Saturday, 29 December 2012

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Winter solstice blessing for my dear friends

May your soul be filled with blessed joy,
Your heart be filled with love;
Your spirit optimistic be
With hope from up above.
A few kind words to see you through
The pain and tears ahead,
And trust and heartfelt insight
To hear the love unsaid.

Blessings from me to you

Monday, 10 December 2012

Scots Dumpies - the teenage years!

This is Geordie, he's teaching Wee Donald to crow lol  Rabbie the third cockerel of the clutch isn;t crowing yet, but won't be long.  There are two hens with them,  but I've not named them yetMore pic of them, and the Shetland ducks to follow

No need for this now!


Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Wild Life - book review

The Wild Life by John Lewis-Stempel

For anyone with even a passing interest in wild/foraged food, I would suggest this is one of the best books ever written on the subject. So much more than just a collection of recipes, or liste of seasonal foraging.It containts a huge amount of information about nature, animals and birds, in 4 seasonasections.He decides to go it alone and only eat what he can forage for a whole year, despite living in the house with his wife (Waitrose fan  :lol: ) and two children. I think he sticks admirably to his goals throughout.
There is no pretentiousness at all that I can see; the recipes are good and plain, sticking within his remit - there's a few things in there I really want to try.
Give it a read, well worth it; mine arrived yesterday afternoon and I finished it at breakfast time this morning - couldn't  put it down.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada Pinkett-Smith: “The War on Men Through the Degradation of Woman” -

 "How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplet...
e woman? The woman who has been stripped of Goddess recognition and diminished to a big ass and full breast for physical comfort only. The woman who has been silenced so she may forget her spiritual essence because her words stir too much thought outside of the pleasure space. The woman who has been diminished to covering all that rots inside of her with weaves and red bottom shoes.

I am sure the men, who restructured our societies from cultures that honored woman, had no idea of the outcome. They had no idea that eventually, even men would render themselves empty and longing for meaning, depth and connection.

There is a deep sadness when I witness a man that can’t recognize the emptiness he feels when he objectifies himself as a bank and truly believes he can buy love with things and status. It is painful to witness the betrayal when a woman takes him up on that offer.

He doesn’t recognize that the [creation] of a half woman has contributed to his repressed anger and frustration of feeling he is not enough. He then may love no woman or keep many half women as his prize.

He doesn’t recognize that it’s his submersion in the imbalanced warrior culture, where violence is the means of getting respect and power, as the reason he can break the face of the woman who bore him 4 four children.

When woman is lost, so is man. The truth is, woman is the window to a man’s heart and a man’s heart is the gateway to his soul.

Power and control will NEVER out weigh love.

May we all find our way.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Kitchen days

Some days I seem to spend all on kitchen stuff- not that I mind, I just wonder where the time goes. Yesterday was one of those days - lots of wee jobs to get done to stop things going off, get thingsmovedout of the way, used up, etc.
First up was getting the pickling onions into brine, all done now and will be into vinegar by the end of today.

Next was slicing onions into rings for a first try at drying them. I laid them out o a rack over the cooler end of the Rayburn, and by this morning they were ready for storage; I 'd like to get a few jars done for the store room so will tackle some more later today or tomorrow - very pleased with these

I got two big roots of ginger last week as well; some for preserved ginger, and some to immerse in a jar of honey with lemon to make a home-made cough/throat medicine - one that was doing the rounds on the net a couple of months ago. It's been soaking for 24 hours now, and is ready for it first simmering this afternoon.
Intersperesed with washing up, tidying, internet and cups of tea, that's where my day seems to have gone on wee fiddly peeling and slicing jobs!
Today sees me continuing with the ginger and pickled onions making that medicine, paperwork and making venison pasties for supper, and an apple crumble; there is a chicken in the fridge to finish stripping and a brace of pheasants to deal with too.
Just as well I like my kitchen!
No snow here at all yet, but it is cold, so the Rayburn is turned up for most of the day while I'm in here, and I'm wearing a shawl, as a terrible accident befell my good thick Celtic jumper when I inadvertently sent it through the 60 degree wash with a load of tea towels lol  Needless to say it will be made into something else, but I will dig the pattern out and knit a new one as I was very fond of it :)
The sun is shining out there, looks  beautiful, but............ I've had the top gate open the apst week or so, and all the birds can come and go as they please for now over the winter garden; it will get a total re-vamp in the spring, so they're welcome to what they canfind there. The Scots Dumpies and the Setland ducks have integrated very well, so I have no worries on that score. The biggest and oldest (by one day ) cockerel out the three is crowing very well now, and is called Geordie after my grandfather; he is teaching one of the others and he's coming along nicely - that's  Wee Donald. The thrid cock hasn't crowed yet but he will! The hens are doing fine, likewise the ducksand i'm thrilled to bits with my first forays into hatching and rearing.
Off to put the kettle on now, hope everyone is staying warm and enjoying the snow if it's your sort of thing :)

