Trombonchino Soup

img_9136Remember those funny looking vegetables from my last post….. The Trombonchinos?

We saw a similar squash where we visited RHS Wisely during the summer – but theres was a serpentine squash.

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Well this is what we’ve done with them!

Blue one picked them….. and pink one helped.


Then – as they are a novelty vegetable – you have to model them appropriately!

img_9164They are beasts this year!  Our second time of growing them, and we love them!  I cheated and bought a plant from Gardeners World live this time, last time I bought and sowed seeds.

The harvest was less this year, but bigger, and better shapes than previously!  This one was grown 2 years ago – Blue one used it as a golf club and a musical instrument!


So why this vegetable I hear you ask?  Well I saw them on a programme with Rick Stein a couple of years ago, Saturday Kitchen, and this Italian guy was growing these in the UK in greenhouses – and they looked fab.

More importantly, they start off like a courgette, and can be eaten just like one, grated with lime juice.  BUT if you leave them to ripen off (forget about them…. courgettes turn into marrows!) , these wonderful things turn into a butternut squash type vegetable.

Now I’ve just realised I’m called it a vegetable, but as it has seeds inside it – surely its a fruit?

img_9223We made soup with one……

Cut one medium trombonchino into smallish pieces – probably 4x5cm each.  I tossed them in olive oil (about 20ml), and added lots of salt and pepper and than roasted them for about 50 minutes in a 180 degree C oven.


Then when they were nice and squishy and lovely and roasted brown, I took them out, allowed them to cool a bit (so I didn’t burn my fingers) and peeled them

img_9226I added the pulp to a plan, with a couple of vegetable stock cubes and about a 2 L of water, more salt and pepper and a clove of garlic and I boiled it up for 20 minutes.

img_9228Then it was blended in the mixer to a smooth soup.

img_9229Completely vegetarian up until the point, when I added some nice crispy bacon!


It was delicious!  We’ve still got 2 left so I need to come up with another recipe for those ones!

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The new vegetable garden

In December we started a huge remodel on the bottom of the garden. It already had some raised beds where we grew vegetables (on a small scale!) that were put in the year after we moved into the house.  Back then I had another blog which can be found here.  It was mainly about gardening, the house being made over and the chickens!  Back then, can you believe it – I couldn’t crochet!!!!

We made them out of wood, and they’ve lasted well, but they needed replacing.


So, not doing things by halves.  We’ve completely redone the bottom of the garden!

We’ve pulled down the greenhouse.


img_1524And the old shed!

It was a huge amount of work, and we did it all over the Christmas break.  I went from  six 3ft x 6ft beds, to three 18inch x 6ft, and one triangle bed.

Do you want to see it?

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Do you see the new shed and the beginnings of the greenhouse too?

img_2394 img_2407These look pretty empty, but we did get planting in time you’ll be pleased to hear!

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When we still had Dhylis and Sherbert.  The little girls enjoying the new soil!

img_5460 img_5461But this is very early on……

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I have to give credit for the ingenuous way to grow climbing beans to my friend Penny.   Rather than do a wigwam shape in a bed.  You can get arches from Wilkinson, then put the feet in one bed and grow over the path way to another bed.

We’ve planted climbing beans, runner beans, peas, tomatoes, a trombochino, and some mini cucumbers.  One thing we’ve done differently this year is to plant lots of flowers too – to entice the beans and pollinators in!  The blue one went a littel crazy planting sunflowers, and they are huge but lovely now and currently some of the only colour in the garden.

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See the cheery tomatoes in the hanging baskets?


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The sweet peas didn’t turn out as I’d hoped.  Only about 3 ft tall and not many flowers, when I had planned for them to grow over the archway making it smell amazing to walk through.



Minicucumbers – the best harvest ever.  We made a metal frame with chicken wire that could lean against the outside of the greenhouse, and they would climb up and the fruit drop through the holes.  We are definitely using this again.img_7183 img_7180This is what it looks like now…….

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The signs were made by my friend Penny too for my garden opening a couple of years ago!  I love them!

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Cucamelons.  I’ve been trying to grow these for years….. Finally I have some!   The trick – John Innes number 2, and plant in the greenhouse, and water every couple of days
img_8655 img_9684 img_9692 img_7418The Cucamelon plant.

So, thats the vegetable garden as it currently is.  We’ve harvested copious tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans along with 3 huge trombochinos which I’ll share with you soon what we’ve done with one of them!

The kids love being able to run up the end of the garden and pick things.  Not only do they learn where things come from, how they grow, but they have great fun doing it too!!


The pink one is obsessed with unicorns.  Everything has to about unicorns.  T-shirts, toys you name it!  She even asked Father Christmas for “A real alive unicorn” which she didn’t receive, however she did have a lovely letter from the man himself explaining that unicorns are so special they need to stay with him, and that he doesn’t give “alive” things for gifts, but he did bring her a unicorn costume, and onesie!

img_5503Rosie the unicorn even comes dog walking with us!


For her birthday, unicorns were on the cards again…….


