Sunday, 3 September 2017

The Bath is Out and Delicious Desserts are In

It was a good start to the week when our new shredder arrived on Monday morning. We had deliberated about getting one for a while. We finally made the decision due to the heaps of branches and vegetation building up around the place and the fact that we are unable to have bonfires here during the summer.

So we have spent some time this week diminishing those heaps into wood chips. We can then use the chips as a mulch on the garden, compost some of them or take them to the déchetterie in manageable bags. At the moment we are putting them in our dried up pond. We plan to keep the pond as a wildlife habitat but we would like to reduce the size. When using the shredder, we work as a team; Chris operating the shredder whilst I pass him the branches and empty the bag of chips.

Also in the garden this week, Chris attached some wires to the farmhouse wall for my Golden Showers climbing rose.

I wasted no time starting to train the rose which is growing rapidly.

I've also been planting some seeds straight into the flower beds...mainly hardy the hope that they will flower early next year. So far I've planted Love in the Mist, Calendula Daisy Mix and Pansys. I've marked out little patches with stones and markers so I can remember where they are. This is an experiment as I've never planted seeds in the Autumn before.

Whilst I was planting my seeds, a Red Admiral butterfly visited the Rudbeckia.

It seemed to like the flowers on my kneeling mat and gloves!

In our new garden, we've been enjoying its dappled shade after lunch and have sat there reading, dreaming and taking in the peace of the countryside.

In the cottage, Chris has been continuing work on the bathroom. 
He's filled the plasterboard joints on the new ceiling. Once this has dried and been sanded, it will be my job to apply the sous-couche/undercoat and paint the ceiling.

Chris has removed the sink and hacked off all the old tiles...

Having purposefully left it to the last minute so we could continue using it, Chris removed the bath today.

We bought our shower cubicle earlier in the week so fingers crossed it won't be too long until Chris has it fitted and operational. In the meantime, we will take showers in Harvey J.. However, before the shower can be fitted, there are some tasks to be completed including replacing a piece of chipboard on the wall, possibly replacing some of the flooring and re-configuring the old plumbing. Glad you're smiling Chris!

I have completed the three coats of paint on the bathroom door and also filled some screw holes in the bedroom window frame and skirting boards ready for painting over.

In the kitchen, with the abundant blackberries I am picking at the moment, I've made some iced blackberry soufflés from a recipe suggested by Dorothy, Chris's mother. It's a delicious dessert. You puree the blackberries and remove the pips with a sieve but the second time I made it, I left the pips in. I don't mind the pips especially if you don't have to chew them as the fruit is pureed!

The iced blackberry soufflé uses 4 egg whites. I didn't want to waste the leftover egg yolks and I didn't fancy an omelette, so I browsed the internet for a recipe that would use them. After a while I found an easy chocolate pudding recipe by Martha Stewart which uses 4 egg yolks and other basic ingredients that I would usually have in my pantry. Perfect I thought. I made it and it was very yummy. I suppose it's like a chocolate custard or blancmange. There was enough for at least four servings so it kept Chris and I happy for two evenings. I didn't take any photos this time but the recipe is here: Martha Stewart Chocolate Pudding

This week I also made this cheesy herb bread, based on this recipe Easy Peesy French Bread.

I just added some chopped fresh rosemary and thyme mixed with grated cheddar cheese before baking.

I've started sewing a patchwork project....

...and last week I finished my broderie anglaise top....rather pleased with it!

Our kind friend Henri popped by with a huge bag of green beans....they are so delicious with a couple of knobs of butter!

The weather has been fine all week so Spencer has had some nice walks....

...except for today when it hasn't stopped raining. Never mind, we needed some rain.

Thanks for visiting!

Maggie xx

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Bathroom Ceiling and a New Garden

This last week the weather has been warm and sunny, sometimes overcast, making good weather to work in. We've stayed at home all week working in the cottage and the garden.

I've sanded and painted one side of the bathroom door. It needs three coats of white satinwood to get a good finish.

Early in the week, Chris plucked up courage and removed the old bidet from the bathroom, using push fit fittings to stop the water. They worked well.

Chris has been installing the new bathroom ceiling including insulation, temporarily relocating the light and fitting the plasterboard.

Chris had devised some genius improvisations for holding up the plasterboard until it was screwed into place!

I've cleaned a couple of stones on the living room wall. It's just one of those jobs I can't get excited about.

We've made some good progress in the garden.

On the other side of the pond, there is an overgrown patch of land with lots of brambles, thistles etc. There is a path that Chris mows so we can walk through it. The brambles were encroaching onto the path so I started cutting them back. We had planted two apple trees here a couple of years ago so I started by cutting back the brambles around them and adding a layer of mulch at their bases.

The apple trees don't get much sunlight due to the overhanging trees so when Chris came along to see how I was doing, he decided to cut back some branches to allow some sunlight through. This in turn led to me cutting back more brambles. So we've now created a new garden area.

I've spent some time clearing grass and weeds from back of cottage and farmhouse. I'd started using the strimmer but then a frog jumped out. Then I decided to pull the weeds by hand so as to not injure any amphibians!

In the fields around us, the farmer has collected the straw bales.

I've collected lots of blackberries and cut back more of the brambles on the drive and Chris has mowed the grass.

Unfortunately my tomato plant got blight so I've pulled most of it out but we've enjoyed Henri's delicious blue potatoes!

I made a foccacia from a bread mix but I added some fresh rosemary and sun dried tomatoes.

I've finished the front of the baby dress that I'm cute!

I spotted a peacock butterfly on the brambles.

Thanks for visiting!

Maggie xx