At this time of year, the various sub-plots of the year are drawn to their conclusions.
Our geese enjoy long, care-free lives. They’re free to leave if they wish. Sometimes they do just that – disappearing off into the wilds for a day or two – or longe : almost without fail, they come back. Our oldest goose-and-gander couple are now eight years old. Most of their young, however, get to enjoy just one summer. (If we didn’t protect them from predators, most goslings wouldn’t even survive that long.) The following winter, we remember those that died young, one meal at a time. And we show our appreciation for them, collectively, when we lay our heads on pillows of the finest quality..
Our sleeping hours are when our brains work on building and repairing the neural connections of knowledge and memory : and if we dream of geese at all, it’s a dream making connections between food, soft furnishings, and feathered wildlife.
This is when dehydration is a good thing! Our daughter Becky bought a dehydrator a few years ago and uses it to make all sorts of weird and wonderful foods, made with raw ingredients. We were sceptical : not so much about the merits of raw food (of which we have an abundance) but the effort and cost of the dehydrating ; and especially since the dehydrated food doesn’t keep long. However, we’re always interested in new ways to make the abundance of summer available in the depths of winter, and as I was ambling about the garden one early autumn afternoon, it occurred to me that a hydrator would be ideal means to capture the colour and scents of summer to liven up home in winter (and perhaps our holiday lets, if we have a surplus). And then it occurred to me that we could use it also to make plant dyestuffs available for dyeing in winter – when we have more time for it, than rushing to use it all in summer – when dyestuffs are plentiful but time to use them isn’t. we never have enough time. It’s good to be doing something like this instead of civil engineering and construction !
No completed pot-pourri yet. I started this too late in the year to have much available to dry, but next year I hope to have a plentiful supply to chose from.
Jonathan: Renovation of our house here at An Garradh Mor stumbles fitfully towards the finishing line. As time allows, various treasures that have been stored away for years, or moved countless times from one nook or corner to another, are being installed in their old locations (albeit fixed to a completely re-built wall!) or have been found new ones. This morning Denise came across this framed cross-stitch sampler, that’s been returned to the just-right-for-it space in the kitchen it was first put up almost ten years ago shortly after my Mum passed away. I don’t know whether this sampler was to a bought pattern, or whether Mum designed it herself making reference to patterns for individual motifs, but certainly there’s a fair amount that’s entirely her own design, that portrays elements of her family life at the time. At the bottom are the three cats we had then: On the left and right are siblings Porgy (with his distinctive dark whiskers) and Bess (with her paler ginger fur and white bib). In the middle is Polly (sometimes Polly Perkins) the little tortoishell, who had come into our lives only recently. Above the line of flowers is a somewhat simplified representation of our canal boat High Sparrows – a design characteristic of boats built of wood in the 1950s for the inland waterways. Mum clearly wanted to show her distinctive neatly painted white water-line, though that seems to have resulted in the boat apparently soaring over the waves below! The three groups of flowers above the boat represent the sprigs of roses as seen in traditional painted canalware. The rest of the work is probably generic in generic cross-stitch motifs. 1974 was the year we took High Sparrows on our longest ever family canal holiday: from our home mooring at Burghfield Island on the River Kennet, we headed directly north via Braunston Continue reading →