Monday, 23 November 2009


Yes, it is definitely wintry here.  Although Autumn started early, it slowed down and seemed to be lasting for ages but the wet, windy, wild weather over the weekend has brought down many more of the leaves and everything is left looking greyer and bleaker.  We were lucky in the south to escape the terrible flooding and devastation in other parts of the country so although the ground is sodden I will not be grumbling about the amount of rain we received here.

It is indoor weather, nothing to entice me out to the allotment or garden so a good opportunity to catch up on some inside jobs,

like jam making!

November might not be associated with jam making but this year I cooked and strained both my red currants and crab apples and then froze the juice.  This week I defrosted the juices, mixed them together and made redcurrant and crab apple jelly.

If jam making was a little late in the year then I made up for it by getting ahead with writing my Christmas cards although I won't send them until December. I buy most of my cards from Oxfam but I have started getting a few cards made from my photographs this year. This is the picture I chose for my Christmas cards.

I also want to make some blank notecards. I took the photograph below in Lerwick, Shetland this summer and have turned it into a sepia print.  I  don't usually edit or change my photographs very much as I like to think they are an accurate record of what I saw at the time so this is a bit different for me. I think the effect suits the old traditional stone buildings but I'm not sure if I like changing the image this much and am still undecided whether to have it made into cards or not.

I seem to be suffering from indecision at the moment, at the weekend I couldn't even decide what cake to bake.  I ended up making one round of plain and one round of chocolate.

Then I cut each one in half and sandwiched with jam for the plain one and buttercream for the chocolate one and ended up with two half-cakes.

Of course ther was still a decision to be made, which one to eat......first?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Calm after the storm

After all the heavy rain yesterday, today we had clear blue sky and sunshine. It was a pleasure to be outside and feel the warmth of the sunshine and a good time to check on the lettuce plants.

This is an experiment of mine to attempt to grow some salad for the winter in my small greenhouse on the patio.

 I sowed some lettuce seeds at the end of September, a little over a month ago they looked like this.

I transplanted them three plants to a pot and now they have grown well and look really healthy.

Today I transplanted them again just one to a pot.

These went back into the greenhouse and I am hoping to start picking some leaves in a few weeks. If this project is successful I will be measuring food yards rather than food miles.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

A day in my life

Its the 14th and time for my monthly "day in my life" post.

We are being battered by stormy weather at the moment and today has been continual wind and rain. Just the sort of day to stay inside, warm and cosy with some knitting and that is what I have done for most of the day.

I did have to go out this morning to go shopping. Youngest son is going on a geography field course soon and the one item on the kit list that he didn't own was waterproof trousers.  The weather today and the fact that the course is in Wales convinced us that they were necessary. Actually it would have been quite useful to have been wearing them today.

My reward for braving the winter weather was this lovely soft jumper from the charity shop,

100% Shetland wool in a soft heathery plum colour (much nicer in reality than the photo) a bargain at £6.95 don't you think.

Back home in the warm and time spent with my knitting.  I knitted a jumper with this wool last winter but was never happy with it so its been unravelled, skeined, washed, wound into balls and now I've started again.

Its a top down raglan and will be either a jumper or possibly longer, more of a dress to wear over jeans, it depends on when I run out of wool. Sleeve length is also undecided for the same reason. Simple undemanding knitting, plain apart from a lace panel front and back and perfect knitting for watching a film or chatting.

Family phone calls this evening including speaking to eldest son.  So different to when I was away at University, I remember saving up all my 10p coins and then waiting outside in a queue for the phone box, tonight we talked over the internet and it was great to see as well as hear him - he looked fine and is enjoying university life.

Thats about it, a rather lazy but enjoyable "day in my life" for November.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Autumn photographs

I always take a camera with me even when I am just going for a short walk around the village.

Although I often walk the same route there is always something to photograph, some small detail which catches my eye.

Water droplets on a leaf,

hogweed still in flower and looking far to delicate and summery for November,

bleached dry grass sead heads at the end of the year

and holly to make me think of decorating the house next month (though I expect the birds will have eaten most of these berries by then!).

Monday, 9 November 2009

Autumn allotment

Its been a busy week or so and I’ve not had much time to sit with my laptop. My husband had a couple of days holiday at half term and then my parents came to stay for a few days so I seem to have been out of my routine for a while.

Back to normal this week though so chance to catch up both with blogging and housework!

When I have had some spare time during the past week I have spent it at the allotment. The warm weather all through October allowed the weeds to keep growing and I feel the need to give it a bit of a tidy up. I have lots of little grass paths dividing up the plot into smaller beds so that I don’t have to step on the soil and its a good time of the year to trim the edges and pull up any grass that has started invading the borders. Of course it all looks very neat and tidy afterwards which is very satisfying although at the moment only a small proportion of the plot looks tidy, the rest is on the “to do” list!

I have planted my over-wintering broad beans hoping for more success than last year when the barely germinated beans were pulled out of the soil, pheasants were the culprits then I think. According to the seed packet the beans will take 24 weeks from sowing to cropping. Perhaps that is part of the reason that I find gardening so relaxing and calming, it forces me to slow down. No matter what I do, it will still be about six months until I can eat my beans - certainly not fast food.

I do have something to harvest at the moment, leeks, parsnips and for as long as the deer leave it alone, swiss chard.All these I sowed earlier in the year but I also have some freebies, self sown salad plants which are a welcome side effect of not being too tidy earlier in the year. Rocket, lambs lettuce, land cress and even some red oakleaf lettuce all looking very healthy. I sometimes think the self sown plants do better than the ones I carefully sow which is my excuse for leaving the spinach beet to go to seed and grow wherever it likes!