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Showing posts from April, 2013

Plenty of a Time for a Biscuit Break!

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I think this is the longest time I've gone without posting a blog entry despite trying to be in the habit of posting everyday.

However, there doesn't seem to be much point in posting everyday when there's not a lot to talk about! I'd rather not post than write about things that are mundane and boring!

Besides, we haven't really been up to much. We've been "tweaking" the garden and adding bits and bobs to it and finally put the black and yellow tomato plants in the cheap greenhouse we picked up from Wilkos a few weeks back.




They're doing really well, although we did have to keep an eye on them the other night with the frosts but all seems to be fine.





Even Edward was helping with the gardening:







This is basically what we've been up to though really - just pottering. My op is next week so I guess that its just a case of relaxing before the big day. I cannot wait to get it over and done with!

I was in need of something sweet the other day and had nothin…

Lettuce

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Well our first lettuce seeds have appeared and look quite healthy in our home made mini greenhouse:





There's other seeds all in a row too so it should give us quite a nice supply if we keep reseeding every 4 or 5 weeks :)

This was the greenhouse we made, remember?



It's funny as the box is our old bathroom wall cabinet and then its just some garden canes and cling film and its done a great job of creating a mini greenhouse.

I'm hoping that tomorrow with Pawel being off, we can get the black and yellow tomato plants repotted as they've got quite big now and definately need new containers....however, weather forecast says it might rain here :(



Immersion Heaters and Solar Panels

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We're now at the right time of year whereby the batteries are being charged completely on their own by the solar panels - no engine power needed!





However, the last couple of days I've noticed that our batteries are nearly fully charged by lunch time. I can tell this as on our Outback MPPT controller it tells you when the panels go into "float" mode, which means the batteries are nearly at capacity and the absorption from the sun is 'slowing down' - so not to over charge the batteries.

Anyway, it seems a waste to have all these solar panels and not have them being utilised during the best hours of the day.

Basically, you see, after the batteries are fully charged, the solar panels effectively 'switch off'.

So I'm thinking I could either get more batteries which I don't want to do (as they need replacing every couple of years) or I could divert some of the energy to something like the immersion heater which would then give us hot water.

I've see…

A Log Store....

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Now we have our own patch of land and are able to 'store' things, we'd like to get a log store or a log shed ( whatever you want to call it!) so we can start stockpiling logs for next winter.

Something like this :




However, I'm thinking of building some sort of store using good thick branches that have broken off trees. Not sure if I'd be any good at it, but it doesn't have to be anything special and there's loads of big sticks/branches that could be used for it that we noticed today on a small walk....

Anyway, having a stock pile of logs to burn next winter will be much more economical than burning coal all the time, as more often than not, you can get wood for free, and this winter we were using maybe 3 or 4 bags of coal a week!! (I like it hot!!)

We would probably still use coal as a 'base' as the downside to burning logs is that you can't really chuck it on and leave it for 6-8 hours like with coal - you sort of need to keep your eye on it at all…

More Garden Tasks

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It's been a nice calm, dry day today with some warm sunshine in between the light cloud. We decided that as Pawel was off, he would start planting a few bits and pieces in one of the raised beds.

We decided that one raised bed will be solely for strawberries.

We've got quite a few different varieties - some new and some from last year so wanted to plant them all together. In total we have 14 plants in one raised bed! I'd better get a bowl of strawberries this year ;)

Here's Pawel hard at work(!):









All the plants in - although some are bigger than others. Most of the plants we planted today were the bulbs from the garden centre that we got ages go, so they'll be a little behind the rest!



We also had a bash at making a cover for the lettuce box - using some garden canes and cling film!!


Making the frame:













Also the tomatoes are getting quite large already, so they've also had some stakes tied to them to provide support:





Eventually, these will go into the other raised bed a…

A New Favourite Dish!

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There's not been a lot to blog about over the last few days so that's really why I've left it.

There's not been any significant jobs that we've been doing or anything either, mostly just relaxing and doing odd bits and pieces. The wind got quite fierce again yesterday so I didn't get much sleep last night - we're so exposed here and the gusts were apparently around 50 MPH!

I did make a spinach and feta 'pie' the other day though which I was talking about making in an earlier post with the feta I got from a local farmers market

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Spinach and Feta Pie





This is called a 'pie', but I don't think it really is a pie as such as it is made using filo pasty - and I always equate pies as using shortcrust or puff pastry.

However, you will make it in an 8 inch loose bottom shallow cake tin, so technically that makes it a pie!

Well, it's a great dish and it tastes amazing - although quite a bit of preparation is needed before…

Bits and Bobs

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Pawel has been off today so we both went into town for haircuts this morning and then did some food shopping. We returned around 3PM and have been pottering around with the space outside on our new mooring.

Pawel finally built one of his raised planters for the veg and gave it a coat of paint to match in with the batons around the edge of the gravel.

Here's how it's all looking:
(He didn't paint the inside as that will be filled with soil soon !)




We also put the 'log wall' around the tree from the vegetable box to the gravel edge. We are the thinking of maybe planting a 'herb garden' around that tree now.

The list of things we are growing is now as follows:

* Tomatoes - normal cherry, black cherry and yellow cherry
* Strawberries - we have around 3 different types
* Blueberries
* Dwarf cucumber
* Dwarf French beans
* Peppers
* Lettuce - Duchy 'Organic Dynamite'
* Herbs - basil, thyme, chives, rosemary


Well that should keep us busy!


The first thing we did when we …

I've Another New Friend

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I'm not sure what to call him! He comes by our boat quite a lot since Pawel gave him a bit of apple last week!

He often glances up too and it's almost as if he's looking through the windows at me!








Today has been quite blustery with rain showers all day, but I did manage to get the batons painted around our gravel edge.

It looks a lot better but I've not had a chance to photograph It as I don't want to go back out in that wind!!

A Good Day Gone Bad!

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This morning looked promising weather-wise, so I was hoping to get into town to get some paint for the batons around the gravel patio we've made and to get them painted today. I think the batons would look better painted either green or a charcoal grey:





Anyway, we'd left the fire in overnight (as usual) but awoke this morning to it being 25.4 degrees in here and that was with the stove shut down to minimum setting! Looking outside revealed why though. It was already showing on my weather station as being 12 degrees out and the sun was also full on! Great - a perfect day to get my job done then!

We headed into town after breakfast and I got the paint I needed and also some 'satin black' for the boat blacking below the gunwhales (it looks a bit patchy in places and like it just needs a bit of refreshment.)

I returned from town only for it to start raining around half an hour later and the winds are over 20MPH - so its a bit blustery!

Oh well, another job that's going to …

A Polish Rye Bread

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I promised a reader about a week ago that I'd post the results of a polish rye bread that I had attempted.

It turned out OK! Rye breads are usually more denser than normal breads and this one was dense but definately a bit lighter than some I've made before, especially as I've been adding more yeast to my recipes lately.

This one requires a 'starter' which you need to make 2 days before, so it does require a bit of planning. It also makes this a 'sourdough' bread I guess.

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Polish Rye Bread

Ingredients

For the starter:

* 2 tbsp of rye flour
* 1 and a half tbsp of warm milk


For the dough:

* 300g of rye flour
* 300g of white or brown bread "00" flour
* 1tsp of salt
* 30g of butter
* 20g yeast
* 300ml of warm water

Method:

1. To make the starter, mix the rye flour with the warm milk and cover and leave in a warm-ish place for 2 days.

2. When ready to make the bread, put all your dry ingredients and butter into the bowl along with the …