Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Blackberry jelly

This weekend we found an enormous blackberry patch, completely by chance. About 500g came home in a bag, just a small picking but we will try to go back for more soon.

Since wild blackberries tend to be very pippy jelly seemed to be a better idea than jam. 400g went into a pan with a little water to be boiled and mashed, then left to drip through a jelly bag overnight. I had a flash of inspiration and realised I could hang a jelly bag from the extractor fan knob. Oh, and the missing 100g of berries were eaten :)

The juice in the bowl measured just over half a pint, so it was mixed with the juice of a lemon and 8oz jam sugar (the stuff with pectin already added in) and boiled vigorously for 4 minutes. A small test on a chilled plate showed it had reached setting point so it was poured into jars.

400g of berries gave about two and a third small jars of jelly.

The part jar has already been eaten!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Ibstock country show

Yesterday (Sun 21st August) was the Ibstock country show. I found the details while I was looking for craft shows and decided it was worth a look, especially as it was such a gorgeous sunny day.

Although it was a little smaller than I expected from the website details it was very enjoyable. We arrived just after it started, I think it would have been better to get there at about 12 as we would have caught more of the arena entertainment. Nevermind, we walked around the stalls and through the craft tent, I very uncharacteristically resisted buying both yarn and spinning fibre. Watched some pony club games in the arena (those kids are crazy!) and a remote control helicopter demo and had an ice cream.

There were a few animal stands too, which always pleases me, I took pictures of those.

Shires getting ready for a demo in the arena later on.

 A Lincoln long wool sheep

Very large French lop bunny

Assorted poultry

Pigs (mmmm, bacon!)

Two steam engines, an organ arrived a little later too.

And a display of vintage cars of various sorts and ages, I particularly liked this one, it is very "Bertie Wooster"

There were a lot of other things happening, dog shows, bands, displays etc but we headed home after we had done a few laps of the field. I would go again, but like I said at the top of the post would probably head over a little later to catch more of the action.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

A garden update

I have been a ittle quiet lately, I will try to do better. I thought it was about time for a garden update, some of my plants have survived my repeatedly forgetting to water them, some are even thriving!

The mini potted peach tree has two peaches under way. I was not expecting any this year as it spent all its blossoming season in a garden centre, but some little critters must have made it in there to pollinate anyway.

Possibly the best sunflower I have ever grown, although the head is a bit small, might just be the variety.

A full length shot of the sunflower and the side bed. The sunflower is about 2.8m tall. Along the side there are more sunflowers and raspberry bushes intent on taking over the world. Unfortunately the rest of the plants in here have not done so well.
You also get a lovely view of the bin. It has been moved down the garden to allow for the new recycling wheelie bin that is meant to be arriving soon, it will be an improvement on the purple plastic bags, but there is not really space for it in my garden. Some pots had to be moved to house the general bin, next year I will grow more things over the arch to hide it.

Raspberries, yum! These are an autumn variety (should be Polka, but seems overly thorned). There are lots of them this year and just a handful are coming ripe each day. They don't usually make it into the house before being eaten.

I had planned to have loads of flowers this year, but was not overly successful. These gorgeous dark blue/purple sweet peas made it though.

As did a few gerberas bought as plug plants, a yellow

and a pink.