Thursday, September 26, 2013

Warm to cold!

It has gone from very warm to cold in a space of a few days! Last week it was over 20 degrees and last night it was just about -6!!! The sun in the photo above is coming over the hills to the left, the frost will soon melt when it reaches us! We are still desperate for rain, many wells are drying up. If we go straight into a snowy cold winter, the ground water will not be replenished and we will be pretty stuffed for our winter water supply. The river being so low will also make it tricky to get water. Perhaps we will have to cut ice from the lakes...... Let's see what happens!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Market madness!

We only do one market a year, not for money, but to get out and meet people. What money we do make goes into our non profit seed bank which will pays for the seeds and compost for next years harvest so that we can eat for free (If you discount all of the hours and hours of work which we put in!)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I will paint you a picture......

Make yourself comfortable, there are no pictures today. Just pictures for you to paint in your mind......

Nectarine and redcurrant wine!

Last year I made some redcurrant and nectarine wine and finally today I bottled it! I have racked it off a few times and now it is lovely and clear. There was still a bit of sediment in the demijohns, but it looks wonderfully clear in the bottles. During the syphoning process you get a chance to taste it....a perk....and I think it tastes rather good! It should be ready for Christmas but we may not wait that long to have a sneak preview! From 2 demijohns we have 12 good bottles and one bottle which sucked up a bit of sediment as I was hoping that it would just fill the bottle...we'll have to drink that one first, maybe tonight!!! It is a lovely rose, pink sort of colour, but you can not see it in the dark bottles!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

An extra grand room!

Our house has nearly doubled in size! Although the room is not finished we have started to use it!! Our neighbours gave us the green sofa and arm chair and I splashed out and bought the stripy one at a "loppis" which are sort of garage sales which last the whole summer!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A simple gravity hot water system from the wood burning stove

I am not sure when I found the time, perhaps it was the pressing need to have a shower (as the sun is not as warm as it was to heat the hose pipe outside!) but I managed to reinstall the hot water tank! Last spring our tank sprung a leak and the company which I bought the tank from wonderfully paid for the tank to be posted back and a new tank to be sent over from the UK. It is a small tank designed for boats and has 2 internal coils and on one of the coils I have built a system inside the old water heating section on our wood fired kitchen range. Have a look at this old post to see the construction of the heating coil in the range:   I used a jig to ensure that the coil I made to fit into the tank were soldered all at the correct angle to ensure water flow and no air gaps. I just used an old piece of plaster board with screws screwed in to it to hold the pipes in place. It was also easy to draw on all the angles etc, and was fire proof to solder afterwards!

The photo below shows the tank and the pipes going down through the wall into the kitchen. These pipes were the problem as the 2 different tanks fittings were not in the same place.....ahhhhh....they were about 2 cm apart...... 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Colourful vegetables!

It is a very busy time at the moment, the frost is going to come soon and I am desperately trying to preserve as many vegetables as I can at the moment and they are a really pretty batch just now!
Here is a box load of leaf beets which I lightly steamed and bottled in the pressure canner. It made 5 1/2 litre jars in the end which was more than I thought it would make as it shrinks a lot when it is cooked. We are also growing fodder beet and sugar beet this year and we have been eating lots of the leaves, although they are not as pretty as the ones below!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Simple homemade ravioli, potatoes.......and litter...

I woke up the other morning thinking of ravioli, so I made some in the evening! We have limited ingredients here and all the recipes I could find on the net were just too complicated. So I just mixed up grated cheese, cooked and squeezed out spinach  finely chopped up and fried onion and garlic and lots of pepper as the filling. We make pasta regularly and have a pasta rolling machine and this time I left the sheet pretty thick in an attempt for it not to break apart when cooking. This also meant that I could put a reasonably amount of filling in them!!! I have a simple "form" for making the individual pieces. You just lay the sheet of pasta over it, then another plastic mould makes the small indentations, then you fill them, paint water along the edges, put another sheet over, then roll over the top with a rolling pin and carefully turn upside down and push them out! Simple! This recipe worked a treat and was very tasty. I made a quick onion and tomato sauce for the top......

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sunny weather and busy in the kitchen!

The good weather is continuing which is great in the garden as I can harvest for a little longer! One year we had our first frost on August 31 which was a bit early for my liking!
Our sunflower patch is looking good and is also glad of a late frost as I planted them a little late! There are about 100 plants!