A good suggestion

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who visited St Paul’s Cathedral in London today.

The sky was blue when we woke up and the sun was out, but as the temperature had been at 2°C (36°F) at six o’clock, it wasn’t very warm. An occasionally gusty wind did nothing to make the day feel less than very autumnal.

Mrs Tootlepedal was somewhat improved but not yet back to full strength, and wisely retired to her bed after breakfast.

I did the crossword, made Mrs Tootlepedal a cup of coffee, cycled to the corner shop and then wandered round the garden. Once again, I was delighted to find that by and large, the flowers had risen above the cold early spell and were greeting the sun with a smile.

Roses are blooming…

…visitors are still arriving…

…and all is well.

I did some useful things as well as wander. I watered the tomatoes and the peppers, dug up some swedes and stored them safely, picked some runner beans, cut a little more of Mrs Tootlepedal’s mini meadow and did some dead heading. I also dug up three turnips to show our sons that they are not the only ones who can grow vegetables.

I wandered some more.

After some years when they have not done very well, Mrs Tootlepedal is very happy that a change of bed and some special care has led to the fuchsias thriving this year. On the other hand, the red poppies near the greenhouse came up spontaneously and have had no care and they are doing very well too.

My last act of the morning was to dig up a couple of leeks, get an onion from the store, find a potato and turn all of them into a leek and potato soup for lunch.

While it was cooking, I watched the birds for a while.

A greenfinch posed for a portrait and then a siskin showed a watching chaffinch how to get a foot in first in a race for a perch.

Greenfinches didn’t always manage to find peace and quiet though.

Mrs Tootlepedal came down to join me for lunch and stayed up for the rest of the day.

After lunch, I swithered about what to do by way of exercise. I took a couple more bird portraits…

…and then killed a little time by watching the birds from an outside bench…

I couldn’t make up my mind whether to go for a walk or a pedal, and I was in serious danger of doing neither when salvation appeared in the form of a phone call from our friend Nancy. She had been for a walk herself and had passed a good clump of unpicked brambles which she thought might be of interest to me. She was right, and I put on my walking shoes and went to pick brambles.

I found enough to make the walk worthwhile, and when I got home I thought that I might as well drive down to Irvine House and pick the ones that I had seen on my cycle ride yesterday. I did that and while I was there, I checked to see if there were any more down by the river. There weren’t but I took a picture or two while I was looking.

It was a fine afternoon as you can see and when I got home, I had another quick stroll round the garden to enjoy the late afternoon light.

I hadn’t picked a great many brambles but as I had some jam sugar in the cupboard and we had been given a gift of some cooking apples by our neighbour Liz, I put them together and found that I had enough to make a few pots of bramble and apple jelly.

Jelly purists will be distressed by the bubbles trapped by the hexagonal jam jar, but as I said to Mrs Tootlepedal, it is not likely that the jelly will stay long enough in the jar for anyone to notice if I have anything to do with it.

I should say that I was looking on the internet before I made the jelly and it said, “Do not use hexagonal jam jars or bubbles will get trapped in your jelly.” Not everything on the internet is fake news.

We had fishcakes with potatoes, beans and turnips from the garden for our tea. We considered that we should probably be trying to grow more of our own food as we have enough space to do so. It would mean taking the storage more seriously than we do at the moment, as at present we eat most of the stuff that we grow fresh out of the garden and it is gone before winter sets in.

The flying bird of the day is a departing siskin.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “A good suggestion

  1. The gentians are mind blowing. I’ve never seen another gentian like them.
    The river views were much better than what I saw here today. The weather people promised sun but we saw clouds.
    Best wishes to Mrs. T. I hope tomorrow will find her feeling even better.

  2. Good to hear Mrs. T is doing better today. Sometimes a good rest cures many ills.

    A beautiful selection of photos from a fine day, and I agree you have no need to worry about trapped air bubbles in the jam, it will be eaten before long. 🙂

    A few very light rain storms passed through, but in general it was a mostly cloudy day with some warm sun. Rick picked pinot noir grapes from our vineyard, and I crushed grapes and started a batch of wine fermenting.

      1. Pinot noir does well in the Willamette Valley. The birds and bees like grapes too, and it is a race against them. We have some insect netting up, as bird netting does no good against bees and wasps.

  3. I am so impressed with your skills in the kitchen. I do not know how to preserve jam in jars and must learn. SImply must. My grandma made all kinds of jams and jellies, made pickles and canned all sorts of produce from her garden. I helped but wish I had paid better attention, because I am with you on the usefulness of growing and preserving food. I got a book called Putting Food By which I will read this winter. So far, all I have managed is using a dehydrator. The times really do seem to call for putting food by. Canning jars were in short supply here and friends could not find the lids for the tops except at price gouging prices online.

    I am so glad Mrs T feels better. One gets worried these days when someone takes to their bed.

    Your evening light photos are beautiful.

  4. Good to read that Mrs T is feeling perkier today. Soup was the order of our day too! Parsnip and apple ( recipe from the NT magazine this week)..tasty! I went blackberrying this afternoon as well! Apple and blackberry crumble for tea plus icecream!!! Well, we all deserve a treat or two sometimes! I only grow veg that we eat straight away and don’t store…potatoes and onions store easily…but other veg seem too much effort and I have had disappointing results in the past! I’ll enjoy reading what you decide to do and maybe follow your lead!
    Great bird portraits and splendid shiny purple turnips!

    1. I think that preserving the veg in some way that makes it interesting to eat would be the secret. Just getting old turnips out pf a sack is rather dull after a while.

      Parsnip and apple soup sounds exciting.

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