Monday, 27 April 2015

Fizzing and other things

Well the two gallons of Nettle Wine I made last night is fizzing - so the yeast is starting to work - pleased about that.  Now have another 4 gallons to make.  So I am posting early so that I can get stuck in and get some more wine on the brew.  The nettle wine is a great favourite with our family my mum used to make it on a regular basis.  But it is also meant to be good for arthritis. 

I have other wines to make as well during the coming weeks and when it is elderflower season it is not just elderflower wine and elderflower champagne but lots of other goodies too including Elderflower Vodka.  So I need to get as much as I possibly can done especially during these lighter nights.

I paid a visit to the pound shop at dinner and came away with 6 blackcurrant bushes (£1 per plant)and two white rambling scented roses (they are currently lurking under my desk at work as I forgot to bring them home) (£1 per plant). So hopefully I will then be able to grow the blackcurrants and then make my own home made proper cassis.  I buy the berries every year and do this as it is marvellous for colds.  I also bought 4 x 1.5kg bags of sugar at £1 per bag in order to get the rest of the wine made this evening.

I then nipped into Wilkinsons and picked up four packs x 2 Honeyoe Strawberry plants to go into some planters I have (£1.50 per pack instead of £2 per pack).  I want OH to put some shelves up along one of the fences so that I can grow them off the ground.  I am a very frustrated gardener - if perchance my dream of a lovely house with lots of land for orchards and gardening ever came true I would then worry how and what to do with it.  Only joking I know exactly what I would do and one of the first things would be to plant a wild edible hedgerow with cherry plums, elderberry/elderflowers, hawthorn, sloe, damson and bullace and lots of other things too.

Right some wine is calling.

Catch you later.



PS That's 6 gallons of Sweet Nettle wine made all its cost is 1 1/2 kg of sugar per gallon  =£1 x 6 = £6.00, plus 8 lemons = £3.00 divided by 24 = 0.37 per bottle.  I have ginger wine, ginger beer, peach wine, plum wine, rhubarb wine and Rhubarb Champagne to make.

Catch you soon.



I have been Nettled (2) Nettle Beer and Nettle Pop

Continued from earlier

We had a lovely roast pork dinner tonight together with apple sauce, roast potatoes, parsnips, shredded cabbage, peas, broccoli and carrots with lashings of gravy.  Very tasty it was too.

I then watched the final episode of Poldark in the current series and then set about doing the wine.  I now have two gallons of nettle wine made and look as though I have enough nettles for another three demijohns.  Nettle wine to this recipe is very sweet.  Its currently in its soaking bucket waiting for the temperature to come down before I add the yeast.

This coming weekend though I will be going for nettles again and I have in mind to do at least a couple of batches of Nettle Beer as per the recipe provided for at:

This makes four gallons, for which I will need three carrier bags full of fresh young nettle tops for, but does mean that should be able to get the brewing over in one fair swoop.  However I am thinking of adding  root ginger to the mix as well - it is optional to the recipe.

However whilst researching Nettles I found a recipe for a Nettle Pop which I had not come across before.  Apparently it is a Northamptonshire recipe and comes from a book entitled Traditional Northamptonshire Recipes:


8oz/225g of sugar
Leaves from about 15 stinging nettle plants
1 tablespoon of cream of Tartar
5 pints/2.8 litres of water
1/4 oz/10g yeast
Juice from a Lemon


To prepare the stinging nettles:

Wearing a glove cut the stinging nettle stem near the ground.
Place them in a large saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute
After boiling they lose their sting and its easy to strip the leaves from the stem

To prepare the pop

Put 5 pints of water in a pan and get it boiling
Add nettles, sugar cream of tartar to the boiling water
Place the lid on the saucepan and remove it from the heat
Leave to cool and then add the yeast
Leave in a warm place until it has stopped bubbling vigorously (about 2 days)
Strain into a clean jug.  Stir in the juice of the lemon  Pour into stoppered bottles and drink within a few days.

So I may well give this recipe a whirl too.

