Friday, 15 October 2021

Sneak preview

 


The installation is finished!  Now I just need to decide on paint or wallpaper for above the tiles and flooring.  I'm leaning towards a yellow colour and have ordered samples of wallpaper and tester pots of paint.  


I rather like Daisy as it has yellow but on a white background.  All from Wallpaper Direct if you fancy a nosey.  I'm still undecided about the flooring.  Laminate or lino? πŸ€”

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Finally!

 


Finally, it got started today!  And they're working pretty quickly.  They had all the old stuff ripped out by lunchtime and some of the tiling started.


I decided not to replace the bath as it's a fabulous deep cast iron tub.  It may be original to the house (1967) or from the 70s.  It's actually in very good condition.  We've replaced the taps and plughole so they're modern.  The installer suggested re using some of the panelling taken from the sink cupboard to finish off the bath panel.  Fab bit of recycling!  All I'll need to do is sand and re paint. 

I chose white subway tiles, to keep it classic and to make it easy to sell if I have to at some point.  Don't want to put buyers off with my quote "wacky colour schemes." πŸ™„πŸ˜‚


The shower enclosure has been taken back to the bare bricks.  I'm assuming they're putting in a protective waterproof layer of something before adding the splashwall.  Can you guess what colour I chose???


Not a great photo of the colour but I hope you can see it's shocking pink! 😎

Monday, 11 October 2021

Dog, seeds and woodchip

 


I had an overnight doggy visitor at the weekend.  This is Molly, she's adorable and only a year old.  She happens to belong to my ex husband and his wife.  Long time blog readers will know how I feel about them (short version is I wish them no harm but I don't have to like them) but he's my children's father so I make an effort.  They'd been let down by their dog sitter and no one else they trusted was available at short notice.  So I said I'd have her.  They know how much I love dogs and have years of experience of owning labs.  They were suitably grateful and I gained some Brownie points.  Family harmony and all that!!


I ordered some some wee brown envelopes to store my saved seeds.  I finally got round to packing and labelling them.  It somehow made me feel like an organised gardener! 😁 


My bathroom installation was due to start today.  But it didn't πŸ™„ Fingers crossed it goes ahead later this week as promised.  My lovely mum came to help finish stripping off the woodchip wallpaper with 3 layers of paint (pink, yellow and lilac).  It was a terrible job.  I always knew it would be but kept avoiding it.  The walls under it are in remarkably decent condition so I'm thinking after a quick sand and filling some holes I can just paint it.

I have to keep telling myself that all this kitchen and bathroom chaos will be worth it!!

Saturday, 2 October 2021

No heat

 


I chopped up the chillies I harvested last week, ready to pickle.  It took aaaages!!  But sadly when I taste tested them, they had no heat.  Not spicy at all!!  Not even the red ones! 🌢 They tasted more like bell peppers than chilli peppers.  Nice but not what I expected!


I went ahead and pickled them any way with a simple vinegar/sugar/salt mixture.  I'm sure they'll be tasty with some Tex Mex style food even without the heat.  Nothing goes to waste in this house!

There's also no heat in the weather as it's turned very autumnal this week.  I'm back to wearing boots and woolly cardigans to work.  We've not been out as much in our P1 garden as it's been very wet and windy.  Luckily we have just 1 week left of school then it's our October break.

My new bathroom gets installed then! πŸ›πŸš½πŸšΏ

Monday, 27 September 2021

Veggie pie

 


Today on the plot I harvested some more Cara potatoes, my first sweetcorn of the season and yet more chillies!  Luckily the weather was better this morning than it's been the rest of today.  It was a short visit as there was a rugby match due to start and I just managed to get out before the crowd arrived.  A few of my fellow plot holders later said the road into the allotment site was completely blocked and they couldn't get out!

I boiled the potatoes and made a huge pot of mash.  I blanched the sweetcorn and had it in the freezer within an hour of picking.  It was so sweet and delicious!


I sautΓ©ed a mixture of home grown veg lurking in the fridge and some frozen stuff to create a sort of pie filling.  I added some soya cream and nutritional yeast to create a creamy sauce.


I topped it with some of the mashed potatoes and made a veggie pie.  Very simple but very delicious!!  That's lunch and dinners for the next few days sorted! πŸ˜‹

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Is it worth it?

