Monday, 25 October 2010

Hot Lemon and Honey

WARNING (not a making/doing/interesting post- read on at your own risk)!
OK more a 'tea and sympathy' post...
The girls have spent the last week suffering with colds,culminating in a Saturday Night of Vomiting (Little One makes too much snot....)- of course when we were away from home. Though I am grateful for not having to wash and dry two changes of bedclothes and a load of towels- thanks Mum!
A couple of nights earlier Little One did a god job of coughing in my face most of the night, so I think she's very kindly shared her germs which has started with me over the weekend.
DH will tell anyone how pathetic I am when under the weather, and I don't think this week will be any exception.
With Little One still feeding, anything stronger than paracetamol is off the menu, so we've another load of lemons in (ah, dreaming of the greenhouse that one day will let us grow our own lemon tree!) and although I dislike honey, I reckon it does something to help in hot lemon and honey. Warm drinks are, well, just nice (I don't usually drink coffee except in extremis, and urgghhh to tea) sometimes.
I was taking echinacea, but with Little One's vomiting (someone on a forum once mentioned echinacea and feeding didn't go well) I stopped until I could remember to check kellymom (ok, that was only just now, but at least I remembered!), so I'll get back onto that.
Hmm, looking there, fenugreek tea is meant to be helpful, so I'm off to try that as well.
Oh, why am I posting at this unreasonable time in the morning? ( its 5.30 am here). Well, with the 'Night of Vom' I got little sleep, and Little One STILL insisted the day started at 6.20 am. That doesn't agree with me at all, so was in bed nice and early last night, but woke up at 3 am today instead.Sigh. And work today too.
No photos, but I did get the Apple Butter from last week in jars, and even given a few jars of various jam/jelly/butter to the local coffee shop to sample.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

So, what have you been up to?

That's the question I was asked yesterday and, of course, couldn't think of anything back more than 24, err, I'm sure I must have been doing something!
Looking back, we have been camping. Here's some proof, our new wood burner in place. I've never been so warm camping, its fabulous. Everyone should have one- we got ours from The Windy Smithy.

stove in use for breakfast
 We were camping so DH could do a spoon carving course, which he really enjoyed.
After that, a dear friend had a baby and was keeping me updated step by step by text. It was far too dramatic so rather than sleeping I was busy sewing a gift. Version 1 (before I knew of her labour) was grabbed and hugged by Little One as soon as it was finished. Even as the explanation 'its for J....' hugging it involved lying on the (sort of clean, but not suitable for near a newborn) floor.

my cushion, and J's ball. It even has crinkly noises in it
Oh well, no time to wash and dry it, so Version 2 was sewed through the night, love and positive thoughts put in with every stitch during the last hours of friend's labour and first hour of J's arrival- though I didn't know it at the time! I didn't even remember to photograph it until it had been given, so just a shaky photo on my new phone:
The ball J actually got!

DH doing the spoon carving has given me more encouragement to make time for bowl carving again. I have been continually cutting myself, and losing heart over it. Robin kindly had a length I could use for a bowl, so even when we were camping I did some roughing out with the axe ( I really, really love the axe work!) and I'm still plodding on with it now.

This was it the week before last after a couple of hours work

New willow bowl on left, and older
bowl- both still need finishing off

DH and I both had an evening of putting new skills into practice on Friday. Mainly because we needed to sort out birthday presents for a 6 yr old friend on Saturday. We're both quite proud of a couple of hours work:
DH carved this beautiful spoon, personalised with an M. This is the first spoon he's carved since the course, and I'm still waiting for mine......
I had an idea for a toy sling for M's present, as her mum mentioned she liked playing with dolls at the moment. I had a quick google but only found patterns for 'proper'mei tai slings.I'd decided to make a mei tai so hopefully M can use it without too much help from mum, and as I didn't find anything to use as a ring for a ringsling on my fabric shopping trip.
I made up my own pattern, guessing at the sizing as the kids were sleeping, but found a website useful for how to sew it together- which I would link to if I could remember it.
I had a loan of a toddlerhawk from a friend
 when Little One was younger, and
copied the padding/stitching style from
what I remember of that.
Just finished!

