Friday, 3 June 2011

Rose petal wine

One of my very favourite flower wines - a real taste of summer in a glass; give it a try if you can. The picture above shows some of what is in the pan ready - a total of 10 different types of rose, and yes, I can name them all lol Pick the petals when they're dry, about the middle of the day if you can, and process them asap.

Large pan full of well-scented rose petals
1 gallon hot water
2 1/2 lbs sugar
2 lemons sliced
handful of dried fruit
1 teabag

Cover the petals with water and heat very gently for about half an hour or so; pour into fermenting bin or vessel, add sugar and stir well to dissolve, add lemon, dried fruit and teabag. Stir well, cover and leave until blood heat, then add yeast, stir again, cover closely and leave in a warm place 4 -5 days or so, stirring daily. Strain into demi-john and ferment out, racking if necessary after 6 weeks. Bottle, label and keep a year before drinking.

Food Book of the Year

Won by Mark Diacono for his 'Taste of the Unexpected', as recommended by me further up the blog somewhere. A hugely inspirational book, with the usual high standard of writing and pictures. See- It's not just me who thought that! lol (and I'm not just saying that because I know him and he's a friend, either)

Friday smile...........

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Pea pod wine

Another seasonal delight from MrsL's winery lol
I bought these peas the other night as I couldn't resist them; I'm growing my own as usual, but they were a wee bit late in going on, so will be ready later. Good value - I got a decent amount of  peas and enough pods to make a gallon of wine. any one remember the 'Peapod burgundy' form  The Good LIfe? Well here you go!

Pea pods - I usually use the pods from about 2 -3 lbs  or so of peas
1 gallon hot water
1 large lemon
2 1/2 lbs sugar
handful of dried fruit
1 tea bag

Put the pods, along with any bits of stalk, leaf etc into a large pan, add the water and simmer gently for 30 minutes or so. Don't boil, or leave them much longer, or the fresh green-ness will be lost and the flavour not so good. Pour the whole lot into your brewing vessel, add the sugar and stir well to dissolve, add sliced lemon, dried fruit and tea bag. Cover and leave to cool to blood temperature, then add the yeast, stir well, cover closely and leave in a warm place 4 - 5 days, stirring daily. Strain into demi-john and ferment out Bottle and label and leave a year before drinking.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Going with the flow............

I always try to do this; the old 'things happen for a reason' is, yes, trite and cliched, but it is thus for a reason -because it always rings true.
Yesterday afternoon, I asked Bean to pop up to the post office to post a parcel for me; turns out the new community post-office is only open in the mornings. Now, that is absolutely no problem whatsoever to me; now I know, I can post accordingly. So, I went out this morning, did my banking there and posted said parcel. Along with the post office side, the shop is now a community shop, run mainly by volunteers; I had a cup of tea with the two girls in the shop, who I've known for years in the village, turns out they were short-staffed; I have now volunteered for Wednesday mornings and emergency/short notice cover whenever needed - as happened this afternoon! I didn't leave until after 4pm. There were a lot of surprised faces when I popped up behind the till, I can tell you, for lots of reasons lol
Anyhoo, it means I could be in the shop at any time at all as well as the Wednesday mornings. I've done a lot of shop work of various types in the past and know my way around a till, love talking to the customers, so am going to enjoy it immensely.
Result: came home with 4 pints of free goat milk on its sell by date, and taking delivery of two un-needed drakes from one of the girls. I will also get all the out of date/sellby dated stuff for the livestock, so that will help things a good deal.
On the way back, I saw the library van in the layby outside my house, so popped in and re-joined; had to pay £2 for a new card, but what a bargain - free to borrow books brought almost to the doorstep every fortnight, and free request books so I can try before I buy, ordering them in online. I also got a couple of jigsaws to do, which are foc.
All in all, a really good day, all for being able to just go with what was happening at the time.
Life should be like that, no?

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The daily wander

One of the highlights of my day is what I call The Daily Wander. After I've fed and watered the livestock, I take a long, slow wander around the garden to see what's appearing and what's doing well, what needs attention, what needs doing, that sort of thing. It's especially nice to do after a day like yesterday - a really good, long downpour in the morning has resulted in the garden looking fresh and revived, abundant and fecund.  There is a lot of colour - geraniums and roses taking centre stage at the moment, the blue of Johnson's Blue geranium is especially vibrant. Geraniums are such a wonderful all round plant - always reliable, pretty colours and foliage, fill a space well and respond to not too much attention given. Things of note this morning:
- pears doing well on the Beth pear tree, but not a huge crop yet, the tree is young
- purple podded peas are up and on their way
-huge crop of Devonshire Quarrendens promised
-lawn looks pretty studded with fallen pink rose petals
-the scent of fennel hanging in the air, looking stunning with jewels of raindrops among the ferny leaves
-Rosamundi almost out
- livestock all happy and healthy
-ash trees doing well, taller than me by a long chalk now lol
-first of the blackcurrants are ripening, almost time for the gooseberries too
-hops threatening to take over the universe again, hoping for a good harvest in September
-plenty of elderflowers still to pick
- twisted willow needs cut to allow the crinodendrun a bit more space
-need to take out the wee davidia I lost over the winter, luckily the only causalty
-beans are all doing well
-healthy looking baby quinces on the tree
It's a  good way to start any and every day.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Never do ordinary ................

Not that it's at all ordinary, but I do like something a bit different.I love the wild plant ragged robin (lychnis flos cuculi ), flowering in the verges around here

I didn't know there is a white form, and was delighted to find it recently in my favourite local garden centre. Thrilled to bits with it, it's a beautiful plant.

Cross stitch to share

I stitched this some years ago now, but the sentiment never changes lol

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Please don't mow the daisies..........

We have daisies in our lawns, and I love them to bits, cheerful wee things. I hate it when the mower slices right over them, cutting them close to the ground so they have to start all over again. They always manage, though, and stud the green grass with little stars of whtie and yellow, pretty leaves attached. This time, though, they were left, and mowed around. This is the result:

Most of the stems are a good 5 - 6", the way nature intended daisies to be I reckon. If you leave them, you can pick a few for a small vase or glass. So simple, so beautiful. Give it a try.