What’s for dinner Mum?

Today saw the first of our courgettes harvested..Yay!…along with more early peas, various salad leaves, chard, tree spinach, rocket, mizuna, red orach, various herbs and other edible goodies.. and as always we have eggs from our quail and hens and milk, cheese and yogurt etc from our wonderful dairy goats.  ….and maybe we’ll have butter soon too, if I can get my hands on a cheap or free cream separator!

So today’s dinner was this delight for the eyes and palate.  As you can see my daughter was quite happy with what I served up! . “What’s for dinner Mum?”  ..A rainbow.. xxx

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Fresh laid eggs used in an omelette with courgette, peas, chives, onions and garlic ..all from the garden..a few dots of  home-made kefir cheese melted into it under the grill..Served with a medley of salad leaves: including tree spinach, red orach, nasturtium leaves, various frilly / oak leaf lettuces, both red and green varieties, mizuna, pea shoots, raw peas, borage flowers, chive flowers, chives, cos lettuce, rocket and shredded spring onions. .and a home-baked bread roll. … all washed down with home-made elderflower cordial.

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Nom..nom..nom..Image

Pretty and tastes great too!

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These hands…..

Plunged wrist deep in damp compost. Stirring in dry gritty sand. Turning and tipping, patting and mixing. My hands provide the medium for my seeds to grow in. The ingrained soil stains the tiny creases in my skin, like rivers marked on a map and it leaves them looking well-worn, like sun-bleached driftwood….the grain showing through. These hands have the patina that comes with age and heavy use outdoors. I like it.

Delicate lifting, seedling transplanting, caterpillar picking and ladybird gazing . Like fine tweezers, they serve me, but strength they provide me. Plunging fork or spade into soil. My hands, my most important tools. These hands, my gardening friends.

Gently compressing an udder. Rhythmic gentle pressure, from one pink freshly washed finger to another, as the thumb and base of forefinger act as valve. Gentle clamping and squeezing. Finger muscles working in unison. A wave-like motion. Smoothly and calmly, as frothing and creamy. These hands extract the milk.

Mixing and stirring, thumping and rolling. Knuckles are needed… for kneading the dough. These hands help produce our daily bread and a way to de-stress.

Lifting and carrying, chopping and sawing, stacking and fetching, lighting and poking. These hands prepare the firewood and tend the wood-stove, that warms my home, my water and my heart.

Tender forehead caressing, tight squeezy hugging, proud and jokey back patting, waving and clapping and secure hand holding. My hands show their love and appreciation to my children and loved ones. These hands never run out of love.

Delicate gathering, placing and carrying. Eggs from geese, hens and quail, are carried indoors to the kitchen. Doors are opened. Full baskets are lifted and into a frying pan, a porcelain shelled nut-brown egg is cracked….neatly in half….just right!  These hands provide the means to gather and cook our meals.

Sweeping and scrubbing, rub a dub dubbing, wiping and hosing with buckets of bubbles , mopping away, your dirt and your troubles. These hands clean the dirt that comes from a life spent outdoors.

Cleaning and washing, wringing and hanging, folding and ironing (although that I do rarely). Piling up, neat stacking, clean linen, fresh smelling. These hands, they allow me to be clothed in fresh fabric, keep my home tidy and bring sunshine inside.

Holding reins, as we trot along lanes, across fields, the wind on your face, carriage wheels turning, you feel every bump and steady the pace, no need to race.  Deep pressure on brush, as you groom away the dried sweat from a morning of traveller’s joy, with the sun on your backs, the smell of horse on your hands and in your head forever more. These hands care for the animals that take me places and make my heart sing.

Holding pen or pencil, crochet hook or knitting needle, typing letter or story, threading cotton through needle, mending and make doing! My hands they communicate and cooperate, confidently, they earn my keep and keep the wolf from the door ………as I attempt self-sufficiency. They try their best and that is all I ever ask of them. I can’t ask for more .

These hands…..

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The first day of Spring…or is it?

So Spring has sprung..apparently..somewhere in the UK? ..but not here in Lincolnshire…yet!

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Despite a lovely show of flowers from the pretty pink heather growing by my wildlife pond and from the snowdrops that are brave enough to open their delicate white flowers long before the sun puts it’s hat on, as far as I am concerned we are still, albeit unofficially, stuck in Winter.

Spring pah!

Although I did spot a very lonely, sunshiny yellow dandelion, whilst out walking today, which made me smile.

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Spring or not, today here, in deepest rural Lincs, we have had yet more snow, sleet and freezing rain. The ground is either sodden or frozen.

Temperatures feel even lower with the bitter icy wind cutting across the open farmland and whipping around your ankles. It bites at your nose and tingles your ears. My extremities become a vivid shade of pink, my nose begins to run ( sexy huh!) and my fingers ‘burn’ with the cold til they throb and ache!

There is nothing quite so chilling as plunging a bucket into an icy water-butt and accidentally spilling most of the contents over oneself before you have even had breakfast!  Brrrrrr!!

I have a greenhouse full of seed trays, doing not very much at all 😦

I have goats that refuse to go out (and who can blame them). Instead they are happily munching their way through record amounts of hay, whilst tucked up inside their warm and cosy sheds.

My two driving ponies are competing with them for the most consumed hay in one season! It is a close call as to who will win! But I know my purse is definitely losing!

I have arm muscles like Popeye, from lugging, chopping and sawing up vast quantities of foraged and scrap wood for my fire…… all Winter long. It certainly does heat you twice.. or in my case three times.. fetching.. then cutting/ chopping ….and then finally burning.

I like the burning bit best. It heats my home and my water ..and makes lovely toasted marshmallows and roast chestnuts…so I shouldn’t complain 😉

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So what is one to do when Winter refuses to leave and nothing much is progressing outside… (apart from eating marshmallows and chestnuts that is.)…….

Well in my case I bake bread and cakes ( yep more nommy stuff..do you sense a theme?) …I drink tea and write ….I help my daughter with her projects   ….and I get on with indoors jobs, like ..dum dum dum…..the dreaded ‘housework’.

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But I am LONGING to be outdoors, with my hands in the soil…

To feel the sun on my back, as I work in the garden….

To smell freshly cut grass…

To have a break from sawing and chopping wood and fetching it in each and every day …..

….and from getting up at silly o’clock each morning to get the fire lit before my daughter rises…*sigh

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Roll on Spring and Summer!

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A blessed Equinox to you all x

My Scoop-it collection of interesting permaculture links

My Scoop-it collection of interesting permaculture links

Lots of permaculture related  links and articles on my scoop it page

This was a video I made three or four years ago.

Working towards self sufficiency in my new cottage and garden, soon after I moved in. I started from scratch again as the garden was overgrown and full of building materials. Some ideas to inspire you.