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Saturday, 7 November 2015

Dog sitting and preparations

The paying of a deposit has meant the end to house hunting and the round of window shopping, looking at appliances etc has now started. But now that my sister and BIL are finding their feet a bit they can be allowed out on their own and have hired a car so that they can get out and about while we are busy. They have now gone off to Sofia for a few days, leaving Bracken with us to learn the ropes with regards living in the countryside, such as getting up early (but it's still DARK!) and going for a walk before the birds are up, going to bed early too. Trying hard not to chase the cats, not dribbling while he watches the chooks going about their business, coming in from a mooch in the garden licking his chops after finding something tasty out there (but of course he is far too well bred to hunt out cat poo!!)
He's desperate to play with Charlie, but he is such a little cat and Bracken is a very large labrador
But Charlie is as friendly as ever and is quite happy to sit with him....

....or Bella

Their first trip once they had the car was the market. They wanted boots and chillis, just a few to spice up G's life, he likes a little on most things. We sent them off with warnings about what they might end up with, even now we sometimes get it wrong and have more than we bargained for. The boots were fine, onions a bit more tricky as the ready prepared bags still had to be weighed (we forgot to tell H that) before being paid for. But there was definitely a breakdown in communication when it came to the chillis and the handful they wanted turned into a carrier bag full. Not a great expense (about 80p) but a lot to find a home for. I took some of them and H strung some up to dry. Great fun.
A carrier bag more than we needed

 Dave wasn't going to go out but did and came back with flowers, a plant and new cruet set for one broken that morning. Spoilt I am.
Flowers from my husband

We have had a couple of ground frosts this week so the dahlias have been dug up, but there are still flowers in the garden and a few lazy bees in attendance. The onions and garlic are growing a bit too vigorously for my liking in the mild (sometimes hot) weather, I hope they cope with being frozen for long periods during winter. The moved celery is looking perky and I am hoping for another week or so of growth before I need to freeze it, time seems so short at the moment. It should be fine with light frost. We had our first cabbage the other day, you forget how nice plain green cabbage can be when there is so much to eat that you leave them to grow on. I would like to make some sauerkraut again later but again, depends on time. The chooks are enjoying having the freedom of the lower bed for the winter, busily putting things in order but the ducks have yet to find the hole in the gate.
Chrysanths in the garden

Hydrangea flowers in November

A dozy bee trying unsuccessfully to get inside a rose bud

This chrysanth was bought for me in early spring
Saw this on a visit to a friend's house, absolutely stunning

This week I have managed to get the mincemeat and Christmas cakes made. I have enough marzipan for some but am hoping that the supermarkets will have some nice ground almonds to make more. Usually the ones we get are ground with their skins on, not too pretty in marzipan! Plenty of time for that.
About twelve pounds of depleted

Cake on the go, a slightly adapted version of James Martin's boiled cake

But we had to try the mincemeat even though it is far too early, and made an apple, mincemeat crumble pie....just research of course. And made some mince pies for visitors.
It might be early but these are delicious....and I went and gave most of them away!

Was lovely, our visitors thought so too

The final thing I am trying is making apple cider vinegar from the apple peelings and cores. It's bubbling away and soon we will see how it is.
ACV on the bubble


  1. Beautiful flowers and beautiful job on the baking. I don't know anyone who makes mincemeat or boiled cakes anymore so it was lovely to see.

    1. Thanks Joyful. I have made boiled cakes in the distant past and have just re-discovered them. The last one I made was great so I am hoping this one will be. The mincemeat is delicious, sweet but with sharpness too. Should be great if there's any left for the (being careful here haha)

  2. Another lovely post, thank you, so things are moving fast with your sister all the best to her and her husband . Meanwhile I'm still hoping regarding the little village house that I want and as I said before am arranging to have all the works /repairs costed just to put either an end to it or maybe continue. Not looking to good at the moment but at least I'm giving it a fair go. The weather over here is horrid, cold, wet and windy while having looked at some webcams over there is looks dry and cold(ish). Regards Kath

    1. It's hard when something feels 'right' but only you know whether it's worth spending the money to put things right. I would just say that if you spend as much as quoted you need to be very sure you will have it long enough to make it worth it. Good luck with it all.

      Sorry to say we are in t-shirt mode once again, with temperatures set to rise by day and night. I'm sure we'll pay for it eventually.

  3. The flowers look lovely and so do the mince pies. I bought some from M&S but bought ones are just not the same! Those chillies look beautiful strung up like that.