Posts Tagged ‘snow’

Jack Edwards beans on a striped plate-a painting a day original watercolour AND a design for a collagraph

February 6, 2012 Leave a comment

8cm x 16cm,  3.25″ x 6.5″

These two are work in progress,

The beans on the plate are almost abstract and I am fine with that. They grew on the allotment and we have dried them for use in stews. They are rather good in stews they get very soft and smooth, better than shop bought dry beans. The plate is a bit of a disaster zone, but it’s an easy picture to set up and do, so I should try again.

The print-like image is a wax rubbing of a collagraph plate which did not work. I made it to remind me of how to proceed when I sort out the technical problem caused by the waxy leaves. I have read of someone using a mixture of polyfilla and pva glue.

The snow has finally proved to me that my sons are no longer children. It snowed on Saturday night, instead of leaping out of bed and getting out there they came to in their usual morbidly slow way and cursed the fact that there was the whole of Sunday to clear the roads making school closures less likely!” But it means you’ve got today to go sledging!”, I said weakly….a short time ago they would have been cock a hoop that the snow arrived on a weekend for maximum exploitation.

No2 son has returned from school with an appointment with the deputy head for throwing snowballs at school, and there was I thinking as I thought everyone thought …its only muppets and cissies that don’t play with the snow.




December 18, 2010 2 comments

The Gothic way with an igloo.

It snowed yesterday.

This is the proof that we are easily distracted if not barking bonkers mad ( to quote one of the childrens friends). Actually I had a cunning plan to get the boys interested in clearing snow, this snow was sticky and rolled up well into giant snowballs, I thought they might just roll the snow off the footpaths…back to the shovel.

Still we got the other stuff done too even though it entailed the husband writing e-mail instructions for a project in India until gone midnight. I finally baked the Christmas cake which looks OK and I’ve got up early to get the butter icing made for my mother in laws birthday cake also made yesterday.

Butter icing is one of my stong suits, I discovered as a teenager how to make the real deal from the Penguin Cordon Bleu Cookery book which is one of the few cookbooks I use, in fact I am on my second copy the first one fell apart. It offers three ways to make posh butter icing. I use the Italian merigue method which today will involve :

3 egg whites

6oz icing sugar and

 12 oz of unsalted butter.

flavour as required (that’ll be Brandy or Pear brandy today then)

You mix the sifted icing sugar with the egg whites place in a bowl over a pan of boiling water and whisk until the mixture fluffs up and looks just like shaving foam, allow to cool , cream the butter and fold the two together. I have just proved that it is possible to drink tea while whisking the meringue its not that arduous.

Its quite a big cake and we took it out of the oven a bit too soon so theres some  stuff to cover up!

It actually has to be unsalted butter for this, this is not one of those recipes which calls for unsalted butter then adds salt on the next line. My inbred carefullness objects to buying unsalted butter unless it is really neccessary as it generally costs more (except in Lidl) and keeps a lot less well. I think this is a mark of how bound we have become by the way people who cook in restaurants cook.

No2 son had to produce a ‘masterpiece’ for school once in any medium…at short notice of course. We went for a master chocolate cake with this icing and numerous chocolate embellishments dreamed up by No2 which went down well…all the children had a slice but then it was last seen disappearing in the direction of the staff room and was never seen again.  I’d do the same if I was surrounded by kids 4-11 year olds everyday.

I have to add that things were getting a bit fraught towards the end of yesterday and I realised how easy it would be to become dependant on brandy soaked sultanas if they were freely on offer every day.

Yesterday morning the snow was adding an inch per cup of tea as I surfaced. Its a shame in a way its in the Christmas run up there would be more fun to had with it if there weren’t other competing activities. As in shame of shames I havn’t made a pudding yet ( still its the easiest of the lot the pud, I reckon)

A leaf from the Newton Wonder – a painting a day

December 5, 2010 1 comment

 SOLD   size 6 in x 6 in, 15cm x 15cm

The snow which arrived on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday in large quantities has now almost all washed away. My neighbours who moved out while their building work was being done are back finally, they must be so relieved, and it is good to see the lights on at night knowing its inhabited again.

Last week’s combination of gammon on Friday and chicken on Sunday made a wealth of other meals. There was a spicy stir fry with Thai noodles , lots of sandwiches and finally chopped chicken and ham in mayonnaise to go in jacket potatoes. Then there was soup using the stock from the carcase and the gammon rind one cold lunchtime when no-one could get to school or work. The fat which came off was mixed with millet for the birds.

On Friday the school was appealing for volunteers to go and scrape snow off the paths and drives in order to get the place open for Monday….it is a close call- which is most unpleasant: two hours hard labour in the cold or another day with damp fractious boys all over the house?

There was no need to go and scrape snow off the school drive the rain has seen to it. Even the four foot icicle fell down today. I saved a section to show to some South African visitors who are due on Tuesday ( I have  saved it in the freezer).

After my vocal complaints last weekend about lack of help in the kitchen especially on a Sunday I was surprised to find that the promised weekend free of cooking really did happen and we still got a roast!!! We also got more kit made croissants than any of us could face No2 just kept taking trays out of the oven.

I have now run out of all but my last carton of Goats milk( UHT not brill. in tea)…the desperate housewives of the weald had stripped the supermarket of bread, milk, goatsmilk , UHT milk and goats UHT, fruit juice (so essential)  crumpets, teacakes, croissants, brioche and butter as soon as they could get the car back on the road ( I did not check to see if they were out of tins of borlotti beans too I expect they were; we are one of the Home Counties). When we couldn’t drive and the shopping was done by toboggan there was more food to buy. I have had to buy what is a marketing dream…oats milk you could pick it up by mistake glancing at the packet in  hurry. I don’t know if it will be any good, if it is horrid rest assured I will tell you.

