Saturday, 27 August 2016

Extension Progress - Brickwork Up To Damp

So we managed to get a little bit further with the extension this week. Dill, my bricklayer, came for a few days and managed to get the brickwork up to Damp course and start laying some slabs on our patio.
Dill - the bricklayer
 The first day we spent a few hours making sure we'd accurately set it out. To help keep costs low I made sure that all the materials he needed were close to hand and I'd already made the "goal posts" that bricklayers use for setting out buildings. 
Goal posts for setting out the footings and blocks close by

Brickwork up
Now I've got the task of getting the drainage in place before filling the internal with the right layers of stone, insulation and then concrete. That means lots of work before he comes back! 

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Germany Stockpilling

Sol sent me a link yesterday about Germany recommendation to stockpile food and to be honest I hadn't been at my computer much so I would have missed it otherwise.

There are some news articles from the BBC here and the Independent here.

In short  the German Government has advised it's citizens to stockpile food and water for the first time since the Cold War.

This has resulted in what the Germans call "Hamsterkaeufe"  or panic buying. Shelves in some supermarkets have been stripped bare in a few hours with Germans trying to get enough food for the recommended 10 days and water for the recommended 5 days in case of terror attacks.

Another wake up call to keep household essentials in stock, if you lived week to week with your food then a simple news item like this could leave you without food for that week without anything even happening.

Do you have what the German Government is recommending in your store?

What would be the thing you'd have to rush out and buy?

Monday, 22 August 2016

Chilli's Ripening - Recipes Please!

I have a good selection of chilli peppers ripening at the moment. I think I planted about 10 different varieties with different degrees hotness so I'm looking forward to trying them all out, maybe I'll get some friends to play a chilli roulette! 

One thing I have been loving this year is a hot sauce to add to stirfrys, chips, pizzas and anything else that takes a sauce. By adding some once it's cooked it means that the children (and wife) can have it quite mild and I can ramp up the heat a bit more.

What I'm really after is a good recipe that I can preserve my harvest with, I want a good shelf life - and I don't mind canning it. I'm already planning on sweet pickling some like I have done in previous years but doing each jar with a mixture of different chillies in it this time.

What's your favourite chilli preserve recipe?

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Checking The Sheep In the Rain

After weeks and weeks of sunshine I don't even mind checking the sheep in the rain this morning!

I'm getting very low on grass so I was secretly hoping for rain to make it grow again.

I don't think any Brit can complain about the summer this year, it's been great so far! 
How has the summer been where you are?

Friday, 19 August 2016

Growing Cut Flowers

I normally have a simple rule in my garden - if you can't eat it, I don't grow it.

A nice bunch of non edible flowers
This year I've made an exception, my mum kept on to me to let her plant some flowers for the girls to pick. She haggled with me to give her half one of my 10ft by 4ft foot beds to grow some flowers in. 
So my mum and the girls planted up this bed back in May (and I planted the other half to carrots), all I've done is to keep it watered and pull up a few weeds. 
We've been rewarded with so many flowers, I've been picking a good bunch every week for the house as well as picking bunches to give friends that we've visited. 
The girls also love going out and watering their little patch as well as picking some flowers to give to their mum. 
I hate to admit it but this has been one of my favourite things in the garden this year. It makes my plot look more beautiful and you're constantly rewarded for months with flowers to bring into the house.

Without doubt I'm going to dedicate a whole bed to growing cut flowers next year (although I am increasing the number of beds that I'll be growing in anyway!). 

Do you grow flowers to cut to the house? 
Which are your favourite flowers for this?
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