 


When I think of the time and effort that I put into growing 'stuff' I find myself asking at the end of the season 'Is it worth it?'


I planted my tomato and chilli seeds on the 23rd of March, that's 6 months ago!  I nurtured them in my new heated propagator and then potted them on when they grew big enough.


I gave some to friends and planted the strongest ones in my polytunnel.  Then I fractured my ankle and needed my son to check them regularly so they didn't die in my absence.


Luckily they survived and I spent my whole summer holiday nurturing them as they were the only things that survived the neglect and the wet months of May and June.

There are still a few tomatoes ripening on the windowsill but so far I've processed enough in various ways to fill 11 of these containers and freeze them.  Each one is equivalent to a can of tomatoes currently costing 28p in my supermarket.  But surely they taste better for being home grown and organic?  Honestly, there's no difference in taste once it's made into a sauce!

But those 6 months gave me a reason for going to my favourite place even when the weather was awful.  Even when I didn't feel like leaving the house.  Maybe when I pull out a frozen tub of tomato sauce in the middle of Winter it will make me smile and start my plans for next year. πŸ…


So true!! πŸ’–

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Inevitable

 


It was inevitable.  Despite our best effects in school I've got 4 positive cases in my class and at least 2 in the other P1 class.  Poor wee souls!

I've not been tracked and traced/pinged as a close contact as teachers aren't counted (don't get me started!) but I've had a letter saying I'm a 'short low key' risk.  Whatever that means!!!!  I also got a letter from the National Clinical Director for the Scottish government informing me how low risk schools are and that "IT" can't be transmitted by children. 

It's all nonsense to avoid those working in schools self isolating if they've been in close contact.  I mean you can't get much closer contact than 4 and 5 year olds hugging you, holding your hand, needing first aid etc etc for 6 hours a day.

I wear a mask. I sanitise my hands a million times a day. I clean everything in my class many times a day.  I test myself daily.  I'm fully vaccinated for "IT" plus I got my annual flu jab recently.  I'm keeping myself as healthy as I can.

I hope it's enough πŸ™

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Preserving the harvest

 


The cherry tomatoes took 16 hours in my dehydrator.  I'm in a dehydrating group on FB and was worried about over doing them.  Apparently that's pretty impossible!! They are very crispy!  I had 4 trays like this.

On a completely different note, did you know that you can dehydrate muffins to make biscotti?? Totally trying that!!!


That's a large pasta bowl pretty full!


They filled a 1lb jar with olive oil.  I had some left over so put some in a wee jar with herbs and dried minced garlic.  If they're horrible at least I won't have spoiled the whole batch.  Jars are in fridge now.  I'll report back on the taste in a few weeks.


 I also pickled the nasturtium seeds.  That wide mouthed jar holds about 1 and 1/2 cups of the seeds.  They're brilliant scattered over veg or salad for a salty/vinegary tang! πŸ˜‹

I'm currently researching what to do with all my green chillies.  Some may turn red but looks like I've got a glut of green de Cayennes.  Any ideas?

Monday, 20 September 2021

Tomatoes and chillies

 


Thanks for all the lovely comments on my last post.  I feel better knowing that I'm not just being picky! Polite complaining emails have been sent! πŸ˜‰  I took myself off to the allotment knowing that whatever I found (overgrown with weeds!!!) I had to get the tomatoes in.  I think a few were looking a bit 'blight-y' and some had blossom end rot so I picked them all.  Red ones, green ones and some in between ones!  I pulled out all the tomato plants and sorted the rotten ones. They're piled up in my wheelbarrow for now.  Just chillies, calendula and nasturtiums left in the polytunnel now.



I picked some more nasturtium seeds for pickling (the wee box.)  My third batch!! I love them πŸ˜‹  I'm saving some seeds to dry and use next year.  The above riot of plants is from just 10 seeds!


I picked off all the chillies from 4 of my plants.  I got 122 chillies (only 4 of them were red) but they're now on my south facing bedroom windowsill.  I hope a few more will turn red!  The ones beside the teaspoon (for size reference!) are from my garden.  The polytunnel ones have an outstanding yield!! I'm hoping to make my own hot sauce πŸ˜‹


I roasted the ripe Roma tomatoes in my new oven.  I'm just going to freeze them for convenience but I also had a load of the wee cherry type ones, Black Russian.  Too many to just eat.