The snow melted to show a soggy lawn with lots of soggy leaves, I therefore spent far too long raking them up, I have a small long barrow of apple and oak leaves, some of the apple leaves have lovely coloured stems so I did a quick sketch in watercolour (it was that or continue raking). The leaf is from the Newton Wonder tree which has big round serrated leaves, you are looking at the underside to see the best of the colour.

#160 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

Dried Hydrangea – a painting a day

December 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Sold   size 9 in x 6 in, 24cm x 15cm

The decorating is nearly done; I needed to get the dust off the stairs and in the process nearly pulled the vacuum cleaner on my head. This was dramatic enough to raise a comment from No1 and No2 who being off school with the snow are clamped to the beanbag behind the infernal games machine. A comment only, they didn’t find it dramatic enough to come and see if I was alright. I obviously need drama lessons. No1 did go out tobogganing and No2 is practicing his Christmas song on the guitar,” I believe in Father Christmas” by Greg Lake. It’s quite hard to sing but surprisingly he wants me to struggle with him on this one. I am better with OTT sweeping dramatic tunes but I am doing my best to manage fairly subtle but heartfelt…..

The snow has been the deepest we have ever seen here, actually the deepest we have ever seen in Sussex, just over a foot or thirty centimetres plus. My neighbour who moved here in 1959 said that there were times when the snow was thigh deep on the short slope down to the main road. Tonight has been a strange sequence. First it went very cold and a fog started to form then the fog vanished and the air got warmer now the rain is starting and the sound of a thaw the dripping and the soft thuds of falling snow have taken over from the self-conscious silence of the snowy nights. They say that later the cloud will clear and the temperature will drop again.

The warm roof (insulation between and over the rafters) is brilliant the central heating goes off at 9.30am and with the help of the wood burner I can manage to keep the temperature at around 19C in most of the house. Running the stove everyday and letting it burn slowly overnight is working, there is a residual warmth in the brick chimney which makes a big difference. Some days I have turned the central heating on for an hour after lunch but generally not even when it is 4 below zero outside.

Speaking of the snow and cold, I went to bash the snow off a thick evergreen tree which can break under the weight of the snow one night, I used the broom and cascades of powdery snow crashed to the ground as twenty sparrows burst from the branches fully indignant and no doubt very resentful.

I managed a painting today, it’s one of my favourite mugs with some of the hydrangea which I dried before it went brown and manky outside.

In the interests of fairness No2 son was dispatched on foot to the supermarket to get his chicken.

#159 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

Pomegranate and snow

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Click here to bid size 6 in x 6 in, 15cm x 15cm

Back in my bedroom and I can take things in there now for good, the wardrobe stands where it will stand for good, the hat box would go on top but the ceiling is too low just there, it’s been so long since we had a proper finished room to sleep in that I find my brain can’t recall what I like in a bedroom anymore; I have to come across the object and it then reminds me that it is handy to have that lamp, that basket and that bowl near the bed. I still have not found my rug- the coolness of the floor reminds me that I have a rug somewhere that would be good to step out of bed onto.

It has finally snowed, last night was frosty and close inspection revealed small snowflakes sprinkled over the frost this morning, but now it has snowed enough to coat the path. Last year of course it went on to coat the road in three inches of solid ice so that we were lending the sledge out to neighbours who couldn’t drive home with their shopping. Some pig in a Landrover Discovery drove up and nicked all the rock salt in the bin so we were really stuck; not being a bus route or anything we got no council gritting until the end of January. My brother came to visit and nobly dug a track through the ice for twenty yards.

My car is under some of this snow,

The final revision of this week’s recipe for food DT was put in my hand after the supermarket closed tonight. I suggested pork sweet and sour instead of chicken but No2 is implacable, someone will be going out early to get it, snow allowing…I suppose he has been relying a little too heavily on snow closing the school. I expect he’s dreaming sweetly of that now.

#158 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

Holly leaf and Holly shadow – a painting a day

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Click here to buy   size 5in x 6 in, 13cm x 15cm

I am very jealous there are people out there who have snow already and we have nothing but a deadly frost. It is already five below zero.

I am very relieved that No1 son did not get himself organised to go on the protest in Brighton on Wednesday. By all accounts the police waded in as if they were dealing with seasoned protesters and kettled people irrespective of age and behaviour. No1 son would have reacted very badly to this and would have been climbing buildings and railing to escape and would no doubt have got into more trouble than was necessary. Perhaps when the Red Cross appear to bring relief to the prisoners at the next protest the police will begin to question what they are doing.

Kettle say ten children from a school and restrain even one in the way which the police tend to do, the news will flash round 1500 teenagers in under 24 hours and they will never forget because it has happened to someone they see every day. They would be able to see the bruises on class mates first hand after Wednesday I am told. As a parent I am utterly disgusted.

I can’t help remembering a conversation with two Police Officers a long time age, they were recalling going to Stonehenge on overtime to evict hippies who were camping nearby for the solstice celebrations. They described it as the best fun they had had since the miners’ strike. They did not appear to be monsters but they were obviously glad of a clearly defined enemy to lay into once in a while….I just don’t think that they should allow themselves to see school children as that enemy.

The holly leaf fits in with the series of leaves, even evergreens lose their leaves at some point, they just take care not to lose all of them at once. And yes, that is how prickly I am feeling.

#156 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog