Thursday, April 30, 2009


At the bottom of the garden we found a solitary tulip wedged in behind the huge lovage bush, a rhubarb clump and a burgeoning peony. It was selflessly giving out its magnificence, as flowers do, but we felt it needed company that appreciated its efforts. I am usually very reticent about picking flowers; I prefer to see them in their natural setting. How glad I am, though, that this beauty came to live with us - an ever changing show of pure being! Here are a few photographs I took throughout the day.

Early morning

Late morning

Early afternoon

Dinner Time

Thank you and Goodnight xx

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Morning dreamtime.


If you can - take time today to sit among the flowers and just be. xxx

Monday, April 27, 2009

Book Sharing Monday

Our choice for this week's Book Sharing Monday is New Blue Shoes by Eve Rice.

I first bought this book about 25 years ago,when my elder daughter was 4. It very quickly became one of our favourites, and I am so pleased that James loves it too. It is the story of Rebecca and her Mama going to buy a new pair of shoes. Parents everywhere will recognise trying to balance their child's wishes with what they think is practical. Rebecca suddenly asserts herself with her request for blue shoes:

" Blue?" said Mama. "I think brown would be much nicer. Brown."
"Blue" said Rebecca. "I want blue"
"All right, blue" said Mama
"I'll see what we have" said the salesman

Of course she gets her wish, with "the very last box on the very last shelf"
On the way home, however, she wonders ifs he has made the right decision.....
A lovely, simple and much cherished storybook.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nettle Rash

So - a post about nettles - previously trailed on Dawn's lovely blog. On Saturday it was time to strain, bottle and sample the Nettle and Blackcurrant Leaf cordial that had been steeping away for a week in our cool porch. The very nice people at Thorncroft, who make the cordial on sale in decent food outlets give the recipe on their website - so Slainte to them!
I have to say, though, I did fear for my blackcurrant bushes a bit. 100g is a fair whack when they are just growing again. I was pleased that I had a few bushes to spread the picking over. I think that it is the blackcurrant leaves which impart the most flavour. During the steeping process I did worry that their was only going to be a small amount, as the leaves do seem to take up lots of the syrup. Worries unfounded, however, as I was rewarded with over two and a half bottles of very concentrated delicious pink cordial. Well worth making again - and I may try straight nettle next time. It is very strong stuff, so only a tiny amount is needed in a glass of water to make a very fine refreshing drink. I can just see me sitting in my summer garden sipping this over ice - possibly with a splash of gin maybe?Flushed as pink as my cordial with this success James and I headed over to the Farmer's Market in Linlithgow - taking small sample for the Slow Food rep. They were doing a bread tasting comparing homemade bread with a coupleof loaves from the bakery stall that attends the market. Well, of course there was no comparison - even from the smaller bakery - homemade won hands down. We had a pleasant discussion about local food and how very few - if any of the food stalls at the market were 'local'. Most of them come from Ayrshire or even Argyll. We also spoke about the Fife Diet where a couple tried to eat produce that came from withing the Kingdom of Fife itself. I will blog about this another time as I can go on at length about local food and living in a food desert, so - back to our jaggy friends.
My next stop was the wonderful smelling Caurnie Soap stand - a mouthwatering array of natural soaps in huge rounds like whole cheeses. three wedges for £10. I chose Bog myrtle, Patchouli (I was a teenager in the 70s) and Nettle. "You don't get as much of the nettle because it is made from the essential oil, which is very expensive" commented the saleswoman, smoothly slicing off a hunk the size of Ben Lomond! Hmmm - I wonder how you extract the essential oil? Given the amount of nettles on my patch, we could be talking about another oil boom here!

No - I think I'd rather make Nettle wine instead - which is my project for this week. It is pouring rain this morning, otherwise I would have been out picking the tops right now. We have already enjoyed several pots of nettle soup this season and hope to have a good few more - not to mention nettle risotto and I am sure I have a recipe for nettle haggis somewhere. My fingers are tingling already!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Blessings

"Treat the Earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children"

from an Ancient Indian proverb

Monday, April 20, 2009

Book Sharing Monday

Today I am participating in Book Sharing Monday– click the picture link on the sidebar to find out more. This is a fantastic idea for sharing thoughts about the books that our children enjoy, and the ones we like reading to them. I have always adored reading to my children, and I am lucky to have been able to indulge myself for a few years now – this is the perfect excuse to share this love with other like -minded folk.

We spent the whole of yesterday in the garden – the weather was absolutely glorious and lots of seeds were planted – including some sunflower seeds – thanks Claire!. What better book to start off with then but Ten Seeds, by Ruth Brown. I also noticed on the VWcamper van calendar in our kitchen, that Wednesday is Earth Day, so an appropriate choice to mark the miracle of life on this planet.

