Sunday, 26 March 2023

Greening up

 On warm sunny days (rare), you can smell Spring in the air, but most of the deciduous trees in the park are still resolutely bare. So this one, a horse chestnut I think, has been standing out for the last couple of weeks. When Wednesday morning was bright and sunny and for once this month I didn't need to leave the house kitted out in rain gear, I left home a few minutes early and stopped to take a couple of photos while it's still ahead of all the rest. 

Friday, 17 March 2023

Happy St. Patrick's Day

 I didn't get even one St. Patrick's Day card made and mailed this year, a couple of e-cards is as good as it got. But this is close enough...

We've had very mixed weather so far - a couple of days when it was mild enough to wear fingerless gloves, a couple of dustings of snow and sleet, and a lot of wind and rain.  I spotted this tree on the way home from work on Tuesday, and I think it must have fallen in the course of the morning, be ause I'm fairly sure I'd have noticed it in the way in - I'm usually looking over at that side because that's where the deer are. 

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

February Favourites

 I do have several cards I like for February, I think the longer evenings are helping. I'm going to attempt updating my header photo with one from the Botanic Gardens last March, but it may have to wait till I'm at the PC later in the week. 

I should have stopped on the way home today, 

but I thought that by the time I stopped, put my bike on its stand, took my gloves off and got my phone or, they would probably have flown away, so I didn't bother.  We've had a fair amount of wind recently, and there are a lot of small branches on the ground. As I was coming though the park I saw a pair of crows who were stripping the soft bark if the branches, and they had their breaks full of strands of bark. Nesting time, for sure ...

The first card was for a challenge to use three, the card with the fern background was to use two. The Beetles card was to commemorate the first appearance of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. That was wide open to interpretation and I'm always happy to make something with a yellow submarine or an octopuses garden, but I thought I'd use a couple of the stamps from a series by Pink Ink Designs. I treated myself to them after Christmas because the singer, used here, the guitar player and the sax player will all work for cards for C. Without a lot of spare time, two was as many as I could easily fit on one card. 

Monday, 13 February 2023

Recipe time

 It's been a long time since I posted a recipe. 

I have several bread books which C has a habit of occasionally browsing through, and then he pins a note to the noticeboard in the kitchen with a few recipes he would like to try - eating, that is. Not baking himself. Anyway, oliebollen, Dutch in origin,  have been on the list for quite some time, and last weekend I decided the time had come to make them while I had fresh oil in the deep fat fryer.

In fact the recipe he had come across was for a firmer dough which you could shape into proper neat balls. It will be worth trying some time, it called for both orange and lemon zest and cinnamon in the dough, which sounds pretty good to me. However, I went for the recipe my mother used to use, which comes from the 1978 Golden Anniversary recipe collection produced by the Chatelaine Institute. I think this must have come from her two aunts in Canada. Even now after all these years I can remember their ZIP code from writing thank you notes each Christmas and birthday, although I no longer remember the house number. 

I halved the amount, and we managed to eat them all by Sunday evening. I worked on the assumption that there was no instant yeast around back then so the yeast would be active dry yeast, and I used one teaspoon. 

So for a half batch I used 1 tsp active dry yeast in 1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water and a pinch of sugar. 

To make the dough/batter I also used 

2 cups (500ml) flour

3/4 cup (190 ml) lukewarm milk

1 egg

1 tblsp  sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp salt

and 1 cup golden raisin and a medium size Bramley cooking apple chopped to about the same size as the raisins.

Mix everything together, cover and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours. Fry in bathces hot oil (350F, 175C), dropping in a spoonful at a time. I think mine were rather bigger than the heaping teaspoon suggested, more like a soup spoon, and they took a little over 2 minutes each side to fry. 

Fried, and dusted with cinnamon sugar and enjoyed. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

January favourites

 Are not many - work continues to be busy. How did it get to be February already? I won't get to the PC till tomorrow so I can't update my header photo till then, but I thought I might as well  get this posted. 

As I suspected, the header photo has to come from February 21, I have nothing from last year. I actually edited two photos from Farmleigh in Feb 21 - having done the squirrel header I thought I might have used it last year (no, it was snowdrops), so I also edited a tufted duck, which I'll add as a footer to this post.

