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Pear and Lemon Jam

This was my first attempt at Pear Jam. Its a cobbled together version of the recipe I do for all my jams. I used two pound of pears which had been peeled, cored and cut up into chunks; I large lemon;  one pound of preserving sugar and some water. I put the pears into a pan with a little water and the juice and zest of the lemon. I cooked the pears until they were soft. Then I added the preserving sugar and brought to the boil until the mixture reached setting point. I am now waiting for the verdict from the family.

I think that next time I may add a little powdered ginger when cooking the pears.

 

Conference Pears

I have completed harvesting the pears from the garden this morning. This tree had no fruit at all last year but this season has been great with lovely blossom in the spring and loads of fruit.

I understand that these pears keep well but I shall be having a look at how I can use them in cooking as there are so many.

Damson Merryweather

The Minarette Damson tree that I bought from Ken Muir has done us proud this year. It was beautiful in the Spring when it was smothered with blossom and I have picked five pounds of fruit this week. We love Damsons and quite a few have been eaten already. I have made four jars of jam today.

Cherries

We have two cherry trees in the back garden. One cost over twenty pounds from Frank Muir and is called Sweetheart. The other cost three ninety nine from Lidl and is a variety calles Stella. They have both blossomed beautifully this year and because we had next to no frost have fruited well too.  The Stella fruit seemed ready in early July and because it was attracting a lot of interest from the local Blackbirds I took off the fruit when it looked ripe. The fruit was very tasty but I now find that harvesting should have been late July. The Sweetheart tree fruit has looked red and ripe for a while but on doing a bit of investigating on the internet I see that the fruit ripens late August and is very dark. I have already taken some fruit off but the taste didnt seem right. Now I know why. I hope that I shall remember this next year but who knows.

RIP – Ken Muir has died this month aged 85. Our condolences to his friends and family.

Plum Jam

This morning I made three jars of jam from some of the fruit collected from my Victoria Plum Tree bought from Lidl. They are really tasty straight from the tree but lovely made into jam so that we can have the taste right through the winter too.

I usually cook large stoned fruit quite well in a little water and lemon juice then when the stones are floating on the top I put the whole lot through a seive and combine it with a little preserving sugar. There is pectin in the stones so no need to add more. Stir the fruit pulp and the sugar until the sugar is melted in then turn on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Keep stirring until the setting point is reached, not long with plums, and then pour into your jars using a funnel.

 

Orpington Bantams

I have decided to sell my chickens so that I can be available to spend more time with Adam. My son Sean and his partner Deb are taking the eglu and four of the smaller chickens to live in their garden. I have advertised the three Orpington Bantams for sale and will be advertising the others soon.

Motor Neurone Disease

Did you know that this week is MND National Awareness week. Well my family has certainly been made aware as my youngest son, Adam, has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

http://www.mndassociation.org/news_and_events/our_news/mnd_awareness_week_1.html

He and the whole family have gone through a state of shock and grief that has hit us all like a jugernaut. After the first round of gp, consultant, hospital, specialists and awful tests we are now trying to come to terms with the diagnosis and what it will mean. On 31st May we had a family visit from a lovely MND Nurse, Heidi, but since then we have had no contact from any of the care team and remain in a state of limbo.

Adam is bravely continuing to carry on as normal and has made a special effort to take his six year old daughter on days out, seaside holidays and this weekend he, his girlfriend and his daughter are travelling to Cyprus for a week in the sun to make some special memories .

If my weblog has been a bit sparse on the gardening front recently it is because we have all been totally preoccupied with this current situation and my positive and optimistic view on life has taken a bit of a battering.

Windy Sunday Morning

We had a good couple of hours at the plot today. All the tomatoes are now in place in the lean to. The courgette plants are in their bed. Rob earthed up the potatoes which had put on a lot of growth following the torrential rain yesterday. We also topped up the potato bags.

We came home with a cabbage, some spring onions and a bunch of raddish.

Saxifraga White Pixie

Today I planted two white Saxifrage at the back of the pond. They are alongside the purple Aubretia and should spread well and help to hold back to soil to keep the pond water clean.

Hybrid Saxifrage – The fine bright green leaves of White Pixie saxifrage are complemented  in mid  spring with white flowers on wiry stems. A tight, clump-forming, usually evergreen perennial, this hybrid resembles a sedum when not in flower. The clumps of foliage are a collection of tight rosettes of flat sprays of leaves. Will grow in partial sun in a moist, well-drained, gritty soil. If given full sun, moisture must be constant. Cut off spent flower stems and divide the clumps before summer heat arrives.

After weeks of dry weather the rain came with a vengance last night accompanied by thunder and lightening. It is still raining steadily today but a nice fine rain that is ok to work in.

I have put the flower seedlings into their final bed now and they look happy and will bed in nicely if this fine rain continues. They are Nasturtium, Lupin and Campion. I have also filled an oblong planter with Nasturtium and placed it alongside the rose bed. They will attract Hover Flies which in turn should keep my roses free from green fly.

I have potted on the biggest of the tomatoes now. Four are in place at the allotment in the lean to and the other six are at home in the garden.

Today I have sown nine Butternut Squash seeds saved from last year. They look a bit feeble though so if they don’t show through I shall have to buy some fresh seeds. The two courgette plants seem to be doing well and I have put them outside to harden off a bit.

The four Cucumber plants are still on the window ledge and look very frail. They are the long white bought last year from T&M. I don’t hold out much hope for them.

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