Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...

27/02/2021

Land of the Big Sky

Tuesday saw the passing of a fellow blogger, someone I got to know through art and then over the last three years we chatted, and shared artistic ideas and our love of the sea.

Jill - I shall miss you, I shall miss your daily visits to the prom, the gull gang, the dogs going for their walks. I shall miss your dry sense of humour - Jill - The Land of the Big Sky, I shall miss you.




25/02/2021

Delicious link up party!

Picture from Pixabay

Welcome to February's final link up party

'Delicious'

Just follow the easy link up instructions ☺️

and don't forget to link back to my blog xx

❤️ 


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Delicious (52 New Recipes)

As part of my 52 new recipes challenge, Cheesy pasta bake has become a firm favourite - it has been so popular at home that I have made a few times.

Photo from website

I only just realised that I'd not posted about it when I went to find the recipe on my recipe page and it was not there! So - to remedy that, I thought I would use it for 'Delicious'.

No photos I am afraid - scoffed too quickly and who wants to see a picture of a pile of used plates soaking in the sink ๐Ÿ˜

So - here are the details, as ever I made a couple of changes. The recipe says to layer breadcrumbs at the bottom of the baking dish - I did this initially and found that they absorbed all the sauce then stuck to the dish. So now I just put crumbs or small cubes of bread and grated cheese as the final layer before putting into the oven. Delicious!

Will I do it again?  Oh yes, have done already and Youngest and GF have a copy of the recipe and have made it successfully too.

Any alterations? Only the breadcrumbs and the addition of slices of bell pepper and mushrooms.

Link? Cheesy Pasta Bake

23/02/2021

Random notes on a Tuesday

I'm off to work in a bit - the gardens I worked in last year have woken up and coincidently two owners contacted me over the weekend to kickstart the spring tidy.  This week is going to be busy.
The sunrise this morning was glorious - an eyewatering peach and pink confectionary but by the time I'd picked up and switched on my cell phone to take a photo, the colours had softened from psychedelic to harmonious. Then it was gone - all just in a few moments.
I was drinking a coffee, let it go cool, gently warmed it the microwave and now have 'lost it' somewhere in the house. I have been pottering around getting ready for work and have abandoned it along the way - I must find it - excuse me a mo...
... Found it, Moss is watching me like a hawk. She's noticed I have my work trousers on and is quietly not letting me out of her sight. She will be disappointed for the first garden as it is definitely a 'No Dogs' garden. The owner tolerates them but her garden is far too ornamental and landscaped for a giddy galumph like Moss. This afternoon's garden is another matter - a large wild and windy moorland expanse with a dog-loving owner who requests that I bring my furry side-kick. Then those two play while I work - what a dog's life!
 
Yesterday Himself and I tackled a rather large and not much liked hedge we have between a neighbour and ourselves. It is a leylandii monstrosity and belongs to next door. Unfortunately we are on the shaded side๐Ÿ™„ For the last year our neighbour has promised to reduce it's height - we do happily get on with our neighbours however we do know that what he says he'll do and what he actually does is often two different things. Any hoo about a fortnight ago we could hear chainsaw noises and on investigation, found him up a ladder sweating and swearing at both the hedge and the machinery ..... Yesterday Himself and I got out our ladders, long loppers, extended saws and bow saws finished what he started. The light now coming into the garden and in particular the greenhouse is wonderful - I often think mean and murderous thoughts about that hedge. Then I see the amount of birds using it and step back.
Lockdown restrictions seem to be shifting, in slow calculated stages instead of the previously headless 'eat-out-to-help-out' type free for all - hopefully this time things settle down and even out - fingers crossed.
Our garden and on our walks there is a definite shift towards spring - snowdrops and crocus are appearing quietly without any fuss - but they do so gladden my heart and make it sing.
Youngest and I walked out last week - after a week of intermittent internet culminating in a complete loss - stressing him out as he was missing online lectures and seminars. I made him get out and get some fresh air - it helped. These photos are from that walk.



Life is quietly pottering on and apart from a few hiccups which we have dealt with, life goes on, we are who we are. We make the best of what we have and we what we have is enough. That is all I can ask for ๐Ÿ’š

I wish you a gentle week, may it be 'enough' for you too xxx




18/02/2021

Link up party - unexpected


image courtesy of pixabay

Welcome to February's third link up party 

'Unexpected'

Just follow the easy link up instructions ☺️

and don't forget to link back to my blog xx

❤️ 

I am having internet problems and am waiting on a new router - so apologies if I do not visit your blog and comment - I will as soon as I can get back on line :) I am posting this early while I can !

