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One-liner Wednesday – Seasonal display

Autumn

I like to think of Autumn as Mother Nature putting on her best party dress.


This week’s midweek musings are prompted by Linda G Hill and her amazingly naughty dog biscuit photos!

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#SoCS – I love Autumn!

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The background trees in my garden are changing colour with the turning of the seasons. The beech is slowly turning coppery, while the outermost leaves of the sycamore are turning ruby-red. Ripe round crabapples and other autumnal fruits add to the rich colour palette, made more golden by the early autumn sunlight.

In the foreground stands my young apple tree, heavy with rosy red apples, a battleground for wasps. If you listen carefully you can hear the striped combatants fighting each other for the rights to pillage a fallen apple. I’ll have to wait till the sun sets before I collect my share of the spoils.

Autumn is a wonder time of the year. It’s almost as if nature is having one last big party before winter, and she’s determined to wear her best colours. The one slight downside is the fact that my usual spot for outdoor yoga isn’t quite the peaceful and grounding experience it was during the hight of summer. As I lie on my mat I am continually bombarded with falling seeds, helicoptering their way to the ground. Ah well. If that’s the worst thing I can come up with for Autumn then I’m a lucky lady indeed.

See you around – Cath xx


Today’s SoCS comes from Linda G Hill’s prompt to use the word “ground” in any way we see fit.

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Ah! That’s better.

The calm after the storm is all the sweeter for having weathered the storm. I think the heady combination of multiple celebrations back to back and the lunar eclipse had quite a disruptive effect on me over the past few days.

Fortunately I’ve learned that these storms do pass. Sometimes you have to ride them out, and other times you need to give yourself a good talking to. Today was ‘talking to’ time.

Pup was hitched up to her lead earlier than usual. She looked at me as if to say

“What’s up Mum? We’re headed out way earlier than usual and you have a ‘look’ that says this is going to be a speed march!”

“It’ll do us both good, pup. I need to have a strong word with myself, and your walk route is the best place for it. Nobody to overhear me.”

An hour later, my move target on my Apple Watch completely smashed, we trooped back in, hot and bothered but happier. Well at least I was. Pup was thirsty and gave me a bit of a reproachful look.

Filled with a renewed sense of purpose and energy, I decided to bake bread without using my mixer. Normally I chuck everything into the bowl, attach the dough hook, and let it do the work. Not today. I was on a mission. There’s nothing quite so much fun as getting your hands into the flour, fingers in a claw shape, and giving everything a good squish. Tactile fun with the added bonus of decent bread at the end.

Next was the kneading… the bit I’m usually happy to leave to the machine. I’d forgotten how tiring it can be. It was almost a full upper body workout! In the past I used to pretend that the dough was a person who’d annoyed me. Great for getting you through the tiring muscle bit. Not today. Today I wanted my bread filled with renewed energy, love, and happiness, so that’s what I focused on as I thumped the poor defenceless dough into shape.

With the weather still warm, the warming wasn’t needed, just a disposable shower cap over my mixing bowl and time.

What to do while I waited?

Listen to a Deepak Chopra talk followed by a pedicure. With everyone one out of the house I had the peace and quiet I needed to listen to the talk. I did not do anything else at the same time… just listened. I used to pride myself on my ninja multitasking skills. Now I see that as not paying attention to what I’m doing. At last I was a human simply being, in the listening state.

It was a great eye-opener… lots of ‘aha’ moments as well as being timely (thank you again, universe).

Then I dug out an unused Christmas pressy… a pedicure kit. An hour later my tootsies were smooth, trimmed, and Barbie pink and my bread dough was ready for knocking back and shaping.

After another Hay House talk the dough was ready for the oven. It would seem that a good talking too was just what I needed.

By the way, the bread turned out delicious.

Wishing you all a terrific Tuesday xxx

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Lunchtime Aerobatics

Air Show

Lunchtime dog walks are usually a quiet affair, unless Molly takes off in hot pursuit of partridges or pheasants, refusing to come back. Today’s walk started out as normal, Molly walking me at top speed as soon as she sees the entrance to the fields. She only stops long enough for me to unclasp her lead before rushing headlong into the waist-high meadow grasses.

Moments later I was aware of a high-pitched whine overhead. Squinting into the sky I could just pick out a red dot climbing rapidly, spiralling as it gained height.

Then silence!

Holding my breath, I watched in horror as the red dot grew bigger, plummeting to earth.

Had the engine stalled on the climb and not restarted? I know nothing about flying but this didn’t seem normal. My heart was hammering in my chest as I watch the plane dive. At the point where my mobile phone was in hand and poised to dial the emergency services, the engine roared into life and the bi-plane barrel-rolled. Shaking with relief, I guessed that this was a stunt plane and the pilot, oblivious to my panic, was probably having the time of his/her life! Phew!

The plane faded into the distance as my gaze scanned the sky a tree altitude. On the way earthward, I spotted a more natural aerial acrobat… a Red Kite. They were extinct in my neck of the woods until recently. I wasn’t so scared watching it dive to the ground after its lunch. At shoulder altitude a pair of partridges took flight, flushed out by Molly, their alert warning some lapwings to take to the skies. It certainly was all about flight this lunchtime.

