Thursday, 31 December 2009

The first rule of soap club is....

So this year we got more invites out for NEw year than you can shake a stick at but we decided to stay home. We're not really much for New Year anyway as each day brings a new year if you think about it. So we took Spadgersdottier home, have had a cuppa with a friend we don't see often and have made soap.

Yup, soap.

We've wanted to do it for ages and when we saw a bottle of caustic soda at the local Wilkinsons we had to buy it. Now I'm not sure how well it's gone as it took forever to reach the trace stage. HOwever soap using only olive oil can take forever. It's sat in moulds now. We have to wait 4-5 days for it to harden and then it can be taken out and left to cure for 4-6 weeks. Hopefully it will harden. If not it was a good test run. You should have seen me in my mad scientist get up. I had on safety goggles, a big lumberjack shirt with yellow marigolds going over them at the wrists. Very swish. I managed to not splash lye water on anything (especially not me) so even if we don't get soap I count it a sucess.

Right now Spadger is trying to convince the projector that it wants to play ball. Occasionally it needs some warming up time before it will play without having the picture cut out. We have Watchmen to view this evening. We went to the cinema for this one and loved it so it should be a good evening. I have a glass of beer beside me and there is a bottle of wine breathing.

I'd just like to take a moment to thank my 3 followers, Damn the Broccoli, AngelMC and Kristen. Thanks so much for making me a little part of your lives. Hi to everyone who has commented on the blog and a big wave to everyone who has visited but not said Hi yet. Introduce yourselves!!!!

Have a wonderful New Year's celebration. I see you all in 2010.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

How to become a prune

Spadgersdottier loves swimming in the same way that most children do. It is practically impossible to get her out of the water once she's in there. We've been promising to take her swimming for ages as she has lessons at school and they've finished for the moment. So today we went. I love swimming but with her still learning it's more a stay close to look out for her. I really need to go on my own so I can get some real distance done. I used to go every morning when I get it free with work. There is nothing like starting your day with 1000 meter swim!

Other than that we've not done much today. We were up until midnight nearly hoping to catch a glimpse of the fox. He seems to go into hiding whenever we have Spadgersdottier. I'm sure he know she would love to see him! We did finish the marathon game of Monopoly we've had going for what feels like months now. Spadger was happy it was over. He hates Monopoly. It's a game of chance with no real skill involved which he doesn't like. For a change I won. To be fair it doesn't really bother me as I'm not that competitive. Spadger would argue. I get quite frustrated when we play Scrabble, to the point that I usually swear at him at least once. It's not the loosing I hate, it's the margin. There's usually 100 points between us. As an English major he expects me to be good at it. Knowing a lot of word and being able to get them in Scrabble are 2 different things as far as I'm concerned. In all honesty I do give up once he is in the lead by too much. It just hits a point where a miracle would have to happen for me to win and after that point I'm not interested.

She goes home tomorrow and we're not really planning anything for New years eve. Neither of us is much of a New Year person so we're just spending it on our own. We'll probably indulge in a couple of films and maybe a round of Scrabble :o)

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Imelda Marcos in training?

Today has been quite a relaxing day. A quick trip to the market to stock up on eggs and get a little bit of meat for me and Spadger, a time to spend her Christmas money for Spadgersdottier. This means shoes. I have never known a child like it. Not toys or sweets or anything like that. She wants shoes. Whenever there is anything to be spent it goes on shoes. This leads me onto a little rant.

What on earth happened to kids shoes?!?!?

There are no sensible kids shoes anymore for little girls. With the advent of "must have it now and cheaper" culture has come discount shoe shops full of adults shoes for kids. Little strappy things with heels, thin soles and no support whatsoever. We had been given £10 by her mum to get some school shoes for her but we quickly discovered that this was never going to cover what we thought were suitable shoes. So off to Clarkes we went for a proper fitting. £34 later we had a pair of shoes that fit in width and had growing room without slipping off. I for one certainly felt better.

The whole shoes fitting thing was a part of my childhood. When did it stop? It seems that cheap is the way forward regardless of quality. In the last year Spadgersdottier can remember having 4 pairs of school shoes so far that total nearly the same cost as the pair we just got her. She has had so many because they have fallen apart not through growing out of them. You can't give hand me down shoes any more as your child's toes don't get chance to get to the end of the shoe before they've grown out of them!

Ok so I think that is my rant over, thanks for listening. For being such good sports and putting up with my grumpy shoe issues I shall reward you with the pics I took on the way to Helmsley. Aren't they pretty?

