A dirty smudge and some dirt

I’ve seen Panstarrs!  Well, it seemed to be a dirty smudge in the right place, towards the northwest close to the Andromeda Galaxy.  I had to find it from Cassiopeia since the trees are too low to see Pegasus at this time of year.  I had to dodge around to get a gap in the trees, too, and to avoid the street lights, but I succeeded. It will get closer to Cassiopeia up to early June, but also fainter.  Maybe I’ll see it again, but if not, so long, buddy, and good luck! Continue reading

Back to business

I seem to have got the garden back under control at last.  You might not think it if you came round unexpectedly, but to me things are happening roughly as they should be again.  I cleared the space for the winter lettuce this morning and harvested two carrots and a parsnip!  That was all that had grown from countless carrot seeds and one row of parsnips sown.  The slugs seemed to get all the seedlings; I don’t know how they missed these.  There are a few more parsnips and Hamburg parsley growing nicely right at the edge though, I think the slugs must have been confused by the cucumber growing up the arch right beside them. Continue reading

Not a good year for…

… anything except water, really.  It hasn’t been as wet here as in most parts of the country, and I did need to water the vegetable patch (what’s left of it) for a couple of weeks in August.  That meant I ran out of water in the double water butt, but the second one smelled bad, and when I looked I found I had (turn away now if you haven’t a strong stomach) some slugs decomposing in the bottom of it.  I tipped the water out and cleaned the butts and set them up again.  Two days later the thunderstorms started and I had full waterbutts again. Continue reading

Apple Butter

My neighbour Caroline occasionally leaves bags, usually of apples, at my door if she comes round when I’m out.  I’m extremely grateful for these, especially as our apple crop was zilch this year. With cooking apples, sometimes I peel and core them and freeze them ready for putting in winter pies and crumbles.  I’ve not got into drying them yet and I havent had a lot of luck with storing them due to lack of a suitable space that’s cool yet airy. Continue reading

Spice cupcakes

One of my links on the sidebar on the home page is a cookery one, and I noticed a rather tasty sounding recipe there the other day for Spice Cupcakes wih Banana Buttercream topping.  Mmm, I thought, and checked out the recipe.  It’s at a very nice site called Baking with Basil.  And I discovered that I had most of the ingredients in, provided I got some more butter or its equivalent, and improvised a little on things that are commonly used in the USA but not so much here. Continue reading

I can’t face another bean…

… or another raspberry for that matter.  This year I weighed my produce and kept a tally.  To date I have picked 10.5 pounds of runner beans and 11.5 pounds of raspberries (all varieties).  And they keep coming – the early raspberries have just started a second crop with this weird weather we’re having.  I froze a lot of beans early on, and still occasionally freeze a few, but I gave 12 ounces to the plumber in the week because I didnt want to eat them, and even the guinea pigs are turning their noses up at them, with a ‘what, again??’ expression. Continue reading

Quince Jam

This week’s special from my Farm Shop – more fresh quinces.  This time I used their recipe for Quince Conserve but combined it with some other ideas for quince jam recipes and my increasing experience of jam-making and adapted the recipe and method slightly.  I felt the amount of water suggested was rather excessive, and anyway I was cooking the fruit down in my pressure cooker, so it ought to use less water for the fruit preparation stage. Continue reading