Thursday, 6 November 2008

Quiet morning...............

Not feeling like doing much housework or things today, so I didn't! LOL I turned up the Rayburn and sat in the kitchen this morning, doing knitting-type things. First, I trimmed the edges of the little red stockings I made the other day, quite pleased with them. Then I knitted the bear - he's from Debbie Bliss's Toy Knits book, which I've used a lot, the aptterns are wonderful. These will go on the WI Christmas stall with the rabbit and some scarves and other bits I hope to get done.

It's a cold, grey old day out there, not very inspiring at all; I'm tired too, so just feel like mooching around and keeping warm. I might make some cake in a while. Bean is out until later tonight, so is MrL, so it's just EJ and me tonight. Fairly quiet, then, although he'll be playing music upstairs I should think. Easy tea, some tidying up and a clean of the fridge, then that'll be it for the day. I don't feel like doing much else, but I might get some sewing out.
Up early tomorrow and off out to market - Friday already again. I want to start collecting up some bits for Christmas, and buy the dried fruit for cake and pudding. Not much on over the weekend, although there is a quiz in the village hall; now I've rejoined teh committee, I'll have to go, but will be quizzing rather than organising, as it was udnertaken during my time off the committee. Haven't been to a quiz for ages, so might enjoy that!

Cake, anyone?

Happy bunny................

This is my happy bunny :) I've knitted her as part of my contributions to the WI Christmas coffee morning craft stall. I've knitted quite a few of these over the years, the pattern is from a very old Bazaar Makes type booklet. I remember my mothr having one, and I now have two copies; it contains the original patterns for the much despised toilet roll covers in the shapes of a crinoline lady and a fluffy poodle, which always make me smile:) One day, I might knit them - in an ironic way ofcourse...........LOL

These are, or rather *were* my happy buns LOL I made a tray of Chelsea buns yesterday, but they're all gone now! I did manage to hide 2 for Bean's lunchbox, but the rest got eaten by bedtime. Ah well, at least they like my baking......:)

6th November

Today is the Feast day of St leonard of Noblac - and here's the man himself:

He is the patron Saint of blacksmiths, coopers, greengrocers, prisoners of war, slaves and women in labour.

Bet that lot kept him busy!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Feed the birds................

I love the birds that visit the garden year -round. Now the garden is well-established after over ten years or so's planting, there are plenty of thick shrubs, trees and bushes for them to hide in, congregate and generally make a noise in! teh feeders are out all year - I have several for nuts and seeds, one for apples to be impaled on, and two birdtables; water dishes are put out too. I made some birdfood the other day from some spare pork fat from a very fatty piece of pork I was cooking. Ijust melted it down, put in plenty of mixed seeds, let it cool, then set it in the fridge. It'll be cut up today and put out on the tables for them. I also put out bread, fruit, etc.
We get a good variety of birds visiting - blue tits, great tits, green finches, sparrows, pigeons and collared doves, jackdaws, crows, starlings, wrens, robins. Occasional visitors are sparrowhawks, bullfinches, a woodpecker and a dunnock. I'm sure there are others I've missed, though. My kitchen window looks out over the back garden , where I can watch the birds at quite close quarters. We have a few nestboxes up, but no-one has chosen to use them yet. Maybe one day we'll be so honoured. :)

Monday, 3 November 2008

Lunchtime treat

Usually for lunch I have a quick sandwich, or crackers and cheese, or fruit, or sometimes nothing at all; I always make sure I sit down for an hour in the middle of the day, though, usually with a cup of something, whether or not I have food with it. I'll do a puzzle, knit, sew, or something similar, but not a "work" type thing. Today I treated myself, though, to a small piece of freshly cooked salmon with smoked paprika mayonnaise and granary bread. I really, really enjoyed that, made a lovely change. Sometimes you just have to spoil yourself a wee bit, don't you? ;) :)

Giving at Christmas

This year is going to be different. Up until now, I've been organising and thinking about presents for giving to friends and family at Yule/Christmas. Mostly handmade, some bought, some recycled, the usual. On Friday night, there was footage on teh news of people scrambling on the ground in PDR of Congo for a few grains of rice and scraps of food from the little aid that has reached them. Human beings should not be existing like this anywhere in the world today, but sadly, far, far too many are. They are the ones who need the giving, not my friends and family - they have everything they want and need, and are in the lucky position of being able to secure anything else for themselves. So, this year, apart from my children and OH, there will be no giving of presents or gifts. Our money, instead, will go to help one of the relief charities that try and help desparate people like these. I will slip a little note inside the cards I send to let everyone know, but this year that's how it's going to be.


So, November comes around again. It's been a cold start to the month; the picture above is Boreas, the God of the north wind. I think this representation was taken from a Greek vase, rather nice, I think. Chambers Book of Days has quite a lot to say about November:

In nature, November is the time of transition into winter (although autumn does not "officially" end until late December, in the astronomical division of the seasons). The last leaves fall from deciduous trees this month and many hibernating species commence their winter sleep. Traditionally, for people living closer to the land, it has marked a period of final preparation for the cold, dark months ahead.
The Anglo-Saxons named it Blotmonath - blood month - or Windmonath - wind month - the former because it was time to butcher wn sted menter, and the latter for obvious meteorological reasons. It was at this time of year that fishing stopped and boats were tied up for teh winter, as the seas became too dangerous.

Weather lore includes variations on "if the ice in November will bear a duck then all the rest will be slush and muck" - the implication being that the severity of the months ahead could be predicted by the weather in November. A cold November means a mild, wet winter. Judging by some of the regional variations of the rhyme, this predictive power of ducks is reputed to be at its peak at Martinmas (11th November).
Whether teh ducks are skating or swimming, November's weather is never thought of as kind. The English poet and humourist Thomas Hood (1799-1845) wrote these happy lines when reflecting on a foggy day in London:

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds -


If you decide to venture out of doors at this time of year, and are greeted by a cold, clear night, November offers the opportunity to see two sets of annual meteor showers - The Taurids (25th october - 25th November) and the Leonids (14th - 20th November). The Leonids, so called because they appear to speed outwards form teh constellation of Leo, put on an especially spectacular display on average three times a century, although it is only within the last few years that scientists have managed to predict with any accuracy exactly when these meteor "storms" will occur.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Tattie scones

A nice simple recipe for leftovers, using just mashed potato and flour.

Just use as much mashed potato as you have left over; use good mash, with butter, milk and seasoning. Mix in just enough flour to make a good stiff, but rollable pastry-like dough. Roll it out and cut into shapes; fry on a hot dry girdle, plate or frying pan, cool on a wire rack.

Note - these never taste as good made with mashed potato specially cooked to make them. Wonderful fried for breakfast with fried eggs. :)

Magic mushroom hat

This is a magic mushroom beanie for one of Bean's friends - the things you get asked to knit, eh? I quite like it, actually.............:)