Wednesday, 23 June 2010

It's blooming

The first poppy blossoms today, making me feel quite elated! I thought it wouldn't work so well to grow them in a pot.

Here's the view to the other side. There are peas, lots of peas, the blooming potato, nasturtiums, dill, lavender, mint and some wild plants and my bell peppers are out now too but some of them are a bit sorry-looking. I hope they recover!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Balcony Blossoms


Potato blossoms

Some sort of bell-flower I never sowed but that's growing nevertheless and is quite pretty.

This is one of the poppies I sowed. It's not flowering yet, but I'm really happy that I managed to grow them in a pot. I can't wait to see it in bloom!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Elderflower Syrup

About a year ago I stumbled upon a picture similar to this along with an elderflower recipe and was reminded of it when I came along some blooming elderflower trees some days ago. So I searched the web for recipies and finally gave it a try and I even prepared my second batch of syrup a few days ago.

In my recipe I measured my ingredients in average quantities as I found recipes that use a lot more sugar or lemons and acid and some that use less.
I used

10 umbels of elderflowers
1 lemon
20 g of lemon acid powder
1 kg sugar
1,5 l water

Collect the flowers, don't wash them but make sure that there are no insects on them and cut off the stems. Place the flowers in a large pot that can be covered and cut the lemon in slices. If it's unsprayed and organic you don't need to peel it. Put the lemon and the lemon acid in the pot along with the flowers. Take another big pot and boil the water in it, add sugar to the water and boil it until all the sugar is dissolved. When this is done, pour the sugar water over the elderflowers. When it's cooled down store it in a cool place and allow it to rest for 5 days, so the flavour of the elderflowers can diffuse into the syrup. The only cool place I have is the fridge and it worked very well. On the last day sieve it through a tea towel, fill the syrup in bottles and store them in a cool and dark place. (For me it's the fridge again.)
The syrup is very delicious and a sip of it mixed with sparkling water is a refreshing beverage on hot summer days. It's also very tasty with strawberries.

I used the remains to cook elderflower jelly. I boiled the flowers and the lemon together with 3/4 l of orange juice and 1 kg of jam sugar for 4 minutes and filled the mixture into glasses. I've never done anything like that before either, so I guess this could also be done with less sugar and I found recipes that used apple juice. My jelly is very sweet and yummy and I'm amazed how strong it tastes of elderflowers!

Friday, 18 June 2010

A Pot and Two Dishes

More pictures of finished pieces I made last year.

This pot was made by impressing a doily into the clay. Like last summer it serves its purpose on my balcony at the moment. I like ceramic plant pots, decorated or plain, so much more than plastic ones.

Somehow I don't like this dish very much. I don't know if it is the shape or this glaze I rarely use, but it doesn't feel like me really. The centre of the dish is filled with clear glass.

In this textured dish I tried out how some glass colours I had not used before behave when fired. This lovely bright sky-blue and dark wine-red survived the firing but pink and light-green vanished.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Monday, 14 June 2010

The First Peas

I picked the first peas of the year today!

It's like a feast to me. Nothing compares to the taste of fresh peas!

There are a lot more peapods growing so I'm hoping for a good harvest although a lot of seeds didn't come up this year.

This flower I don't know the name of grows in one of the boxes together with the peas. I don't pull out all the other plants that grow among the ones I sowed. I'm too curious to see what's growing there and I don't like to call wild plants weeds.

Here's the dill today, looking like fireworks.

Friday, 11 June 2010

More impressions from my balcony

The hot and humid weather makes me feel sick for days now (and all the depressing politics too), I'm just not made for it. My plants are feeling well but need a lot of water.

The tomatos are out for about two weeks now. This year I've got only two plants because the space on the balcony is so limited and I've got all sorts of other stuff growing.

This year I've got a pretty pink morning glory.

The marigold starts blooming...

... and dill blossoms are on their way too.

Monday, 7 June 2010

A Pot and Two Bowls

Here are some pieces I made last year. (Guess what! I finally took some pictures!)

This pot was very popular among my clay-mates. I made it a year ago and I can't believe that I didn't snap some photos earlier.

One of my pierced bowls, this time in green. I like to make them.

The design of this bowl was inspired by sea shells. I want to try something similar again but it probably takes as long until I make it as it took me to take some photographs.