26 November 2014

Mid-Week Frustrations

Well, It's been a frustrating week so far. My iPad, my lifeline at the market for checking facts, reading the paper and general online boredom-reducing activities when the market is quiet, has had to go back to be fixed ..... TWICE!! It sort of freezes if you touch the screen too fast and then I can't turn it on or off. Despite the fact that I paid an extra £58 for an extended warranty, they didn't actually fix it the first time it went away and when I got it back, it lasted a grand total of 7 minutes before it froze again while I was trying it out. It went back again the very next day and it's due back again this afternoon so I guess we will see if it's fixed. I intend to video the opening of the box and the testing of the iPad this time because I got the impression that they didn't believe there was anything wrong with it. 

I'm also still waiting for my printable fabric to arrive. When I ordered it from Amazon, I didn't realise that it came from America. It was only after I had paid for it that I noticed the delivery date was quite long, a major giveaway that it's coming from far away. I do think that they should make it much clearer up front when the item is not coming from the UK because if I had realised, I would have chosen another company to buy it from, a UK based one. I have so many ideas that I want to get started on and it's frustrating to be waiting for it to arrive. I know .... I'm too impatient :-( Trust me, I do realise that these are all very small and petty things in the grand scheme of things but added to everything else that's gone wrong in the last two weeks, these just feel like the last straw. 

I'm also starting to panic about Christmas. I can feel it rapidly creeping up on me and I'm nowhere near ready for it to pounce. There are Christmas adverts all over the TV, the shops are full of Christmas gifts and toys and cards and food and booze and not 1 but 4 Sky Christmas Channels have suddenly appeared in my movies package ..... it's all very disconcerting! I'm not a Grinch ....... honestly I'm not, but when I have very little money, like this year, I find Christmas very, very stressful indeed. 

And, to top it off ....... I have rats in the garden! They have taken up residence in the bank that houses the borehole pump so I am now faced with the task of getting rid of them! I live in the middle of the countryside and as such, I know that there will be rats and mice and bugs that I don't particularly like and I accept that but, although I know they're there and although I know it's part and parcel of country living, I'm sorry but I don't want them in my house or even my garden if I can help it! Luckily they aren't near the house at the moment but it's getting a bit too close for comfort and I need to sort them out before things get any worse. I spoke to a farmer friend of mine who said that the weather had been perfect rat-breeding weather this year and that there had been a bit of a population explosion. I am loathe to put down poison so, unless I can man up and bring myself to kill them that way, I will need to come up with a plan B. Maybe humane traps. I don't know. The only thing I do know is that they have to go! Actually, any helpful tips from you people out there in Blogland who have dealt with this kind of situation would be very much appreciated. 

So .... that's been my week so far, what have you all been up to? Hopefully yours has been a better week so far than mine :-)

24 November 2014

First Frost of This Year

Well, the weather has finally turned chilly. I woke up this morning to a crisp, white frost and brilliant sunshine. I love days like this. I don't mind the cold at all but I do dislike grey, wet weather. Give me a freezing, bright, frosty morning over grey, drizzly and damp any day of the week. As I nipped out to check on the llamas, I grabbed my camera to snap a couple of photos. I love the shapes of the lichen on my field gates and was trying to get some pictures of it when Leo wandered over to check out what I was doing. The boys are very inquisitive and always wander over to investigate what I'm doing.



Look at those amazing frost crystals ..... beautiful.

Even nettles look lovely covered in frost.


And despite the cold, my rosebush is still flowering. It never ceases to amaze me. This bush has been flowering since April. The flowers smell fabulous and there have been dozens of them throughout the year. 


I also felt the need to bake so I found a lovely recipe online and set about making some delicious gingerbread cookies.

Gingerbread Recipe.

· 125g butter

· 4 tbsp golden syrup

· 100g light demerara sugar

· 320g plain flour

· 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

· 2 tsp ginger

Melt the butter, syrup and sugar together in a pan. Sieve the dry ingredients together into a bowl. Add the warm syrup to the flour mix, and stir well to form a dough. Cool, cut and bake at 180 degrees for around 10mins until the edges begin to brown.