Catch you soon



Sunday, 26 April 2015

I've been nettled (1) - Nettle Wine

This morning started well with walking Missy down the river bank to a nature reserve area called the Boardwalks and then back by a different route. It was a beautiful peaceful morning. We walked her quite a distance and then on the way back I started to collect nettles for making some Nettle Wine I got stung in the process and my hands are only just starting to settle down. They have been very tingly all day.  Not something I would do by choice - although funnily enough my granddad did because its supposed to stop you developing arthritis!  I don't think so.  Anyway I managed to pick  two carrier bags full.  I intend to go again at the weekend and then get some nettle beer made.

The recipe I intend to use is a C J Berry one.

Mum made this on a regular basis when I was younger but it is something I have never made.

The ingredients are:

Young nettle tops   - Metric 2 litres           British 2 quarts                  USA 4 pints

Sugar                     1.5 kgs                    3lb                                    2 1/2 lb

Lemons                   2                            2                                      2

Root ginger             10g                         1/2 oz                              1/2 oz

Water                     4.5 litres                  1 gallon                            1 gallon


Pick only the young tops of the nettles top two to three leaves and leaves in the top should be lighter indicating their youth.  Rinse them in water and drain.  Simmer them in some of the water with some of the bruised ginger and lemon peel (please do not put any pith in as this will spoil the delicate flavour of the finished wine) for 45 minutes.  Strain and make the liquor up to 4.5 litres/1 gallon by adding more water.  Pour this hot liquor over the sugar add the juice of the lemons and the yeast nutrient and stir until sugar dissolves and when the liquor is cooled to 21 degrees C add the yeast preferably a general purpose wine yeast.  Keep the bucket closely covered in a warm place and after four days stir thoroughly and transfer the liquor to a fermentation vessel and fit an airlock.  When the wine begins to clear rack off into fresh bottles and leave for another three months before the final bottling.

I am just waiting for tea to be finished and then I will be completing what I started earlier on.

Catch you later



Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Catch up on Monday

The weather has not been too bad this weekend when you put things into focus and look at the bigger picture but one of the bonuses for me is that I can get the washing out on the clothes line, and dried naturally without having  to resort to the Tumble Drier which I have to do for the main part during the winter months .  With me having Arthritis I cannot do with damp washing hanging around drying as it does not do me any good. The house is cold enough as it is. Therefore it is a blessing to get the washing on the line.  I like the smell of freshly laundered linen; its one of these smells like fresh bread very comforting very homely very clean.

 The light nights are making me want to take advantage and get on with some of those projects that I keep putting off like the garden.  Winter I tend to vegetate, and do things whilst watching the TV or I am on the computer..  Now that the lighter nights are here I want to do things (medical conditions permitting which they do not  always allow me to).  So I set my aims list for the week what I would like to focus on tackling and last night I made a start.  I did not get sat down until 10:30 am and that includes cooking tea.

I managed to get three things done last night:

  1. Cleaned the Dishwasher.
  2. Cleaned the Washing machine.
  3. Washed  load of planters, seed trays and pots and put the new cleaned pots into one of my mini greenhouses.  I still have  a load more to go but I have broken the back of it.  I should be able to start sowing seeds shortly.
So I am firmly on track.
Extras that I managed to do that were not on my list:

  • boiled a piece of ham for pack-ups.
  • Did some more washing and hung it out in the fresh air. 
  • Sorted the cats biscuits out and put them into old sweetie containers to keep them dry and out of the paws of the moggies who know how to chew their way through the bags and help themselves. Nothing is sacred in this house!

Unfortunately I did not have any time to do any sewing up or crochet squares but there is always today.

Catch you soon.



Monday, 20 April 2015

Aims for the week

I need to take myself in had and start to get things done I have been spending too much time on the computer researching some things I want to make or have a go at but now I need to get on with things so I thought I would set myself a little aim list for each week.  This week is starting with a deep clean of kitchen equipment - it gets cleaned regularly but this is a deeper clean if you get my gist.

