Friday, July 25, 2014

Measuring the moment

Sharing a moment that I want to remember. No words, just a single special image. Joining in with Soulemama for This Moment. Wishing you all a beautiful weekend xx

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Yarns

Quick post to share my knitting and reading habits of late. I finished the Alpinia - yay! I am really pleased with it too - a very sweet cardigan indeed. Today I crocheted a wee bag to hold my iPhone when I am walking the dog in this warm weather. For some reason, most of my summer clothes don't have pockets, and I am using the phone to take all my pictures just now, so I wanted a cross-shoulder bag so I can be hands-free. I just made up a rough pattern, which you can see on my Ravelry page. I tested it out tonight and it did the job perfectly.
My next project will be a hat for John, using this lovely blue Rowan merino silk. He starts his chemotherapy next week... better cast on soon.

I am re-reading Bone by Marion Woodman. It is a diary of her own cancer journey and it is a beautifully written reflection, quotes from poetry and literature - lots of Jungian imagery, which I love too. I read this many years ago, on holiday in Crete, and I was very taken with it. This time, of course, I have a different perspective, and I am getting so much nourishment from it.

I am joining in with Ginny for Yarn Along - do drop by and see what everyone else is up to. xx

Monday, July 21, 2014

Early One Morning

Every morning now, I walk the dog. It is another of the many tasks that have fallen to me these days. I am only beginning to realise just how much John did, as our life begins to unfold into it's new shape. Anyway, I digress - and I am not really complaining, because an early morning walk in Summer is indeed a glorious way to start the day. Just being out there in nature is so - sensual.

As I walk, I see colours all around, and with each step, clouds of little white moths and red admiral butterflies burst up from the grass. I see a yacht moored in the bay, and as I climb up the steep path, a rabbit is sitting perfectly still just on the horizon. The tide is low and I smell the tang of the exposed seaweed as it begins to dry in the already warm sun. There is a slight breeze though, and it blows cool on my arms, sunburned from the previous day. I pass through the stone circle, and stop to touch one - feeling it's ancient worn surface and wondering...  A warbler scolds me as I walk on - following me from a distance, chattering away as it flits along the fence posts.   I hear gulls wheeling over the sea-loch, and the village cockerels trying to out-crow one another. I head home for breakfast - its going to be another lovely day. x

Friday, July 18, 2014

This moment

Sharing a moment that I want to remember. No words, just a single special image. Joining in with Soulemama for This Moment. Wishing you all a perfect weekend xx

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Eating


Welcome to my kitchen on this bright morning. Sit down and have a cup of tea - smoked salmon and crowdie (cream cheese) on the menu today. I've been breakfasting alone lately. Well, its the summer holidays, so boys sometimes like a long lie, and morning isn't the best time of day for John at the moment, so he tends to get up a bit later too. I'm always too hungry to wait for them, so have come to relish  these few moments of calm before the busy-ness of the day starts.

I've been making up these concoctions too - which we jokingly refer to it as the "chemo-therapy". Its a blend of coconut oil, fermented cod liver oil, matcha powder, turmeric, kelp and shitake powder, surprisingly pleasant and full of good cancer-fighting stuff. I have absolutely no idea if it will have any effect, but it feels like a positive thing to do, while we wait for the actual treatment to start.

But, still - there is some elderflower liqueur on the go. No-one really likes the cordial in this house, and I had great success with the fennel liqueur I made last year, so I thought I would give this a go too. I'll let you know around New Year :)
(Put 20 heads elderflower and zest of an unwaxed lemon in a litre kilner jar and fill with vodka. Make sure the flowers are submerged.  Seal jar and store in a cool dark place for 3 months. Strain out elderflowers and return liquor to the cleaned jar. Add 300 grams caster sugar and stir well. Re-seal and return jar to storage place for another 2 months, give it a shake every now and then to help dissolve the sugar. The same recipe can be used forthe fennel liquer - except use a couple of handfuls of fennel instead of elderflowers.)

We planted a wild cherry tree a couple of years ago, but not much seems to be happening with it yet, so it's always nice to see cherries at the crofter's market.  This batch disappeared quite quickly...

There are lots of salads too - straight from the polytunnel. Its such a relief, after all our unexpected travels to be able to pop out and pick a bowlful for dinner. I'll do a garden update sometime soon.

But the main ingredient just now is garlic. I have a great crop this year and I am just picking it and using it fresh, rather than dried. To be honest I lost a lot of my garlic harvest last year because I didn't have a cool dry place to store it - this year it can stay in the ground until I need it.

