Tuesday, 30 March 2010

So I guess it's Wednesday

It's 7:47 and I am awake. A very strange state of affairs when on holiday. However I am very aware that I only have today and tomorrow to myself now and tonight we are going to the cinema, tomorrow Spadgersdottier gets here. So my me time is at a premium now.

I have finally finished copying the patchwork instructions so the book can go back now. It needs to be back tomorrow but I'm not sure I can be bothered today. the weather is dry so it would make sense to go now but it is a tad chilly (typing is quite hard right now!) so I might have to have a cuppa before making any hard and fast decisions.

Just burnt my toast that was going to have cheese on it. Man I should stop to have lunch rather than pausing. That way I might concentrate on my lunch!!! Ah well. I'm looking to be on track with the dress I'm sewing now. I really need to go get the bread on though if I want to have a chance at having it finished before we go to the cinema.

Bread takes a little over 2 and a half hours to make. Unless you are trying to have it finished for just before you go somewhere. Then it takes and indeterminate amount of time that will definitely be longer than you have. The bread gods mock us mere mortals!!!!

Well the bread was done in time and 2 tea loaves to boot. Not bad all things considered. The film was amazing. We went to see Kick Ass and I would wholeheartedly recommend it. Hilarious does not cover it!! I've not finished the dress but it's just the zip the hem and some slip stitching to do. Right now I think it may be bed time.

drip drip drop

Today stared as a proper holiday day. I didn't get up with Spadger which always leaves me feeling faintly guilty. I woke up properly at half nine and made myself a big pot of coffee and some breakfast. I finally got out of bed at half ten. I've been relaxed but productive so far. I put on one of my favourite films which is one Spadger won't watch, Keeping The Faith, and embroidered the tag to go on a wedding present I'm making. I'm about to start re-cutting the front piece to a dress I'm trying to make. I think I made a catastrophic mistake by doing an FBA on the pattern which is hilarious considering most patterns really need one to go around the girls. So I'm cutting the front piece again just straight from the pattern this time. Praise be for the vast amount of material in duvet covers. Looking at the time I should probably make a start on tea soon but we'll see.

Well it looks like the dress really didn't need an FBA at all. I can't really tell if it's quite right yet without sewing the ties onto it. Since that is the last step I'm gonna baste some on tomorrow as a test run. Eep indeed.

Right now it is raining giant poodles and saber toothed tigers, not just the little rain we've had for the last 2 days. It's a good job I wasn't planning on going anywhere this week. I do have some pea seedling to plant out though so a break in the weather would be really nice. Maybe even a few of these :o)

My plan for the rest of the evening is to copy some patchwork block instructions so I can make them all at some point. I need to do this now as the book is due back at the library on Thursday and I can't renew them again. Not the most thrilling of evenings but it needs doing.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

The path to success

Man I ache! Yesterday was spent at the farm as is becoming the Saturday routine. It was their first official volunteer day so there were high hopes for lots of folk turning up. We got there earlier than normal, about half nine. One of the jobs on the list was path construction. This seemed like an all day job and one that people only coming for a little while probably wouldn't want to do. So we cracked on with it. Laying the path involved cutting straight edges, weeding and digging up any intrusive bricks, laying brick edges to keep it neat, leveling the ground and then pouring a couple of inches of road scrapings followed by a couple of inches of bark chips. It took me and Spadger all day to do the area we had set out to finish. We were helped out by a lovely young lad by the fabulous name of George who works there every Saturday. It took about 6 and a half hours to do and was darn had work. But there is an immense feeling of satisfaction at the end of completing a job. Here are a few pics of the path work.

Sunday was spent ironing which is one of my least favourite jobs. But it needed doing. We went round to a friends for dinner that evening and watched (500) days of summer which is quite a quirky story about love. Not to be mistaken for a love story.

Today marks the first of my days off. So far I've been into town and exchanged my new sports bra for one that I can actually get on. Now I'm sat watching the rain and trying to decide what to do first. I think there might have to be another cuppa before I can realistically make that decision :o)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

The poetry in our veins

Ooh it's a proper English spring day today. It was a mighty 10 degrees when we left for work and there is a light misty rain happening. All the buds have got water droplets on them. Days like this always make me want to be out with my camera. In fact days like this I'm inspired by almost everything. I nearly bumped into one of the guys from downstairs at work and I would have given anything to have been able to have captured his face. He looked like a startled waif just for that millisecond. Days like this bring out my inner poet. It's a day meant for wandering down little back streets and along riverbanks. For looking up at mighty pieces of architecture and down at the bugs in the grass. For looking at the flaws in people's faces and understanding that this is where their beauty lies. Days to feel wonder and to be appreciative of your soul.