I would like to get done the following this week:

  1.  Use the Tumble Drier as little as possible. - achieved
  2. Clean the Dishwasher, add sachet of cleaner pop it on a regular programme and let it run through the cycle empty. Once clean add more salt and then clean and polish the outer part of the machine. achieved
  3. Clean the Washing machine, add sachet of cleaner, pop it on a regular programme the same as the  Dishwasher . achieved
  4. Clean the cooker.
  5. Clean the fridge.
  6. Clear some of the ironing pile. achieved
  7. Wash all the seed trays and pots and planters ready for use this growing season. achieved
  8. Get some seeds sown.
  9. Start to stitch together  the knitted squares I completed a while back for a throw/blanket - I would like to get all of this stitched and then I will only have to finish knitting the border.  That will be another UFO out of the way then. did a little
  10. Crochet some more inner squares for the new blanket/bedspread for my bed.I have 55 made so far. did a few now got more wool so should be able to work a few each day
I think that is more than enough to be going on with.

Catch you soon.


Sunday, 19 April 2015

Its been a Pottering Kind of weekend

It has been quiet here this weekend.  A lot of pottering has gone on but not as much as I would have liked which is frustrating but this is mostly down to my back which has been playing up a bit this past week;so its a case of taking things steady whether I want to or not but that is the way the cookie crumbles so it has been a resting weekend where I have been internet hopping, doing some research for some projects ahead.I did go out in the garden yesterday when it was nice and sunny and started to sort out two mini growing houses I have had for the past couple of years.  It was time to replace the covers which I managed to do and clean the houses out themselves.  I now have to start washing the pots and then I can start sowing some seeds.  That's the bit I like best (apart from eating that is)

More washing was done, some bread made, and a lot of resting done.  

I had a play with a square for a future project .- another blanket - a larger version of the square I am doing for the bedspread  in my room but this time using a lot of individual colours rather than a marled wool.  I tend to go where the wool leads me when creating with scraps. I am pleased with the colourway that I have come up with but I used a larger hook than I normally do which has given a more open texture which I do not think is helping with the way the square lays.So its back tot he drawing board with that one.  Will have to have another play tighter tension smaller hook required. I love colour and the colours of the piece I have been playing with are what I call "Art Nouveau" colours. We will have to see how it goes -very much a Work In Progress. The size of the block I have in mind is a 12 panel blanket/rug with each square being made up of 20 rows.  We shall have to see whether this is sustainable or not.

Back to the drawing board me thinks.

Right am off to doing some further pottering.

Catch you later.



Saturday, 18 April 2015

Veggies for the Freezer to use out of season

I love parsnips and I love swede and carrot crush and we will soon be at the end of the season for both items.  Therefore to carry me through the summer months I always prepare a quantity of each so that we have the option to have  them for a change intermingled with the new produce.  There is something comforting about good what I call comfort food good for the soul and the body.

I have therefore set about preparing the parsnips by peeling and chopping the ends off and then cutting in half. Only if they are big enough do they get halved again.  They then go into a pot of boiling water and are blanched for a couple of minutes and then straight out into cold water refreshed and drained.  Patted dry and then I portion them into bags (in this household 2 at moment but if more then portion it up for what your needs are  - say a couple of pieces of parsnip per person.

I have also managed to get some swede reduced (20p each) and I have on this occasion prepared and cubed the swede blanched it, drained it and then packaged up.  I have not got any carrots at the moment to make the carrot crush so this makes the swede fairly flexible and can be used in casseroles and stews in this format as well, as being made into carrot crush  (once I have the carrots) and then there is swede puree as well.

So that's another couple items off the to do list - still a load more to do - a list as long as your arm.

Catch you soon.



Spring flowers

Just pretty pictures that say it all mostly in my mother's garden but there are violets lurking there which cuttings originally came from a plant that my great grandmother owned.  At this time of year I love the colours and vibrancy of plants especially after the long grey months of winter.


