Sunday, 31 October 2010

Pumpkins, pasta and plenty of painkillers...

Well I feel as though I'm a stranger to my own blog at the moment. Once again being able to sit down and type seems like the greatest luxury, perhaps when I talk you through the last week you ll see why!

It all started pretty well, I was following Jamie's thirty minute suppers and we made porcini tagliatelle, mushroom pasta in fact. The raw materials were assembled, the timer was started and I'm pleased to say that before the thirty minutes were up...pasta was served.

That Jamie really knows his onions, and his mushrooms for that matter. The result was delicious...

The only thing I would question are his portion sizes, this made enough for both of us and packed lunched the following day, Jules Oliver certainly doesn't fit into those frocks on this this diet!

So far so good... then came the day of the great support. No, not a fitting for ladies undergarments, but the the day the steel support were lifted in through the window and put into place ready for the hall wall to be knocked out. Now on Grand Designs this always involves a crane and lots of men in hard hats shouting 'steady on ' - not in this house it doesn't! Instead the sturdiest chaps we could muster were assembled and the thing was lifted in by hand to cries of , well its probably best not to repeat them to be honest!

So the blog was put on hold again...

And then just as the skip arrived and the all of the rubble needed removing BHs back took a turn for the worse. Skips don't fill themselves so sleeves had to be rolled up and wheelbarrows had to be filled. Of course children had to be fed and pumpkins had to be carved too!

So the blog was put on hold again...

So now I'm glad to say wall have been demolished,  rubble is removed, children have been fed, pumpkins carved, tricks treated, invalids medicated and were all well on the way to recovery.

Its nice to be back...Happy Halloween!!!

From all of us xxx

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

National Baking Week

Did you know that it's National Baking Week here in the UK...I know, any excuse to fire up the ovens!
We got ahead of the game on Sunday and continued our adventures in breadmaking. We started with a bread machine but reverted hand kneading over the past few months. My first loaves were solid little affairs best used in self defense rather than self sufficiency! But I'm proud to say that after lots of trial and error... We're getting there...

But of course Freerangers cannot live on bread alone - they need cookies too, white chocolate and cranberry to be precise ( they started as Nigella white chocolate and pistachio but I'm always looking for a reason to crack out the cranberries).

Since the oven was already on ( that's my favourite baking excuse of the moment) I put some brownies in too. C'mon it's not baking without brownies! Again the recipe is courtesy of Nigellas Domestic Goddess, but this time without the walnuts (little freerangers spit them out - heathens that they are!) I replaced them with cherries and cranberries and I was quite pleased with the end product if I do say so myself. They taste quite Christmas cakey but still with plenty of chocolate loveliness...

The other thing I want to bake this week are some scones - mostly as a challenge as Ive never baked them before...I know shocking! But what about you... What will you be baking this week?...

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A room with a view...

We are so bogged down in building and chores and trying to keep on top of everything that the idea of taking time for ourselves right now seems very distant and strangely surreal - even sitting down for half an hour to blog is the greatest treat! So today in amongst the building and cooking and cleaning and all the rest of it I thought I better stop and take stock. I was summoned to the build to see where we've got to by my little rebels shouting from the ramparts!


I dread to think how they got up there, but before I could say 'wheres your hard hat?' I was up there too. Well if you cant beat them , join em! This was the first time I've stood in the first floor room - our future bedroom. I was so excited I hardly trusted my self on the ladder!

I think BH must have seen the look on my face and guessed that my mind was skipping on to curtains and cushions as he was very quick to point out that things will take a long time yet - oh if only it was like on the telly and we'd all be sorted by teatime! couldn't resist getting a quick preview of what our view will be one day, so here it is....


I'd love to say the view will be much tidier, but I'm not asking miracles, just a bit of greenery outside the window will make a very very happy mum!

So my top tip for today is to stop - stop and take stock, stop and look around you , stop and climb a ladder if needs to be to get a better view, but definitely stop and smell the roses, or soak up the asters because its all alright really!!!

Thursday, 14 October 2010


Bh has taken the suggestion that there's not enough hours in the day to heart. He's invested in a light rig so that he can carry on into the wee hours. I'll be so glad when it's done just so that he can chill out a bit - no doubt he'll have another project by then so it's unlikely that he'll slow down soon! At least he stops for the occasional cake break - got to keep him well fuelled!

