shortbread & gardening

I've given up sewing. I got up early today and began more work on my yellow Colette crepe dress. Yesterday I had to resew both seams on the armhole facings but I managed to fix them. Today I discovered that the facings for the neck don't match the dress - they are out by about two centimetres. Given that this is only out of a sheet and as I'm less convinced that I love this pattern on me after all, is probably going to be only for wearing round home, I decided to pack it away. I will pick up sewing again sometime, as I have some things to make for birthdays and maybe even the C word, but no more sewing for me for a while.

I thought I'd get cracking on this cleaning the house lark, only I got as far as hanging the washing out and didn't come in for hours, except to eat. The washing line is a useful escape route to the garden. I cleaned up the chicken coop, changed their water, gave them many many snails and slugs which I collected as I gardened and even a pottle of mussels I unfortunately left in the car - must have brought the groceries in in the dark one night. I planted out one tomato and six basil seedlings. I had thought I would put them in a pot under the lean-to, but as I dehydrated them through neglect this week already, I opted for a place with rainfall access.

I weeded the blueberry and lemon pots and added extra compost and my own fertiliser made of comfrey liquid which I started last week with the comfrey I no longer want in my flower bed and some bokashi liquid. Then I draped bird netting over the blueberry pots. I dug bokashi in in a section of the herb garden where the miners lettuce is past its best and then sowed mesclun on top. I did some digging and weeding out the front, but it is a jungle. I can't get far handweeding when blackberry is involved.

In the afternoon the children and I took about one million glass bottles to the dump. We didn't have to pay a thing because the machine which weighs the car inwards and outwards was broken. Neither the dump weigh man nor I thought I had dumped 850 kilos of rubbish. If New Zealand's economy is dependent on technical equipment being reliable here in Wetville, then we're definitely going the way of Greece.

For dinner I made rosti in the oven like Annabel Langbein's recipe and they came out very nice. That recipe will be a keeper. Grate 700g of peeled spuds into a bowl of water. Then drain the grated spud and squeeze out as much water as possible. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and some cracked pepper and a splash of anchovy sauce. Mix it goether and then put generous spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking try that has baking paper on it. Flatten the blobs out, leaving a bit of room between each one. Annabel made 8 with the mixture but I made 12. Bake at 200 degrees celsius for 40 minutes. They will look crispy when they are done.

Tonight I am making shortbread. The shortbread is going to Ronald Macdonald House, where there is a tradition that families take baking when they go and it goes in the freezer for nightly nibbles and support for all of the families staying there. I'm sending this baking full of hope that the hospital can help one little boy from Blackball and his family.

One benefit to baking when the children are in bed is that I get to lick the bowl myself. There have to be some gastronomical perks to a wine-less evening.


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