Monday, September 28, 2009

In Honour of Orange-Striped Friends

After buying my Indigo Cashsoft 4-ply to knit my new TV jumper, I wanted to find the correct hazy stripe to complement it and my imagination fixed on a vibrant yellow-jelly colour. I marched to John Lewis at lunchtime during work on Thursday, only to find they didn't have the colour of Kidsilk Haze I wanted. I checked the Rowan shade cards and lo and behold, I had made the colour up. I then pulled out all the balls of Kidsilk Haze in the display and held them against a ball of Indigo Cashsoft. There were a few colours that I really liked: a midnight blue, a toned-down corny-yellow, but I couldn't quite reject this bright orange, even though I wasn't sure it was the best colour for the project. But being partial to orange/ginger striped things, I bought the ball and it's now incorporated into my jumper. I like it. 

Kidsilk Haze is the most amazing wool. I could easily buy every colour just for its beauty.

Hagos has gone on tour for six weeks. I found it very hard seeing him off this time. Not sure why. And I'll see him once a week for the first four weeks, which is good. And I have plenty to occupy myself with while he's away. I think we were having good fun while he was at home for three weeks, and we wanted the fun to continue.

I have a few nice projects to look forward to in the autumnal months. I got two gardening books out of the library recently and have discovered from them that I can plant garlic and onions to grow over the winter months, which I'm very excited about because I thought gardening was over for the year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My New TV Jumper

I can barely believe I'm knitting another TV jumper. After TV jumper number four I swore I never would again, but with winter coming on, and having just finished knitting JJ's Christmas jumper I really felt the need for an easy, but beautiful, jumper for myself. In 4 ply.

I chose Rowan Cashsoft because it feels so good, and the colour Indigo because I really suit blue.

This time I bought an extra three balls of wool and plan to knit long sleeves, and if there's any wool left over I will make winter mittens. I have it all planned!

And then of course I want to make my winter coat, and am currently veering towards a deep blue, plain tweed. With a matching blue tweed skirt. Mmmmmm.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My First Carrot! and Other Things

My carrots and beetroot won't be ready for another month, but my gardening guru advised me to thin out my carrots once they were established to give the ones left behind a chance of growing well, so I watered them, then pulled one out to see what it looked like, and this is it!

I must say (as I always do) I'm very impressed. It's an actual carrot! The wonder of it never ceases to amaze me. After the carrot's photo shoot, I washed and ate it and it was extremely delicious. I've since decided not to thin them out after all as I think they'll be fine.
It is the teeniest, tiniest carrot in the world.

I then decided to pull up my potatoes as all the stalks had long-since died off. It wasn't such a good crop as last year, about a third I'd say, but I'm sure they'll be very tasty nonetheless.
In other news: I had an accident on Monday whereby I twisted one foot as I stepped outside my front door, and scalded my other foot as I collapsed to the ground! I had been on my way to the coal bunker with freshly boiled water in the kettle to kill some ants that have nested there. As I was dropping to the ground in agony from the twist I had that slow motion thing kick in where I was suddenly aware of pouring the boiling water on my other foot and could do nothing to stop it happening. I was wearing crocs, which offered no protection and were probably partly responsible for me falling in the first place. My feet slide around in them. Anyway I've been house-bound for five days now. My twisted foot has almost healed, just little niggles if I stand on it the wrong way, and my burned foot looks much better than it did, but still has a large blister and deeply reddened and slightly blackened skin approximately 3 inches by 5 inches. I was so glad Hagos was at home at the time and got my foot under cold running water and went to the chemist for advice on how to treat it. I still can't get shoes on without them rubbing the blister, but tonight Hagos and I are going out for a Mexican so I will bandage it up and put on some slipper-shoes I just found in my shoe cupboard that I forgot I had. I'm so looking forward to going out. I miss out!

