Tomatoes

Despite the neglect, my tomatoes a doing surprisingly well πŸ™‚ They are showing signs of irregular watering but still taste delicious!Β Β 
The same goes for my peppers and chillies.

I’m planning to roast and preserve the peppers in olive oil


and dry and freeze the chillies πŸ™‚

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New Flower Bed

Here’s an idea, why not make a flower bed out of an old table? Well I have! I had a very sad looking garden table, turned it upside down, cut it’s legs off and now I have a quite spacious but manageable flower bed πŸ™‚

That old table now contains, lavender, seedum, geraniums and some tulip bulbs for the spring., I’ve never started a bed from scratch like that before so I’m very pleased πŸ™‚

Dyeing and Spinning Workshop

I’ve been being a bit quiet on hear recently because I’ve been having a bit of a rest. Things have still been happening and growing and I’ve just been in my studio painting! Yesterday though I went on a bit of a slow adventure and felt I had to share.

I went on a dyeing and spinning workshop for the day πŸ™‚

We first cooked all the things that had been collected on site on the fire.

Some created quite a good colour like this fresh Alder bark.

This is some of the fleece that we dyed hanging up to dry.

We were shown how to make our own spindle out of Hazel wood….

….and were given some washed fleece so that we could learn to spin.

This is what I came home with. Some swatches of fleece that we’d dyed, our handmade spindle and a small skein of our very own spun yarn!

It was a very good day, but I was really tired when I got home. I think all the fresh (smokey) air did me good πŸ™‚

In the Green house

I’m very happy with what is happening in my green house.

Broad beans ready to plant out,

These potatoes ready to plant,

Tomatoes ready to pot on, peppers and cucumbers,

Mixed chilli peppers,

and a couple of strawberry plants I’ve bought inside to get some early fruit.

It’s time now to sow courgettes and squash. Growing things makes me happy, but I wish the weather would warm up! πŸ˜‰

 

New Years Marmalade

It’s the time of the year for marmalade, the Seville oranges have been in the shops and thoughts are directed to making a years supply of marmalade. The reason for this sudden desire to slice 6 pounds of oranges is two fold. It tastes better and it’s cheaper!

For several years now I’ve put the oranges in a food processor to chop them, but this year I decided to slice by hand. Oh my word, I was so surprised how pleasant it was to sit and slice the oranges by hand (with a nice serrated steak knife) in the quiet. A very simple life thing to do, and it was easier to extract the pips too!

marmalade-1 marmalade-2

Once the sliced oranges have soaked over night they are meant to be simmered to reduce the liquid by a third. When I had heated the the water in the pan and added the sugar I realised I hadn’t done that!!!

I managed to rescue it by taking some liquid out, adding more sugar and a bottle of liquid pectin. Here on my pantry shelf are twenty jars of marmalade. I now feel like Moomin Mama and I have a very happy husband!

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It tastes exceptionally good too πŸ™‚

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New Chicken House

To start off the new year of my Simple Life Blog, I’m excited to show you our new chicken house. Considering a chicken house the size we needed would have cost around Β£900 without nesting boxes etc, we decided to be creative and find an alternative solution.

This second hand polytunnel we found was the right size and only cost us Β£80!!!!new-house-1
All that was needed was to secure the sides with chicken wire so they can’t dig their way out.

We have a shut down for chickens here in the UK at the moment because of bird flu, but as soon as that is past we are going to cut out a large window along theΒ the front and fill with chicken wire.

new-house-2So here they are, all secure and safe with lots of room. The nesting boxes you can see in the front corners are made from insulated dog beds which are easy to clean and only cost Β£35 each!

new-house-3The result, happy chickens and happy Debbie! πŸ™‚