Thursday, 17 December 2009

From snowflakes... to snowflakes!

Yesterday’s green tips of the snowdrop’s cousin ‘snowflakes’ are well hidden tonight. They have been covered by… the real cold and wet stuff! Yep… today saw our first covering of snow.


Arbour with Rowan tree on left and new Hawthorn on the right.


Some night time pics again… I didn’t get out with my camera during the day. However I couldn’t lose a photo opportunity of this nice crisp snow that is beginning to thaw a little. The outside lights went on and my camera went on my tripod.

Fatcake in bird feeder hanging from a hook on Acer palmatum Sango Kaku.
This Coral bark maple is brilliant at this time of year.
The tree and its feeder is likely to be very popular tomorrow!


I’ll not chat on too much. The weekend is almost here and everyone will be very busy just now with Christmas so close. I’ll just take you a quick walk around my garden and then into my kitchen… someone was busy, busy in there when I was outside with my camera just before 11pm tonight.


View from back door. I’m thrilled with the silver baubles on my pine tree.
This is exactly how I hoped I’d see them.










Yesterday’s garden tidy-up was a bigger job than I anticipated… there’s more to do!


A forgotten feeder away from the main feeding station… empty! Will fill it with peanuts tomorrow to feed the rising number of blue tits enjoying them.
Wisteria stems unpruned… need to trim back to four sets of buds ASAP!


Ah… now it’s the turn of the Snow Queen to test the hardiness of the perennial wallflower Erysium Bowles' Mauve.

The weight of snow did bend some stems...


While other stems stood up to her in defiance!

Meanwhile...


Back in my kitchen, my daughter was busy baking mince pies. This is just the second time she has made them… don’t they look great!

Yep… it was late and she does have school tomorrow! However it’s only until 12 noon and then she is off for the Christmas break. Tomorrow she is having a little Christmas Lunch/Party to end the school term and to exchange Christmas gifts. I can hear their laughter in my head as I type this :-D


Oh but… she didn’t just make mince pies…


Please let me tempt you with a virtual chocolate muffin to go with a cuppa over the weekend. I’m sure you could do with the energy for all the jobs and shopping ahead. Sh… just don’t tell her I’m offering her muffins around the world! I’m guessing they just might be a little more popular than the mince pies with her friends… don’t you?

I’m also guessing there will be Christmas cooking prep in kitchens throughout the world over this weekend. I for one, especially love cooking for my freezer at this time of year.

My daughter has a question she has asked me to ask my American visitors. I wonder if anyone is able to answer this. Perhaps I’m looking for an American living in the UK or a UK person living in America.

At 16 she is a huge fan of watching cooking programmes on TV. One of her favs is the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten. Her first question regards ‘half and half’ that is poured out of a carton. Her guess is that this is a cream of some kind but does anyone know if it is like our single or double. She would love to know what its equivalent is in the UK.

Her second question regards the large white eggs she sees Ina using in her recipes. Hen’s eggs here in the UK are a lot smaller and usually brown. Are these white eggs, hen’s eggs?

Okay… question session over. Thanks for any answers. It’s getting late here. My daughter is in bed. I need to get to mine too but I said I’d dry the dishes! Mm… could they wait until morning? Nope… I’d better do them and get her muffins in a box as the chocolate will have gone hard now… anyone fancy another before I put them away?

Wishing you a great time over the weekend, be it out in the snow, shopping, cooking or baking. Perhaps there might be some time for garden watching too :-D


Update 18th December... the video below of our European Robin taking time out from the frantic busy feeders today just had to be included here. I love the Christmas music which was an audio swap with YouTube after I uploaded it. I picked a track closest to the length of my clip but it ends abruptly. On the positive it looks like the Robin has decided the music is finished and I'm off thank-you very much!



I'd also like to take this added opportunity to wish everyone safe journeys on the ice and snow covered roads this weekend. It looks like the snow is hanging around. Stay safe.

BTW the muffins and mince pies were both eaten... the plate came back empty today :-D

The photos above were all taken either in my garden or kitchen on December 17th 2009. The video above was taken through my window on the 18th of December 2009.

22 comments:

Carol said...

I love the contrast between your beautiful cold snow photos and your warm kitchen! Wonderful! Deliciously enticing too! Happy Holidays! Carol

Liz said...

Ooooh, you have snow!

We have a tiny splattering, and I don't imagine it will be around for much longer... Oh well.

And yes I will steal those muffins (sorry, the mince pies do look scrummy too, but I don't like them)

:D

Midmarsh John said...

Lovely to see your Winter garden, very Christmassy, especially like the bauble shots.
The mince pies and the chocolate muffins are making my mouth water.

Randy Emmitt said...

Shirl,
Loved the snow photos! Half and half is a thick cream made of milk. I'm not an expert on it. The white eggs are chicken eggs they are slightly cheaper and much more common here in the US. We buy jumbo locally grown brown eggs here in paradise which are about twice the size of small eggs.

Little Brown Job said...

Lovely snowy shots Shirl, you've had more than us, just a dusting here.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Your snow photos are gorgeous, Shirl! And as for those baking treats..I made mincemeat last weekend, but hubby makes the pies. Not my thing.

I think half-and-half is the blend we use in our coffee, but I'm not sure. There are two kinds (here in Canada, anyway) 10 percent cream, and 18 percent cream. And of course there's whipping cream too, but that's another, decadent, story!
The eggs: most commercial egg producers (at least here in Canada) use a white breed of hen for egg production, though some also use red hens. (Usually white Leghorns for white eggs; probably Rhode Island Reds for brown eggs.) What's hilarious is that people pay a premium for brown-shelled eggs, even though there's absolutely no difference in the eggs (unless they're organically/freerange produced, but that's another story)

leavesnbloom said...

Oh Shirl you certainly do live south of me - all the snow yesterday was south of us - we just had a few flurries around lunchtime. I'm hoping we'll get some tommorrow.

shirl said...

Hi again Carol, gosh… to be honest, for once I didn’t plan that. Thanks, I like that idea too now. Wishing you happy holidays too :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Liz, yep… and it looks like its hanging around too! Its many years since we’ve had this before Christmas… it’s many years since I’ve been shopping late too! Ain’t that just the way… I don’t ‘do’ driving in snow. I’m trying not to panic! I’m guessing you perhaps got snow later today?

LOL… too late the muffins are all gone now! I didn’t get one either. The girls ate all eight (one each) and then followed them a little later with the mince pies too. I don’t think they helped their singing voices on Singstar though! Perhaps they should have made a wish ;-)

shirl said...

Hi there John, Thank-you, I have to say I quite like the night white and the baubles have been a treat to look out on to. As I’ve said before, the birds don’t seem bothered with them at all.

LOL… yep the mince pies and muffins presented on a large oval plate looked seriously mouth watering… the plate came back empty… ah well… we’ve more snow expected in the next couple of days… she’ll just have to make some more for us ;-)

shirl said...

Hi there Randy, Thank-you, glad you liked them. I certainly had fun wandering around the garden late taking them.

Thanks for the info on the half & half and the eggs. I have to say the egg size has me more curious. I’m guessing they are quite different breeds of hens than the ones that we get our eggs from here. Now… I’ve just remembered… there are bloggers who blog about their chickens. I can’t remember who for the moment.

shirl said...

Hi there Paul, thank-you. I love your dusting shot on today’s posting. Shots like your one make snow look romantic don’t you think? Perhaps you’ve more snow now?

shirl said...

Hi there Jodi, Thank-you! The baking went down a storm today! Now a hubby that bakes… lucky you :-D

Gosh, this whole half and half is way more precise than its name suggests. Thank-you for the info.

