Made from scrap

Made from scrap
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Friday, 31 August 2012

Where has August Gone?

I can not believe it is the last day of August.  I hope we all have a fantastic September. . .
August 2012 Photo Collage

"Equal dark, equal light
Flow in Circle, deep insight
Blessed Be, Blessed Be
The transformation of energy!
So it flows, out it goes
Three-fold back it shall be
Blessed Be, Blessed Be
The transformation of energy!"
-   Night An'Fey, Transformation of Energy

"the air is different today
the wind sings with a new tone
sighing of changes
the harvest gathered
a flower, a nut
some mead, and bread
a candle and a prayer
returning the fruits
in thanksgiving
to the grove
and receiving
it's blessing
-   Rhawk, Alban Elfed

"September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret."-   Alexander Theroux, 1981

Thursday, 30 August 2012

The 'Fantastic Four'

I thought I would be waiting a very long time for a photograph with four chickens in one shot!  Three are tricky enough.  Look!  My four girls!
My two hours of 'Chicken Whispering' yesterday paid of.  My superior 'chicken' bonding skills (and a Water Blaster) have worked miracles.  The 'Beverley  Sisters' came out to play at 7am, while Lavender endured isolation in the coop until 2pm.  I had run some errands and been shopping.  I got some delicious looking corn on the cobs.  I let Lavender out for her first of two planned 'Play Dates' today and chucked four corn on the cobs around the garden.  Lavender so wants to be part of this gang today.  She brazenly shared corn and the others dared not object.  They are very good girls and have not shown any aggression what so ever just fear, caution and disdain.  Today they have tolerated her.  She has not been so nasty and I have not seen or heard any fights.  The 'Play Date' was extended, she even flopped by them sprawled out in the sunshine, sleeping.  I was full of pride!  Everyone knows 'Pride comes before a fall'!
                My son and his friend came back at about 7.30pm, they were hungry, all was well in the garden and I thought Lavender would follow the others at bedtime (dusk) so I cooked a new recipe, 'Oriental Prawns and Noodles' (very Weight Watchers).
It is low fat and full of vegetables, I have never used Pak Choi or Oyster mushrooms before.  To my delight 'The Teenagers' loved it!  I realised it had got dark quickly and went to check the chickens.  All were present except for Lavender!  "Lads!"  I yelled " I need some help to find the chicken"!  They came a running!  Have you ever tried looking for a dark grey chicken in the dark!  Nope nor have I!  I was relieved when I could hear her pitiful 'Baby Peeping'.  I could not find her at all.  The Garden is overgrown and has dense undergrowth that the chickens love to hide in when there is a heavy rain storm.  It is mostly brambles.  I have spent much of today seriously pruning the large shrubs and stripping the branches to use as fence extenders and to reinforce places where I think Lavender could escape as she jumped higher than my head yesterday.  I did not clip her wing feathers today because she was fine and behaving just like the other three.  We had a wind up torch and sticks, we were looking everywhere.  We were getting scratched by brambles and to be honest I was getting panic stricken.  She had even stopped 'peeping' so we couldn't hear her or see her.  I was pulling up shrubs frantically. . . I will check the aftermath in the morning.  We were a good half an hour with the boys climbing the fences and looking over.  I was getting quite distressed and anxious thinking she would be all alone at night who knows where, she would end up as Mr Fox's supper. . .when my son's friend shouted 'Luce, I have found the chicken'!  I ran over 'where is she'?  He was laughing.  'Here it is right in front of me, up in the tree!'  I have not been so relieved in a long time.  I could see her little silhouette, huddled, roosting in the Wild Cherry tree.  I had been looking at ground level, I did not think to look six foot in the air!  I grabbed her and she 'peeeeeped'.  I carried her up to the coop and popped her in to bed with her 'sisters'.  Tomorrow I will not get distracted at dusk and will make sure Lavender is first to bed!  I am sore with bramble scratches.   Oh by the way, my partner found out about her today. . .when Euan told him.  Let's just say he wasn't thrilled about the idea.  Little does he know we have a right one here!  She is a perfect addition to my wonky world!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Chicken Unrest - Lavender Update

