Wednesday, 23 May 2012

§ Nearly Wordless Wednesday §

Mellow yellows and wash day blues.....

 Always so much laundry ........... but at least it stayed dry enough to get somethings out on the line this week ............ I think Springtime must be on it's way!

Linking up with: My Little Drummer Boys
My Little Drummer Boys

and Clairejustineoxox


✿A week in the garden✿

✿A week in the garden✿

✿A week in the garden ~ week 7✿

Last week the weather was better and things started to get moving in the garden.  In fact most days it was too hot to be in the polytunnel during the day (!) We will have to take the ends off and get some air circulating.  At least it was dry enough to get somethings planted in the vegetable patch (better late than never!)

It doesn't look much now, but one day this will be parsnips and leeks!
The bean sticks are starting to go up.

Don't you just love it when the first thing they do when they get off the school bus is go and see what is going on in the vegetable patch!  Of course W had to stop and pick up his football first!

Bela came for a look too.
W was a bit upset there was nothing to eat yet!

The rhododendrons are looking beautiful...

I have actually managed to plant some sweet peas this year.

M and I found a garden arch that had been sat in it's box in the garage since we moved here ~ she helped me construct it and it is now at the entrance to the vegetable patch.  I hope to train a rose over it and maybe some sweet peas too.

 Sunday 13th May ~  Started weeding the edges of the polytunnel.  Watered the polytunnel some more with the internal sprinklers.  Moved the rest of the plants from the polytunnel tables to the greenhouse or cold frame in the vegetable patch. (Hot and windy)

Monday14th May ~  Still sprinkling in the polytunnel.  Planted and netted 18 broccoli seedlings in the vegetable patch.  Sowed in the vegetable patch: 1 row of orange carrots (Early Nantes), 1 row of white carrots (Millie's), 1 row and 1 tyre of beetroot (Boltardy), 1 row of Curly Kale and 1 row of  Chou Forrager. (Sunny and hot)

Tuesday 15th May ~ Sowed in the vegetable patch: 3 rows of parsnips (Gladiator) and 2 rows of broccoli (Purple Sprouting).  M and W sowed in tyres: radish and spicy salad. (Nigh-time showers)

Wednesday 16th May ~ Sowed a pot of leeks and put it in the greenhouse.  Cleared a few more weeds for the edge of the polytunnel.  Measured and marked (with baler twine) a path down the middle of the polytunnel.  Put up 2 rows of bean poles in the vegetable patch.

 Thursday 17th May ~ Bank Holiday.   Finished fencing a new field for the sheep.  H and C helped me cut the grass in the garden with the hand mower - just as we had finished hubby R announced that he had mended the tractor mower!! (Hot)

 Friday 18th April ~ M and I constructed an arch for the entrance to the vegetable garden.
Put up some more bean poles in the vegetable garden.  Started clearing nettles from around the fruit bushes.

Saturday 19th May ~ Cleared weeds and nettles from the edges of the vegetable patch (not finished yet!)  (Hot afternoon).

This week I am linking up with:


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

****Elderflower Lemonade****

****Elderflower Lemonade****

Our elder trees are probably my favourite trees.  We harvest the flowers in the Springtime and berries in the Autumn.

The flowers have just started to bloom here in France.  Unfortunately it is very wet at the moment, which is not the ideal situation to pick the blooms, but we just can't wait, so we have made a start.  (Last year we made 210 litres of elderflower champagne!!)

This is what you need.........
To make 1 gallon of elderflower champagne

3 heads of elderflowers
1 lemon
1lb 8oz of sugar
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 gallon (4.5 litres) of water

Remove the flowers from the stem (you only need the white flowers, no green bits) and put them in a clean bucket.

Add the grated rind and juice of one lemon.

Add the sugar and white wine vinegar.

Add the water.

Cover and leave for 24hours.

Strain into bottles and leave for two weeks before drinking (it should be clear and sparkling by then).

My original recipe says that this drink must be drunk within a few weeks, but we have kept ours in a cool dry place (the cellar) for many months and it is still delicious and very fizzy!

This recipe originally came from a book called Country Wines to Make, Drink and Cook With 
by Mollie Harris and Helen Peacocke.