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Unexpected


A load of ash logs - an unexpected gift of much needed fire wood. The kindness of others never fails to touch me. All we need now is to split them into woodburner sized pieces and we are good to go!  

Sadly the tree was a victim of ash die back and had become rotten in the centre - it must have been quite a size as some of the lumps of wood took two of us to lift into the wheelbarrow.

This pile in the photo is about half, we'd already moved and stacked a similar amount when I suddenly thought of this week's prompt and decided that this unexpected delivery of logs would fit the bill perfectly!

Have a lovely Friday xxx

15/02/2021

52 New Recipes update and a bit of a grumble

What a difference a day makes! 
The weather today was bordering on gently spring like compared to the mini ice-age we have been 'enjoying' this last week. I am sooooo ready for warmer days.

Yesterday, I made a chocolaty-fudge-style cake for Himself - a treat for valentine's day ... 
Will I make it again? : No, nope, nada. 
What went wrong? :    I have made versions of this style of cake many times with great success, but in the spirit of trying new recipes gave this one a go. What a disappointment. It took longer to cook than the recommended baking time then after I had removed it from the oven and allowed it to cool, it collapsed in the centre and behaved a bit like a souffle.  If was ok (ish) when it was still warm, more of a chocolate pudding than a cake. When cold it was rather chewy and rubbery and not fudge-like at all. A damning indictment for a cake. A quick reheating in the microwave made it palatable and if I am honest drowning it in a toffee sauce or a custard might help ... but what a disappointment indeed.


Tonight I made Leek and Onion Pie - ooh happy taste buds! As usual, I changed it slightly - pre-sautรฉing the leeks in a little butter to soften them before adding them to the already par-cooked potatoes and  sprinkling on top a layer of cheesy breadcrumbs to give a lovely savoury crunch. The only downside - it is a light coloured meal and I served with with steamed vegetables and the whole look was 'pale' even though it was very tasty.

Will I make it again? : Most definitely. 
Any further alterations? : probably swap the cream out for milk to make it less calorific and serve with dry roast veg ie sweet potato, broccoli etc. 

I felt to have redeemed myself with tonight's meal after yesterday's cake disaster! But hey - live and learn ... live and learn ๐Ÿ˜ I suppose there is always an element of a 'risk' when trying new recipes with the failures hopefully being outweighed by the successes - so I shall continue with my experiments and reporting them here๐Ÿ˜€ 

And if I can post this I shall be doing the happy dance, we have been having problems with our internet every evening this last week and now we seem to have no service, I dare not shut down the laptop as it will completely wipe all the stuff I have typed. 

Modern technology - grrrrrrrr.

13/02/2021

Waterfall

 

We have, at the top of the valley below our moorland hill, a waterfall. A local but hidden secret.  

It is a place we have visited over the years in all seasons and all weathers but never one as icy as this.
We'd seen icy photos shared on our local village facebook page and Himself decided he'd like to go and see for himself. So armed with a camera and several layers of clothing, that's exactly what we did!

Moss of course thought this was an excellent adventure and could not wait to run on ahead. She was most put out when we had to put her on a lead when we discovered the sheep had come off the hills to shelter in the narrow valley.  


It was slippery underfoot but it was so worth the walk out - there were so many beautiful icicles and the stream had ice swirls and floes all along it. 

In places the ice sheets were broken showing the stream running beneath - the burble of the water was joyous and was the only sound, other than our feet crunching through ice and snow, were our voices as quietly we explored.




We did not hang around for long - the bitter wind was sharp and cut right through our coats. 

At home, in front of the fire, fingers wrapped around mugs of tea we chatted about the bitterly cold and brittle beauty of today's walk.

11/02/2021

Link up - starts with a W

 



Welcome to February's second link up party 

'Starts with a ... W'

Just follow the easy link up instructions ☺️

and don't forget to link back to my blog xx

❤️ 


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Starts with a W

 Work starts with a W....

