Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Still gardening

Helping to put another garden to bed before the winter, this time in Dumfries.
A grapevine received a haircut, as you can see.... greenhouse was cleared and cleaned, pots organized, everything tidied after grass cutting and pruning.
A day and a half's work...and we were fed, stayed in a cottage by the Solway Firth and received a fridge freezer...not new but hopefully working!!
Just under three weeks to our next booked, transport at the other end being organised......

Monday, 28 October 2019

Apples, changed.....

Not sure why those ended up down side up.....
Busy processing any apples that won't keep.....


We went to Irvine Beach to help set up for, then to watch a National Trophy event...and yesterday rode out to watch the elite events....a round trip of 70km when we have got used to 50km!!
Saw plenty of friends..and a 1967....and later model...of a VW transporter, both owned by the same family!

Tuesday, 22 October 2019


Back to garden work today, after beating the washing mountain into submission!
The grass was too wet, but luckily hadn't grown too much since last time!
Hedging was the order of the day, plus clearing grass moss and leaves from the patio by this part of the hedge. Pirate wielded the hedge trimmer while I picked up windfall apples plus a bag from the trees that should keep. A bagfull too of Japonica Quinces...not quite ripe but they will slowly ripen while I juice, dry, cook, freeze and bottle (can) my way through the apples!
This garden owner has money problems...but barter is good

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Home again

He didn't do as well as he wanted..but after eight weeks off due to two cataract ops, and tonsillitis in the past weeks , and the effects of erythromycin antibiotic to deal wit it...he did really well.

Now to deal with two travel bags full of washing, dry and juice a bag of pears from a friend's garden, get on with digging and planting edible alliums at home, do a last lawn cut and trim hedges in the gardens we work in.
Oh yes...and get out on our bikes....and keep drawing and get linoprinting.

Back to normal then!!

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Book recommended

I am trying to remember who recommended reading The Salt of you Out There!

It was worth reading, the story of a couple who have lost all, and being homeless decide to walk the South Western Coastal Path...all 600+ miles of it...with the added complication of illness...and mostly wild camping.
I will be reading it again....

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Not just racing

The world Masters Track Champs is not just about the racing... catching up with friends, sharing the craic!

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Going, going, Go!

Catching up with the pruning.... staying with a friend near Manchester...paying in kind for our stay!  He is the one in the hard hat.
World Masters Track cycling champs have started...Pirate starts his events at 10pm Monday night.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Culross Walk

After a session on the velodrome for Pirate, we headed further to the Kingdom of Fife to see a friend and go for a walk...a definite better choice than heading into Glasgow rush hour traffic!
We found a source of plums hopefully next year, damsons and small green gage plums as well.
As the choice when going to the sea...well, the Firth of Forth! ice cream or beer...and the shops had just shut....they had a pint of beer each in the last public house left in Culross!

Monday, 7 October 2019


The red onion marmalade has turned out a real autumnal colour..I changed from the usual cider vinegar to red wine vinegar..and it worked!
Pirate peeled 3kg of red onions..and I chopped them..a good way to clear one's sinuses!
We have been foraging in between showers and have gathered several large strong shopping bags full of tree ripened apples.
I don't think that there has been a cottage in this corner of the community woodland, so it must just be a bird sown pippin.
The apples are crisp and sweet enough to eat, but sharp enough to be good keepers if not bruised.

Next year we will have to go with my apple picker before they fall, but this year I am juicing...16 bottles so far, just under 8 litres.
I am wondering how much I need to make to last a year?

I process them as you would bottles of cordial, in a tall pan of cold water up to their necks with the cap a quarter turn opened.
Then raise up to 190 F and hold for 20 minutes as it gently goes "blup blup...." Out of the pan, close tightly the cap and immediately wrap PVC electricians insulation tape around the cap and neck to ensure a seal.
Cool on its side to ensure the inside of the cap is also sterilised.and you can see instantly if there is a leak of air into the bottle. When cool, I dip the cap and neck in melted candlewax.

I have not long since drunk the last of last year's apple juice, so it is good to know that this works! Also good to know that it's one less thing to go in the deep freeze and rely on a constant supply of electricity.

Today the Pirate is joining in on a session on Glasgow way to ride your bike in the warm and dry!
This morning the weather was blowing fiercely after yet another night of rain and gales.  As we left, the lights were flickering...and I felt glad that more of my store cupboard is filling with jars and bottles...
I need more bottles and jars...!!

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Saying goodbye

Leaving a garden we used to work in. The house has been sold, the owners moved on...but we are still in contact.
We have the job of clearing a few things for them.
It's the last garden job in a village we moved from in 2012.

Sad, but we do need to reduce working for others.
We need time to do our own garden, I need time to make my own work....if you look at the right side of the blog you will see 'pots' on that and you will see a few examples...

Friday, 4 October 2019

Harvest, life and weather

We have collected our second batch of windfall apples, only to check my glass bottle store....and I'm running low!
I'm really regretting not bringing my stock of kilner (mason) jars with me to Scotland....but I have found one shop which stocks them at a reasonable price. They are no longer turning up secondhand anywhere, which is a good sign as someone must be using them!!
The small freezer I have is full...time to review the contents once more and make room I think.

Pirate is gradually recovering from a bout of tonsillitis. He is itching to get back to riding his bike properly, but is seeing sense, if reluctantly.  We rode the velodrome boards in Glasgow yesterday, I just do an hour's gentle riding, he does a bit more..but soon realised that he is not on full power.
We had the tail of Hurricane Lorenzo through last night and it is still cold and windy this morning.
Good for drying a whole lot of washing, but not for going out on the bikes. He will have to do his riding on the turbo trainer indoors and we will have time for some fresh air on foot this afternoon.
Staying indoors unless the weather is serious is no good for one's health, a change of air in the lungs is needed.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

A garden welcome

The polytunnel residents have thrived while we were away!