Thursday, 23 April 2009
These darned newts have become my new 'perfect wave', my new obsession which, like all obsessions, draws me away from the little necessities that make up my life. I may be gardening, trying to bring some order to the chaos I so love, but which yet needs some careful direction so as not to become oppressive. I may be washing dishes mid-baking only to stare out the window and feel the tug of the wildlife pond tucked away just out of sight and find myself for the umpteenth time grabbing the camera in a desperate attempt to capture the wriggling little dragons at play. Why? Well, I can only think it is to share with you as my family obviously can walk their dear feet right out the door and see for themselves, cooing in appreciation as their besotted mother goes on and on and on and... Yes, did I mention obsession?
Of course I now have a zillion pointless and unflattering pictures of the pond which don't even show it in its best light as I had to wobble precariously at the edge risking life and limb while the newts swam off just as I clicked the camera.
But finally, finally, here is one lying in its murky pool slightly visible in the light, though nowhere near as much as by ones own eye. I suspect the hunt will go one.
So, having shared 'a' singular newt with you (despite the fact there are dozens languishing 'neath the water forget-me-nots and fallen leaves) I will now share a little more. First up is my recipe for dandelion wine which can be found by clicking here to take you to the long-overdue 'what we are doing' page on my website. Nettle wine will be added as soon as I can grab a moment, but I am actually up to my eyes in wholesale orders just now, so it may be a little while coming. Yes, I do actually work as well!
I am not only newt-obsessed at the moment, but weed obsessed also. I don't mind these wild plants in moderation, but when they threaten to overtake then my thoughts turn to wine. Country wines are such fun to make and I never mind if they don't taste too wonderful on first try - just pop them away and bring out next year to see how they have improved.
The main thing is not to take it all too seriously and not to expect it to taste like something from Asda. Last year, when money was tighter than tight for us and buying alcohol was not an option, we dug out various demijohns of wine I had made years ago. Regular tastings had left all but me unimpressed - but then, I will drink anything - and suggestions of pouring down the sink floated on the air. I resolutely refused and put them back in the porch where they were forgotten for a long, long time. Desperation drove me to bring them out again last year in a 'this time you're going' mood and lo and behold the potato wine tasted like a wonderfully dry sherry, gorgeous trickled over ice in tiny glasses (actually, we moved oin to fairly large ones as it was so good).
The plum was a deep colour which was not quite so good for drinking and yet worked some magic when added to casseroles. The Rhubarb was again sherry-like and according to Dave, close in flavour to an Amontillado. My sausage casserole rose from humble beginnings to heady new heights with the addition of some juniper berries, a few grapes and a jolly good slug of the wine. Delicious. I suppose my point here is that it is fun to do, from the gathering of produce to the mixing and bottling, it costs very little, and you might just have something gorgeous at the end of it. Each year the flavours will vary according to the type of season we are having and their are no guarantees (so please don't blame me if you don't like what you have made), but try it and see. Just don't throw anything away and ignore those boring people who just have to tell you how terrible homemade wines are!
Next week I am hoping to share another thing with you as I am planning my first ever giveaway. I have meant to do one for ages, but you know how it is. No idea what the giveaway prize will be yet, but I promise to pick something lovely from the pipany sewing room. Hopefully, I'll have these orders out by the end of next week so will post about it then.
Bye for now x