Thursday, April 26, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
We move on nearly three decades, Bert and I live at Springhill now and the Araucaria tree is still there, I still don't care for them very much but the history of this house is not about me, it is about everyone who ever lived here. Because Johnny Orr cared about this tree I never want it not to be here. I love it because I loved Johnny. And there are still dogs racing under it. That dog may look like a giant hamster but she is a dog, a blurry dog, an action dog, running in the shadow of the Araucaria that Johnny Orr planted many years ago.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
What's Swisser doing with my chair?
Sure we never use them.
We do so! You've no business to be giving away the things that I buy with my own money without asking me first.
Sure you didn't even know where they were.
I did so! One was is in the poly tunnel, your man was perched on it yesterday and the one she's lifted was in the shed, folded against the wall behind the seed potatoes.
Oh! That's a lovely dish.
You should tell Bert how much you like it and then he'll probably give it to you.
That's something belonged to Nelly's mother. Isn't it Nelly?
Actually I found it among your mother's things.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I've started 15 gallons already and I now have an assistant (not Bert) who has helped me with the last three batches.
These are the wines that are currently in production.
|Rhubarb the first|
|Rhubarb the second|
|Blackberry and Raspberry|
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
It must have been 30 years and one day ago that my mother and I got on the Ballymena town service bus and asked the driver to take us to the Waveney Hospital. I was going in for a planned delivery which would take place on the following day. Of course I didn't tell the driver that, or that I was around ten days overdue. Anyway he took one look at me, drove straight to the bus station, left the other passengers there and got Mum and me on to another bus whereupon he drove us straight to the door of the Waveney Maternity Unit. Nice guy.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Monday, April 09, 2012
And this is Bert's Aunt Annie, who, when she was a girl and lived on this very farm. Those chooks are living where pigs hang out these days and I note than chickens keep a far tidier house and yard than Rusty and Lily do.
This is a shot of Pearlie and her dog taken a few years ago. That shed to her left is gone now. You can just make out to the right of the flock little Bernie the black bantie who lived for many years, until the fox finally grabbed her as she was minding her one and only chick. Bernie was the only one left when we came to live here and when I suggested getting some laying hens, Pearlie protested, "What need d'ye have of a lot of oul hens?" which I thought was rather unreasonable. We ignored her and got them anyway. Free range eggs are better by far.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Darling is awfully calm about it all. I don't know how she can get all that organised in 20 minutes and still have time to smarten up. In my case 'smartening up' would mean removing one pair of mud-stained and pig-snotty jeans for clean pyjama trousers. No wonder Bert never brings his boss home! Oh but I forget - he doesn't actually have a boss, unless you count Clint and he's just bossy.
I see Darling gives all the credit to her bloody gas cooker. We modern women are not so much in thrall to our kitchen machinery. We like to take the credit for ourselves. Well I do anyway. I prefer cooking with gas myself but it is me who plans the meals, shops and prepares - not the bloody appliance.
What a corker Darling is. Sir announces that she and hubby are relocating to Brazil and she doesn't bat an eyelid or turn one perfectly coiffed hair. Just hopes that she can have a gas cooker out there. That's the sort of standard the ordinary woman had to live up to way back in 1959. No wonder she persuaded hubby to buy her a gas cooker so that she could live the dream of peach crumble, tiny-waisted taffeta dresses and promotions that took her and hubby all the way to Rio de Janeiro.
Sunday, April 01, 2012
He's not so little these days. That's Joe helping Daddy to paint something. Joe celebrates his 48th birthday today. At least, I hope he's celebrating. Mind you - it's a bit much when Child Number Seven is that sort of age. Makes Child Number One feel pretty ancient.
Party Time The Earlier
Our good friends the Banjos came over last night and we had a small party for ourselves which consisted mainly of chocolate, wine, whiskey and pork and bean stew. I had intended taking charge of the catering but I was busy with my country wines, lots of sterilising, racking and little tastes. The raspberry has a divine flavour already but the carrot will need a lot more time. Speaking of wines, Mr D and I started a batch made with birch sap. That was a new one for me. We're also planning on making nettle wine and Japanese knotweed wine this year.
But anyways – back to the Banjos and the catering. I had intended making some kind of a cassoulet but before I got to it Jazzer had the meat and some onions boiling in water. I nearly fainted! What about the browning off and seasoning? What about the vegetables?
Jazzer doesn't do vegetables. She hates them and she says her children hate them too. Personally I think it is a miracle that the authorities have allowed her to keep those children. But she has an excuse. It's not that they hate all vegetables – it is just that they hate cooked vegetables. Why, Jazzer will tell you, her sprogs have eaten delicious raw vegetables all their lives. They cannot get enough of them. They scoff them by the bucket load. If I dredge through my early memories of the Banjo young 'uns I do recall pleas of,
Nelleee! Can I have a carrot?
Nelleee! Can I have some celery?
And then five minutes later they'd be in shouting for crisps and the yard would be strewn with carrots with just one small bite taken from each one.
So, back to the pork in water. Jazzer assured me it would be delicious and she started looking for things to add. In went a tin of tomatoes, some fenugreek (?) and other assorted spices and seasoning. She refused carrots, assented to mushrooms (then didn't use them) and I managed to get her to throw in some tinned kidney beans. She still felt it needed something. And started to hunt for vinegar. I was a bit worried about this. Anyway she located the vinegar (it was actually sloe gin) and put the whole lot on a slow simmer.
Two or three glasses of Merlot later it was time to serve. We boiled some rice and we dished. I'm afraid the dishing lacked finesse. I'm sure that weary cowboys around a campfire in Montana would have served their pork and beans with more delicacy. Then. Guess what? Jazzer didn't even have any! Said she wasn't hungry! Deprived the rest of us of delicious vegetables because she didn't like them then didn't even eat it. I was raging. And how was it, for those of us that ate it? It wasn't bad at all. The sloe gin helped.
Party Time The Later
I went to bed at around eleven and I'm told the rest followed at about midnight. Charlie and Judy were left downstairs, where to their glee, some fool hadn't closed the fridge door properly. They feasted on cat food, chocolate, butter, cheese and salami. At some point a fight broke out. Probably over the salami. Judy barked for assistance and Bert got up to rescue her. He failed to notice the signs of Canine Party Time. When I got up this morning Charlie was lying on the sofa surrounded by an incredibly clean and shiny cat food tin, several chocolate wrappers and the shredded butter paper and two piles of disgusting buttery vomit. Ah well. Better out than in.