I am linking this post to The Prairie Homestead Barnhop and Frugally Sustainable

Saving energy by filling the oven ~ dinner last night.

Spanish pork and olives

A little while ago my mother told me how her mother (my grandmother) would never put the oven on unless she had enough to fill it.  If she was cooking a joint of meat she would also cook a pudding or a casserole. This made us stop and think about the number of times we use our oven half full.......

Since then we have tried to fill our oven each time we use it.  This means that each Sunday when we cook our roast dinner (an English Sunday tradition that my husband likes to uphold!) we try to cook either a hot pudding or another joint of meat to use later in the week.

This Sunday we had roast pork and I cooked a second joint of pork at the same time.  So yesterday I had to find a recipe using pork.

Normally I make a Chinese pork recipe (W's favourite he calls it 'pork with sticks' as we often use chop sticks) it's very quick and easy, but it's not a very healthy recipe (it uses a lot of ketchup!!)

This is what I found, I thought the children would moan, but everyone ate everything ..... it was delicious!

Spanish pork and olives by Delia Smith....

The recipe is here: Spanish pork and olives

 Spanish Braised Pork with Potatoes and Olives

Monday, 21 May 2012

❖Happy Homemaker Monday *14* ❖

Happy Homemaker Monday
Week *14* 
I can't believe I missed last week, I have tried so hard to keep up with my blogging and haven't missed a 'Happy Homemaker Monday' since I started in February!  We have been busy...... the rain stopped for a while so we have been frantically working in the vegetable patch...... the tractor is working again so we have started work in the polytunnel ........ the children had 2 extra days off last week (bank holidays for Ascension)......... we had to tidy up everywhere ready for visitors..........

The weather::: 

St. Constantin
St. Emile
St. Didier
St. Donatien

On my reading pile::: 
Not much time for reading at the moment ~ I'm much too tired when I get into bed!
"The Petersfield Post" (the local newspaper from the town where we used to live in the UK ~ our visitors brought us some back copies)
"Halo" by Alexandra Adornetto  (I've not managed to do much  reading this week)
"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" by J K Rowling

On my TV:::
Law and Order
The Voice  (!) (The girls are hooked and are singing all day long ~ fab!!)
New Season CSI
River Cottage ~ Hugh Fernnley-Whittingstall (DVD)

On the menu for this week:::
Monday -  Spanish pork with olives     
Tuesday - Lasagne
Wednesday - Steak Hachee
Thursday - Chicken Curry

Friday -  Macaroni Cheese 
(pasta and film night!)
 - Fajitas
 - Roast lamb

On my to do list:::
*Lots of gardening ~ especially in the polytunnel,we need to get our tomatoes planted
*Clear out and prepare the rabbit hutches next door for our broody hens (it's not safe to leave them out in the garden as the fox is about)
*Make some Elderflower lemonade ~ the flowers are opening quickly
*Plant some sweetcorn
*Prepare my English classes for this term
*Laundry(as always) (not so easy when it is wet!)

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::  
Not much creating going on ~ all our time is taken up with the vegetable patch and the polytunnel ~ sowing seeds not sewing fabric!

 Looking around the house:::
*It's late evening so the children are all in bed
*R is watching TV 
*It's raining outside and rather windy looking at the way the trees are moving
*The house is quite tidy for a change (well downstairs not upstairs!)

From the camera:::
They want to be outside playing, but the rain just doesn't seem to stop!

On my mind:::
*The garden and the polytunnel
*C has important exams in 4 weeks ~ he's not worried, but I am!
*Springtime seems a long time coming ~ bring back the sunshine please.

Today I am going to link up with other "Happy Homemakers" here at Diary of a stay at home Mom so please pop over if you want to see what others are up to this week all around the world. :o)

Sunday, 20 May 2012

✿A few weeks in the garden✿

✿A few weeks in the garden✿

✿A week in the garden ~ weeks 5 and 6✿

So much has happened in the garden over the last few weeks.  The most important news is that the tractor is working again ~ well done R!!!!!!!  The polytunnel has now been cultivated and we have started planting and sowing in the vegetable patch ......... things are moving at last!