Monday, 3 December 2012

Gin and tonic cupcakes

Cake and gin in one - what's not to like?

6oz butter
6oz sugar
6oz self raising flour
2 large eggs
one lemon -juice and zest of half, shred rest for decoration
tub of mascarpone cheese
icing sugar

Beat the butter with the sugar then add in the beaten eggs. Add the flour gradually, giving a stiff doughy mixture; add gin to give a loose dropping consistency, add in zest and juice,  beat well together. Divide between ten muffin cases in a tin and bake in a hot oven until well risen and golden.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Whilst cooling, make icing by sieving icing sugar and mixing with the mascarpone. Make a gin and tonic, and when the cakes are cool, prick well with fork and drizzle over 2 tbsp of g&t per cake. Add a little g&t to the icing, making sure it's not too runny, top the cakes with it and decorate with lemon zest shreds. Put feet up and enjoy with the leftover g&t because you made it FAR too large to all be used in the cakes, didn't you?  ;)   lol


Friday, 30 November 2012

St Andrew's Day

Needless to say, not much happening in England, but I did cook a special supper for today. I made braised pheasant in a whisky and apple gravy, served with skirlie and clapshot

Pudding was the wonderful clootie dumpling


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Full moon tonight

I'm looking forward to taking photos of the moon when I get my new-to-me camera in a couple of weeks time. My own wee digital isn't up to it really, although it's great for everything else.

Photo from :

The power of one

Watch and be inspired, be the one with me :)


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Forum mojo

The new forum at has found my mojo for me!  I've let a lot slip over the past few months due to illness and a general lack of enthusiasm not helped by the attitude of some of those around me, in real life and online.
However, seem to have got over it, and have renewed vigour and enthusiasm for all manner of things now. Today saw my second loaf in a row, today's being even better than yesterday's, so that's good

I've made a pot of one of my favourite soups to go with it for my supper - yellow split pea and smoked ham. Later on I need to sort out a few Kilner jars and make some sugar syrup ready for bottling tomorrow, and am awaiting a top up supply of matches for stashing away and a few cartons of cream for butter making tomorrow. Knitting is to hand for later, and I have a big pile of makes to photograph and list in my shop. Small things, but they soon add up to give the required satisfaction-with-the-day quotient.
Ah,that's better................  it feels good being back in the saddle again, and this time I will stay there and not let others wear me down :)

Monday, 26 November 2012

New forum on self-reliance

Long story short,  am shutting down Creative Living forum after over 7 years; it's been good, but recently has gradually evolved into something which is not what was intended, and getting quite diluted. Others have gone off to start their own, while I am getting more back to what I originally started out with - take a look and feel free to join if you like, or just read. The whole point is to build up a valuable resource to make us all less dependent on others in our  home lives, whether the shtf or not


Sunday, 25 November 2012

5 1/2 hours

- in a hot Rayburn really is too long to cook two wee crumbles.  Oops. (Don't hold out much hope for the dishes either................  ah well.)


Friday, 23 November 2012


 - or not lol  Tis hard work, I keep forgetting to do things and it all just disappears lol

Bit of a radical departure...........

The last changes I did elicited a few comments about how it had become harder to read what was written here because of the colours, so I've spent most of this morning shouting at the computer (did you hear me? lol) trying to make amends.

