Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter: a market and a chicken story

Happy Easter everyone. Its Sunday here and day 3 of a lovely 4 days off work. How we need this time to recharge the batteries and keep on keeping on.

The weather has been great: clear and sunny with a genuine Autumn chill in the air but seems like rain may be on its way now. The Highlands have been inundated with visitors, which is very good for the local economy.

Yesterday afternoon we went, as always, to the Burrawang Easter market where they close the main street and transform a quiet little village to a teeming mass of stalls, people and dogs. It is the best market around with good food, lovely craft, classy products and happy people.

We stocked up on cheeses, local wine, cherry-almond shortbread, lime infused dijon.  To us the produce is always the best bit about a market.

I bought a darling doiley holder made of old tea coloured linen with hand embroidery, a scalloped crochet edge and satin ribbon close. This double layered cloth was designed to keep your doilies clean, flat and safe inside.  I have never seen or even heard of one before. It is so precious. 

I added to my African textile collection with a raffia mat from the Congo made by the Kuba people. Its geometric pattern is made with pulled raffia and has a course brush-bristle texture. I have another Kuba mat of a different style that I picked up in New York as well as many mud-cloths.

We were at the market for hours and merrily looked at antique stalls, hats, tea towels, food, cider and more.

Now I promised you a story about a chicken. It is Easter but its not the happiest of chicken stories although I'm optimistic it will end well.  Katie is the most accident prone little chook and has been convalescing in our bathroom for days. On Tuesday I heard her making the most piteous noise, rushed outside to find her trying to push through a wire fence. She seemed to have taken a fright to something and was determined to get to the other side of this fence and under our house. The first thing I noticed was her comb which is all bloody and droopy. But the real damage is to her wing which she has scraped badly. I won't share a photo of that. So back into the cat box in the bathroom to be kept quiet and away from flies and pecking.  She has barely made a peep ever since, but has been eating and drinking.  Anyway we decided we should let her have some time outside and see how she goes. She's outside now scratching around with Scully.

The funny part of the story is Howard and I trying to bandage her wing. I'm here to tell you it is no easy task!  Howard held her while I applied a non-stick dressing and wrapped a gauze bandage around the top of her wing. I used a bit of masking tape to hold it in place. Well one flap of her wing and the whole bandage went flying across the room. Hmm, not to be deterred from our mission we unwrapped the bandage and had another go. This time I wrapped the last bit of the bandage across her body, pinning her wing to her side.

When we set her outside I realised I had pinned both wings to her sides!  She has managed to shrug this off now but not the dressing on her wing. Poor chicken would probably fair much better without me trying to help her! We hope she comes good. She has been in the wars but is looking happy out scratching for worms.

The rest of my days off will be spent cooking, making soap, pulling a few weeds and generally enjoying the peace, quiet and relaxation of time at home. Whatever you are doing I hope you are enjoying it!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How to leave comments on homespunblissblog

I value comments left by readers as a blog is in its very essence an attempt to establish a community. Through comments on blog posts we can initiate a conversation. Ages ago I turned off security to make it easier for you to comment.

Sadly today I have had to turn the security back on as I am being inundated with spam comments. And some of it is very bizarre! I will attempt to go through all my posts and delete them lest they spoil the experience of my blog for you.

Never fear you can still comment. Anonymous comments are available for people without Google profiles. It would be great if you could leave a name in your message however.

To leave a comment follow these steps.
1. Under the blog post click on the word comments.
2. Type your message in the comment box that pops up. You might need to scroll up or down to see it.
3. Choose profile type from the Comment as list.
4. Click on Preview or Publish.

If you chose anonymous you will be asked to complete a word verification that looks something like this.

Type the letters and numbers you see and click submit. Your comment will publish.

Apologies for the inconvenience and thanks for your support.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bonus win: a large fruit & veg tray

We won the fruit and veg tray at our local pub a few days ago.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit how many times we have won the raffle this year. Usually we don't win anything but we've certainly been on a date night winning streak!

The magnificent tray we won this time is keeping us well stocked in fruit and vegetables. So far I have cooked corn and zucchini fritters, sweet potato curry, beetroot and orange salad. The lemons have contributed to pesto, hommous and the odd cocktail or two. We're all set for the long weekend ahead.

We have also won the meat tray 3 or 4 times this year. Disturbing for a couple of vegetarians though that is.  One tray included a bottle of local red wine and another a dozen free-range eggs. They got put to good use by the two of us. As for the meat itself, it has been enjoyed immensely by Harry, Benny, Lily and Riley. They say thanks :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Quinoa salad for lovely autumn lunch

Here's a salad with a difference. Try this for a lovely balance of colour and flavour.

Boiled and cooled quinoa
mandarin pieces
baby spinach
green beans
steamed pumpkin
pumpkin seeds and walnuts
cheese - try feta, Cheshire or haloumi

Toss everything together. Serve cold or warmed. I drizzled a little orange infused olive oil over it.
Variation suggestions include boiled egg or chunks of salmon.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Outsmarted by a cat

Without a hint of surprise or irony I admit I have been outsmarted by a cat.

Months ago I realised that the glass of water I placed by my bedside each night was being sampled by a cat.

How did I discover this you ask? Hmm, the sound of lapping in the night.
The number of nights that passed before I realised what was happening: unknown!

Then I thought that my love of all things vintage had solved the issue!! So simple, buy a vintage, hand crocheted, beaded jug cover (although not easy to find at times) and place over glass.

Whilst effective for a while ... I discovered one morning that Lily had devised a plan to outsmart me! Determined to gain access to the glass of water (despite a very large bowl of water left for her, Riley, Harry and Benny in the kitchen) Lily worked out she could hook the crochet with a claw and drag it off the glass. I thought I was so clever and that my forbears had more than flies in mind! This morning, the most recent event, Lily took one lick at the water in the uncovered glass and wandered off. She enjoys the challenge! Although to watch her, no effort is involved.

So my advice, keep your glasses of water covered. Beaded jug covers will deter insects and possibly, some cats. However if you find your glass open to the elements, refresh!!


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