11 friends came and made unicorns, then they all had a tea party on one of the blankets I’ve made.  Of course, the cake was unicorn themed too!


I’d made the cake and ordered some ribbon from ebay – but it didn’t turn up in time.  So a quick trip to the local market, and I managed to find this one instead.

But – now I have 1 metre of ribbon, just waiting to be used.


So I made myself a lanyard this morning!

1 metre of ribbon, a scorpion clip from ebay too, and some joiners (?) and 5 minutes later….

Fold the ribbon in half, sew the scorpion clip in the middle.


Then on each end – add the joiners , the ones I bought, I just posted through the loop, and then sewed them in place.  The ribbon was already cut using pinking shears so it wouldn’t fray.  I just made sure I sewed backwards and forwards a few times to make sure it held in place.

img_9750Ta Da…. all ready for work tomorrow (although I suspect the pink one will try and claim it as her own!)

Autumn is on its way

I took a few minutes yesterday when the sun was shining to look around the garden and see the signs of Autumn which is fast approaching.

Armed with my new lens, and about 10 minutes, I managed to take these photos.  I love the inside of the sunflower, and the water on the euphorbia are my favourites, along with Satay the chicken who you can see has grown loads!


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Rainbow blanket

I’ve been gone for too long…… no excuse other than busy busy busy with the children in the holidays and just life in general. Can you tell the kids are back at school today?

I have a project to share with you…… one I made a while ago, but as it was for a gift I didn’t want to share too much in advance.

If you follow my FB page you’ll had had some sneak previews….. well of the yarn anyway!

So an old university/ college friend from all those years ago……. got in touch.  (I still send her a Christmas card every year but via her parents house as I had no idea where she lived!)

She asked if I’d make her a rainbow blanket, for her soon to be born baby.  “Of course” and duly went to the yarn shop…….(Any excuse!)


Good old Stylecraft Special DK.  I love this yarn.  So soft, but cheap and completely washable which is required for baby blanket (having been there myself a few years ago!)

To the design – a rainbow – but what type?  This is where my drawing skills completely let me down.  I might be able to create in wool, thread, clay even…… but pen and paper and it leaves a lot to desired!

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We went for the stripy one…… Blanket was started and taken pretty much everywhere with me!  The car, ballet lessons…….  With a due date of mid July, but probably earlier I needed to get cracking (this while making my yarn bomb fairies too!)

IMG_5258 IMG_5230 IMG_5260The odd mishap when you don’t concentrate….

IMG_5591 IMG_5590And then all of a sudden you realise you are nearly done!

IMG_5596But you need to sew in all those ends….



So one finished blanket, sent to a friend in time for the birth of her little boy.

C2C, in Stylecraft Special DK

Colours: Lipstick, Jaffa, Citron, Green, Royal and Emporer


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This is not the blog post I had planned after such a long absence.  I’m very sad to say Dhlyis sadly passed away yesterday.  She was one of my first ever girls, bought all the way back in March 2006.

Back in those days I had a different blog, which was mainly about the girls and how many wonderful eggs they laid for us.

We got the girls (Marjorie, Dhylis, Sylvie and Penny seen below) from a really run down farm in Norfolk, an hour away from where we lived in Soham at the time.   The other girls are long gone, some not even leaving our old house with us, but Dhylis was always here.

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Dhylis in fact laid our first ever egg….. a very round mostly yolk, which I can remember getting so excited by, I called my husband who was on a conference call…. and I was screaming down the phone at him.

Other chickens have come and gone, She’s lived with ex- battery hens, and other big girls until they started to bully her, and then moved into her own eglu with Sherbert, Dolly, and Alan.  These too, have long since left us.

So here’s to Dhylis.  The chicken who taught us all we know about chickens.  Who came when she was called, and used to run up and down the garden after me.  Who made happy noises when she got treats, who loved grapes and sweetcorn, and who will be very much missed.

Rest in Peace Dhylis

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The actual Yarn Bombing

Finally you get to see my, and other great woolly creators efforts in the Yarn Bombing of the local church!

This is a tad later than planned due to a mishap with watermarking photos then not being able to find them on the computer when they’ve gone to the iCloud as wordpress didn’t know what the icloud was.  It knew what the dropbox was, the icloud seemed to be a little bit too far away for it!  Oh, and the app on my phone was a disaster too as it didn’t know what the shared photo folder was either….. I really couldn’t make these technical issues up!!!

So, this is the yarn bomb (Art installation!).

Where I know specific people have made things – I’ll link them!  So Off The Hook (me!), woolly Chic and Festiwool and have been busy bees with our hooks and needles.

I decided my fairies needed houses!  Being left outside for a few weeks it’d be nice for them to find somewhere to sleep!

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The final view of my little fairies in the church yard.  They are here until the 23rd of July so if you are local – pop along to see them!

These from Festiwool – you can’t beat a good pom pom, and this is so red and bright it’s a real  eye catcher.  Festiwool is on the 12th November in Hertfordshire – one for the calendars too!

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And this bike is fantastic!