Monday, 28 December 2009

Christmas review

Phew, Christmas is exhausting. The worst of it is we did nothing. Not really. We had my Momma round for dinner which was venison. A first for us and man it was lovely. We then indulged in the most mammoth game of trivial pursuit. 4 hours long and still no winner. It came down to sudden death questions as my Momma had to go to work. Spadger lost out on that question which after several chances with the middle already was a bit of a bummer for him :o)

On boxing day we went for a walk in the ice/snow down the canal side. It was one of those days where the moon is out all day.

The canal was beautiful if treacherous. It had iced over and it was really thick. As you can see below birds as big as the herons that live a the Abbey were able to walk on it.

The Herons weren't the only birds out. There were ducks trying to find un-iced bits of water and the crows were eyeballing us!

The canal has several locks and it was really interesting to see the running water and frozen bits on either sides of the locks.

On the evening we has a couple of friends round for drinks and food and much merriment. That's really been the theme of this Christmas; friends, food and merriment. Today we went and got Spadgersdottier. On the way back we stopped in and visited her grandparents and great grandma. They live in Helmsley in the Yorkshire Dales. There are many pretty pictures from that but I'll share those with you tomorrow. General bloggage should resume tomorrow. I know you've all missed the basic details of my life hehehehe.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Hope you all had a good Christmas

Just a quick one guys. Hope you all had a great Christmas. I should be back for normal blogging in a couple of days. Until then dear readers I hope you eat, drink and are merry :o)

Thursday, 24 December 2009

1 sleep til Santa comes

As you all saw it started snowing again last night. Me and Spadger went and played in it. Snow angels in the middle of the road and everything. We wend for a walk around the little quadrangle and were able to follow the footsteps of the fox who lives near us. We found out he does live in the quadrangle like we thought. As we got round the far side we stopped a moment and when we turned round Mr Fox was stood watching us. As soon as he realized he'd been spotted he scarpered. He was beautiful! As long as he stays away from the chickens when we get them I'll be glad to have him in the neighborhood.

This is the view from my office window

When we got to work this morning we were sent home pretty much straight away. A lot of people had struggled to get in and as it was still snowing at this point it seemed wise to get off the road. So by half nine we were heading to the reservoir to take photos. We stopped at the demon McDonalds to grab hot chocolate and tramped off in a big circle around the reservoir. Most of today's pics were taken there. I'm only going to show you a few now. The rest will come later :o)

It's now midday, I've been fortified with tea and cheese on toast and am about to tackle the horror that is tidying the house. Then some gentle sewing, maybe some baking.

Well the sewing happened but not the baking. You can't win them all. In an hour I'm going to my friend Sarah's house. I am going with her to Midnight Mass. I've never been as I'm not Christian in the slightest. However religion does fascinate me and I love churches so I'm really looking forward to this. Tomorrow is Christmas day which should be quite relaxed as we don't have Spadgersdottier. Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

2 sleeps til Santa comes

We has sleet and hail last night but it's not melted all the snow yet. There are forecasts for some light snow most days for the next 5 days so we might still have white stuff on the ground on Christmas day. It is a clement 2 degrees C this morning so it's all kinda hanging on hope at the mo.

However the ice on the windscreen this morning formed feathers and I think they are just the prettiest things. The sky was also beautifully pink and the sun was a big glowy ball again.

The day started exceptionally well with breakfast. We had scrambled eggs made from the quiche mixture leftovers, scallion scones from this recipe and hot buttered toast made from fresh bread and butter made by Spadger. Round that off with coffee and it's the kind of breakfast all days should start with.

So far there has been no snow and it's been a balmy 4 degrees. There is still the forecast of snow though so I'll be keeping my eye out.

In my heart I'm on holiday already. I know there is tomorrow yet but everyone is bringing their kids into work so it will be bedlam with very little getting done. I Have a mountain of little things to do, mostly tidying, before Christmas so being in work tomorrow really doesn't appeal.

*-*-*-* It all goes a bit off track below *-*-*-*

If I'm being honest work appeals less and less each day. not that I don't like my job. I would like to stress right now that I like my job fine. The people are nice and generally I'm helping folk and making them happy with in turn makes me happy. However the world of marketing print really doesn't fit in with my ideals. It's a lot of paper and energy that essentially goes to waste. Not very Kermity.

