Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In the kitchen

There is always plenty going on in this croft kitchen - certainly always washing up, but - we do appreciate our food here.

. It's not always home cooking though. We have the most amazing food shops on the island, so it is nice to have some time out and feast on fantastic locally made produce.

And this is seriously the best iced cream ever.

And we take our ice cream very seriously.

There has been pie!
 Really loving this book by Ashley English, and I think, going by the results so far, we will certainly be celebrating a year of pies here.

It is foraging time again - and that means more of this and this

and to explore other possibilities - oh yes!

Tallow has been rendered for cooking and other projects, and beet kvass has been made. I'm not sure how this is supposed to taste - this is a bit salty, but pleasantly so - and improving by the day!

I concoted a recipe for applesauce muffins, which were a huge hit, but I've forgotten what I did! It was a basic muffin recipe using melted butter, not oil, and I layered the apple sauce in the middle of the mixture, so we would all get a good mouthful of the cinnamon spiced apple.

Yes - it is one of my favourite places, this kitchen of mine. Good food, a nice chilled glass of something while prepping dinner, and some lively tunes to dance around to. Och, come on - lets have a wee ceilidh!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Reflection

It's been a difficult week. Not for me, particularly. Indeed there has been the usual mix here of work, play, crafts and cakes - those ordinary yet extraordinary moments that make up our days. But... today they seem irrelevant - indulgent even.

In recent weeks, on the Islands, we have been no strangers to untimely tragic deaths. And, from all corners of the world, in the last few days, comes news of so many lives lost. Cut short, in a sudden and terrible way. 

I have no answers - no words for this.

I can only remind myself of what is good and beautiful in the world- and be grateful. 

To send love and light out over the endless seas

To remember that these rocks have endured on this Earth for 3 billion years - and to know my place

Friday, April 19, 2013

A moment

Preparing soup 
 observed by the eyes of the Sun.
Gouged from the dark Earth.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Standing Still

Sending my thoughts, prayers and love to the people of Boston and of Iraq. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Seven Daysssss

Seven days past

Silver frosty mornings, with the sun burning through the dawn mists
Sprouting kale spears from last year's plants
Sowing the seeds of this year's hoped for harvest - it will be the best yet!
Suddenly noticing the beauty in this old rusty gate post
Sipping coffee and eating pie in my local cafe
Stepping out at a wedding dance with friends and neighbours
Sensing Spring in the air

Sending love and blessings to you all, as we turn our faces to the next Seven Days

Thursday, April 11, 2013

This Moment

Very happy to be joining in again with Soulemama - capturing a moment that I want to remember and share.  Wishing everyone a relaxed weekend :-)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Little Bits

Lots of little bits of crafting going on, in between the crofting. it looks like Spring has arrived, with crochet flowers popping up all over the place. I have been enjoying doing these quick little projects with scrap bits of yarn - not quite sure what they will become - a garland or part of a wreath,  most likely, but they are lots of fun to do.

I loved making this Snuggle Dolly ( Baby Cashmerino) - a quick and easy pattern by Tina. This is such a cute and cuddly doll - just the thing for a new babe.

I am still working on my Flowers in the Snow blanket. I have finished all the circle parts, and now just need to add the white square borders, before stitching it together. I am putting this aside for now, as it is going to be my holiday project. Yes - in two weeks time I will be going to the Wonderwool Wales festival with some very lovely ladies. We will be glamping it up in this Rainbow coloured Yurt for 4 whole days!! I am soooo excited!! Really I am !!

So, to keep me grounded until then, I have just cast on this Heartwarmer, using some Manos Silk blend that I had in my stash. The pattern is called Lark Rise, and it is a fairly straightforward lace.
My reading is not so straightforward this week though - at least, one of the books is quite hard going. The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth Von Arnim has been on my shelf, unopened for several years, and I picked it up a couple of nights ago, taking a unusual notion to read fiction. I am not sure - it is very of it's time - middle class English ladies in the 1920s. I have only managed to struggle through the first chapter and a bit, so will give it until the third chapter then decide.
The other book is really good though - Long Way on A Little, by Shannon Hayes. I had loved one of her previous books -  Radical Homemakers, and this one doesn't disappoint either. Essentially a recipe book, it is about using our produce wisely and frugally - extracting every ounce of goodness out of what we have, and is full of wisdom for a farmer who really knows what she is talking about. Much more my kind of style.
Check out everyone else's style at Yarn Along, graciously hosted by Ginny at Small Things.

