As family members will know, today would have been Mum's 105th birthday, so I guess she would have been in my mind particularly today anyway, but, as it happened, I was doing something that brought her to my side anyway. I always loved nuts, especially the ones in shells that we had at home especially for Christmas. I was always nagging to be allowed to use the nut-crackers, and was so pleased when I was deemed old enough to handle them. Mum always used to say, "Leave the almonds for dad to do. They are too hard for you". Well almonds grow in abundance around here, as you may remember from my photos of all the lovely blossom earlier this year. Yesterday a lady at church brought in lots of bags of almonds from her garden and gave them out to anyone who wanted them, so I brought some home. This morning I looked at yet another new layer of dust from the roadworks, that had settled around the sitting room and I thought, 'No. It's too nice for that', so I picked up my almonds, a couple of plastic containers and the nutcrackers which , although they have lain unused at the bottom of my cutlery drawer for years, I not only decided to bring out here with me, but I actually knew where to look for them, and I went out to a shady spot on our swing seat, and set about shelling them. Mum was right, they are too hard, but with a little bit of effort and a lot of determination I manage to shell them all. I also managed to break a lump of metal off the nutcrackers, so that the ratchet is 'wonky' now, but fortunately I have a second pair in the drawer! Then I decided to blanch them, and that's what really started the memories flowing. Skinning blanched almonds was always a job given to Jean and I when mum was busy preparing for her Christmas baking (after they had cooled down of course), and those bubbly brown skins and slippery nuts popping out of them, brought me straight back the kitchen of our childhood. It's funny what little things can evoke such vivid memories. Anyway, I now have a little box of blanched almonds all ready for my Christmas baking. Sadly my poor old teeth don't cope with raw nuts like they used to so I use them more in cooking these days. As you can see from my photo, I had my hair cut this week. It was a bit of a drastic short back and sides, but it is much cooler off my face, and will soon grow again!
I don't always shun the housework in favour of more enjoyable pastimes, and this weekend I gave the kitchen and larder an unseasonal 'spring clean'. I started by putting away everything that shouldn't be there, and cleaned all the kitchen surfaces and then turned my attention to the larder. Up 'til now the microwave has lived in there on special wall brackets. It was there when we moved in so I left it, but I have never liked it in there. For one thing it means the larder door is open letting all the hot air in when I am cooking dinner, and it also made the larder warmer than it needs to be and often made it smell of cooked food. Because I have limited cupboard space, all the bottles and cans of drink were on the larder floor hindering access to the microwave, so all in all it wasn't very satisfactory. So I have now moved the microwave into the kitchen. It sits on top of the freezer with the toaster and electric knife up on top of it. The brackets in the larder now hold a wide shelf for all the drinks, and everything is much tidier. I also took out all my containers, sorted their contents, and labelled them all on the side and on the lid, so I can find what I want more easily. So it was a weekend well spent. I then rewarded myself with a couple of afternoons doing some creative craft, making die-cuts, and rubber stamps for pages of Ben's scrapbook, which is almost finished now.
Because of the torrential rain last week, we have not done our usual walk with the dogs in the mornings, as there was too much mud. So when we went back that way this week I was anxious to see whether my fairy flower (see last month's blog) had survived. I was surprised to see it is still there, but it has grown to a good 18 inches high. It has a long bare stem but not a leaf anywhere. The flowers are so pretty. It is a shame that they don't all come out at once, but flowers don't last out here and the lower ones are dying off long before the top ones are ready to open. I can't believe it has survived the storms, and all the animals that pass that way, not to mention the careless feet of dog-walkers etc. It is the only one of it's kind in the area.Well I am off to do a bit more of my scrapbook now. I don't know whether I shall blog again for a while as I have two lots of visitors coming, so I'll see how the time goes. but I will be back eventually!