Friday, July 26, 2013

BLUEBERRY BLACKBERRY .....can't make up my mind.

BLueberry OR Blackberry OR both. Just couldn't make up my mind. Talked to my friend, Faith, the other day. She loves blueberries. Especially blueberry pie, so decided to mix the two, since I love blackberries. Every time I cut into one of these pies I will think of her. If  I could mail one across the pond to her, I would. But  think it would get squished. 
 Need the freezer space for THIS year. So combined them  to make three freezer pies to bake later, or give away as gifts.
 SALT SPRING ISLAND PASTRY: 6 cups flour, 1 lb Crisco shortening, 2 tblsp white vinegar, 1 cup ice water and 1 egg combined. Use a pastry blender to cut in shortening, mix wet ingredients and then mix into crumbled pastry. Divide into six portions. Flatten each into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. These can be frozen or chilled and used right away for pies.
 Roll out one disc per pie pan.
Fix any cracks by  moistening with water and pressing together. Press into bottom of pie pan  ( I get those aluminum ones for the freezer..... don't use glass or metal)Then take a break. Walk outside an smell the flowers.............
Or visit with a cat.........or two. Smokey  and Spencer can be quite accomodating...
 Spencer not so much so. He was sleepy.....
Go back inside,  Combine a whole lot of blackberries and blueberries ( I never really measure, but usually a large pyrex bowl full), with 2 cups flour and a cup of sugar. Drain off any excess liquid, as the sugar will make juice.
Cover with a second disc rolled out. I got cute and made a B for top of the pie.
Then go outside again to  pick sweet peas. When you come back in  you can wrap up the pies in cling wrap, and place inside Ziploc bags before placing in freezer.
 By that time the cats will all be asleep and you can go ahead and start picking more blueberries.....
Or take a cat nap................

Sunday, July 21, 2013


 "We knew it would raibn, for all the morn a spirit on slender ropes of mist was lowering its goldenbuckets down into the vapoury amethyst......"
                                                          Spencer ( of course)
 "....Of marshes and swamps and dismal fens, scooping the dew that lay in the flowers........"
".....dipping the jewels out of the sea, to sprinkle them over the land in showers....."

( colour,colour , colour)

(Under the grapes.....fav place)

(Verbeena in a garden rusted chair)

(Into the greenhouse)

(Rhodochiton hanging from its wrought iron basket......will last till fall)
 "Rhodochiton hanging from the baskets outside greenhouse. I trained them to hang in swags)

(Top terrace length)

(Looking to mtns from top terrace....)

"We knew it would rain,for the poplars showed the white of their leaves, the amber grain......."

(Sweet pea field with the curry)

(Cordelia in the ferns)

(Verbascum leaf...huge thing....near the sweet pea field)

(Verbascum towers above all else...)

(Looking thru to porch from top terrace)

(Porch. Another fav place to be on a hot day. Begonias. Fuschias, sweet peas, Calla lillies)

".....shrunk in the wind, and the lightning now is tangled in tremulous skeins of rain..." ((Before the Rain, by Thomas Bailey Aldrich)(Sweet peas. Everywhere.)

(Front steps leading up hill.)

(Still roses blooming....a surprise.....)

(Shaggy daisy on the edge...)

And my fav summer flower...sweet peas....)

(Spencer leaves for the day....heads for home behind us)

(Spiders are out spinnign their webs...almost August)
(And the moon was out. All pockmarked like swiss cheese....)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Muggy, sticky, AND rainy......that's 3 things about today. The rain pitchers are full. The cats like that.
Cordelia loves her greenhouse. But it is very hot in there today. She sits on her white plastic table and stares at me, looking rather hot. All that long fur.
But the greenhouse has gone crazy this year. I plante3d it with seed geraniums, rhodochiton in the hanging basket and the creepers are creeping so much that they have to be cut back periodically.
And Cordelia is in her steamy greenhouse. All that long fur.
 The rain started early in the morning, and plip plopped till the morning light. Then it down poured.
 Sometime in the night, the local racoons were by. Again. Knocking over the water pitchers. They drink from them and then push them over. Like a game.
And Cordelia drinks out of the watering can in the greenhouse.....and all I can think about is "wow, look how the geraniums grew!" I never thought they would do anything. Just cheap $1.65 a piece. A bit of fertilizer, and a lot of water and
 More geraniums......stuffed into the wheelbarrow. The past two years the garden has been a little iffy. Too wet. Too soggy. Too mouldy. Too dry. This year it seems to be making up for lost time......

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Golden Plum Chutney and Gooseberry Jam in WINE

 Today: 33 Celsius ( 91 F)......good day to can plums and gooseberries. way hot outside. Way cool inside....air conditioning.. Ahhhhhhhhhh.  Haven't canned in a couple of years.  I don't really measure, I jsut read the recipe to get the general idea and then go with it. So I added wine to the mix. A splash here, a splash there....about a cup and  a half per batch. Potent.
 A large pot of cut up golden plums, two cups raisins, a dash of ginger, pinch salt, 1 1/2 cups wine, 4 cups brown sugar, 2 chopped onions, 3 cups white vinegar. Boil till very pulpy. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars. Then re-boil about 15 minutes in a stock pot or canner. Easy. Just time consuming.
 Turns out dark and rich. If it is too strong with the vinegar, just add a touch of brown sugar to the jar when you open it to serve. Good with anything on your dinner plate.
 My rake for hauling at tree branches so I could get all the plums.
 Bo likes the rake. It smells of plums, trees, leaves, and had a few spiders running up and down the handle.....
 GOOSEBERRY JAM  ( with wine of course)
 A huge bowl of gooseberries, wash and de-destem both ends. A tedious task. I recommend watching Seinfeld whilst de-stemming.........
 Didn't have enough gooseberries  from my bushes, so bought more at market. They were so fat and healthy.Here is the wine I used.Slosh a goodly amount into the large pot they will cook in. Add 6 cups sugar, and a good slosh of lemon juice. Boil till lyou hnave to skim off the pink foam. Then add 2 pouches of liquid pectin. Stir and cook another minute. Then ladle into sterilzed jars and boil 15 minutes to seal.
 WONDERFUL stuff! The alcohol will burn off and live a crisp, tart juicy berry taste. Never rtasted gooseberry jam before this. Yummy. ( and that is NOT the wine talking....)
                   It is now just after 9pm and it is sill about 29 Celsius.....sizzle. But all is cool inside......