Now Woolly Chic’s turn

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Then were are a few others bits dotted around made by other lovely people.  It’s well worth a little look around if you are in the area!

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Oh and  pop up wool shop is happening on the 23rd July next door to the churchyard, where I’ll be selling my Yarnart Begonia that I used to make the fairy skirts and those little Russian Cloche hats!

My yarn bombing journey – Part 2

I’m lucky to be involved in the local yarn bombing event in a local churchyard.  I’d seen it last year and detailed it in this post.  This year I decided to see if I could join in, and you can read who I got involved and drool over cream teas here.

So what was I going to make????  The brief was so open, ideally it’d be clothes of some sort.

I chatted to Helen about what she was doing – a dress for a tree, and she’d mentioned a hoola hoop.

Thinking cap on I decided to investigate making something with bangles. You know the ones, the sets you always find in shops.

Anyway I went to the local kids type jewellery shop and they had the bracelets I wanted, but at £10 for 6 these were going to be expensive!  So I nipped into the charity shop a few doors down, and came away with 30 bracelets for £3!

Now what to make with them……… The pink one loves anything magical.  Her favourites are unicorns, but they are not clothes!  So a little rethink and the idea of fairies was set.  But how?

Yarnart Begonia, and some reflective thread a 2.75mm hook, and time to crochet.

Here a few of the skirts I made.


Then I decided to try them with the peg bodies.

So this is where I admit, I am no artist!

The skirts looked lovely, but the faces and the hair…. ummmmm……. they left a lot to be desired!




Chatting at Ballet, while the pink one danced we went on good old Pinterest and found some really cool little photos.  Pom Poms were bought and then plan B.

At this point I realised my limitations and asked the lovely friend (found at this great shop – she’s even been in Mollie Makes it turns out!) to make me some “pretty” fairies……and thankfully she did!

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Then to assemble them…….  Wings made from felt, pompoms attached and arms from pipe cleaners!

They originally hung in my garden for the open day on fishing line, so it looked like they were floating.  For the Yarn bomb it was decided they needed to be a bit sturdier, so I chained a length of normal DK yarn the same colour of the skirts!

So what do you think?

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My yarn bombing journey – part 1

As I’m typing this I’m very proud to say “I’m part of an art installation (Yarn Bomb!) in a local church yard.”

I’d found out about it when I met up with the lovely Helen from Woolly Chic a good couple of months ago now!  (The garden opening and the making for the yarn bomb have taken all my spare time – I can’t believe I didn’t get around to writing this up at the time!!).

We both have a love of crochet, and live about 10 minutes away from each other, both knew of each other, but had never actually met!  I tweeted her and asked if the church was being yarn bombed this year.

“Yes, fancy meeting to discuss?” she replied.

“Why of course!” so in a very British fashion, we met and had a cream tea!


Yarn was discussed at great length, tea drunk, scones demolished!  (Not sure if this is the Devon or Cornish way to eat a scone – but it was delicious!)


Crochet?  Surely you talked about Crochet?  Well of course we did……

The yarn bombing was being called “Vestry”, and we talked about different ideas I could possibly do.  Helen explained all her plans, with a dress for a tree, and then some beautiful mandalas.


The we talked about puff stitch, and her lovely Sheep teacosy……. and my inability to master it!  She then kindly demo’d it for me!


A quick walk to the church, still thinking about ideas to look at the trees.

Then I walked back to my car actually paying attention to where I was, and I noticed for the first time a lovely little stream, and the great tudor architecture of some of the buildings!

Part 2 – the designing and making coming very soon!

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Open garden…… and now relax!

Two years ago, for the first time ever I opened my garden for the Red Cross and some other local charities as part of the city I live in.  We get listed in the little white book thats delivered to lots of garden centres and local tourist information centres, then the real fun begins of constants gardening in the build up to the event.

Well – as gluttons for punishment we decided we’d do it again this year! The big day was 19th June, Fathers day would you believe!

So cue a good month of gardening constantly.  Lists written daily of what needs to be done.

Husband on strict instructions not treat the lawn this year until after the garden opening, and the embarrassment of the black spots 2 years ago.

More lists written. Grass cut, anything growing tied up or cut off with secateurs!

Kids told not to kick balls into the flowers, every last bit of rubbish picked up.

Emergency call to the hedge cutting man when you realise you’re running out of time – he comes Friday morning!

Frantic painting of the climbing frame at 8pm on Saturday night when you open your eyes and see it’s pealing paint everywhere – how did we not notice beforehand?

Sleep………. up at 6am making cakes.

Last tidy of the garden.

Ready for “Blue one” in charge of ticket sales.  Good maths and money practice – He loved it!

11am doors opened!  First visitor 11.05am…….. followed by over 400 hundred people mooching around my garden!

Our garden took just under £300, but with 24 other gardens opening we’ve hopefully raised lots of money for charity!  Last count tickets sales alone had raised over £4000!

So, want to see my garden???  Alright then!  Loads of photos now…… and I’m proud to say apart from watering… I’ve not gardened in over a week!!!!

(Spot the little fairies in the trees?  Blog post coming soon on those!)

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