 Once I'd worked out how to get back to the beginning again if I didnt like something, I tried all sorts of options and much more by accident than design I stumbled on this. I like it - it's clean and fresh and uncluttered - all the wee pictures and things are still there down the right hand side if you hover your cursor over them, and a list of recent posts appears on the lefthand side. I think you can change the layout of thee, by clicking on the word at the top of the ist,so you can view the posts/pics in various ways. I hope I haven't lost anything vital in the process lol  Will see how it goes, but I felt the 'shabby chic' theme was a bit jaded and it was time for something new :)

So - what do you think - love it or hate it?

Frugal Friday flamingo

I am in the process of re-decorating my wee bedroom; walls are painted, I have new curtains to put up, a new beside lamp and a couple of nice pieces of furniture to put in. It's all been done fairly cheaply so far, under £100 including Fired Earth paint - don;t usually buy anything that pricey, but the colour (duck egg blue and it really is ) was exactly the one I wanted. New bedding was from e-bay, so that was reasonable too. When Bean is home from university I want her to be comfortable in there too, and warm , so have opted for lined curtains. They need shortening, so will have left over fabric for cushions etc I hope, maybe incorporate it into a patchwork project of some sort.
A good few years ago now i bought an Indian cotton rag rug at the tip, aka recycling centre, for a few pennies; it's done well but is looking very jaded now, so instead of buying new, I invest  another£3.99 in a pack of machine dye to brighten it up - which it will, being  bright flamingo pink!  I think it will add a lovely splash of colour with the blue walls and dark floorboards. A nice crochet blanket is about to be started too, and I'll buy a couple of plants for the windowsill as someone managed to kill my wee rubber plant (that takes some doing!)
Will take a pic when the room is done.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Smokey chilli beans

This is a very versatile base for a meal, quick, easy and cheap. Once the base is made, you can add in anything you like - cooked or raw meat (pork is particularly good),vegetables, boiled eggs, pulses, anything really; or you can just go with the beans as they are :)

1 medium onion
sunflower oil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin baked beans
Worcester sauce
smoked paprika
chilli powder
gravygarnule if required

Chop the onion (not too fine) and fry in oil until just softening; add tomatoes and baked beans, Worcester sauce and a good pinch of smoked paprika. Add chilli powder to taste, stir well, cover and leave to simmer on a lowish heat. If it requires thickening, add in a tsp gravy granules for a thicker sauce, boil until it thickens, thne lower heat and simmer intil onios cooked through and everything well mied in. Then add in any extras, make sure is piping hot; serve with baked potatoes, rice, on its own, good bread,etc.
Leftovers can be put through the blender for a soup base, or use it as a curry base, or just keep adding in more beans, meat etc


Harris tweed

This is a wonderful blog post, written by a weaver who produces the real Harris tweed - have a read and be thankful that people have taken such care and love of the  fibre over the years to ensure it's continued prodcution


Friday, 16 November 2012

Winter celebrations

I no longer 'do' the whole Christmas  thing here now; the children are grown and I have little interest in the religious parts of Christmas to be honest. Each to their own,and everyone celebrate or not as to their interests and  wishes is how I look at it. We have instead a feast on the winter Solstice night. Today I got my copy of the December Country Living magazine and it has inspired me to make more of actually decorating the house for the winter season - I usually have the greenery and lots of it, but due to illness and circumstance last year, not much was done. This year will be different, and I there are a lot of things I would like to make, but non-traditional Christmas things that reflect the winter and teh winter solstce, the gifts of Mother Nature at this time of year - that sort of thing. Am fired up with enthusiasm, and longing to get started, but it's a wee bit early I feel!  I think a large-leafed notebook will help here,for putting pictures and inspiring bits an dpieces in - like a storyboard in a book.
Watch this space :)


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Take ten minutes...........