More and more I long for the farm. Spadger has been in the mindset for a while. He is definitely unsatisfied. I've been plodding along quite nicely. However the run up to Christmas has changed my mind somewhat. I've put a lot of effort into a project that as of right now is still incomplete. I feel no joy in what was achieved because for all my effort I was let down by others. I long for the farm When everything will be down to me and Spadger and we will be the only ones to blame when things go wrong. Which I'm sure they will.

A lot of this longing has been stirred up by Jenna at Cold Antler Farm She is my inspiration. She works damn hard and loves every second of it. She is one rung up on the ladder (the very tall ladder as she puts it) towards getting her farm. I feel like I'm browsing in the ladder section of B&Q. But on that ladder I shall get. Thanks for your inspiration Jenna. I'll be introducing myself to her soon when I've caught up on all of her blog. I always feel I should read people's archive before making acquaintances.

*-*-*-* Thanks for staying with me there *-*-*-*

One of the jobs I hate most around the house is cleaning the kitchen floor. It's too small to warrant storing a mop so it's a case of scrubbing it with a brush on my knees. I've been avoiding it as I'm a messy baker so it was only going to get worse as I marathon baked. I've just cleaned it now and let me tell you folks, it gleams! Now I am doing some more baking tonight but with the whole kitchen tidy I shouldn't make such a mess of the floor as I have more side space. I hope.

Well it's now 10:10, I've baked all the stuff that I'm giving as gifts to my office. The pound cakes are just in the oven now. I haven't totally reclaimed my kitchen but it looks more likely that I will before Christmas. I've enjoyed a half of a nice beer and soon I will be going to bed. I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow but it is the last working one for 10 days. Woot and indeed wahay!

And just to make my night this is happening right now!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

3 sleeps til Santa comes

When I woke up this morning it was with a certain trepidation that I wouldn't have any snowy pictures to share with you today. We've had no new snow fall however there was a hard frost last night. So everything has a sugar coating this morning. Icing sugar streets.

As you can see our little winter hardy fuchsia looks like a cake decoration :o)

Our water barrel overflowed and then froze. Currently It's a giant ice cube.

My boots still have a bit of a drift against them and now have a furry coating of frost too :o)

It's just started snowing again! We're not forecast anymore snow so the fact that it's falling anyway makes me happy.

Well the snow continued on an off. Whenever there was a cry of "don't look out the window" I knew it was snowing. My office laugh at me glee over snow :o) All in all the day was ok. I'm still sick of my big project and it looks like it wont be completed before we break up on Thursday like I hoped. However I'm feeling pretty ok about this. I can only do so much right? So I'm leaving it to the fates now. This evening I plan on making quiche for tea, some more bread and some scallion biscuits. Who knows what else will end up in the oven. The rest of operation clean the kitchen will happen too. Bed time is an indeterminate thing. I have plenty of pennies in the purse from the baking so I may treat the Mr and I to some beer. We'll see. All in all I'm feeling quite relaxed about my evening.

Today is an especially beautiful day. Most of which I've not captured on film. (Yes Spadger, You're right, I really do need to take my camera everywhere!) The sun was a big pink ball in the sky, hanging low and totally round. Everything has spiky fronds of frost on it. Breaths fog out. I love these kind of days. they happen all the time and I think we very rarely stop and enjoy them. There is so much beauty in the world and I'm amazed at how little most people appreciate it. The little wonders that the world has to show me lift me up in a way that money and "stuff" never will. Flowers, bugs, water and sky are the balms to the soul. Nothing cures a Grumpy me better than standing at the ocean or on top of a cliff. Just being surrounded by the elements makes me happy. But this is all about mindset. Try putting me outside in the rain or walking up a steep hillside when I'm not ready for it and see the Grump return. The payoff at the end usually brings back the Chirp though. The views and the fresh air are always worth it. I think if more people took a moment to appreciate the beauty around them they would be happier. I genuinely believe this. You don't have to trek miles to see this, there is usually some right in your neighbourhood. Stop and take a moment to soak in the world we've been blessed with.

With that in mind I leave you with a few more frosty pictures. Man I love my camera!

Monday, 21 December 2009

4 sleeps til Santa comes

Well it's a stunning 4 degrees today and the sun is shining. I guess this is going to be the end of the snow. When I woke up everything had a tiny fresh covering so I was optimistic. Not any more.

