Thursday, 27 November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Gentle Reader ~~~ to you and yours I wish a Happy Thanksgiving ~~~ I hope you have a lovely day with family and friends, all your loved ones gathered together to give thanks ~~~ I give thanks for all of you who follow here ~~~

Saturday, 22 November 2014

As Winter nips at Autumn's heels ~~~

Gentle Reader ~~~ ah! our old friend Winter is starting to nip at the heels of Autumn, now long past her shining glory, with branches stripped bare, and leaves now so wet that stomping through a dry, crunchy mound à la Snoopy is a distant memory of which to dream ~~~ the sun drops lower and lower in the sky each passing day ~~~ shadows grow shorter and less defined ~~~ the weather changes daily, but always, always that hint of Winter breath chasing Autumn ~~~ 

~~~today the skies are blue and streaked with clouds of varying shades of bright and white ~~~ the sun shines ~~~ the winds are strangely still, barely breathing amongst the last remaining leaves that cling in desperation to the trees ~~~ most have fallen, blown away, or into piles that gather ‘neath the trees to moulder into rich feed for next year’s growth ~ the circle of life in perpetual motion ~~~

Here is a little recipe to warm you as the days close in around us and temperatures plummet ~~~ and all in all it is reasonably healthy, and we all need a little chocolate treat from time to time ~~~ a little pick~me~up ~~~

Spiced Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate

3 cups semi skim milk {almond milk or soya milk}
1 cup canned or homemade pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
4 ounces good quality white chocolate (roughly chopped) such as Green and Blacks

Optional ~ whipped cream, sprinkles, marshmallows, or chocolate curls to decorate ~

~In a saucepan, heat the milk, pumpkin puree, and spices until it reaches simmering point; remove from heat.
~Add chocolate and stir until it has melted.

~Pour into mugs and top with decorations if desired. 


There is little progress in my garden, other than planting my Autumn onions, and having to be extremely careful with my back for the slightest wrong move sends it reeling, so it now must wait in patient silence until I can once more give it the full attention it needs and deserves. So I also wait I, but with fraying patience, for I cannot wait to be out there once more ~~~ meanwhile, I ease the longing by reading, greedily devouring, all the seed catalogues that arrive through my letter box ~~~ 

This is not my letter box, but I thought you'd like to see one of the very small, rural Post Office letter boxes that are often found, just as this one is, set into a wall on the corner of an isolated country lane ~~~

I am now calling the lawn a wildlife friendly area in the hopes that I can be forgiven for not mowing since mid~August. Each passing day I sigh and think how much the birds will love the seeds therein ~~~

I have taken advantage of a couple of patches of gentler weather, and managed, over the last two weeks, to turn over enough soil in the vegetable patch ready to receive a planting of onion sets that I'm certain were fed up of waiting to go in the ground! It is an experiment. I have never planted onions in the Autumn before, but apparently it can be done and they will yield a harvest in early Summer, so I hope this means June.  I bought a mixed bag of red, yellow, and white onion sets from Franchi Seeds of Italy

Oh, such bliss in those short, snatched moments to be out in the fresh air and in the garden {and yes, I was very careful} turning the soil, darkly damp, friable, and yielding ~~~ pulling out weeds and grass that took advantage of my absence and grew rampant and uncontrolled to fill the space ~~~ earlier this month, I also took advantage of a few hours where the rain was not so hard and the winds easier and planted up some garlic cloves in a spare tub or two.  Every little minute counts and even with a ten minute break in the weather the garlic can be planted.  I have no photographs yet, I don't think pictures of a seemingly empty tub of soil are that thrilling!

Dear Friends, it is such a beautiful day today in The Shire that my heart, in thought, leaps over the hills and skips across the valleys with pure delight ~~~ these are the days, so few and far between, that I long for as Autumn winds down the closing year ~~~

It is the kind of day that makes the most mundane of tasks a pleasure ~~~ for after days of blustering that would not delight Winnie, Piglet, Owl, and friends one jot, the wind has dropped to barely a whisper, all is calm and the sun is shining as bright as it can; there is a milky subtlety that brushes all the colours across the land into a softly muted palette that only Autumn brings. Light mists breathe gently and dust the undulations of the land in mild mystery and glistening dew drops of night catch the morning sun as it rises, dancing and dazzling through the bare trees ~~~

Gazing across this ancient land, where I am blessed to dwell, I delight in all I see ~ Autumn fields of softly muted greens made lush and rich by weeks of rain ~ the purple haze of heather skirts beneath the dark brown cap of a nearby hill that stands defined and proud against a milky blue sky ~ here and there are farmsteads with grazing cows in the pastures ~ sheep dot the slopes ~ a distant golden gorse bush shimmers, catching my eye as it echoes the golden morning sun; the day is welcomed in and all is well in the land I love ~~~

Until next time, Gentle Reader, remember that

~~~A Gardener's Work is Never Done ~~~