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

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Back to school

I've been back in school both last week and this week.  Last week my daughter asked us both to go in for a day to work with Year 4 in primary school.  She was doing an activity with the whole year group which was three classes. We were making those buzzer toys - making weird and wonderful wire puzzles that you have to conquer by passing a loop of metal over without touching the wire or it buzzes. They have been learning about conductors and circuits. We got through all ninety something children but it was full on with no stops other than 20 minutes for lunch. The kids really enjoyed it and were so proud of their creations. When they were told to finish what they were doing because it was two minutes until lunchtime, one of the boys beside me said to his friend that he couldn't believe that it was lunchtime already. In my experience, boys always think it is lunchtime : )

This week, I've been in the nursery school run by our church. They were short of a staff member because of illness and there was one day when none of the bank staff could go in. Since I have a PGCE, I am one of the volunteers that can be asked to fill in. It is very hard work with three year olds! I nearly tore my hair out getting them to eat their lunch. The regular staff must have an inexhaustible supply of patience. Very different to the secondary age boys that I am more used to!

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Apples and marmalade

Life never seems to slow down but just seems to have periods that are either busy, really busy or frantically busy. We've been away to Cambridge for a few days for the last time this year. My husband had several days of meetings and I went too. I love having the opportunity to just potter around and Cambridge is a lovely place with lots of nice places to walk and lovely old buildings to look at.

I've had a birthday and so has my son and we had a family meal which was great fun. I do so enjoy it when all my family gets together.  My son prepared the main course and I did the pudding. We had apple crumble made from lots of the windfall apples I had been given. Most of them were very small and it took me about six hours to peel and cut up enough of the tiddlers to make apple crumble for 17, some of whom have hollow legs where pudding is concerned. I watched two films that I had recorded while I prepared the apples so it felt less like a chore. I did feel quite smug that I had not wasted all those little apples but at the same time,  I had definitely had enough of preparing apple by the time I had finished! I made two roasting tins full of apple crumble. The larger one was left plain and the smaller tin had sultanas added because I really like that. Most of my family don't like dried fruit so I felt that I had chosen the right way round. So which one did they almost all opt for? Next time (with larger apples!!!) I'll put the sultanas in the bigger tin : )

I've used up some more apples in some apple marmalade. I had not come across that before but it tastes really grapefruity and my husband thinks it is lovely so it may well become a regular on my list of preserves. It contains grapefruit and lemon but the main fruit is apple. I got the recipe here:

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Thursday, November 02, 2017

Even more cooking

My friend gave me the last of her cucumbers when she cleared the cucumber plants out of the ground. She has had a fantastic crop from those three plants this year. I made some more sweet cucumber relish so that is three double batches made this year. The main ingredients are cucumbers, onions, celery and peppers and each batch has had slightly different proportions of these, according to what I had in the house. It will be interesting to see which batch I like best.

However, everybody will definitely have a pot of this in their goody boxes this Christmas! Or else I'll never get through it all... I have tried some from the first batch and I really like it, which is just as well. I have also eaten a lot of cucumber over the summer thanks to my friend. I do hope she doesn't decide to grow fewer plants next summer : )

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