Saturday, May 13, 2006

A steaming hot Friday 12th May

This is what I couldn't post yesterday evening - and also (Thank you Sandie) I have fixed the missing links problem - goodness knows what is going on lately with Blogger.

Fistsly I should have explained that Rapeseed does grow like weeds and is invasive but it is used for making rapeseed oil which is widely used in cooking. My doctor said that rapeseed oil is the best to use as it is pure vegetable and good for keeping cholesterol levels down - doesn't clog up the arteries. It does stink though - and really makes you sneeze and your eyes water due to the high pollen levels - but inside a car - it did look rather pretty and summery - but when you seed fields and fields of it, it is a bit boring.

So yesterday.................

I persuaded the golfer to come and help me shift the chicken house and run before he went off to play his nine holes with his mate Eric.

The temperature was in the 70’s then, but the girl’s run has a long shade on three quarters of the length and plastic on the last bit where their food and water is, so they are well protected from the heat.

We let them out for half an hour or so whilst the pegs were pulled up and we moved the unit over, and pegged it down again. I cleaned out the litter tray and put fresh bedding in and left them to rummage around whilst we watered the flagging courgette plants, and gherkins, taking great care not to get any water on the leaves or they would get scorched. I called the girls and they happily came running to me and were even happier to run into the lush grass in the run to be first at a handful of mixed corn. I will go up the lottie this evening, hopefully, and let them out for another couple of hours at least.

Changing the subject totally – (nothing new there then) – I haven’t been able to cook much, let alone do my usual daily baking, so we had not been eating bread, once we ran out of the home made loaves in the freezer. So you can imagine my delight when last week, I noticed in an advert that Lidl were selling bread making machines for the princely sum of £19.99p and that they would be on sale on Monday of this week.

I persuaded the chauffer to get up early and drive me into town to see if we could get there in time to buy one.

At 9am we went in to see lots of people with a bread maker in their arms, so I hot footed to where they were all coming from and bought three. One for me and one each for my sons whose birthdays happen to be next week! But before you groan at the thought of getting a present like that, No.2 son had asked for one for his birthday, and No.1. son said that my daughter in law would love one too if I could get one. (My other daughter in law already has one otherwise I would have got one for her too. We also bought other shopping whilst we were in there – unlike most people who were just buying the days bargains.

When I got them home to find that they were similar to the Panasonic machines that cost a great deal more, inasmuch as they have a loaf tin shape baking tin inside as opposed to the bucket type tin you usually get in the cheaper versions – I was ecstatic.

I have already tried mine out with my favourite recipe and whilst it was not as brown on top as when I bake it in the oven, it was lovely and crispy, and tasted gorgeous. I threw in a handful of mixed sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds at the beginning having not read some of the instructions that mentioned that they might get crushed if you do so – but these didn’t. So when I am feeling under par or don’t want to be indoors for three hours or so whilst my bread is proving etc etc, I have the option of throwing all the ingredients in the machine and letting it get on with it. It also ‘makes’ jam and marmalade and cakes and all sorts of bread and dough, so I shall have fun experimenting.

At this very moment I have a raisin loaf on the go, and peeking through the window in the lid it looks very nice and has risen well. I used sultanas as I didn’t have any raisins – you know me – improvisation is my middle name.

I am sitting here in the lounge with my feet up and the ceiling fan going – so am doing more or less what the doctor ordered!

I have managed to sneak up the lottie a couple of times whilst the main man has been out bowling in the evenings, but have littleb to show for the time I spent up there.

I have sowed a row of peas, done some hoeing, and dug over another small asparagus bed which is between the gooseberries and rhubarb – all of which took me a total of six hours would you believe – so frustrating when you have as much energy as a limp lettuce.

I also planted out about 8 courgette plants. I have lots that need to go out, particularly as we have rain forecast by Sunday, but whether or not I will be able to achieve getting the things in is another matter.

Oh - I did get a windfall of some double cream so used two tubs to make some butter which churned up in record time in this weather – so that cheered me up no end.

Off to a rest before making lunch as the golfer will be back soon.

Lunch is from the freezer, chicken in a red pepper sauce, with freshly picked purple sprouting broccoli and jacket potatoes – yummy.

The sultana loaf was absolutely delicious – I was really amazed that a bread maker could make such a wonderful loaf – light and crispy. My eldest son phoned this evening and he had used a recipe which was on the back of a packet of dried yeast and he had had a success too. What a bargain of a machine.

I rested this afternoon, and this evening I spent a couple of hours up the allotment and had a wonderful time.

I let out the chickens and spent time with them – they are still great fun and so friendly and comical. They were having a real scrap over something, squabbling -about what I thought must have been a worm – but on further investigation it turned out to be a glittery bit of blue plastic that they had dug up – so I chased Ginger and confiscated it – for her own good!

I hoed a raised bed, and planted some dwarf bean plants which I had raised at home, and some more salads, and then hoed the salad raised bed and was delighted to see that a couple of rows of beetroot, some mixed salads, and some rocket have started growing.

Next I planted some runner bean plants – again sowed at home in cardboard toilet roll tubes, - 24 of them, and also popped a bean seed at each cane too – for a later crop and also as insurance in case any of the plants fail.

I had enough energy left to sow a row of early peas – I might have been a bit heavy handed with the seeds, but I can always pull some up. I bought them loose and they were only 60p for 500 grms – I never realised how many peas you get for that!

Dilly is still attacking me like a hammer drill – but I am used to it. It has been three weeks since she has been broody so I expected her to be off the nest by now.

Pumpkin and Freckles are getting a bit fed up with her as she is really grumpy and moans and moans. I lift her out of her nest every day to make sure that she eats and drinks, and have made another nest which I have put next to the other nesting box, but she is not impressed with that.

The window cleaner came and said that he would bring me a dozen pheasant eggs for her to sit on – I told him that I couldn’t keep 12 pheasants in my garden – but he said that they run off into the woods as soon as they hatch – which they did when Phyllis my tame pheasant hatched out her brood every year under the hedge. It was amazing to see newly hatched pheasant chicks up and ready and able to feed themselves and looking like miniature adults.

That’s all today folks.

Saturday it is Cup Final Day, so you can guess what we will be doing in the afternoon.

3 comments:

  1. get the eggs and let the bantie set. she will be so happy and you will be doing nature a good turn. i wish we had pheasents in our area.

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  2. denise t9:57 pm

    but will dilly be okay if her babies run off into the woods immediately? i would think she would be terribly upset...but you could keep them penned for awhile i guess...baby pheasants would be lovely!
    everything shoulds great there...here i have just weeded the lettuces,spinach and peas. and added pea brush to the seedlings...this is supposed to be a bushy kind of pea, but i see the tendrils reaching out, and figured it will still need supports...now that its late afternoon, i will go out and plant some green bush beans...maybe the corn. i wonder if im too early with the corn though...better google and find out now. best to your health lottie!

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  3. If the window cleaner leaves them then I will - I might also ask the chap up the allotment with all the chickens if he wants some too Patsy.

    Denise I would be very interested to hear how the bush peas do, I have been tempted to try them out myself - the only thing stopping me was the practicality of protecting them from all the birds and animals that would eat them.

    I haven't even sown my sweet corn yet - best get my finger out - maybe that is a job I can do after the acupuncture tomorrow - beats sitting down and twiddling fingers.

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