Boozy planning

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J has been planning.  He picked up some demijohns from Freecycle (when it existed, it now appears to have morphed and we have a local Freegle) and is planning to embark on making wine, or more specifically ‘country’ wine, as although we have vines, they aren’t producing grapes (or are even in the ground yet…)  So I ordered him “Booze”, by John Wright, the twelfth book in the River Cottage Handbook Series.

Of course I had to have a read of it myself.  I’ve made various infusions/liqueurs/ratafias in the past, but not anything ‘from scratch’, so it’s an interesting read (and has given me a giggle in a few places so far).  Lots of inspiration to be had and I’m rather excited that potentially in about a year’s time we may have some of our own home-made wine.

Also on the table is “The Story of Plants” by John Hutchinson and Ronald Melville.  It dates back to 1948 and in the back is the library card from when it was part of the San Mateo Junior College Library.  I first saw this book when 5 Orange Potatoes shared a photo of it online and in a herbal group I’m a member of and it looked so interesting I thought I’d try and find a copy for us as well.  I was lucky and managed to find one for a few pounds and was really pleased when it arrived.  It’s a lovely old book.  Originally written for children, so very approachable, without ‘dumbing down’ the information and Moo and I have been steadily working through it.  It has some wonderful fold out ‘family trees’ of plants:

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We we will be using it for inspiration for further learning in the weeks to come.

The swirl ball is finished.  The actual knitting part of it, a little while ago, but it took longer to get around to stuffing and sewing it up (I’m not a great fan of having to sew a seam).  It was a quick and simple knit and interesting in how it knitted up with the short rows  (not that short rows are inherently interesting, rather how they worked together to make the swirl effect).  I am now on to baby knitting for friends’ babies, as there’s been a few born all around Arty’s age (and all boys, with one still to come in the next couple of weeks). I was struggling to get basic things done for a while after Arty was born, let alone manage to knit anything for friends, so I’m now catching up (albeit slowly).

Joining in with Keep Calm and Craft On and Yarn Along.

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Nostalgia

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I’ve been feeling a creeping dissatisfaction of late, a feeling of restlessness, a nostalgia for something that I’m not quite sure existed any where but in my memory.  I miss a (perceived) community that seems to have been squeezed out.  We are now supposedly more networked than ever, yet I feel an emptiness in this and that something, somewhere has been lost.  Not that I’m not thankful for the internet, I am, it’s a boon in so many ways, but I miss the ‘earlier’ days where bulletin boards and blogs were the order of the day. I felt I got to ‘know’ people more.  I’m considering leaving FB, carving out a bit more time in the week to get back to blog reading and ‘talking’ to people on a more one-to-one basis.  I’ve even been turning over the idea of a letter-writing (snail mail) circle over and over I  my mind…

In the meantime I’m reading about food and gardening (always favourite things). Mark Diacono is currently my new favourite person – although I now have about five double A4 pages written up full of plants I want in the garden (bearing in mind that, at the moment, I can barely snatch ten minutes out there).  And, of course, the wonderful Nourished Kitchen, inspiring my meal planning.  Also a more unusual hearkening  back to a past interest in anthroposophy in “Machines and the Human Spirit” (maybe more than a little inspired by my recent feelings towards social media).

Inspired by Spiralling the Seasons, I’m knitting a ball for Arty (who wants to chew everything that he can).

Joining in with Nicole’s Keep Calm and Craft On and Ginny’s Yarnalong

Slow Living :: July 2015

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July is a time when the garden really steps up a notch and we begin to get some sort of reasonable harvest from it (as chaotic as it currently is).  It’s also the time other people’s gardens are in full swing and our neighbour very kindly gave us a small plastic sack of blackcurrant boughs (as she’d hacked back an old blackcurrant bush that she will be replacing in the autumn).

We had a team effort stripping the currants off and then split the 6lbs into half for making syrup/cordial and the other half for wine.  From the syrup we made some rather delicious blackcurrant sorbet (as well as enjoying it as a drink).

We’ve also been busy harvesting and drying various herbs from the garden and keeping them either for cooking or medicinal uses (to that effect Moo has been infusing oils with calendula and lavender for later use in making skin products).

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We celebrated my second son’s 19th birthday with a cheesecake made my Moo (short of a few snaffled strawberries) and enjoyed meeting up with friends to enjoy some of the sunny weather.

 

 

A Few Days in St Leonards Upon Sea

Minnie, Arty and I popped down to the south coast for a few days to spend some time with my Mum.  Minnie was very excited about going down to the seaside, but the weather wasn’t particularly good and there was only one (very windy) day that it was possible.  However, the weather doesn’t affect sitting and chatting over coffee and it was really nice to catch up with my Mum and my second eldest (who’s currently staying with her whilst working on his holidays from university) and for my Mum to have the opportunity to meet Arty for the first time.