Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Confessions of a snow lover

I make no apologies for the photographic nature of this post. I just love snow. I know it causes disruption but it's just gorgeous. Last Wednesday we woke up to minus 13 centigrade and a light snow fall but heavy frost. By the time we walked Mortimer it had warmed to minus 9 and didn't get warmer than minus 5. There was a freezing fog which had it's own type of snow which I nicknamed 'frizzle' a sort of freezing mizzle.

Freezing fog

At times the fog would clear and we could see the beauty of the ice. I loved the bright burst of colour from the copper beech.

Copper beech
Remember this place? It was only a couple of weeks ago that Mortimer was retreiving sticks from here!

Where's my pond gone?
We were promised a lot of snow on Friday but it didn't amount to much although we did have more on Sunday. Sadly they were both at night so I couldn't sit by the fire with a hot chocolate watching the snowflakes.

We've been making sure the bird feeders are topped up but the rabbits are making their own arrangements.

Rabbit stripped bark

One of the reasons I like snow is that it unifies everything. We walk past these sheds everyday and they are a muddle of shapes and materials. Here they just look charmingly rustic.

Small holders work
Tractor tracks
Some times it was sunless and the world became monochrome although with a beautiful light. But then there were also hours of brilliant sunshine.

Cloudless sky

I loved this field, the weeds looked just like cotton plants in full bloom.

Snow cotton
Needless to say Mortimer just loves the snow and ends up covered with ice.

This is my best side!
Ice beard
Mortimer took credit for this snowman which looks remarkably like a painting we found under the wallpaper in guest room 2.

All my own work
Bedroom artwork
Which segues nicely into the fact that Andrew is cracking on with aforementioned room and has, with great timing, been putting up the insulation. 

50mm insulation
I just love this stuff, the difference it makes is amazing.

Detail round window
Tomorrow we'll be carrying sheets of plasterboard upstairs and it will start to look like a room again. And I can take over with painting and soft furnishings. Can't wait!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Olive help needed

We have a standard olive tree in a large pot which lives outside in the summer and in the 'orangery' in the winter.

This year (cold & wet) it has produced a fair crop of olives which have ripened. They are small, about 20-25mm long.

Ripe olives
My question is, are they worth putting into brine and 'dealing with'?  And does anyone have any experience of this? I'm sure I can find a recipe but if any one had any pearls of wisdom it would be appreciated.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Last week at Nelson House

We had more wet walks with Mortimer

And again please!
as well as his friends.

Glad Bennett wasn't coming home with us
Work recommenced on the second guest room (panic ye not visitors - the other guest room is still intact!).

Here we go again!
By which time I'd decided I'd had enough of wearing wellies and steel toe caps and bought these


Spent some time on Pinterest and found Gascony Magic via Kalba at Grillou. Makes me want a holiday.
Slippery stuff piping

Made piping so that I could finish a long overdue upholstery project of mine.

And made this divine dessert for New Year.

Winter fruit compote

If you want to have a go:

Pour a bottle of Pinot Noir into a pan with 6 juniper berries, 4 cloves, 1 star anise & a vanilla pod. Simmer for 20 minutes, remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of Cointreau or Calvados. Or probably any fruit based spirit.

In a non-metallic bowl put 250g. dried apricots, 200g. prunes (Agen if possible but softish ones if not), and 100g. dried cherries. Pour over the wine, cover and infuse overnight.

Remove the fruit and set aside. Put the wine in a pan with 125g dark brown soft sugar and heat gently until dissolved, making a light syrup. Pour over the fruit and add 2 oranges peeled and sliced, 100g. walnuts and some fresh figs.

Serve at room temperature with creme fraiche or cream and a glass of dessert wine.

Simple but utterly gorgeous!

Wonder what will happen this week?