This is our lovely old tractor ~ a Ferguson TEF20 ~ a "Little Grey Fergie"

.... and this is the cultivator .....
.... it's very old but it works well.

Ready to go!!

The ground was so dry, it got rather dusty!
R is a happy man!
One half done.
** Lovely **
That night it made a good place to keep the seedlings ~ they were getting eaten on the floor.
After a second day ~ all done!
Seedlings safe again.
The soil is looking soooo much better.
The cultivator has worked quite well.
These are the sunflowers I saved.  They are looking a bit droopy, but they are happier now I have planted them in the garden.

The Vegetable Patch ~

The tyres we have planted with radish and salad leaves.  The large tractor tyres will have carrots in them.
Our new strawberry patch with the peas behind.
Look what we found......
....... they are quite a few flowers too.
The peas that we started in the greenhouse.
Celery that we bought at the flower market.
,,,,,, celeriac too.
Broad beans.
Cabbages ~ under netting to try and protect them from the chicken.
Cauliflower and broccoli.
Potatoes have started to come up.
Runner beans waiting for their poles.
Our new cold frame
Courgettes, tomatoes, broccoli, sweetcorn, beetroot and sweet peas.

This is what we have done in the last few weeks:

 Sunday 29th April  ~  Still raining.  A little bit of weeding between the showers.  Our doe rabbit 'Tonx' went for a little holiday with our buck 'Chocolate Bunny' ~ in 31 days we will hopefully have some new additions to the household.

Monday 30th April~ Our special tomatoes have started to come up.

Tuesday 1st May~ R sowed some cumin and coriander in a tray in the greenhouse (a first for us). We planted lavender and daisy plants in the border outside the front door.Prepared the bins and poles outside the front door ready to plant runner beans.  Cleaned out the rabbit hutches and put the manure in the tyres in the vegetable patch.

Wednesday 2nd May~ Sowed radish and lettuce in the small tyres in the vegetable patch. Potted on the chilies from the propagator and put them in the greenhouse.  Sowed new 'special' chilies and cucumbers in the propagator in the kitchen.

 Thursday 3rd May ~ Started hardening off peas, cabbage and cauliflowers from the greenhouse.  Stared watering the polytunnel - it is very dry!

 Friday4th May ~ Transplanted 30 strawberry plants and 2 courgettes from the polytunnel to the vegetable patch.  Constructed a small cold frame for the vegetable patch.

Saturday 5th May~ Marche aux fleures at our local town.  We bought 2 Black Zebra tomato plants, 2 Lime Tomato plants, 6 celery, 4 celeriac, 4 cucumber and 12 lettuce.


 Sunday 6th May ~  We planted 3 celery plants, 2 celeriac plants and 12 lettuce plants under a cloche in the vegetable patch (in the rain!)  Transplanted 15 tomato tiny plants and 15 courgette plants from the polytunnel.

Monday 7th May~  ****** The tractor is working again ******** Well done hubby!!
Moved the peas from the polytunnel to the coldframe in the vegetable garden and the broad beans from the greenhouse to hardening off frame with night time protection.

Tuesday 8th May~ Bank Holiday and it's raining!

Wednesday 9th May~ R started cultivating the polytunnel with the tractor.  I saved 6 sunflowers from the polytunnel and planted them in the garden.

 Thursday 10th May ~ R cultivated some more.  Planted some sweet pea plants in a pot outside the front door.  Planted two rows of peas in the vegetable patch.  Very HOT 27*

 Friday 11th April ~ Planted 3 rows of broad bean plants, a row of cauliflower plants (All year round) and 2 rows of cabbage plants (Coeur de beouf and ?) and sowed 2 rows of French beans.  Very hot again - stormy night.

Saturday 12th May~ R finished cultivating the polytunnel.

 Sunday 13th May ~  Started weeding the edges of the polytunnel.  Watered the polytunnel some more with the internal sprinklers.  Moved the rest of the plants from the polytunnel tables to the greenhouse or cold frame in the vegetable patch. (Hot and windy)

The new lavender plants outside my front door.
Thank you lovely friends Lou and Will. :o)

This week I am linking up with:


Sadly the chicken took a liking to the daisies :o(
An Oregon Cottage Garden