So they're dehydrating nicely to make sun dried tomatoes. I'll put them in a jar with olive oil when they're done πŸ˜‹

I feel better for going to the plot and also getting some produce put away for Winter use.  My sweetcorn is nearly ready so hopefully the next visit will yield some cobs for the freezer.  I still have potatoes and onions in the ground, they'll need to be sorted out soon.


When I was leaving I noticed that the thornless bramble (blackberry) I planted earlier this year has produced some berries!  I do love an edible hedge.  It will be more prolific next year and I should be able to make some bramble jelly! πŸ˜‹  As a kid my Gran dragged us everywhere with bags to go brambling in Autumn.  She made the best jams, jellies and chutney!  Happy memories πŸ’–

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Is it me?

 


Is it me?  Are my standards too high?  They've missed a bit!


Shouldn't plasterwork be smooth?


Should the edges of shelves be free from chips?

I've got 4 damaged doors that are being replaced (apparently damaged in transit and already logged by my installer) but I have dodgy plaster work, screws not flush with walls and some inside shelves with dents and marks.

Surely the corners of the upstand should be mitred and not just stuck together?


Am I being too picky?  I've paid a lot of money to a well known national company for a kitchen that I want to last for a very long time and I'm not happy with the finish.

I know I've still got to do a few things myself to finish it but I confess to being a wee disappointed with the quality of a so called professional finish.


Monday, 13 September 2021

Work begins!

 


I spent all flipping weekend removing these tiles from my kitchen floor.


It was a horrible job.


All to save some money instead of getting the kitchen installers to do it.  Never again!! I'll just pay the £60 per square metre fee.

The kitchen was delivered on Saturday into my garage and the installers began work today.  The old kitchen above is gone!  I'm very excited even though we're living in utter chaos! 

Saturday, 4 September 2021

You say tomato...

 


Finally the tomatoes are ripening!  I was beginning to think I'd have pounds and pounds of green tomatoes to pick!  Our days are shortening and the temperatures are dropping so keeping all the tomatoes on the vine to ripen is looking less likely.  I added a few over ripe bananas to the base of the plants and finally they're going red!  These ones are Roma VF for making sauce.  They're very firm and heavy.  Apparently they have a low water content so making it perfect to process into sauces.


These are Moneymaker (bit bland) and Black Russian (lovely).  I'm just eating these in salads as they ripen.


I picked the last of the blueberries this week and a few figs from the back garden.  They're very yummy!  I've still got lettuce growing too.  Now we're into September it feels like the growing season is nearing an end.  I've still to harvest my Arran Victory and Cara potatoes from the plot.  I have 10 sweetcorn husks almost ready.  There are 8 pots of de Cayenne chillies in the polytunnel, all still very green.  I might need to pick them and try to redden them at home.  My onions are small but need to be lifted soon.

It's not been the most productive year for edibles I've ever had but then it's not been a normal year for me.  My home garden has more flowers than ever so I'm taking that as a positive. 🌸🌺

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

It's not going away...

 


Unfortunately this Covid virus is just not going away.  One week back at school and we have several positive cases among children across two year groups.  My sister tested positive at the weekend and even though she's double jabbed she's rather poorly.

Please keep taking care of yourselves everyone πŸ’—

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Hectic!

 


As expected going back to school on Monday has consumed my whole week which can only be described as hectic!! My classroom was ready for the kids on Wednesday only because I hid boxes of unsorted resources under my desk!  I'll get to them soon.

I have 19 wee 4 and 5yos in my care who are keeping me on my toes, literally.  My feet (and ankle especially) ache at the end of the day.  I've slept soundly through the night every night this week!  It's a steep learning curve for me being back in Primary 1.

I did make myself go to the plot one night to water the polytunnel and found 1 red tomato!  I have masses of green tomatoes so fingers crossed we have some heat to turn them red too.  And to be honest that tomato (Moneymaker) tasted rather ordinary.  Hey ho!

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Bit of a clear out!

