Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I'm here again with a brand new laptop - my last one was erasing everything I wrote which is why no-one has heard from me recently. Hopefully normal service will be resumed from today. The picture at the top is Gabriel who is now known as Mr Giggles - I caught this one just right. The one below is his 'Can you please take that camera away Granny!' look. It really made me laugh:)

He looks very disapproving doesn't he?

Of course I wasn't able to post anything at Lammas but J and I took the dogs up on the moors and as we walked down the lane we passed a herd of Herefords with several new calves, one was still very unsteady on its feet. This one is just as attractive as the newborn one but mum was keeping a close eye on our activities.

I'd tucked a couple of plastic bags in my little rucksack in the hopes that we would be able to gather some of the first fruits of the harvest to celebrate Lammas and my hopes were fulfilled - enough bilberries for a decent size crumble:) Bilberries are a moorland fruit and have different names in different parts of the country, they have been one of my favourite fruits since I was a child. Picking them is hard work, they are small and hidden away under the leaves and getting enough for a pie is a time-consuming occupation done with the assistance of what seems like thousands of enthusiastic flies! By the time you get to eat the pie you have earned every mouthful.

Growing among the bilberry bushes in places was this rather beautiful red-berried shrub - the same kind of low growing evergreen plant. I wish I knew what it is, does anyone know?

More first fruits - gooseberries from the garden this time.

Gooseberry Pie.....

....and the left over pastry made a dozen cheese and onion tartlets.

Kaitlyn - waiting for lunch to appear and ready to supervise the filling of the pastry cases. I've just bought a new high chair and hadn't quite figured out the straps at this point. They are a bit more secure now!

My garden has a new guardian - my summer Green Man. There is an autumn version of this plaque too and he will be appearing due course.

And Salmagundi? It's a 17th/18th Century salad made from cooked chicken,hard boiled eggs, anchovies and all kinds of salad leaves, vegetables and herbs. These are beautifully arranged on a large platter and the finished dish is quite something. But basically it's a mixture of all sorts of things:) It's great to be back blogging.


Ragged Roses said...

Welcome back Rowan, it's nice to have you with us again. Lovely photos of Gabriel and Kaitlyn. Lucky you picking bilberries and I love gooseberries, gooseberry pie has to be one of my favourites. we're just about to have some of our figs from our garden, roasted with yogurt and honey - yummy!
Kim x

Janice said...

Hi Rowan, Just wanted to drop by and say hi. I have enjoyed your blog including reading about your family, travels, interests and garden. Although I have never commented before, I am glad you are back. Your grandkids are adorable ! Janice

Janet said...

Gabriel is such a cutie! Kaitlyn, too. The bilberries look good but I'm not familiar with least not that name. I would love to have one of those cheese and onion tartlets right now. They look yummy.

I'm so glad you're back to blogging as I always enjoy your blog. You have wonderful photos and stories and such. Love the new Summer Green Man, too!!

meggie said...

What beautiful grandchildren!
As usual I enjoyed your post, & have missed reading you.
And I laughed when I read Salmagundi- there is an excellent blog site that I read called Salmagundi! I have it listed on my side bar if you want to check it out.
Love all your pics.

miss*R said...

oh I am so glad you are back.. I kept checking, checking..

I have loved reading this post! what fun to be able to go and pick your own berries for Lammas... that is just the perfect thing to do.. a ritual that suits your very own life - pefect!
I adore your Green Man, wonderful! - the plan is: when I come to the UK in 2009, I am going to go and visit that shop and buy myself quite alot to bring home.
and your grand-babies are so cute! what gorgeous dark eyes, full of wisdom. Celtic? :) xoxo

miss*R said...

Rowan, where is the Green Man hanging ? it looks ancient and when I enlarged the photo.. I saw a pixie/sprite !

Jenny said...

As you know, your grandchildren are just adorable. Gabriel did indeed look a bit disapproving in the second picture! I think gathering berries is the perfect way to spend Lammas- mine was spent indoors with my whole wheat blueberry muffins because it was too hot to go outside! I grew a shrub once that looked similar the one you asked about called cotoneaster. I wonder if it grows in England too? Your summer Green Man is wonderful- I'd love to have one of my own, as I have just the place for him! Glad you're back!

Julie Marie said...

Welcome Back, Rowan. I've missed you. And such a nice return post. Beautiful children, wonderful fruit (I have never tasted bilberries or gooseberries, or even heard of bilberries.) When I read the word I thought of beebleberries which I think were from the Little Lulu comic books. And - I love your green man.


