Monday, 26 August 2013

Stand tall

Last Thursday was the wettest day of the whole summer and it was the one day that I had booked off work to for an outing!  My sister and her baby, who are home for the summer and I had decided to visit the zoo.  Luckily both Alice and Jared were both at home and came with us.
I woke up to hear a downpour, checked the forcasts that said it would clear later and after much discussion we decided to go...........

 Well the forecast was very wrong, it rained and rained all day, luckily we ignored the forecast and took our wellies and raincoats.

Although we don't live far from the zoo, I haven't been for years.  This is because I didn't really like to see animals kept in cages, but it has changed a lot since my last visit, which I think might have been about 15 years ago.
 The animals have lots more greenery to hide in.

 Some of the animal are more free.  The wallabies hop around this open enclosure and you can walk right up to them, but they are not too keen and hop out of the way!

I held this rather large insect!

 Arlo liked looking at the fish

 My favourite part was when we got to feed the giraffes!


This is the theme of the the Zoo's 50th birthday celebrations.

All around the town and in the shops are over 50 giraffe statues, each one decorated differently by artists, sponsors and schools.
 This one is in the High Street
and this one by the Bus station.  Each one has a bar code and if you were very keen you could have an app on your phone and collect each one!

And this is my favourite photo of the day, Arlo and me with a goat.  I expect he will be a lot bigger and walking by the time I see him next!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Catching worms!

One of my favourite annual jobs is emptying the worm composter.  

Mr HHS is in charge of all things compost.  He has two  wooden compost bins at the allotment, and three plastic ones at home.  We also use this worm bin as it has a tap to drain the liquid, or worm juice as we call it.  The juice is diluted in water and fed to the plants.  The only problem is that the tap gets blocked and we have to empty the whole bin to clear it.  The compost from the worms is very rich, it will be saved and mixed with other compost to make a potting compost. 
A little tin bucket sits in the kitchen and we put all the uncooked fruit and vegetables that the chickens won't or can't eat go in there along with egg shells and tea bags.  This is all added to the compost along with all the dead flowers, small prunings,  grass cuttings, weeds, the chicken hutch straw and waste.  Some times we shred stuff if it is a it too thick.   The contents are regularly turned and mixed and water is added to keep it just right.  Then voila!  All our waste is magically turned into compost to use in the garden and allotment.

It's a bit of a messy job!  We always lay out a plastic sheet and then scoop out the composted top layer, the compost and all the worms mixed in onto the ground. Then any remaining liquid is poured out, the tap cleaned out and then it is refilled.  I try and put back as many worms as I can.  
There are always loads of egg shells in the bin each year I say that I must remember to separate them into the other bin, but always forget.  
Then the bin and worms are returned to its place, the plastic swished down and job done!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

A bit more please?

Quite a few people have been saying on their blogs that they are looking forward to Autumn?  What?  Not me!  We had the coldest, snowiest winter for years, that dragged on and on and on.  Then the latest spring ever, which was dull and cold.  Summer only really arrived in July and I am loving it!  
Why do I love it?
  • Waking up to bright sunshine
  • Light evenings
  • Warm evenings to potter in the garden
  • Warm evenings to sit outside
  • Wearing summer clothes - no need to put something on every time you go outside.
  • Summer rain
  • Hot days!  Yes sometimes it might be a bit too hot to work, but find a shady place.
  • Picking and eating all the fruit and vegetables that I have grown

Picked my first ripe tomatoes yesterday.  Made them into a lovely salad with a cucumber and green beans that I had also grown.

At the allotment we picked runner beans, courgettes, peas, raspberries and sweet peas.

Autumn can wait, let me have a few more weeks of summer!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

All together!

At the weekend we had a family get together.  

The first time that the 5 cousins have been together. 

I saw an idea for a Greek barbecue in the Lakeland online magazine and suggested to my sister that we made it for lunch.  I made Hummus, pitta bread and a Greek salad.  My sister made tzaziki (a large pot) peppers stuffed with Haloumi cheese, Felafel's and Baklava.  Mum dug up some new potatoes and bought some meat, there was chicken on sticks, lamb skewers and not quite so Greek sausages and ribs.  What a feast!

This is my Mum and Jared
 My sister!

 My dad doing what men do best - grilling the meat and enjoying a beer!

 Ashley, Danni and my husband

No birthday cake for the little one, just a rice cake!

My sister celebrated her birthday a week early!  She makes cakes professionally, but I said I would make her a birthday cake and I had to pull out all the stops to impress her!!!  

And here it is!  I saw it in last months Good Food magazine and adapted it a bit as I had lots of raspberries.  It was not too difficult, just lots of different steps.  A raspberry puree has to be made first which colours the sponge for the dots.  Dots of sponge are put on a Swiss roll tin and frozen.  A plain sponge made with 7 eggs is made, half poured around the dots and half in a round tin.  It is then made up in another tin.  The Swiss roll cut in half and placed around the edge and then the other cake cut in three and layered with marscapone, cream, raspberries and the puree.  It is left in the fridge for 24 hours, turned out of the tin, covered in more of the cream mixture and topped with raspberries - phew!  it worked out ok.  Think they all liked it!

 The first photo of us all together - my sisters, me and our children!

 And to finish my favourite photo!