The weather turned and it was a chilly -1 by the time we left work at half five. Ok so it hasn't snowed again and what is there is starting to turn to icy slush. But there is still snow on the ground. The bad news is that the weather forecast for Christmas day is Sunny. We don't get sun in summer!!

Ah well.

I've managed to get the kitchen mostly clean which after my mammoth baking weekend was a task and a half. I still have the floor to do and a quick wipe down of the sides but I can't do that til the bread's done. Our kitchen is tres small and I can't clean the floor without having the door open to back out of. Currently I need to keep the door closed so the room gets warm enough for the bread to rise. There are 2 half pound cakes in the oven for Spadger's team at work. I say half pound as it is one batch of pound cake recipe from the Victorian Farm but I don't have a tin that will hold it all so I split it between 2 loaf tins.

Now what is this crazy stuff I hear you ask. No really, I do hear you ask. I have a very vivid imagination! This my friends is the material of one of my favourite skirts. It was given to me by Spadger's Gran. I think she thought I would use it as material for one project or another. Nope. I loved it just as it was. It had never been worn and I cannot see why. I adore it. There are deer and peacocks, flowers, fruit and little men doing lord know what. It's brilliant. I can see myself in the kitchen of my farm in this skirt making the bread for the week. I guess I can see this so easily as I already do this. Just without the farm.

Anyhoo speaking of bread it wont be long til mine is ready to go in the oven. The kitchen floor can stay dirty for one more day, I'm bushed. So A quick catch up with all you in blogland and then beddy byes for me. See you all tomorrow. And happy solstice!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

5 sleeps til Santa comes

Well it's been a busy day again so far. Coffee and bacon sandwiches in the morning, an icy walk to the shop as I'd run out of flour and butter, a few photos taken. We only stopped because my battery dies but the snow started to come down with force then so inside we went. Well, Spadger went. He then had to come back for me as our street is so icy I was effectively trapped on the other side as my feet were sliding so much I couldn't cross the road. He came back to get me and helped me to the door. My knight in a fine hat!

I'm now in the kitchen again. Tis definitely a good job I like baking hehehe. I've got 3 lots of shortbread cooling and m just letting the oven warm up a bit so I can get some mince pies in. I have 2 lots of fudge and 1 lot of Lebkuchen to do today as well. Then all the paid baking is done and I can get on with gifts and stuff for us. I think most of our baking will get done fresh over the holiday though.

Things are still snowy here.

It's now half past 3 and I have 5 dozen mince pies cooling. This is 2 dozen more than I needed. Mmm, spare pie! I'm just enjoying a lovely mug of coffee and then I'm off to make caramel and fudge and things.

Quarter to six and the caramel is setting, the lebkuchen is in the fridge waiting to go in the oven after tea and the chocolate for the fudge is measured. I'm gonna make the muffins after tea and put the chocolate on the caramel. These last batches will be more white that dark chocolate in their marbling as I've run out. This is what happens when extra orders come in after you've bought supplies!

No my lens isn't dirty, it's snowing again!

Quarter to nine and the lebkuchen is wrapped, 2 lots of caramel are in the fridge so the chocolate will set because I need the tins to make fudge and the muffins are in the oven. All I have left is the fudge and then I'm done. I've spent the whole weekend baking and I'm so tired I could cry. My back hurts and my feet are sore. I have burns on my palm and ripped nails. And you know what? I feel great. I've worked hard and made stuff I know people will appreciate. Tomorrow I will make 7 people smile and that makes me feel all fuzzy.

well the fudge didn't work very well. I think it's gonna be one of those things that tastes fine but isn't that great to look at. But that is it all done. I can return to a normal life now. The washing up has been organised and now it's stacked it doesn't look half as bad as it has all day. The kitchen is in a reasonable state. Note that I do not say words that are even close to clean or tidy. It is neither of those things at the moment. But here is enough space to make breakfast in the morning and at this point that is all I can ask for. I must go to bed now. Another day at the general workplace tomorrow. Only 5 sleeps to go.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

6 sleeps til Santa comes

We when I woke up the snow was still here. The sun has been shining all day though and o more has fallen as of yet so we'll see how long it lasts. As I write a large bank of cloud is coming over so lets hope it's full of snow.

