Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fitting it In

Only time for a quick chat today as Norma text me to request a later hair appointment, so will now be here at 10.30am instead of 9.00.   At least now have time to write my blog before she comes, as no time after she has left.

Yesterday did LOADS of work - due entirely to B being absent.  He even stayed at our daughter's for supper!!  That means the bulk amount of Spag Bol meat sauce made yesterday is now in the freezer with one portion left for B's supper tonight. 

Did a lot more potting up in the garden during the afternoon, mainly moving plants I already had in smaller pots into larger ones.  Having quite a number of hanging baskets (without anything in them), decided next year I would place these upside down over large pots and let the plants grow through them and this would keep the squirrels from burying their peanuts in the soil.   As I still have a couple of large pots to plants will see if it works this year.  
Another idea of mine was to first pack the hanging baskets with soil, then upturn them onto a soil-filled pot and push little flowering plants through the holes, African Marigolds, lobelia etc, so that it looks like a mound of blossom.   There are times I think I have some quite good ideas.  Putting them into practice is another matter!

Finished reading 'Onions in the Stew' then began reading 'The Egg and I'.  Didn't realise that was the first book written by B.MacD, so should have read it first, not that it mattered much.  I believe she wrote another after that came before 'Onions...'.   Even now I can't recall reading either book before so am wondering if 'The Egg and I' was made into a film, and I'd just heard of 'Onions...'.  Can anyone tell me if there was such a film?

How sad those lavender fields have gone Taaleedee, they must have smelt wonderful when in flower (about this time of year if my own lavender is anything to go by).  When we used to holiday in Norfolk I used to visit a big lavender firm there who had fields and fields of lavender, plus a shop and garden centre.  Think that is still there.

Congratulations on your husband's massive weight loss (how many years did it take him to get down to what he is now?).  Not sure if he was a beer drinker, but apparently that is what is the main cause of weight increase in men, and when they stop drinking that their weight drops off VERY rapidly.   Wish I drank beer, then I could stop and my weight would reduce.  Only I don't drink beer, and am now gaining weight again because I've got addicted to eating bread (even though it is Weight Watcher's).  I really MUST stop as I've just ordered some new clothes (well, I haven't had any new for about 10 years), and a size smaller in the hope this will force me to get back on track and lose enough weight for them to fit.

Can imagine the smell given off by the Shipham's Paste factory was not one of the nicest Granny G. Have very early memories of eating their fish paste (I liked salmon and shrimp best), and my mother keeping the jars to hold water for me to wash my paint brushes in.  I used to do the same - keeping the jars - for my children to use in the same way.
As usual, more memories now awakened.  The first paint books I had were pages of pictures formed from little differently coloured dots, and all I had to do was wipe a wet brush over the page, this would then dampen the dots and they would give off their colour.  As I got older I moved onto books with pictures that were just outlined in black and I would colour these in with either watercolours or poster colours.  I got very good at keep neatly within the lines, and - when 13 - suddenly decided to start painting 'for real', and got very good at it, although it was in my genes as my dad was a good painter.

Am sure that the Shipham's (or is it Shippams?) pastes are still on sale Pam as very occasionally I have an urge to buy one to spread on my toast.  But not recently.  Think the jars are slightly different and smaller (but then isn't everything foodie now reduced in size but twice as expensive?). I'm also partial to Heinz Sandwich Spread but try not to buy the pastes or the spread just because they are too costly for the small amount we get, mainly because I can eat a whole jar in one go.  The same way I eat a whole bar of chocolate.  

How is it some people can just eat one chocolate from a box, then put it away and eat another  chocolate another day, and make the box last at least a month?  It takes me a great deal of self-control to make me stick to eating just one layer at a time, then the second layer the next day (like EARLY the next day).

A welcome to Kerry, with group hugs from us all.  Certainly I remember Wigston,this being next to Oadby where we used to live (before we lived in Leeds that is).  Mind you, Wigston is a big place, so is it Wigston Magna you live, or Wigston Parva, or has it spread in all directions over the past 40 years since we lived there?
When we moved to Oadby it was a quite small village, our estate being one of the first new ones built (next to the race-course).  Now Oadby has become almost a town in its own right losing a lot of its charm in the process.
Thanks for the tip about adding demerara sugar to the oil before popping corn Kerry, I will try that, it will save me finishing it off in the oven.

We used to have a big honeysuckle bush growing over the fence along the drive outside our back door in Leeds Pam, and it certainly gave off a lovely smell, especially in the evenings.  I used to keep the kitchen door open so that the scent would waft into the room.  It spread quite a bit and I was able to dig up another small 'offshoot' to give to my friend Gill, who planted it, and now tells me it has grown and grown and also gives off a lovely smell.  It is close to her house and she can sit outside her patio doors next to the honeysuckle to have her meals outdoors (when the weather is fine) and enjoy the moment.

