Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A bit of butter

Well everything is in fifth gear at the moment... the weather, the veg patch and me! 
A few days ago, in a rare 'Martha Stewart Moment' I found I had run a couple of miles, made strawberry jam and whipped up a batch of fresh scones... before breakfast. By the afternoon, inspired by an article in the weekend papers I was even making butter! 

So, so easy, you're simply separating the fat and milk in cream, (why have I never made it before?), absolutely delicious and what's more, I had the perfect accompaniment for my jam and scones!

Monday, July 15, 2013

'It must be admitted that one of the great drawbacks to gardening and weeding is the state into which the hands and fingers get. Unfortunately, one's hands belong not only to oneself, but to the family, who do not scruple to tell the gardening amateur that her appearance is "revolting".'

From "Pot pourri from a Surrey Garden", by Mrs C. W. Earle 1897

....and having lifted my garlic crop at the weekend I fall into the "revolting" category!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wildflower Weekend

I’m just in the process of illustrating a honey jar label, so when I saw signs popping up on the local verges advertising a ‘Wildflower Meadow and Beehive Open Weekend’, I had the perfect excuse to drop my trowel and abscond from weeding the parsnips. I dragged a friend, willingly, away from her decorating and we set off ‘in the course of duty’.

Nestled in complete seclusion in the Suffolk countryside, I knew we were in for a treat the moment we were greeted by a jolly, rotund man with an precision engineered handlebar moustache. He handed us a beautifully illustrated guide along with a coloured tiddly-wink to exchange for a cup of tea in the barn. Attention to detail... on all counts!

copyright www.wildflowermeadow.org
We followed the snaking path through 4 acres of sheer tranquility.

Each exquisite flower head twinkling in the warm sun

And tucked up in the corner of the field three beehives were the perfect inspiration I needed for my honey label. 

It wasn't just the bees that were hard at work, the BBC were there too, busy as bees themselves, filming a documentary with broadcaster and amateur bee enthusiast Martha Kearney. Look out for her four part series "The Joy of Honey" in 2014.

Having traded in our tiddly-wink.....

.....we were quite spoilt for choice for idyllic spots to sip our tea.

Of course no garden visit is complete without a good sniff around the plant stall. After all, a plant purchased along with a happy memory always gives twice the pleasure! 

So for me it was a delicate white knapweed and a the cutely named 'fox and cubs' which I'll pop into the long grass in our orchard. Now all I need is a beehive!