Although that is not going to be for long, as it is so sweet and mild that I am using lots of it in every savoury dish that I make. Two bulbs went into this kale and bacon tortilla, which was extremely delicious indeed.

Cloves from 2 bulbs fresh garlic, some pancetta, gently fried together - add a couple of good handfuls of chopped kale and allow to wilt into the garlic/bacon mix. Whisk 8 eggs with a splash of cream, add a good handful of a strong cheese, salt and pepper and add this to the pan. cook until still soft on top then add another handful of cheese - finish cooking under the grill.

Hungry boys love it.

Still picking the garlic scapes too. I use them in many dishes - salads, stuffed into chicken or fish, roasted in olive oil like asparagus spears, in soup... the possibilities are endless. But at some point, pesto has to be made. I think it is the law...
I cup basil, 1 cup scapes, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup olive oil. Whizz together until nicely pulverised. Add more Parmesan or oil to get consistency you prefer, and season to taste. And it does.. taste.. delicious.

I made a batch today and it fair pepped up a summer salad soup (just chicken stock with leeks, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and some leftover salad leaves from yesterday)

For dinner, I covered some salmon fillets with a good layer before baking them, in a hot oven for 15 minutes. What a fantastic meal.  I'll need to make another couple of batches before the scape season is over once more.

And then James discovered, after many years of never eating them, that he actually like mushrooms! In fact - he loves them! It was like Green Eggs and Ham... they are so good - so good you see!
Hope you are enjoying good appetites this season xxx

Sunday, July 13, 2014


We've been enjoying the fine Summer weather lately, and our days have been full and long, spent mainly on the beach. There has been swimming, digging to Australia, and new friends made - just for the day. There has been some loafing around, daydreaming, lots of cooling drinks, and then back to the beach. I hope you are enjoying the season wherever you are. xxx

Friday, July 11, 2014

This moment

Sharing a moment that I want to remember. No words, just a single special image. Joining in with Soulemama for This Moment. Wishing you all a magical and joy filled weekend xx

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Another island...

My step-daughter and her family are staying with us just now, so I took the chance to leave things in her capable hands and sneak away for a quick overnight visit to Skye. The ferry leaves early in the morning, so I rose at dawn, which is around 4.30 am just now. 

 As I passed the standing stones, there was another rainbow, which accompanied me all the way down to Harris. A comforting presence, as I left everyone behind.

It is a short ferry journey over to Skye - just time for a hearty Calmac breakfast and a little spot of crochet. Before long I had arrived and was soon speeding down past the Cuillin Ridge, heading to the south of the island.

I was going to visit this couple. My daughter, Kristine, and her husband, Daniel...

... and, of course, this wee girl!

I am so happy that they have moved a wee bit closer to home. It was lovely to visit them in their new home, and to know they are only a short  journey away.

So - there may have been some yarn shopping...

... but most of my time was spent just adoring Breagha. She is almost 14 months old now, and an absolute poppet. It was great to have this time with them.

But all too soon it was time to head back home - back to the ferry and over the sea. Bye bye Breagha - we'll be back soon xx

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Reflection

Just a quick post tonight - its been an incredibly busy and actually quite stressful week, settling back home, preparing for visitors, and trying to find our places in this new dance... Thank you all for the sustaining prayers and love. xxx

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Yarn away from home

We've been away for John's radiotherapy treatment, staying in a lovely apartment in Inverness. It was quite a busy time, what with the daily visits to hospital and two sets of family travelling to see us, but they kept our spirits up and happily entertained James for a few days. You would think, then, that I would have plenty time to finish my Alpinia - just a couple of inches to go... 

But, no - of course I started a new project. A trip away from home seems to warrant a new project don't you think? I crocheted big bright sunny circles, which will eventually become a blanket for The Caravan of Delight. I have based it on the Bullseye pattern, but I am going to do solid circles of bright colours and square them off in dark brown. I think it will fit in just right with the kind of 70s vibe I want to create.

Reading was mostly limited to magazine browsing - well, the World Cup is on and there have been a few late nights. We visited a wonderful second hand bookshop in the town, and I picked up a lovely book - Tideline: The Ebb and Flow of Memory and Experience, by the artist, Edward Seagoe. He painted many seascapes and was drawn to the idea of the ebb and flow of the tide in life as well as in nature. Quite apt for me just now in this strange ocean I find myself swimming in - sometimes paddling furiously and other times drifting aimlessly.  It is a book of essays on various subjects, accompanied by prints of his paintings and sketches. An easy and gentle read - just perfect for dipping into...

So - what are you dipping into these days? Visit Ginny at Small Things and share. xx


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