I have 3 lots of shortbread in the oven now and am getting ready to make some bread. This weekend I need to make 6 dozen mince pies, 6 batches of caramel shortbread, 2 lots of chocolate fudge, 1 lot of lebkuchen and 1 lot of gingerbread muffins. That's just for the paying customers. I'd like to make some stuff for the members of my office and some more mince pies for the warehouse men as well plus some stuff for us. I also have 2 bags I have to finish if I want to send them via last post for Christmas. So not much to do really :o)

Spadger is tackling the ironing which we have a tendency to let pile up. He is also making me fish pie for tea (I love fish pie!). Today is shaping up quite well.

I have got 2 dozen mince pies cooling and 22 just out of the oven (yes I know that is 2 shy of 2 dozen. Grr) The bread has gone in now and the 3 batches of shortbread are cool and waiting for their topping of caramel. I'll be doing that after tea. Did I mention that it is fish pie and how much I love it?? I love fish pie :o)
I think I actually stand a chance of getting everything done that I want to. The only thing that concerns me is the sewing. Fortunately I have been terrible at getting presents to places on time my whole life so I'm generally forgiven when things are late. It's that kind of exasperated forgiveness that comes with a small smile and a shake of the head hehehe

Well I have done all the caramel. Before I go to bed I will add the chocolate topping so they will be set and finished in the morning so I can use the tins again. I have managed to scald a finger and burnt he palm of my hand when the caramel spat at me :o( Really stings at the mo. Off to watch the Victorian Farm Christmas episodes on the Iplayer now. My friends brother, Peter, is in this and we went and visited him after filming for this had finished and had a look round. Should be really interesting to see knowing we've been there :o) Then I think we are going to watch Hackers which is one of my fav films from my adolescence.

The moon is just starting to creep back and the streets are still snowy. It's been a good day.

Friday, 18 December 2009

7 sleeps til Santa comes

Well the snow has been flurrying all day. Not much more has settled but it hasn't melted either.

I have almost completed everything for the project from hell which makes me happy. The weekend is almost here and I will be spending most of it baking.

It is still snowing and me and Spadger have been outside catching snowflakes on our tongues. We both love snow but I'm a wee bit more exuberant about it than he is :o) Especially when he has to dig out the car.

All in all it's been an awful week but when you look at pics like this you have to smile.

This one is proof that our local fox likes our garden. We think that these are his prints, they look too far apart to be a cats.

The veg patch is looking very seasonal. Hope the garlic and onions are ok. They are over-wintering types.

I will leave you with a little story. I was listening to a lady on the radio today who's husband died a month ago today. She was telling us about her wonderful neighbours who brought her milk and bread and cleared her path for her as the snow is real bad where she is. She was commenting that snow can be "a pain in the butt" but it brings out the best in a lot of people.

If the weather is bad where you are, look out for all those around you a little more than you would do normally.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

8 sleeps til Santa comes

I totally forgot to give you a baking update yesterday so here goes. I made 3 batches of shortbread and one of chocolate fudge. This means I can send in 3 people's orders tomorrow and I have enough mince pies left at the moment to give to our warehouse blokes who work really damn hard and are really friendly to boot! This leaves me with 5 orders left to do over the weekend. No problem says I.

The shortbread loves me

Ok so now to the daily business. I'm gonna be a bit sneaky and do a day in the life of while at work. Little tidbits written down over the day shouldn't be too distracting.

We have had our unit manager calling all the other ones trying to sort out my Project issues I mentioned the other day. Maybe we will still get everything out in time!

It's snowing. Tiny little flakes that won't settle but it's snowing!!! I love snow so very much.

The sun is out so I guess that's it for the snow today :o(

This project will be the death of me. I have had enough of it today.

It's snowing

It's stopped.

It's started again :o)

Nearly home time. Man I can't wait. It's been an awful day and I can't wait to get back to my baking.

So when we got home the garden looked like this.

And there was this stuff everywhere.

We even had one of these hanging from the bird table.

Wow my day revolved around snow and a hated project :o)

Well I've made the shortbread I needed to and baked bread and made rolls to turn into garlic bread. I've not done much else simply because no one has brought me a tub to take their stuff home in apart from one other person. I need to do theirs separately though as no animal fat can be used.

It has been snowing on and off all evening and it looks like a Christmas card outside. This is what our road looks like now. Much whiter than earlier.

Getting to work in the morning will be interesting if it doesn't melt. I'm voting for skiving and making snowmen but Spadger's not going for it. I adore snow!!! The high points of my day have been when the white stuff was falling from the sky. Even the most run down places look pretty covered in snow.

Tomorrow is Friday. My momma is coming round for tea and the weekend is my mollusk. I can't wait.