Wednesday, April 29, 2009
They didn't produce much. By the end of the season, the brussel sprouts were barely 4 inches tall and no sprouts; the rhubarb, crowded out by the borage I planted to protect, didn't get to be much more than a few leaves--not the stalks of homegrown rhubarb for rhubarb crumble we imagined being able to have over the summer.
Once we did our final harvest, we sorta forgot about the rhubarb (as we were told to do, apparently you can neglect it and it will prosper) and the brussel sprouts. In the early spring, we discovered that our brussel sprouts not only made it through a very cold winter, but were growing!
After a few more weeks, we saw that the rhubarb, once a nub in the ground, was also now growing and producing magnificent leaves!
And then we went away to England for wedding stuffs and we discovered these upon our return. Both the rhubarb and the sprouts are flowering! The sprouts are also like 6 feet tall and we need to re-stake them. I am not sure what that means in terms of getting any produce from either plant, but we are pretty impressed with ourselves that we can harvest seeds from seeds we started.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Yup, we got a family, here, genetically prone to Star War Legos. They are even sitting in the proper order of younger to older, left to right. Interesting...
Monday, April 27, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
It being a true Scottish butcher, that is a true Scottish haggis. So, yes, that *is* a sheep's stomach that the haggis is cooked in. Haggis is traditionally sheep offal mixed with oats, grains, and spices....
...Served with some broad beans, mashed neeps & tatties, and you have yourself one delicious dinner.
A hallmark is basically a stamp on the silver to mark who, where, and when the silver piece was made. You have to go to the assay office and have them hallmark it. The assay office authenticates it that is "proper silver", i.e. 92.5% pure silver for sterling silver.
The Maker's Mark is who made it. For Sylvia, that mark is "SJT" --her initials, made before she was married. The "925" means that it is sterling silver. The Lion Rampant (third stamp) means Scotland. The castle-like building is for Edinburgh Assay Office. The K means 2009. This bit of silver has a blue background for the hallmarks, but usually there is no color. It does make it easier to see for the photo, though.
Applying a hallmark began in Scotland, in Edinburgh in 1485 by the goldsmiths, who formed their own corporation to protect their trade and the public. They stamped gold and silver with particular stamps to ensure the purity and quality of the piece. In 1681, they started adding a letter to denote the year in which the item was made. The Edinburgh Assay Office's history is fascinating, to say the least.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tonbridge School was founded in 1553 by Sir Andrew Judde, under Letters Patent of King Edward VI. The Charter ordained that the Governors of the school after the death of the Founder were to be the Worshipful Company of Skinners, one of the oldest City Livery Companies. Sir Andrew, himself a distinguished member of this Company, left property in the City of London and in the parish of St Pancras as an endowment for the school.
It has to be said, that Will attending a school *older* than the U.S. is astonishing to me. I took him to my high school, Ballard, on his first visit home with me. He was not too impressed with the 1968 founding of the school. I think it was the "um, yeah, 1968? Is that all?" comment was my first clue of his lack of respect for my Bruins...
Will and I did a site visit to where we are having the wedding reception. We wanted to make sure it was suitable. You just never know with these country estates.... ;)
Oh my, it is just gorgeous! King John's Lodge looks amazing and it was so pretty, we had a hard time leaving. Having a reception there will just be a dream. I have now seem KJL in December, April, June, and September. I have to tell you, it is always beautiful. Always. Jill's gardens are just amazing. For those coming, you are in for a treat.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
At this time, Franklin considered himself a loyal Englishman. England was the cool, hip place to be. But, in 1765, Franklin supported the colonies' overwhelming opposition to the Stamp Act, which required all print materials to carry a tax stamp, which was to pay for the British troops stationed in the colonies from the Seven Years' War. Franklin's testimony before the British Parliament helped persuade the members to repeal the law. But, growing sick of the corruption he saw all around him in politics and royal circles, he started wondering if America should break free of England. Franklin, who had proposed a plan for united colonies in 1754, now would earnestly start working toward that goal.
Franklin's big break with England occurred in the "Hutchinson Affair." Thomas Hutchinson was an English-appointed governor of Massachusetts. Franklin got hold of Huntinson's private letters, leaked them to the colonies, and proved Governor Hutchinson and the Lieutenant Governor Andrew Olivier were encouraging London to crack down on the rights of the Bostonians. After that, Franklin was called to Whitehall, the English Foreign Ministry, where he was condemned in public by the Privy Council. Ben Franklin left London in March 1775 in disgrace.
And yet, there is a museum in his only surviving house, 36 Craven Street, near Trafalgar Square. Interesting that this man was laughed out of this country to create my country but still has a museum here.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Cadbury Creme Eggs and McDonald's.
For a limited time, McDonald's is offering a Cadbury Creme Egg McFlurry. It was tasty and rich. A cold creme egg, if you will. They take the vanilla ice cream, mix in a sauce that looks like the yellow yolk, and add in chocolate bits. Delicious.
Will was hesitant at first, but after the first bite, was in heaven. It is very rich. Did I mention that already? Proof is that we could only eat half of it. The rest of it is the freezer. It will be our dessert tonight.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
We haven't even been in the country 12 hours (fyi: we are in England, doing wedding stuff), and we have already purchased and consumed some of the finest of British culinary delights. And by we, I mean... we.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Rebecca is so good, she calligraphed the outer and inner envelops and then wrapped them in tissue paper, tied them with string before sending them back. It was so lovely to open the box and see the care and love that she put into them. A bit of paper made very special. Thank you, Rebecca.
I got a lovely present in the mail for my birthday...next week. I opened it early....I couldn't resist. Because, I wanted it to go to London with me...yeah, that's it. Thank you, Hurst Street!
Monday, April 13, 2009
So, after the breakfast on Saturday, we took the grease left over from the sausage and bacon, added bread crumbs, and lots of bird seed to the pan. We (and by "we", I mean Will) mixed it all together and then poured (more like scraped) it into this dish. We refrigerated it over night, to harden the fat, and then we put it on on Sunday for the birds in our yard.
We have a suet feeders already, and it is very popular with the squirrels and the nuthatches. We are hoping that they enjoy some home-made suet for a change. And for once, some grease didn't go down the drain!
On Saturday, we had over friends for a pre-Easter brunch of Will's pancakes, scones, sausage, bacon, lattes, and juice. You know how serious Will takes his breakfast, so you can image how serious Will takes making and eating his very own crepe-like pancakes. Two plates with large stacks of pancakes, some with tentacles.
Once we were already to consume the deliciousness, Will demonstrated the proper way of eating a Cunningham Pancake.
spiral it around the pancake.
Take you fork, and insert one tyne into the pancake,
and start to roll up the pancake.
insert the entire fork into the opening of the rolled up pancake.
Repeat entire process.