Sunday 25 July 2010

A good day.

It started at 5 am, which I'm not good at, but apart from that its gone well.
No, nothing scary just Raspberry Salad Dressing!

Big girl wanted to make a Tofu and raspberry salad as seen in this issue of The Mother . She cut up and marinated the tofu, but then ran out of steam, full of cold poor thing. Little One stepped in and helped make the raspberry dressing above.
While they did that, I got some bread dough rising. I keep forgetting to make time for our bread, the bread machine is really helpful on work days but I think I should make it properly.
Anyway, by tea time the bread was done:

I made bread rolls yesterday for a picnic, but ran out of time so they didn't get cooked until teatime, and were burnt. Despite this they've mostly been eaten, so no pictures. I haven't cooked much with this oven, so I think I still need to get to know it.
Also for tea was broad beans. Now, DH has a long running thing how he detests them, and makes a big song and dance how he doesn't like them but will eat them under sufference. We rarely have them! Anyway, Big One now shares his distaste for them. Hrrmmph.Thankfully Little One was happily munching on them until interrupted so I could make broad bean, pea and cheese paste. Its very vaguely based on something Jamie O does involving parmesan and mint, but no parmesan in the fridge and the mint is growing at the other house, so its my own version. There's a clove of garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, and its fabulous, if I do say so myself. Big One gave it the thumbs up ' I like your broad beans mummy, I'll eat them in your cooking, just not on their own.'  It doesn't look like anything much, but honestly it was fab!
DH tried his own 'meal' with them, involving frying them with leeks and chickpeas. Pleasant, but broad bean flavoured. I'm not that huge a fan of them, but I do object to something being that maligned- garlic, lemon, oil (and for me, usually chillies) can make ANYthing taste good!

Finally, I got the duct tape out and made a rain cover for my bowl horse. Its been spending too much time in the kitchen getting sworn at ( it sticks its legs out to trip up DH, honest!) as I don't like to see it rotting in the rain-I haven't anywhere under cover outside to work or store it. We rig up a tarp over the yard depending on the need for dry clothes in the rain, but its too dark in the house if we leave one up all the time.
It got tested straight away with a little rain- seems to do ok but I worry it'll get mouldy if stored like that for long.
I've not mentioned my carving for a bit. I still have two bowls I'm working on, but I'm limited by one rather serious problem- I seem to slice myself as soon as I'm not using the horse to hold the bowl. I repeatedly cut the same finger in the same place, so I've got a technique problem. I'm struggling jamming the bowls in the horse securely and getting to where I need to work- using the horse its more a case of skinned knuckles rather than deep sliced fingers. I'm starting to figure out how I'm doing it though, so hopefully I'll figure out the questions I need to ask. It is putting me off though- its much less messy and painful if I do a different hobby. Did I mention the sight of my own blood makes me a bit faint? I've been fine for years in orthopaedic ( i.e. messy) theatre when I was in x-ray, fine with other folks blood, but my own makes me need a sit down!

I'm working on a tool roll for some the knives and chisels I have rattling around in the box. They all have covers, but it'll be handier to keep them in a wrap. The fabric is a scrap mum gave me, not exactly my choice but a good 'contrast' to the 'blokey' tools. It made me smile to think of using it- Especially if DH borrows it for the spoon carving course in September!  Pics will have to be another day for that.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

pics of makings!

The last post was enough words for a while:
Camping with solar powered lighting. Our campfire is in our budget BBQ bucket.

Biggest girl LOVED having her face (butterfly) and arms painted- I think the bumble bee was my favourite.
Little One loved the idea of it but didn't like the paint on her skin- she's a bunny rabbit in case its not obvious!

We had a week away with family from near and far, but I still managed to make a skirt for me- the first sewing thing I've done for me.

Home made strawberry and blackcurrant jam- all from our allotment. I've done a few batches now.

Little Miss scrubbing potatoes (her own idea!) after digging them up out of a pot in the yard. I only hope she'll continue to have such helpful demands!

Last but not least, our main project for the last 4 months: our house. Up for sale at last:

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Life's too short

I have kept busy making, but I'm not keeping up with getting photos off the camera, so I've been put off posting- after all, a few pictures are a lot more interesting than an essay,and quicker to digest, especially with family life going on!
Well, the pictures are still on the camera, or on the hard drive for whenever I can remember where DH said he was putting them, sigh.

I thought I'd share why/ how I've got into making/doing things 'all of a sudden', and the idea of blogging.
The short answer is earlier this year DH and I agreed we want to move, want to change our lives drastically, but not knowing quite what to do, want to do some research. We like the ideas of permaculture, self-sufficiency, working less and having more family time, but also haven't the practical skills to put it into practice.We enjoy growing our own veg- in pots and in the allotment, and just want more space to do more. DH is really into trees, and would love a wood- coppicing, charcoal burning and woodland management are all on his 'to do' list!
We've been talking for a year or so about living in a field (our parents love that one!), but the practicalities still elude us. Anyway, our research project is to go WWOOFing, and volunteer on farms around the UK. The first idea was to do this by getting a maternity leave ( !!) from work, but then decided it was worth asking about special unpaid leave, which I did and my absence is 6 months next summer. I didn't expect my application to be successful, and in the current financial climate at work, this may not be the greatest timing - but it is right for us as a family. DH has given his notice to his work, he finishes before Christmas ready to home educate K full time- she's too old for nursery after Christmas. Anyway, leading up to our big adventure, we're selling the house, selling our stuff (anyone want a Charles and Di wedding commemorative teaspoon?!) and learning things that interest us, and possibly some things that might come in handy when volunteering. DH is doing more of the latter, so far he's loved his chainsawing course and keen to do another. So that's where bowl carving, sewing, jam making, etc are all coming from.

But there's still the 'why now?' to deal with.
I see our parents after working hard all their lives, with some of the later years a real struggle, finally enjoying their rewards and going on holidays, the odd cruise, that kind of thing.But there's been real ups and downs and worries if pensions would be as good as they were promised ( I gather they mostly weren't) and having to work too hard for their ages, being in unhealthy mental places and then wondering how long they'll be able to enjoy this before ill health stops the fun. Some recent deaths have really brought this home- a colleague in his 50s died suddenly earlier this year, a treasured uncle who wasn't that much older ( well, I reckon under 65) died very recently. Right now I feel what's the point in waiting for retirement ( which'll be at least 65 by the time I get there!) to plan to enjoy life, travel, do what we want? We might not live that long, if we do we probably won't have the health to enjoy it...why wait, life's too short.
The cost side of things are also a consideration- cruises and flights won't be an option in 35 yrs time- oil prices will see to that. Not that I can imagine we'd want that option, but I'd like to think we'll get to see our sisters and families in Canada and Oz a few more times in our lifetime. Hopefully environmental awareness might help new technologies develop so there are different options, but we can't justify flying anywhere just for a holiday. I wonder what the future will bring?

The blog- well, with our planned travels I'd love to have a place to keep note of where we've been, what we've been up to, etc and not rely on me not losing the notebook, breaking the hard drive, so something web- based seemed a good idea. Facebook isn't quite what I was hoping for, so getting the hang of the blog before we travel is my latest idea.
I've been quite lucky having a stretch of time to think and put this down, but that time is up (the luxury of being at work, I'd never get this down at home!) so time to leave it.