About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Last of the blackcurrants and first of the peas

I have been very remiss with my blogging. This post should have been written early in the month, but my sister was staying, so blogging seemed a bit unsociable at the time, and then I got distracted...

As the title indicates, I picked the last of the blackcurrants from our bushes. These are the ones that I left first time round because they weren't ripe enough yet. They were certainly ripe by the time I picked them and I got about a pound, which isn't a huge amount, but enough to be worth picking. I got about 250 ml cordial out of them, and one jar of jam. When I first boiled up the jam I thought I'd gone too far and made toffee, panicked and added some water to thin it down to make two jars of jam. I obviously added too much water, as it didn't set, so it all went back in the pan, boiled a bit longer and into one jar, which set beautifully. I don't know whether it's toffee or not.

I also picked a handful to throw into some cake mix:


Blackcurrant cupcakes - most delicious

As for the peas, well, the supports are showing the strain a bit. I give them a shove from time to time and they haven't broken yet...


Pea canes struggling under the weight

They are well laden with pea pods:


Lots of yummy peas - well, they will be soon anyway

I started picking them a couple of weeks ago. They were too small then, really, but I wanted to share them with my sister, and they were very tasty!


Pod of peas picked at just the right time

I've been harvesting them every few days since then, getting a few ounces at a time. I'd like to say I'm getting better at judging when the peas inside will be big enough to be worth harvesting, but it's still pretty hit and miss. The pods get big first then the peas inside swell up to fill the space. It's not easy to tell whether that has happened or not.

We went away last weekend, and on Friday I noticed peas ready to pick that would be old by the time we got back. These were picked, cooked and frozen. Stocking up for the winter has begun!

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