A nights sleep and I was able to think of something to just 'finish' the sling off- some daisys just to break up the fabric a bit. I hadn't the confidence to put applique on, after all this was a first attempt. However I just needed to  jazz it up a little as it turned out good enough to gift.
Here's the final look just before we had to go to the birthday party:

This was when I found out my guesses on strap length weren't too great, but M's mum knows I'll adjust it as needed.....

After the party yesterday I got stuck in to the 9 lbs of apples I've been given over the last couple of days.

Doesn't look like 9 lbs, does it?
and chopped up for two recipes

3lbs of apples cooking away

and draining through muslin
This smaller quantity turned into 4 small jars of  Apple, Mint and herb jelly, and the larger batch will become  Apple Butter when we get more sugar. My mother-in-law has a lovely book which I have borrowed, Farmhouse Kitchen  by Mary Norwak so that's where the recipes for this weekend are from.

I imagine the next few weeks, if things go to plan, won't be as visual. We need to get emailing more WWOOF hosts for next years big trip, sort out paperwork that I've let pile up for a while, and investigate the rental market for our house as selling doesn't seem particularly effective (on the market 3 months with 2 viewings), amongst other things.
So, back to the original question, with one thing or another, work,  children under the weather, keeping up with the washing, or a new bath (something else that's happened recently!) I have been keeping rather busy, even if I can't quite remember when I'm asked!

I love the rings in the base of this willow bowl

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Another evening gone

I've just spent 2 hours finding photos, getting them off the camera and ready for the web, only to have problems getting any onto this blog. Finally got three of 18 up, only for my browser to crash and lose those three. grrr doesn't quite do it so I think its wine o'clock!

So, the last month or so has included sourdough bread, some not quite as successful in looks but still went down well.
leaven going well in the jars ready for bread

not-so-great looking bread, but still tasty. I think its over-proved possibly.
We've been harvesting, both from pots in our yard and the allotment. We haven't been at the allotment much this year, so hardly planted anything ( the in-laws did loads) and not been tending to it so we're lucky to have anything with the size of the slugs we grow!
the blueberries disappear as soon as they are ripe!
I wonder who ate them all?!

mostly onions with a layer of beetroot on top
our peas and the tomatoes that weren't eaten immediately!
these did last a few weeks, but we've still plenty to dig when get chance- if the slugs haven't got them all.
Our own potatoes with our own parsley. The kids picked off the 'green bits' but we grown ups liked it all!

some mint, marjoram, bay,  rosemary and sage by our back door

This was the first round that had to go to the cellar, our kitchen cupboards were overflowing! I've found a huge jar that takes all the elderberry liqueur, so that and the tincture are in the kitchen so I hopefully remember to give them a shake, but the rest is out of the way now. I'm hoping these will be Christmas presents, with a few left over for us. Jam is off the shopping list! A couple of good friends came over last week, and sounded interested enough that they've taken a jar each of chutney- the recipes said wait a few months but I wonder when they'll give it a try? It smelled good when cooking, and once it was in the jars the pan scrapings were ok, so I'm hoping it'll be lovely in a few months. As someone who hasn't often strayed far from Branston's pickle, I'm not really a connoisseur.


We've still been keeping nice and busy, and just back from a 4 day camp in Edale where DH was learning spoon carving from  Robin Wood. We all have a fabulous time, and I've been able to start on another bowl, and keep going with my horse-chestnut bowl. DH has been sharing his new knowledge so I'm working on getting a good edge on my tools- apparently I've been doing it all wrong, sigh.
I'm back at my sewing class so I've made a cushion cover, and have a pile of ideas to make, and the jam and chutney cupboard is getting rather full. I'll be editing these last posts when and if I can get photos to appear.