Monday, 29 June 2009

Still tired....yawn.

Yep, still sooo very tired. Trying to motivate myself, but looking around and noticing does leave you open to noticing that your beautiful, gorgeous daughter newly returned from Uni has turned at least one of your rooms into a bombsite and as she is off to the outer reaches of Europe again tonight for a fortnight you are thus left with the bombsite to contemplate. If you are reading this Lauren, dear child of my heart, PLEASE stop being so messy cos I am truly too busy! Oh, and Sam, sweet 19 year son of mine, please stop leaving me to clear up after your food efforts and DON'T EVER leave a block of cheese on the worktop for the cat to eat! We don't call him Fatty for nothing...the cat, not Sam that is. There, moan over and still no motivation. No car today either, so no chance of looking for inspiration along a pretty creek like the one at Cowlands.

No chance of searching for more elderflowers by the banks of Mylor Creek either, so beautiful whether shrouded in mist

or basking in sun.

Golly, what a whinger I am! Instead of moaning I could.... pick these scarlet globes and make something with them. Redcurrant jelly or wine perhaps? Maybe I could make cordial or use them to lie atop a fluffy pavlova?

I could make pea and borage soup for lunch using leaves from these plants (yes, cheating today with pictures from last time's blog!).

I could work on these sort of designs because I have already had aquite a few shops requesting my Christmas wholesale list.. I know, I know

I will definitely be working on an order I have received to supply a shop in the grounds of a beautful local garden called Trebah Gardens. If you ever visit this way you really must go as the views are amazing through enormous tree ferns to the coast beyond and with footpaths winding their way down to a little beach. Truly stunning and the visitor centre has a lovely shop which will very soon be selling my very own pipany range. I am very excited about this.

As it is, I think I had better begin by clearing away the debris from the weekend and then maybe I will feel more like...having a snooze most probably.

Hah, nice idea! promise to be a bit livelier next time...yawn.

Have a good Monday x

P.S. Much love to my dear Davey who starts his new job today in a school only 20 mins away instead of over an hour! Hurray and I love you! x

Friday, 26 June 2009

Noticing, good and bad.

I'm tired. No reason, no big deal, but I am so tired this week. Still, the upside of going a little slower is that you notice things, though truthfully I am one of life's noticers anyway and have always loved to spot treasures to bring home or espy the berries ripening in hedgerows. Still, just now I am finding myself sitting on the bench or strolling around the garden when I should be hanging washing, and noticing all sorts, some good, some not so. Here are a few things I noticed today: roses...

This one is called Ballerina and flowers almost all year.

Typially I have forgotten the name of this one, but it is twining its way through the bay hedge and lighting the darker leaves with its creamy blooms outside Davey's writing room.

This one cimbs through our tangled border in the front garden

Then I notice these three chaps, for chaps they are. They are cuckoo maran chicks which we will be eventually having for the pot. I realise some may find this not to their liking, but it is best to be honest. We have reared and eaten our own ducks and hens in the past, feeling that the main point here is to ensure they have a good, well-cared for life before-hand, which they will. These arrived yesterday and have settled well so far, scratching around and scoffing as much food as they can get their beaks on. The children have no allusions as to their eventual fate and understand that this is part of the way we choose to live; I hope the notion of taking responsibilty will always be with them.

Of course, that does not mean Isabella should take it into her own head to feed the animals without being asked - how many times she has been told! I see even Tiger-Lily is doing her bit.

although it has to be said, Tiger-Lily does enjoy a ride in the doll's pushchair

Hmm, and then I noticed this all over the plum tree...yeuch!

Truly gross.

One of my daughters took this photo of my new haircut (about 6 months overdue I might add) and I notice the silver threads beginning to wend their way through...sigh.

But never mind as I am also noticing this is almost ready to quaff - my very most favourite drink ever....eldeflower champagne.


Have a lovely weekend x

Monday, 22 June 2009

Isn't it time?

I have been finding things a little odd here just lately as the weekends have felt so holidayish. Lazy days drift by and then Monday arrives with a shock, everyone rushing off to work or school when the sunshine suggests the beach would be a better idea. Surely it is time to be sitting in the garden with bowls of elderflower icecream to cool us down?

Time to maybe turn a handstand or two?

Or perhaps for those of a less athletic turn (much like myself), it is time to sew in the dappled shade of the Cornish Aromatic apple tree where a gentle breeze shooshes the leaves and plays with light on linen...

Lovely Nina found the time to sew this dear little needlecase just for me and also sent a lovely bar of Green & Black's chocolate which Isabella and I scoffed with greedy haste! Do nip off and look at her blog full of the most beautiful pictures - we lead scarily parallel lives. Thank you so much Nina x

Isn't it time to gather pretty nosegays where lime green and soft cream sit happily with hot pink and deep purple, each posy filling the room with all manner of delicious aromas - some spicy, some sweet and some just... well, just nose-ticklingly beautiful?

And it must be time to while away some moments playing games of cards and mah jong

and, for the record, that was a terrible hand I had there!

Such a beautiful set to play with though.

Lucy insists we find time to spot butterflies & moths so that she can mark them off in her book. This one - a buff ermine we think - crawled out of Isabella's welly boot, much to her disgust.

