Tuesday, 24 June 2008

In a jam!

As I have had a really good crop of strawberries this year, I decided to have a go at making some jam. Now I have never made jam before so this was going to be an experience! So... I found a nice easy recipe..... 600grms strawberries, juice of one lemon, and 600grms sugar. How easy is that!! So, I put the strawberries and lemon juice into the saucepan and heated slowly, I was getting bored bcause it was taking ages, so I kept turning up the heat. The smell was lovely, and the colour.. well, devine... I was just about to give myself a pat on the back for being a smartypants when all of a sudden the pan erupted! There was jam getting nearer and nearer the top of the pan! Help! I called to my husband, I need a bigger pan. Where is it? he asked. In the cupboard over there, I replied. Panic over. I consulted my other cookery book and it informed me that I needed a rolling boil until setting point was reached. How will I know when that is I thought.I consulted another cookery book which told me to test the jam every couple of minutes by putting a small amount onto a cold plate, let it cool, then gently push with my finger to see if it crinkled! Its all very complicated I thought. Anyway, while I was waiting I popped outside to hang some washing out, came back in and thought I can smell burning!! Oh no! My jam! I quickly turned the heat off, and looked dubiously into the pan... Fingers crossed, I think I might have caught it just in time. It definitely has reached "setting" point, I am waiting for it to cool so that I can pour it into the jars that are in a warm oven. I wonder if Sam would like Strawberry Jam sandwiches for his lunchbox tomorrow.........It's easy when you know how....!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Still raining and NO kingfishers

Goosey and myself decided that we would go for a walk. We decided that Friday would suit us both. Friday came and off we went, making a quick stop at plot 44 on the way. We had a lovely walk, even though it started raining it couldn't dampen our spirits. It just felt great being outside in our beautiful countryside. I dont think I could ever get bored of doing this walk along the river, it is a wonderful place. Always something to see or hear......... A lovely family of swans.
The fabulous Little Egret
A Sedge Warbler singing his little heart out!

We weren't fortunate enough today to see any Kingfishers, but we know that day will come.....and really does lift my spirits and fills me with amazement to witness all this going on.

Yet if you didn't take time out from a hectic schedule to STOP and look and enjoy..........you would miss it all :( . Goosey sat for a while on a bench near the river and was lucky enough to see an otter! She was sat so quiet that he ventured out, sadly, he happened to spot her sitting there and so ventured back in again! Never mind... Goosey was thrilled that she had seen him at all.

All too soon it was time to go home to Do The School Run! I was greeted though when I got home by the view from my kitchen of these 2 rather handsome Greenfinches.

Thanks Goosey for a lovely, much needed, day out in the British countryside.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Galas and Poppies

I am worn out! We had our annual nurses gala at Forest Holme today. I was up at 7:30 icing cakes and chopping onions! I was in charge of the BBQ, luckily the weather was in our favour this year! It always fills me with a sense of .......I dont know what! Everyone pulls together to make sure the day goes well. Our volunteers are brilliant, nothing is ever too much trouble! Debs , Jan and Suzie put so much of their own time in, to make sure everything is ready and is a big success. You are all fab!

Got home and had a wander around the garden. How's this for some clever colour scheme planning! Not really, it was luck!! But don't the colours of the Acer and the poppy work well together!

When I was browsing the web the other day I stumbled across this little piece, and thought how it sums up exactly how I feel, I wish I was clever enough to have written it!!.....My garden is a place where I like to begin my day...seeing what's in bloom, feeding the fish, have my tea or coffee by the pond and catching glimpses of otherwise unseen visitors. I end my day here after work, to unwind, shake off the cares of the day and get centered again ~ back to who I am.

Perfect........... Enjoy.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Rain stopped play for a reason!

Goosey and myself had arranged a walk a few weeks back, primarily to look for kingfishers. Goosey is a great nature lover and has been for walks all over Dorset, so knew exactly where to go. I had been soo looking forward to it, unfortunately, as the day arrived, it rained and rained and rained! We kept having a rain check, every hour on the hour. By nearly 2 o'clock, we were due to leave at 10 o'olock, Goosey suggested that we leave the walk till the evening as the forcast was more favourable. Tea was ready as soon as my husband walked in the door, and we were gone!What can I say, wow! Goosey you did not dissapoint! It was a beautiful evening, we walked along the river Stour at Eyebridge, there was so much to see and hear. We were lucky to see a Kingfisher, but he was so quick! Not a kodak moment there! Never mind, we walked a bit more, suddenly there was a kerfuffle on the bank opposite. Looking up we saw two little Egrets being hounded by what I thought were large black crows. One of the birds flew off, but the other one stayed behind, and provided us with a photo opportunity.
Not a brilliant shot, but I was soooo excited!It was a truly magical moment for me, it was my first sighting of the amazing bird! Thanks Goosey.
We walked on some more as time was getting on and there was still so much to see.
I think this was a Pochard duck?
I think this was a reed bunting(?)

This was a blue Banded (?) It was very pretty, and there were hundreds of them!

I think this was a hoverfly on Shepherds Mantle(?) Please correct me if I'm wrong.

It was all to soon time to go home, we had been out for nearly 4 hours but it felt about two! Just time for a few sunset pictures.... Thankyou Goosey.... When are we going again?