Thursday, 9 July 2015

She's staying!

I have owned this cast iron sculpture for over a year now.  I just love her - so beautifully executed, anatomically correct and real quality. If you look at her from behind, she has her off hind forward and the hip is lower on that side (as it would be in life) and she still has the lax foaling muscles either side of her tail.  Whoever drew and moulded this was a true craftsman with a real knowledge of horses.   It is Russian, and the original cast was made just prior to the Russian Revolution (1916 I think).   Mine dates from 1967 though, so obviously they found the moulds in a broom cupboard or something and decided to start making them again.   A few made their way to Britain, but only a few - my research shows they don't turn up in auction very often.  I didn't pay a great deal for her in auction, and she is worth a good deal more and I did toy with the idea of selling her for a while - that was the practical side of me.  Then the more esoteric side of me said s*d that, she's too lovely to sell, so she's staying.  Our new Gothic table in the hall seemed the perfect place for her.

On Monday, when I was feeling so rough, the Food Dehydrator I had ordered arrived.  It stayed in its box until Tuesday as I just didn't even feel motivated enough to open the box!  On Tuesday it got outside of its brown cardboard box and I looked briefly at the instruction "manual" which came with it, printed SO small that I had to read it in a good light and with a magnifier for some parts!  Why not just use an extra page of paper and print it a little larger - I still have VERY  good eyesight, and can still read the bottom line at the optician's, but this was ridiculously small.  It didn't tell you much anyway, so just as well I had bought the Dehydrating Bible previously . . .

Anyway, I got up early yesterday morning and cut up most of a £1 tray of cooking apples that I had bought, along with a bag of bananas, into 1/4" slices, which were then immersed in lemon juice and water for a while before draining and putting on the shelves to dry.  I have to say, it took longer than the book predicted, and despite the lemon everything turned brown, but they taste delicious, and as a first try and dehydrating I was pleased with myself.  It's a learning curve, like anything.

I was getting low on home made cider vinegar (which I use for cleaning), and so I used all the apple skins to make another batch (which will go in the airing cupboard for 3 weeks or so).  I will make Cider Vinegar for consumption when I have the apples from our own trees here.  I know they are organic and unsprayed.

When we got back from town yesterday, we were delighted to find that the paddock had been cut . . .  So were the cats!  When we came to bed it was still light, and the paddock had several cats in hunting mode - we had to smile at Ghengis hunting a vole, and in his turn, being stalked by our other tabby, Theo, who likes to try and put Ghengis in his place!!  This morning there were two Blackbirds, 2 Chaffinches, 3 Magpies and a few sparrows out there.

Thank you for all your comments on my last post.  I know that I work very hard, and always have.  My late m-in-law was a very jealous woman, who found it hard to share her sons with the women they loved, so never lost an opportunity to put us down.  Gosh - some of her comments were vitriolic in the extreme, although the most hurtful was when we visited her with our eldest daughter, when she was about 6 weeks old.  My husband K went out in the kitchen, and m-in-law pounced, "Oh," she said, "I wonder how many slitty-eyed little K's  there are out in Singapore?"  (He had been there in the Army).  I never EVER forgave her for that comment.  Mean-spirited just wasn't in it.


  1. It always takes longer than the book, a lot can effect how long it takes humidity etc you cannot over dehydrate, instead of soaking I pop lemon juice in a spray bottle and spray the fruit, you will learn what suits your dehydrater better I hope you have lots of fun with it :-)

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  3. Thanks Dawn - it always helps to have tips from folk who have lots more experience of it. I shall get a spray bottle when I'm in town next.

  4. My mil was not very nice, either. When we told them we were pregnant, the first thing out of her mouth was "I don't baby sit". Needless to say, she rarely saw the children....
    Yes, definitely keep the mare and foal!

  5. Love the horses, definitely a keeper.
    My MIL was lovely, she died too young and I miss her more than I miss my own mum

  6. Lynda - there's an old saying, "There's now at queer as folk" and it would seem to be born our by our MIL's . . .

    Sue - I'm glad you got a good one. I just cannot imagine being deliberately horrible to any DIL or SIL I might happen to get. Why?

  7. I try very hard to be a good M I L - but of course one never knows about how one's daughter in law views one. I think I am alright though.
    I absolutely adore that mare and foal. Like you I would be totally unable to part with it.

  8. I would think you more than pass on the MIL front Pat. I am sure you don't go around making bitchy or desparaging remarks about your DIL, such as "Your hair isn't your best point is it Jennie?" Lordy lordy . . .

  9. The mare and foal are really beautiful, I'm not surprised that you are keeping them. I've never had a dehydrator, I shall be interested to hear about further experiments! I was lucky with my mother-in-law, she was great and I got on really well with her. I'm reasonably confident that both my daughter's-in-law like me too:)

  10. Hi,
    I have just found your blog and am totally fact I have given up on this blog (for the moment) and have gone back to your original blog and am reading through that one from 2008......I just love much information on loads of subjects.....lovely recipes (more of those please), loads of books to choose from......please keep up the wonderful work. I don't know how long it will take me to work through all of the years from 2008 until now but I will get there.....thank you for many hours of glorious reading.


  11. Welcome mazda, and delighted you like my blog so much. Some of the photos will have disappeared from the earlier posts as there was a period when Blogger (or whoever) was stopping you having an archive of so many photos. That seems to have settled, I am glad to say. I do witter on a bit, but glad you are enjoying : )

    Rowan - I am pleased I made that decision. I will keep you all posted about the dehydrator. I had a friend round this morning who is an old hand with one, so picked her brains on it. So far, so good. Knowing you, your DIL's have a wonderful MIL in you.

  12. I love the horses & especially love the table you have them on, such a warm colour.
    I am so far behind again with catching up with blogs. Your last post I loved, your day seems like my day except I would need to swap a job or too of yours for continuous laundry & cleaning up after the children. Mind you when life gets slower I am sure it will be boring.
    Don't folks say the strangest of things, we have had many a comment abut having eight children which hurt & also comments from family as we were just turned 19 when we married but look at us now.
    You should be so so proud of yourself & for being yourself, I know comments hurt but as I tell the children just be yourself, it's taken me 40 years to really realise that.
    Fondly Michelle

  13. I absolutely love your beautiful horse sculpture and surely worth a small fortune for such accuracy. I'm glad she's staying!

  14. Michelle - there's nowt as queer as folk is there?! I can see nothing wrong in having 8 children, and bringing them up to be well-balanced young adults, and as for marrying young - it doesn't always work but you obviously just knew you were right for one another. You have been an inspiration to your family, that's for certain.

    Rambler - isn't she gorgeous? She reminds me very much of an old grey broodmare called Cindy I knew in my youth. I am glad she is staying.

  15. I bought a dehydrator but haven't used it yet. I love your with the see through top. Mine doesn't have that.
    I am so busy right now but this fall I shall try it.
    My MIL hated me, really hated me.
    I spent way too many years trying to be nice to her. But I decided she hated me and that was it.

    cheers, parsnip