Ah I love days like these.

I intend to go home tonight and try to capture some of that poetry. There is the dress I started yesterday to make, I may do some wire work as well. If I want to get my Folksy shop up and running next week I should probably review what I have made already and look at making some more. Anyone have any tips for getting the word about my shop out there?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Get mad, then get over it

Well my day started great. My radishes are starting to grow in my little rooftop garden, I have 8 seedling peas in the greenhouse and there seems to be lots of flowers getting ready to pop in my garden. Then I got to work. Now I'm not exactly loving it at work anyway with my deepening case of Barnheart. But the job I had to do this morning just pushed me over the edge. All I had to do was print and bind 6 copies of a presentation. Not that difficult really. I first started printing it in black and white instead of colour because I forgot to change the default. Then I noticed I was sent 2 copies of it and I started printing the wrong one because my email didn't catch up with what I was doing. I then started printing it in black and white instead of colour again. Finally I got it printing and it took nearly half an hour to print 30 sheets. That's a minute a sheet!!! By the time I had this one bound the lady who was taking them to the presentation they were for was here. We gave her the one we'd done and then started on the next. At this point it was brought to my attention that they were printing outside of the margins so it was chopping bits off. Grrrr!!!!! So we had to send the lady off with no copies of it while I was left to fix the powerpoint. That was easy fortunately. All I had to do was set the page setup to A4 rather than custom. It took 2 seconds. Now if it had been sent to my home address like I asked I could have done this last night. Ah well

So 1 cup of coffee later I am now printing it all again and we will either courier it over or post it out if they're not desperate for it.

I am not much calmer and have done as the title of today's post suggested. I am still counting down the working hours will I have some time off though (20hrs 25mins). I plan to spend most of that week sewing knitting and baking. Bliss!

Just got in from planting out leek and turnip and chard seeds. There is vegetable soup simmering on the cooker top and I have plans to make a dress tonight. Life is just so much better at home! Hope y'all have had a great day.

Monday, 22 March 2010

race for life

I am running the race for life this year for the many women in my life that have been affected by cancer. So far there is my Nana Beryl, my Mother, my Auntie Sue and most recently my cousin Amanda.

I will be grateful for any amount you can spare. But most importantly please can you pass the word on. I would love to raise more than the £100 I set myself and I am eternally grateful to anyone who sees fit to sponsor me.

Please click on the widget at the top right of my blog to sponsor me online.

Thank you

The bounty of Spring

You can tell Spring has sprung. Look how much veg we got this week!!!! The eggs you can see were free because they had no idea how old they were. Score for us because not a single one is rotten!

I long for dirt under my nails

Ah today is one of those down days. After a weekend of weeding and baking and holding baby goats going back into an environment where words like GP and Margin are all important was quite awful. Once again I am sat in an office with the heating on poring over letterheads and forms as if the world would stop without them. I want to have dirt under my nails and the urgency of getting my bread in the oven or making sure the animals have been cleaned out.

I've said it before and I'm sure I will say it again but I long for simplicity. A simple life is hard work. There is much more to do and the hours are long. You can't call in sick when you have animals to look after or when you have to plant the vegetables or they'll never grow. Come rain or shine (or snow or wind) the work never stops. On top of all this the house still needs tidying, the clothes still need ironing (and mending and indeed making), the food still needs cooking.

But oh how I long for those days. I want to go to bed tired and aching. Because in that exhaustion and in those aches I will have satisfaction of a job done. I will know that I am helping my animals to have a healthy life and by extension my family. My job will feel worthwhile because it has a real purpose.

I know that to the people who use the products I deal with they are important. But the kind of industries I deal with just don't hold any interest for me. When the most important thing in your job is how much money you can make without caring how it affects anyone else I just feel so sad. How anyone hopes that western society is not broken is beyond me.

Ok, that's quite enough doom and gloom from me. Let have a picture of the backwards Ladybug I saw this weekend.

Friday, 19 March 2010

That spring activity

Firstly let me say sorry for the sporadic blogs. Since I can no longer get on Blogger at work my little bits of writing throughout the day have been curtailed. I'm so busy doing the stuff I write about on an evening that I have no time to write about it. But I have just learned that I can get onto my email. So I can write myself an email which contains my blog and then quickly post it for you guys when I get home.


So this years Vernal Equinox takes place in the UK at 17:32 tomorrow. I'm gonna try and do something suitably Spring-y to celebrate. For me Spring has really sprung with a vengeance this year. All I want to do it be out in the garden or at the farm followed by much cooking and then maybe some crafting with floral fabric!