 


I know I had all Summer to do it but I started a massive clear out last week (I forgot to take a before photo, trust me it was bulging!)  I finally got rid of all the 'action' gear I had accumulated over the past 10 years.  Motorbike outfit, ski clothes, cycling stuff, wetsuit, plus all the equipment for activities I did with my ex partner and have zero plans to do any of them again on my own!!  Look at that empty cupboard ready to paint a rich plum colour πŸ˜‰

It means I now have easier access to the storage area in the eaves.  I can finally put the Christmas decorations away properly! πŸŽ„


I found my beloved Fly boots with the burst zip.  I didn't throw them out last Winter as I desperately hoped they could be fixed.  I think they're at least 4 or 5 years old.  They are so comfy to wear all day to school.  I looked up how to fix a broken zip and watched a few YouTube tutorials.  As you can see I managed to to zip them up! No idea if the zip will hold but I'm willing to try as I really love these boots!


I kept on going and cleared out the red wardrobe in my bedroom.  I also cleared out all my drawers and even sorted out my jewellery.  My bedroom is a calm and well ordered space again.  Just what I need for the coming week.


I'm back at work tomorrow 😭 Two days of Staff Development first before the kids come back on Wednesday.  I popped down to the allotment to dig up some potatoes and check on my tomatoes as I'll not get down again until mid week.  These are Charlottes.  They always fall to bits no matter how carefully I cook them.  They still taste fab though!

Sunday, 8 August 2021

What's up, honey?

 


I went to get something from my storecupboard this morning and found a whole shelf was covered in sticky stuff.  At first I thought I'd knocked over an opened jar of honey and it had leaked.  But I quickly discovered that it was my unopened jars leaking.  I wondered if the recent high temperatures had made the honey expand in some way but a quick google revealed that my honey had started to ferment!!😲

I had to search a few beekeeping sites for information.  I knew the beekeeper that produced the honey was a very experienced guy so the processing wasn't an issue.  Was it the prolonged hot spell??  A quick taste showed it hadn't fermented too much so I decided to use it up by making some elderberry syrup.  I'd been planning to do it soon any way.  Recipe HERE

And I started a batch of Fire Cider too.  Instructions HERE from an old forum friend.  I was really pleased to be able to use my own home grown garlic, rosemary and thyme 😊


From past experience I know the syrup helps soothe my throat in Winter (occupational hazard when you talk all day for a living!) and the Fire Cider helps fight off the nasty cold bugs.  When we returned to school last year, a yucky cold bug swept the school as everyone's immune system was weak.

I'm just trying to plan ahead!!

Saturday, 7 August 2021

Plot update

 


In between the heavy rain I managed to pop down to the plot and did a wee update 😊

Friday, 6 August 2021

Rain!

 


This Summer has been a mix of extreme heat and extreme rain!  We've had yellow and amber flood warnings a few times.  This afternoon was especially wet!!

So when I can't get outside to potter I stay inside and potter in the kitchen.


I played around with an old family favourite dish we call Irene's Chicken Dish.  I think it's actually called Chicken Royale, maybe someone will know.  I believe it's a recipe that was on the side of a can of Campbell's condensed soup.  Cooked chicken mixed with the soup, mayonnaise, curry powder and broccoli.  Then topped with breadcrumbs and cheese.  I swapped the chicken for halloumi and made it vegetarian by using celery soup.  I didn't have any GF breadcrumbs so used some of my rice crispies from my AF haul a few weeks ago.  It was delicious! 

I also made waffles and pancakes to put in the freezer.  I had to test some first of course! πŸ˜‹


Blueberries from the garden! 

I popped into school earlier this week just to see what my new room was like as I was getting a new Smart Board installed.  I wish I hadn't.  They'd knocked down a wall and cupboard and replastered the wall (we didn't know they'd do that!)  They didn't move or cover any of the furniture or resources (or tell us we'd need to!!)  Everything was covered in dust and rubble.  


Since I'm back in P1 (Kindergarten/Reception) it's all play based learning so every single toy, game, resource and piece of furniture was like this πŸ˜– It took me and my Headteacher (bless her) 2 full days to clean and wash everything (our brilliant cleaning staff aren't allowed to clean resources). We had to put loads of things through the dishwasher or dunk them in buckets of soapy hot water to get them clean.  We've still to shampoo the rugs but it looks like this now.


Now the cleaners can come in and finish it off ready for me to set up next week.  I can't believe I've only got 1 week left!  I officially start back on the 16th and the kids are back on the 18th.  It feels like it's been a quick summer holiday this year!