Sunday, 31 May 2020

Early birthday present ....Kitten love

My birthday isn't until the 23rd June. I was supposedly born on the most romantic day of the year, but as I was told about 25 years ago which I hadn't known till then, it was a full moon. The Summer solstice and the night of a thunderstorm  if you find me a bit weird  I will put it down to that.

When I was small my Dad used to ice my birthday cake. My mum wasn't the best cook in the world in fact she was not very good at all .My Dad could plough a field and bake a cake and my Mum certainly left the icing to him . I have had ponies on cakes, sweet peas, even a goldfish. We often use the same cards from year to year. I remember when I was 7, I got a card and I liked it so much  it had a horse on rather than a pony .It was a bay horse with black man and tail eating in a field full of buttercups.  I had it until I was at least 12 I just got an extra x[kiss] on it every year.  That is what saddens me about life today it is so materialistic . One year I got a goldfish ,one, not a whole tankful but it swan round in a glass bowl. In fact as June is a busy month on the farm and hay making is more important ,the year I got my goldfish, on the actual day I got a carrot in the shape of a fish and a stick. I think it was the wooden end of an old washing up mop as my Dad hadn't had time to go to Malton to get a fish for me. So I had to stir the water round very quickly to make it look as if the piece of carrot fish was swimming . Children don't throw wobblies in those days ,it was a day when the rest of the family sang happy birthday to you  as you blew out the "preloved" candles on the cake. You had to be quick as the candles had to be used by others on their birthdays too ....and you were grateful. People say Covid will have an effect on people make them realise what small acts of kindness are and how the world will change and people will be appreciative  . I really wish this was true but I can't see it.

Duchess our cat is 15 years old now as April past. She was born the day Camilla and Charles got married .We had the Duke too , Marmaduke, but unfortunately he died . And I know she may last another year or two, the cat I mean not Camilla, but a time will come when she is no longer here. I have being saying for a while I was wanting another cat.

So I was delighted on Friday when my Dad rang me to say he had got my birthday present. He had gone down after tea to shut his greenhouse up and there on the path was a kitten. it had appeared from nowhere. Farm kittens are usually wild and sizzle, unless you get them early. If the mother cat sees you looking she is crafty and will move them. But this one was so quiet and let my Dad pick it up .How he managed to get it up to the house and into a box I don't know, as he walks with two walking
sticks but he had.  We reckon it is about 3 weeks old as I knew one of the cat had some about 3 weeks ago and as much as I had tried to follow her to find out where they were she kept giving me the slip. And so now you can see  my early birthday present. The verdict is out on a name so maybe you can help . My Dad thought Felix, but I am sure it is a girl, but he said they always had a Felix . I had a Belinda when I was young and loved it until a cow laid on and killed it. Then I thought of Rose and Daisy... and I can't really just call it cat with no name

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Roses are yellow

Just a little update on what is happening in my Dad's garden. I have been hoeing between his onion rows which was a harder job than I thought with one hand as I had an ice cream in the other. The rose bushes that were pulled off the trellis in the strong winds last weekend don't seem to look any the worse .In fact he counted over 50 blooms on it . The fuschia is looking glorious too . It has been there since  the year dot and however hard he hacks it back it always put on a good show .
We then went down into the green house and I dug some potatoes up for our dinner tomorrow. Yes it's Sunday again tomorrow and so it will be Yorkshire puddings.
The grapes are coming along nicely and all the fruit is formed in not much more than pin heads but it looks like a good crop. they tend to get mildew some years for whatever reason. My dad likes to dry a few bunches of grapes too so he can eat them in the form of raisins . I have yet to put some in a cake but maybe if I remember I will have a go later in the year.

It was a bit cooler this evening but my tomatoes at home are growing in leaps and bounds and so I have been busy staking some more up and tying them to the handles on the summerhouse windows .It is only as I type this now I wonder if I need a window open I will have to change the ties but it is dark now as it is gone 11pm.
But look at my first tomato, it is about as big as a marble. They are a bit leggy as I started to feed them with tomato feed as soon as I planted them. Father being the expert ,he  said you only feed them when you get fruit formed on them .. oh well ... . I also gave a splash to the lemon tree which after it's visit to Brown Nursery at Wiggington on the way to York  for professional guidance I am relieved to say it is sprouting new shoots

Friday, 29 May 2020

Banana and white Chocolate biscuits and what Friday brought ..

Well I didn't burn the biscuits, but when they came out of the Aga I thought do I leave them as they were a bit on the floppy side or bend them over like a sandwich. I chose the latter and took some outside this morning for us to enjoy in the sunshine. Some of them I took for the grandchildren so I am awaiting their comments ,it will be "please can we have some more "or "yuk".