We are on tenterhooks waiting for seedlings to germinate. I have no idea how long these things take but both me and Spadger are like children on Christmas eve just waiting for everything to pop. I swear he's in the greenhouse every 10 mins when he can! It will soon be time to pull up the overwintering onions and garlic we planted. Spadger thinks that they won't have grown much as there isn't a great deal of ground disturbance round them. I think they have a month to go so hopefully with the warmer weather they'll put on a last spurt. Even if they haven't grown much I won't see it as a total disaster. We've had one of the worst winters since I was born so it's good that we get to see what happens in bad weather. Better to find out how hardy they are now than having several years to great harvests and then being devastated by a harsh winter!

On the cooking front I am eager for the summer berries to start coming in. I dream of crumbles and tarts and muffins. Hopefully this year I will get enough blueberries for a whole batch of blueberry muffins :o) I'm also looking forward to learning more about preserving our harvest to last through the winter. We want to try to get away from the freezer as much as possible so I think there will be much canning this year. I'd like to have a go at bottling some fruit as well so there are berries over winter.

Craft wise I am trying to make my way through the patterns I have bought and doing FBAs on them all. The plan after I have done that and made a test one to check it is to cut out the material ready and put it in my folder so I have things ready to sew whenever I fee the need. Cutting things out is a pain so if I can get plenty of that out of the way I will be a happy bunny. I'd also like to get my Folksy store up and running. I do have an Etsy one but I've never really gotten going with that as I have to do everything in USD and that just messes with my head. Folksy is UK based so I can manage a bit better. I plan to try selling anything and everything I make from Hair toys and Jewellery to little monsters, bags and scarves. Whatever I feel like crafting. Hopefully that will make a little extra cash to go into the farm fund.

I feel so full of life in spring. It's light when I wake up (sometime I even wake up before my alarm) and the day is longer which means I can get more done. Things are growing and all the animals are twitterpated. I love the changing seasons. Autumn will always be my favourite but spring comes a close second.

Monday, 15 March 2010

experimental doughnuts

Yes dear readers I have been experimenting in the kitchen again. After successfully making cinnamon rolls from this recipe I decided to branch out into totally unknown territory.

Now firstly let me explain where this sudden desire for doughnuts comes from. Working in marketing print our suppliers are always wanting to show off what they can do. One of them has a quite expensive program which allows you to drop a work into a picture so it actually looks like it belongs there not sat on top. So every year we all get little personalized desk calendars. The wastage involved in these things gripes me but I have to admit that I like some of the pictures. March this year is a box of yummy looking glazed doughnuts, one with my name iced into it. I certainly don't have the skill to do that but I thought I would have a crack at the doughnuts. So I found this recipe and set off making them. I soon discovered that I didn't have 2 cutters that fit inside each other right so I went with whole doughnuts instead.

For a first attempt I don't think they turned out bad. I had to go for a pretty shape since I couldn't make rings. I think the only thing wrong with them is they are a tad doughy in the middle. But not half bad.

It's a shame my icing isn't very neat!

Art strikes

I love the fact that random art can strike in any place. I got my first serious camera for my 18th birthday, back when I entertained dreams of being a serious photographer. My whole life I've hated the fact that I can "see" what I want to put on paper but I can't draw it. Photography seemed the answer to that. Now it's still a labour of love and you vary rarely get it just like you see in your head. But you get exactly what you see through the viewfinder.

I like to take quite close up pictures, focusing on things you might not notice or even know existed. How I wish I could afford a good macro kit! But anything can become a good picture in the right frame of mind.

One of the things the CSA asked people to do was to take some photos for the website.So this weekend I took Bessie (my trusty camera) with me and took a few shots.

I like the almost monochrome look to this one. Atmospheric barrow :o)

Any farm, no matter where, will have old bits of machinery lying around. There's something beautiful about all that twisted metal.

Last week I got a serious case of Barnheart looking back over the farm as the sun was setting behind it. Now it wasn't quite as pretty this week as we left a bit earlier. But I still think it's stunning and long for my own!!

And lastly who could resist a kid. I adore baby goats, they are just so darn cute!!

