Thursday, 28 June 2012

Still Life at the Kitchen Sink

It's berry picking time again.   Here is the line up in the kitchen window.  It's amazing how bountiful and generous nature is.  A little water, a little seed, a little time and you get all this!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Good Life - growing your own

I don't really have a vegetable garden, but I manage to grow some strawberries, beans and salad leaves in my tiny back garden.  The beans are a long way off but I've had several lovely salads. Today there were enough ripe berries to make a nice dish of berries and home made yogurt.

They tasted so good.  I know it's because they are picked fresh and ripe. I think knowing that I grew them myself also makes them taste better. Please give strawberries a go.  They are just as happy in a big pot or planter as they are growing in a garden.  Give yogurt making a try, too.  It's so easy!  

Click on this link to get yogurt making instructions.  How to make yogurt!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Baking Bread with Sidbury Mill Flour

Andy and I bake our own bread.  We enjoy the process of making bread and the results!  It also gives us a good reason to search out the old fashioned, independent millers dotted across the South West.  Today I am using flour from Sidbury Mill.  

Sidbury is a beautiful little village near the seaside resort of Sidmouth. It is extra special to us because Andy has been doing genealogy research and found that he had family living in Sidbury ages ago.  The flour I am baking with today was produced by the same water mill his ancestors used all those years ago!   It is a rare thing, to have such a real connection with past generations.

If you would like to bake a little history of your own, you can bake an old fashioned Cottage Loaf or a lovely Farm House Loaf by following these recipes from Deb's Dust Bunny .  

Friday, 22 June 2012

East Budleigh Scarecrow Festival

Do you love local fairs and festivals?  Pop over to Deb's Dust Bunny to see the fantastic and funny scarecrows at East Budleigh.  

Red Velvet Cookies

Over on Deb's Dust Bunny we've made some delicious Red Velvet Cookies.   Give this recipe a try!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Poor Old Thomas

Hamlet says, 'When sorrows come, they come not as single spies but in battalions.  Perhaps I am being a bit extreme but this morning I got a very sad phone call from my sister-in-law, Jane.  After 19 years of companionship Thomas, their family cat, is going to be 'put to sleep' this afternoon.   We both had a good weep and said it was for the best but it tears one's heart to shreds.  I suppose it's because we've lost so many pets and family members already.  Each loss compounds the grief of the next and yet it always takes us  by surprise.  Shouldn't it get easier instead of harder?  We've been here before, we should be more equipped to cope with the loss.  I suppose it's the depth of feeling we have for the lost loved ones which makes each passing so difficult to accept.  That has to be a good thing, doesn't it?  

I look at my little cat, curled up in his favourite chair, sleeping so peacefully.  I hope he has as long a life as Thomas. Nineteen years, well done Thomas!   

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Frank's Patch at East Budleigh

Today I drove down to East Budleigh.  I wanted to take some photos for the Dust Bunny blog and see if Frank had some plants for my garden.   When I got there it was obvious Frank was gone.  My heart sank.

Frank was a wonderful old gent, at least 90 when I met him.   He grew vegetables and flowers and sold them from his 'patch'.  He had a twinkle in his eye and spoke like a pirate  or an Elizabethan farmer.   He always gave you more than you paid for, extra veg, an additional plant or two.  He was the soul of generosity.

The first time I bought some plants from him, he handed me four tiny petunia plants.  I asked what colour they would be.  Frank twinkled at me and said, 'I shan't tell ye maid!'  I was smitten!

Dear old Frank, he is sorely missed. Everyone I spoke to today said so.  East Budleigh is still a beautiful village.  No one can take away it's charm but part of the magic is gone now.  There won't ever be another Frank Farr, his sort isn't made anymore.