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.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Domestic Bits and Pieces

I've come to the conclusion that blogging is actually a habit as much as anything else so I've decided to just post about some odds and ends to keep the ball rolling and get me into the groove again. The photo of Gabriel was taken in April just before they moved down to Suffolk. I really miss seeing him every week but life is much better for him down there living in a village with a garden and the countryside all around. Up here they lived in an apartment in a very urban area. He's walking well now but so far I haven't seen him doing it, with the situation as it is with my husband trips to Suffolk are not possible right now.

I'm doing a lot of knitting in the evenings and this is a cardigan that I recently made for Kaitlyn, it went home with her when they came over for her daddy's birthday tea. It's been cool enough for her to need it too. I'm now doing a blanket for Gabriel's new brother or sister who is due in early July. Knitting it is easy, sewing together all the little squares isn't among my favourite things though so I knit eight of them and then have a sewing session before I carry on with the next eight.

Over the weekend I picked some of the rhubarb and here it is ready to go in the oven on a very low heat. This way all the pieces keep their shape instead of falling apart. The green bits are a herb called Sweet Cicely which is one of my favourites. It looks pretty,smells of aniseed which I love and acts as a natural sweetener so that you don't need to use as much sugar as usual.

Rhubarb crumble ready for the freezer. I've added ginger to the crumble mixture because it goes really well with rhubarb.

I finally got round to another of those 'I really must' jobs on Sunday, this is one of my favourite baskets, a reproduction of a medieval apple basket. It contains comfrey leaves ready to be turned into ointment.

The torn up comfrey leaves sitting in a pint of sweet almond oil. These go in the oven on the lowest possible setting and stay there for four hours or so. Then you strain the oil and add melted beeswax and get it into jars as fast as you can before it starts setting.

This year's batch all ready to use on sprains, bruises and minor cuts and grazes. It shouldn't be used on any open wound that isn't absolutely clean as it heals quickly and if there is dirt or grit in the wound it may be trapped and cause infection. Elderflower ointment is the one for those. I shall be making a new batch of that soon when the elderflowers appear.


Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

Good to see you back Rowan! Prayers to your husband that everything turns out okay. I enjoyed reading The Sheepwash Bridge post and Gabriel is getting so big! That`s really interesting that you make ointment. Would love to try that someday. Yum.....that ruhbarb crumble looks so good!


smilnsigh said...

Yeaaaaa... keep blogging. Get into the grove again. Yesssssss...

What a cutie, I can see why you miss him. And what a precious sweater...


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the herbals, I have ALWAYS wanted to know how to create different things, and your site tells me how!

Thank you so much!
Linda Gay

peppylady said...

My oldest son Sawyer moved out area and I miss him but I know it time for him to be on his own.
But he a little over an hour away but with price of gas one thinks twice about traveling.

You look busy gathering stuff from about and I always learn something new and interesting at your blog.

Jenny said...

Blogging really is a habit, and one that's dangerously easy to fall out of, as I know! That's too bad you're not able to see Gabriel more now that he's walking, but it must be lovely living in a village instead of a city. The sweater you knitted for Kaitlyn is just lovely- CJ could have used something like that for spring! And the rhubarb crumble...I'll bet it tastes wonderful!

Mary said...

Hi Rowan, that's so interesting about using the Sweet Cicely to cut the amount of sugar in the rhubarb...........and the balms you make sound wonderful.

I hope so much all will soon be well for your husband. I feel for you. I went through a tough time with mine 5 years ago when he required surgery and chemo - he's now doing fine and, as we are now both cancer survivors (kinda like 'partners in crime') we try to make each day count!

Blessings to you both - and please continue to blog when you can, you are missed when gone!

Rosie said...

It's good to see you back - I've really enjoyed reading your two new posts. I love your apple basket and I can imagine you, basket under your arm, picking herbs in your garden. I'm fascinated with your use of herbs in cooking and your description of making your soothing comfrey ointment - it all looks wonderful.

Ragged Roses said...

Hello Rowan, glad you're getting back into the "habit" again. I love rhubarb and sweet cicely (so much so that we named our eldest daughter after the herb). Did you know it was used as a sugar subsitute during the war? Your comfrey ointment sounds wonderful and deceptively easy to make! Take care, hope things are improving

VintagePretty said...

Rowan you are quite the apothecary! The ointment looks fab, I had to tear myself away from the make-your-own-cosmetics counter at Starchild in Glastonbury as they have all of the necessary ingredients.

You do the same thing as me with the sweet cicely, too - my Mum was skeptical about that, so next time she's up I'll show her it's true.

The cardigan and Gabriel are both lovely, I'm sorry he's not as close to you as he was but at least you know he's happy and contented.

Hope things are well with you,

PAT said...

Hello Rowan

Your grandbabies are so sweet and now another one is on the way! Enjoy! I know you will!

I'd love to have some rhubarb. I've had rhubarb and stawberry pie and just plain cooked rhubarb on toast. I've never had rhubarb crumble. It sounds delicious!

Have a wonderful rest of the week and please do keep blogging. I missed you so much, when you were away.

We're going to the lake this afernoon. Our first time, since J's surgery. It will be nice to get away for a few days.


Mam and Lizi said...

Just catching up with you after ever so long. Hope your husband is gettin well. The "bump jumper" is wonderful (as is the little sweater). Love your ointment recipe. I make my own ointments too, and cosmetics, etc. The Sweet Cicely intrigues me. I wonder if I can find it here in the u.s.

miss*R said...

love the pink cardi! I don't knit alot, the weather isn't cold enough to wear wool here much.

oh & thankyou so much for sharing how to make the comfrey ointment.. I am going to copy the intstructions right now and put them into my soul journal! cannot wait for the elderflower ointment..although I am not sure if I can get elderflowers. comfrey grows like wild fire in my garden, I love it!
just wondering what stops the ointment from going rancid and does the oil have to be strained or can you leave the leaves in it?
thanks so much Rowan !! xoxo

miss*R said...

ps- can you let me know how much of each ingredient is needed? and how do you mix the oil and wax together? stirring vigorously I presume :) - thanks again! xo

Annie said...

How intriguing. The process looks very simple, maybe deceptively so? I'll bet it has a lovely, non-medicinal odor.

solsticedreamer said...

oh the ointment looks wonderful~i have no comfrey here at the moment so will ahve to wait a while until i can try to make some.
the elderflower has just started to flower the last week here~keep checking up the lane so i can make some cordial :)