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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Another One To Brighten My Day

Thanks Tanya for this lovely award, it brightened this dreary winter day to great effect. Its always nice to know that my blog is enjoyed by others and to know that it also makes others feel happy is a bonus. So I would like to say thank you to all my readers, I really cherish your company.
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The rules of the 'Happiness Award' are as follows;

1. I have to link back to the giver of the award (see above).

2. Then I need to list 10 things that make me happy (see below).

  • My husband.
  • My girls.
  • My extended family.
  • My creativity.
  • My garden.
  • My country Trinidad.
  • Flowers.
  • Observing wildlife.
  • Getting together with my friends.
  • Summer time.

3. And lastly I needed to link and pass it on to other bloggers whose blogs puts a smile on my face whenever I read them.

Maureen at Allotment Heaven

Jo at The Good Life

Lori at Pretty Things

Mama Syder at The Syders

Garden mum at Little Garden Helpers

The Drooling Vegetable at The Drooling Vegetable

Lisa at Lucid Moon Studio

and lastly I would very much like to pass this back to Tanya because your blog also makes me smile.

P.S. accepting this award is not compulsary, I just would like you all to know that you help to put smiles on my face :)

Ta! Ta! for now.

Friday, 29 January 2010

OH!! MY GOODNESS!!! Its Coming & Favourite Photo Meme

Jan 2010 THE FIRST SNOWDROP!!!!!!! Yah!!!!!
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Just this week I was observing that I haven't seen any floral signs of spring yet! not even an early daffodil, yep this has certainly been a cold winter. The mild winters of yesteryear's have had the environment so out of whack that generally you could find something blooming either late or early, but not this year. And then this morning when I looked out the window what did I spy tucked in a little sheltered corner but the first snowdrop, so I had to rush straight out and capture it on film to share. Shhhh! Spring is on its way, its coming!!!
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I'm still new to blogging its not been a year yet, so I'm not privy to all things involved in blogging or any other social networking thingy. I was kindly chosen to receive a couple blog awards last year which was really touching to me but I have never heard of memes before, till today when I was reading an update on one of the blogs I follow.
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The blog Little Garden Helpers has kindly passed on to me a Favourite Photograph Meme. I decided to go with a picture of one of my girls depicting them playing nicely together which always fills me with joy and peace.
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I took this photo of my girls last January 2009 -
Oh! Sweet happiness!
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Thanks again Garden Mum for passing this meme on to me, it was fun going through my photos to pick one although I must say picking only one was a challenge in itself.
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And now I must pass it on to others;
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P.S. there is no obligation to recieve this, its only for fun :)
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Well my mom is suppose to be taking annual leave early February so I'll be able to leave the little one at home and visit the allotment and get some jobs done, I hope the weather will be kind to me. So my next up date will be after those visits, unless I spend time in the poor neglected garden first.
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Ta! Ta! For now, keep warm and see you all soon.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Blogshop Update

I have just updated my Blogshop: Happy Valentine's
And yep its still to cold and dreary to get my gardening juices flowing, so nothing new to update on that front.
But from what I can see with other blogs is that things are equally quiet, so I don't feel too bad.
Anyhoo! wishing everybody keeps lovely and warm and I look forward to reading everyone's gardening exploits as soon as everybody starts to get busy again.

