Sunday, June 3, 2012

The beginnings of winter at the Cottage

For a whole season, we let the weeds take over.
Then there was a frenzy of digging and composting, and the turning in of stinky things; more seeds bought and planted in homemade origami seed pots; extra, more temperamental seedlings sought and planted; and for a whole week, the sweet smell of sugar cane mulch made the garden a delight to walk and play in.
We’ve had rain and sun and growth, and are now on the cusp of an early harvest. And it’s my absolute favourite part of planting an edible garden – the time where it’s at an almost - when the idea of picking snow peas or ruby-red cherry tomatoes or crisp sweet lettuce leaves becomes a delightful daily task.

Just in the last week, our chickens have realised that it’s a variable gold mine in the front garden, and have been squeezing through fence palings to snack on the tender spinach leaves, and to scratch away in the wormy soil. And Ella, our mastiff, often too arthritic to get up and chase them, has taken to watching and growling from the comfort of her heavily bedded kennel. It’s an unpredictable situation; but because it takes Ella a couple of minutes to actually get up (poor dog), the chickens have a head start in escaping; and it gives me the opportunity to play Pied Piper, leading them out onto the footpath and down the road to the chicken run gate, luring with overripe melon rinds or (if desperate) grapes – their absolute favourite - in the scrap bowl.

I love this time of year; it makes me want to knit and read, doze in front of a roaring  fire, and drink hot chocolate with marshmallows, or steaming cups of tea.
And bake - which I guess isn’t unusual.
Why, just yesterday, because it was raining and cold and a little miserable, I made a big batch of fluffy golden scones (with lashings of double cream and strawberry jam, of course); pumpkin bread, with a whole heap of sharp parmesan and chives from the garden added in for good measure; and a mixed spice and pear cake (which was supposed to be drenched in lovely warm butterscotch sauce; but after three-and-a-bit hours fussing in the kitchen, I was entirely cooked out. Ice-cream instead). The whole house was delicious smelling and warm all afternoon, and it was the perfect way to end a cold weekend.

How have you been?


Ps. The loveliest thing: our apple and cherry Tea Party Tart was part of an apple feature in the gorgeous June edition of Peppermint magazine; and our dashing Heroic Henry slipped into the pages of the June edition of Shopping 4 Baby magazine; and our gorgeous Helpful Harriet graced the online pages of Peppermint to advertise a twinking twilight market for BrisStyle! It’s the best and loveliest reward for months of planning and testing and making and selling.


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