This is the first time I've blogged from the phone. Fingers crossed it will work!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Jack Rustling and late harvesting...

Its been a busy day in the garden today and I still don't feel like we got all of our jobs done! Before we get to anything we had mountains of leaves to rake up and apples to collect. Arthur our Airedale has calmed down a lot this year and so we managed to avoid having to wrestle the rake off of him - as was the case last year! But Pearl soon put paid to any plans we had of getting the job done quickly!

As soon as raked them, she jumped in and rustle them!

She tried hiding but no-one was falling for it!

At this rate we'll never get anything done!

I did manage to clean out our little green house which had been taken over by the butternut squashes which grew everywhere but never bore fruit. I learnt too late that its better to cut them back and force the fruit on - oh well - there's always next year! We got the lawn cut at last - we weren't the only ones trying to make the most of the good weather, the hum of lawn mowers and the scent of Jeyes fluid was in the air! It does feel like a race to get these jobs done before bad weather sets in - what did you get done this weekend, or are you like me and still have a list as long as your arm to get through?

We are still picking though. Tomatoes, chillis and cucumbers are coming in thick and fast. After dropping half the harvest on the way back to the house I finally got these to the kitchen... that'll teach me to take a basket with me!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Autumn colour at Harlow Carr...

We had a trip out at the weekend to the stunning RHS garden 'Harlow Carr'. I start to lose interest in the garden at this time of year as it just seems like one chore after another - but this proved the perfect antidote to yet another days leaf raking!

A shot of autumn colour to chase the blues away!

 The Harlow Carr Garden is just over an hour away from us, just outside of Harrogate. I wasn't sure if there would be much to see at this time of year, but I was definitely wrong. Shades of Autumn coloured the landscape and the planting was so well thought out to ensure that the very last drops of colour would be around to see out the season...

 The long border garden was beautiful - Ive made a promise to myself to go back and see it throughout the year. How did it inspire me - well for one thing I wont be daunted by the size of my border any more, I mean look at the size of these! and I'm determined to plant on a bigger scale. When i put one or two plants in they just get lost in our long border and have no effect - not any more - scouts honour!

 I love this tea 'leaf' pot - although I'm not sure how its poured!

 My next resolution for next year - to plant more foliage. I didn't used to see the point of plants that weren't showy and flamboyant. My how my tastes have changed!

 But I couldn't give up colour completely - these pinks and purples were much brighter than they came out on camera - and a joy on a cloudy October day...

 We found these in the woods - sorry  - arboretum! I did wonder about something like this as a garden feature, BH just rolled his eyes!

 and the Freerangers had the bestest time with miles of garden to run round, log mazes to explore, willow whales to hide in and plenty of ice cream - a grand day out indeed!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Hats off to the WI...

Reader, I have a confession. I am a member of the WI. No, that's not the whole truth. For the previous year I've been the president of my WI, leading monthly meetings and attending council meetings as and when required. At first I was just offered a taste, just the odd meeting when I could make it so I could get to know people in my village, but before I knew it I found that it wasnt enough and I needed more - what started as a voluntary membership became a fully paid up place on the committee!

Last Thursday we had our group rally where we get together with other local Institutes and enjoy an evening of entertainment together. This evening marked the end of my year as President as I decided that although it was fun, what with my new job and all I can't really give it the time it deserves.

But in celebration of what was a fab year I wanted to share some of our competition entries to show just how creative the ladies of the institute can be! The theme of our competition was  'a hat for all seasons' and every institute interpreted there own way...

 This was ours...not a bad effort I thought, in fact we came a very respectable second...

 This was our neighbouring village - to be honest I'd wear any of these - I think they're so glam!

this was the winner, and deservedly so... the hats were very detailed and beautifully presented.

I don't know if I'd wear it , but this was definitely my favourite. just a shame that none of the ladies would model it...perfect for a mad hatters tea party!

and it wouldn't be a WI meeting without a bit of a spread - the ladies did us proud...

So there it is, my year as 'El Presidente' has come to an end. Its been good but I'm more than happy to hand the baton on! I wonder how many of you belong to secret societies also! I still have my Tufty club badge and my Dennis the Menace club badge - guess I've always had the joining gene!