Saturday, 27 March 2010

Candle for Earth Hour

I'd forgotten quite how beautiful candle light can be........

Earth hour

- is tonight!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Wombat frustration.................

Isn't it frustrating when you have a wombat and nowhere to put it? LOL
(online Scrabble!)

A Friday full of possibilities.............

Every day is full of possibilities, but Friday has a special feel to it, the weekend imminent - going out and about or staying at home, but having the choice; leisurely breakfasts;family at home; pootling about. Friday has its own way of leading up to the weekend. Friday night is for wine and home made murgh makhani (butter chicken curry, a la Hugh F-W), reading on the sofa, long hot baths, Scrabble games on the board or the net, lighting the woodburner and watching the flames, planning for the week, the month, the year , the years ahead.....
Before I get there, I have the whole day ahead of me; what will I do?

Clean out the goat yard?
Write some letters?
Knitting or sewing? Both?
Long walk with the dog?
Go up to the woods and look for wildflowers/have an early forage?
Make something wonderful in the kitchen?
Bit of brewing?
Chicken watching?
Seed sowing?
Plant forget-me-nots and violas?
Drink tea outside by the fire pit?
Have a burn up of papers in the incinerator?
Sort out the craft stuff in the cabin?
Clear the third greenhouse out ready for summer?
Prune the buddleias?
All of these?
None of these?

I'll come back and let you know.
Hope everyone enjoys their Fridays - what do you like about them?

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Foraging in March

Things are definitely stirring out there! Out in the garden, so they should also be about in the wild are the first leaves of Jack-by-the-hedge - one of my favourites; the littlest leaves taste very mildly of garlic; great to add to an early spring salad or in a sandwich with egg or cheese, cream cheese.
The first shiny fresh leaves of the ramsons are on offer too - much stronger in garlicky taste than Jack, so more useful on cooked dishes; sometimes they're too strong for me uncooked! Beautiful lush spring green colour, large generous leaves. Later, the bulbs can be uprooted and sliced into salads and sandwiches. Tri-cornered leek appears even before the ramsons, quite a pronounced galric taste, but not so strong as the ramsons, again. Useful nevertheless. I've pictured these three, all growing in the back garden now.
Other things on offer are the first ender dandelion leaves, and ofcourse the ubiquitous nettle - look out for more posts on nettles soon, one of my soapboxes lol. I've also found hairy bittercress and chickweed.
I think we have the makings of a salad here...........

Nice start to the blogging day!

Eoforhild at, has given me an award - thank you so much, it's appreciated. :) Pop over and have a look at her blog, it's lovely, beautiful pictures.:)
Now I have to tell you a Lucky Fact about me, and 3 things that brighten my day.

Lucky fact about me: coming from a line of family with sixth sense, I am lucky to have inherited it. :)

Three things that brighten my day: loving the life I have made for us, great friends and looking on the bright side.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

A little celebration.............

My forum, Creative Living has been going now for 5 years - that's pretty impressive for an internet forum, so I'd just like to say a huge public THANKYOU to all who take part in it, and contribute in any way to its continued success.
Here's to another five. :)

Find it here:

Anyone for cake?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Shepherdless pie

I often make a meatless version of Shepherd's Pie; Bean is vegetarian, and it doesn't do the rest of us any harm to have meatless meals a couple of times a week. I occasionally use Quorn mince or similar, but prefer to use vegetables, etc. This is one of my favourite incarnations, using green lentils. Serves 4 with hearty appetites!

8oz or so of green lentils
1 large carrot, diced
1 medium onion, chopped fine
mushroom ketchup
tomato puree
mixed herbs, fresh or dried
4 - 6 large potatoes
milk, butter and seasoning to mash

Put lentils, onion and carrot in a pan, and just cover with water; bring to the boil, then leave to simmer until lentils are tender, when the carrot and onion should be cooked too. Meanwhile, peel and boil potatoes until tender, drain and mash with milk, butter and seasoning.
Add a good spoonful of mushroom ketchup, about a tablespoon of tomato puree and a good pinch of herbs to the lentils, mix thoroughly and put into pie dish. Top with mashed potatoes and bake in a hot oven until golden and crisp on top. If you like, grated cheese can be sprinkled over the potato. A vegan version can be made by using olive oil in the potato instead of butter and milk.
Serve with plain seasonal vegetables - we're having braised leeks tonight.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Knitted dishcloths

I'm back on the knitted dishcloths again - my drawer needs refilling. They last well, though, I haven't needed any for a while. These are two of the easiest ones. I do mine in double knti cotton, usually got from charity shops, etc; any colour, or stripes to use up the bits and pieces.
The first one is garter stitch, so all plain knitting:

Using 4 or 5mm needles, cast on 44 stitches and work in garter stitch until you've produced a square, or however long you want it, then cast off and sew in the tails.
The next one is easy too, if you can do purl as well, it's a basket weave stitch.

Here's the stitch detail:

Again, 4 or 5mm needles, cast on 44 stitches.
Row 1: knit 4, purl 4 to end of row, ending on knit 4
Row 2: purl 4, knit 4 to end of row, ending on purl 4
Row 3: as row 1
Row 4: as row 2
Row 5: purl 4, knit 4 to end of row, ending on purl 4
Row 6: knit 4, purl 4 to end of row, ending on knit 4
Row 7: as row 5
Row 8: as row 6.
Continue as set, until desired length, ending on a 4th or 8th row to complete pattern. Cast off and sew in the tails.

There are hundreds of lovely patterns freely available on the net, a lot of them from America - it would take more than a lifetime to knit them all, and even I'm not going to try that! LOL
They make lovely presents too, much nicer to use than anything shop bought, and can be popped in and out of the washing machine with impunity. When too worse for wear, they go on the compost heap.
Knitted in soft cotton, they make very nice facecloths in place of bought flannels :)
Anyone else knit their own?

Another one bites the dust................

Another one bites the dust - courses that is, or to be more precise, my participation therein........
Shame, really; I find the cost of most, if not all, the courses I am interested in, those to do with my way of life, interests, etc, prohibitive. I can't actually recall any course that I've actually gone on; I get to the "That sounds interesting" stage, find out the details and on slam the monetary brakes. I know the people who run them are in it to make money, sometimes part of their livelihood, and that they have overheads, and other costs such as insurance, but some fees are taking the proverbial if you ask me.
I was interested in attending one at a local farm, where there was a day, billed as a "course" on natural beekeeping, something I'm very interested in; as isn't often the case, this venue is onlya bout 8 miles away, so eminently do-able from a distance point of view.However, the cost is 50.00 per person. Sorry, but for a day listening to someone talking about natural beekeeping, on a farm that hasn't actually got any bees at the moment (!) to even look at, I felt that this was completely over the top, even though "lunch is included". I'll save my 50.00 and put it towards some books on the subject, or towards a new hive or the equipment to make one, and teach myself. Looking about on the net and in magazines, I see lots that I would enjoy, but at over 50.00 a pop, no thanks; maybe for several days, but not just one.
Someone once suggested the idea that people only run courses to make money; not sure I entirely agree, but it's a shame that sharing knowledge and experience has become such big business.
Thank goodness for friends, blogs and forums to learn from, I say!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Little visitors!

I seem to have had some little visitors in one of the greenhouses over the winter:

What a lot of hard work for the wee things to get the nut out. Isn't nature wonderful and fascinating?