Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Jar of the Day

Onion Marmalade

Apple and Blackberry pies plus a big one stashed in the freezer ;)

We had a major interruption today in the form of a car that needed a new battery, so many thanks to my lovely friend who came with his car to jump start ours.  We had a little adventure to Bourneville to drop the car at the garage and came home on the bus.

While I've got your attention , can I have a little rant about Barclays bank?  They've recently refurbished the kings heath branch, and very nice it is indeed, all open plan and slick with a giant picture of Wayne Rooneys bald bonce on the wall (!???) But they've made it impossible for me to both queue and keep my children safe because the swishy electric doors are permanently open onto the high street, and strangely enough, Joseph is not too keen on the queuing malarkey and just wants to leg it out of the door.  

As for the queue, well I counted 3 assistants who were very eager and pleased to show us exactly where to queue.  I couldn't help but wonder why they weren't behind the counter serving customers so that there wasn't such a queue? 

I would love to know if my thinking is completely out of kilter with the rest of the world, because I was getting a bit stressed at that point, and gently (ahem, actually it was more like tersely and probably quite rudely) pointed it out to the "co-ordinator".  She didn't take too kindly to that suggestion and another co-ordinator came to help me queue.  Even more bizzarely she didn't seem to think that 6 people in a line constituted a queue............. Is it just me, or am I simply becoming a grumpy older person beyond help??  Answers on a postcard (or in the comments :)

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

waiting for plums

For weeks now, all around me has been an abundant plum harvest, people have been groaning under the weight of all the plums they have been gathering in, plums in abundance in the veg box and everywhere in the shops.  I even ate plum crumble and custard in the canteen at work last week.  So why oh why were my plums staying resolutely green?  Would they ever ripen?  Reading the River Cottage guide to Preserves, Pam the Jam confidently states that under-ripe fruit is the best for jam making, so I harvested my plum tree with a sad heart, thinking of the tart, tasteless jam these sad excuses for plums would produce.  Half of the plums have had to go onto the compost heap because they had split anyway.  A dark day.

On to the chopping and preparing of the plums.  Were they like bullets? ! they were soft, luscious, dripping......and the taste?.....sweet, lush, sunshine.    The scales fell from my eyes, I didn't have green plums, I've got a beautiful bucket of fragrant juicy greengages!!!

Here you can see them all chopped and ready to go in the maslin pan.  As you can see I chucked in a couple of imposter "proper"plums to make the quantity up to 1.5kg.   Later on I wished I hadn't put them in because the skins didn't soften as quickly as the greengages.

Amazingly, greengages (and plums, damsons, etc) have got kernels inside that smell strongly of almonds.  Who knew??  Its a little tricky cracking stones covered in slippery greengage flesh.....  They were eventually covered in boiling water and later slipped from their little tough jackets, unleashing their pungent almondiness.   Mmmmmmm......

1.5kg greengages simmering with 400ml water, waiting for 1.25kg sugar to be added.

7 jars of jam!

Next year I'll pick the fruit a good 2-3 weeks before the stage they were at yesterday because I lost half the crop to splitting  by waiting for them to ripen.  

I found the tree label in my album of notable plants (I used to keep all the labels, but have lapsed in the last 2 years)  I thought we had bought a plum.  The garden centre (Webbs) certainly sold us a plum.  But no, our tree is definitely a Cambridge Gage.  

Thursday, 25 August 2011

My first ever carrots

I didn't think they had worked because the chard stole all their light, but I have been proved wrong. Ok, fair enough, they are tiny......but they're mine.

A (nearly) finished object

This must be some sort of record for one of my projects as it's only taken about 10 days.

A tanktop for Joseph, extensively adapted from a Drops pattern from ravelry. Project page here . I knitted it in the round instead of in 2 separate front and back pieces.  I also had to change the number of stitches considerably due to the yarn I used - Katia cotton DK, in orange with a green ball added in for a strip around the chest.  I changed the main body stitch from reverse stockinette to normal stockinette as I didn't want to be constantly purling on the circular needles.  I also added a rib edging (but forgot to use a smaller needle size)  I wouldn't use such a boldly variegated yarn for cables again as the colour changes look quite odd.  A bit like peas and carrots  I may yet applique a felt dinosaur or something so that the boy will actually wear it.  Likelihood at present is fairly minimal.  It also needs buttons at the shoulders and of course all the ends sewing in.

I've got to take a photo of the boy wearing it to show it fits (fingers crossed) as one of the housekeepers at work did not believe it would fit a 2 year old.  I told her he was quite thin........

Rain on the flowers

I really should learn how to turn off all the dodgy auto-added selfpublicity gubbins from the phone and the apps.  Anyway, exciting news as I have now learnt how to add photos from the phone in a few mere nanoseconds.  yippee! - this could make the whole thing do-able

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

hello helloooo

this is my first ever post in blog-world (so exciting)

I've called the blog {what is it?} because it's going to be about crafting, growing, and children and that seems to be the best-used question in this household.

Look forward to lots of half-finished projects, best intentions, technical difficulties and lengthy hiatuses (hiati?) between posts.  hmmmm, maybe I should have got that roget's thesaurus app after all......