Tuesday 28 February 2017

A Photo a Week Challenge: Edible

I am a bit later joining Nancy this week for her Photo a Week Challenge. This week the theme is edible. I took a peek to see what was out in the vegetable garden. This year we have had an amazing number of sprouts which are finally coming to an end. Older daughter will be very pleased to hear that. They are not her favourite vegetable.

While I was there I noticed the rusty red colour of the leaves on the remaining beetroot.

Then also the rhubarb just coming through.

Monday 27 February 2017

Memos, Me, Mail and Monday

It's Monday morning and the sky is grey and the rain is intermittently pouring down. What a great start to the week. Nevertheless I am sending a cheerful hello and wave to Sian and all the other Monday bloggers.
Well I have no post to report this week but it's been a busy weekend with a lunchtime 60th birthday party on Saturday for which I was in charge of the cake making.

It was out with the Young Farmers for an auction of goods and promises in the evening then a family Sunday lunch. The student has been home briefly and has returned with clean washing and a bag of food. Mum brought me some lovely polyanthus for the garden. Bella is quite taken with the box!

I can't stop for long today as I about to launch into making 24 pancakes, a large potato salad and a casserole of cheese and leek filling. All contributions for the church pancake lunch tomorrow. So have a good week and speak soon!

Sunday 26 February 2017

A Brief Meet Up

Most of you will know that my sister is currently living in the States. She started her blog Juliet's Washington Postings to give us all an insight into her day to day life and travels whilst she is away. It was indeed her that encouraged me to start my own blog which of course brings me here today.
I had not seen her since November because we were away for her last visit so it was great to catch up this week. 

When she is home there is sometimes an overlap in our blog posts which I don't think really matters. We both have our own individual perspective on what we see.
I couldn't however resist catching her capturing one of her posts. She won't be pleased with me!

Here is one of her the right way up too next to mum's beautiful hellebores.

It will be May before we meet up again.

Saturday 25 February 2017

A Garden Wander

You will know that fro time to time I like to take a wander around my mum's garden with my camera. Last week when I visited the sun was shining so I took a few minutes to see what I could find. The snowdrops are out everywhere.

Including a few individual blooms.

And these rather charming double snowdrops.

There are a few primroses.

An abundance of hellebores.

And a variety of Iris Reticulata.

Meanwhile I was being carefully watched by the neighbour's cat who considers the garden to be part of it's territory.

Friday 24 February 2017

Take Three Thursday

Yes I realise it's actually Friday but this is a new meme hosted by Mary-Lou where she has asked us to take three photos with a common theme. I have chosen rocks in the sea. These are three photos I took at Punakaiki on the west coast of South Island, New Zealand.

A turbulent sea at Pancake Rocks.

Thursday 23 February 2017

Pine Cones

A pine cone is alternative item A on the Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt list. The most obvious one for this would be one of the cones in my mum's porch which came in a flower bouquet.

I also found a few whilst in New Zealand. 

I can't say I am over happy with how well they have photographed. It is quite tricky to get the whole cone in focus.
I was also fascinated to see the carpet of pine cones which lay under the pine trees on the edge of Lake Tekapo. There seemed to be layers of cones from many years. Some still brown and others quite white.

I am sure that squirrels (of which there are none in New Zealand) would have a great feast on these.

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Findings in the Freezer

It is inevitable when you clean out your freezer that you will find food that you had forgotten was there. This is of course in addition to a certain number of UFOs. This is a term I learnt from Eileen at In My Playroom which stands for Unidentifiable Freezer Objects referring of course to those little food packages that have lost their labels and have changed out of all recognition since you put them in. I came across one such item and had stowed it in with the summer fruit. It was only yesterday when I fished out the large amount of red currants I had discovered that the suspicious package was identified as liver and NOT red fruit! Luckily this was before adding it to the bowl!
So it was time to turn the forgotten redcurrants into something useful. Redcuurrat jelly will be tasty with the 3 lambs that will soon be arriving in our neat and tidy freezer. Yesterday I simmered a suitable number in the preserving pan.

Within an hour or so they were in the jelly bag to extract the juice.

This morning the bag had stopped dripping, the jars had been through the first stage of sterilisation in the dishwasher and all was ready to complete the jelly making process. The sugar was added (1 pound per pint). I used sugar with added pectin to allow for any pectin lost in the unknown period of freezing (one year, maybe more?).

