Another Baby comes to visit

I’ve had to keep the dogs in all day today because Mrs Blackbird brought her baby round to show me and it stayed all day, she tucked it away in a purple bush-thing at the woodland corner of my garden..

I watched Mrs Blackie travel back and forward all day feeding her baby, so when she left her baby to find more worms and insects I grabbed by camera and sneaked in for a photograph 🙂

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A Visit from the Blue Tit Family

The Blue Tit family came to the garden today to show us their new family… 3 little baby blue tits, and they are absolutely gorgeous..

Mrs Blue Tit is looking slightly frazzled, she has been a regular visitor to the garden for the last few weeks eating all the bugs from under the blackcurrant bushes…  I did put out fat balls for them last week but my springer spaniel jumped up, stole and ate the lot, giving him the most god awful skoots !!

Enough waffling and on with the pics of the babies 🙂

A Trip to the Beveridge Park

The kids and I took a trip along to the Beveridge Park this morning, its about a 15 minute car journey from our house.   We just went along for a walk, due to us all having cabin fever, after being cooped up in the house, with all the rain that poured down over the weekend.

This lovely swan was the first to greet us, as we walked up to the loch, there was a slight breeze blowing through our fingers, both my son and I noticed this, my daughter always walks around with her arms folded, she dropped her arms by her sides to feel it too  🙂 …

Tucked in behind was her baby..

This is the Island in the middle of the loch, they do boat hire here and you can row little boats around the island.   Although there was no-one rowing today

As we were walking around, my son noticed that some poor kiddies dolly was floating in the water!

 The contrasting colours in the trees here are absolutely beautiful…

This wee shabby duck looked a bit worse for wear siting at the edge of the loch…

About half way round the loch we made a wee detour over to the formal gardens, which were lined with Lavender and Roses… absolutely beautiful… and there was a water feature in the centre…

The statue on top of the fountain was an animal of some sorts..looked like a wee gopher

The roses were stunning…

There was a wet area with a bridge and we stopped to take a picture of this aquatic plant, we have no idea what it is, so will need to do a big of reasearch… If you know what it is please email us 🙂

 The path led us back round to the loch and this pretty little greylag goose

Some of its friends chose to wander towards the rose gardens…

Which were full of beautiful blooms and scents…

  

We all enjoyed our walk… it blew away a few cobwebs and left us all feeling chilled and relaxed 🙂

 

Meet the Cheeps…

Today I drove up to Perth to meet with Sue and Phil and pick up “The Cheeps”.

Last night I just couldnt sleep, it was like christmas eve lol, I was soooo excited.

I dropped the kids off at school, filled the car up with petrol (£1.18 a litre here now – it’s scandalous!) and then set off for Perth.. Its about 35 miles away from where I live and should only take about 30-40 mins at the most to get there, I left an hour and 15 mins early, just incase 🙂

We still have to pick out names for them, so if you have any suggestions, we’d love to hear them.

This above picture is the 4 of them in their wee chick transit box 🙂

We have 2 Partridge Pekins, 1 Black Pekin and 1 White Silkie Cross

Once they settled in … they tucked into some chick crumb and had a wee drink of water

 

Then retired to the back of their new home…..

……was it something i said lol 🙂

Raisin Bread

Raisin Bread.

“This is really just a large, shiny currant bun.   The syrupy glaze that you brush on the loaf after it comes out of the oven makes it look quite extraordinary – it’s as if someone has suddenly switched a spotlight on it”

To make one loaf :

  • Strong White Flour 500g, plus extra for dusting the work surface
  • Salt, 2 teaspoons
  • Easy-blend (fast action) yeast, a sachet or 2 teaspoons
  • Raisins, 150g
  • Milk, 125ml
  • Warm Water, 125ml
  • A large free-range egg
  • Orange marmalade, 2 good tablespoons
  • Lard or vegetable oil for greasing the tin.

For the glaze:

  • Granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon
  • Water, 2 tablespoons

Utensils:

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Teaspoon
  • Measuring Jug
  • Tablespoon
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Cling Film or tea towel
  • Large loaf tin approximately 13 x 23 x 7cm, or a large round cake tin,
  • small saucepan
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Pastry Brush
  1. Put the flour in the mixing bowl with the salt, yeast and raisins
  2. Measure the milk and water into the jug.   Break in the egg and whisk everything together with the fork.   Pour the eggy liquid into the bowl of flour.   Spoon in the marmalade.
  3. Mix the flour and liquids together, either with your hands or with the wooden spoon.   When it becomes difficult to stir the dough, turn it out on to floured work surface,   Knead he dough, adding more flour a handful at a time if it is really sticky.   The dough will become smoother and smoother.
  4. When you feel that your arms are ready to drop off, poke a fingertip into the dough – if the dent you made bounces back and leaves just a little mark, then you’ve kneaded enough.   Shape the dough into a neat ball, out it in the bowl and cover the bowl with cling film or a damp tea towel.
  5. Leavethe bowl of dough in a warm (but not hot) place, away from open doors and windows, for 1 and a half to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  6. Grease the bread or cake tin with a scrape of lard or a drop of vegetable oil.
  7. When your dough has risen to a great big puffy, ballooned mass, twice its original size, flatten it with your fist.   Now pull it out of the bowl and knead it gently for a few seconds on the work surface.
  8. Flatten the dough out a little into a round disc, then roll it up roughly like a carpet so that you get a puffy sausage shape.   Place the dough sausage in the tin loaf – it should come about half way up the sides (if your using a round cake tin, then shape the dough into a ball and tuck the sides of the dough underneath  to make the ball pillow up, then put into the tin).   Cover with cling film or the tea towel again and leave to rise for 20-25 mins.   Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220 degrees C/Gas Mark 7 and place a shelf in the centre.
  9. Oven gloves in.   Place the tin gently in the oven and set the timer for about 12 mins.   Then turn the oven down to 190 degrees C/Gas Mark 5 for another 10 mins.   Oven gloves on.   Take the tin out of the oven.   Turn the bread out of the tin and tap the base to see if it sounds hollow.   If not, put the loaf directly on the hot oven shelf for 10 mins to colour the sides and bottom.
  10. Meanwhile, make the glaze.   Put the granulated sugar into a small saucepan with the water.   Place on the hob, switch on the heat to medium and stir with the wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved to make a syrup,   Let it simmer for a minute, then switch off the heat.
  11. Switch off the oven, take the bread out and let it cool on a wire rack.   Now brush the top and sides of the bread with the warm syrup.   It will shine beautifully.

How to eat your Raisin Bread

This loaf is probably at its best when slightly warm.   Spread thick slices of it with butter and eat, licking your sugary fingers.   If you’ve got any left the next day, eat it toasted and dripping with butter.

Variations

If you fancy a spicier bun, you can add a teaspoon of ground mixed spice to the flour in the bowl.   And you can shape the mixture into little buns rather than one big loaf if you prefer.   Bake the buns on a large greased baking sheet for about 15 mins at a slightly lower temperature, 200 degrees C/Gas Mark 6

Recipe courtesy of :

The River Cottage Family Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall & Fizz Carr

ISBN : 0-340-82636-3

 

Spring Daffodils

Spring Daffodils

Originally uploaded by T o w n i e

When we were out and about today I stopped & rolled down the car window to take this picture.

It caught my eye immediately and I think its absolutely gorgeous, the sloping hill in the distance with the trees and little stone dyke right through to the big clump of daffodils underneath the fence to the foreground.

🙂 Spring has sprung …