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Reflection

The early April sun shone down on us,with a tantalising hint of Summer warmth, enticing us out to the ocean. We headed up the West side, chattering away, in holiday mode, and followed the winding road down to this little gem of a beach. There is a raised lochan there, from which a burn* flows down to the sea.  We love to sit on this rickety old bridge, peering down into the gently rippling water. 

Before long, we meander down the path and scramble over the stones and boulders to the compact white crescent of sand, and to the sea - sparkling like sapphire in the afternoon sunshine. It is a deadly beauty, though, as the currents here are strong, and the tides are fierce.  Apart from a vague notion of collecting a few shells, we have no purpose other than just to be here. Shoes, boots and socks come off and we wander around, dipping our toes in the shallows - doing our own thing - occasionally calling the other to look at something of interest - a beautiful crystal or pearly shell, some really fast running, or a whirlpool out on the rocks.

After a short while (or a long while - who knows with sea time?) we leave this beach to the seabirds, and move a little further up the coast.

This is a different kind of shore, yet only a few miles on. The sea is like glass, and the waves glide in undetected, rising to a gentle swell - before breaking  in a perfect curve, like a ripple of polite applause.
There are always plenty of the little pearly winkle shells that we like to collect here, so a lot of time is spent beach combing and filling our pockets with our tiny treasures. Along at the far end of the shore, there is an abundance of birdlife, and today we saw oyster catchers, divers, waders, terns, greenfinch and various seagulls. All of them hopped just out of shot as we clumsily approached, and then resumed their activities when we had moved away. This beach also has a raised lochan just beyond, with a strip of machair and shingle separating fresh water from salt.

We walk along this causeway, barefoot - enjoying the feeling of the sun-warmed pebbles, rough grasses and shells on our feet - nature's reflexology, indeed. I remark that I had read somewhere, that some people pay to go on barefoot walking holidays. "Why don't they just take their shoes off and walk about?!" he exclaims, incredulously.

But is is a glorious day - one where the memories of Winter gales, and looming chores are banished, as we drink in the sights, sounds and sensations of our day out. As we watch the waves rise fall gently on the shore, I am aware too of another movement - a subtle shift in my relationship with this boy- now in his seventh year. I suddenly realise how grown-up he is -how he holds own opinions,and can clearly articulate them - how he has made sense of his world and how it has shaped him, how he is coming into himself. As I look at him, gazing out to the Western horizon, I  think I can see the beginnings of the man he will become, and my heart melts ♥

* burn - stream, brook, creek

Friday, April 5, 2013

This Moment

So happy to be joining in again with Soulemama - capturing a moment that I want to remember and share.  Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend :-)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hen Life in the Outer Hebrides

We have had over two weeks of dry, sunny weather here on the Outer Hebrides. While those on the mainland have shivered through the snow drifts, we have basked in the sunlight, and enjoyed the long evenings.

The hens, in particular, have loved the return of Springtime here on the islands. They enjoyed helping when I was digging over the raised beds last week, scratching and scrabbling around - eating all my worms - naughty girls!

But mostly, they like to roam around the garden - foraging for the odd bug, or doing a spot of sunbathing.

 Of, course - they do lay the most fantastic freerange eggs - even if we have to hunt around for them, sometimes  quite a lot. We have become good at working out where the latest nesting spot is, although they like to keep us guessing, and change it every time we discover their treasure. They do have a nice clean nesting box in the hut - full of soft warm straw, but prefer the odd corners and clumps of grass or weeds - crocosmia is a favourite. .

Unless, of course, they decide to go broody, and take over the hen hut - scaring away any hen, or egg collector that comes near them. This particular girl is a perpetual broody, but she isn't any good at it. I have let her sit on eggs several times before, but after a week or so, she pecks them all and abandons the nest. A few weeks later she is at it again!  Yesterday, I ventured out to see what the ladies had laid for us, and found Crazy Hen sitting firmly in one of the nest boxes. I recognised the angry growls with a sigh.  Donning a stout pair of gardening gloves (a broody hen is a vicious beast) I removed her from the box and carried her off to a makeshift broody coop where I gave her some fertile eggs to sit on. We'll see what happens in 3 weeks time, although I don't have great expectations.

So - that is Hen Life in the Hebrides - dawn to dusk, scratching, pecking, sunbathing, laying and roosting outside. Pretty perfect, I would say.

Yes - absolutely perfect!


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