Pumpkins and Squash in the AGA

There are a variety of harvest festivals the length and breadth of Britain, but no Thanksgiving Day.

Never mind, this family will follow traditional Thanksgiving protocol – gratefully serving turkey, stuffing/dressing, gravy, at least one starch, vegetables galore.  And dessert – in particular, pumpkin pie.

In preparation, welcome to Herdy Girl’s Pumpkin-Puree-Fest.  Meet the guests of honour…

This is Blue Hokkaido. Her dusky blue skin hides dense bright flesh, and massive seeds.  After roasting, Blue Hokkaido was the driest, sweetest, and nuttiest of all five varieties.  Surprisingly complex.

Acorn’s dark green coat was a beautiful contrast to his medium flesh, which reminded me of the texture of a not-quite-ripe cantaloupe melon. Once roasted, his flesh was moist, coarse and blandly sweet.

Butternut, hard to cut into, but always consistent. Her flesh was smooth and moderately sweet with excellent flavour.

This fella was an unnamed small pumpkin. We’ll call him Wilbur.

Wilbur was a little soft because he’d sat prettily near the nice warm Aga for a week. He didn’t have a lot of flesh, mostly pith. Once cooked, he didn’t improve. Poor Wilbur.

Lastly, Musque de Provence. The belle of the ball. A good size, not too difficult to cut, dewy fleshed.

Ms M de Provence took an extra ten minutes longer to finish roasting.  Despite her lovely appearance, the result was okay.  Just okay. Sigh.

Onward. Lots to do. Holiday impending.

For roasting, I placed two racks in the Roasting Oven of the Aga – one on the third set of runners and one on the bottom.  I baked the unseasoned fruit for an hour and twenty minutes, turning the trays after 20 min, swapping shelves at 40 min, and turning the trays again at 60 min.  (Ms M de Provence’s tray required an extra 10 minutes roasting, as above.)

Two trays full of fork-tender pumpkin/squash to puree together, after they cool for ten minutes.

I mixed a bit of each type in every whizz-batch.  Five batches smoothly pureed.

Lots and lots of puree.  Lots.

The flavours balanced into a really, truly, completely delicious whole.

I’m freezing most of the puree, so I weighed it into the two most commonly used portions for the recipes I use:

2/3 cup, 150g in metric;

1 & 3/4 cup, 425g in metric, which is the same amount contained in a can/tin of purchased puree.

Any extra was consumed by myself and two happy dogs.

Roll on pumpkin pie, I am ready!

Peace,

Herdy Girl

Table for one, Madam?

I looked up from my work yesterday and saw something unexpected in the back garden.

A herdwick sheep, munching at the lawn. Enjoying a garden buffet for one.

She was as surprised as I was, to see someone watching her through the window.

So, I put on suitable clothes and headed outside.  My plan was to open the three gates and shoo her back into the wide open park. It’s worked before!

Forty minutes later, I returned indoors.

She’s still here this morning.

Sheep 1, Human 0.

Off to put on my wellies. If at first you don’t succeed…

Peace,

Herdy Girl

Focusing on…

Life.

Beautiful, exhausting, endearing, numbing, wonderous, uncertain, inspiring, ugly, finite.

And so much more.

We can walk in the midst of loveliness, and forget to enjoy it. Not see it. Or not even bother to walk.

How foolish. Wasteful even.

One Herdy Girl, and a faithful, happy dog – just taking a brisk morning walk.

Refocusing, recalculating, recalibrating.

I remember my dad teaching me that when riding a bicycle, we tend to drive toward where we’re focusing.  Same with a life.

This Herdy Girl needed nudging, needed to stop navel-gazing, needed to mind where she was steering.

As paraphrased by E. Peterson, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

My focus today? Gratefulness, companionship, faith, health.

What have you been focusing on?

Peace,

Herdy Girl

What’s the Buzz?

Observant followers will have noted that there have been no Herdy Girl posts for three weeks.

There’s a simple explanation. (Though, in the midst of things, it feels complicated.) The beautiful place we’ve come to call home has been put up for auction; the hammer falls tomorrow.

It was a shock.

And now we’ve less than two months to buzz around and find a new place to live.  Thus the lack of posts.

Before you ask why we are not going to bid on the property ourselves, let me show you the specific Lake District location.

That arrow? It is pointing to our not-for-much-longer abode. Stunning, isn’t it?

Who wouldn’t want to live in a postcard view? That’s why we forewent jumping on the property ladder and risked renting here by Crummock Water, in spite of flooding and an old house with all sorts of issues.

That said, a property such as this is well beyond our current budget, especially when you factor in the difficulty of getting any sort of mortgage for a house that floods.

All that said – It has been worth it.

The caring community of Buttermere, Loweswater and Lorton have made it doubly so.  (When they heard of our plight, a call went out for any options to keep us in the community. My heart swells thinking about it. I love these people, and this place.)

As getting on the property ladder is a huge endeavour, this Herdy Girl will be heading back into full-time employment, as well.

It’s a lot of change. Thank God Best Beloved and I have got each other.

We are determined to maintain a positive attitude, to remember to live in the moment, and to remind one another that God’s got this.

Like bees in the blossoms, we will draw from this beauty some sustenance, some sweetness. And I will share what I glean with you here on Herdy Girl.

If you’re a praying person, please remember us in your prayers – both for the right home and the right job for this next chapter. If you are not a praying person, please hope for the best for BB and I as we travel a new, and possibly bumpy, patch of road.

Bee happy.

Peace,

Herdy Girl