Sunday, 3 December 2017

A Winters's Harvest

Winter is now with us.
I know this to be a fact because most mornings our fields have been white with frost
and, even though I wear home made knitted socks, my toes have started feeling chilly, a sure sign that winter has come. So I have had to start wearing my 'best' boots indoors instead of my summer sandals. Sandals and thick socks look a bit silly. Sort of neither summer gear or winter gear, but a mixture of both. Anyway, my feet now look appropriate for this time of year and can cope better with walking over cold,  hard, tiled floors which are so lovely and cool on baking hot summer days but not so comfy when winter's chill is with us. Walking bare footed on freezing cold tiles is not something one wants to do too often at the moment.  
These photos of this morning's dawn. The faint grey line on the horizon between sky and land are the Pyrenees mountains. Snow has now fallen on them. I know this because the chill of snow is in the air. Fortunately we live close enough to enjoy the mountains but not so close that we get any mountain type weather.
And when it is cold and frosty we are guaranteed to get a good dose of warmish sunshine, not enough to sit outside today, but warm enough to go raid Veg Plot 1 for some salad greens.

I wore my gardening boots. I think they might need renewing. Five minutes walking over the ground in VP1, and my feet were as cold as ice, even colder than when walking over the floors in the house wearing just socks and sandals.
But it was nice being outside for a quick check up of what is surviving the low temperatures, and to marvel at the strength of endurance that some of the plants have.
The Market Garden Project:
This has gone on 'hold' for the moment, which it would have done anyway because of winter conditions making it difficult to work outside, but now that he is working full time Lester does not have the time to make this project go forward. He thinks we shall have to get someone in to build the greenhouse and tractor shed, and do other building work which is needed.
Not to worry, although this project is slowing down, it has not stopped completely.
What could be seen as a set back, but which I have refused to get worried about, is the emergence of a huge commercial 'bio' market garden just up the road to us. It has the most enormous polytunnels, and lots of them too. They are growing 'ordinary' seasonal veg, and will squash all other veg producers in this area by the sheer size of the operation.
We remain undefeated by this 'set back'. We shall find a niche market, of that I am sure. 
iPhone Update:
Lester remains fascinated by the phone and is often to be found with it, (on the loo, in bed, etc...)
Meanwhile, I remain unfascinated by it, although I have heard tell that it takes good photos, which would be handy when I am out and about, and the other day I met a friend in the local supermarket who was using her iPhone to translate the words of a product she wanted to buy. I thought this was very handy and would be tremendously useful for saving time when out shopping. Dithering in front of the shelves because I don't understand what is written on the tin / jar/ box, etc., is a frequent occupation of mine.
The Rayburn is continuing to chug away for us. It is starting to look sooty. I did wash it the other day, but that did not seem to clean it up much, just made it look like it had a sooty face.
I am not cooking with the Rayburn very much as we are conserving our wood supplies; We are aware that we need to get through to the end of March next year, so keep the firebox tended but not over loaded, so the oven does not get hot enough to bake in, but occasionally it does.....
 ..... one pear tart, and one chocolate swirl tray bake. Simple recipes, quick to do, and shallow enough to bake on the floor of the Rayburn's oven.
Meanwhile, the Rayburn continues to heat all of our rooms downstairs, and for that I bless it.
Hope your fingers and toes are keeping warm,
Bye for now,


DUTA said...

The picture of the morning's dawn is very beautiful!

Your post reminds me that my mother always used to tell me how important it is for the whole body to keep toes and fingers warm. I've found out that the best way to keep them warm in winter is to wear pure wool (not acrilan and the like) socks and gloves. Our winters are usually mild so I seldom need gloves, but I do need those woolen socks if I decide not to open the heating in the house.

Your bakes look yummi!

John Gray said...

Catching up dearheart xx

minwks said...

Hi Vera, I do sympathize with cold feet. The cold seems to migrate up creating frozen stumps for legs. I can recommend the wonderful NZ or Australian style slippers lined with sheepskin... but it must be the ones that have the heavy soles and are ankle height.
Winter is certainly here near Vancouver BC - we have had such a lot of rain in the past month but today sunshine is making the old asparagus fronds glow gold.
I don’t do a full clean up of the garden until Spring as the little birds seem to enjoy hiding in the foliage and fossicking about. I think there must be interesting insects under the debris.
My garlic is poking through but the only thing I have to harvest is parsley!
No heavy frost as yet.
Keep warm ... hot water bottles rule!
Regards Janine

Cro Magnon said...

Our deVille cooker (poor man's Aga) is now lit, and I roasted in him yesterday. It gives such a very good warmth. Lots of cakes and mince pies being made here; one shouldn't deprive oneself!

Vera said...

DUTA, your mother was right about keeping fingers and toes warm, but I also need a scarf wrapped round my neck as well!

JOHN, bless you. I frequently visit your blog but can never find anything witty to say!

MINWKS, I have flat feet so need supportive footwear, otherwise I would be wearing that type of slipper.
As for cleaning up the garden for winter...... we don't either, but we do try and keep the veg plots free of big weeds.
Our parsley is doing very well, and seems to love the frosty cold mornings. I have onions poking through, but the garlic bulbs are still sitting on the kitchen table waiting to be planted!
We don't have hot water bottles, but we do have a very efficient electric blanket on the bed!

CRO MAGNON, you are really encouraging me to think about making some Christmas goodies as well....and if we didn't have the Rayburn I would want to have some sort of wood burning cooking appliance for winter use just for the lovely heat it gives off.

Coco said...

We´ve fired up the kitchen wood stove this week, too. Nice on very chilly mornings, but it does put a dent in the wood supply. Good for you for managing the baking, I can´t even get water to boil, though things will simmer for a while if I start them off on the gas stove.

northsider dave said...

"We remain undefeated"... Wonderful stoicism Vera. I always enjoy your posts!

Vera said...

COCO, I often have to start the pots on the gas cooker as well! And the oven hardly ever gets up to bake so I don't use it very often. Lovely heat though, and it dries the washing beautifully!

NORTHSIDER DAVE, it does take effort to stay on top of things sometimes, but giving up is not an option for us!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I think heavy socks with sandals is perfectly okay. It is works, not how it looks, that matters.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

It's always exciting to still be pulling veggies this time of year.

Vera said...

TOIRDHEALBHEACH B, I even wore my socks and sandals into the local bank the other day!

LISA, to still be bringing in harvest during the winter does lift the spirits. Not so good when it is freezing cold or raining though!