Monday, May 17, 2010

New home, new flapjacks

I hate moving house. Well, who doesn't really? But the move has been made, and I hope that this will be the last.

There is nothing like a bit of baking to make you feel at home, so to start as I mean to go on, I made some flap jacks. Here is the recipe. Its very simple and easy and could be adapted to suit whatever is in the cupboard. It would also be fine with a bit less sugar and butter.

Flap jacks

8 oz oats
1 oz pumpkin seeds
1 oz sunflower seeds
1 oz pecans
2 oz dried apricots
2 oz sultanas

5 oz butter
4 oz light brown sugar
2 oz maple syrup

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 2/150 degrees Celsius.
Chop the nuts and apricots roughly and mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Melt the butter, add the sugar and maple syrup and stir to dissolve in a big gloopy gorgeous mass. Pour on top of the oats & co. Mix, then place in a greased, lined baking tray (roughly 20 x 30cm) and bake for 20-25 minutes, 'til lightly coloured. Cut into squares while still hot and leave to cool and harden in the tin.

Delicious. And all gone in less than 24 hours.
There's been some beautiful sunshine and grim rain the last couple of days. Above is a view of the top field in the glorious sunny part of yesterday. And below is the view from the top field.
I don't know what kind of flower this is, but its everywhere at the moment.
Found some fragrant orchids yesterday too.
There are swallows roosting in the barn, there's deer poo in the back garden, and rabbits are grazing on the dropped lunch crumbs each evening right outside the window. It is like a paradise!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

In the midst of busyness

Is busyness actually a word?
Anyway, there has been far too much of it over the last months working on the house - flooring, painting, varnishing, scrubbing doggy dampy smells off things and such like.

There have been quiet moments too, walking up through the woods in the morning to find the wood sorrel glowing in dappled light...
...and the view from the top field of the clouds nestling in the valley.
And the numerical wonderfulness that was my odometer last week. Ahh, the beauty of numbers. If only it had happened on the 11th of November next year....
And dandelions. How incredibly plentiful they are this year, little golden orbs by the side of the road, and all over the garden.
One of the shitter things about living with chronic pain is how it has stopped me being able to look after the garden. I hate watching it getting weedier and weedier as I don't do much. I'm trying to take a new approach to gardening, inspired by a friend whose garden grows a beautiful coloured mish-mash of plants - weeds and non-weeds alike. This time last year I stayed in her house for a while and enjoyed her garden so much. But I was not a tolerator of dandelions in my own flower beds at the time.

Now I am facing the fact that I'm just not able to weed very much. The pain, and the enormous amount of work on the house together make for a neglected garden. Is it time to love the dandelions and live with them? For now that is what I am trying to do.

Asking my gardening friends and some research on the internet leads me to realise what an important plant they are. They are dynamic accumulators - gathering minerals from the soil and making them more available to plants. My friend tells me they indicate the presence of silica and the availability of potassium to plants. And they appear to be incredibly good for you when you eat them.

I'm still not 100% sure I want them in the flower beds though!

But I do love dandelions in the fields.
And everyone has to love the sight of Piper running through fields of them down at my Dad's place.