Saturday, 6 October 2012

here, there and everywhere

I used to think that spring is my busiest time, with all the gardening jobs etc. but it seems that bit by bit autumn becomes busier as well! or maybe it's just me getting older?:) anyway, I am trying my best to keep up with it all, but it means that there's little time left for blogging about it.
I have been picking stuff all over the veggie plot, but on the fruity side our harvest will be miserable this year. a tiny bowl of plums, a few elderberries and the usual rosehips. plus some raspberries... the only thing I can still pick and quite regularly (even though not in huge amounts) are the blueberries. we eat some and I freeze some... and look forward to repot a new addition to my blueberry selection, which I received a few days ago:) the measly harvest doesn't surprise me - that's what you get when the weather has been cool and wet since spring!
the only plants in the vegetable area, which grew exceedingly well were the kales, nero di toscana. I prefer the smoother leaves to the more curly kales, because they are so much easier to wash (I am not a vegetarian, but I don't like creepy crawlies in my meals:)) the chillies are a bit of a surprise, because they were red in the photo on the label - but stayed yellow with me. I think I am going to turn most of them into a paste, "diluted" with tomatoes, because we don't really eat very hot food. should be enough to last us a whole year:)
 this is another first for us - grapes! we tried for years to grow them, but it never worked until we tried this variety (black hamburg? not sure....) inside our dome. outside they make a lot of leaves, but nothing in the way of flowers, never mind grapes. they are small, but they do taste nice! we have to share them out evenly, because there are so few to go around:)
the small pinkish berries are berberis berries! this breed has white berries that turn pink when ripe. they have a very clean lemony sour taste - maybe I should juice some and use it instead of lemon juice? not sure they would do well in a jelly....
I did pick a small bowl of blackberries (wild, they grow everywhere, but aren't exactly plentiful either this year) and decided to make a berry cake. I made a sponge base and covered it generously with (bought) strawberries and our own raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. then I covered it all in a fruity jelly, made from fruit juice, some sugar and gelatine. (forgot to take a photo of the finished cake!). which tasted nice, but was a bit of an effort, because I started rather late and it took ages to set. and of course eventually I didn't have quite enough, so I had to start again with an instant job in a bag - close to two in the morning:) which had to be added hot - and started to melt the gelatine at the bottom, so part of it all seeped out at the bottom.... I could write a book about cake "stories" like that!
this is a mini lemon! I got my hands on one and gave it to my husband for his birthday. it was small, but covered in buds. it has flowered quite generously, but the first lemons were tiny, about the size of a generous blueberry! the second set though is much bigger now! I wonder if they treated the plant with growth stunt, so that it will slowly turn into a normal lemon producing tree? wouldn't mind that, because I think those small lemons are difficult to squeeze... at least they are untreated "bio" lemons and we're checking every day if one of them has turned yellow yet:))
a few days ago we had a mighty hailstorm out of nowhere. no plants were damaged but after a while we found this dragonfly dead in a large puddle:( I think it must have been too fragile to withstand hailstones like that, but we were too late to save it from drowning:( they are so very beautiful with their huge, fragile wings - the pattern in them looks like smoky lead glass pieces!
and from this angle you can see why they served as inspiration for the first helicopters. the wings look just like the blades of a heli before take-off.
I do bits and pieces on the side, during tea breaks etc. I dug out another bag ful of old cotton yarns and started to make wash mitts. I can use only so many dishcloths, but wash mitts are nice for small gifts! stuff a nice piece of soap inside (handmade, if you can find one), pack 2 or 3 nicely and you'll have a secret santa or a small something, when you visit someone.
for tv knitting I started the revontuli with my "black to white" handspun merino. this photo was taken about 10 days ago, the start in deep black (sorry, the flash doesn't like to show deep black:). it is a very simple pattern, after the first few rows it really is more or less mindless knitting.
this photo is from today and you can see that I am nearly done. I am going to reach the white part soon - though I have to say that by now the whole thing is a bit boring to knit. no wonder, with close to 500 stitches per row and nothing much to do but knit stockinette, with an increase every 50 sts or so. I know - it looks like a bag, but with so many stitches on the needle, I cannot even open the knitting up on my longest one! another two or three tv evenings - and I should be ready to block!
this is the dark blue silk (handspun) again, for which I couldn't find the right knitting pattern. I tried quite a few, but didn't like any of them. when I checked one of my crochet mags (crochet accessories 2011) I stumbled across a very open pattern, adorned with some beads. I would like to make a scarf for myself, silky and not too warm, more decoration than garment, and I quite like the open effect so far. the beads are matte silver-lined glass, only blues and turquoise plus some clear glass, also silver-lined for a bit of sparkle. they remind me of sea glass, so maybe I should call the scarf mermaid's net with sea glass?:) I did discover something weird though, when I took the pic - I must have gone senile this morning, because I turned after doing only half a row - and now have a funny step in the middle. nothing for it but to frog, but luckily it's only half a row.
now off for kitchen duty - right now I wouldn't mind a holiday, preferably with lots of knitting time - and no gardening jobs whatsover:)


Delighted Hands said...

Nice stuff going on even if you are busy-I sure laughed over your cake story-that is me in the kitchen! Great ideas but not always great results. I am sure if you covered the cake in whipped cream, it would be gone in no time! Nice knitting on the shawl-we knew it would be a stunning knit! the crochet is looking good , too, excellent use of that yarn!

Anonymous said...

schöne arbeiten zeigst du uns, danke wiebke..

und weintrauben sind auch toll im gewächshaus..liebe grüße wiebke

Andrea D. said...

Oh, viele schöne Fotos! Der Häkelschal aus der blauen Seide und den Perlen sieht super aus!

LG Andrea

Nina said...

You have been busy! That cake, even not quite finished looks delicious. I love the black to white shawl. It's going to look like wings when you are done. Gorgeous colour planning with that one!

Woolly Bits said...

Cindy - I usually run into baking trouble, when I try to do something impressive for visitors - my own fault entirely, I know:) and of course we had cream with it (nearly covered:)....

Wiebke - leider ist es hier im sommer zu kuehl fuer trauben draussen, wie es scheint:( und drinnen - wollen sie auch nicht so richtig. also, zum weinmachen wird es wohl nie reichen:)

Andrea - ich bin ein bisschen unzufrieden damit, dass die perlen immer nur von einer seite richtig sichtbar sind. vielleicht muss ich es nochmal aendern und sie im picot anders einhaekeln?

Nina - the cake was delicious - after all that work:) maybe I just shouldn't try to make it late at night?
the shawl is nearly finished - just a few more rows (with 600 sts each, haha) and the bind-off to do! fits the weather, it's turned cold and damp!

Leigh said...

Hmmm. I was positive I left a comment here about wishing for a photo of your finished cake! Oh well. It isn't the first time I've had issues with blogger.

My Meyers lemon is very slow to produce too. I think it took a year last time, to go from flower to ripe yellow fruit.

I need to get out my bits and pieces of cotton yarn and start making things too. Because Christmas is right around the corner!

Woolly Bits said...

Leigh - it looks rather odd now, because I have the large, but still green lemons on, also lots of smaller ones - and fresh flower buds. I nipped out a few of the new fruitlets to see if it influences the size of the lemons. I think when they ripen I'll try salted lemons for the first time - at least the size fits jam jars better than normal sized lemons:)
and yes, christmas is definitely coming closer - at an alarming rate:)