose Preservation Society tent again; I bought a lucet last year, and have been unable, despite several tries, to work out how to use it. So I had a long chat with the woman there, who showed me, so I was able to get going when I got home - and it's quite addictive! Will post on that later with a picture. Her husband had made some Tudor style shoes, which I had a long look at, and told me about a re-enactors show/fair that takes place every November. I think a visit to that would be right up my street. Will ahve to be next eyar, now, though. I loved the heavy horses demonstrating logging skills, and a bit of competition too; highly skilled, both horse and human. There was a lovely pair of strawberry road Clydesdales there. Shame you don't see the true breed often these days, they are now on the rare breed list. I liked the Ardennes too, she was lovley, but they all were! Big, though...............
Below is a really interesting contraption; it was being used to steam ash for making the roofs of the yurts- basically a big galvanised trough with a lid attached; the steam was generated by the old, black painted gas bottles underneath. Wonderful!

There was a lady making a skep as well, which was very, very interesting, and sadly I suspoect a much endangered art. I had a good watch, and have various instructions here, so will get around to having a go one day, although I do have an antique skep should I need to rush out and collect a swarm! I'd like to make one with my own straw, which is not impossible to consider, now I've proved to myself I can grow the wheat. She was very proud of her cow horn that held the straw in place whilst sewing it around.


Sunday saw us down the south of the county at a produce swapmeet for a forum I'm on. Had a lovely day, good company, lots of ideas and itneresting inspirations. Dave who hosted it has set up some great water saving and harveting projects, really interesting. Lots of folks went away happy with my lemon curd and knitteds, and I came home with a large amount of crab apples, wild apples and various plants - parcel, spinach, strawberries. Delicious food, homemade by the attendees, and teh weather wasn't oo bad, although we did have to do soem shower dodging between teh cider barrel and the garden:) We also came home with a couple of hens for re-homing, so they're up the top getting to know the others again - they've been here a couple of times on holiday, but we get to keep them this time round!