Thursday, 1 October 2015

Conkers, Sticks and Blackberries


Something I posted about HERE this time last year was conkers, on 8th October so just one week later to be exact ... where did September go to!!    It was all about how having a conker on each of your windowsills will keep away spiders.

For the sceptics amongst you it really does work, and this last two weeks have been a testament to that.  As the weather turned cooler and the nights drew in spiders had been making their way into the warmth of the house at an alarming rate, well alarming to me ... fun for the dogs who love to chase the big, hairy long legged beasties when they run across the floor.

There was nothing for it but to go out conker hunting ... so we did!!

We walked along the river bank in Llanrwst with the dogs then Lovely Hubby had a fun filled half hour chucking sticks up trees and diving out of the way before they came back down on him,  the dogs thought he had gone mad and would have nothing to do with this vertical stick throwing and kept well out of his way, as did I only rushing in to help pick up the bright green prickly balls as they landed.

So for the last week the conkers have been back on all windowsills except one, the one Mavis and Rosy can get onto .... and they love eating conkers ... and for the last week there has not been a single spider sighting .... PHEW!!


In other news ....

We went out picking blackberries again and managed to get just over 1.3 kgs of luscious large berries.


Last time I made Apple and Blackberry Jelly so this time I decided.to make Apple and Blackberry Crumbles.  Seven for the freezer and one we ate the same night as a treat for all the painful picking we had endured .... boy do those scratches tingle when you get in the bath later that night and have just about forgotten about your battle wounds.


I say crumbles, but in fact I have frozen these as just apple and blackberries that have been cooked together, so they can be used as crumbles, pies, cobblers or even thawed and added to a sponge mix  to make a delicious cake or pudding, very adaptable.  I keep my basic crumble mix in a big tub in the freezer and use it as it is or add extras to it such as oats, nuts or dried fruit depending on the mood we are in and what the kitchen cupboards demand we use up.


I'm busy reading my way through one of my favourite books again at the moment for more processing and preserving inspiration.  Alys Fowler is one of my gardening heroes and she writes extremely well.  I love the pictures in this book of the things she is doing, her home and Isabel, her lovely Jack Russell dog.  We chatted about our Jack Russells amongst other things over lunch at Yeo Valley Organic Gardens a couple of years ago when we met HERE it was a brilliant day.

I'm off for a bit more inspiration now, it's a hard job but somebody has to do it  :-)

Sue xx

16 comments:

  1. I wonder if the conker thing works if you carry them in your pockets, just think you'd be in a spider free environment where ever you go!!! I have one of Alys Fowlers books, it's the only gardening book I've read cover to cover. I wish she did more TV. Sarah

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  2. Wondering how the conker deterrent works exactly???

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    1. I think that the conkers must give off something as they sit there very gradually drying out. They stay working all through Winter. Once they are shrivelled, or eaten by mice as happened to ours last year, spider season is usually over. So you need to go out and get fresh each Autumn. This year I have a stash in the freezer as well to see if they will still work after being frozen ..... just in case the mice come back!!

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  3. I only managed to find one solitary conker this year. I only need one, though, to play with as a worry bead in my pocket!
    xx

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    1. Ahhh ... someone else who likes to 'twiddle', my fingers are always on the go with something :-)

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  4. I have my new crop of conkers in place, and have not seen a single spider. The old ones had lost their majic as a few have been disposed of in the last week or so.

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  5. I used to enjoy watching the gardening programme with Alys Fowler. She had a great attitude to what was possible in a small space. Plus her dog was adorable. X

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    1. I wish that series was available as a Dvd, but I've never been able to find it :-(

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  6. Need to go conker hunting here too. Our Red-flowered Horse Chestnut has about 3 conkers on but they are not ready yet. There was a GIANT spider on the wall the other day, I happened to be hoovering up at the time..........

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  7. Catching up on blog reading tonight, lovely to see what you've been up to over the last week, and lovely to see all your home grown produce processed, ready to see you through the coming months. I do miss being able to do that now :)

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  8. Your blackberries look wonderful. They're still very small around here.................. so I have to pick twice as many.

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  9. We're overrun by the multi legged beasties. Time to find me a conker tree then.. :)

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  10. Are conkers and chestnuts the same thing ?

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    1. Yes, to quote Wikipedia ..... 'Conkers is a traditional children's game in Britain and Ireland played using the seeds of horse chestnut trees—the name 'conker' is also applied to the seed and to the tree itself. The game is played by two players, each with a conker threaded onto a piece of string: they take turns striking each other's conker until one breaks.'

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    2. Thank you.
      I have read childrens books where conkers are played and seen chestnuts in the supermarkets occasionally but until I read your post I never made the connection. I guess thats what happens when you live 'down under'

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  11. We've had a couple of BIG spiders in the house recently. I was sitting on the throne the other evening and suddenly caught sight of one by the loo roll stand. Of course, they look worse against the white tiles. I've tried my best to deal with my fear of these big spiders; I even forced myself to handle a tarantula once, but it's made no difference. I would never kill them though. They get scooped up in a plastic jug (by one of the men if they're around) and put over the garden wall.

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