Earth prayer

This is beautiful, stop what you're doing and just take ten or so minutes just being and hearing :)

image from :

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


I am back home as of last night.  Need to get unpacked and straightened out a bit, and there's plenty to be getting on with as usual, after a


Monday, 12 November 2012

My daughter has published her book

She has been working on this for such a long time, and now it's out there! Am very proud and looking forward to reading it as soon as it arrives :0


A celebratory mulled cider is in order

Just spent nearly an hour trying to change my blog background lol  Not easy when you're computerally challenged like me!  Anyhoo, nice wintry scene now, the cider will warm me up.
While I'm here, just like to say a big thnakyou to all who read here, whether you comment or not - it's all appreciated :)
Stay warm

Last day of holiday


Word cloud made with WordItOut

Friday, 9 November 2012

RIP Jesus

My last little call duck died last night  :(   When we lived at our last house I had several Call ducks, and the girl who lived over the road took a fancy to keeping ducks, so plunged headlong into it, as she was wont to do with a lot of things, and got some for her garden. Upshot was that by the time we moved in the August of that year, she's had enough of them, so brought them up to me to have.That was 1997, so Jesus was 15 years old - a HUGE age for a wee duck.He was named before I took him on by the way. He was a wonderful wee character - would never win any Call duck prizes, he was pure white but was very long-legged and looked more like a seagull really :lol:  He got on with every other duck that was ever intorduced up there even the huge Runner drakes I have now, and the big Rouen drake I inherited year back - joined in everything, was part of the general duck group. His great friend was Gracie, my lovely Khaki Campbell duck, but he outlived her. He survived one fox attack (possibly more that we don't know about) and the horrendous badger attack too. He was a survivor  :D
Will miss him. I think there is a wee apple tree in a pot somewhere to bury him under  - if any duck deserves an apple tree, he does.
What a duck.

(the pic isn't of him but quite similar - think longer legs lol)

Thursday, 8 November 2012


Spent a pleasant couple of hours this afternoon making some cards for the online shop*. I'm aiming to make each one unique, so only one of each. Makes it more interesting for me too!

* Pocaid,  my online shop will be back  online next week once I get home from holiday, watch this space :)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Food in England - the lost world of Dorothy Hartley

I have just watched the above programme on the computer; not often I'm so effusive about TV, but this is an excellent programme - informative, funny, evocative, thought-provoking, inspiring, excellent presenter, jsut everything about it was right. The very best bit for me was right at the end where there wa a short clip of Dorthy herself digging potatoes. What a woman.

BBC 4, 9pm 6th November - give it a watch, it's not all about food, more about the woman herself and how she came to do what she did - make one of the most important contributions to British food history.


The lovely, wonderful Jon Bon Jovi.............

If only there were more like him around - maybe he'll inspire some of the rich and famous to follow suit. Good on you Jon  x


Hurricane hats

I can't do a lot to help the victims of hurricane Sandy, but I have nitted three good warm hat which are now ready for sending over, via a group on Ravelry. I feel I've done a little to help which might be appreciated :)


Monday, 5 November 2012

A world upside down............

I spent half an hour this morning looking through ( would hesitate to call it reading, so many pictures against little text) a back copy of the Sunday Telegraph magaine. A friend had kinly posted it to me, as there was a short article that I wanted to read in it, and I only foun dout about it after the event. Teh article was good, so I got that read, then had a look at the rest. Astounded and disbelieving that people pay ove r£700 for a pair of trousers/£57 for a tube of foundation make-up/£199.99 or a toothbrush/£80 for a secondhand 'vintage' bag.
Fast frward to this afternoon where I spent a distresing hour on the computer watchig a programme about the rise inuse of food banks and the people how ue them and why. Some of these people are below the poverty line below the breadline below any line you could possibly think to mention. I cried throughout most of it and felt sick to my stomach to compare what I had been rading this mornig to what I had watched. deeply affected by this these people hav no food to feed themselves and their children, and can get little help to get the leg up they deperately need.
Sometimes I'm ashamed to be part of the human race, I really am. What went wrong? How can we fix it properly so that everyone everywhere has at least enough to eat and not starve? I don't know the answer, and that worries and upsets me too.
There but for the grace of  God go I.


