pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Pottering and Sipping Champagne

Here on the east coast of England we are baking...
The weather is glorious,
as long as you don't have to do any work.
It's most definitely not the weather to be baking  
except that I have just received a very special gift through the post.

I tried taking my own photo
in a mirror...

This beautiful apron was made by Susan. 
Each month she sews a new apron, in stunning fabric combinations,
 then pulls a name out of a hat for the winner.    
I was lucky enough to win this lovely one.
Her wonderful blog is here.
Bakers will be inspired...

then George came in and I was able to pose
in front of the Rayburn
The thing about these aprons is that they hold a little magic, 
 and, despite the heat,  I felt the need to bake
but what?

"Treats, please..."
I couldn't resist those brown eyes.

Dog treats it is!

Our brilliant dog trainer and friend, Jan, gave me the recipe.     
I enjoy making them, despite the fishy smell,
(I'm not good with smells)
I like knowing what is in the food
I feed to my dog.
They are also much more economical than commercial treats.

The recipe is very simple
and can be found
on the top button

So far this week the cats have caught five moles.
Four were in the woodland
this one was in the kitchen garden.
I have nothing against moles,
as long as they stay out of the gardens,
the cats don't feel the same.

The first sunflower has unfurled its petals,

the purple sprouting broccoli is looking wonderful

and the cucumbers are looking ... cool.

the latest addition to the garden is this little tub of seaweed...


It has been a seasonal favourite of mine since childhood, 
way before these fancy chefs began using it.
Our greengrocer has a man who normally supplies him with it during the season, 
last year I reckon he must have got a better price elsewhere, for we were left without.    

Now that I know it can be grown on the patio,
 providing you use salt water and never let it dry out,
I am giving it a go.    
I'll let you know how it goes.

Francesca has enjoyed a little pottering, too.

Followed by a visit to feed the hens with some spinach leaves.

All that pottering left me worn out and in need of a drink
How fortunate that the elderflower champagne was ready to be sampled...
My thanks to Cro Magnon for the recipe and the inspiration.
It is superb.
It is very easy to make and tastes delicious.
A light, refreshing, summery drink.
(Very low alcohol content)



  1. Such a fun post. Love the apron on you. Such nice colours and imagine the magic...
    I used to bake doggy treats as a business. I made up twelve recipes and packaged them and brought them to pet stores and shops. I was in business for eight years and sold the business 3 years ago. It was called Pampered Pups Pastries. It is still going and they can be found in many stores in our area. Love the photo feeding the hens. How sweet. So, we don't see much of your cats. Perhaps you could humour me with a post about them. Have a wonderful weekend, Deb

    1. Hello Deb, Pampered Pups Pastries - great name! Don't worry, the cats will soon feature again. Right now they are difficult to photograph for they have made a summer camp in the polytunnel and log store. They do not approve of the new boy and refuse to come into the house while 'that dog' is in residence. It will all sort itself out, with time, patience, and a bit of guidance. They may not all end up bosom pals, but they will eventually share a house...and that will make life easier for me for I am getting a bit weary from running room service for them! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  2. I wonder if Laura's sunflowers have buds yet. I must look. They are about five feet tall. We are on our last garden renovation project this weekend, and it's down to Laura and me; the other two being off working. Let me tell you what an eleven year old can do. She digs magnificent holes for the plants!

    Great garden; so far ahead of ours. Does the North Sea help, or the poly tunnel start? Lovely sunflowers; I'll tell Laura later.

    1. Hello Joanne, Sunflowers really cheer up a place, I hope the rest follow suit soon. We already have Francesca feeding the hens, we'll move her on to other duties as she grows, Harry is being trained up too. If they end up being half as good as your grandchildren we'll know that we have done a good job.

      This area of the country is greatly affected by the proximity of the North Sea, we are usually several degrees cooler than the rest of the country. The sunflowers were started off in the polytunnel, it really gave them a head start - plus we have actually seen the sunshine and felt some warmth for a change!

      I'm sure Laura's sunflowers will soon leap into action.

  3. A great post Elaine.
    your veggie garden is overflowing with lovely greens.. I have never seen purple broccolli before.
    I was slow with my sunflowers this summer.
    your little grandaughter looks so sweet.. happy in the warmth of these summer days.
    wishing you a happy weekend Elaine.. val

    1. Hello Val, We are lucky to have the grandchildren living so close to us, they are a delight - plus we can send them home quite easily! The vegetable garden is really becoming productive now, I love being able to see what is available and then making a meal around it. I hope that your painting projects are going well today; I would love to sit on your patio with you, such a relaxing place. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. x

  4. You look lovely in your apron. Lots of congratulations. Love all your pictures and very envious of your cucumbers. Mine have hardly got off the ground yet.

    1. Sorry, Molly, this comment got lost in the spam box - just discovered it today.x

  5. ... smile ... nothing like pottering (here in the States we call it puttering) around! Love ly apron, my dear! T2 has it pretty good! Blessings!

    1. Hello Susan, No matter what we call it, it is the nicest of occupations on a hot day! The apron is a real pleasure to wear, the apron strings really do draw people together in the nicest way. To have the chance to win one for yourself, just leave a comment on Susan's blog and your name will go into the hat... T2 is always eager to try a few samples, quality control he calls it. Have a lovely weekend.

  6. I too have a special apron from our 'sister'...I'm convinced my cooking is better when I'm wearing it.
    Jane x

    1. Hello Jane, There is no doubt about it, those aprons do draw us all together. Your cooking is amazing and very inspirational, I always enjoy having a bash at your recipes. Vegan icecream is next on my list, coconut and chocolate is what George would like, vanilla is my preference, so I may have to make two batches.

  7. I'm pleased the EC worked OK, it must be so depressing when it doesn't. One of mine blew-up yesterday; I think it must be the heat. Cheers!

    1. Hello Cro, The Elderberry Champagne is a triumph! It was well worth the time and tiny expense. The only difficult part was restraining myself from sampling it sooner. It is one of the nicest summer drinks - and the odd bottle may well be opened for family and friends during the coming weeks. Thank you for the recipe.

    2. Anyone would think I had been hitting the bottle already - I meant to say the Elderflower Champagne - of course!

  8. So pleased that Toby Too has shared in the magic. I love my sunflower apron from Susan, and feel the special connection every time I wear it.

    1. Hello Scarlet, I remember the sunflower apron - a beautiful fabric and so cheerful! I have hopes that this most magical of aprons may improve my baking, for it is the village show very soon. The scones need to be perfection and light as a feather. Your vegetable harvest was very impressive, so was the meal you created from it. I need that kind of inspiration.

  9. What a lovely post and you look perfect in June's Apron; I always say, "the apron chooses the recipient!" Your garden is flourishing and I would love to be there sipping Elderberry Champagne with you; what a wonderful way to end a day of work (or baking), XOXO

  10. That apron is gorgeous - I'm sure that you will have loads of happy hours cooking in it. Jx

  11. Love the apron . . . gardens flourishing . . . dog biscuits and the day ending with refreshments . . .

  12. Ah, so much wonderful to take in. That apron is stylin'! Really classy. Francesca is a work of art.

    By the way, I have brown eyes, too. Treats, please...

  13. There is so much magic in Susan's Aprons....


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