Saturday, July 15, 2017

Exploring England - Lydford Gorge

Hello Lovelies, I hope that the summer (or winter if you are in the Southern Hemisphere) is treating you well. We are loving the warmth and how green and lush everything is right now, not to mention the lovely break we are having from lessons.

First order of business before I get to post what I wanted to share with you has to do with subscribing to this blog. It has come to my attention that some of you are missing out on blog posts. I realised that my subscription option was via 'Bloglovin' and not an email option. So I have added the email option for those who want to receive blog post right into their email boxes - easier to keep track of if you are not one to look at Bloglovin every day (like me).

Now let me take you on a little nature walk we went on this week. It's a place that I've wanted to visit for some time and the girls were in an adventures mood, wanting to find a new walk, so I decided that Lydford Gorge was the place to go and explore.

It's the deepest gorge in the South West and it felt like we had entered another world after we had completed the first part of the trail which runs across the top of the gorge. We were delighted with all the wildlife we encountered...

We spotted this little mouse who was so brave and completely at ease with us watching him gather seeds and nuts. He scurried into his home, a hole at the foot of a tree, to eat his gathered feast. I couldn't help thinking of Jill Barklem's 'Brambly Hedge' characters who live in just such a tree.

Bird's darted about the tree canopy and were most obliging for the camera 😊,
we spotted Robins, Song Thrush, Dunnocks and even a few Nuthatches.

After descending into the gorge we were admired the Whitelady Waterfall, a 90-foot waterfall, the highest in the South West running down the gorge face. It really was quite lovely just to sit and watch for a while.

The second part of the trail was exciting and a bit tricky at the same time. It definitely is not for those who are not sure-footed. This part of the trail runs along the river, over the exposed rock-bed, often a bit slippery and it certainly could not be called 'even ground' by any stretch of the imagination.

But magical? Certainly!

At the end of the trail, we reached 'The Devils Cauldron', this is where the river narrows and you enter a dark ravine, mosses and ferns thrive here and water drips from the rocks above you.

Water thunders into the cauldron, a huge pothole that has been carved out by the sheer force of the flowing, falling water.

Absolutely magnificent!

On another nature note, did you catch the full moon this month? It really was so beautiful. We had been at a friends house for a BBQ and we watched the moon rise throughout the evening. It was quite breath-taking this month. I was amazed at how quickly the moon-scenery changed. The sky's colours were constantly changing providing the moon with a rather magnificent stage on which to shine.

As soon as we got home I grabbed my simple SLR camera and took a few shots. 

Do you do this at all? It's surprising first of all what great pictures you can get with a simple camera and secondly, how each months moon seems to have its own character. 

According to Native American folk-law, July's moon is known as the Full Buck Moon because a buck's antlers are in full growth at this time of the year. It was also known as the Full Thunder Moon because thunderstorms are so frequent during the month of July (in America I presume) - a bit of trivia for you 😃.

Anyhoo lovelies, that's it for today, I hope you all have a lovely weekend. I hope to see you back here soon.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

New Podcast & Yarns!

Hello Lovelies, we have been having the most amazing summer weather of late. Long, hot days, wild swimming, and BBQs have been filling our days over the past week. Today cooler temperatures have returned and I have to say that there is some relief in that.

I have finally managed to find some time to put together a podcast. Editing was a bit of an issue this time round as I had to edit on YouTube Editor which is limited at best. There were things I wanted to do that I couldn't but at least I managed to get in a bit of chit-chat with you 😊

I have also added some new yarns to my shop so if you are a knitter/crocheter then clip on the shop tab at the top of this page to see what I've listed.

Have a lovely Thursday everyone, see you back here very soon.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Day in June

June is such a lovely month in England, summer creeps in and clothes the countryside is in all its lush glory.

Wildflowers like foxgloves, cow parsley, buttercups, common daisy, common vetch and birdsfoot trefoil grow in abundance everywhere you look.

The bees are in their element with all this abundant food and that makes me happy to see.

On Monday I took a walk along the country lanes in my neighbourhood. I came across this adorable little wild strawberry growing happily in a stone wall.

Peeking over the wall we see a lovely orchard and a rather nice house that I wouldn't mind living in!

The hedgerows are full of blackberry flowers, come autumn there will be an abundance of fruit to forage.

Leaving the lane I take a woodland path, weaving my way down to the river. I love it down here, it's peaceful, tranquil and cool on these warm summer days.

On my way home I can't resist picking some wildflowers. There is something about a wildflower bouquet's untidiness that makes it perfectly beautiful.

A Day In June
From the Vision of Sir Launfal
James Russell Lowell

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers.

Wishing you all a wonderful Thursday 😊

Monday, June 12, 2017

Storing Summer's Bounty

Being a natural born home-keeper, I love the opportunity to potter about my home making it a haven and spending time in the kitchen creating delicious nourishing food for my family. These summer months are wonderful because I have the opportunity of preserving fruits in season and foraging the hedgerows. I love to do this so that we have a taste of summer when the winter months arrive.

So here's what's been happening in my kitchen over the past two weeks. Firstly it's Elderflower season! For about a week before I finally managed to gather some flower heads, I was 'rubber-necking' every elderflower shrub I saw as I was driving about, making mental notes on which were the best shrubs to harvest from (I'm keeping that mental note for the berries later on in the year). When harvesting elderflower heads, you want to find a shrub that's as far away from car fumes as possible, so those flower heads you see along the main highways and byways - avoid them if you can.

I found some lovely flower heads next to the country farm shop where my daughter works her part-time job. I used this recipe for this year's cordial.

Instead of bottling it as I have done over the years, I decided to try something new. 

I froze the cordial in ice-cube trays, this way you only need to pop two frozen blocks into a glass of sparkling water or even into a wine spritzer. This way we avoid the cordial going bad if it's not consumed quickly enough. 

At this time of year, it's always good to keep your eye out for trays of soft fruits in the grocery store. Last week it was trays of cherries and punnets of apricots, this week trays of strawberries, all for rock bottom prices. 

I used this recipe for my cherry jam, then used the same recipe for my strawberry and apricot brandy jam obviously just substituting strawberries and apricots for the cherries and adding a dash of brandy to the apricot jam just before canning. I managed to get 3 X 250ml  from 750g of each fruit respectively. 

I'm thinking that my homemade jam would be a wonderful addition to our Devon cream teas or on hot, buttery toast on a crisp winters morning. Delish!

So, do you take advantage of summer's bounty in any way? 

This post has been shared over at Strangers & Pilgrims Art of Homemaking Mondays link up.

Friday, June 09, 2017

Kitchen & Garden Comforts

It's been a funny old week. We started off with storms...

and we have finished off with spells of sunshine.

We've had a general election that didn't quite work out the way our governing party thought it would and it seems that our country is once again dealing with uncertainty and change. I think most of us are rather weary of it all and wish that the powers-that-be would just get on with it.

So what do you do when you are feeling antsy due to external circumstances that you cannot control? I chose to indulge in some simple activities that help to centre my heart on my home today.

I spent most of the morning canning gluts of cherries, strawberries and apricots - a post to follow on that.

Baked some bread - I do this a couple of times a week, the smell of proving and baking bread are so comforting.

I took a few moments to sit outside, watching the bumble bees going about their business, oblivious to the craziness of the world's happenings.

And enjoyed watching my kitty being completely adorable 😊

So after a day spent on activities that are focused on the heart of my home and shutting out the noise of the media, I'm feeling much better. What do you do to find peace and comfort when the world seems to be out of control?