Monday, 31 October 2011

GH Baking: Test 1 - Carrot cupcakes

Another bargain purchase from the cheap book sellers that do the rounds of workplaces, and now have the Good Housekeeping Baking Book. So I promised everyone a test bake.

And here we have - Carrot cupcakes.  The icing went wrong - was too runny as I didn't have quark (like cottage cheese apparently) so I just made up some buttercream icing and put some orange juice in it. Seems to work fine, and they didn't last long in the office. Only thing was they were quite big as I made 12 (as per the reciepe) but I think you could make six more and still have good sized cakes.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

This was a beginners ride, honest!

OK, so I'd taken it upon myself to organise some beginners rides for MBNW with the aim of getting newbies out and meeting other bikers, and on to more challenging terrain (well at least away from the trail centres!).  The first one only had a few takers and we went on the Veranda route around Penyclodiau in the Clwyds.

For this one I'd sorted out a route using the Blue trails around the Alwen and Brenig reservoirs, and surprisingly had a lot of takers. On the day there were about 15 of us!

The route started at the Alwen Dam, and went up the east side of the reservoir on a blue grade track through the trees. Then when we got to the top we turned right out of the trees and along the farm track that joins the two reservoirs. Not a bad track - a bit muddy in places, and the section just before you get to the main road crossing has some nice wheel swallowing bomb holes! Once on the Brenig track we went left (clockwise - which is apparently the wrong way round!).  Starts of on a big wide track and then goes into a narrower track.  What I didn't realise is that we shouldn't have gone down the narrow track (footpath!) but should have gone onto the road - I knew we needed to do it, I just missed the turning....

So we ended up on the footpath going round the north end of Llyn Brenig. It was a bit muddy but had obviously seen a fair amount of bike traffic, and there wasn't anyone there apart from us so I wasn't too bothered. Everyone was slipping and sliding around on the muddy sections, but I think they were all enjoying themselves....

Off of the footpath we were back onto the big track going all the way round the reservoir - over the dam and to the Visitor's Centre. By the time we got there, the weather was a bit pants - very windy, getting colder, and damp. So given the variety of speeds of bikers, and not wanting people to be waiting around in the cold, I decided we'd head back to the cars.

Prize for the top accessory for the ride goes to Phil with his handlebar hound aka Skye.  She was great - spent the whole ride running backwards and forwards between us all, and only got a carry when we were near the road!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Fritillary planting and shed tidying

So today's activity list was a long one and was never going to get completed. Why is it that the 'To Do' list is always longer than what you can ever achieve in the time available?  While the OH is away, its time to arrange things how I want them, but before we get on to that - I needed to make a dent in the spring bulb planting. After my huge order from JParkers, and planting the bluebells in the copse and some of the posh tulips in pots - I've got some more pots and planted the rest of the tulips. I've also planted all of the snake's head fritillaries in a more open area of the copse - I've not marked out where, so it'll be a surprise!

After that I painted the inside of one of the cold frames - the plan is to do both and then line them with bubble wrap ready for the winter.... And I need to replace the broken glass in one.

Then it was time for the best activity of the day - tool storage!!! Bought a selection of tool clips from Screwfix and tidied up the big tools in the shed....

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Rosie dog learns about walkies!

Poor fat nextdoor's Beagle was left alone for the day with us to keep a eye on her. So we went exploring in the woods to look for an iron age fort... Not much left of it, but loads of cheeky bits of trail that would be great on a mountain bike!

90th birthday celebrations!

Had a hectic day dishing out tea and cakes to lots of old ladies..... Some of then very demanding!! Last night I was rushing around making victoria sponge, vanilla biscuits and cookies- so busy I missed Gardeners world and the Really Wild Autumnwatch show! The OH must have thought I was deserting him....

Then I was up this morning at 5am and away by 6am just so that I was down south by 9am to watch Wales lose to France in the Rugby semi-final :-(

Was really surprised at how long Nan was downstairs at the party- guess it was all that chatting about old times that kept her alert.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Copse transformation starts

So far in the copse we really haven't done much- just pruned the trees and kept it tidy. Now my huge order of bulbs has arrived it's time to start planting.

I know where I'm going to put the path through the copse so on the house side of that, where the most shade is, I've started with the bluebells. I'm hoping when they come up in spring there will be a big drift on that side (well eventually I'll have planted 75 bulbs there)!

The plan for getting rid of the grass comes from the extensive use of Google - I've laid some newspaper on top of where the bluebells are planted and then put compost/leaf litter on top of that and watered it in.  The plan is that the newspaper stops the light and so kills off the grass, and by the time the bluebells are coming through its all degraded down.