So that's it for the farm inspired art for this week. These kinda pictures will keep me going til I have a farm of my own.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Farming and cooking

That pretty much sums up my weekend. On Saturday me and Spadger went to the farm for the day. It was gloriously sunny, if slightly chilly in the wind. The sky was bright blue and the earth smelt amazing! I planted out 42 currant cuttings. Hopefully all those will take as the farm will be able to sell them. We helped herd the sheep that have had lambs already up to the top field. There's nothing quite like standing and shaking a bucket of feed while yelling "come on sheep" at the top of your lungs :o) I them spent the rest of the day grubbing in muck pulling all the plastic and baling twine out of it. Spadger and George were doing the muck spreading and as much plastic and gubbins needed to be pulled out as possible before the man with the rotivator could come. The twine wraps around the blades as badly as hair round our vacuum brush so it's a bit of a problem. After that we were going to finish he muck spreading where the raspberry canes are going but just after we started they realised that the rotivator had a bucket on the front and could do all that. We left a bit earlier this week as we had an invite to a beer festival. It would have been rude to turn that down.

Today has been all about the cooking for me. I baked bread first off. Once again I was able to put the dough in the greenhouse to rise. I love that. It means that I don't have to use the oven to heat the kitchen which saves us fuel. Normally I wouldn't be able to do that until full summer when I can put the dough on the living room windowsill. I even put the yeast in the greenhouse to go off today and man did it!! I then made a giant gingerbread muffing and a batch of cinnamon rolls that I got from Bright and New. They worked quite well. I haven't iced them yet and might not bother.

The plan was for me to make dinner for my Momma for Mother's Day during the short break she had in work. However due to my lousy sense of timing when it comes to cooking she ended up taking it home in tubs to enjoy for supper :o( I'm a bit rubbish. However she seemed to be happy with it and the little fabric flowers I made her. I managed to sort out some of those in time for all 3 mothers in my life (Momma, stepmother and mother in law). So I hope all you mommas out there had a lovely day and your little (and not so little) ones did something nice for you.

I leave you today with a picture of a carrot. I thought it was rather pretty :o)

Friday, 12 March 2010

The soup has morphed

This evening's dinner was going to be parsnip mulligatawny. However I got home to discover we had only 2 parsnips which were about medium size. So it has morphed into parsnip and jerusalem artichoke mulligatawny (because there were lots of those!) Man I hate peeling those little blighters.

So the soup is done all but adding the coconut milk. It is a sickly grey in colour but tastes quite nice so I might forgive it. I'm just waiting for the pizza dough to rise as I am going to make little garlic breads to go with it. I've mixed the garlic straight into the dough at the beginning so we'll see how well that works.

The only problem with this food is it's not ready now!!!!

So to stave off hunger pangs I'm going to share the recipe for the soup with you guys. I say recipe, it's more a method now. It started life as a very rigid recipe in a book and is now the below. I hope you enjoy and please let me know if you try it.

* Finely chop an onion and mush a few cloves of garlic depending on taste. Cook slowly in some butter or oil, up to you which. * Once translucent add a tsp of turmeric, 2 tsps of garam masala or curry powder and a tsp of cumin. These are all adaptable to your taste. Toast for a few mins to release aroma. This bit is my fav as it smells ace!
* Add peeled chopped parsnips (or whatever you chose to use. About 2Lb of it) an make sure they get covered with the spices.
* Add about 2 liters of stock. Again this is variable to the size of your pan and how thick you want your soup.
* Add a peeled chopped Granny Smith apple. I've tried a Bramley and that really didn't work.
* Cook until veg is soft then blend to preferred consistency. Add coconut milt to taste and bring to the boil. Serve with bread of choice.

Monday, 8 March 2010

100th post and nothing important to say

Hey constant readers. Sorry I've been AWOl. It's a combination of 2 things. The first is my work has recently had a bit of a shake up with their Internet policy which means I can't log into Blogger anymore. I used to start my posts at work, writing as and when the muse came. Now I can't do this I have a tendency to forget what I wanted to say. The other thing is with this being the 100th post I wanted to say something of importance.

Ah well.

So It's been quite steady since we last spoke. Life continues on here at a steady pace. Me and Spadger become a little more desperate to leave the work we currently do and a little more eager to have the farm. We've spent some time at Swillington and it's been great. I had a terrible moment of Barnheart on Saturday when we were there. We were the last ones and as I was taking the tools back to the shed all I could hear was the chickens clucking and the goats and sheep baaing. The sun was setting behind the trees and I could see Spadger taking a wheelbarrow of weeks to the dump and Spadgersdottier taking the random Jerusalem artichokes we found to the veg shed. I wanted this to be my farm so very badly I could feel the barn creaking in my heart. Going to work today was a terrible let down.

There isn't a lot else to talk about. I've not sewn anything new (though I am fighting with a piece of blue gingham at the moment) or baked anything exciting. So the 100th post can slip by almost unnoticed I think. Maybe that's not a bad thing. Maybe the momentous occasions are marked by smaller signs than special numbers.