This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I am definitely smitten with my new little grandson! He is so lovely. And he snuggles in soooo nicely when you cuddle him. I am so glad that my husband's shingles rash has gone so that he could cuddle him too. The shingles is still with us as the pain is not gone but it is not so sharp as it was. My husband describes it like a very bad headache but in his shoulder and neck - a constant pain that does not let up.

He is managing to potter through a few jobs on the "urgent" list as he is fed up with not getting anything done. The jobs are taking far longer than they would normally but at least some are done. He has replaced the fascia board on the ground floor extension because it was rotten and the rot was starting to spread to the other wood in the joists. And repaired the part of the shed which had rotted before that spread too. I had 14 urgent jobs on the list of things to do this summer holiday but shingles has prevented most of them happening. The problem is that some are very urgent and the next available slot of time is probably next summer, realistically speaking. And some of the jobs will not wait that long. Hmmm.

I have made some more jam - blackberry and apple but with a small handful of loganberries and a grated cougette. It has a beautiful flavour and the colour is so rich. So I have now made:
  • gooseberry and elderflower
  • strawberry and gooseberry
  • strawberry conserve
  • raspberry (just two little pots as I only had a few and it is my husband's favourite)
  • raspberry, redcurrant and apple (when I had a few more raspberries)
  • blackcurrant (well, josta berries actually - a cross between blackcurrant and gooseberry)

There are little purple plums on my tree on the allotment this year so there will be plum jam too. The little purple plums do not have as much flavour as real damsons (my favourite jam of all) so I shall have to add something to boost the flavour. The josta berries are like great big blackcurrants and you need a little less water than with real blackcurrants but more than with gooseberries. The elderflower (picked when out on a walk and kept in the freezer until needed) gives the gooseberry jam an incredible flavour. As they had been in the freezer, they had turned to a brown mushy consistency but the flavour is sensational. Definitely one to do again.

We have an Indian shop opened up not too far away from us, on a route which we travel frequently, where the sugar is Silver Spoon (British and so low in food miles) and they are charging £1 for two bags. The cheapest I could find sugar in the supermarkets was 84p for ONE bag. This shop's opening offer was 2 bags for 89p but restricted to 2 bags per customer ( I got my husband to go in as a separate customer ) which is near enough half the supermarket's price.

I have a feeling that some people are going to get a basket of jams for Christmas...


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