Monday, 14 July 2008

A day in my life - July

July is passing quickly and it is already the 14th and time for me to join in with "a day in my life".

This week is different for me as I am working an extra day to make up for one of the days I missed when I was on holiday last week. So this Monday was a work day instead of my usual tidy up after the weekend day.

I woke just after six and made a cup of tea. The boys were sleeping late as they have finished school so it was just the two of us getting up. I stripped our bed and put on a load of laundry, had breakfast and tidied the kitchen. Just before I left for work I hung the washing on the line and let the chickens out of their run into the garden.

My part time job is a science technician at the local secondary school. I've worked there for several years and it has been a very convenient job to fit around the boys as they were growing up. It also has the advantage of being less than two miles from home so I have a very short commute! Today was quite busy trialling some experiments for the sixth form for next term and the day passed quickly.

By half past three I was home. The boys were watching a film and didn't want to be disturbed so I took a cup of tea out into the garden and talked to the chickens instead. As I sat on the bench one jumped up onto my lap and settled down for a snooze and the other stood on the back of the bench by my shoulder. They both seemed very contented making quiet little clucking noises. After a peaceful few minutes they jumped off to explore the garden once again and I took the dry laundry from the line and went inside.

There was time for a quick trip to the allotment before I started cooking dinner. There was a lot of rain here last week while we were away and the weeds have been growing fast. I did some weeding and then picked the last of the early blackcurrants and a few remaining redcurrants.

I also spread some compost round the courgettes. If I remember I take a bucket of compost from home to the allotment. As well as garden cuttings, weeds and vegetable peelings, we also add the straw from the chicken coop to the compost bin so it should be a good source of minerals. My courgettes are a bit late as the first lot got eaten by slugs and I had to start all over again but perhaps with a layer of compost they will soon catch up.

I picked a few mangetout for tea and then headed home to start cooking.

Tea was our version of kedgeree, smoked mackerel and chopped hard boiled eggs stirred into brown rice and topped with cheese sauce. I know that kedgeree doesn't usually come with cheese sauce but it is very tasty and a good way to make the meal more substantial for hungry teenagers.

While I cooked tea, I stewed the blackcurrants with sugar and then bottled them. These two jars are from today and bring the total from just one bush to 3 litres of bottled fruit. I have a couple of later varieties that will be ready to harvest in August.

After tea I cleared up the kitchen and disappeared upstairs to the computer to write this. I'm not working now until Thursday so I think I will spend a bit of time reading about other peoples days and put the rest of my chores off until tomorrow.

Jenny has listed other participants of "a day in my life" here.


willowcaroline said...

I am envious of your currents.. one thing we cannot grow here in NC... they are banned from the state because of some disease they can carry which I think affects pine trees..cannot remember. So is bottled fruit a jam/jelly, or is it more just the fruit for pouring over ice cream or putting in pies?

willow said...

I didn't realise that currants carried disease like that, what a pity. I used to make jam when the children were small but I find we don't eat much now so I tend to bottle them to use as a sauce or to put in crumbles and pies with apples in the winter.
Another favourite is blackcurrant fool which I make by stirring the sieved blackcurrants into very thickly made custard and leaving it to set.

the flour loft said...

Hi Willow,
Hope you had a good holiday.
I so enjoy reading your 'day in the life' posts.
I am interested in how long you the bottled blackcurrants keep for and do you need to refrigerate them?
ginny x

Heather L. said...

Everytime I read your day in my life I determine to do one myself. :) I really must. They are so fun to read.

Enjoyed the picture of your currants. I never did get to pick them when we lived in the UK. I'm hoping to go blueberry picking this weekend, but we'll see.

willow said...

Our holiday was great, thamk you. I took loads of photos and will post some later in the week.

The bottled blackcurrants keep without refrigeration. As long as everything is sterile there should be no reason why they shouldn't keep as long as commercially canned food. I have kept them for a year and they are fine.

Simply Authentic said...

Wow-talk about a productive day! You really accomplished a lot today. That's so neat that the chickens are such companions. I never would have thought! Hope the trip was wonderful and that you'll post about it too!

A happy heart at home said...

You had a busy day! Thanks for sharing it with us. I posted my day, too.

Is 'tea' your dinner meal?


willow said...

I didn't realise that chickens would be such friendly creatures until we got ours, whenever I am in the garden they are not far away and if I sit down for a moment they often settle down nearby.

Yes, Susan we do tend to call dinner "tea". I think it stems from when the children were small and I used to cook our main meal at lunch time and then have a sandwich tea. The name has stuck even though we now have a snack meal at midday and eat our main meal in the evening!

libby said...

Hi Willow,

Great to read about your day again. Being Winter here in Australia I'm mighty jealous of your garden pickings :-).