Delicious gingerbread cookies with drizzled icing and sprinkles ..... you can never have too many sprinkles ..... or fairy light for that matter :-) 

Admittedly not the neatest cookies in the world but absolutely scrumptious. 

23 November 2014

Market Munching

It's been a slow week at the market this week. The weather has been awful. It's been really wet and windy which always seems to discourage people from venturing out to the market. Not that I blame them, quite frankly, if I could have stayed at home and hibernated on Thursday and Friday I think I probably would have! Saturday, however, is entirely another matter. I love Saturday at the market. On Saturday, we eat. On Saturday, we each bring something along to the market and basically we spend the day eating. It's lovely. It's the only time that I don't have to cook for myself and it's bliss. Yesterday we had croissants with plum and rum jam for breakfast. The jam is from AJ's, one of the ladies from market makes it and it's delicious. She makes loads and loads of different flavours of jams, marmalades and chutneys and a whole variety of delicious cakes. For lunch we had home made leek and potato soup with rolls and then home made lemon and raspberry roulade washed down with a taster of raspberry vodka which one of the other market ladies, Bridget, has been making for a few weeks now and she wanted our expert opinion on how it tasted and whether or not it was ready to drink. The verdict ....... delicious and totally ready for quaffing :-)

 Lemon and Raspberry Roulade ...... Delicious 

How cute are these teeny little cups!

I will most definitely be having a go at making raspberry vodka ..... which actually tastes nothing like vodka, it tastes like raspberry cordial and is totally delicious with a real kick. I found this recipe on the internet and it's very similar to the one that my friend Bridget used. I'm sure you can use strawberries or blackberries instead of raspberries, in fact, I'm sure you could probably use lots of different fruits to make delicious flavoured vodkas. I'm not sure I will be able to wait 3 months to try it though :-)

RASPBERRY VODKA

Makes 1 large bottle

Shopping list

1 x 1kg Golden Caster Sugar

1 x 70cl Medium Quality Vodka

1 x 195g Raspberries

1 x Clear glass bottle with stopper or a mason jar or similar.

Method

1. Sterilise your airtight glass container either in the dishwasher or for 20 minutes in an oven (130C).

2. Weigh out 200g of golden caster sugar.

3. Pop all of your raspberries into your container.

4. Pour your sugar and vodka into the bottle.

5. Shake well and leave in a cool, dark place for at least 3 months. (Give it a jiggle every now and again to dissolve the sugar.)

6. Strain the mixture to remove the fruit and decant into a freshly sterilised bottle or jar and enjoy :-)

17 November 2014

Horrible Weather.

Well, the weather is horrible! It's raining again and it looks as if it's set in for the day so I guess it's time to get crafting. Do I sound a bit reluctant? Well, that's probably because I am. I have to make catnip fish today ..... 20 of the little buggers and I really, really, reeeeeeally hate making them. I don't know why exactly. They're innocuous enough, just little fishy shaped bodies stuffed with wadding and good tablespoonful of organic catnip but still, I really dislike making them. If I had my way, I wouldn't sell them on my market stall at all but unfortunately, people know that I have made them in the past and they keep coming back and asking for them. I know I should be happy that they like the product so much and that they're selling well but I resent each and every little catnip fish that I make :-) ..... and don't get me started on lavender chicks, the other bane of my life :-) I guess it all boils down to the fact that I could be making more interesting, exciting things like these cute little holly brooches. I finally managed to get the darning foot attached to my sewing machine and this was my first attempt at freehand machine embroidery. It's going to take a bit of practice before I'm any good at it but I did enjoy making them.

And I have even more exciting news. I have ordered some printable fabric!!!!! I am probably way behind the times and everyone else is probably already familiar with it but I only found out about it last week when a friend at the market told me about it. I have so many ideas buzzing round in my head for when it arrives that I can hardly concentrate. I can't wait to get printing and sewing. I would be very interested in hearing if any of you out there in blogland have used printable fabric and if it's easy to use and what the results were like. So exciting :-)