Wild Garlic Dip, Dressing, Pesto or whatever you like

Last week I was lucky enough to be given some wild garlic by some foraging friends so I stuffed it in the food processor with some walnuts, Parmesan, lots of Olive Oil, salt, pepper and chili powder.  I then put it in an airtight container with a topping of more oil to seal it.  It will keep in the fridge for about 3 weeks and is great with fish, as a salad dressing or as a pesto with pasta.  You could even mix it with lentils or butter beans to make a great vegetarian burger.

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Cut Flowers

It has been the warmest day of the year so far here in the Chilterns.  I have spent all day in the garden and one of the things I have done is to plant some Hardy Annual Seeds to give me some flowers later on in the summer which can be cut and brought into the house.

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Around the wigwam which I made a couple of weeks ago I have planted a mixture of Sweetpeas – Old Fashioned Mixed and Painted Lady.  I also have some of these plants in the cold frame which I planted earlier in the year.

In front of the wigwam in rows moving forward are:

– Scabious Tall Double Mixed

– Sunflower Mezzulah Semi Dwarf

– Gypsophlia

 

Hopefully they will be producing flowers in the next couple of months if the hens leave the bed alone..

 

Kirsty.x

 

A tramp in the woods

Last weekend I took the older boys orienteering for the first time.  I hadn’t orienteered for approximately 20 years but since getting to know the lovely @gallop484 on Twitter who is mad keen on the sport I felt inspired to give it another go.

So with my rusty map reading skills and no compass we set off down the road from our house to an event in Bradenham Woods in the Chilterns which had been organised by the Thames Valley Orienteeing Club.  It is just one event of six which have been organised in our local area between now and August.

The event was really well organised and we were helped to register and decide which colour course to try (different colours equal different levels of difficulty with White being the easiest, through Yellow, Orange, Light Green and Green).  We were advised to go for the Yellow course which had 11 control points to find, all shown on a map

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You must find each control point in order and you are given an electronic punching card at the start which you use to register at each point. You can just see this in the top left of the photo. At the end of the course the information on the cars is downloaded to give you a print out of your overall time and split times between each point, and the next day you can see how you did compared to everyone else who did the same colour course by visiting the TVOC website.

We started off quite well finding Control Points 1 to 3 fairly easily.

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View from the Start

View from the Start

We were a roll. ‘This is easy’ said the boys. I was thinking we would be home within the hour drinking tea. Then we got hopelessly lost. 😦

Everywhere in the woods looked the same..
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We all got really disoriented and couldn’t work out where we were on the map. Forty minutes later after lots of moaning and ‘I want to go home’ we eventually worked out where we were and from then on in it was a breeze.

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Finding the control points really kept the boys engaged, it was good fun and getting lost meant we all got a lot of exercise. We didn’t even come last!! Next time though I will definitely be taking a compass.

Kirsty x

Willow Weaving

Last weekend I went on a willow weaving course run by Windrush Creative to learn how to make my own garden supports – wigwams for growing sweet peas and beans up; supports for perennials such as Delphiniums and Peonies etc.

The course took place at Cogges Manor Farm which is in Witney, Oxfordshire. Cogges is a Victorian Working Farm and is operated by a Heritage Trust who lease the farm from Oxfordshire County Council.  It is a magical place, great for a day out with children and where you can feed the animals and explore the beautiful Farm House.

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Because the weather was so lovely we worked outside which gave lots of visitors to the farm an opportunity to see what we were doing. Our lovely tutor Linda gave us lots of help and guidance and started us off making a willow wigwam. This involved using 8 strong willow uprights (straight willow branches) to form a circle, before beginning to weave thinner willow in and out of the uprights.
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It took me a while to get the hang of twisting the willow in and out of the uprights but once I got going I made my wigwam pretty quickly and also used Cornus to inject some red.
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You can use the same techniques for making a hurdle fence
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I had a lovely day and Windrush are so professional and lovely. They provided us with a gorgeous home made lunch of baked potatoes, home made salads, bread and cake and there was a selection of tea, coffee, water and biscuits available all day. The course ran from 10am until 4pm and for £69 including lunch I though it was fantastic value for money.

Kirsty x

Lancashire Lass

Last week I went ‘home’ to Lancashire to see my parents for a few days taking the 2 youngest boys along for a bit of a holiday.  I haven’t lived there for over 20 years, since I left University, but I still consider it to be home and am proud to be a Lancashire Lass who hasn’t lost her accent, or love for meat and potato pies and chips with gravy.

We spent quite a bit of time just chilling out at Mum and Dad’s, playing in the garden, swimming and doing local walks.  I went to visit my brother’s grave as it is nearly 3 years since he died.  He is in a lovely spot next to fields and it is a really peaceful place although it still upsets me to think that his life was so short; he died at the age of 37.

Towards the end of the week I took Mum and the Littlest to Sizergh Castle, a National Trust property on the edge of Kendal.  Sizergh is a medieval property set in beautiful countryside at the gateway to the Lake District.  It is still lived in by the Strickland Family and boasts a lot of ancient wood panelling some of which was in the V&A until it was returned to the house in 1999.  You aren’t allowed to take photos inside the house and although there were some interesting artefacts it wasn’t my favourite NT property.  I found it a bit dark and gloomy and it was very draughty.

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In the gardens there is a lot to see, and I would definitely recommend a visit during the Summer to see the Herbaceous Borders and the walled Kitchen Garden which looked very bare when we were there, because of the time of year.  However, Littlest loved the very scary Scarecrow 🙂

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He also loved pulling faces at his reflection in the water tank

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We loved the hens, especially the Lemon Cuckoo Neiderrheiner Cockerel who was strutting his stuff

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and generally running around to keep warm on what was a very cold day

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After lunch we went into Kendal to visit Williams Wools, a lovely wool shop on the High St which is owned by Adrienne Williams

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Th shop is a lovely haven of yarnie goods..there are local hand dyed yarns, as well as Rowan, Arancunia, Noro and many other brands. There is a really comfy sofa area in the middle of the shop and lots and lots of samples on display for inspiration

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I bought two skeins of Botany Lace to make a striping shawl, the variegated mustard yellow/grey in the middle and the solid mustard yellow on the right

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It was a lovely few days in a lovely part of the world.

Kirsty x

Languedoc Shawl

I have recently finished a gorgeous shawl commission for a lovely customer who lives in France.  The shawl is my own design and the yarn was dyed by me in colours requested by the client.

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If you would like your own uniquely designed shawl knitted in yarn dyed in your preferred colour scheme get in touch at kirsty@mossstitch.com

 

Quainton Inspires

I didn’t get much time yesterday, at the Railway Museum, to look for pattern and form, but a few things I really liked were:

The velour seat covering in the train coaches which I think dates back to the 60’s

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The vintage advertising signs

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The fantastic drain cover which I loved

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and the steam escaping from the funnel up into the clouds

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