Most of the Texas food names I recognise, but not Sopapillar (sounds like a wet caterpillar). Enlighten me.
Don't envy you your 100F temperature.  Here it is much lower (18C if lucky - and what's that in F?). Even so I find it quite hot sitting in the sun and am getting lovely golden tanned fore-arms (the only bit of me - apart from face and neck - that gets the sun full on). 

Slightly more overcast this morning, although the sun is trying to break through so it will probably end up another good day (a few short showers possibly in some parts of the country but know not where).  We could do with a shower of rain, and whatever the weather will still be working in the garden (if wet in the greenhouse) again this afternoon, hoping to be able to begin pruning down a lot of the 'unnecessary' foliage, but still keeping the rest looking good.  
Now that a goodly number of containers have been planted with geraniums, lobelia, petunias, African Marigolds, chrysanthemums, lavender....(and not all in the same pots of course), the garden is beginning to look really pretty.  Last year the weather was so bad that most of the bedding plants didn't get a chance, but the lobelia and geraniums managed to stay the course, but silly me didn't take in the geraniums early enough and the frost killed them off.  This year I will repot them and put them into the conservatory where they will continue to flower through the winter, and I can take cuttings and also repot them into containers again next year.   With the money saved I can buy more bedding plants next year. 

Of course it would make sense to grow bedding plants from seed - this I could do first in the conservatory, moving them on into the greenhouse, but of course I never remember to do this until too late.   But then, as I seem to be able to save ££££s on food, it is good to be able to afford to buy already growing 'plantlets' to put out and get an almost instant garden in flower.

Not a lot in the conservatory at the moment.  The lemon 'tree' (grown from a pip) is about four foot high, just one long stem with leaves growing from it, and a great thorn where every leaf meets the stem.  One short 'branch' grew early on low down, but no more of these so wonder if I was supposed to 'prune' away the top so it would grow more shoots.  Anyone know the right way to grow a lemon tree?

The avocado 'tree' (grown from an avocado stone) is about 2 foot high, but badly needs repotting, with huge roots growing through the holes at the bottom of its pot.  I'll probably have to cut the pot away from the soil (plastic pot) to get it out without damaging the roots, then replant in a much larger pot.

In one corner of the conservatory is a big orchid plant, this flowers only around mid-winter (but the flowers last for weeks), in the opposite corner is a big bay 'tree', this being very bushy at soil level, but has thrown up two long and bare stems that have bunches of leaves on top.  Looks a bit odd and I may cut these stems down as there are plenty of leaves at the base and I don't use THAT many for cooking.

Remaining plants are a couple of Jade Plants ('money trees'), one grown from a falling 'twig' of the other.  The 'other' grown in the same way from a plant I had for many years and gave away.  And this originally grown from a 'twig' that fell from a plant we were looking after for the school during the holidays. 
Add to the above some boxes of mixed salad leaves in various stages of growth, and several pots of herbs (dill, coriander, flat and curly leaf parsley, chives, mint....).   Shortly I'll be starting off some runner bean seeds and mangetout, either in the conservatory or greenhouse, probably a bit late in the year, but am sure they will catch up, these can then be planted outdoors.  I've saved the cardboard centres from loo rolls as their 'pots', these can then be planted directly into the soil once the peas/beans have grown large enough.

Forgot to mention I've also got some tomato plants, flowering, one already starting to fruit, these now in the greenhouse.  So despite my good intentions early on that never really saw the light of day, I seem to have managed to catch up quite well.  Certainly 'growing things' is giving me something of interest to do other than cooking, watching TV or nodding off.   Let's hope I can keep it up.

Forgive me now as I have to leave you earlier than usual.  Have to sort out the conservatory ready for Norma and her salon-sized hair dryer,  also want to do the washing up of dishes, and put the laundry into the machine before she comes.  Can't switch the machine on until she leaves as when the bathroom (or kitchen) taps are turned on, the machine won't be able to fill with water.  Same with our shower, if a cold tap is turned on elsewhere in the house, the shower won't get cold water and we get scalding hot water over our body.
Not that there is much of a problem as there is only B and myself normally using the taps, and we never do at the same time.  It was worse in Leeds with six in the family, and when taking showers we had to tell each other not to turn on the taps at the kitchen sink (or in one of the bedrooms that was lucky enough to have a wash-basin).

One thing I'm noticing is that however pleasant the weather at the moment we still seem to be getting unseasonably strong winds.   I can see the Acer blowing wildly in the breeze as I look through the window in front of me, and that's in a sheltered spot in the garden.  And I'm not fond of wind AT ALL!  (because it makes a mess of my hair, and how vain is that?).

Must stop rambling (it's just I love chatting to you I don't want to stop), and will/should be back with you again tomorrow when it will be Friday again (hasn't this week gone quickly).  Hope you'll find time to sit with a coffee and read today's nonsense, and also find time to send me a message (or three), I do so love hearing from you, and as many of you as possible.  There must be hundreds out there who read this that I don't even know exist.  I would just be nice to know, then you needn't comment again unless you wish to (but hope you will). 
One way or the other, tomorrow we'll meet up again...please.   See you then.