The bank didn’t happen, pah… but I’m going tomorrow- promise. Yesterday, instead we made a picnic… I baked blueberry and apple healthy muffins which are made with oats 🙂 and we made a bag of sandwiches, packed some tubs of veggies and fruits and went off to Padley Gorge. Being well prepared with a picnic meant that both times we had to pass the ice cream van we didn’t have to give in and we had an amazing time … without spending anything. Padley Gorge is one of my childhood favourite places. Its also my subconscious site of all stories I read or hear which happen in the woods. I don’t think I’d realised before but I always picture any story happening there in my mind, just as when I used to read Sweet Valley High books when I was younger Jessica and Elizabeth lived in my Aunties house in the Cotswolds but with the kitchen rearranged… and one Point Horror book about a psycho doll also happened in the guest bedroom there. Weird. So… back at real Padley Gorge… we crossed the stream on the funny little bridge and passed the ‘paddly bit’ and went off to the woods to find a suitable den space for a picnic. I love the woods… me and Holly were studying the sparkles on the rocks and enjoying the way the sun shines through the leaves and looks like it twinkles… the woods just feel such an amazing place… every bit of it is different -and because of the way the light moves as it shines through in different places- even the same bits of the woods are never really the same. So we clambered and explored, taking it in turns to be the leaders and on the way back found the old rope swing … a short branch attached to a tree by some blue rope so stayed there for a while before going for a paddle which was cut short by tears when Holly realised there was a hole in the side of her welly boot 😦 Joel asked me if I liked the woods more than Meadowhall… tough choice but I think yes I do. Quite a revelation to myself.
So THIS is JAM! We have a bit of wasteland next to our house and we noticed not long after we moved in that there was a plum tree on it… picked some a couple of times but haven’t really known what to do and discounted making jam as too hard. This week Holly and Elijah went out picking and collected loads and today was such an achievement! We got back from a great time at Church and had a nice home-cooked lunch in the garden, played in the paddling pool, I made some scones (they wern’t SO good) and then me and Joel got to work reading advice on Pectin and found a simpleish recipe on a website for Plum jam.. and made this! We’ve got 2 and a half odd shaped jars of really tasty, jamish jam! I was so surprised it worked that I actually screamed and the kids loved testing it to see if it was ready. So tonight we had homemade scones with homemade jam after our homemade cottage pie! We reckon its a good money saver too… when I can get around to it, making food is cheaper and so much better. Bread maker bread works out cheaper, smells amazing and you can throw loads of healthy seeds in, soup is so much healthier, dead easy and you know what you’re getting. So though we don’t actually eat loads of Jam it can make good gifts… especially when you have to buy over 5 teacher presents for school! So the cost of these 2 and a half – and the half was a big (tesco sweet and sour cooking sauce size) jar – was the price of 2lbs of sugar… some of which was made up of the stash of free sachets Joel likes to collect at cafe’s (the shame). The fruit was picked free, a bit of water from the tap and about half an hour cooking time… now I though that before we started we would need to order lakeland nice jars and a big jam pot… but lack of funds means I had to do it Joel’s way… and its great! This week we’re going to hunt down some free blackberrys from near our old house!