Friday, 26 August 2011

Harvesting the crop

Suddenly things need to be picked, bottled, frozen and potted again. Earlier in the summer the soft fruit (raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants) were either frozen or made into jam. But yesterday we harvested 20lbs of plums. We try to serve homemade jams and marmalade to our guests every morning for breakfast. And as I recently opened my last pot of 2010’s produce it was timely that today I have been making plum jam. It’s amazing to think that my one days jam making has produced enough to last another year. Nature’s bounty at its best.
The apples are nearly ready too although they have a much longer ‘tree life’ and we can go on picking them into October. We also have lots of pears and although they are lovely to eat I always feel they are less versatile for preserving. I have pickled them and bottled them in the past and also turn them into lovely deserts. But luckily I have found a Harmony Jam recipe which contains pears and apples so I will be trying that soon.
I remember as a child seeing lots of jars lined up in the larder, sadly I don’t have a larder mine have to go into the garage and a cupboard. When they are lined up waiting to be opened and spooned on fresh homemade bread it gives me a really satisfying feeling. That even though we live in a high tech, fast moving world jam making has stayed the same for generations and it makes me feel grounded and homely. Although to be fair I must confess to listening to my IPOD whilst I chopped, weighed, boiled and bottled!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

August and welcome to a new neice

Running a B&B as I have said before is an unusual way of life. Our days go from being extremely busy with no time to stop and look at the view, to more peaceful days when we have no guests at all. In addition we are involved in other things like the Flintshire Tourism Association, Holywell and District Twinning Association, our family and friends, our hobbies of painting for me and wood turning for Les. Oh and then there's the garden too. We did have a day off on Tuesday and met up with my nephew and his family and we all went on the Ffestiniog Railway, which was great fun.
Of course we are now in the middle of the busy Summer Season and most days are rush, rush, rush. It makes blogging difficult. I realise I havent written a word since June but I have found a few minutes today to write a line or two. (I should be ironing instead).
I'm not a big fan of August. The other problem of course is that everyone else is on holiday and we are not! And now that we are in August it makes me realise just how fast the year is going again. I always feel that the first half of the year upto July is somehow a slow climb, and of course the expression 'all down hill from here' seems to apply to August onwards. I wonder if it is the fact that we are heading again faster than we like to another winter and yet another Christmas (sorry to mention that word so early on but in four weeks or so the shops will start filling up with gifts and decorations for that 1 day a year that most people go mad for).
However on Monday 8th August little Emilie Elizabeth weighing 6lb 11oz was born to my brother and his wife and August dosn't seem so bad at all. It was Les's birthday yesterday so it's been a week of celebrating. A new baby girl to buy presents for and to spoil, what could be better!