Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Give me sunshine . . .

Windfall Apple Chutney . . .

In the words of Eric and Ernie, that's what we had yet again today. I could get used to this - it makes me feel SO much happier and more positive.

As we had to fill up the car with diesel as I am taking our middle daughter back to Uni at the weekend, we did an early grocery shop in town straight after dropping our son off for his school bus, and also went down to our favourite butcher in St Clear's to stock up on decent meat. That is locally-reared meat or from known farms. Along with the steaks for our daughter's back to Uni special meal, we got a buxom chicken, free range and organic, for just £7.50. That's gone in the freezer, but I know it will have flavour, texture and there won't be explosions in my oven as the water and junk they inject into the carcases of supermarket chickens hits the hot fat in the roasting pan. This will be a Quiet Chicken . . .

The moment we arrived back we had unexpected visitors - a Dutch chap and his wife who used to live here back in 1986 (a couple of years before we arrived). We showed them round, with me wincing at the untidiness and clutter. Ah well . . . this is what you get when you sacrifice the housework in favour of the autumn tidy up of the garden, playing with fat bay mares and making chutney and crab apple jelly.

Talking of fat bay mares, Itsy and I went for a walk for an hour or so this afternoon. She faced one of her demons - the barking dogs down at a neighbour's cottage. In fact, not only did she face her demons, she stood her ground and then put her head over the gate and blew on them! She was SO good bless her, and walked, trotted and halted on command - the moment the first syllable was uttered in fact. We did enjoy ourselves. The first ribbons of leaves are making their way downstream. Soon they will become flotillas and finally stout rafts of beech, hazel, ash and sycamore.

I have trashed the long border behind the wall and taken out all the briar roses and Madam Hardy, and some of the roots of the Polygonum superbus, which is a proper thug and had colonised half the border. It is ALL going to come out and be replanted with cottage garden annuals and perennials, underplanted with bulbs.

My Windfall Apple Chutney is now made and potted, and turned out very well. The Crab Apple Jelly will be done tonight, now I have the jam pan empty again.

Just before tea, my dear husband went jogging, and I said I would walk and meet him, which I did, down by the river. I then jogged along behind him for about 1/4 mile, which is unheard of for me, and I didn't get out of puff either. Then I did a sprint and am still enjoying the endorphines that produced!

The sun has dropped behind the hill now, but the view this afternoon across the valley was so lovely. A spectacularly white cow was grazing on top of the bank of the Iron Age hillfort and the lengthening shadows were stretching down towards the valley bottom. So peaceful.

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