I can happily find a minute or ten to gaze at this beautiful iris which has flowered by the wildlife pond for the very first time. How excited we were to see it, though the photograph has changed the colour; it is actually the deepest royal purple velvet, so rich and wonderful as it sits by the wildlife pond taking over from the cheery yellow flag iris which now are forming their amazing seedheads.

And, of course, there is always time for a smile

and a kiss

Yes, it's definitely feeling holidayish

Friday, 19 June 2009

Elderflowers, Allotments and a Strange Thing to Say.

It's that time of year again, a time when we are almost inundated with fermentation buckets and demi-johns full off all manner of elderflowery concoctions. As I said in a previous post, the hedgerows are just laden this year and cannot be resisted, so Isabella and I set off to gather some ready for a gallon or three of elderflower champagne as a change from the cordials we have already got underway. In fact, we are only just finishing the very last of the previous year's batch of cordial and will need to make a similarly large amount this time to see us through once more. I have put the recipe for elderflower cordial back onto my website so click if you would like to have a go.

I have such a gatherer's instinct and cannot bear empty cupboards. I positively thrive on stacking the wood away in autumn, scouring hedgerows for anything that can be made into chutneys, jams and beverages or cooked up into delicious meals. I have never been any different and have made things like this almost my entire life, yet the pleasure of it never leaves me. I am lucky in that Dave is the same and also has made wines, etc since he was young and so we share in this love of the countryside and all it offers, creating our own version of it in our garden. The mixed hedgerow in the front is overgrown and desperately in need of a sort through, yet it offers food for goldfinches and blue tits, hedgehogs and slowworms, frogs and toads - why change anything then? Tom and I sat for a brief tea break today and watched young dragonflies and shimmering damselflies of azure blue hover for a moment before darting away.

Before collecting elderflowers Isabella and I had a brief stint at the allotment, digging some new potatoes and a few other bits and bobs after sowing a bed of peas together. Man can that girl throw a long way! This is what we found today: onions


Blackcurrants are ripening ready to be turned into ice-creams and cordials and wines, and to nestle on soft pillows of cream for a summer day's pavlova

Broad beans are almost ready and we picked a few tiny ones to add to the red and green salad leaves from the cut-and-come-again patch. I love to add chive and nasturtium flowers, mint, marjoram and rocket from our home garden too.

At home the figs are looking good again. Last year we ate some for the first time and they were just heavenly with that seductive velvetiness of the ripened fruit mingling with the syrupy juices...mmm.

You know, when I was pregnant with Isabella some poor deluded fool once said to me that I wouldn't be able to have any holidays for years now....this keeps coming back into my mind of late as it was such a bizarre thing to say to someone like me. Firstly, I couldn't see why a child would stop anyone having a holiday if they wanted one. Secondly, are holidays that important (and if so I question the homelife) and lastly, but most importantly to me - child or holidays? Abslolutely no contest as I get to do all these wonderful things every day, every year with Davey all our lovely children (even the older ones who head off all over the place and still love to come back for more, though the pic below is a few years old now as we haven't done strawberry picking for a while, but I am currently eating masses so it seemed relevant!).

Yep, no contest.

And anyway, look where we live!

Have a lovely weekend xx

Monday, 15 June 2009

A weekend of gardening.

Wasn't it a beautiful weekend? We had sun, some cloud, a little rain (very little) and spent the entire weekend in the garden with the children. Even managed to get to the allotment where things are growing frantically. Take a little tour with me. A view toward the house with the yellow loosestrife's pretty spires. These flowers are great for cutting as they last so well, although they do drop tiny stars all over the table. I have to say this never worries me.

Hmm, forgot to move the space hoppers for this one. Makes a change from the hoover which appears in most of my indoor photographs I suppose.

Mustamg and Biscuit taking it easy. We lost our Aylesbury, Lemony, though have no idea why. Just found her dead in the pen one morning without a single mark on her. She is buried now under the Ballerina rose. Unfortunately, a couple of days later poor Maple, our feisty Kahki Campbell x Indian Runner, was taken by a fox - well, we assume it was a fox though no blood, feathers or sign of any attack could be found. Poor girl was sitting on a nest of eggs, but it is a real mystery as not even the straw had been moved. We need to replace them as Mustang is wearing poor Biscuit out as she is the only female now. Still, all was peaceful when I took this picture.

The redcurrants are beginning to ripen. I will need to watch them as the children and the birds both love them so. I think they are one of my favourites with their tiny globes of the brightest scarlet. We are lucky enough to have more at the allotment along with lots of blackcurant bushes.

The girls have been going into the garden from the moment they get up in the morning. Today Isabella had her breakfast sitting on the bench Tom made for us years ago. It has sat under the cherry tree in the duck pen, but we decided to bring it out so that we could use it more. A little overdue for a clean up I think.

The beautiful creamy rose clambering through the bay hedge outside Dave's writing room...

A self-seeded icelandic poppy opens the first of dozens of buds

Doesn't everyone wear pyjamas and wellies for gardening?

In front of the hen pen...

By the wildlife pond...

All so very pretty and just brimful of birdsong and newts and dainty floating butterflies. I love it. Well, that's it for today. Hope you had a lovely weekend too x