Gillian @ Indigo Blue said...

Welcome back Rowan!
I think Gabriel and Kaitlyn have to be the most sweet babies I've laid eyes on in awhile. Besides my own, of course! (Have to say that, as a mum.)
I had heard Salmagundi was pirate food!!

Amy said...

It's good to see you back, lovely photos as always, I particularly enjoy seeing your ideas on past century food and the salad looks delicious, not sure what the berries are though :-)

Remiman said...

Hip hip hurray! Rowans back to play. I'm delighted you're up and running with a new lap top.
Those photos of Gabriel are too good for words. A smile of pure joy that fills a room and spills over into the world through Gran's photo. And the topper; Gran...enough already. ;-)
Your trip to the moors is a timely reminder for me to get fossicking around my local bush to scavenge out some of those precious berries in those hidden spots only I know about. More recently I have been exploring Alderly Edge with Susan and Colin.

tash said...

They aren't wintergreen berries are they? They aren't blaeberries, I'm not sure! Glad you had a lovely time, and gooseberries are just lovely. My neighbour came round with bags of them, as well as redcurrants and blackcurrants. I'm looking forward to the blackberries - all this soft, yummy fruit!

Anonymous said...

those babies (including the calf) are all so gorgeous! and those pies are delicious looking! If it wasnt so late at night, i would have to cook something, maybe blueberry muffins, one of my faves.

Allison said...

Hello there, so glad to hear that you are equipped with a new laptop and ready to jump back into blogging. Your grandson is so very, very cute!! Babies are so fun. Kaitlyn is very cute as well and looks quite ready for the bilberry crumble. Your pie and tartlets look really great - so appetizing. I like your summer Green Man. I looks very wise and all-knowing :o)

Hope you're having a great day.


Lynda (Granny K) said...

Gabriel and Kaitlyn are beautiful babies! Lovely to see them doing so well.
The last time I picked bilberries (in the Lakes) I almost stepped on a sleeping Adder. Luckily, I saw it before Lucy dog did and quickly picked her up. Whew! We did a quick 'about turn' and proceeded with extreme caution after that.

Kelli said...

Welcome back! Your grandbabies are so sweet! I'll bet your pies are delicious...nothing like fresh fruit from the garden!

peppylady said...

I sure hope your new lap top works well for you. I'm planning to get my son one for college.
I've never heard of billberry and now I want to google it in.

Jacran Cottage said...

Your grandchildren are lovely, and that baby's eyes are gorgeous! And your cheese and onion tartlets look yummy!

Mary said...

Missed you Rowan but you made up for your unexpected absence with this great post. Grandchildren gorgeous, pie and tartlets scrumptious looking, love the Green Man.
Welcome back.

Mousie/Paisible said...

"here we go round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush...on a cold and frosty morning..."reminded me that nursery rhyme...your pie looks yummy, and baby Gabriel always so cute...happy grandma...
love from Mousie

sheoflittlebrain said...

I too, have missed you, Rowan. Your Grandchildren are beautiful and your culinary creations look delicious. I've never had a cheese and onion tart, but I know I'd love them. We don't have bilberries, but we used to grow a bush cherry that had lovely, tart sour-cherry tasting furit. The cherries were mostly seed and it took forever and much work to get a pie, but as you say, worth it in the end.
Welcome back!

Victoria May Plum said...

ooh gorgeous baby photos and gooseberry pie, you've cheered me up a treat!
The Green Man is a very attractive addition to your garden, what a strong face, but kind also.

Oh,and welcome back!

Victoria x

Granny J said...

Ah, gooseberry pie! Something almost forgotten in the States. However, an ignorant American question for you, Rowan -- I've read about moors since teen age angst and Wuthering Heights but I've never come across a good definition or description of just what is it a moor. Help!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to blogland, Rowan! "Mr. Giggles" does seem an appropriate name for Gabriel ~ what a cutie! All your berries look delicious ~ my grandmother used to love gooseberries but I'm afraid I never developed a taste for them. I have a "green man" in my garden as well although mine remains through all the seasons. ♥

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

Oh my gosh Rowan! What absolutely adorable pictures of baby Gabriel!! LOL And Kaitlin is just so sweet!
Love your moor pics and travels. And those pies...yum. Your blog is always so interesting!


pussman said...

My husband picked a full basket of goosberries, now I have found your lovely picture of the pie, but I still need to find the recipy. :)
You have a lovely blog!