I thought I would share a few moments from work

like this moment from Thursday, 
when after working in the glasshouse all day,
it finally looked tidy.
Or that moment when the boss brings out a chocolate and mint bun
and a mug of tea for me :)
Then there is that moment when the glasshouse
was completely covering in the most beautiful filigree ice
Not a bad view from the office is it?
I get to meet new folk - at the prescribed safe distance with masks
That lovely moment when you see bulbs flowering
...and that precious little moment when a ladybird is woken up
by the sunshine streaming through the glasshouse windows...
Despite the chilly weather recently,
spring does feel like it is on the way.



09/02/2021

One stitch at a time

Yesterday, for the first time in quite a few days, the sky was not filled with high flying dense grey cloud. Precious patches of blue moved and evolved into expanding shapes as they were squeezed and surrounded by mounds of grey and white. To our far right and behind us, the horizon was curtained by dense snow showers, hiding hills and removing views. Fortunately we were in a narrow corridor of clear weather which lasted for an hour or two. 

So we made the most of it and walked.

The air was so cutting that it tore at bare skin. My face burned with the cold - despite wearing two hats and a hood, a scarf and shawl under my coat. We were all wrapped in several layers, making walking less fluid, more 'stumpy' as joints did not bend easily and turning your head meant turning your whole body.

And Moss? she ran around with a silly grin, charging through ice puddles and leaping into the river ... That dog has no sense! 

After about three miles we knew we would be running out of clear weather and returned home, which felt warm and calm after the brittle buffeting wind we'd walked through. So after stripping off the multiple layers and putting the kettle on, I resorted to some slow sewing by the fire.

A small chameleon clinging to the stitching on my work trousers, he will soon be surrounded by leaves (thank you lovely lady for the suggestion) and have a gecko or two for company.  

Any hoo - today is another bitterly cold day - we awoke to -4°C with yesterday's snow now frozen to dagger sharp shards. I think there will be more chameleon slow sowing - I'd like to finish him today, do a bit of baking (fruit cake and chocolate brownies) and catching up with emails and blogs. 

And if Moss 'plays her cards right' she will have a 'shampoo and set' - poor thing, of all the watery things she loves - bathing is most definitely NOT one of them๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ•

Have a gentle and kind Tuesday xxxx

07/02/2021

So, it's a soggy Sunday -what are you going to do about it?

First thing:

Sunday - my day off. So why did the cat tell me that it was time to get up at 'what-time-do-you-call-this' o'clock?

Peering through half closed eyes I could see a concerned furry face almost pressed up to mine with her paw gently tapping my cheek as she quietly chirruped to me. Grumbling I buried myself deeper under the duvet which Pepper took as confirmation I was awake and she could now converse in her more normal chatty decibels. Then stood on my head.....

Giving up I tried to focus through the early morning gloom at the clock radio. 7.55am. So not that early however, the light coming through the curtains was grey and dull. 

Then I heard the wind.

 Ah yes, Storm Darcy. *yay*. Another wet and windy day. I swear I am going to rust soon.


Now:

Soup is cheerfully bubbling away in the pan, the house is filling with a rather warming fragrance of cooking butternut, sweet potato and onions. The temperature gauge says it has warmed up to 2°C and there are dusty flakes of snow tossed around on the sharp breeze. It could be said it is a little chilly today...

I shall leave you with a photo from yesterday, Moss was quite damp from the rain and sleet and I made her stay in the heated greenhouse - yes I had to MAKE her stay, she wanted to play out - I just wanted us to warm up and dry out! 

Yawn ... working in the greenhouse is so-ooo boring!



04/02/2021

A lovely memory

Walking to Waternish (pronounced Vatta nish) on the Isle of Skye. Where the sea and the sky merge into a single blue. The air is clear and fresh and you feel like you could hug the sky.

Where minky whales slowly crest and dive along the coast as you walk - making your heart sing and your eyes eat the view, pulling in every drop of the vista to keep it safe and keep it for ever in your head and in your heart.

Where the earthy scent of sweaty bracken swirl and twist with the crusty smell of the salty air. Mouthwatering.

A memory which is part of me, threaded through my very bones - one so special that my heart aches when I think on it. 

I miss this. I miss being able to go back to places I love and find places yet to love. I will return, one day, I will return xxxx

Link up - a lovely memory

 

image from pixabay

Welcome to February's first link up party

'A lovely memory'

Just follow the easy link up instructions ☺️

and don't forget to link back to my blog xx

❤️ 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

03/02/2021

Wednesday wafflings

 Wow - what a difference a day makes.

Yesterday morning we were up before the sun and were surprised by this .... 


