Monday, 18 October 2021

Wet but productive

 Still working on the 7am start...I don't like using an alarm, but it is a way of setting a pattern.

Today's main job has been chutney! Steadily tidying the greenhouse, sorting the green tomatoes, weighing them and adding other ingredients to the right proportions...windfall apples and homegrown onions to start with, then a mango that needed using, a handful of yellow sultanas to empty the jar, cayenne pepper, salt, four large chilli peppers from Carpenter's allotment, a large chunk of fresh ginger, golden granulated sugar and cider vinegar.

Work on this was paused while other tidying was done, neighbour called over, lunch, pirate rode the turbo as it kept on and on raining.....and then after his siesta we caught a short break in the weather.

I already have a bag of rosehips ready to use, now was the time to get some crabapples from a nearby field hedgerow...and we found pears this year too!

Ripe enough to pick, they are now in a shallow cardboard tray to ripen enough to use for juicing.

We saw some blue sky!!

Just after we arrived home, with damp trousers and jackets from the grass in the field and drops from tree rained again!!

No chutney process photos... too busy stirring!!

The four pounds of green tomatoes ended up as nine pounds of fruit ingredients!!

All the fresh fruit and half the vinegar cooked gently until soft, then the dried spices, sugar and the rest of the vinegar was added for the final cooking as the jars were warned in the oven.

Supposedly fifteen minutes according to the recipe, but actually half an hour, a quick five minutes resting then into hot jars, covered with waxed circles and two teaspoons of melted candlewax before the lids were shut.

It was satisfying eating supper, hearing the lids go pop as they cooled and the contents contracted!

Saturday, 16 October 2021

A steady day

 An early start. I was up at six and up and running by half past when our favourite radio programme starts..Out of Doors on Radio starts with the mystery bird sound, which turned out to be a waxwing this week.  Which reminds me to pick Rowan berries before the waxwings strip the trees!

 After breakfast I started bottling and processing the latest batch of apple juice. Ten bottles this time. The bottle rack is gradually filling up,  but we need to go foraging again for apples to make enough to last the year.

Pirate took himself out for a ride on his bigger circuit, as the clouds lifted, getting himself ready for upcoming events. 

After our neighbour came for his morning cuppa and chat I got busy clearing a space for the tender plants to come in to the kitchen. The only place we have with enough space and light for them to survive. By the time Pirate returned after a good ride and a couple of stops to talk to folk, the plants were in, the kitchen clean, the living room a little tidier!!

The good thing about starting early is that you can have a little down time to relax after lunch and recharge batteries! 

We headed over to a farm run by the son and grandson of a friend of our neighbour.....and came back with four doors!! Grandson is a joiner and had been replacing doors in a house...very good doors! We came home carefully with four...two will be part of the workshop verandah construction, two will replace tired doors in the house. We will return for another to replace the bathroom door that has been falling apart since before we moved here!! As these would probably just be burnt , this is a timely find!!

I am looking at fleabay and thinking perhaps I might try selling elsewhere. It would be far easier if the regular cycle jumbles were still going...but most are not at the moment.

So changing to another online place would be possibly a good idea. Fleabay has slowed down and they seem to be asking for more and more detail and re-requesting detail despite the detailed description and box filling I did to post the items. 

Plus hints to reduce the already reasonable prices!

Now it has gone dark, and cold...I am glad that the plants are indoors.

Friday, 15 October 2021

First frost

 For the first time this year the car was well frosted..just when we needed to be on time for pirate's dentist appointment!!

Then we took a doll's House to a charity shop , indulged in a cuppa and cookie in our favourite bookshop cafe, before collecting my work from the Gallery in Ayr high street. Next week the space will be beds and bedding! 

There is a possibility of another exhibition before christmas, and hopefully we can get the group of artists involved in this one.

Then a walk on the Lang Scots Mile with some foraging for rosehips..there are plenty of Rosa Rugosa growing on the dunes and they are easy to use to make cordial

This afternoon I cleared away the pea haulms and prepared the bed ready for the onion sets that we bought on the way home.

After this morning's frost the sun was beautifully warm and brought out a butterfly to sun itself on the shed.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Followed by a quiet day at home

 Bottling eight x 75cl bottles of apple juice and processing them...just cooling now and waiting for the tops to be dipped in wax.

I have almost finished juicing and pressing the next batch, and there are more ripening gently.

Today's weather is certainly doing what it said on the tin!! High winds and heavy showers. So dull that we have had the lights on all day!

Cropping is slowing down but still carrying on. All the tomatoes are in, the chilli plant is on the windowsill and all the squashes are in bar one last variety.

The butternut squash is definitely a first time success for me, and I think most things need starting earlier. Now we have the greenhouse up and running, that should be possible.

Pirate caught up with his phone calls this morning, after riding his bike on the look outside decided that!

Now it is teatime, and it is still dull, grey, wet and windy outside. Tomorrow we are forecast dry...but chilly! At least today's washing will be out on the line early to dry.

Dundee awayday

 We were off bright and early...well ok, was still dark at 7am!!

Our Thursday track session brought forward a day after all concerned looked at the weather forecast!!  In the end, after driving through drizzly and cloudy, and before Perth rather windy, we had a lovely time in bright sunshine and a light breeze under blue sky.

It looks like this could be our last time this year, as the weather slides damply through Autumn towards Winter. 

We sold a vintage frame there, saving me time and hassle advertising it,  then headed South over the Tay road bridge , looking for a decent lay-by for lunch.

Picnic lunch was eaten with the entertainment of watching a huge machine lifting potatoes and loading them into one ton tattie boxes...ten on a lorry trailer pulled by a large tractor, and a relay of several tractor and trailers shuttling it to a barn that we had passed half a mile beforehand.