Monday, 18 January 2010

No More White Stuff

Yep, the snow is gone as off the weekend, well there still is the odd lump of ice sitting around but basically the landscape is back to its dreary grey dead looking winter-self.
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I had planned to make it the allotment Sunday gone to plant out some very late and yet to go in garlic bulbs but I got as far the back garden to survey the aftermath of all that snow and ice we had recently.
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There is a lot of mushy foliage to tidy up and I finally got to harvest some of my parsnips (they are on the right hand side of the picture) which as you can see were more top than root. There is a still some carrots in the ground, which tasted very sweet but was badly damaged by carrot root fly grubs, the parsnips which were planted n the same bed also had some root fly damages but not nearly as much. I also pulled for the first time some winter radish called 'Mooli Radish' which grew pretty magnificently but I had not harvested before as I didn't quite know what to do with it. The prolonged icy weather and sitting snow on the ground rendered the first 3" of the radishes inedible as it was obviously damaged by the freezing temps (you can see the damage better in the picture where they have been washed), the part of the root which was in the ground was fine to use though.
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I found this surprise a mushy smelly cauliflower head. Now I did grow some purple head cauliflower this year for the first time but the plats were badly infected with whitefly early last year and as such didn't amount to much. Near the end of summer the plants suddenly seem to catch themselves so I didn't have the heart to rip it out (yes I know I'm a wimpy excuse for a gardener but I'm working on getting more hard nail). I wanted to see if it would have produced a head regardless of how small. Well as you can see it did and though small it would have certainly been a fair amount to add to a dish of mixed sautéed veges. Sadly though I didn't know it was there and so we never got to taste home grown cauliflowers to see if we'd enjoy it (no one in our house cares for cauliflower). I'll try growing it again this year again just a few plants for taste testing before we decide whether it will become a regularly grown vege.
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Last night I chopped my way into another winter squash, now it is suppose to be onion squash but it is like no onion squash I ever saw pictured so I haven't really got a clue as to what its is. As you can see from the picture it is very pretty on the outside and on the inside its flesh is thick and it smelled very sweet iykwim. Its not huge nor is it small, its about the size of a large crown prince squash.
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All ready to go in the oven.
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Well all the root vege and a quarter of the squash was chopped up and roasted in olive oil with a small onion, herbs and seasoning. Everything tasted very nice but the radish was a bit strong and sometimes a bit bitter, I think I will try it next time in a stir-fry but finely sliced. The squash was absolutely lovely it would be a good candidate for an American style pumpkin pie as it is very sweet. It didn't maintain its firmness like butternut after baking and so I think it would melt away in stews, which is ideal if you are making soup. Its seeds were huge and white and will probably lend well to roasting.
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Well that's it for now, hopefully I will find or make some time to go to the allotment to plant out
the garlic bulbs I bought on Saturday and hopefully I'll get a nice crop from them. I am still busy making new pieces and items for my blogshop but I'll let you all know when they are ready.
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Thanks for popping by and Ta! Ta! For now.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

New Year Surprises

First off I would like to start with a thank you. My sister encouraged me to open my blog to the public way back when I started. And guess what my little sis was right, I have met people who seem to get some of the things that makes me tick. There is also the bonus of unexpected friendships formed, with people I most likely would have never met in my regular day to day life.
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So again thank you sis, your advice was spot on :)
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Now yesterday the first lot of delayed post came through the letter box and low and behold there was a little letter for me, I knew it must have been seeds of some kind but since I was not expecting anything I was a tad confused.
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A quick flip over and read of the return address told me who the sender was. It was from one of my newly formed friends I have made through my blogs, this blog in particular. Her name is Maureen and she also has a blog where she shares her gardening experiences; Allotment Heaven. She also recently started a new blog where she shares her delicious recipes which she cooks up with her allotment grown veg; Recipes from Allotment Heaven.
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Maureen saw these sweetpea seeds in her local M&S and got some for herself and a couple friends and I was one of the lucky friends. look at the colour of those sweet pea flowers, you just know that the scent is going to be gorgeous and overpowering. I can't wait to get them growing along my picket fence boundary.
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Now as far as I was concern the gift didn't stop there, look at the embellishments of the beautifully handcrafted card made by Maureen that the seeds were placed in. I was so taken by the simple clean beauty, that I was immediately inspired to create some wearable art. Plus I didn't want the card to get lost in my stash in a draw somewhere, I wanted to see it often and remember why I got it.
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So I decided to make a necklace using the clay focal point (also made by Maureen, ain't she talented) and the seed beads accent pieces.

So with some ribbon I picked up in town today and using some other pieces from home I created this mixed media necklace. Now every time I wear it I will remember a friend and her kindness.