All Girlies slept together.  It is very rare for chickens to fight in the dark.  Lavender went first, she was a very tired girl.  Then I put the other three in the coop and they crept so tentatively to bed I had to chuckle.  I sat there waiting in the dark but there was no ruckus.  I googled what time was sunrise and set my alarm for 5.30am!  Out I crept and there was Lavender and two tired girls out in the coop.  They looked too tired to fight.  I wanted the others to have the opportunity to lay so I penned Lavender separately for an hour.  She is such a baby and everything is new to her.  She is 20 weeks old but has been in a barn.  She thinks grass is fantastic, she thinks bugs are fantastic and she is hyper vigilant to noises and the wild birds.  After an hour I went to check and there were three eggs!  One was very weak and broken.  I let the girls out and attempted to get lavender from the pen with a child's fishing net!  She escaped and gave me a brief run around.  I caught her and put her in the coop on her own where she is quite happy eating and drinking loads.
            I go back to work on Monday, so I really need to encourage harmony asap.  Armed with Euan's Pump Action Water Blaster:
I decided Lavender needed a 'Play Date' at about 6pm.  I assumed the role of either Mother Hen or a Cockerel I am not sure which. . .
                 Out she strutted.  She couldn't believe her luck.  She was fascinated and very nervous.  She scratched around and sampled a vast array of leaves. . . her eyes goggled trying to focus on tiny flying bugs and bless her she has a habit of crossing her legs like a baby Giraffe!  She gets her feet and legs into a tangle!  I would love to photograph that.  I couldn't take photographs as I had a heavily loaded water blaster and a child's fishing net!  She particularly loved Raspberry leaves and bramble leaves.  Then she spotted the others and they spotted her.  The pecking order has completely shifted.  Instead of Rose (bottom of the pecking order and the 'Winnie The Pooh brained Chicken) getting left out she is now firmly in the gang.
Those three are sticking together like. . . sisters!  Lavender ran straight to them. . . they tried to run to me. . . begging me to do something.  She gave Poppy, top of the pecking order, a nasty peck and puffed up ready to fight, so I blasted her!  They all scattered squawking!  They recovered and all started warily going about their business. . . their is definitely a mutual fascination going on.  Rose is the bravest and seems to be the one that is most eager to make friends but her behaviour is still very passive, she bows her head or stands as still as a statue when Lavender is right next to her.  Poppy and Daisy watched this and seemed to realise that Rose is avoiding a beating!  So they quickly started to do the same.  It is not working so well for Poppy but I was there and blasting before anything got too bad!  Poor Poppy still has her injury from yesterday.  It is a small nick, that has scabbed cleanly as she let me apply disinfectant straight away.  I was playing 'Cockerel' or 'Mother Hen' for about two hours.  It all went well considering the circumstances.  Rosie has been a loner but now the other two are following her everywhere as she seems to know what to do.  There were a few harmonious moments where there was a group of four chickens that looked like they might be able to get along.  It all ended when Lavender took a leap and perched on a bramble, higher than my head, ready to jump over the neighbours!  I swiped her with the fishing net and caught her and put her to bed!  I am having a steep learning curve in 'Poultry Care'.  I thought I was up for the challenge and I hope I am!  My Partner has not noticed today!  He and Lavender have not met.  He is not going to be at all happy with a fence jumping chicken, neither are the neighbours!  I hope she grows out of that.  The others escaped once through a hole in the fence and dug up the neighbours parsnips!  They like to help me do that!  In fact each morning I am gathering potatoes that they dig up for me, I haven't had to dig for any!
            I think I am already quite attached to Lavender, she has a sweet little song, she is only a baby and the world is all very big and is as exciting as it is daunting.  She listens to me and likes to follow me which I am quite glad about.   I have four chickens that at least think I am the boss!  That Water Blaster has earned me some healthy respect.
              I might be able to put the Water Blaster down tomorrow and take some photographs.  I am exhausted and will set my alarm for before sunrise again tomorrow. . . being a chicken Mom is hard work at the moment!  

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

I have really gone and done it now!

