Monday, October 16, 2006

Home grown roast dinner, Sam on guitar, and pet spiders!

Steve came home with a huge joint of beef a few days ago and so I thought I better cook a roast for my hungry family, who LOVE roasts. Two hours into cooking the meat I thought I'd have to pop to Tesco to buy some vegetables. Then I remembered the veggie garden in the back yard. (yeah, how could I forget, eh?) We had some potatoes left from our potato harvest, which I roasted.

I popped out into the garden to get some carrots and parsnips. I didn't really have any idea whether they were ready to dig up yet. I was under the impression that I would just pull the top of the parsnip and it would pop out of the ground. I also didn't know what size the parsnips would be, as they are hidden under ground. Well, you remember the story of the giant turnip that takes a whole village to pull? That was me. Dinner was cooking, and I was out heaving and pulling trying to get a parsnip or two out of the ground. The top came right off in my hand and so I had to dig around the parsnip. I dug, and I pulled, and I dug a bit more, and I wobbled the top of it. Sam thought it was hilarious and was taking photos of me from his bedroom window (they are not suitable for blog viewing I'm afraid). Eventually I got the first parsnip out and I was pretty pleased with the size and quality of it. The whole parsnip patch smelt divine. Sam dug out the second parsnip and both Sam and Luke dug out two varieties of carrots. One is a dwarf carrot, and the other isn't. We've got plenty more parsnips and carrots to keep us going.

Next year I'll definitely plant them again. It's amazing how they grow so big and strong from such a tiny seed. This whole gardening and eating our own produce really has made me appreciate the whole of God's creation so much more. It's truly awesome to see how God has provided all this fresh tasty food for us.

Here are some photos of our bounty...
A very stubborn parsnip that was quite happy to stay put. It's actually much bigger than it looks in the photo. Well, it was, before we eat it.

Sam with the parsnip that he dug out with ease, compared to mine.

Luke pulled some dwarf carrots.

My boys, looking like farmers, all proud with the treasure they had dug up.

Parsnips, carrots and shallots, from the garden.

All washed and ready to cook.
Parsnips, carrots, courgette and red cabbage, all from our garden.

One completely home grown meal. OK, so we didn't grow the beef, but still, its pretty impressive, right?

Does anyone have any idea if the parsnip and carrot tops can be used for anything, other than compost? I think I remember reading that carrot greens can be used for juicing.

Onto other news then. Steve told me at dinner time that Sam's new guitar teacher came into his shop to speak with him about Sam's progress. We have always known that Sam is musical. He spends all day every day singing and dancing. But his guitar teacher is really impressed with the speed that he has learnt so far. He's been having lessons for about 4 weeks now and is putting chords together to make songs that he knows. He sits in his room every evening (I can hear him right now) playing away on the guitar that was his Grandads when he was a boy. Anyway, his teacher said that he has never before met anyone with such a musical talent! I'm not sure whether this is a huge compliment or whether the guy just doesn't meet many people, lol. He said that Sam has learnt in a few weeks what took him months to learn himself. So he is very impressed. And I felt so proud at dinner time when Steve told me this, and Sam was hiding his face with embarrassment. So, if Sam turns out to be the next Jimmie Hendrix just remember that you heard it here first, on his Mum's blog. That's my boy! His teacher must be pleased. He is still teaching him without accepting any payment. He says that he gets so much satisfaction from seeing someone learn, someone that wants to learn, and that is all the payment he needs. Plus, he is a friend of Steve's. I really must get him a gift or something to say thank you.

Lastly, before I go, I keep meaning to blog about Jude's pet spider. Aha. A pet spider. It lives at the top of the patio doors in our study room. Every morning Jude spends about half an hour finding a dead fly, which she throws into the spiders nest. Every morning she tells me about it, but I never gave it much thought. Then, a few mornings ago she asked me to come and help as the little dead fly would not stick in the web. I threw it up a few times and then tried to put the fly into the net with my hand. "Don't do that Mummy" Jude said, "the spider will run out and try to eat your finger". "Don't be daft" I said. So I popped my finger into the net, and like lightening this spider leapt out from it's hiding place and tried to eat my finger! Of course I leapt back, screaming like a lunatic. Jude thought it was hilarious. She has been studying the habits of this spider for weeks. The spider seems to know that she will feed it every morning and waits for the little flies which she brings!

Every week we read a chapter from 'Secrets of the Wood'. Both Sam and Jude love this book, and Sam wants to keep reading it even though he is no longer home schooling. Every chapter in it is about a different animal, from the woods. Last week we read about Meeko, the squirrel. The author talks about each animals as he sits and watches them for weeks at a time, in the forest. He gets to know all about the personalities of the various creatures. Meeko is a thief, a nest robber, and a fighter. The kids were mesmerised by the stories of his adventures. The first chapter, about the mouse, had them enthralled too. It occurred to me that Jude has treated this spider in the way which the author treated the woodland creatures. She has watched it, learnt about it, gained it's trust and developed the caring nurturing side to her nature. This evening she did the same thing with the pet gerbils. She sat and watched them, for such a long time. We had put a new box into their cage, just on old food box. She sat and watched them as they filled up their cheeks with bedding from their old, half eaten box, and transferred it all to their new box. She watched them make their new home all comfy and warm, and then came to tell me all about it in detail. Jude has such a gentle caring side to her. Sometimes I don't know what to do with her. During the summer, when Daddy killed a wasp, she lay in bed sobbing her little heart out for a full hour. I know that she is sensitive to other living things. She cares for every creature, even a tiny ant. It's strange really. As a younger child she did not care at all for nature. It was Sam that, at the age of 4, became so overwhelmed during a walk in the woods that he had to stop with me and say a prayer thanking God for his beautiful creation. Whilst Jude spent the whole time whinging "what are we walking for? Is there a park at the end?"

Gosh I have rambled on far longer than I intended. I have to check some essays that Steve wrote for his course now (snore). Tomorrow Jude and I are going to watch Romeo and Juliet at the cinema, for FREE, as part of the national schools film week. Woo hoo.


daddy said...

Where do I start great blog today. The dinner was FAB. It was so big that I had to leave the meat ( I love meat) but could not leave the VEGGIES that hazel and the kids grew. Well done. Sam clearly does not take after me when it comes to music ( I really thank God he only got my great looks and personality

Lin said...

Veggies look lovely :-)

Don't know if this is going to be any help but we used to loosen the surrounding area with a garden fork and then they pull up more easily. Cant grow veggies in the ground here (concrete) but used to have a lovely allotment. Really miss the fresh fruit and veg when reading your blog ;-)

Anonymous said...

Looks really delicious! Now Im starving all of a sudden!

Love Jen x

Anna said...

just curious what kind of sauce did you put over the meat & veggies? Looks YUMMY!