Monday, 10 November 2014

The Mad Monkey water project at Soggibottom.

The Soggibottom bears are still around. One Panda, ready to make his way over our little bridge before Christmas.
Many thanks to everyone who viewed and donated to the The tuk tuk project.
The tuk tuk project was a couple of posts ago on Soggibottom, but if you missed it click on the link above it will give you all the information you need.
I have it in good authority the amount raised so far is over Fifty Thousand Dollars.
Enough to buy and help the up keep of a tuk tuk. At night time it can be converted to a mobile Taco canteen selling taco's to help sustain The Sala Monkey School in Cambodia.

It's great to know, not everyone puts their head in the sand like Freya Rose Blossom.

Freya digs holes along the beach as a duck takes to water.

Freya is an expert digger, woe behold anyone who travels along the same path on the beach as Freya in the dark.

Luckily the tide has come back in and filled all her beautifully dug holes up by then. Digging is most defiantly her specialty.

One of my friends reminded me Soggibottom and water go together well.
Winter has arrived here in Devon, at the moment it means rain and rising water levels. Our first flood warning of the year has already been given.
Winter for Soggibottom means never being complacent about the recent ditch water relief channel that was constructed last year to help the village where we live with flooding.

Once bitten, twice shy and all that.
Or in our case bitten as in quite a few times of having our home flooded. At least it gives a great perspective of how lucky we are living in this part of the world where "STUFF", really is just stuff and it gets fixed. It dries out and eventually we go back to normal.
We can still turn on the water tap and know if the ditch and river outside has gruesome water in it, at least our tap water is clean.

Way back in the Summer on one of our walks with Freya we noticed how stagnant the water was on our lake walk. It had been hot and no rain for weeks. The water was a beautiful shade of green, Pike were gasping for breath at the surface of the water. Although it was a hot day, it didn't look good to paddle in let alone want to drink. We wouldn't let Freya dip her paws into the green stinking water. It was so bad, we gave our lake walks a miss for ages.

There is another Mad Monkey project that's ongoing. Clean water.
So far 20 newly dug wells are already helping communities that have no access to clean water in Cambodia.
By clicking on the link below you can see for yourself. Clean water means health.

The Mad Monkey clean water project.
 It will make you think twice the next time you go to your own water source. 

Freya Rose Blossom can be found over at the CAT FLAP CAVALIER in puppy mode. 
She also has a new blanket, it's not just the new colour which seems to suit her. She's warm, cozy, her drinking bowl is full to the brim of crystal clear Adam's ale. CLEAN WATER.

:-) xxx

Monday, 27 October 2014

Tuk Tuk Taco Project.

I asked Steve our eldest a while ago if Soggibottom could use this photo, it's one of Marley Wynn our granddaughter and Steve sitting with a guy he often has meetings with reference digging new water wells in the area of Cambodia where they live. Water wells mean clean water, clean water saves lives.

The last time we had seen Steve was 2010, he went walk about, stopping when he reached Cambodia.

Steve, Erica and Marley Wynn's visit to the cottage last Summer was something we had been looking forward to. Our eldest son, his new wife and our new granddaughter who we had never met before.

Apart from the water well project which is ongoing, there is another project now starting to take shape.  It's called the

Soggibottom isn't great on advertising as most know, but when our lad starts on a campaign, we like to give him all the help we can.   Happy belated birthday Steven.

Love Mum and Dad. X X X 

Monday, 13 October 2014

The arrival of the raining season

It's been a great Summer this year, I suppose it was too much to wish that it would last.The rainy season has hit the South West of England again.

We've been saying for weeks we needed some rain and at least there is now a decent amount of water again flowing through our stream/river (it's only classed by us as a river when it's about to overflow).

Our new dirt water ditch water relief channel seems to be working.

Here's the view on Saturday. The view from the play park end at the back of Soggibottom cottage.  The little weir still needs attention ref the water level and the right amount of water that should be flowing along the river. The sand bags in one corner have only been there for a few months. I'm sure those that know better believe the sandbags are going to help with water levels. We only live here, what do we know about water levels.

The same view today. The sandbags will be around, probably to be found floating down the river Teign by now, half way on their journey to the sea.

It has to be said, it's not a great day to be out and about especially for Freya Rose Blossoms. Our plans had to be altered last week, we never did make our intended visit to see our kids.  I also have to mention to Kiann, Jake and Tilly May.

Grandad has been eating the sweets he was going to bring you. 

Freya Rose Blossom can be found over at The Cat Flap Cavalier as usual.
Everyone keep dry. See you later guys :-) x x x

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Soggibiottom and The cat flap cavalier are having a bit of a break guys. Squeak to you all later. lots of love x x xx x

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Apple blossom found in Devon on the 1st October 2014.

October the 1st is normally the time of year when everyone's thinking of the run up to Halloween at the end of the month. Seemed strange as we are winding our garden down for Winter to find we have apple blossom on Amie Soto Blossom's apple tree.

 It's been known to see roses still in bloom on Christmas Day here.

 There are plants in bloom around our garden that are still giving glorious colour.

Blooms and colour in the front of the cottage as well as the back

.Who ever said Autumn is a sad and boring time of year ?

Freya Rose Blossom softly follows in Amie Soto Blossom's footsteps around Soggibottom cottage.

Freya can be found over at The Cat Flap Cavalier. 

See you all soon. :-) x x x

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The downfall of having grape vines.

It's grape harvest time in the cottage garden, this year and we have had a bumper crop.  So what on earth happens to all the grapes other than make wine ?
Making wine does sound a good idea.

Grape jelly, grape juice, grape sauce, grape ice cream, champagne, grape oil used in cosmetics. How on earth can I use the grapes in cosmetics ? 
Haven't a clue, but there it is on the net, so someone has used them. 
I suppose we can always eat the grapes just as they are. Okay for the black variety, but the green one's tend to make you screw your eye's up a bit.

Our kitchen wine rack it has to say is rather empty of wine bottles. It's filled with coffee jars because I might need them, a tin bus that had toffee's in it one Christmas time and not forgetting the egg coddler. That never gets used, but it's pretty.
Then there are the famous pair of salt and pepper mice, that for some mysterious reason, went walk about and disappeared after our youngest Grandaughter Marley Wynn made a visit during the Summer.  They made an appearance eventually and turned up again when Freya was having a massive clear out of her toy box.

Toy box clear outs don't happen often. Freya is always down on the beach, the love of her life to dig as many holes as she can before the tide comes back in. Toys are for rainy days.

How to make wine ? 
It doesn't sound so hard. Delving into the net again, I found some basic instructions.
The following is a list of essential equipment to make 30 bottles of wine.

Will our wine rack take 30 bottles ?

The list of equipment.
30 Litre bucket with lid, grommet and amp. Airlock
25 Litre Fermenter with Large Cap. Bung and amp. Airlock
Large Auto siphon (for 25 litre buckets'fermenters)
Hydrometer with Case
Steriliser 100g

I'm lost already and no one has even mentioned grapes yet.

What do I do?

The two most important aspects of making wine are Cleanliness and Temperature. Firstly remember everything that comes into contact with the wine should be cleaned and sterilised. Secondly maintain a constant temperature between 21-26°C (69-79°F). It is much better to be on the cool side and constant than hot one minute and cold the next. Airing cupboards are definitely no, no's.

Steps to making a good wine (follow the instructions!)

  1. Clean and sterilise all equipment.
  2. Add the concentrate and water to the sterilised fermenter/bucket.
  3. Add the yeast sachet and leave to ferment watching the temperature. The yeast will turn the grape juice (and sugar) into alcohol. Carbon dioxide is given off while this is happening and you will see bubbles coming through your airlock.
  4. Once fermentation has been completed the wine is stabilised (to prevent any re-fermentations) and finings are added (to clear the wine).
  5. The wine can then be siphoned off the sediment and transferred into bottles.
  6. The bottles need to be either "corked" (there are several corking devices available) or sealed with plastic stoppers (not very good if keeping wine more than 6 weeks). Shrink tops and labels can then be added.
  7. Leave the wine if you can to mature and enjoy it!
The last wine we made was years ago, there were bottles and corks and stuff bubbling up all around the house. It never was left to mature. At least the few surviving bottles that never exploded were okay.  Dandylion wine, we never had grapevines at that time.

Grape jelly sounded a sure bet.  Better than dealing with exploding bottles and messing around with buckets, besides, it sounded a whole lot quicker.
Bowls of grapes, washed and then the grim task of snail removal.

This took time, removing stalks and something floating around that didn't look like a grape.
The odd snail popping it's head up from the kitchen sink after nearly escaping down the plug hole.
Battering the hell out of the grapes to remove the juice. I'm sure that should have been crushing, but I battered the little blighters, grapes not snails I have to add. Time was ticking and I had other things to do than play around with grapes. 

So what I want to know is, what happens to all the snails that can be found on other people's grape vines ?
Do they mingle in with the wine ?
There are some strange thoughts that go through your head when crushing grapes. 

Any normal person would have suspended the crushed/battered to bits grapes and left then standing overnight in a muslin bag so that the juice found it's way out.  I haven't got time for that. 

After all the sorting, bashing, straining grape juice, boiling it to a sugary pulp, the final result.
Two jars of something that should resemble grape jelly (or not). Two and a bit small bottles of grape juice. Lots of bashed to bits grapes that have now all gone into the garden compost heap.
The grape juice is in the fridge if anyone is interested in trying it. The jars now reside at the bottom of a cool cupboard. Next year what happens to all the grapes at harvest time ?

Anyone who wants to help themselves to our grape harvest is more than welcome. 
Making grape jelly really isn't my thing. 
It must be on par with Area 51.
Below the sign that can now be seen along the road going into the nearby town of Totnes.

 Freya is over at Cat Flap Cavalier as usual.

 See you all very soon. :-) x x x