”Are you busy on the 1st of March?” A simple question which elicited another simple question “why?” Our daughter and fiancé had decided to get married! In such a simple way, the advent of a wonderful day was announced. Ferry tickets booked, wedding cake made,  house sitters arranged, an alarm call booked and the morning of departure arrived.

Katy on the way to her wedding

Katy on the way to her wedding

So on the 1st March, St. David’s Day, we waited to take Katy to her wedding. On the way out of the hotel, she was serenaded by the Flint Male Voice choir who were also staying in the hotel. I do not think any bride could have received a more rousing send off. Particularly appropriate as her great grandfather, Evan Evans, was Welsh. As the young couple are living and working in England, they opted for a small family wedding near to their new home in Cumbria. It gave Warwick and I the opportunity to visit an area that we have visited a number of times in the past.

Katy and John in Cartmel

Katy and John in Cartmel

1238120_10152058124626220_679439364_n Walking to reception

Walking to the reception

1798616_10152058134926220_606723512_n Wedding Cake

Katy and John’s Wedding cake with shamrocks and roses

 

Portion of wedding cake

Portion of wedding cake served to guests

* I am including the recipe for the gluten free cake later in the blog.

Another Great Celebration

Last Saturday, nerves jangling and kept sitting on the edge of our seats as the Irish rugby team edged towards a win against France and at the same time winning this year’s  Six Nations Championship. For Brian O’Driscoll, it was his last match in an Irish Jersey so we were already in great spirits on St. Patrick’s Day. In the past, St. Patrick’s Day was an occasion to pack up the car and travel either to the local parade with uniforms and tin whistles or to Pony Club hunter Trials. This year, it was spent in the garden cutting shrubs back as we get ready for the opening of our season and the arrival of our first guests. All day long, we were serenaded by a robin, who hopped from branch to branch, occasionally, dropping down onto the freshly turned soil to hunt for worms or other tasty morsels. At one point, there was a quick scuffle in one bush as two cock robins ‘squared off ‘ against each other. Fighting for territory, no doubt. Dispute over and the hunt for food continued.

Cock Robin, the entertainer in the 'Sheep'snose' apple tree.

Cock Robin, the entertainer,  in the ‘Sheep’snose’ apple tree.

Potato Plantinag and St. Patrick’s Day

Country people traditionally begin planting potatoes about the time of St. Patrick’s Day, beginning with  ‘first earlies’,  Main crop potatoes are planted later. However, the  seed potatoes, we had ‘ chitted’ in February had developed good shoots, so they were planted last week. We laid the potatoes out in tray and covered them with newspapers to keep out the light. In Warwick’s father’s time the men on the farm would sit in the harness room or the coach-house and cut some of the previous year’s potatoes into pieces, ensuring that each piece had shoot buds.This would usually be done in February and was dirty, cold work.

Chitted potatoes ready for planting.

Chitted potatoes ready for planting.

The Renovation takes shape.

Faced with a semi derelict stable block apparently in terminal decline we took a big step in deciding to convert it into Studios and Exhibition spaces. In partnership with Leader, we started to halt that decline which we began by emptying the stable block last autumn. (see November’s Blog). Now re-roofed with some of the original and other salvaged slates; new floors have been poured  and the plumbing and electrical systems are going in. The project is heading towards completion.  The plan is to  provide facilities for guests staying in the house and other similar accommodation operators in the area.  For small business meetings, family events, possibly even small weddings.

Clumps of daffodils moved from side lawn during landscaping.

Clumps of daffodils and snowdrops  moved from side lawn during landscaping.

Daffodils in Lady's walk wood

Daffodils in Lady’s walk wood

Saffodils 005

Next landscaping project is to conceal lids of tanks!

Advertisements

Full steam ahead to Christmas

November 23, 2012

Christmas cakes are underway

Christmas cakes are underway

We have been making the Christmas cakes to the same recipe we have been using for years. A medium fruit cake which does not take weeks to mellow.We put halved, split almonds, on top of the cake instead marzipan and royal icing. Many friends and family members always seemed to leave both on their plates’.

The Christmas Pudding is made.

This year we have used a recipe I was given …. years ago. Miss Campbell was a lecturer at the college I attended. Warwick makes both the pudding and the mincemeat. We plan to make the mince-pies  tomorrow. As they are time consuming to make, we make them a couple of weeks ahead of Christmas and freeze them.

 

Last of the Apples

The apple harvest was not as good as in the past two years.

We actually had masses of small tasty apples which were windfalls. A neighbour and her children came to help pick the last of the apples on the trees; and to gather the better windfalls.. Tedious to wash, scrub and peel. Nevertheless, we persevered and we made some delicious apple chutney and just one batch of apple butter.

Last of the windfalls

Last of the windfalls

Even mum helped picking

Even mum helped picking

Apple chutney

Apple chutney

Nanny Mac’s Apple Chutney

Recipe (Makes 12 x 325 gm. jars)

48         oz      Apples -prepared

24         oz      Onions

24         oz      Brown Sugar

16         oz      Cider Vinegar

8            oz      Raisins

8            oz      Sultanas

0.25      oz      Fresh ginger – peeled and grated

1            oz      Salt

0.25      oz      Dried Chillies

0.25      tsp     Cayenne Pepper-ground

2-3 Cloves garlic- crushed *

Method

  1. Peel and chop onions
  2. Grate fresh stem ginger
  3. Cook apples and onions together in vinegar.
  4. When soft add brown sugar and remaining ingredients.
  5. Cook until chutney ‘mounds’
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary
  7. Fill pre-heated jars
  8. Screw on lids firmly.

*optional