Sunday, January 22, 2012


I started this post a while ago and have just not been in the mood/had the time to finish it. Maybe I'll take a bit of a break from the blog since I don't seem to get around to regular postings. I originally started the blog for something to do, as we had just started working our land and I was keen to document the things we did here for our benefit and for those like-minded folk out there. I think I want to spend more time doing other things this year. D is off to school soon, so life will definitely be different. Who knows, maybe I'll start blogging more then!

Anyway, here's the post.

Isn't it nice to be given a homemade gift? We were given 3 jars of lovely preserves from some friends recently (thank P & C!). They are marmalade, rhubarb and strawberry jam, and tomato pizza sauce. I'm looking forward to trying the marmalade and pizza sauce, have already started on the delicious rhubarb and strawberry jam...

We were also given a jar of strawberry jam (thanks to my mother-in-law). The last batch of jam I made, which was a mix of strawberry, raspberry and blueberry, disappointingly did not set well at all, so it's great to receive some really well made jams!

We've been harvesting carrots and lettuce from the garden, as well as the usual herbs such as coriander, oregano, sage, thymes, rosemary and basil. My hops are growing really well, hopefully should get a reasonable harvest this year (their 2nd year) and I hope to make some beer with them as well as leaving enough to make up some herbal sleep sachets. My only concern is their location, at present they are growing along a wall in the veg garden, and are quite rampant! They could also do with something a bit better to climb along. I put them there as a temporary measure last year but we will have to plan a structure we can build elsewhere for a more permanent location for them. I recently re-watched the episode of Monty Don's Lost Gardens (Sutton Stop) where they put in a post frame to grow hops, maybe we'll use this sort of design to grow ours in a more permanent location

In the kitchen I've been as busy as usual. Yesterday I made these Chocolate and Raspberry friands, as the raspberries in the garden have been producing quite well:

I also made Cherry and Chocolate brioche recently, since it is cherry season. Didn't get a photo sorry, but they tasted good. The mixture was a little damp so took a bit longer to cook plus they didn't look quite as perfect as the photo in the recipe book, next time I will be sure to make the dough a little stiffer so they roll and slice more easily before cooking.

In the gardens, while the soil has suddenly gone very dry and hard as usual now that the rain has stopped. The potatoes G planted are all looking very healthy, despite lack of mulch (on the to-do list!).

 In the garden here we have herbs, beans just starting up, shallots, tomatoes, blueberries (netted). Unfortunately a thrush got in to the blueberries despite the nets so there are hardly any berries left now. You can just see the hops on the right up against the fence.

We've had a regular visitor to the flax flowers in the garden. Tui are a native bird who have a beautiful bell-like birdsong and their wings make a fluttering sound when they hop around to feed:
Tui on flax flower

We've had a wet start  to summer but then some nice sunny hot days. The sunsets are always good though -

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year

A belated Happy New Year to everyone! Hope you enjoyed your Festive time and New Years celebrations!

I was working on both occasions so ours was a little quiet this year.

Having said that D was given a wee drum kit for Christmas! He loves it!

Wishing you all the very best for 2012.

Agapanthus flower  (I prefer its alternative name Lily of the Nile)