Then on to Fife to make two visits to friends, to chat and drink tea and do business before returning home.

A long day again, but worth it!

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Apple juice and relaxing

 A good 7am start, and straight after breakfast the apple juicing started. I have four different types of apple, the Hannahston windfalls, probably a tree grown from a thrown apple core. Apples from Auld Byre hedgerow, wild apples we think..but they grew bigger this year..probably because fewer fruit set.  A red apple which looks very much like Kidd's orange red..only a small carrier bagful this year instead of three big bags and more last year and a large carrier bag of apples from a friend.scabby but good for juice.

With breaks to let the juicer cool is about twelve years old!....and pressing the pulp from the the end of the day I had a maslin pan full of juice.

That is just under half of the apples done!! I am aiming to make more than last year as we have almost finished last year's pressing, having been using it sparingly over the last month or two.

The juice has now gone through the muslin again and is sitting in a lidded tub to settle out the fine apple pulp that is still suspended in it. Bottling tomorrow evening.

This afternoon we both had reiki treatment followed by a chip supper, eaten as we watched the street lights begin to come on over the water on the Isle of Arran.

Nice and relaxed...and no cooking or washing up!!

Working round from nearly south to northish!


Monday, 11 October 2021

Start early

 Gradually I am getting back to rising earlier.  It will be more difficult as the days shorten, and turning the clock back at the end of the month will turn everything upside down..but I am getting there!

Two washes done by the time Pirate came downstairs this morning..but he does have a reason, the two jags together are making his body work hard.  I looked at the forecast before starting...and luckily it was correct and the rain had stopped by the time the clothes were ready to go on the line.

An early start has other advantages, having jobs done before anyone visits means they get done!  We had a friend visit in the afternoon as well, which was good. However that mean that our short leg loosener ride was started just in time and we got home just as the roads were getting busy with commuters. Not a good time to be on the road however you travel.

Now I am planning what jobs can be done tomorrow morning...

Sunday in the Trossachs

 We were on the road by 7.50am...nearly 70 miles to go....the route finder said 1 hour 38 minutes, so I allowed two hours !

We followed ordinary roads for the first 25, then a quick five miles along the motorway into Glasgow before turning off to cut a corner and a couple of miles off the route to go under the Clyde tunnel. Then head north towards the A81 and follow that all the way to Aberfoyle.

All done in 1 hour 50 minutes and no rushing!

This was the location of the headquarters of the Tour of the Trossachs, a 28 mile hilly time trial.

It's one of the Scottish classic races and this year was added to by being in memory of our friend Sandy Wallace.

We parked in the main car park and went in search of coffee. The first café didn't open until 10am, and the café worker turned away three customer orders as it wasn't 10am...only three minutes to!! Perhaps she would have had better reception ....and people waiting...had she said I will open in a couple of minutes, just waiting for the machine to get up to steam....

Anyway Pirate found the bike hire and cafe and brought back three coffees, for us and a friend who had just arrived. He decided to ride the reverse way around the course, which is always a good idea. You don't get in the riders' way and you see them all easily.

We drove up the course...up being the operative word, up the beginning of the Dukes Pass, and this climbs up steeply from Aberfoyle high street!

We found a safe parking place a couple of miles up and walked back to where we could see them well and shout encouragement. They would have done about four miles by then but still had a good way until they started going down towards the head of Loch Achray and headed for Callander.

We saw them all through, but didn't go back to the headquarters as we wanted a ride ourselves!

It was heading towards lunchtime then and looked like we had seen the best of the to the top of Loch Achray ourselves and turn left to Loch Katrine.

No boat ride for us, just lunch in the café and ride from there along the lane for walker's cyclists and residents which runs from one end to the other, just fourteen miles.

That is the steamship that they are raising money to maintain, the trips are on the other boat.

A quick stop to readjust my gear cable then off up the lane..not as flat as Pirate remembered, but that was twenty years ago!

We must have got nearly five miles when we saw the rain coming

A beautiful sight with hills grey behind grey, but the clouds soon hid them all as we sheltered beneath a tree....and it looked to have set in wet so we turned tail.

OF course by the time we got back to the car the rain stopped!

We aim to come back again, on a dry day and do the whole length of the loch.

With a couple of hours driving to get home we decided to head for home, and go by a different route, heading across by Balloch at the southern end of Loch Lomond and back over the Erskine Bridge.  A short motorway stretch to Paisley then up over the Glennifer Brae with stunning cloudscapes and sunshine,  skirting Irvine and Kilmarnock to do our weekly shop as the sun set in Prestwick before the last ten miles home.

A long day but worth it!

Saturday, 9 October 2021

One step in the right direction

 As Pirate had his flu jag and his covid booster jag....I had a morning out in Ayr to deliver pots and prints to a new group exhibition at 1517.

It's a new group, and mostly  fine art, but wood and clay sculpture, silver jewellery and my pots and prints. 

It is in the building at 15/17 High Street in Ayr , that used to hold  the late British Home Stores...and now has quite a few different traders in clothes and household items...and a large space that is now the gallery. Let's hope the building manager will keep us on!

While waiting for one of the exhibition organisers to arrive it was nice to have a wander around with nothing particular to do.

This afternoon as Pirate had his siesta I attempted to find my way around the computer programmes to print my business cards...mega fail!! 

I emailed my brother.... hopefully he will point me in the right direction!

As dusk came on we went for a walk around from the village, past two derelict mills, Zwartble sheep and a stud with lots of beautiful horses. At last the grey clouds lifted a little, enough to see the sunset in muted oranges and pinks.


 Through the day

Then the pink spread a little as the clouds lifted just before the sun set