Catch you soon



Friday, 17 April 2015

Charity Shop finds

I managed to find this little mat for 55p at a Local Antique craft centre recently.  It will go beautifully with a set of mats that have come down through the family made by my maiden Great Aunt who was a beautiful needlewoman and in exactly the same colourway. Her forte was finework crochet. I think it was a popular pattern for the time.  I believe she used this pattern several times and I think she made a set of mats for my cousin as her wedding present.

I like them anyway as I have a particular penchant for pansies.

A Basket - I will let you in on a little secret.  I collect baskets.  This one is at present being used to store my ever growing collection of fabrics for patchwork.  Several shirts have been stripped down in readiness for the cutting out and the other day I came across bags of patchwork fabric for £2.50 a bag so I snaffled two.

Here's the selection of fabrics:

Some decent sized pieces here.

Here is a very pretty table cloth.  A small sized one but it will go over a small table I have in the bedroom.  Another item that has been reloved.

This pretty (not expensive clock is destined for my bedroom) I love wild flowers and wild life and I have several Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady pieces that I have acquired or made over the years so this will fit in well.

A large 1930s original cake tin.  I have another one in this colourway which is a stack of three.  They are going to be very useful in the pantry for home bakes.  They are in pretty good condition.  I love the simple colourway.  Will go well with my Johnson Brothers green utility china which I also collect.  I just love nice things.

A glazed bread crock.  I collect huge pots like this as they are very useful for preserving. You can use it for preserving your own mincemeat by the traditional fermenting method you can use it as a Rumptopf or for Folie of Fall Fruits/Batchelors Brandied Fruit, for Hodgkin, or even as a bread crock or for flour storage.  You are just limited by your own imaginations but as long as it is reloved and put to good use.

Some scarf clips rescued from the local Charity shop.  I wear a lot of scarves so these will be very handy.

And a pretty stone chip necklace in greens and purples.  I do like this.

A couple of more pieces of the pretty green vintage glass that I am collecting.  Primarily to go with a Colclough Ivy china which I am also collecting the idea being that this pattern is ideal for Christmas dinner and the glass goes beautifully with it. Charity shops and car boots permitting.

Quite a large Victorian Ground Glass storage jar.  Picked this up for £1 - bargain.  I collect these too for the Pantry.

Two pottery candle lamps in case of power cuts. One can never be too careful.  I keep hanging my nose over some original oil lamps.  Maybe one day.

A meat platter  - Yellow  - I collect meat platters as well.  Come in handy when you have a houseful.

A beautiful blue glass cake stand.  Something else I collect.  Vintage looks so pretty on the tea table.

 This flour crock had a lid when I bought it - I managed to break it so it has now been turned into my pickled onion soaking pot. 

Three little shell and written word pictures for the bathroom as I have a seaside feel in there.

 So not bad and I haven't spent the earth.

Catch you soon.



Wednesday, 15 April 2015

New Followers

Just would like to say that it would appear that I have some new followers through Google and via Bloglovin - Hi and welcome says me waving frantically.  Make yourself at home and I hope you find lots of information to take your attention - there are loads of posts going back about 4 yearsor more on anything and everything or more.Please feel free to comment.

So get that mug of tea and make yourself comfortable.

Look forward to hearing from you.




This turned into this!

The cot blanket I crocheted for my friend Karen and gave to her at work yesterday at her baby shower.  It is her first child and so I made the cover a generous size in order that she can snuggle in it when nursing or baby can lay on it or under it.  It is lovely and soft.  I believe in lovely comfortable things make you feel snug and secure.

I have equally being me started another blanket well the centres of to say the least.  So far I have made 50 small centres in a lovely marled wool this one is for my bedroom as it has all the colours I like. Ice cream colours.  The wool is from Wilkinsons and £1.35 per ball and you get approximately 8 squares give or take a bit and depending on your tension per ball (just the marled wool).  The outer edge is going to be worked in cream wool.  

The inspiration came from The Patchwork Heart a favourite crochet blog as she has such lovely designs and such a good eye for colour.  You can find the blanket instructions with photos here (but I can guarantee you will find lots of lovely other projects as well).  Here is the link:

Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)