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Nutbloom days

I have been here at Nutbloom cottage for eactly a fortnight, with stil 9 days to go. Had a wonderful time so far, total peace and quiet for the most part. I've got on with a lot of making for my online shop, which will be re-stocked when I get home

I've done a lot of reading of all sorts of things - sailing off the west coast of Scotland with the wonderful Nhairi Hedderwick books, Baker Creek heritage vegetable book knitting books and spinning magazines, dyeing books, gardening and cookery magazines. I've caught up on a wonderful series on the i-Player with Nigel Slater using up leftovers and watched an excellent couple of hours of Paul Weller music.
I've been cooking just for me and eating when I want - Frosties at 3pm - why not?  I've made curries and omelettes, had good breakfasts, wine in the evenings, some interesting beers and ciders too.  I've snoozed by the woodburner with and without knitting, and the cat has decided he likes me after all, bless him

I've had cards made for the shop too, and have been making individual ones

I hope to fit in a bit of writing too this coming week working on a couple of projects; I have so any ideas I want and need to get down on paper.
The bedroom upstairs is tiny, the cottage itself dating back to the 18thC  J thinks, reached by a treacherous tiny staircase which is a bit of a trial at the end of the day when I'm tired lol.It's a comfortable bedroom though and one window looks out across the road to her neighbour's smallholding, where I can see pigs and pigets going about their early morning whatever pigs do :) Although on a corner close to a road, there is good, new double glazing , so it is quiet.
Although there are things I miss from home, I love house sitting here, it has been and continues to be very good for me. My own time and space is very important to me.


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Of tumchies and treacle............tales of Hallowe'en past

It ain't what it used to be, as the saying goes..............
Growing up in rural Scotland at the tale end of the 60s and into the 70s, life was very different to what it is now, and what itw as then in a lot of other palces. At the risk of overdoing the cliche, we made our own entertainment, especially at Hallowe'en. Rumours around teh playground for about 3 weeks before the great event - 'What are you going as?' needed not further explanation or expansion, we all knew it was talking about our Hallowe'en costumes. Mind you,costumes might be stretching it a bit - we just dressed up iwhatever was there, what we could find, we didn't necessarily have to go 'as' anything - certainly nothing was bought costume wise, occasionally a mask maybe, but that was it. Witches made their own hats and broomsticks, tramps their own road pack on the end of a stick taken from the hedge or garden, faither's auld jacket and a pair of tackety boots if you could find them. Faces wered one with make up, or, if appropriate, the blackened end of a cork - took days to remove it all lol. We went out in groups usually, each carrying a carrier bag to get filled with goodies. It wasn't 'trick or treating' we did - oh no, we literally had to sing for our supper. Known as guising in Scotland, we knocekd on folks' dorrs, and when opened, had to entertain the resident in some short way,  either on the doorstep or in the sitting room or kitchen if invited in. We would sing a wee song,maybe just a verse or two, a wee poem, silly joke, but we had to do something to earn the goodies. And what goodies they were - the real thing back then! Mrs Jardine opposite made the best treacle toffee in the world, others made that great Scottish delicacy tablet; there were wee oranges, and monkey nuts in their shells, sometimes more exotic nuts like Brazil nuts or almonds, small chocolate bars, and very occasionally a coin of small denomination for your efforts. True treasures indeed, we loved it all, and our gleanings lasted us for quite a while after the event was over. We'd never seen a pumpkin back then, apart from maybe in a Cinderella book - our lanterns were made from turnips, hollowed out (insides eaten ofcourse) and a small candle end melted and popped in - no such thing as a 'tea light' back then. It was scary, traipsing upand down what were familiar and friendly streets (all two long and two very short ones lol) in the pitch black but suchgreat fun, and we were allowed to tay out unti 8 or 9 o'clock until we'd done our rounds; then headed home to tuck in to our hard won  sweeties and fruit and nuts. wonderful. Most folk in the village were more than accommodating as they all knew us and we knew them. we knew the ones that didn't partake, and every year the old story about Mrs Corson was trotted out; I've no idea what year it was, but before we moved to the village. A couple o flads had gone to her door on Hallowe'en, to be infomred in her own little way that she didn't take part at all, and shut the door on them. the lads took up her doormat, scaled the roof and put it over her chimney for her trouble..............................  a village legend that one!
Have a happy Hallowe'en however you mark it or not :)

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Wonderful picture for a bright winter Saturday

Isn't this wonderful?

