Sunday, May 13, 2012

Couldn't be better

I love weekends, as you know! This one was particularly lovely. Last week was pretty stressful, so it was fantastic to wake up on Saturday with two days of fun ahead. I headed into my workroom to finish the central panel for the Swimming Pool quilt. Not sure if it looks anything like lanes of a swimming pool, so I think it needs a new name. 
 There isn't a fabric in the strips that I don't find interesting to look at.
 I'm deciding about the sashes. I was thinking about a visit to Stitch, but decided that I've got plenty of things to go on with, and there are a lot of bills this month.
 Sometimes the best things are actually free. Our neighbour gave us this reject. It had not even been at her own place, but lurking at her rental property. It was delivered late in the day a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't inspect it until the next morning. When I looked out of the window I discovered that it has a face! Actually Kermit the Frog's face has been mentioned. I have no idea what it is going to do now that is is positively bursting out of the kettle that it resides in. Maybe the "eyes" will grow out until they are boggling. I'm guessing it could take quite some time. At least it has a smile on its face.
 Johnny won't be smiling when I harvest these beauties. I like Brussels sprouts because they are like dear wee perfectly formed cabbages. John does not.
Wow- look at my harvest of yams. I planted four tubers that had sprouted in the cupboard. I put them in a big plastic pot with garden soil. As you can see, my harvest was fairly modest, but I did end up with considerably more than I started with, and all for free. 

 Of course my weekend would not be complete without a visit to Zanny. I asked Viv if she wanted to go for a ride with us, and she came on a big fellow called Jack. He is much sturdier than Zanny, and a bit taller too, but she outwalked him, no trouble. My girl loves to step out. Jack is a pretty quiet fellow, with a serious hamstring injury that has healed, but left him with a big dip in his bottom cheek where the muscle is basically gone. He will eventually find a special person to take him. He is a bit spooky and gave us all a fright when the pump turned on as we walked past, and then later when Viv flapped her hand in animated conversation. Viv told me all about Zanny's history. Don't read the next paragraph if you find horse stuff boring!

Zanny was the first horse Emily broke in, and lots of time was taken over her. She didn't belong to the Butchers at that stage. She then had a very brief career (one race) as a race horse, under the name "The Lemon" (a charming and optimistic name). She had a very tough time at one point when she had been turned out and neglected after her failed race career, and Viv basically rescued her because she was starving and riddled with worms and lice. What a horrible thought! Emily then rode her as an eventer and Viv rode her too. Then they discovered she is blind in one eye. She disguises it very well, and it was when light was shining into her face at night, and the blind eye didn't reflect, that they discovered her "disability." After that she had a foal (a gelding who now lives on the West Coast and is allegedly extremely ugly), then she had Lucy, who is now six, and very pretty. After that she got pregnant with undetected twins, and lost them prematurely about a month before they were due. She was distraught at the loss, and went off to somewhere else to be loved and ridden for a while. Then she had Frazer, who is about two years old now, and getting bigger every day. In between she did riding lessons, and now she is my girl (I'm allowed to think of her that way). I was excited because Viv said I might be able to ride her until September, and hopefully she will be mine to ride once she weans her foal and puts weight on again. How fabulous is that!!!! Viv thinks she could live for a long time because she has been so loved and looked after. I had a chat to Viv about horses dying because it is something that worries me terribly. How would I cope? Viv had reassuring things to say about that, even though it is a devastating time.

I had a great time hanging out with Viv and the horses. I helped with the feed out, met Chili, the new, extremely handsome fellow in the team, and had a tour of the new house, which Emily has just moved into. I got home quite late and we went for dinner and Mr and Mrs CT's house. Mrs CT was excited because she just got a new gadget which plays her old records and allows her to record them onto a memory stick, which can then transfer the music onto her computer.

When I got up this morning the sun was shining into my workroom and looking extremely inviting. Can you spot Jasper in the sun? He is down by his bed lying on the carpet.
 Actually I didn't get into the workroom at all except to practise my 'cello. I spent more time in the kitchen than I usually do. I had these to deal with.
 We make soup each week at school, and one of my students bought a bag of beetroot along, but my teacher assistants decided to leave it out of the soup. Good idea, imagine the beetroot juice on school uniforms. But we didn't want to cause offence by sending them home, so I adopted them. I've got a couple of recipes for beetroot soup. I based mine on Hugh F-W's one but didn't roast the beetroot. I zapped them in the microwave and attempted to peel them. The peels are supposed to slip off, but I needed to use a little more cunning to disrobe them. My fingers were a fetching cerise after washing them.
 The soup was even more cerise. This brew has two stalks of celery, a big fat onion, a carrot, two cloves of garlic and a sprig of thyme sweated in a little olive oil. After that cooked for a while I had managed to tame the beets, so tossed them in, along with some stock (two of those little jellified pots, one beef and one vegetable) and some boiling water. Once that had simmered for a while, I let  it sit for a while to cool just a bit, then whizzed it with my stick blender. It thickened up a bit, and ended up looking like a glorious crimson thickshake. Tasty too.
 And, as recommended by Hugh, I topped it with a teaspoon of creamed horseradish (sadly the jarred stuff could do with more kick) and a teaspoon of sour cream. Fantastic, and more filling than the more liquid soups. Definitely worth a try because beetroot are very easy to grow (into monsters actually) or are usually super cheap to buy. I've got three more serves set aside for lunches.
 While I was in a cooking mood, and had two elderly bananas lurking in the fruit bowl, I decided to whip up a batch of banana and chocolate muffins. Strange to realize that I have managed to leave half a bag of chocolate buttons alone. My tip: if you buy the crappy budget ones, they are fine in baking, but not tasty enough to snack on. These went down well when The Crafty Neighbour and husband came for afternoon tea. In exchange we got invited for roast hogget with all of the trimmings. It was a Mother's Day treat, and oh my goodness, it was a super delicious dinner.
I had a good chat to my lovely sister today, and my wee nephew, Henry, is taking after his Auntie. Today, when Mummy and Daddy were briefly occupied, Henry managed to gnaw his way into his mummy's Mother's Day box of chocolates and was caught munching on a chocolate. Apparently 2 1/2 year olds can look remarkably guilty with half of a stolen chocolate crammed into their mouths. He was still claiming ownership of the chocolates when I spoke to them later in the day. He is also showing a remarkably familiar trait of being clumsy. Sorry Henry, we don't all grow out of that! 

Have a great week, and Happy Mother's Day to the mums in my life XXXX

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yum, your tea sounds nice!! The muffins look great as well.
Not sure about the soup but I will take your word for it!

I made cupcakes which turned out pretty nice..yum. Henry had a great day and is sleeping soundly, fingers crossed for a good nights sleep for us all.
The quilt looks great..very bright and colourful.
Off to bed now...

Love to you and John,