Monday, November 23, 2015

Last of the summer crop.

It has been a very strange year weather wise however the veg have mostly  done well.
The last three pounds of tomatoes. 22.11.2015.
The tomatoes have been exceptional, we have never picked tomatoes right into November not even when we lived in Spain, the cape gooseberries also keep on coming.
The garlic which was planted a couple of weeks ago is now up an inch, hopefully we will have another good crop but the onions are still waiting to go in.
My side of the table.
Yesterday I attended the first of the local Christmas craft fairs,
Bridget's side.
it was much quieter than last year although there were far more stalls including one that I shared with a friend.
The whole table. (Bridget looking happy.)
The only stall that did good trade was the sticky bun stall, it seems that people coming out of mass do so with an appetite. It was worth while doing but only just. The next one that I am doing isn't until the 5th of Dec, maybe by then people will realise that Christmas is just round the corner. There is always quite a bit of work involved to do any of these fairs,
First mix everything together.
first off was the Christmas puddings, this is a two day job, the first day mixing up all the fruit and breadcrumbs mixed with Guinness and the whole thing is left to infuse overnight,
Divide into individual bowls, cover the bowls and boil for a long time!
the mixture then gets spooned into bowls, well covered and boiled for seven hours, thanks goodness for a range, it would work out very expensive if you were using gas or electricity. Once they have had their first cooking I then package them.  Nowadays you have to list all the ingredients, highlighting any ingredient that people might be allergic to.
 I know when I first did my training allergies were virtually unheard of, eggs, shellfish and peanuts appeared to be the only things that a very few number of people would react to, now there is a list half a mile long, OK maybe not quite that long, but you get the idea, one I find very strange is mustard, this is one of the longest used spice known to man, when did it become an allergen?
I also made two different types of Marmalade, one straight forward one
and one with whiskey. The glass painting gets done throughout the year, when ever I have a moment or feel the urge.     
A storm approaching.
Like the UK we have also been having some wet and very windy weather with a couple of light frosts
Late rose.
but the roses have carried on blooming,
even the hydrangeas are still looking quite good,
A splash of colour.
and the Mahonia is now in flower, it smells lovely.
I have now picked up the two bowls that I did on the first pottery course, they had to be fired,
I am please with them for a first attempt and will look forward to doing the full course when the tutor returns from her trip to New Zealand.
I love my wonky veg, warts and all, it gives then character.
Judging by the amount of blogs talking about food waste and the comments it would seem that Hugh F.W has managed to get through to quite a lot of people, maybe the supermarkets will for once listen to what their customers are saying, but I wont hold my breath on that one, even though Morrisons have now said that they will donate what would normally be classed as waste food to charities. Being a rather cynical person I suspect that will only be for as long as they think people are watching what they are doing.
A wonderful sunset on our way back from a friends.
The same sunset over a lough.


  1. I thought my tomatoes had done well lasting till the beginning of November but what a result you've had. Your stall looks lovely and I'm glad it was worthwhile doing, I shall keep my fingers crossed that you do a little better at your next one.

    1. The next one is a fund raising for one of the Organic gardens, I did it last year, it's more networking than making money although it is nice to make a little! I have never known tomatoes to go on as they have this year, and the physalis is still going strong so I can use them in place of tomatoes if I need to.

  2. Love the bowls, well done. Also your stall looked lovely, maybe I should tackle a craft fair....if I'm being brave!

    1. You should have a go B.G, you get to meet new people and make contacts, you do so many handicrafts I would have thought it would be worth while for you, your upcycled stuff should do well as well as your lovely cards.

  3. Your bowls look like Pinch Pots. I did pottery many many years ago and if i go to Mum's you'll still see her using a salt holder and a few odds pots that i made - well Mum's have to display their children's artwork, dont they?

    If i was at that stall, i'd go home with a boot load of home made products for Christmas gifts and use in the home. I also think you are brave doing markets. People are fickle and usually want quality for nothing. Im not sure i'd be able to put my best out there for comment. So kudos to you.

    Your rose is so beautiful. I have more wonky supermarket pics on my next post, when i get around to it.

    1. The pot on the left is a coil pot, the one on the right is a pinch pot, Jacqui, my tutor has given me some clay to play with while she is away, I preferred doing the pinch pot to the coil and I cant practice the coil without slip which I don't have. I enjoy doing the craft fairs and you do get to know some interesting people. I sold two peices of my glass work plus a few pots of marmalade and fudge, I think it might have been too early for the Xmas puds but I have some ordered anyway. I have rule that I wont by mass produced presents so anything that I buy comes from craft workers or it's something that I have made myself. We have still got quite a few roses out.

  4. Hi Anne,
    Like the chair on last blog.
    Your stall, as always looks wonderfully tempting.
    I have not made any puds or cakes this year, but will do mince pies, pannetone and stollen. Have made Rumtof, lots of spicy chutneys and alcoholic marmalade.
    I also love our ooak veggies, especially the carrots which always look rude. Simple pleasures!
    The heathers, late roses and of course cyclamens are giving so much cheeriness on and in these dark days. I use the word dark in all senses.
    I do very much like your pots.
    Reading the blogs about HFW's waste, afraid that I am more cynical than you. It is yet another bandwagon for competitive and praise seeking bloggers to jump on. They are still boasting about all the cheap food they are buying in the supermarkets. At the same time decrying the poor farmers being put out of business by said supermarkets. Hypocrites!
    Off for a walk now in order to calm down, then home to a small dram and tom and lentil soup, in that order.

  5. We are debating whether we will do a Christmas cake or not this year, funnily enough that was something I was asked for at that craft fair, however I have never done them for sale mainly because of the price I would have to charge as we only use organic fruit, I am thinking of making a few pots of mince meat for sale however as the next sale is organised by the organic garden and I figure that the people who support that sort of place will be looking for something that does not contain palm oil, have you noticed how just about everything has palm oil in it? I know what you mean about people criticising food waste and then go on to talk about their supermarket bargains, do people not think? If it's so cheap why is it so cheap, don't they realise that it's the farmers that take the hit, not the supermarkets. Talking about wonky veg, I think it was last year when we had a potato that looked just like David Cameron!

  6. I love your bowls, lovely colours and patterns. The stall looks great, what a lot of work!

  7. I'm looking forward to doing the full course when she gets back from her trip, I have all sorts of ideas of things I would like to try to do. I enjoy doing the craft fairs although as you say it is a lot of work.

  8. Wow, your stall looks great, glad it was still worth doing but hope you do better at the next one. I don't do Christmas presents, but if I did, handmade gifts and these markets seem the way to go. Was Ireland hit by Black Friday madness? I get the bus through the centre of town and it was heaving and crazy Friday evening. Depressing. ...Bowls looks great too, love the colours.

  9. If black Friday happened here I didn't notice it!

  10. You know what I'm like regarding shopping, if shops didn't exist I'd be quite happy.

  11. Anne
    Your first attempt at pottery is wonderful, I never graduated to a bowl, just couldn't make it happen. Tomatoes in November is wonderful.Too many vendors for shows I think. They do it here in the states, take in as many as apply to get their money then there are too many for the amount of people that come.

  12. One is a pinch pot and the other one is a coil, I looking forward to doing slab, it looks like fun. We had hoped to keep the tomatoes going until Dec but we needed the space in the tunnel, still third week in Nov wasn't bad. I think people are more interested in buying mass produced imported stuff rather than hand crafted.