Friday 25 March 2011

Stuart's choice

Stuart’s choice: “Go placidly”

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.
Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann c.1920

Night, night, sleep tight. See you Stu.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Eat and Drink

Had walkies, now food!

My drink of choice is hot water with a slice of squeezed lemon.

Quick and easy granny phone cosy!

I made a little cover for my new to me mobile so I can 'tie it round my neck so I don't lose it'. My other phone dropped out of my jacket pocket as I was folding the jacket up to put in the back of the car. Then I turned the car round and promptly ran over the phone - whoops!

It should have every colour of the rainbow on it.

Start of the vegetable growing year

Here's what we've done so far. Dad planted the seeds. We've got calabrese ....

and broccoli.

This land cress was planted last year in one of the troughs that dad made. It's got brass (plumbing pipe) legs so the slugs can't get in. Land cress is similar to water cress but you don't need the running water to grow it - just soil.

The pea frames are up. Dad made them from old tent poles and chicken wire. I don't know where we found them - we tend to pick things up that will come in useful sometime. It could have been a car-boot, Freecycle or the tip. The other troughs are in front. They will have lettuce sown in them throughout the season. The herbs that are there in this picture I have planted down the side of the garden.

Here are parsnips left over from last year's planting. I need to make parsnip soup or parsnip chips or put them into a stir fry maybe. The young leaves behind are garlic which was planted at the beginning of the year.

Here  we are in the greenhouse again and this is the grapevine. I pruned it earlier on this year and new buds are now starting to form.

Here's the other pea frame. We grow mange-tout as it saves you podding the peas. This side of the frame is the asparagus bed. Nothing is coming up yet but Dad said he saw one just coming through. I haven't seen it yet though! The other side of the frame is planted with one row of parsnips.

Here's the other side. You can also see another planted row - beetroot.

This parsley is a left over from last year.

That's it so far I think.

Bread, bread

Stir 1 tsp sugar into about 100ml hand warm water then stir in about half a level tsp of dried yeast (about a third of a sachet). Leave to froth - about 15minutes.

Have ready a 'knob' of butter and 450ml hand warm water (1 minute from cold in the microwave).

Turn on the oven to 60 degrees C. Weigh out 1000g bread flour. I used 500g Tesco bread flour and 500g Lydl. Sometimes I use half granary or half wholemeal. Add 1tsp salt, 1tsp sugar and the 'knob' of butter (melted in the microwave).

Mix in the water. I stir most of the water and then put the bowl on the mixer using a dough hook. Either mix with the mixer for 4 minutes or knead by hand for 10 minutes.

Turn off the oven.

Cover the dough with a cloth and put in the warm oven. (The oven should be off.)

Leave for a long time.

I left it from this time ....

... to this time.

Then it looked like this. Turn the oven back on to 60 degrees. Knock it back now. (That's a baker's term!) Take it out of the bowl, bash it about a bit, divide it into 2 and form into loaves.

Turn the oven off and put the tins back in the oven.

Leave to rise a second time then take them out of the oven. Turn the oven on to 200 degrees and bake the loaves for 15 - 20 minutes. There you are - bread, bread.

You don't need to warm the oven to make the bread rise. It just speeds up the process.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Sow the seed

Yesterday we tidied up the garden and rotovated. Today we sowed leeks, parsnip and beetroot.

Friday 4 March 2011

For Peter

The Leaves fell from the Autumn trees
Dancing and weaving in the breeze
Two golden leaves entwined as one
Lay basking in the morning sun
The leaves were wafted on their way 
Through fields of gold and rocks of grey
North and South, East and West
At last they found a place to rest
So gently the leaves began to part
The breeze caused one to dance and dart
It danced away towards the sky
To be at last with our Lord on high
(Poem written by Thelma)

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Out with a friend

I seem to do a lot of walking. Today it was with a friend to Poulton to view the crocuses around the church.

Tuesday 1 March 2011


Along the seafront at St. Annes.