Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A cuddle, more plants and a jamming incident

Time for a cuddle

The ends are all sewn in and the cuddle cocoon has been delivered to a very happy granny who was overwhelmed by how it turned out.

I'll have to wait for a photo of baby inside so in the meantime little Ted helped model it for me.  He doesn't look too impressed does he?!

With Ted

Empty cocoon

Time for more plants/garden photos

I love autumn mornings, all misty and with that beautiful low sunlight which seems to make everything glow.  

Esther appearing from out of the mist

Tinker and I are out in the garden first thing and there is always a lot to see.  After I've tended the horses, the first thing I do is check on my caterpillars.

Cocoon watch of a different kind
I've watched them from caterpillar to cocoon stage and I can't wait for them to emerge.  I shall have to write a whole separate post about them as I've got some great photos. Inside the cocoon a Large White butterfly is waiting for the right time to greet the world and as I've been watching for over a month now I shall be very annoyed if I miss that moment!

Then we wander round the garden, just looking and soaking up the atmosphere. Plants are spotlighted and I notice so many spiders webs everywhere.

Elymus Glaucus (this beautiful bluey-grey grass would take over the world if given free rein so I have to lift and divide it each year!)
Water droplets on alchemilla mollis
Pretty leaves of a red acaena in the gravel bed
A mixture of sempervivums with a tiny alchemilla mollis plant that's seeded into the pot
There are self-seeded plants everywhere - plants for free!
Beautiful seedhead of Nigella.  When they are completely dry they are like little pepperpots and I just shake them over the area I'd like them to grow next year
The poor Leontodron nibbled by the naughty bunnies earlier in the year has now recovered and is ready to be replanted, with protection this time
Spider's web on parsley flowerhead 
A web on a rhododendron - look at those lovely red buds just waiting to burst forth next Spring 
Silvery/blue-grey leaves contrasted against dark red leaves
Beautiful Ballota, tidied for Winter
A close-up of the lovely felty leaves
In the summer sun it takes on an almost golden glow.  The tiny and rather insignificant flowers are  a magnet to bees, hoverflies etc

Time for Jamming

I'm still at it.  Jamming away.  I made a wonderful batch of raspberry jam the other day but I didn't boil it for quite long enough.

You're kidding me, right? Silly moo!
Fraid not, you beautiful Charolais cow.  I did the plate test and the jam thermometer read the correct temperature but it didn't set enough and was just the wrong side of set the next morning.

No worries, I've been jamming for about 45 years so knew what to do to rectify the problem; I just emptied the jars back into the pan and boiled it up again for another 5 minutes. It's only a problem if you over-boil it because you can't do anything about that.

Raspberry jam, set perfectly this time
Phew, that's a relief

Next will be blackberry and rosehip syrups.  Oh my, they are wonderful syrups for in the depths of Winter.

Perfectly ripe rosehips

Something to look out for right now - knoppers.  You'll see them on the ground underneath Oak trees, in amongst the acorns.  The knopper galls are caused by a tiny wasp that lays it's eggs in the leaf buds. They are green and sticky at first and then they turn brown.

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