Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A perfect day for working up the lottie

It has been the perfect day for being up the lottie. The sun has been shining, there has been just a light breeze and it has not been too cold. So it was just my luck that I couldn’t go up there. My only compensation is that the soil would still be soaking wet so I would not have been able to do much, but knowing me I would have found something.

My youngest son phoned up just now, and Pat said, ‘Do you want to speak to the pin cushion; she is right next to me’. So my laughing son said, ‘I take it that you have had acupuncture again at the physio then.’ What with that and other torture, I mean treatment, and the flu jab this afternoon, it is sedate tasks for me today.

Things aren’t looking too good on the pumpkin front. That one I scooped out to use as a container for my flower arranging project on Friday is looking a bit floppy. A lady who used one last year, said that hers went mouldy, so I thought that I would attempt to dry mine – logical don’t you think? So I put it in the plate warming section at the bottom of my oven for a few hours to dry it. When Pat came home from bowls last night, he said that it felt o.k. like a football, so he put it back in and closed the oven door. This morning instead of being dried, it looked a bit sort of cooked! After all that hard work getting the middle out and all the cooking as a consequence - I just don't know what to do with it now!
And talking of which, I feel a bit of a fool. I was looking up on the internet at a seed site that I use a lot, and choosing my seeds for next year. I read up about seed saving for pumpkins amongst other things (wish I had got that far in the Vegetable growing book I am reading) and it said that pumpkins and squashes cross pollinate, so if you save the seeds you will not get what you are expecting. So that was a total waste of time and effort as I had saved hundreds of them from several varieties, particularly the butternut squash ones as they were such a success. So another job I did today, was to collect all the sheets of kitchen paper on which rows of clean and saved seeds lay and threw them in the compost bin!

I have bought all the flowers for my flower arrangement - the supermarket had just had a delivery so at least I had a bit of choice for a change. I have been gathering foliage from around the garden, and have to collect some more from somewhere, so I might have to take a walk along the lanes. I did that last year, just before Christmas and an old chap shouted out at me as I was cutting some common wild ivy – not from anyone’s garden, just along a hedge. I chatted to him, and said that I was only cutting a few bits for a Christmas present and that they wouldn’t be missed as there was literally miles of the stuff. I also remarked about his allotment (which is where mine is), he hadn’t recognised me in ‘normal’ clothes, and in the end I had to ‘tear myself away’. He turned from Mr Grumpy to Mr Friendly – and there really is not a problem with pruning a bit of wild common and garden green ivy from a hedge covered with it. Especially as it gets chopped off each year when the hedges get pruned! I think that he might have thought me to be a tourist!

Oops – gone of the beaten track as usual. After getting back from town, we decided to have egg and chips – well our version and a real treat after all the ‘healthy’ food we eat. Mind you this is just as healthy really as we opened a new sack of potatoes – oh decisions, decisions as to what variety to use next. We chose a sack of the sorted medium sized Cara, washed and gently rubbed them with a plastic pot cleaner, cut them into wedges, and put them on a baking tray on the highest heat in the oven for 25 minutes. I retrieved the tomatoes from the airing cupboard floor, (the shed being too cold for them), and chose a dozen to have with the chips and a lovely big egg each. I still can’t get over the flavour of tomatoes grown outside – even though these last ones had to have a helping had to finish ripening! You should try home made potato wedges with their skins on, they really are yummy. You can brush them or just the skin edge with oil if you want them really crunchy.

Some of the tomatoes were just about to go soft, so I picked out all the good ones and decided to make a cauldron of tomato soup which is bubbling away nicely as I speak. I think that it tastes too strong, and want to dilute it, but Pat says that it has got 'guts' (a new culinary term?) and that he likes it just the way it is. I shall be having a dollop of cream in mine when I serve it. But for now it is going to be frozen. I know how a squirrel feels now with all the food storage I have been doing this year!

It is such a shame that we have just eaten the last of our fresh tomatoes – I ate a few more raw as I was preparing the soup, just so that I can keep that memory with me all winter. I do not intend buying salads or tomatoes from the shops this winter, I want to eat only seasonal foods so it made eating those last fresh, sweet, juicy raw tomatoes even more of a treat.

Chatting about eggs at lunchtime, I mentioned that I was so looking forward to getting my chickens and that I was being really good for a change and not rushing off impulsively to buy them, but I was finding it difficult not to do so. Pat must have been feeling sorry for me, as he said that if I was sure that I wanted them and that the ‘flu’ thing was alright, I could go ahead get them anytime. I feel that I do still need to talk to my neighbours first, just to make sure that they won’t object to me keeping them in my garden over winter. I should not think they would, as we both have fences and there is a 6ft conifer hedge all the way around – but in this climate of ‘pandemic’ speak I feel that it is only fair. If they do object then I shall keep them up the lottie over winter and just go up there every day to visit.

I have been emailing the company that I am getting my little hen house and run from, and they say that as the run is fox proof, there is no real need to lock them up every night as they go in to roost by nature. The run would have to be protected in the winter, by carpet or something on top of the run near where the hen house is to prevent draughts though. It will not be the same as looking out and seeing them running around in my garden will it? Not long now, I will find out one way or the other next week.

Off to get the flu jab now.

Hope you enjoyed today as much as I have.

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