This is not the only 'butting of heads' I have witnessed today!  We went for our long awaited trip to 'Chicken World'.  Me and Euan call it that, it is really called 'The Domestic Fowl and Rare Breeds Trust' at Honeybourne.  It has changed hands since our last visit and was a very different but really enjoyable day out.
While these two Pygmy goats were butting heads, this one was calmly soaking up the love.
It was incredibly sweet natured and really soft.  When I win the Lottery I will definitely have some of these!
This piggy wig was adorable too and wagged his little tail when you chatted to him.  I will have some of these too!
I actually don't fancy one of these.  Llama's are big and can give you a nasty look!
Euan would like one of these if we win the Lottery and a track!  I think we would need one each.  They were great fun.  It was very quiet so I sneaked the opportunity to pedal around the track a few times 'Like a bat out of hell' racing my son!
          Talking of hell, I saw some 'La Fleche' chickens, otherwise known as 'Devils Head Chickens'. . . look at these:
Complete with horns.
We had a go at 'Den Building'.  Euan really thought carefully about this, selecting sticks for their 'best fit' qualities.
I think we could do more of this in our local woods, the dog could come and have fun too.
We Ooooed and aaaahhhed over the babies.  I think these are Quails.
Ducklings are adorable.  I worked up quite a thirst and an appetite so we stopped for lunch.
I love mismatched crockery.  Over lunch something weird happened.  I got nagged and had a moment of weakness.  One of our hens at home has stopped laying so I get two eggs a day from three hens.  It seemed logical to increase our numbers!  Euan begged and pleaded and promised to be the most committed chicken keeper the world has ever seen, so we chose our new addition.  You only live once eh?  I believe a bit of 'Crazy' is good for the soul.   I have read obsessively about chickens and know introducing a new one is not easy.  The new one is prone to bullying as chickens are flock animal with a fairly rigid pecking order.  My three have a very clear, yet harmonious pecking order.  I worried the new girl would be picked on.  Euan sang to her in the back of the car and told her what a lovely life she would have, for the journey home and by the time we got home he had decided her name was 'Lavender'.
Here is 'The Lovely Lavender'. . . or possibly the 'Not so Lovely lavender'!  She is a 'Speckledy Hybrid'.
 The man at the shop recommended I spray all the chickens with a solution of vinegar so they all smell the same and shut them in the coop and let them 'get on with it'.  My three girls 'Free range' from dawn until dusk.  Ok ok . . . vinegar sprayed. . . all over four hens.   My old girls don't bat an eyelid and even let me 'bath and blow dry' them.  I have had them since they were eggs!  They trust me implicitly and think I am 'Mom'.  Well how I have rocked their world!
Out came Lavender!  All hell let loose!  My three quickly forgot their pecking order and all got terrified.  Lavender is 20 weeks old.  She immediately kept the highest point in the coop and puffed herself up to twice her normal size and began pecking the other three in a really savage fashion.  They submitted, they bowed their heads low, she pecked um!  They lay down, she pecked um!  They tried fighting back she pecked and drew blood on the 'Top Ranking Chicken' Poppy.  My three begged me to be let out of the carnage!  I let them out.  I had four chickens 'honking' loudly for about 30 minutes!
             I have had to race to the 'Cornstores' for Violet anti-bacterial spray for Poppies wound.  She sat and let me clean her up with disinfectant.  Blood is a magnet for all chickens and they will continue to peck wounds, so you spray them violet.  I also bought 'Anti Pecking Spray' and have had to spray all four chickens again.  I sprayed myself liberally too by accident and had to go and shower and literally scrub the revolting stuff off.  The man in the Cornstores thought it was most unusual for the new one to take top of the pecking order. . .typical of me. . .  he even asked me if I had mistakenly got a cockerel.  Normally the new one is bullied and submissive.  All is calm at the moment.  Lavender has the coop and run all to herself, while the others have the garden.  Lord knows what is going to happen at bedtime!  I am going to set my alarm for sunrise and get out there early in the morning to sort the trouble.  Euan thinks it is all fantastically dramatic and entertaining.  He has filled his water gun and put it on top of the coop for me to spray Lavender if she is nasty and I will!  I am not sure how long she will be staying. . .

Edit:  My OH does not read my Blog. . .I hope. . .I wonder how long I can keep a 'Savage Chicken' a secret?  

Monday, 27 August 2012

I Like A Bit Of Spam ...but I need help!

