Summer delights …

04/06/2012 § Leave a comment

A couple of evenings ago, as I sat on our patio, with Flora quacking softly at my feet, the heady scent of elderflower filled the air.  Our garden has a couple of large elderflower bushes – we like to keep things a bit wild – it grows like a weed!  There and then I decided I had to capture that scent and I dived indoors for Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook. I haven’t used this book very much since I bought it a couple of years ago – it has such a delicious cover, I didn’t ever need to open it!

I can never exactly follow a recipe, but I made Elderflower Cordial, without oranges or limes, and added a couple of bay leaves – it’s amazing!

It made 2 full bottles, but I keep drinking it – diluted with lemonade and a sprig of mint.  While the bushes are still blooming, I thought I’d better make some more – this time I’d run out of lemons, so oranges and limes have been thinly sliced up instead …

Inspired by success, I decided to try Sarah’s Strawberry ice-cream recipe.  I put my trusty ice-cream bowl in the freezer a couple of days ago and this afternoon I’ve whizzed up some strawberries, elderflower cordial and double cream then poured it into the frozen bowl for 20 minutes of churning …

and then into 2 small tubs and into the freezer …

We’re having friends round this evening so I hope to rustle up a quick and pretty pud.

Yesterday we ventured out in Dolly for a day in the New Forest.  A few friends have asked why I called her Dolly – well, she’s my dolls-house on wheels!  I used to love – absolutely love – my dolls house when I was little and the minute I stepped up into Dolly she reminded me of how much fun it is to play house.  We exercised the collies, parked up and made tea, enjoyed the view, witnessed some amazing natural horsemanship, counted foxgloves and saw elephants feet …

and Belle loves chasing her ball …

She’s so damn fast that it’s really difficult to catch her on camera!  She look so pleased with herself on her way back to drop the ball at her master’s feet.

There’s bunting and the hammock strung between the apple trees.  Fingers crossed that it stays dry so we can eat outside this evening.  I’m so enjoying having this week as half-term holiday – a whole week to relax before the last few weeks of term.

Adaliza

Our patch …

27/05/2012 § 5 Comments

As we trundled back through Dorset, Devon and Wiltshire yesterday, before reaching home in Hampshire, I noticed the amazing flora in the verges – soft pink campions, frothy billowing cow parsley, majestic lords & ladies, crimson valerian and maybe my favourite flowers – foxgloves.

Today has seen much activity on our patio – Flora’s henhouse has moved from its winter spot, up by the house, to the lower patio closer to the grass and pond. I love our garden and had completely forgotten the foxgloves I planted late last year, on the lower edge of the big pond!  The first one is just out – all pale and dainty with beautiful spots inside the trumpets.

and then I had a bit of a wander around with the camera (with Flora at my heels, of course)!

The raised bed is about 2’6″ tall and I built the L-shaped wall myself – it’s all higgledy piggledly and roughly topped with bricks, but it’s been there for almost 10 years and brings the flowers right up to be level with the patio!  I must plant some night stock and fill it up with a bit of colour too.

I love our house – it’s just like a child would draw a house, 4 windows and a door in the middle!  When we moved here, 25 years ago or thereabouts, the garden was all grass with one huge white birch tree in the middle of the back garden!  The birch still stands, and every year I worry that it seems slower to leaf, as I know they’re not long lived trees, like oaks.  It’s fine again this year though so we’ll enjoy its shade all summer and watching loads of different types of birds as they feed on the tiny bugs hiding in the peeling bark.

The red cherry in the front garden flowers early in the year and is now in full leaf, with loads of tiny red cherries – looks like it’ll be a good crop, but the pigeons and Mrs Blackbird usually beat me to them!

Many, many years ago, I bought a tiny sprig of Christmas tree for 50p from a man at the market who was selling full size trees.  It thrived in a pot and after a few years produced a few fir cones.  I dried them, collected the seeds and they all grew.  I gave most of the miniature trees to friends and kept just 2 which are still in pots.  A few years ago, the original sprig – now about 6′ tall, was planted in the front garden.  I wind fairy lights around it in December – I’ve always wanted a tree that I could decorate outside!  Last year, I noticed some pink buds at the very top …

I had to search for quite a while to find this photo in last year’s archive  – taken in April 2011.  They’re just about ready to pick now and I shall have another go at growing baby trees!  I’ll let you know how they get on!

Did I mention that I’d been shopping in Lyme Regis yesterday – was it really only yesterday? This weekend has been so lovely – we’ve packed so much into it.  Earlier on this morning, we drove Dolly to one of the park & ride car parks which are always empty on Sundays.  It’s where all the Winchester parents take their children to learn to drive, so we choose a quiet spot away from any corners!  No – we didn’t drive off to a car park to brew up, we’re not quite that sad (yet) – we had to practise with that awning!  I couldn’t cope with the humiliation of it drooping so sadly on a campsite again.  Good old You Tube videos – there were full instructions and on the urban tarmac of south Winchester this morning, our awning stood – it’s all its stripey glory!  Quite retro really!

About that shopping …

Isn’t it beautiful?  I was totally seduced by its puffiness and stray feathers escaping from the seams.  Double-sided pink paisley with soft pale green swirls – I love LOVE  L O V E it!  It was a total treat – but I really had to have it for my Dolly-bed!

Have a lovely week – enjoy the sunshine, flowers, blue skies, baby birds – isn’t life wonderful, when the sun shines!

Adaliza x

PS – do link up with Handmade Monday over at the Handmade Harbour. I’ve had some dental surgery today – two & a half hours of it – I’ve been tranquilised & sedated since last night. It hurts, I ache, my teeth don’t feel like my teeth! I’ve just got up having slept for most of the day. Hope you have a lovely week – no sewing for me, I’m off to recover – horizontally!

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