ipomea flower

the last few days have seen me busy working around the house and garden.

Inside, i’ve been working on cards – September is always busy for that, as both my grandmothers have birthdays in September, and my father – and there are thankyou letters to write from my birthday as well. In addition there’s the final things for the memory box i’m giving my cousins as a wedding present from the wedding day back on 3rd August. I got a newspaper from that day, that week’s top selling single, and collected various things from the day – confetti, some of the menu cards from the table, that kind of thing. Mum was kind enough to get me a box (since sending a box would cost far too much money, and when we travelled down with Jess, it was bad enough wrestling 2 suitcases without adding a box to it too) and she’s been hoarding all this stuff for me until they could get over to our mutual grandmother and play postman. I made the final things for the box the other day: a presentation card for the set of 2007 stamps (Harry Potter!), and a gift card with a nice wedding poem inside.

Unfortunately i can’t take photos of any of these (or anything else) because the battery recharger for the batteries for the camera decided to break.. or at least, one of the batteries, when i went to take it out of the recharger, proved to be blisteringly hot (we were lucky not to have a fire, it was that hot, and took an hour to cool down) and the batteries, when i did put them in the camera, didn’t register a charge at all. Fortunately its less than a year old – i bought it in June from Aldi. I popped down on monday to get it changed, only (silly me), i forgot the receipt. I spoke to one of the shop workers and its no problem changing it, she’s got some in back and she said she’d keep one for me. So i shall go to get that today.

I’ve asked mum, however, to take photos of all the cards n things at her end, and email them to me, so hopefully, i will be able to post pics of my work in the long run. I’m quite pleased with the results: the presentation set of stamps has a charming set of ivy leaves with roses entwined around them (fake) that match the wedding card i gave them, and the card for my grandmother/thankyou letters have dried flowers from the garden – sweetpeas and morning glory flowers. I’ve been experimenting with microwave pressing flowers and it works quite well. I’m doing more every day, to build up a supply to see me through for a while.

I also got some blackboard paint, a paintbrush and some masking tape the other day. I’ve been working on replicating something like this on the jars i already have in the kitchen. Sez reckons i’d be better off using a chalkpen that pubs n the like use to make their boards, but i’ve no idea where to get one from. And seeing how difficult it is to write well in a small area with a big chunk of cheapy chalk from Wilkinsons (12p a box!) i can see what she means. Oh well. I’ll have to experiment 🙂 The biggest problem with painting the chalkboard paint onto the jars is my OCD tendencies – i want them all to look the same. and to look professional. and of course, if the masking tape is applied to each jar, they’re going to look different. hmmm. One could argue that looking different is the very essence of home made (as opposed to factory clones) but.. i know me. I’ll look at the shelves and think.. “that jar’s wonky”. (Ask Michiel about wonky – I have a problem with him when he cuts bread, cos he very often cuts it wonky. it drives me batty.) So that’s another problem to be addressed, one way or another.

In the garden, the tomatoes are nearly over now. I picked all the moneymaker tomatoes, and put in a bowl on the bedroom windowsill to ripen, and they’re ripening quickly. I haven’t bought tomatoes in a couple of weeks, at least, and its been lovely. The gardener’s delight tomatoes are still slowly going red – i go out each morning and harvest the red ones, which is something i really enjoy, there’s a great sense of satisfaction in it. I’ve inspected the sweetcorn to see if it is ready to eat yet, but its still pale green, so no idea if that will ripen in time before the inclement weather hits. I must get out there soon: time to start pre-winter tidying up, getting rid of the old tomato plants, the old courgette plants, the grow-bags and so on. Potting up the strawberry runners. Just general tidying up. The apple tree is plopping apples onto my veg beds, sadly they’re crab apples, so they can’t be eaten. I may look up the recipe for crab apple jelly and see if i can do that. In the greenhouse, one of my peppers has turned red, which i am mightily impressed with! I’m waiting to see if the others follow suit. I was hoping to hang on until i could take a photo of my red pepper, in situ, but i may have to pick it before then. the aubergines are growing well still. In this weather, not so warm outside, but still sunny, its getting up to 35*C in the greenhouse before i open the door in the morning for airing out which is doing all the plants a power of good. The butternut squash is turning into a monster: i’m leaving it in there in the hope that i might get one or two fruits from it. The cucumber plant is still producing too. I’m also getting lots of chillis. I’ve decided to leave them until they turn red too, and maybe make some chilli vodka, which will make Michiel a very happy bunny. Michiel: i said MAYBE.

Before i can do that though, i must make pickled onions (they should be hitting the shops soon, pickling onions) and the christmas cake and pud for mom to pick up when they come to visit, which i hope will be towards the end of Sept/beginning of October. I’ve emailed the publisher of the (now out of print) book where the christmas pud recipe is published, explaining the situation, that its a smashing recipe but its an out of print recipe, asking them to either tell me where the recipe is in an in-print book, or give me permission to post it on my not-for-profit blog with all credit to them. I’ve had an email back from someone saying she was looking into my request so with luck, i’ll be able to post it here. I do hope so ‘cos its a lovely recipe, and it doesn’t have either mixed peel or suet in, which is a bit hit with many people (so many xmas pud recipes seem to have one or the other), and its a gorgeous recipe. I’ve been doing them every year, in varying amounts, for about 7 years now at least, possibly longer.

I’m going to leave you with a lovely pic (at the top of this entry) that mom sent me a while back of an ipomea flower, more commonly known as morning glory. It looks very like the bindweed flower, in fact, its related, but without the weed-like/strangling properties that bindweed has. I’ve quite a few of these growing in the garden, and i gave plants to both mom and one of my grandmothers, i think mine have been a bit more productive than theirs though (especially at the moment, they’re flowering like crazy).  Anyway, its a stunning photograph, i think, and i’ve been meaning to share for a while. Thankyou, Mum!