This is a simple picture book with not a lot of text, but it tells the story of 10 seeds being planted – their progress and the dangers they face, the harvest and the beginning of the cycle again.

Ten Seeds, one Ant!

The story counts down, with each seed meeting a different destiny until the final page when the boy harvests the seeds.

Ten Seeds!

James loves this book – he points to the boy and says “Me!” and enjoys spotting all the various predators, worms and bugs. We talk about what we have seen in our own garden and greenhouse -today he noticed a seed capsule still attached to one of our pumpkin plants!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our choice – looking forward to seeing yours!`

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I found treasure at the end of the rainbow!

This was what I found when I looked in on my 17 year old son this morning - a treasure indeed :)

(Thanks for letting me post this K.)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Book Sharing Monday - Yes I know it's Saturday!

I saw this wonderful idea over on Mama4's blog. Every Monday, participans will post about a children's book they have been reading or have enjoyed - sharing a favourite lines or two. I love this idea so much - there is nothing I like better than talking about books, and this will make sure I update at least weekly.
I have been buying books for my children for (gulp) almost 30 years now, so I have a few to choose from. I have always been extremely fussy about the books I choose and can easily spend hours in the children's section selecting and rejecting. I find that there are very few gems and a lot of dross in most mainstream bookshops nowadays and tend to go on recommendations. I hate 'lift the flap' type books, or books with bits that fall out, and TV character books don't even make the list. I hope you will enjoy my choices.
James, who is only 2, does not yet have a wide range in his literary choices - preferring the same book over and over again for several days, until I can manage to bring another one to his attention - and even then 4 of his very favourites don't actually have any words. With that in mind, I will, more often than not, select one that I have enjoyed with my older children and probably not the Stephanie Meyer series that my 19 year old daughter is currently reading!
Please visit Alex's lovely blog and join in and see the list of other bloggers taking part. Oh - and visit here on Mondays.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Sign of Four

I made hot cross buns this morning, some to eat and some to give away. I used the recipe from the excellent book Baking Bread with Children by Warren Cohen, except, as usual, I had to adapt it to suit my storecupboard. This time I found I had no candied peel, so used the zest of an orange and a lemon instead. No-one seemed to notice and I have to say they were the nicest I have ever made. Usually when I attempt yeasty buns or rolls they turn out like small curling stones, but these ones were light and springy. I used a runny lemon glace icing for the crosses.
So whether you honour the four seasons, elements, arms of the cross, or otherwise - have a happy time this weekend.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What's cooking in my kitchen?

Well - not much in the way of food, but there is a little boy walking across the floor by himself!!!! Two months and one day after his accident! Six weeks since he got out of traction! Phew! We feared this day would never come, but we left him to do things at his own pace. It was just as if he went through the developmental stages again - sitting, crawling, bum shuffling, pulling up to stand, cruising, that bit where they kind of launch themselves at the nearest item of furniture, walking holding hands, and now today - walking on his own! Humans are amazing - children are amazing humans - leave them alone and they'll work it out. Well done darling wee man! Now... where's that big roll of cotton wool...?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Springing along.

Well - a fairly murky photograph of our evolving Spring Table. Maybe I should have taken the picture in dayight - lol - still, I feel if wouldn't really be my blog without the bad photography. The paintings at the back are actually very springlike wet on wet watercolours done by James and myself in bright yellow and blue - what a nice relaxing way to paint - especially for someone as artistically challenged as your blogger here. The hand-decorated pot contains sunflower seedlings and was a Mother's Day present from my elder daughter, and I am trying to force a branch of flowering cherry in green vase (which i've just realised is not actually visible). There is a handknitted piglet - or as James calls it - the peeeeg, a little nutbrown hare, and what was supposed to be a pom-pom Easter Bunny, but somehow turned out more like - as my Dad quipped - the Easter Cairn Terrier! Well - why not start our own tradition?:) A basket of blown eggs that we have not got round to decorating yet, a couple of fluffy chicks, two hen shaped candles and the Gerda Muller Spring book completes the tableau so far. It is my intention to make some flower fairy type figures, and I do have the beads and felt, but somehow I feel this project slipping away.....
The weather has been so good we have not really spent much time in the house over the last week - especially with John being on holiday, so most of the happenings will be posted on the gardening blog in the next day or so.
Edited next day to add another picture of the spring table - this time in spring sunshine (still a bad photo lol). Elder son has a history tutor who comes on a Monday - as he was leaving he cried - "Oh its a shrine to Easter!" Hmmm..