I have to admit I am not adverse to a bit of Spam!  I would not rush out and buy it, I would never choose it on a menu. . . I have never even tried a Spam Fritter. . . but I will own up to enjoying a Spam and Brown Sauce Sandwich on the odd occasion, they seem to taste better if they have been in a 'Tupperware box' for several hours on a warm day.
       The truth is I am having trouble with a different type of Spam, nastier and more irritating than this processed pink stuff you find in a can.  It seems I have an e-mail account issue!  Gahhh!  I would like to apologise to any of you that are receiving Spam e-mails from my e-mail address.  A couple of you have been in touch with me, thank you very much.  I have had my e-mail account for over ten years without any problems.  I also pay through the nose for a 'Computer Security and Antivirus' package that still has 400+ days to run.  Yet alas, some sneaky rascals with a brain far more technologically advanced than my own have manged to infiltrate my account and send Spam e-mails to everyone on my address book!  I really don't know what the emails are linking to!  I dread to think...   This has been happening for about a week!  I have changed all the security details on my e-mail account and I have also ran a security scan this afternoon and it fixed three 'cookie' I am very partial to a 'cookie'.
        Does anyone know what I can do?  Has this happened to anyone else?  I have a free e-mail account with AOL which basically means they do not really want to know where 'support' is concerned.  The help numbers and the online support is only for paying customers.   I can't even find an e-mail address to get any help.  They have e-mailed me to tell me off for sending out Spam from my account though and threatened to close my account if I do it again!  I have The sneaky rascals have done it again!  I am waiting for the AOL police to come knocking at my door!  If you can help I would appreciate any suggestions.  More to the point if you have received 'weird e-mails' from me I am really, really sorry!
            Can I attempt to make it up to you with this offering:
A link to a War time Recipe for Spam 'Fritters' Appetising eh?
Is it just me or do they look a bit like Gandhi's Flipflops?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Best Of British 'London' Blog Challenge

The Face of New World Appliances have been organising the 'Best of British Blog Challenge'.  This is a cookery 'Blog Challenge' celebrating the best of Regional Dishes around Britain.  There is rather a good prize for the 'ultimate' winner, £300 worth of Amazon vouchers.  I am always up for a bit of challenge especially where 'cookery' is involved.
           This months challenge is being hosted by Fiona from 'London Unattached', the region being celebrated is 'London'.  After all the Jubilee and 'Limpics' it seems like a good time to celebrate 'London' with food.   I must admit I needed to do a quick bit of research as the only regional 'London' dishes that sprang to mind were 'Jellied Eels' and 'Pie and Mash'.  I googled and found London Travel with a link to 'London Recipes'.  I really like the sound of 'Blackberry Bread and Butter Pudding'.  It brings out the forager in me!  Bread and Butter Pudding is a very traditional dessert and of course it is crying out for blackberries.  I can imagine this being made for 'Tea' after a day blackberrying, by many many families over the decades and beyond.
Blackberries are an abundant and free source of nutrition widely available across the UK at this time of year.  They are very rich in Vitamin C and are used as a key ingredient in traditional 'Cough and Cold Remedies'.  The seeds are a good source of Vitamin E.  The berries are simply there for the picking for anyone brave enough to deal with the brambles.  Euan and I are brave!  We had a lovely Sunday afternoon walk gathering fruit, we even found some Hazel nuts as a bonus too.
             Euan is very enthusiastic about the 'competition' and would like half of any winnings as pay for his blackberry picking efforts.  He came home and 'googled' "Posh Puddings for the Queen London Blackberries".  I used the recipe from 'London Travel' for inspiration but tweaked it considerably, thus making it 'Posher' and fit for a queen, I think you will agree?
2 Crusty White Rolls Sliced and Buttered
150g of Fresh Blackberries
50g of Brown Sugar
2 eggs
100ml of thick cream
Freshly Grated Nutmeg
2 Tablespoons of Brandy


Line a Pie dish with 75g of Blackberries and sprinkle them with half of the sugar.
Beat the eggs with the cream.
Arrange the bread and remaining blackberries into the pie dish and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
Pour over the egg and cream.
Grate Nutmeg liberally over the top of the pudding.
Sprinkle the Brandy evenly over the top of the pudding.
Place in a medium/hot oven for 30 minutes until the 'custard' has set.
Serve with a good dollop of Cream, Custard or Creme Fraiche.
I used Creme Fraiche, honest Gov!  What a fruitful days foraging.  From the bush to the pud in a matter of hours.  Very thrifty and hearty grub.   After my Pud, I would say we are already 'winners'.  :) xxx