LOL… when I was re-reading my posting this morning another quite different meaning sprung to mind. Half and half here in Scotland is something that the older men (like my Dad) refer to as a nip of whisky with a chaser of a half pint of beer. Of course, when ordering at the bar it would sound more life a hawf and hawf ;-)

You know I never considered hens with colour matching eggs! I guess its because most eggs bought here are brown as are the hens. My daughter had thought the eggs Ina used were duck eggs.

Ah yes… the free range story. I have to confess to always choosing them probably due to the awful video footage that has been shown many years ago of the cramped conditions of battery hens who never see the light of day. I hate that thought. However, I also question the mark-up in egg price perhaps cashing in on people who care. Mm… yes another story indeed :-)

shirl said...

Hi again Leavesnbloom, yep… I guessed so. By the weather forecast it does look like you could be making snowmen tomorrow :-D

leavesnbloom said...

Shirl I did not know about audio swap with youtube- thanks for the heads up. Love your Robin update!

shirl said...

No problem, Leavesnbloom :-) I only noticed this the other day.

You have to upload the video first. The processing has to be complete then you select audio swap. All the tracks have times shown and I didn't know what would happen if the music was longer. I selected the closest time match and then I was given a few options. After you hit the button to swap it is permanent. You can preview your video first with the different tracks by selecting them one at a time. That helps. I should say that it took a lttle while for the second processing of the video with the audio. I gave up checking it, initially thinking it hadn't worked.

It also states that if you choose to audio swap advertising will come with this feature. Have fun trying it out :-D

Thanks, I've watched this robin clip a number of times myself. I was thrilled with it especially as it was taken through a window :-D

Have a great weekend. Stay safe on the roads. Tomorrow (today now) my OH has to drive up to Aberdeen to pick up Uni daughter and friend. I'm trying not to think about it.

Midmarsh John said...

Great video of the Robin Shirl. You can really see the way it fluffs out its feathers in the cold weather.
At the moment the Blackbirds are trying to work out where the food is as the ground feeder was covered by an inch or more of snow last night.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh my, those mince pies and cupcakes made my mouth water. Yummmm. No wonder the plate came back empty.

The little robin was fun to watch. It kept puffing up its feathers against the cold. Be careful this weekend.

Linda said...

Lovely night time photos. Your silvery tree ornaments are magical!

And the baking....mmmmm! It's chocolate truffle and mince pie making here this afternoon. Son is home from his first semester at uni and has lost quite a bit of weight (and he was already slim).

Yes, a 'half and half' is unfortunately part of Scottish 'heritage'. It would lay me out cold.

shirl said...

Hi again John, thanks! I couldn’t believe how long it stayed there. I moved the camera at one point expecting it to move as you would have seen. It watched me watching it. I had to stay quite still :-)

Gosh… you did get a good snowfall then. Ah yes, we always have that problem when it snows. I often tear up some bread and scatter it over an area that has seed below. As the birds fight over the bread they soon uncover the seed below. Other times I throw some seed under a shrub where the snow isn’t lying and generally the ground feeding birds find it okay.

shirl said...

Hi there Lisa, me too every time I look at this posting. Glad you enjoyed the robin video. It was fun to watch. I would love to have added a track of music with singing in it but with copyright I couldn’t. I was thinking of… rocking robin ;-)

Thanks, we got our Uni daughter safely home but this snow isn’t moving anywhere fast. It snowed again today. Ah well… the sledge came out and we now have a snowman :-D

shirl said...

Hi again Linda, thank-you. I am loving these ornaments myself especially when there is snow on the branches.

Brilliant, a wonderful Sunday job on a cold day. Hope your son is enjoying Uni and his course… and that he has been free from tonsillitis too. Yep… many do seem to loose a lot of weight and a few seem to expand quite a bit!

LOL… yep our heritage has a lot to answer for at times! I can’t comment on this one though as I’ve never tried it.