Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Wild Surprise of a Different Nature

Son of COG came home from work the other day and said, 'I've brought you a surprise. 'That's good,' I said -  'as long as I don't have to feed it or clean up after it.'   He laughed  said, rather doubtfully,  'maybe the second.'

It turned out to be 2 large bags of wild grapes- 12 pounds of them, after they'd been cleaned.  I haven't made jelly lately, only jam, so I found a recipe for wild grape jelly on the internet. It was a bit of work, but it made 11 pints of wonderful jelly.   Wild grapes have plenty of pectin, but you have to use so much sugar to get it to gel that my recipe advised using a low sugar pectin to bring out the wonderful flavor.  This is not Welches Grape Jelly, it has a complex almost wine-y flavor that would even go well with meat.  And it's pretty good with freshly made bread and a cup or tea, too.  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

And Speaking of Wild Kingdom....

We had this guy on our screen last week.  He was a male because he had wings and Miss T assured us that only males have wings.

Evening in the Wild Kingdom

We had these visitors in our garden last evening:

The fawn was young, still spotted, and so sweet. He would graze for a while, then he would run around his mother in circles, leaping very high every few steps. Then back to eating.

I looked it up and fawns loose their spots by October of the year in which they were born - at 3 or 4 months.

We also heard males fighting the other night - it's rutting season.  There's a very distinctive slash of antlers and a sharp cry that they make.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Alien Life Form or Edible Foodstuff? - You Decide

My lovely neighbor brought me this from Maine. it's sitting on a 3 inch diameter jar lid. I keep wanting to wrap it in a receiving blanket - that's how big it is.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Stokesay Castle Highlights.

Back in March or April, we visited Stokesay Castle, a National Trust property, It was beautiful and atmospheric.  There were daffodils and sunshine and birds singing etc. But there were two things that, for me, were highlights.

The first was this old trackway. I'm fascinated by old trackways.  This one was appears on old maps as Bayham Track. It's believed that it was a droveway for pigs from nearby Bayham Abbey to market. Britain is filled with the very old remnants of tracks and hollow ways. They are steep-sided either worn away from use or sometimes they are very ancient boundaries between fields. The two owners would dig in the middle and throw the soil up on their side producing a hollow center with steep sides. No one really know how old some of them are. But the countryside is filled with them, sometimes only fragments now. Sometimes still marking boundaries. 

Here is a closer view:

And the second highlight for me was this funny little house.

It's an ice house. Apparently one that worked extremely well. Here's the inside. the roof is heavily thatched, so that any warm air would escape through the thatch, but that the cold would be held inside.

The hole that contains the ice is very deep. Because this is built on a rise just above the lake, any melt water drains back into the lake. I love elegant and simple solutions like this one. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Finished Closet

The closet is finished, apart from some tweaks that will take place over time. I just want to show you some photos.

Straight ahead as you enter - the window seat with boxed cushion.

To the Left, the COG's 'half,' which I realize is already a bit different.

To the Right, my 'half,'

This is the other side. You can see the mirror peeping out there in the middle. It's on wheels and fits into a narrow slot there. Also note the upper right, by the light fixture, there's a hollow where my suitcases fit perfectly.

One detail: The tin was the COG's mother's and the shoes are alligator, which she paid five guineas for in the 1930s. In those days 5 guineas was worth around $400 (according to the internet). I don't think she ever wore them. 

Puzzling British Road Signs

Turns out that 'Vogue Gyratory' is a place. It is where several roads came together near the Vogue Theatre, which is long gone. I did not know that a 'Gyratory' was a place where roads come together. Now I do.