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A gathering summer evening

Since June I’ve been regularly checking on a tree when I walk the dogs. At first it had tiny green berries and by early July they looked like small green olives. Excitement mounted as they began to colour, just tinges of purple at first, but they didn’t seem to grow any bigger because of the relentless heat we had. Busyness meant I didn’t take that route for a while and then last week I jumped with joy, they were starting to ripen. I had a bag with me intending to pick blackberries but instead I picked windfalls. Have you guessed what they are yet?
damsons
Who needs blackberries when there are damsons? Last year there were so few that they weren’t worth picking, but now they are all over the ground under the tree. I don’t think that anyone else picks them, can you believe that? They are in a public place that has a good number of walkers and yet they just fall and go to waste, except for the birds and squirrels. Perhaps because its in a city rather than the country, people don’t know what they are or what to do with them. Doesn’t anyone else like damson jam or blackberry and apple pie? Surely one of the joys of summer is going to pick blackberries? I love to get free food, and spreading damson jelly on my toast through the dark winter helps to make it tolerable.
damson1
What do you gather? Or am I the last of a dying breed of hedgerow raiders?
damson2
Why not go hunting in your area and see what you can find? If you’re not sure what to pick, ask an old woman like me or of course just do an image search on the internet. Foraging is the perfect way to spend a summer evening.

Chutney for Madhu and Tess

I told you about runner beans recently, and both Tess and Madhu asked if I would share the recipe. Well as I think it’s delicious, even though I actually can’t stand runner beans then it would be rude not to!chutney
So here goes.
You will need

1lb runner beans
3/4lb onions
3/4lb sugar – half and half soft brown and demerara is good
3/4 tablespoon ground turmeric
3/4 tablespoon mustard powder
3/4 tablespoon cornflower
3/4 pint malt vinegar
Optional but nice – 1 teaspoon curry or ginger powder
Top, tail and de-string the beans – a mix of young and old will make for a good texture chop them quite small, I made them about a centimeter square , and boil until tender.
Finely chop the onions (cry if you have to) and boil in most of the vinegar until soft.
Mix the rest of the ingredients with the left over vinegar, drain the beans and mix the lot into one pan. Boil this up for about 15 minutes.
Put the chutney into clean, sterilised jars – remembering not to put hot chutney into cold glass.
You’re supposed to leave it for at least a month before eating, but I’ve never done what I’m supposed to do!

Let me know if you try it or if you have a better runner recipe to share.
Oh and the brown stuff in the background is beetroot and apple!

Lazy Poet’s Thursday Poem

poppy

Petals of loss

Have we forgotten?

So it would appear.

One hundred years and no lessons learnt.

How many images of atrocity

must we see before enough is enough?

Mankind has battled since time began,

does that mean we must until the end?

And womankind, we’re not without guilt,

warrior queens were not legend but manifest.

Leave battles to the playground

To the realms of history, herstory,

fiction and myth.

Cease now,

while a poppy still blooms on this earth.

Moon words

 

 

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon, the moon.

Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussycat.

I’ve tried a few times to take a good photo of the moon, and as we able to see a super moon at the moment I thought I would try again. Try being the operative word! The main problem is that I really need to go to sleep, so I’m too tired and lazy to use a tripod. So as last nights effort left a lot to be desired I’m sharing a few little quotes and facts instead.
Eskimos believe that the moon influences fertility, if a woman bathes her naked belly in its light she will fall pregnant.
The fact that sometimes there are two full moons in a calendar month gives rise to the expression ‘once in a blue moon’, metaphorically a rare event.
There is a town in Ontario, Canada called Moonbeam – I want to go there!
Scrolls from Mesopotamia mention a lunar eclipse in 2283bc.
With some exceptions, the moon is usually considered to be feminine.
Many moon songs have been written, do you have a favourite? Mine is probably Moondance by Van Morrison.
Many gardeners work with the moon cycle, for instance if you want a tree to grow strong and healthy, its best to plant it during a rising, waxing moon, just after the first quarter and best of all, in the night.
Lavender should be planted in the first quarter, then it will have the most intense fragrance.
One of my favourite flowers, and the one my perfume contains, is the flower of night mystery. It’s said that the souls of the moon inhabit its blossoms.

Human Beings
The various aspects of the Moon stimulate physical humors and maladies, since it would seem that the condition of lunatics is more serious during one phase of the moon than another

Bartholomaeus Angelicus

Angelicus may have been right, crime rates seem to rise at full moon.

An old wives tale says that we should have our hair cut during the full moon for the best effect on its beauty and condition.
Surgeons in ancient Rome observed that blood flowed more profusely during full moon.

At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.
Close the language-door
and open the love-window.
The moon won’t use the door,
only the window.

Rumi

I’ve never really posted quotes before, I hope some are new to you, and here is the photo I took last night, I’ll keep practicing!

moon

 

Featured Image -- 7640

World Lion Day 2014

Lucid Gypsy:

It’s World Lion Day today!

Originally posted on marina kanavaki:

Here’s to the King!

A celebration of the ‘King of all Beasts’ to raise awareness for the silent extinction these animals are suffering from.

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photo from WORLD LION DAY official site

“An independent campaign working to highlight the importance of the lion globally and to raise lion conservation awareness worldwide. “Saving the King of Beasts to Save Ourselves”

…The lion is an enduring symbol across the nations and has fascinated man throughout the millennia. To lose such a species would be to lose a significant part of our global heritage.”

as stated at the official ‘World Lion Day‘ campaign page.

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photo © Greg Du Toit

“The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and strenuous effort.”

Chanakya 

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Photo © Carole Deschuymere

Featured image from World Lion Day campaign  ©…

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Nature and coast

When I think of texture I think close up and one the places I like taking close up photos is the seashore. I lovely pootling around a beach in winter hunting for treasure that has been delivered by the tide or has waited for millennia for my lens. So this weeks photo challenge was easy, simple photos from nature.

Perhaps you have some textures to share? Visit http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/texture/ to join in.

It could have bean a disaster

But it never was. Just now, for the umpteenth time recently, I’ve been picking, de-stringing and chopping runner beans. As I stood there I remembered some of the many years I’ve done this, since I was a little girl, perhaps five or six. I always helped my grandparents, I loved it, the bright green of the pod and then inside, the pinky red of the bean. It made me feel grown up to use a sharp veggie knife, as I opened the pod, the fresh scent and juice transferred itself to my little hands.
I doubt many five year olds would slice beans these days, their parents would be worried that they would cut themselves. Even my own children didn’t, there were too many other things to do. Perhaps that’s the problem, too much doing of techy things, TV, computers and games consoles. Making connections, just I am now, with the virtual world, instead of getting hands on and mucky.
Well I’m glad I know how to prepare runner beans. I didn’t like them back then, and I still don’t. I have discovered that they may delicious spicy chutney though, so I’ll keep on chopping.
beans
I never did cut myself either, in fact I’m more likely to now, I’m far more blasé. I didn’t burn myself on a hot pan back then either, but in between writing this post and chopping beans I’ve been making blackcurrant jelly. Not only did I burn myself but I also let it boil all over onto the hob , making a sticky red mess to clear up!