Monday, 24 July 2017

And it rained and rained from page 47 to page 122!

What a lot of rain we've been having in dear old Blighty!

One of my favourite things in life is walking in the rain, for a long, long way, with no one else about.  

However, as this last torrential downpour has cost me an urgent guttering repair and plenty of droopy flowers, I thought I'd post this short video of one of my favourite plants.  Its called a Lythrum Salicaria, or Purple Loosestrife and I tell you what, no matter how hard it rains, as soon as it stops, the very second that it stops, these darling little fat chaps fly in a straight path towards it and get back to work...

Its a controversial plant in many parts of the world, as its invasive in wetlands but as a pollinator, to my mind there is nothing out there that comes close to it.  Because of this, I make sure its well watered and fed, in fact I go one further and I even cook this plant soup!  Haha, I know that sounds hysterical, but I do.  

Reason was I noticed it really likes a drink of old, green rainwater.  I gave it clear rainwater and it didn't do so well.  So I realised it was actually the algae in the old rainwater that it likes, the greener the better.  

So then I experimented with some other plants and I noticed the older the plant, in terms of evolution, the more they love algae in the water.  

Well it turns out Algae is packed full of pectin and its actually the pectin that transforms plants, because it provides building blocks for new growth, flowers and fruit etc etc.  

So then I decided to make pectin soup.  I basically save all my apple, orange, banana and lime peel, chop it up and throw it all in a large stock pot, with a little vinegar and a crushed eggshell and cover with water and cook after a rolling boil on low simmer for about 40 minutes.  

The end result looks like this:

Then I dilute it and give it to the plants.  They all love it but the fruit bushes adore it!  

Well, apart from that, I decided to alter my aprons, all 3 of them.  I really cannot stand having an apron round the back of my neck, so have decided to change them all to cross back, Amish style, like this one:

This way, none of the fastenings will be too tight.  I tire very quickly of tight fitting aprons.  I also don't like thick aprons, but the pattern on my thickest apron is so cute I'll live with it.  

Here is the first apron to be altered:

Because after all, you do need a good apron when you cook goodies like these....alas, they ripened too early, so they're a little sharp and have to be cooked.

Well, have to dash off now and stir something hot...

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Bet you wondered where I disappeared to?

Hi everyone

Well, its certainly been a very eventful 6 months.  I've had not one, but two top drawer health scares in 6 months, which is quite something.  Obviously I'm very pleased to say both turned out fine, but I have spent hours in hospital waiting rooms and long days and nights, over many months, tormented by thoughts of my own mortality.  I look back now and realise I was actually living in a sort of parallel universe for most of it?  Weird really did, get weirder??

And now, as if it was all almost imaginary, I'm back in reality, in the moment, in the throes of survival, work, relationships, responsibilities and basically real life again....?

Healing is a very mysterious thing, to be sure.   Its much stranger than we will ever know.  They tell you to be positive, well you know what, I found this time that trying to relax and stay positive was actually making me feel worse and as if I was hiding from reality - as it was then...

In fact I only started to really 'heal' when I resigned myself to the idea of my number being well and truly up and analysing how much of a mess I was leaving behind me?

I feel I have been on this incredible journey, or wasn't a rollercoaster, it was more like floating in space, or at sea, being away from things that make you comfortable and somehow floating into the unknown???

It was hard people, I mean really really hard and it had to be kept private, totally private, or else I would never have coped.

Finally, I was given the all clear.  Well that makes you numb, then confused, then a bit angry, then very very relieved.

But the really weird thing was, after I was given the all clear, I noticed a very strange feeling came over me.

Basically I've lost a great deal of fear?

This has translated into all kinds of weird and wonderful escapades, where to put it succinctly, I now trust my instincts much more than I used to and this has altered my approach with just about everything.  This really is a new beginning for me now...

One of the really strange things that's happened is I've gone to look for things and found evidence of so much indecision?  So many things mixed in with ideas that should have been about something else?

So the operative word now is purge, and I'm certainly purging!  Huge chunks of detritus are just flying out of the door.  Things I've held on to for so long and realised they were in fact a waste of time all along.  The feeling of letting things go, of streamlining my life, of having a clearer direction, are all the result of this strange dissipation of long held notions of fear.

Anyway, enough about being a mere mortal, here's something I made a while back.  I remember I wasn't feeling terribly optimistic at the time, as a family member was becoming unwell and I needed something to take my mind off things, that wasn't too demanding.

What's interesting about this little appliqu├ęd bird is I used Egyptian applique technique, as seen on YouTube.  Its a great way of applying complex shapes and I'll talk about that more next time.

Here are my ripening blackberries, don't they look promising...

Here is an image of textile blackberries from the Restoration mirror at Salisbury Museum I told you about last time...yum yum

I'll leave you with a picture of a rose I grew... remember folks, art only ever imitates nature...nature is The Queen!