Sunday, 22 September 2013

Autumn Equinox

Today is the Autumn Equinox.  The day and night are equal in length.  It is the start of Autumn.
I am ready for it now.

Today I went for a walk and cut some autumn foliage from the hedgerows.

Arranged with some dried seed pods.

I knitted an Autumn garland with leaves, acorns and Rudbeckia flowers.

I cleaned the kitchen and re-arranged the dresser, so pleased with how it looks

Flowers, leaves, acorns, fir cones and conkers.  

Yesterday I was given some damsons and used the to make some wine, you only need the juice, so this morning I cooked up the pulp and made some Chinese style plum sauce

My duvet is the sort with a thin one and a thicker one that snap together to make an extra warm one.  Today I took the thin summer one off and popped it in the wash and put the warmer one on the bed, will be nice and cosy now!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Harvest time

The weather forecast for this weekend was warm and sunny, perfect for harvesting the potatoes.  Today turned out not to be that sunny,but it was warm and dry.  We were at the allotment early and dug up all the potatoes and laid them out to dry off.  I love digging up potatoes, you never know what is growing under the earth.  Under some where some huge ones and others just a few. Also picked a small handful of French beans, a couple of courgettes and some sunflowers.
Basil popped his head over the fence and wondered if we would like some field mushrooms that he had just picked -"lovely" I said! " We eat them on toast with Worcestershire sauce" he said.  "Lovely" I said"

Later, Godfrey, the allotment manager came along.  "I hear you make wine?"  He said, "oh yes" I replied.  "Do you want some Damsons?"   He said.  "Lovely". I said.  An hour later he turned up with a carrier bag with 5 pounds of Damsons.

I have just spent an hour chopping them up and removing the stones, a bit of a fiddly job!

Have to boil them up, then strain onto the sugar and add some yeast.  Stir daily for 3 days and then pop into a Demi-John and let it bubble away until all the sugar is turned into alcohol.  Then leave it to mature for a few months, it will probably be ready to drink this time next year.  
Must remember to give Godfrey a bottle if I want any more Damsons from him!

Later we went back to the allotment. For a moment we wondered if the potatoes would still be there or had someone taken them?  They were fine, just as we had left them.  Sorted them into bags, those to store and any damaged ones to eat first.   Well it turned out to be a good harvest - 3 bags!  Not sure that they will see us through the winter, we will see!

Picked some flowers too - chrysanthemums.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Autumn show

It's not quite Autumn here yet, but yesterday was our Horticultural Societies Autumn show.  It is quite a small show, with only and handful of entries in each class, but I enjoy all the preparation -  the growing - the making - the cooking.  
Some things have been over a year in the making such as the wine and others are very last minute like the Victoria sandwich and the flowers, which need to be made or picked early in the morning.

 I have had a plan for the week running up to the show. Firstly I had to choose and and order my photos 
Four categories here, My 4 legged friend, Trees, The seashore and A special event, my photos of the Olympics won a 2nd prize.

 Next the wine needs to be tasted, re-bottled and labelled. I entered 4 bottles, white dry, white sweet, red dry and a rose and won a 1st, 2nd and 3rd!

Have been working on the handicraft entries over the year, this knitted fair isle jumper for a child won 3rd prize.
I am quite proud of this appliqued and quilted tea cosy, especially as it came 1st!
The worst thing in the whole show is a dressed doll.  So old fashioned and really not my thing at all.  I found a really complicated pattern with a very difficult lace pattern, knitted on thin needles and 4 ply wool, but it only got 2nd prize.  I was a little disappointed.  I have no idea what to do with this now, who on earth would want it?  I won't be entering this again.

Gave the pot plants a wash and brush up.  Wiped over the pot and cleaned the leaves - made all the difference my lovely Aloe Vera won 1st prize.

 We grow lots of raspberries on the allotment and I made some jam earlier in the summer, this also won 1st prize.  Last week I made some very red beetroot chutney - 2nd prize.

No luck with the rest of my cooking. Alice beat me with her Victoria Sandwich, she was very happy to get the 1st, but neither of us got anything for the banana cake and both our savoury biscuits were "a bit dry"!!!

A basket of veg, all picked from the allotement.  1st prize for some Cavalo de Nero kale, carrots, beetroot, peas, lettuce, spring onions, courgettes, cucumber and tomatoes - Wow!  Of course can't take all the credit for this one, Mr HH does the hard work  -all the digging, composting and watering!

 There are two types of flowers that can be entered, one is called decorative, which is proper flower arranging with bought flowers which I cannot do and the other is homegrown flowers which I can do.  These are my ten stems of garden flowers (no prize!)
and a vase of annuals - came 2nd with these, mainly marigolds and cosmos.

Here I am with my Anniversary Class entry.  This one has 4 items, a vase of homegrown flowers (more sunflowers) a pot plant, handicraft (knitted socks) and a cake (cupcakes)

Phew!  I did enjoy that!  Time to start thinking about planting some bulbs for the spring show!