Benefits Of Riding A Bicycle

This morning I was awake ridiculously early for a Sunday.  6am!  Daisy the Chicken decided she wanted to play at being a cockerel!  She was doing a great job.  I ran up the garden to let her out early thinking that the blue sky and sunshine was making her honk for freedom.  Nope!  She still kept on 'honking' really loudly.  You know I love my 'Backyard Chickens'.  I think Chickens make great urban 'Pets with benefits' but 6am!     I scanned the garden for issues...cats see if anything was upsetting her...nope.  I scattered food to take her mind off her honking ...nope!  I chatted to her...nope.  I picked her up for a cuddle...nope.  As soon as I put her down again more honking.  Some freshly picked raspberries and blackberries temporarily shut her up.  She looks well with no obvious injuries...she just wanted to make some noise.  When her 'sister' Poppy (Top of the pecking order), had finished laying, Daisy shut up!   I live in the middle of an old 1950s Council Estate in a fairly busy street.  I have some inconsiderate neighbours that are pretty noisy and we regularly/daily have dogs barking and howling...may as well add my chickens to the mix.  It is just unusual for them to be so loud, for so long and so early.  The Poultry books definitely did not mention chickens being a noise issue!  If they did I must have skipped that page!  I can be pretty blinkered and only take in the good bits!  Chickens are perfectly quiet pets for 99% of the time but for that 1%  boy oh boy do they make some noise!   I have shown you this photograph before, here is a cross chicken!
 That is Poppy, with Daisy in the background, those two stick together like...'birds of a feather'.  Rose is the 'Winnie the Pooh' of chickens and likes to do her own thing and generally 'thinks outside of the box'.  She seems to prefer human company.
Rose likes to jump on my back and stand on my head or shoulders so she can get a 'birds eye view' of the gardening.
          Having been unceremoniously raised from my slumber, early on a Sunday morning, I decided as the sun was shining and the sky was blue I may as well do an early morning bike ride.  Another benefit of riding a bicycle is it can be used to redress over indulgences like 'Chinese Buffets'.  I am still repenting for that 'Chinese Buffet'.  The day before we 'celebrated' Henry's exam results with a 'Mixed Grill' and wine (not conducive to being a good 'Weight Watcher').  He passed, with good grades and will be heading to 'sixth form' to study for 'A' levels.  That should keep him out of mischief.  We shall see.
           I can't believe how early it still is!  I have legs of lead and the chickens are now snoozing in the garden.  They sprawl out like dogs and sleep in the sunshine.  I might go and honk at them...
Hope you are all having a good weekend.  :) xxx

Friday, 24 August 2012


Today Euan and I caught the train into Birmingham in search of a 'real' brain at The Think Tank, Birmingham Science Museum.  I am a product of my parents and can't help having a sharp intake of breath at the entrance fee of these places, phew educational fun can be expensive.  Euan is notorious for being a 'butterfly' or more like a 'Busy Bee' at these places and I run around after him.  It is surprising the amount of information kids can take in though racing around.  We saw the 'real' brain that the original owner donated to the museum!  Awesome.  (If you like that sort of thing)!  We learned all  sorts of things about the human body.  We also saw a triceratops skull and a all sorts of fossils, including a fossil of a whole crocodile with a tooth still embedded in it's leg.  There are some great stuffed animals too.  I am strangely fascinated by Taxidermy.  You gotta admit a Polar Bear must take a lot of hard work!  We looked at old trains, steam engines, bikes, motorbikes and cars.  Euan really enjoyed the 'Science Garden' outdoors.  I had a play too.  We explored forces, pulleys and leavers, balances,  movement, bridge building and lots of water.  We then had lunch at our favourite Chinese Buffet restaurant in China Town.  I am off to find the recipe for a delicious, Melon, Tapioca and Coconut Milk pud that we love.  On the train journey home Euan stated he would like to donate his body to the museum, particularly his 'Butt Cheeks'!  He cracks me up!  He only said this because he knows it would make me laugh a lot!  
We have one weeks holiday left before we are back to the school routine.  Boooo!  I think we are due a trip to 'Chicken World' next week.  The Domestic Fowl Trust and Honeybourne Rare Breeds.  We both love 'Chicken World'.  I will have to be careful not to fall in love and bring anything home with me!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Angel's of Crochet have been...Again!