Tuesday, 10 January 2023

Warm off the needles

 A couple of knitting projects.

I started out by making these elbow-length hand warmers for one of my nieces. She is into photography, and I know from personal experience that in colder weather, either fingerless mitts (or better yet, flip-top ones) are the way to go. She liked them.

So then I decided to knit a shorter pair for my aunt, with the remnants of some beautiful blue-faced Leicester wool, hence the blue-faced sheep on the tag.

And I'm currently knitting a pair for myself in a dark blue wool, not quite as nice a wool as either of these, but with the merit of being machine washable :D. Not that I have ever found mittens needed washing that often, it was purely that I was out of nicer remnants in the right weight.

But before I started mine, I used up some of the chunky pink from my recent jacket to knit a cowl for my sister. It's  a chunky (bulky) wool, 80% merino with 20% angora, and it's wonderfully soft and cosy. 
She gets a pink sheep on her tag. The main photos of the cowl, the colour of the wool is pretty true. I took the tag late in the evening, because I need to wrap this up and take it to work to post on the way home. In that case, the colours in the tag are pretty true, but definitely not the wool. 

Ever since I went back to work on the 3rd, I have been seeing tree-pruning going on all the way along the central avenue through the park. They start early, even though it's still dark. And often when I'm coming home, I see them all sitting around on chairs and whatever they have gathered at the back of one of the trucks enjoying a warm mug of tea. A workers' tail-gate party, as it were. Anyway, with the moon this morning and a very stormy cloudy sky, I stopped to take a photo. It was pretty windy, I would not have liked to be up in that cherry-picker. 

Saturday, 31 December 2022

December Favourites

 Can legitimately include a couple of Christmas cards...

The sentiment behind the gate reads "Trust in your potential, enjoy the process, try something new, explore possibilities, but most of all believe", which I thought played well with the butterfly/caterpillar theme.

No very exciting photos from January 2022 - knitting, baking and marmalade. So the header comes from January 2021 when we obviously had a very cold snap. 

With wishes for good health, peace and contentment for 2023.

Sunday, 25 December 2022

Christmas wishes...

...for a peaceful, happy and healthy Christmas and holiday season.

Thursday, 22 December 2022

Hot off the needles

 I bought some of this wool in a wine colour to knit a sweater for C - I got half of it knit while he was over in Maine, but I have had to sneak it up to the attic to sew it up up here. He also had some cough/cold, and was allowed not to go into work at all for two weeks so I haven't had a day here without him. Anyway, it was a beautiful soft wool, 80% merino, 20% angora, so even though pink wouldn't have been my colour of choice I was happy to take pink rather than nothing. Being bulky it knit quickly, but I had the sleeves, fronts and back (without the flower petals) finished when I decided I would really prefer to take it up a size, and I'm glad I did because now it will fit over a light sweater.  The pattern is Sylvi from Ravelry, and I added the pockets because I think pockets are indispensable. 

I was hoping to get C to take some nice pictures yesterday when we were up at his dentist in the north of Ireland - but his appointment ran late and being the shortest day of the year, the sun had gone down behind the mountain across the bay by the time he got back to the car. The first photo of the oystercatcher has that odd colour because the setting sun was reflected in the sand and water. I enjoyed watching them and a couple of flocks of sandpipers till it became too cold and windy, when I returned to the car to wait there. So, instead of a lovely scenic backdrop, I just used my remote control out behind the house :D. 

Sunday, 4 December 2022

November Favourites

 Thin on the ground, as I said. I'm including a couple of Christmas cards as we are now into December, but even on that front I didn't get much done in November. I still need cards for C, my sister and aunt and a couple of the ladies in work, so the pressure is on.

I have had the origami Christmas stamp for a good number of years now, and have at least twice in the past included a little origami helmet as an add-on, but this is the first time I put it on the little boy rather than just using it as an embellishment on the card front. 

I have had the origami Christmas stamp for a good number of years now, and have at least twice in the past included a little origami helmet as an add-on, but this is the first time I put it on the little boy rather than just using it as an embellishment on the card front. 

No photos from December 2021, so the header is a frosted borage head in the garden the previous December.