Apologies for the poor quality photo, I had to zoom in on my phone and didn’t have time to get the big camera our that would have provided a better zoom.
Having restocked some of the bird feeders I had guests more or less straight away with a couple of Thrushes stocking up from the fat balls and suet cake. The one of the fat ball is easier to spot, but there is also one hanging onto the right hand side of the suet cake feeder. It just blends into the background too easily, especially when zoomed in. I was reminded to make sure the feeders were stocked up well as it’s not good for the birds to exhert energy getting to the feeders and not having enough there to replenish and stock up for a while, so as a request, if you’re reading this and have bird feeders in the garden, please keep them stocked up for the sake of the birds this winter.
Late yesterday I got a phone call saying that I had won some prizes in the raffle I had bought tickets for at yesterday’s church fair. Both useful presents and the candle holder is something that was not what I was expecting. Different from the other candle holders I have it has a handle so I will need to decide on whether I want to use that to have it hanging somewhere.
After work today I spent a lot of time slicing. Having sliced onions and tomoatoes yesterday, (these had to rest overnight), it was a case of slicing apple and saltanas. In many respects I was glad I was only doing half the amount as 250g of saltanas is a lot of them to cut up! There was probably a quicker way, but I couldn’t think of it off the top of my head. What did amaze me was how much all the produce reduced down. At one point I was sure I would end up with 3 jars of tomato chutney, but in the end it’s only a jar and a half, all be it 1 litre jars. Once everything has cooled down later tonight they will be stored and allowed to stand for a few weeks and then I’ll give it a try and then I’ll know if I’ll do this more often or if it will be my first and last time.
Like with the harvest of the grapes because the weather is turning, so too have I harvested what is left of the tomatoes. There’s not a load left to pick, just over a kilogram, but I don’t want to waste any of them and as you can see, a good number of them are still green. The answer from most people who grow their own tomatoes is chutney. Green Tomato Chutney to be exact. I’ve never done this before so it could be a total disaster, but I’m willing to give it a try. It’s a two step process so hopefully I’ll get things finished off tomorrow. Right now I have this lot to slice and dice, some onions to add and for that to be salted and left overnight.
I have a few food weaknesses. Smoked Salmon, Crispy Duck are two of them. My third would be Christmas lunch. Stuffed Turkey with the trimmings. I’m happy with it hot or cold so I don’t have to eat it in one go or keep reheating it. It’s probably just as well that for the majority of the year the latter isn’t on general sale unless you do it yourself. However in the run up to Christmas (bearing in mind that some Christmas stuff has been in the shops for over a month now), I can now purchase the above weakness. To be fair the Christmas one normally comes with bacon on the top as well, but until that one is released I’m happy with this.
Having done a load of crop harvesting, and with a few raised beds still to go, there was the need to create some space to freeze them for use later in the year. Potatoes take up quite a bit of space so I needed to use some of the crops from earlier in the year or even last year and then freeze them down. Which it might seem wrong, do this does free up quite a bit of space. 13 meals in one evening later and the meals are now in individual portions and in the freezer for later use. There are also more containers spare for future produce and more space in the freezer to add to the collection.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve been harvesting the potato raised beds the last few days and have finally finished the final raised bed. I had wondered how this year would do given the scarcity of rain over the summer and the limited watering that I did give the vegetable plot. Although it doesn’t look like much, there’s quite a few potatoes here and while it’s not a bumper crop, once blanched and frozen it will provide for a good number of meals through the year.
I was looking up suggestions about how to freeze the chillis that I’ve harvested recently as there have been too many to eat without destroying my taste buds even more. Surprisingly one of the solutions offered was one that I had used before with a different harvest, and that was the notion of chilli ice cubes. Slightly different process as these needed to be frozen in water rather, but I now have ready made portions of chilli that I can add to future meals without much fuss.
The Goji Berry plant that I bought earlier in the year has started to flower. I am therefore hopeful that I’ll get some fruit from it in due course. My major concern is that they will be taken before they are ready by the local squirrels. They do seem quite picky about what they will take as they tend to ignore the blueberries and the blackcurrant, but it will be a case of waiting and seeing if anything survives.
It’s our yearly church BBQ today and I’ve agreed to take bring along a gazebo that I own. The plan being that people can shelter from the sun if they want to. Of course being the UK and there being the words BBQ the gazebo will be used to help those brave enough to go outside to shelter from the rain, including the BBQer in chief. Having had a long hot summer, today has to be one of the wettest days of the summer and it really has been tipping it down. Everyone is quite rightly staying indoors and I will have no choice but to get soaked taking it down. I’m finally feeling a bit better so I’m hoping that this drencing won’t make me ill again!