(image from Title Wave, acc to Facebook poster)

Friday, 26 October 2012

This is the way forward

“Essentially, what Russian gardeners do,” he concludes, “is demonstrate that gardeners can feed the world – and you do not need any GMOs, industrial farms, or any other technological gimmicks to guarantee everybody’s got enough food to eat. Bear in mind that Russia only has 110 days of growing season per year – so in the US, for example, gardeners’ output could be substantially greater. Today, however, the area taken up by lawns in the US is two times greater than that of Russia’s gardens – and it produces nothing but a multi-billion-dollar lawn care industry.”

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

New card idea

Pleased with this - what do you think?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Art and music.............

Andrew Wyeth has been a favourite of mind for many years now, since my schoolday art classes actualy; same with Simon and Garfunkel. Love this twinning of the two :)


Monday, 22 October 2012

Simple sentiment for a loved one gone

Rest In Peace

The days will always be brighter because he existed. The nights will always be darker because he's gone. And no matter what anybody says about grief and about time healing all wounds, the truth is: there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken.

I'm unable to credit the words as I hve no name to attach, but wanted to post it a it's a lovely siple tribute and might help someone.

(image from

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Sometimes you just have to go for it.............

- and suffer the consequences later! I wrote about this on  my Knitten blog the other day, the beautiful Shetland wool kits from the Shetland Heritage Shop

The kit arrived this afternoon - speedy delivery -  was only sent off from Shetland yesterday,  yet managed to arrive in perfect condition just before 2pm this afternoon. Can't beat that at all.
This is it:

Inside the box:

Nice clear pattern, with good large graphs for the Fair Isle itself:

The colours of the wool are exceptional and very beautiful - madder, indigo. auld gold and fluggy white - who could resist knitting anything at all with a wool that goes by the name of fluggy white?

So for your money you get a beautifully presented kit comprising of this very special wool, a set of top quality needles, instructions and pattern and a very pretty calico bag to keep your project in. Not only are you buying a knitting kit though;  you are buying a little piece of  history encapsulating a huge amount of knowledge and skill gleaned from over many years, helping to keep a vitally important Scottish craft alive,  and supporting a rural business in these hard times.  All for £30.95 including the PandP. When you factor it all in, I personally think that's a real bargain.
However, temptation is strong, and I am well known for my woolly weaknesses in the traditional Scottish knitting department. The other three kits in the series should be arriving at the beginning of next week. I hope I can do them justice.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Pear harvest

Not been a good year for fruit.................   just saying! This is it lol


Monday, 15 October 2012

Livestock update

Thought it about time, so took the camera up with me this morning; everyone fit and well, thriving, sitting about enoying the sunshine and laily snapping at any passing insects!

Goats are doing well, gave them a big pile of artichoke stems to munch their way through
Muscovies snoozing in the late sunshine
Ducks various; the little white one asleep is Jesus (named before I got him) - he's still doing well at 15 years old and has survived both a fox and a badger attack, bless him :)
The other ducks seemed to be a bit camera shy lol
My Lemon Brahma, Liz Lovick - a gentle soul
My Silver Laced Wyandotte, Elizabeth Zimmerman, feisty and noisy lol
Finally, some of the wee Scots Dumpies; as far as I can tell, I've been extremely fortunate in that I am left with 4 hens and one cock bird - looking at is tail and the fact that he is the only one crowing. They're in a separate house and run for a short time, then will be let out into the main run with the rest of the hens. My cockerel needs a name, so will need to get that sorted out soon :)

The Shetland ducklings will go up to the sae and secure greenhouse tomorrow morning, after a bath this afternoon and a thorough dry out for them - ore room, change of scene and they'll be able to splash around in there. They're quite grown up now, feathered up well and very striking looking in dinner jacket black and white outfits. No idea of sexes yet with them, time will tell. Pics to follow next time :)
So, livestock sumary: 2 goats, hive of bees, 2 Muscovy ducks and 1 muscovy drake, 3 Runner drakes and two Runner ducks, one Call drake, 1 Silver Laced Wyandotte, 1 Lemon Brahma, 2 Silver Dorkings, 1 elderly Maran, 1 feisty wee black and copper coloured hen, 1 Cotswold Cream Legbar, 5 Scots Dumpies and 4 Shetland ducks.

Must be room for a couple of wee sheep and pigs, surely? ;) lol