So thanks Maureen not only for the seeds and the beautiful future they will soon bring but thanks for the inspiration you awoke in me yesterday. It is the first mixed media piece I have made that I'm pleased with, so thanks again for sharing your spark.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Snow Fun

Well we the entire family of five finally got to do our snowy winter walk through the woods, I surprised the kids wit a sledding treat using my very large seed trays which worked better when we stuck them into two blue sacks some other kids discarded when they were through with them.

Here are some photos of our walk.


Someone built an igloo.




This house which backs onto the woods always looks grand after it snows.


The little stream that runs through the woods broke its banks due to vegetation debris and flooded a low lying area on the edge of the woods that is prone to bogginess. I'm afraid i got trigger happy with the camera and took a lot of photos of the frozen water, etc.







The picture on the right shows where it broke its bank.


The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves and of course didn't want to go home.

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On the walk home I spied this frozen fellow being snowed upon, he didn't look upset though, actually I think he quite enjoyed it. And I love to see the bids footprints in the snow.
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When we arrived home we polished of the rest of the mince pies my mum baked the night before with some hot chocolate to warm us through. These pies were made with store bought pastry (but back home it would either be made with a simple dough mixture of flour, salt, baking powder and water, sometimes puff pastry is used), the filling was based on the West Indian version of mince pies, which are filled with well seasoned (that is lots of fresh herbs along with your salt and black pepper) cooked minced beef (we used though the vege substitute minced TVP/ soya mince as we call it).
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Back home to give the filling extra kick scotch bonnet chili chopped fine would be added, along with other yummy flavourful punches such as chopped olives and raisins, we left out the chillies though.
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They are lovely hot out the oven but taste just as nice room temp. Back home they are normally made much bigger like the size of an open palm and are generally eaten as a meal in the evening with local veg on the side.
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Because of their parcel packaging they also make great fast food and before the KFCs' and other fast food outlets took over the world they would be one of the things you could buy from a street vendor for lunch or after a late night of Trini Feteing!!!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Golly! What A Lot of Snow

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Well we have been living in a snowy wonderland since Tuesday Night. Schools were closed Thursday and Friday, my mum was stuck up in London by relatives from the Tuesday till Friday evening and as it is I don't see her be able to get to work on Monday coming. My husband on Wednesday evening 20 minutes away from home was stranded in the sudden heavy snowfall and remained that way for three and a half hours. getting home after nine in the evening.

The kids have been beyond themselves with playing in the snow and hubby who also suddenly had extra days off joined in with them. I though have not felt the need to go out in the snow but had decided yesterday to go for a walk in the woods today to take some photos and to enjoy the beauty but as you can see in the video above the weather has not been conducive to leisurely walks in the woods. From day break till now the winds have been blowing hard and the snow hasn't stopped falling.






Prior to all the snow we have had, there were signs of spring on its way with the emergence of tip of daffodil leaves piercing the soil surface. There are now under at least 10" of snow.

On a completely different note; another winter squash review. Pictured above is:- Kobocha. It is a small winter squash very sweet and not at all stringy, the texture of the flesh is very dense, with very fat seeds that should lend well to roasting (though I didn't try). It is much sweeter than butternuts and I think it would make a great American pumpkin pie.

I cooked it roasted and sauteed with other veges, both ways worked well and I think this is one I would be happy to grow again.

Oh! I almost forgot I have finally bitten the bullet and made public my other blog Me But A Little More In Depth, so feel free to check it out and if you ever want to go to it again the links can be found in the right hand column under About Me

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Don't Miss Out

To all my readers, just one quick reminder as I wouldn't want you all to miss out on a chance to win the gift at my 1st ever Blogshop giveaway.

There is only 7 hours left and comments left after midnight won't be counted, so spread the word and get a chance to take part, you might be lucky and win a belated Christmas gift for you or a loved one.

Goodluck everyone!!!

I'll be back to blogging soon, I'm first working out the kinks of my crop rotation plans for the garden and the allotment and as soon as it makes sense to me I'll share it with you all.

Tah! tah! for now.

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