It didn't take a long time to dissolve the sugar and bring to the boil. Like all jams and jellies a temperature of 105C needs to be reached to achieve setting point which is where my new thermometer probe comes in useful. A welcome Christmas present from my sister.

This kind of jelly can set very quickly so it's advisable to remove the scum and bottle it as quickly as possible before it begins to set.

I now have a good stock for my store cupboard.

 Followers of Mary Berry will know that she frequently suggests adding red currant jelly to all sorts of dishes so I shall be fully prepared. The question is what shall I concoct next from freezer items. Gooseberry fool or maybe black currant sorbet?

Tuesday 21 February 2017


The weather today is wet, dull and generally miserable. There is not the slightest sign of any sunshine. One of the photos needed for Eileen's Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt is Alternative B. A Shadow. There would be very little chance of taking such a photo today but I have a few possibilities I have been collecting. 
These two were taken in the early sunshine at Doubtless Bay in the Far North of New Zealand.

Then two in the garden on a more sunny day than today.

Now I need to choose which one!

Monday 20 February 2017

Memos, Me, Mail and Monday

Monday has bounced around again and it's time to give Sian and the Monday bloggers a big wave. It's been another week of boring post. Two bank statements are about the most exciting mail that has arrived here. However I have packed up and taken a parcel to the Post Office.

No pictures of the parcel and I promise this is the last picture of a post or phone box! The parcel has gone tripping off to the student. Will she notice when she opens the box of cream eggs that there is one missing? She can blame her farmer father for that! 
This morning my aim is to defrost the chest freezer. I have decanted most of the contents and am now down to the debris in the bottom so wish me luck with that. So to cheer us all on our way this week here are two tiny flowers blooming in my mum's garden.
A pink violet.

A minuscule cyclamen.

Have a good week everyone!

Sunday 19 February 2017

What Else is Red?

Yesterday I took part in Nancy's challenge and posted a picture of a red post box. The other object which is also "quintessentially British" is of course the Telephone Box. The box in the village of Regil is not far from the post box sat on the village green.

It is now redundant as a telephone box but is still considered an iconic part of the village. Villagers want it to stay and I believe it is now up to the Parish to maintain it. The paint has been ordered to spruce it up but who will paint it?
It is proposed like many village boxes it should become a mini library. There have been debates about shelves, public liability, who will maintain it? I am sure one day it will happen. Meanwhile it stands proud on the green.

Saturday 18 February 2017

A Photo a Week Challenge : Red

I am joining Nancy in her weekly challenge where she sets a theme to photograph. This week the theme is the colour red. I would agree with Nancy that red can be quite a tricky colour to capture. I have frequently photographed red roses to find they have just not come true to colour. There are however no red roses in the garden at this time of year. The birds have eaten all the red berries and and red flowers from Christmas are past their best. So where do I look? I tried some red leaves, some orangey red flowers and then I came up with an idea.
What red object is quintessentially British? Well actually there are two objects and this is one of them.
The red post box. Let's face it we even have a colour called post box red!

This particular box is in a local village called Regil (found on some  maps as Ridgehill) and is in the wall of the old School house. The letters at the top V R tell us that this post box originates from when Queen Victoria was on the throne. Just imagine the stories it could tell of the people who have passed by and the letters that have been posted here. It would be a very long book.

Friday 17 February 2017

A Beautiful Scent

When I walk through my kitchen I can breath it the beautiful scent of hyacinths. We planted the bulbs back in November and brought them in when we returned home from New Zealand.

I am really enjoying them in my kitchen.

What fascinating flowers they are.

When they have finished flowering I shall pop them in the garden to enjoy them again next year.

Thursday 16 February 2017

Raindrops Keep Falling!

One thing that there has certainly been plenty of is raindrops which shouldn't make it difficult to find  item No. 2 on Eileen's Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt.
We saw our fair share of rain when we were on South Island in New Zealand and I have the raindrops on the lens to prove it.

Our visit to Larnach Castle gardens was directly after rain and the raindrops were still settled on the leaves.

Yesterday I found a few drops still clinging to the trees.

I think this last tree needs a hanky..