Sometimes you just have to love 'cyberspace' and all it's little synchronicities.  I read this post here by Carol at Smile at the Flowers.  The Simply Crochet Magazine looked great and it had a page about Lucy at 'Attic 24'.  Lucy is a bit of crochet guru!  Well this magazine was proving to be elusive.  They sold like 'Hot Cakes'.  Even online there were no back copies available and it had completely sold out at the beginning of the Summer.  Carol left a comment on my blog wishing me luck finding a copy 'as they were like Hen's teeth to find'.  I have never found a Hen's tooth so I had given up.
        Last week I also read Linda's post 'A Day of Doorbell Ringing' over at 'Chalky's World' and I could relate to the excitement of the postie arriving with goodies.  I felt a little deflated though as I was expecting no goodies at all!  In fact I have been trying to sell stuff rather than order stuff, so I have been selling on Ebay for the first time.  Phew what a palaver it all seems to be.  Parceling up packages to send to other people is not nearly as exciting as receiving them.
          Yesterday the Postie arrived with a large envelope, I initially thought 'nope not for me'.  Then I thought  'It must be work related bumf or boring stuff'.  Well. . .The Angels of Crochet have been again!  Yippeee.  They arrived courtesy of my cyber buddy 'Wiggles, aka Julia' of 'Wigglesbears by Julia'.

Here is an example of one of  'Wigglesbears'
Cute eh?
I know many of you know Julia in 'Cyberspace' and without going into personal detail it is suffice to say she is an inspirational lady.  I think she an incredibly brave lady who has remained remarkably creative and positive in the face of extreme 'health' adversity.  I wish Julia well with her 'Crafty Business', I think she deserves the very best.
Do pop over and take a look at her website.  She makes beautiful handmade bears, animals and toys.  If you are looking for a unique, handmade gift for a 'special someone' you may just find what you are after over at Julia's.  She will be happy to discuss 'made to order gifts' to your specifications too.  You never can be too organised for December 25th!!!   I also thing it is brilliant to support each other in our crafts and 'Handmade' says so much more than 'mass produced'.  I have had some ridiculously cute 'Sock Monkey's' for my cousin's girls for Christmas last year.  They were very hard to pass on!
Here is an example of one of 'Wiggle's Sock Monkeys'
Who wouldn't want one of these?
             If you read yesterday's post you will understand I had a weekend of mixed fortunes and was feeling a bit down and stressed.  This surprise package really lifted my spirits!  I couldn't believe my luck.  Just what I wanted.  I did enjoy browsing the magazine at bedtime last night.  A big 'Thank you' to Julia...whose timing and kindness were spot on!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Trials and tribulations of life and 'Crochet' at last. . .

Do you remember the Crochet Hexagons I showed way back in April?  No you probably don't!  The post is Here.
I started off with a strange floppy hexagon, that you could fold like this:
or like this:
Claire  guessed I am trying to make a Jacketty sort of something. . .
It has been quite slow going but I don't tend to crochet so much in the Summer.  I have just kept going round and round...working two hexagons at the same time.  I can actually see the end in sight now. . .
I am not really following a 'Pattern', which is pretty typical of me and usually where I go wrong!  I also did not think to carefully about my colours.  I just got carried away going around and around working with my favourite colours!  I had in my opinion gone past the point of no return.  I hate to 'frog' anything.  I am not sure I will be wearing this with pride (well not outdoors anyway . . . but who knows with me anything is possible).  It will get worn in the house in the winter though.  Maybe just not Winter 2012!
              I have a fortnight left of my 'holiday' before I go back to work.  I have been busy doing this and that!
The chickens helped with digging in the garden and all four of us were delighted to find. . .
Potatoes!  Poppy, Daisy and Rose are digging everyday now and keep finding more.
                 My parents came for lunch last week to help with the 'Courgette Glut':
This was stuffed with Turkey and Spicy Tomato Cous Cous.  We also had jacket potatoes:
and homegrown Runner Beans:

Over the weekend our town had a three day 'Festival' it was a Community event with two stages for music.  There were also fair rides, stalls and shows.  The weather was perfect for this type of event and there was a large turn out.  Unfortunately on the Friday night No.1 Son ran into some trouble with a group that he did not know and he got hurt and pretty shook up.  On Saturday I took Euan and we spent 10 hours there.  We had fun and for the large majority of the time I had No.1 Son in sight.  He was having a great time and so was everyone else it was a great day, chilling in the sunshine listening to music.  When I first started my blog I wrote about the 'travellers' that stay every year just around the corner from my house.  Check out the post here to see photographs of their vans.  They have a band called 'The Hedgerow Crawlers':

  Euan and I thought they were fantastic.

