Sunday, 8 November 2020

Autumn Leaves

The weather is becoming wet and cool and the leaves are cluttering up the lawns.  A dryer couple of days has inspired me to bag up the fallen leaves. These four small piles filled one large compost bag.
The local council has abandoned green wast collections for this year, so any fallen leaves will have to be binned for incineration or kept for composting.

The excitement of lockdown is breathtaking!

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Stocking the freezer

 Damp and rainy day during a pandemic - calls for an occasional bake to top up the freezer.  We have an abundance of some garden produce to use up.

With lots of potatoes, Homity pie sounds a good option.  So thats the first project.
Fry some chopped onions and steam potatoes, chopped carrots and peas.  The potatoes are mashed, then the onions, carrots and peas are mixed in with some pepper and a little milk.
A shortcrust pastry is divided up into six balls and each ball is rolled out into a disk.  A  round of pie mix is placed in the centre of the pastry disk with a slice of cheese on top and the sides are folded up over the top.  Bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes.  Everything was then cooled to be bagged and frozen.
Whilst I was baking the pies, I had some bread dough rising, so I was able to bake 4 loaves of bread whilst the oven was on.
Afterwards I prepared two peppers and stuffed them with couscous, peas and chopped black olives.  Very nice with a small glass of cider for our evening meal.  All-in-all a good day.

Sunday, 13 September 2020

More work in the garden

 After the Tree Surgeon (can do that in 2 weeks time) went 6 weeks without setting a date to do the work, I decided to sort out the hawthorne tree in the corner of the garden myself.  The cost of buying the tools and ordering a skip was less than the quote for the work to be done.

The hawthorne is now reduced to the size of the hedge and is putting out new shoots from the remaining and much shortened trunks.  I still have a pile of logs and chopped down branches to skip later in the week.

The lawnmower has been running on the same blade for 2 years now, as a result of none of the local stores carrying the blade required.  I ordered a blade from Amazon and it came two days later.  That has made the grass cutting much easier.

Now that the lawns look smart, it is a joy to sit out. Rosie rewarded my efforts by bringing out an icecream.  Yum!

Tuesday, 4 August 2020


We have had a "clouded" free standing Laurel hedge ever since we moved into our house.  The largest Laurel, which must be 50 years old, started to die back.  As most of the effected brances were lower down in the bush we decided to cut out the affected area.
Initially we have cut out the lower branches on one side, leaving a canopy overhang.  Most of the branches could be broken off and broken up using gloved hands.
What we are left with is a bare ground and a few branches that would not fit into the green (its actually brown) wheely bin.
The main trunk is affected by fungus (Oyster Mushrooms) suggesting that it is in very poor health.  All of the additional sprouting trunks are healthy and adding to the canopy cover.  Old laurels often undergo this type of change as the original old tree dies back and new growth emerges from the root system around the tree base.
The whole shrub may be cut down next year and replaced with a shed.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Bread from grain

This year we grew some wheat in the garden.  We harvested it last month and extracted the grain from the chaf.
This month I decided to turn the grain into flour and make bread.  This little mill has a course chopping blad with which to kibble the grain into grist and a fine blade to reduce the grist to flour.

Of course, the whole grain will make wholemeal flour and will need to be either sieved or mixed with strong white flour to give a good quality bake.
The little mill has reduced the grain to wholemeal rough flour in two passes. Now a 50/50 mix with French T55 flour will finish the job.
Kneeded and ready to rise, the dough is a good texture.
And now - the final dough has produced four very good looking rolls. The proof will be in the tasting , later on.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Flying the Tiger

 Today I started my simulated flight with a Tiger Moth parked on the Concourse at IWM Duxford.  The American Museum Hangar can be seen in the background.  This scenery is one that I have just finished designing.  It had some difficult hoops to jump through in the process.
 OK, Start the engine and taxi out to the end of the grass runway.  There is no radio on board so the flight has to be pre-planned with the tower and the local air traffic control.
 Take off and head West into Bedfordshire.
 On route I pass over the old station at RAF Bassingbourne, using this as a landmark.  This station used to be an American Airbase during the second world war and now has a museum.  It was re-opened in 2018 to train UK troops for overseas operations.
 Reduce power and speed. 20 minutes into the flight I can see Old Warden Aerodrome ahead.  This is the home of the Shuttleworth Trust air museum which houses early aircraft and old flying aircraft.
 Turning into approach to land.  The grass runway is short and in this tail dragger, the line of the runway is obscured by the engine. Side boards along the runway help with direction and you can always lean out to see what's ahead (No problem with wind and prop wash leaning out in a simulator).
 Taxi off of the runway and onto the grass parking area.
All parked up, switched of  and tied down and the cafe is just across the hedgerow.  The cafe will be open and welcoming - (no CoViD-19 Pandemic on a simulator).

RAF Duxford is one of my airport models for X-Plane 11, The general scenery is OrbX True Earth and Old Warden Aerodrome is also OrbX scenery.  The tiger moth was  designed by Henkisan and the livery by Frederick Stegmann.  The additional livery with the G-TIGR registration is by Paul Mort with a panel adjustment by me.

Friday, 10 July 2020

More Foxes

I like this image of a foxcub in front of our blue geraniums.  Though the low lighting and large lens does loose the depth of focus that I would have liked to have.

 This is dad and boy cub checking out the bird feeder for fallen seeds in the late evening.
 They will take any opportunity for food when the weather is cool.
The boy cub is getting big now and is a similar size to the dog fox.  We have not seen the vixen and the other two cubs for a couple of days, but I shall soon put the Wildlife camera out and see if we can pick them up later at night.