Even the ground altitude was not clear of flying thingies. Butterflies, bees, and beetles filled the air in front of me. I counted at least five different types of butterfly and three types of bees. Don’t ask about the beetles as some of the flying bugs were a little too keen on biting me so I beat a hasty retreat… I suspect they were horseflies, not beetles.

Apart from the ground-dwelling birds, Molly was completely oblivious to the insect display. She didn’t even notice a butterfly landing on her head. It’s a shame I wasn’t quick enough to photograph her.

Lunchtime dog walks are climbing up the ranks of interesting and amusing chores round here. I wonder what I’ll see tomorrow? With final practices taking place across the UK for the RAF centenary fly-past later this month it could be anything from Tucanos to Spitfires, Hercules transporters to Hurricanes. I may need to swap my bird guide for a plane guide!

Wishing you all a terrific Tuesday xx

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Just as well it’s Monday…

Young hipster woman tired for work and nap on workplace .

… said few people, ever! I don’t think my body would cope with another wild weekend!

Strictly speaking, I haven’t actually uttered these words aloud, but they did wander across my mind. I blame the dawn chorus for waking me up at 4am! Who thinks rational thoughts at stupid o’clock in the morning? Not me for sure.

So what prompted this daft notion? In short, a weekend of living as if I were back in my student years. I’m not even remotely sorry, just a bit tired, and my liver may well be waving a white flag!

Mr D and I took advantage of an empty house, and empty neighbours house, to pretty much do what we fancied, when we fancied, accountable to nobody else. The glass recycling wheelie bin is full to the brim! The hot tub was used so much that I think I’m growing webbed feet! I certainly got my moneys worth out of my streamed music subscription, blasting out through the built-in speakers!

We stayed out late on purpose, making the most of the UK heat wave. To me, there is something special about the clear night sky in midsummer. It never seems to get completely dark, just a deep velvety blue, enhanced by moonlight and stars and the occasional bat!

All this decadent living has caught up with me today. I wish I had the stamina to keep up the wild lifestyle all week but I don’t. Instead I have the attention span of a gnat and my work-mojo has disappeared. I’d rather be outside pottering in my garden instead of looking at it from my office window.

Ah well. There’s always next weekend, but scaled down to accommodate the returning free-range adult kids!

Wishing you all a wonderful Monday.

Cath xx

 

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Brewing up a taste of summer

Lucky me! I found some unadulterated elderflowers flourishing in the wild. No pesticides. No traffic pollution. Just a plentiful supply of bushes in full flower. How heady the scent, even the the wide open space!

Faced with such a gift, the only sensible thing to do is make cordial!

My little recipe is as follows –

15 heads of elderflowers (as fresh as possible, keep them upright while you harvest to keep as much of the pollen for flavour)

500g caster sugar

1l of water

2 unwaxed lemons

4 tbs runny honey (local if you can get it)

  1. Add the sugar and honey to the water in a large cauldron/pan
  2. Slowly bring the sweet mixture to the boil until the sugars have dissolved
  3. Remove from the heat and add the zest and juice of one lemon and slice the other lemon and add to the pan.
  4. After carefully debugging the flowers, add them to the mixture, heads down and make sure they are submerged.

The next step is when the magic happens.

5. Cover the cauldron/pan and leave the mixture to come to its senses for the next 24 hours

The next day you will need some sterilised bottles or jars and a sterile jam bag and stand. A muslin cloth and colander would do the job if you don’t have jam making kit to hand.

Tip the contents of the cauldron/pan into the sieving apparatus and leave to drip through to a clean pan.

Decant into your chosen vessels, label and get ready for some lovely summer-flavoured drinks.

You can dilute the cordial with still or sparkling water. My favourite is to add a little cordial to a champagne flute and dilute with chilled prosecco.

Cheers!

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When is a weed not a weed?

When it’s a welcome ingredient in a tea or salad.

My lovely daughter bought me a wonderful book on herb cultivation and their uses. The illustrations are so pretty, and the information balanced between magical and health properties.

Armed with long sleeves, super-tough gardening gloves and a pair of secateurs I managed to gather a nice bunch of nettles! The neighbours must think I’m bonkers, but I’m old enough to not worry about such things. I dare say they’ll get used to it.

The leaves are chock full of potassium and iron, perfect for strengthening the blood and fighting off anaemia, while the roots can be boiled and drunk to help with common allergies. I hope it tastes ok because my hay fever is bad today!

Nettle tea is also helpful in regulating blood sugar levels, ideal for helping weight management during menopause.

As a bonus, the flowers seem to be covered in bees and butterflies. I am debating whether to cultivate them on purpose, in a small sport in the garden, but I may have a hard time getting this idea past hubby!

On the magical property side, nettles are used in protection, healing, and curse-breaking. As I’m pretty sure I’m not cursed or sick at the moment (except for menopause) I guess I might make use of the protection side of things. The book has this suggestion for protection.

“Sew a large nettle leaf into your clothing, stinging side facing outwards, to protect yourself.”

I note it doesn’t mention how to sew the leaf without stinging myself! I wonder if a staple gun would work just as well as needle and thread?

Only time will tell if Nettles and I become friends. I may need to experiment with less stingy herbs first… chamomile sounds nice and friendly.

Wishing you all a blessed Tuesday xx