Monday, September 14, 2009

On Holiday

We went up to Edinburgh last week for four days as a little holiday during Hagos's break from work. We stayed with our friends and their children, and managed to persuade Pete to take Friday off work to go adventuring.
We all like exploring ruined castles so Dirleton Castle was a great place to go. It was a wee bit hairy when the kids raced ahead through the maze of ruined rooms - keeping up with them, and making sure they didn't go over the edge! The grounds of the castle were vast and beautiful though, and the kids enjoyed running free round them.
This photo was taken in the dovecot. Very funny trying to get the kids to stand still long enough to be in the shot!On Saturday we went to Peter's Yard for brunch. It's a Swedish place, very lovely, Scandinavian, great bread and fresh food.
The whole four days were great fun. It's so good to be with friends who enjoy adventure and fun, and there were a few times we all laughed till we ached. My little friend J and I above. He is the sweetest little person. Both kids have a good sense of humour. The holiday did me a lot of good.
On Sunday Hagos had a gig at Jimmy's Farm. He was doing sound for Tunng. It's the first time I've seen them live, though I love their music. I really enjoyed being at a little festival. It was a combined food and music festival. The food was all hog roast type stuff. I was bewildered by the crowd though. They all seemed to have brought their own foldaway chairs. At first I thought the organisers must have put them out for people to sit on, a bit like deck chairs, because there was a sea of them in front of the stage. Everyone seemed to have one. Then I saw people carrying them over their shoulders as they walked around and realised they had all brought their own! A rather particular bunch of festival-goers. I've been to many, many festivals all over the world and have never seen anything like it. I wandered about by myself while Hagos and the band were getting ready for the show. I used to tour with Hagos about 15 years ago, and I really love that inbetween time, before the show. It's really good space-and-thinking time. A good day. And Tunng were all lovely people.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Plum and Apple Jam

I am Preserving Queen at the moment! My friend Sophie gave me a bag of plums from her tree and I turned them into Plum and Apple Jam. I could look at the deep red colour all day. It really is gorgeous. The jam tastes delicious too. I used Mrs Beeton's recipe.
It was messier to make than the Bramble Jam. I don't have a preserving pan, so use an ordinary large pot to make everything in. And the quantities, when it came to the rolling boil stage, started spilling over the sides so I quickly had to decant some of it into another pot. And then the fun at the end, once setting point was reached, of trying to fish out all the plum stones. I think I should've left it another couple of minutes boiling though. It is jammy, but rather runny jam. I'm usually good at judging setting point. And actually I could tell as I was pouring it into the jars that it could've done with a wee bit longer. Next time.

My cooker top, my kitchen table, and the sink were all COVERED in plum jam.

I'm very excited by all this growing, making, and preserving business. Sophie has asked me if I want to go to a fruit farm with her. We're thinking of making preserves as Christmas presents this year. I will need to buy some decent jars for that though. I think it would detract somewhat from the gift if it came in a Nescafe or Bisto jar. (I must just point out that I didn't buy the Nescafe, it was bought by a friend who was staying here who didn't like fresh coffee.)

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Tomato Relish

I just made Tomato Relish, using tomatoes I've grown myself!

Those four tomato plants have given me a lot of fruit; we managed to eat salads every day with last weekend's crop, but this weekend there is only me and Meg at home and I can't bear to waste anything I've grown or made myself so I went searching, originally, for a Tomato Chutney recipe. I couldn't find a satisfactory one in either Mrs Beeton's or online and I was just beginning to think of making and freezing tomato sauces for pasta when I came across Mrs Beeton's Tomato Relish recipe. I immediately liked it as the first line of instructions were: 'Put everything into the pot and heat gently'. I love those kinds of recipes. My favourite chocolate cake is made in much the same way.

So, three jars of Tomato Relish for winter. I tasted the last wee bits out of the pan and it is extremely delicious and, er, rather hot. Mrs Beeton's tip says to leave the chilli seeds in if you like stuff a bit hotter, so I did. Eek. :)