Monday, November 24, 2014

A new pond, patio, preserving a small harvest, quilting

 Pumpkins!  There were two, both this size.  One is already cooked and pureed, in the freezer.  This one is on the counter, still.

Also notice the last of the green tomatoes in the photo above;  there are also now picked and made into green tomato relish, according to a recipe in the Joy of Cooking (though it's more salsa-y to my palate).  Seriously tasty.  I made a larger batch previously, and have made a final, smaller batch with the last of them. 
 Something else we still have a small harvest of:  baby carrots in a pot.  Growing in the ground was a dismal failure for most my veg, carrots no exception.  These in a pot (there are actually two pots) at least grew roots, unlike the ones in the veg beds, which were demolished by slugs. 
This is the brick patio that I built.  It's not finished.  It's right next to our new, bigger pond, an extension to our smaller frog pond.  The barrel behind it contains a filter--not pretty, I know, but we have plans to beautify it.  The pond is on the site of our old vegetable plot, which I am transforming into a more perennial and ornamental patch.  It has some fruit bushes and a couple of dwarf trees, but I'd like it to be a little more shrubby and flowery, too. 

The veg patch, meanwhile, is now designated closest to the house, and this space will also have extra special flowers and plants.  I fenced it off from the chickens, and built a ramshackle gate.  The temporary raised bed is still producing, as are some of the pots on the patio, but the majority of these beds have been covered in a thick layer of chicken manure/straw to break down over winter, ready for spring planting.
My Sparta apple tree really outdid itself this year!  All told, we got about 25 apples off this little tree (it's six feet tall).  My similar-sized Loxton Fortune apple tree (not pictured) didn't produce quite so many--about 10--but nearly all of them were damaged by birds, so we only had one apple ourselves.  I ate it, and it was the best apple I'd had all year.

We managed to pick some local-ish wild apples for two batches of cider this year, and I've been making sauerkraut, both with my own cabbage and storebought.  I also made a small batch of spiced plums from a wild tree (excellent as a plum sauce substitute), and a little bit of wild apple chutney. 

I'm also putting off quilting a big patchwork quilt I've made.  I've pieced the top together, mainly from some old clothing, but also just some scraps of other projects in my fabric stash;  it's not perfect--in fact it's pretty wonky--but I still like it.  I've also put together the quilt sandwich:  the middle layer is an old blanket, and the bottom layer is an old sheet, both bought from charity shops.  I've even hand-basted all the layers together, in readiness for quilting.  This quilt is pretty big--big enough to cover a double bed.  Now I just have to bite the bullet and quilt it!