Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Camping out

.......I not have been 'camping out' in the accepted sense, as in rucksack, boots, tent, and sleeping bag, no, this was my camp site for the day of yesterday.....

.... attending as I was to the feeding of the cement mixer,
so that the kitchen floor chappe could be continued by Lester,
because one day soon I shall have a 'proper' kitchen,
and wahoooooo!!! what a grand day that will be. 
But for the time being, I manage,
most times with a smile on my face,
but sometimes with a grouch. 

Anyway, there I was, camping out again. To fill in the time between loading the cement mixer,and to stop myself from getting grotty, because I don't like hanging about doing nothing, I do things, providing I have a handy chair to sit upon because my legs don't like having to stand for too long. Low blood pressure, that's the problem, although I have just come across the info that hawthorn can help with this condition, because it is a 'heart herb' apparently. Since we have lots of hawthorn growing on the farm, I thought it would be a good wild foodying project to pick some leaves and dehydrate them so I can partake of their apparent excellent therapeutic properties during the winter. The berries also carry beneficial properties, but there was some discussion on the internet about whether or not the seeds were poisonous, so I am going to pick the berries, and then decide what to do with them later on. 

And this loop of internet searching also came up with the info that blackberry leaves are also super duper goodies for the body, so I am going to pick lots of them and get them dried as well. It would probably be best to pick the leaves of the hawthorn and blackberry during their lush spring growth but, no matter, now will do.

The tomato harvest has not happened this year, although we managed to save a bowlful, but they starting rotting too, so into the dehydrator they have gone.

.....together with some kale, which is another super duper producer of healthful properties, so the internet said.

Anyway, back to the Tuesday camp. By my chair I had my bag of knitting, which hardly ever gets touched, but I still have the need to always have some knitting handy, just in case I feel the need. And in front of my chair was the project of the day, which was to harvest the fennel seeds from these glorious tall plants......

..... so, three bowls.....

..... one for the seeds, one for the seed heads, and one for the seedless leavings. Cup of tea, bottle of water laced with cider vinegar, gloves to help my hands not complain too much about when messing about with the concrete mixer, and that was my camp. 

So for all the day long, except lunch time, I trotted to and fro with sand and cement, feeding the concrete mixer when it was made to be empty by Lester, and in between I sat and picked the seeds from off the seed heads of the fennel. voila! 

..... a bowl of fennel, which is something else I don't have to buy from the supermarket. I have always used some herbs and spices in cooking, but now we are providing much of our own food I am using more of them to offset the tendency towards 'sameness' in the taste of our food. To come across a grain of fennel in one's mouth during the eating of the DIY meal, and to feel that grain burst into its liquorice loveliness as it is crunched down on is such a delight. 

So the fennel will be added to the herb and spices store, and I shall go out and about and see what else I can 'borrow' from the wild after I have raided the hawthorn and blackberry shrubs. In my own small way I feel like a 'hunter gatherer' of olden times. 

Boy Calf has learnt what a delight it is to chase the sheep. The occupants of one of the bee hives are in trouble, we think, because they seem to be drunkenly lurching when going to and fro their hive, or it might be a ploy to confuse the ever present hornet attack. The hens have abandoned the tree and now roost along the benches outside the house. To hear them zizz and snore as I go to and fro between half barn and house at night (at the moment we can't go through the kitchen because of the wet floors so we have to go between half barn and house outside) makes me smile. Oh, and now I have wet snouts poking at me, telling me that the dogs need off I must go into my day...... voila!

.....more of the kitchen floor is finished. It is looking good. Concreting again today. It does feel like a bit of a plod sometimes, but our spirits are being lifted because we are having a go, and are making a reasonable job. It is not perfect, but it will do, proving that it is better to try and fail than never to have tried at all, because you might not fail, you might surprise yourself and discover that your fears did not do you justice, because you actually can do that which you thought you could not. 

Sending blessings to you.......



rusty duck said...

So impressed with that floor! Well done both.

northsider dave said...

Your concreting looks great, Vera. Will you leave channels or plywood boards for pipes? When we built our house. I spent 3 days looking for pipes that a builder had concreted over. Will you tile it afterwards?

Horst in Edmonton said...

The kitchen floor is looking great and will soon be finished,then you will have other things to occupy your time. The more you do things yourself around the farm then you will realize that you can do anything you set your mind to do. That's the way of the farmer, to do things yourself.

Horst in Edmonton said...

I thought I would let you know that I started making Sour Dough Bread, it's kind of fun. Oh, the bread is actually Sour Dough Barley Bread, I didn't realize how great Barley bread tastes and it is better for us than white bread. I am also going to make Sour Dough Rye Bread.

Vera said...

Jessica, I am surprised that we have managed to get it nearly done!

Northsider Dave, the pipes are already in the underlying concrete. We are just putting a layer of cement over the concrete to give the tiles a firm and flat surface. When we came here the house still had earth floors and no electric!

Horst, you are right....we are constantly surprised at how we are managing to get jobs done!

Oh wow......Sour dough! Do let me know you get on!

Horst in Edmonton said...

Vera, I don't know if you have ever made Sourdough Bread, but it is the tastiest bread there is, and it is so easy. You can get recipes here in the internet. I like Sourdough Barley bread and also Sourdough Rye bread. It takes 5 days to make the sourdough sponge. After that you can keep it going forever if you like. just take 1 cup flour and 1 cup water mix and let sit, the yeast in the grain will start to work and you add the same the next day and so on. The sour dough recipes in the net will work fine you just have to try some and you don't have to use as much yeast.

DUTA said...

As far as I know, Hawthorne herb extract is good for lowering high blood pressure. If yours is low pressure, then perhaps you better keep away from it.

Vera said...

Horst, right then......I shall start a sourdough off, and will make a post about it when I do!

Duta, I think hawthorn helps both conditions, but thanks for the warning!

Kerry said...

I'm really enjoying seeing the progress of your kitchen. Your right about trying new things. We've never had a veg patch before, just grew the odd things in containers in England, so this is a challenge for us. Just need to get all the weeds out first.

The Squirrel Family said...

The floor is looking good, you should both be proud. I love fennel in sausages , nice little flavour explosion :)

Horst in Edmonton said...

I have just learned that Barley is really great at regulating ones blood sugar and it makes one feel full for longer and can help one loose weight in the long run. I'm diabetic so it is good news for me. To boot it is very tasty.

Vera said...

Kerry, the battle of the weeds was strongly fought this year, but the weeds won because of the amount of rain we have had! Not to worry, battle will commence again next year!

The Squirrel Family, you love fennel as well! It took a while for us to get used to it but now I put it in most things I cook, sometimes leaving it as seed, sometimes grinding it up into powder and putting it with other spices. That explosion of taste is something else, isn't it!

Horst, will definitely have a search for buying in some barley, because my blood sugar levels can get unstable when I am over tired.
You have put me on a mission, Horst, and that it is to have a go at that sour dough bread! Bless you for pushing me along with that.