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Three children (17, 15, 13)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

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“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

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growing vegetables

Fresh – My word of the week

Life is certainly sent to try us, isn’t it? Yes, one of those weeks. Although it takes with one hand and gives back, in basketfuls, with the other. A couple of blah! moments this week concerning cars and sheds, but also lots of joy-in-the-heart times, that keep the balance. Life is good. On the whole. I do like that caveat. I tell the children that it’s not about the cards you are dealt in life, but how you choose to play them.

So I choose positive. The get-on-and-deal-with-it-all. Weekend plans changed. Opportunities elsewhere.

The rain has definitely brought freshness. The garden is swelling in goodies. First of the garden peas, this week, as well as the cucamelons, from the greenhouse. They are refreshing to eat. A burst of cucumber, with a twist of lime/lemon, when you crunch into one.

I didn’t grow the watermelon, but it does give an idea of the size and likeness to the cucamelons. In Mexico, they call cucamelons, little mouse melons. It’s just how they look.

Also been cooking with courgette. Courgettes are so easy to grow. They give and they give, but I’ve really struggled to find recipes that the whole family will eat. This weekend, I made courgette fritters, which always goes down well. Next day, I tried a courgette and pesto pasta sauce also. Clean plates all round. Always a good test of a successful recipe, and good to have another option. My mission to find the collection of best courgette dishes continues. I feel encouraged.

It might have helped that I made the pasta from scratch too, to go with the sauce. I love making pasta, but it is time consuming. I find the trick, to good pasta, is to run the pasta through the machine on the lowest setting a few times. Folding and turning each time, until it’s smooth. Don’t rush it. Anyway, the meal went down well.

(good job as I have more courgettes lined up and ready to eat)

Finished Youngest’s bedroom, this week, and he’s moved everything back in. Fresh and light. It’s looking more like his room now, than it does in the photo above. He’s kept the floor uncluttered, by storing everything away. I still have soft furnishings to do, which means I have sewing time to look forward to.

Middle teen has finished making her quilt. She started it a few years ago. I’ll write more about it another time, because it certainly deserves it. (edited: quilt write up is here) Folded up in the photo, so it gives no indication of the size. It is a generous lap quilt.

Also had a visit from grandparents. Rain held off, so I could give them the garden tour.

Another week gone of the holidays. Over half way now, which always seems strange when the US and Scotland have already gone back. Planning to make the most of the time left. It goes too fast.

Joining in with Anne’s Word of the week linky. I’m going with the word “fresh”.

Word of the Week linky

Hold the fort, I need to stake the popcorn

If you were to step out of our kitchen door, into the garden, you would be hit by the fragrance of fig. Fresh fig.  It is a warm and exotic flavour. A morning treat, that’s only available for a few weeks from our tree. I make the most of it.

The fragrance is the tree’s way of telling me, that the next fig is ready for picking. I have to be quick. I don’t want the local blackbirds or wasps to cotton on. There was one notable year, when I actually had a tug of war, with a blackbird, over a fig. Neither of us could see each other through the foliage. Both believed we were pulling the fig from the tree. If memory serves me right, we both escaped with part of a fig and a story to tell.

Anyway, this week, there is plenty to choose from in the garden, if fig is not your thing. Unbelievably, three out of five of our household would be with you, on that one.

The hi-vis vest courgettes are ready to pick, along with the green variety too. Our cut and grow salad leaves are being model plants and keep on providing. First peas are nearly ready too.

The popcorn was hit by the wind, this week. There was a memorable moment, when I was heard to shout, “Hold the fort, I need to stake the popcorn”, as I rushed out the door.

All is fine. They are still standing. Escaped being flattened by the strong westerly.

One disaster I’ve had, is my cucumbers. Attack of the red spider mites. First time I’ve had this pest. They were killing the plants. I’ve taken action and cut back. Spraying with water and crossed my fingers. I’m hoping the plants will spring back and produce more in a month’s time. Usually we are awash with cucumbers. Not this year. I hope the rest of the plants escape the web spinning pests.

(bee escaping snapdragon)

Back in the house, we’ve had fun too. One birthday, this week. Eldest teen, this time. We went to an Escape room, as a birthday treat. First time any of us have been to one, so we weren’t sure what to expect. It had a Dr Who theme and was so much fun. We solved the puzzles and escaped in good time. The children are 12, 14 and 17, and are the perfect mix of age for this kind of activity now. Needless to say, they all want to go again.

I made another spinning card. A butterfly and nature theme. If you follow me on Instagram, then you might have caught a clip of it spinning as the card is opened. I’ve put it in my Craft tab on my Instagram profile now. All the materials were recycled.

Right. If anyone wants me I’ve escaped the mayhem of the summer holidays. I’ll be lying down on my chamomile lawn. Unexpected bonus in the garden this year, but very welcome. Oh the scent is heavenly.

Joining in with Anne’s Word of the week. My word of the week is Escape. Not the type that involves suitcases, but more to do with being kept on my toes. Unless I’m in the chamomile.

Word of the Week linky

The beauty of cooking from scratch

I love fresh produce in my kitchen. Even better when it has been harvested within the last hour, and only a fraction of a food mile on the clock. It’s one reason I push myself each year to grow my own, but I am doubly lucky. Our neighbours are amazing at growing fruit and veg, processing it into amazing food and they like to share. Their garden is so well set up. Puts me to shame.

This week, our neighbour wheeled her wheelbarrow around to see us. She had surplus garden produce to share. A couple of big punnets of cherry tomatoes, long cucumbers, mini courgettes, and types of tomatoes that I’ve only ever seen in the seed catalogues. I am truly lucky.

I was able to send her back with a spaghetti squash, but that was it. She had more than enough in her own garden. Including apples.

Everyone has enough apples around our way. The “Help yourselves to free apple” boxes have started to spring up along the lane. What is not given away, will end up as next year’s compost, so no waste.

While our neighbour was over, the conversation turned to the new wheelie bins the council will be issuing soon. A novelty to our village, as we still put black refuse bags on the roadside for collection. Collection will go from every week to once a fortnight. We both laughed that we’d never fill the new wheelie bins in a fortnight.

It’s true. Most weeks, I put one black bin out. Most times, I wonder if it’s worth putting out that week, as it’s barely full. Even our recycling bin has been only half full now the Aga is back on. Less ready meals and snacks as I’m cooking from scratch again.

When we were first issued with our green recycling bins, another neighbour used their one to plant daffodil bulbs in. They looked amazing, and, I suspect, were more use as a plant trough for them.

I’m half hoping I spot a tree growing out of their wheelie bin, this autumn.

Back to my bin bag. I’m convinced that the reason we throw less away is that I love to cook and hate to shop. This time of year is perfect. I can make meals from the food in the garden. Cooking from scratch, with minimal time in a shop.

Today, I put our neighbour’s courgettes to good use. Making courgette fritters, with a cucumber and yoghurt dip. This is the one and only way my family will eat courgettes. I blotted my copy book one year by growing too many and putting it in everything. I’m now banned from growing courgettes.

I wish I had made twice as much. They soon disappeared.

I do love this time of year. So many wonderful ingredients waiting for a recipe. Now I need to think of a meal to make the most of the unusual tomatoes. I’m thinking slices of mozzerella, with basil. Yum.

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