Thoughts of summer, and a little magic

February 13th, 2012 Comments 0

This post is somewhat out of seasonal step – I made this last August.  The weather here yesterday was so beautiful, the cats were lazing in sun patches, and it reminded me that before we know it the heat of summer will have arrived.  Until then though, I am enjoying the February stillness.  It doesn’t yet feel like the year has quite started, instead the seeds are germinating under the surface of my self – all the work is happening underground, like duck’s feet underwater.

To remind you about summer then…

One green meadow,

pink grass spiral 03

some Red Valerian heading for compost,

pink grass spiral 00

take a line for a walk,pink grass spiral 02

follow the trail further and further with the Catstails bobbing in the wind,

pink grass spiral 04

sit and breathe for a while.pink grass spiral 05

After this, I lay down in the grass and reaching up above my head I absent-mindedly picked a clover leaf.   I brought it to my face and discovered it was a four leaf clover.  Yes.  The very first one I picked.  I sat up and straight away spotted another one -  and then another.  I had laid down in a whole patch of them -  some had six or seven leaves.  Magic!

How to have fun with a squash: Episode 2 + recipe

January 29th, 2012 Comments 0

You may remember the alien surprise I got when making squash soup a year and a half ago.  Here is the second episode of this adventure:

Accidental Squash Spiral!

I started by chopping the top off and using it in a stir-fry earlier in the week, but you could try this with the whole squash. 

1. Peel your squash.
2. Take a sharp knife, and aiming to slice a disc an inch thick, cut into the flesh, catching the blade at just the right angle so that as the knife rotates around the squash, your circular incision travels a much longer distance than you expected, making a surprising and beautiful spiral.

spiral squash 1

3. Find an extra pair of hands to help you photograph it.

spiral squash 2

4. Make soup.

Squash, Ginger and Lemon soup
This soup is based on the holy trinity of squash, ginger and lemon.  The squash is sweet, earthy, tasty and orange, the ginger is hot, pungent, earthy and kicky, and the lemon is sharp and zingy.  This soup looks and tastes like sunshine in a bowl and always makes me happy in winter. You can add more or less of each ingredient.  By experimenting over the years I have found that there is an upper limit of ginger tolerance.  You can add other ingredients, but don’t be fooled, all you really need is the holy soup trinity.

Ingredients:
Peeled and cubed butternut squash (remove innards)
1 inch of finely diced ginger root,
1 lemon (none of that bottled muck)
Salt and pepper
optional
Garlic cloves
Chilli
Chicken/veg stock
Soy sauce

Boil squash and ginger for about 20 minutes in enough water to nearly cover the squash in the pan.
When squash is soft, take off heat and mash with a fork or masher (easier than mashing potatoes).
Add the juice of half a lemon (I always add the lemon once the soup is off the boil to preserve more of the vitamins – I haven’t done any scientific testing to see if this works, but it does at least add a placebo effect of more vitamins)
Add seasoning, stock or soy sauce to taste.
Add more lemon and/or ginger to taste.
Gently heat again if it needs it.
Serve with homemade bread and butter.

squash soup

This soup will separate overnight into squash pulp and liquid, so just stir it up again for your day two helpings. 

I’ve never written a recipe here before, so if you try it, please let me know what you think!

Snow Bird Dancing

November 30th, 2010 Comments 0

A bit of snow lets you see all sorts of things that weren’t visible before.

Like how amazing the bird dances are (humans are so boring when they walk down the street by comparison)snow bird dancing

the rain dances too rain dancing

Crab apple line

August 21st, 2009 Comments 0

I showed my brother my blog after making this, (but before posting this), and he said “oh, you should go and see the line the crab apples have fallen in, they follow the branch exactly”.  Tee hee.

crab apple line 650I wish crab apples were as tasty as they look.

Tree seeds

August 11th, 2009 Comments 0

As I was laying these down, a man asked me if I was going to eat them afterwards.  He thought they were pringles.

tree seed pods

Why did the fuschia…

August 2nd, 2009 Comments 0

fuschia crossing 550

fuschia line 300

Clematis in the undergrowth

August 2nd, 2009 Comments 0

I was searching for petals to make a mandala with, and found a secret place behind some bushes, that I’d never explored before.  The ground was dark, almost black, with bright green weeds, and green apples lying there, and an abundance of fallen clematis petals.  The random compositions on the ground had a magical quality, hard to capture on camera, and I stayed there for a while to soak it up.

clematis 400

The petals themselves were intensely purple, and had a meatiness to them.

clematis hand 500They don’t seem so impermanent.

Walking Geranium

August 1st, 2009 Comments 0

Red petals everywhere.

Pattern One, inspired by Miro:

red geranium 1 500

Re-arranged:

red geranium line 2 650Ran out.

geranium over trowel 600

Orange stitches

July 26th, 2009 Comments 0

red on rock 650Beginning.

Middle:

orange line 600

End:

orange spiral rock 600

Wet by the Pembrokeshire rain.

Aberllefenni day 1

July 23rd, 2009 Comments 0

We finally arrived last night at our cottage near Machynlleth, to a very warm welcome and a gorgeous fish pie.  The next day, we went walking up a hill to discover the bearded lake (Llyn Barfog).  I found this hump, which to me looked like an ant’s nest, but Rob assured me it was a rock covered in grass.  Whichever, it was a very friendly hump that invited me to attach my assorted sheep’s wool to it. sheep wool SFurther along the hilltop I balanced this: rock burnt wood pile After our hill walking we tripped off down to the sea (in the car), and it was lovely: the chips in the cone just right, windyness – to – looseness-of-new-straw-hat ratio perfect, and the strings of seaweed lying around, endlessly inspiring.  I made lots of videos of myself playing with one seaweed strand, so edited version to come.

seaweed triptych

Finally I made this sand mandala:

sand mandala

using the seaweed as a spiral,

sand spiral

This is clearly not your average castle, this one has stones in the moat:

sand mandala stones Hooray for today!

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