 As the day went on the temperature rose, so did the thermometer got to a nice 100 degrees , which is 37.7 then it went silly but I forgot to take a photo and it got up to 42 degrees. I told my Dad he would have to stay inside until it cooled down. He said he had been in the greenhouse this morning and it was 120 degrees and in his bedroom which faces south it was 105. When I went over at teatime he was happily sitting in the shade of an ash tree with the hose pipe in his hand watering his vegetables. He doesn't believe casting a clout till May is out . Clout means his clothes and May is that the month of May or when the May flower is out - that is the blossom on the blackthorn hedges .This goes on to give us sloes for our sloe gin in Autumn. So as it is the last days of May he took it upon himself to change into his summer underwear and  he just hopes there isn't going to be any more frosts .
I heard this morning that Peter Dodd was leaving Welcome to Yorkshire . It is a sad day indeed as I felt  he was the strongest cog in the wheel and goodness know what will happen now . Time will tell. Peter did so much during his time at Welcome to Yorkshire . Did you know he was the main stay in getting the Tour de France Le Tour to Yorkshire.  He was in charge of the W2Y part of Chelsea Flower Show. And was so involved with the La Vuelta Spanish bike race,Amanda his wife had to reorganise her birthday. So we wish Peter and his family all the best in whatever direction he takes. So I will raise my glass of violet gin and home made elderberry cordial ... ok so I like my drinks sweet and say

Top award for Yorkshire garden | York Press
Thank you Peter and Good Luck

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Friday is #NationalBiscuitDay

Have you ever heard of #NationalBiscuitDay  I know they have all these#Days but one for biscuits.  So what am I doing at 11pm on a Thursday night making biscuits for tomorrow. 
I could have done without it but as I had 3 and a half very ripe bananas which I need to either throw out or use I started googling banana biscuit and low and behold there was a recipe .
So I read it once, read it twice, and then made up my own recipe as the recipe I read only used 2 bananas and had cinnamon in it . I think of cinnamon as a winter seasonings. I still work in ounces and pounds rather than grams but this was in cupfuls  that is too fiddly for me .So we have cups of varying sizes. So here is my recipe 
3/4 tub of Lurpak so approx 400 grams 
sugar to match and a bit more
 a large egg
a bit of bicarbonate of soda  a dig in with a teaspoon and then a bit shaken off
a pinch of salt as my mother used says it brings out flavours.
I substituted the cinnamon with two handful of white chocolate buttons which I broke up .
I started off with one handful and thought lets go mad and put 2 handfuls in .
 and as it is  this "Biscuit Day' 

They are still in the Aga so will have to show you the finished results later but can tell you I will probably be up till daybreak as those quantities will make enough to feed a regiment.

Also Blogger has updated its format so hopefully this comes out right  and the biscuits do too. 

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Be careful what you wish for

I would have loved to go to Whitby or Filey or anywhere along that stretch of coastline over the last few days as the weather I hear from my friend who lives there has been glorious. Far too many people about and really I never go to the seaside on Bank Holidays as I think it is the very worst time to go . The world and his wife seem to descend on the shore and most leave their brains at home. And especially this year when we are in /out /nearly in/nearly out of lockdown there was no way I was sitting in a traffic jam for hours to risk getting Covid.

So we have spent sunny days and balmy evenings in the garden.

In the post yesterday arrived my Simple Things magazine which is the first of three I have bought on subscription I have been deliberating whether I should bother and finally after 2 +years I decided to bite the bullet and order it .
So there I was laid in bed last night reading or rather flicking through the pages as I was too tired to set on to read much and they was a recipe for ... and crab... Ah crab, I thought, oh I wish I could get hold of a couple of crabs.

When I was a child I was allergic to them and got an itchy rash if I ever ate them and had to be taken to the doctors, who duly gave me a course of turquoise  tablets and I had a few days off school . So even though I got this very unpleasant rash I took any opportunity to eat crabs, so I could have time off school . Now you realise how much I hated school .If anyone who didn't know I wasn't supposed to eat crabs and I was offered them in a sandwich I munched them down quite happily knowing I would have a few days off school .

I grow out of my allergy as well as growing out of school. Both Jack and myself love a good crab sandwich. I mix the cooked meat with a blob of mustard which seems to enhance the flavour. My Dad is partial to crabmeat too, so there is one for him .

People talk about their prayers been answered ,well today my thoughts had been answered and Mark's friend who used to be a trawlerman off Whitby  arrived with a  bag and handed it to me at arms length .
They had arrived as fresh as anything trying to crawl out of the bag at 5pm this evening and now they are cooked and in the fridge ready for our crab sandwiches tomorrow.

When Jack was a bit younger he was determined to tempt fate and eat the dead men . He survived and I really not sure if they would do you much harm but I am not going to try them as even the feel of them put me off .But boys will be boys however old they are.