Some one ๐Ÿพwas delighted of course and we had to go out several times during the morning to check it was still there. Several zoomies ensured whilst more snow fell. On the road through the village it was gentle chaos with cars sliding backwards quite gracefully past our house. Himself managed to get to work but messaged me to say that a bus had slid sideways and had blocked the road and there had been a gentle sprinkling of abandoned cars at silly angles all along the way.  

This snow and the following heavy rain meant an indoors day (good I thought - think of all those chores which need doing and often get blatantly ignored...) So I sewed instead!

My work trousers, although retailed as 'women's workwear', still needed altering. Despite the added elasticated waist band either on the hips or at the back I still have to take the waist in. One set, as a token nod to 'female' clothing was covered in the brightest pink labels - they were the first to be removed! Gah - I can feel' my hackles rising as I type this. Why - WHY do they add pink labels to prove that these are indeed for women FFS.

And breathe.

Any hoo, where was I? Oh yes, trousers. I then had to take the hems up, although I ordered three pairs, one navy and two black and despite all being the same, two of them needed moderate shortening and one was so long I actually had to cut off a huge chunk before I could turn them up? (so, pink labels AND shoddy work)...

Then, as a nod to my inner artistic streak and to my non-conformist dress sense - I started to embellish the left leg in a sketchy Sashiko style stitch - you know, just because.


Now : today is grey, damp and cold.

Any hoo - I still need to complete the up-scaled drawing of the walled kitchen garden - I've laid it out on a large drywipe board. The hard landscaping is in permanent ink and the instructions will be in drywipe. There wasn't a very good crop rotation put into place with nearly every bed having nearly every variety of vegetable planted in it.  


I still need to add the orchard and add all the pruning and rotational planting details then it will go back to work. It certainly has kept me quiet for a couple of days!  All that remains is for me to try and squeeze it back into my car, when I brought it home there was only me as Moss was at home. It is going to be a tight fit!

Bit later ...

Moss and I have just returned from a dripping and sodden garden. I popped into my glasshouse and am quietly pleased to see things have survived and indeed thrived and I suspect as soon as the weather warms, they will romp on. Right - enough waffling, that garden plan won't draw itself and that mug of tea is going cold - have a good Wednesday and see you all on Friday!

xx

01/02/2021

Gentle joy and ginger flapjacks

Today, in stark contrast to the last few days, was beautiful. Although still bitterly cold, the sun shone, the sky was blue, the mud was crisp and easy to walk on and when sheltering out of the cutting breeze - a delight to be out. We, Himself, Youngest and I plus a deliriously happy Moss, walked up and over into the moors behind the village and down into the neighbouring valley.
Sheltering between huge mill stone grit boulders, we drank tea and chatted whilst Moss snuffled and sniffled around following invisible stories and trails that only her nose could 'see'. 

En route, whilst we walked along 'Hare Lane' an ancient drovers track filled with rushes and hare tracks, I picked a few rush stalks and folded them into a Brigid's cross. Today, the 1st of February, is both Brigid's day and Imbolc. Both marking the coming of spring, so it seemed appropriate to craft a small token to acknowledge and celebrate.

Our path took us through a lovely woodland where bulbs were just beginning to break through the cold earth and past heavily pregnant ewes. But the best of all? Seeing the return of the lapwings from their wintering grounds. A flock of 20 - 30 birds whirled and twirled overhead and landed in a field near us. Spring is coming and that makes me so glad and fills me with such a positivity.

When, after our walk, we'd returned home I had such a strong urge to bake so apart from the weekly fruit cake, I made these ....

Ginger Flapjacks

The house smelt absolutely devine with the spicy fragrance of ginger. I added lemon juice to the topping and even more ginger to the oaty mix, because ... a) I can and ... b) I wanted to make it less sweet and more sharp.

Would I make them again? 

No,  far far far too sweet for us. I will make the flapjacks again, with the added ginger but instead of the ultra sweet fudgy topping I will make a simple lemon drizzle type icing and lightly zigzag it over the cold flapjacks.

If you have a sweet tooth and love ginger - these could be the perfect thing with a mug of tea. But for us, tooth curlingly sweet, I'll be cutting each square in half again and then they will probably be more manageable. 


Have you baked anything recently?
Good or bad - go on spill the beans (baking or otherwise!!)

And - here is to spring and the gentle joy and hope she brings, a season of promise and potential, stay safe❤

#52newrecipes

52 new recipes