We stayed until the end of the day and it was dark.  I called Henry on his phone to tell him to hurry up and meet me at the car.  It is a fine line between keeping them safe and ruining their street cred!  So he left his friends to hurry and meet me.  He was about three minutes behind me walking up a pitch black path with lots of other people walking back too.  He ran into the same ****** group and they hurt him again!  I could not believe it when he turned up at the car!  He just wanted to get home asap as he was cut and bruised.  He was checked over at A&E yesterday. . . we had a 3hour wait.  It made him (and me) feel better to get the all clear.  I have thought about not sharing this on my blog. . . but it is 'life' and motherhood.  I will not say too much more about it!
             I read an old Italian Proverb yesterday:

"Small children bring headaches, older children bring heartache".

Why do they have to grow up?  If I thought it was hard work when they were babies. . . it is nothing compared to now they are older.   Obviously I am anxious about him going out and about now but I also don't want him to feel afraid.  It is definitely too hot here today for me to have wrapped him in cotton wool and it would take a lot of cotton wool!  He has gone 'out and about'.   I think we are just going to put it down to 'an experience'.  I hope we learn what we need to from it!  It is just a shame and a reality that life is not always a 'bed of roses'.  I do literally view the world through my pair of 'rose tinted' spectacles and sometimes I need a reality check!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Stuck In A Bit Of A Glut!

It has been a very rainy day.  I got soaked cleaning the chicken coop while three chatty 'supervisors' looked on, clucking their full approval.  Then I took a peek at the vegetables.  I was a bit surprised to see the courgettes/zucchini has run away with me.  I like this 'spherical' variety just for the novelty value.  These all seem to ripen up at once and grow at a speedy rate.  There is still more to come!  Of all the gluts I have had in my life I seem to have had courgette or marrow gluts the most.  I have tinkered about with vegetable growing in the garden and on allotments for about twenty years now.   One year I had a glut of huge marrows, about eight of them.  There is only so much you can do with a marrow.  I have tried jam, chutneys, pickles, stuffed marrow (a personal favourite), Marrow Au Gratin etc etc . . . you catch my drift.  101 ways with Marrow.   The year of the mega glut, my pantry was full of Marrows and I was reading an article in a 'Dog Magazine' about healthy diets for dogs. . . the article read. . . 'For healthy digestion, clean teeth, healthy gums and fresh breath feed your dog raw marrow. . . '   Over joyed at finding a use for a marrow I rushed to get 'Josh the Sausage Dog' a raw marrow.  He looked at me and looked at the marrow with a puzzled look on his face.  Then he dutifully ate his way through 3/4 of a large marrow, while I pottered in the kitchen and made myself a cup of tea.  I went back to the magazine while the dog was happily munching his marrow, turned the page of the article and it read "bone."  It actually said 'feed your dog raw marrow bone"!  Doh!!!  I don't know who was the more stupid, me for giving the dog the large marrow or him for eating it!
               I have just remembered too that Henry had 'Billy Marrow' that he was very attached to when he was about five.  I have a photograph of him somewhere grinning from ear to ear proudly holding his 'Billy Marrow'.  Billy Marrow had a little face scratched into his skin and got treated like a playmate for about a week.  (What a funny family I have proudly created)!
               Today I felt an urgency to do something with all these courgettes.  It is a shame to grow them and then waste them.  I googled a few ideas...I found this recipe for 'Courgette and Cheese Bread from 'Pebble Soup Blog'
The result is rather delicious. . . oh dear it is Weigh In day tomorrow.  I would definitely make this recipe again but may try 'Wholemeal Flour'.
               It hardly made a dent in my courgette glut.  Last night saw the return of 'The Great British Bake Off' on tv.  I think it went to my head a bit.  One inspirational young baker got very creative and he made a 'Pear and Parsnip Upside Down Cake'.  I took a leaf out of his book and got creative.  I made Courgette Cake with Chocolate, Chilli and Nuts!
I think I may be on my own eating this one.  Euan tried it but was not impressed.   It did use up a few more courgettes though.  I won't give you the recipe for this one!  (Say thank you Lucy)!  If you 'google' Courgette cake, or Zucchini Bread there are hundreds of delicious cake recipes out there.
                  Then for my third 'Courgette' creation of the day I made 'Sweet and Sour Pickled Courgette'.  I have made this before and it is rather tasty on sandwiches, or with cheese, salads and cold meats.
This pickle is good to eat after a couple of days.  I adapted this recipe for 'Polish Sweet and Sour Pickled Cucumber'  I did not add any of the seeds but I added red chili flakes for extra kick.
              I thoroughly enjoyed my 'rainy day' baking in the kitchen...but I have just had a thought, all that rain will have made more courgettes grow and swell to an enormous size.  Gahhh!  I need another Sausage Dog!