Can you eat crab when pregnant? What to know

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Woodpeckers still around

We usually see woodpeckers on the bird table - the black and white one which have a flash of bright red on them ... a bit like the red lipstick I used to wear, No 14 by Chanel ,which they don't make anymore . That makes for another story.
But we will stick to the greater spotted woodpecker that graces our garden. In winter we see a pair regularly. Guests  eat their breakfast  roughly the same time as the woodpeckers come to have theirs. You have to be very quick to get a photo of them and not too near a window ,but they come as regularly as clockwork. Now the garden is buzzing with them as they must have again hatched off a brood. They come like day trippers for a quick wizz round. The lockdown doesn't worry them as they are very timid and quick they self social distance whereas the robin,sparrow and blackbirds nearly eat out of your hand. I think it is their colouring that makes them look so exotic. If you don't see one, you will not be long before you hear one.
 I looked it up on Wikipedia.. and they call it drumming we call it tapping .Quite like a pneumatic drill at times. You can't believe such a little bird makes such a  big noise in the trees which surround the house. I have any idea where the nest is based as they always seem to head home in the same direction sweeping around the end of the house. It is in one of the Poplar tree plantation to the north of the house. The Poplars are a great height now but if we have the North winds they shelter us from them. We had one brach leaning too far over for my liking so last week when the men were here taking the ash tree down the young lad went up and took a limb out for us. I didn't want to get squashed by it as i needed the hot tub to be moved nearer the the east side to get more sun as the trees to the west block out the sun far too early in the day. The hot tub does get very hot as it is fueled by logs and I keep stoking it up . Had it up to 104 degrees one summer and felt pretty wobbly when I got out. Now you think oh tub let me explain it isn't your usual hot tub it is my hot tub built to my specifications . It is a 150 gallon cattle trough which has been fitted with a coil pipe which as it gets hot by burning logs around it heated the water up inside and works on hot water rises and has it comes out of the pipe the cooler water circulates . 
So tonight we have woodpeckers, poplar trees and water tubs  so you can see how my mind works most of the time 
A Wonder of Evolution - Woodpeckers | BirdLife
.All about the Great spotted woodpecker - GardenBird

Monday, 25 May 2020

Well Bob Geldolf I did like my Monday

I always remember when the Boomtown rats brought out their song in 1979 I don't like Mondays and it has stuck with me ever since.

 Monday was the first day back to school, which I hated to go to, after the weekend on the farm it was like being in a prison and so unnecessary, such a waste of "farming "time. My uncle left school at 14 and he didn't like school either. He didn't like singing lessons so the teacher used to let him sharpen pencils in the porch of the school. It did him no harm at 92 years old, 2 weeks before he died he was still writing cheques and keeping the farm books .Could add up and take away all the VAT in his head without a calculator .He did admit when it was taking 17 and a half % off an amount he had to concentrate. He used to keep both the accountant and the solicitor on their toes. I always felt comfort that before he went to Heaven that he had done a quick trip round the world to the Kremlin and the White House  and to other parliamentary homes of the World and back to give them a talking to in the Houses of Parliament before he laid to rest . He was interested in state affairs and politics and people said he would have made a barrister but he chose to work the land with his beloved horses.Image may contain: grass, plant, table, outdoor and nature

Anyway back to my Monday.

I actually had a very nice day and hope you did too.  I spent the afternoon out with my metal detector in the sunshine. Okay I didn't find anything but I live in hope.

 I hadn't been home long when I got notice from Cooper Wilson that he had a swarm of bees hanging off his garden table. As he is just a few miles away and these bees were very considerate as they were so easy to get. While the bees were settling into the box I took to bring them home in I took a look at Coopers' donkey she is lovely. It is always nice to catch up with Coops I have known him a lot of years and he never changes .He is a wizz with horses and rather like a horse whisperer I could have sat in his garden all evening  chatting about old times. He always has good stories to tell.  Please look at his website and this is an extract from it .. 

I have competed in Point to Point races, Team Chases and Cross Country events and have been breaking horses and ponies since I was 12 years old.
This experience has given me a deep understanding of horses and how to work with them, something that cannot be learnt from a book or course. I believe that I have served a lifetime apprenticeship with horses and that they have allowed me to develop a gift that I can now begin to repay. They continue to teach me about life in my interactions with them. I always give horses the choice and work with what they offer me. In this way they learn to trust me, and allow me to work with them to heal.
I hope that this site will broaden the way in which you think about, and interact with your horses and other animals.
I believe that horses and other animals we come into contact with often offer us everything they have unconditionally. Sometimes this is unintentionally abused due to sheer ignorance and as a result the animal suffers. We owe it to all animals to constantly strive to understand them better, to learn all we can and make their lives as stress-free and harmonious as possible.The man who communicates with horses | Craven Herald
Home - Cooper Wilson animal communicator, healer & Reiki