MEMORIES IN PICTURES

Yesterday my sister left Gozo to return home to Lier in Belgium. We enjoyed two weeks of chat and sightseeing, though I must admit a lot of our time was spent enjoying coffee and cake in a variety of places around the island. Nevertheless we did manage to fit in walks and visits to various sights, but mainly we soaked up the spring feeling, the massive amount of wild flowers and the charm of Victoria’s historical narrow streets. As there is only one year between us we grew up quite close and shared a bedroom most of our childhood years, at night my sister would tell me stories which at the time fascinated me, they were of adventures we would find ourselves in. She still always brings me books, and much of our chats would evolve around book discussions, the love of reading we both share. We also both spent our working lives with books and people, she as an editor working for a magazine catering for libraries, and I as a branch librarian in a small town in Ireland.  Both have been very rewarding and enjoyable jobs.
20180304_143113-EFFECTS.jpgAmazing to see the banana trees on Gozo, Josefine could not believe her eyes.

Two sisters, Josefine and myself among the Mimosa flowers which are now opening.

St.Georges square where we spent time drinking coffee and listening to the bell ringing.

Tower of St.Josephs in Qala, and an example of a roundel found on a house in Ghajnsielem.

The fig tree already showing fruit and opening its leaves, poppies are flowering now too making the meadows very colourful, and a hoverfly on a lovely sunny day.

This Gozitan lady working her lace in the doorway of her house, a lovely sight.

More wildlife, this on a narrow pathway at Mgarr.

The narrow alleyways in Ir-Rabat never fail to charm anyone.  Josefine too loved them and we spent quite some time walking them, every time you do you discover more things of interests.

It’s quiet now around here, Ian and I going about our various tasks and peacefully enjoying the life.  The excitement of Josefine’s visit is over, a space is now empty, but memories will stay and lots of thoughts remain of our various chats and discussions.  A rewarding time it was, that is for sure.

AUTUMN JOBS IN THE GARDEN

Today was tidy up day in the garden, among other things. I finished planting out the salad leaves, and beetroot. Then I sowed, also in the cold frame, curled parsley, and some winter lettuce, seeds that I had over from last year, we shall see what comes up. I followed this with tidying the garden, putting away a lot of summer things into the potting shed, also took measurements as need to get a light tar paper to attach to some of the outside of the shed. It is one of the jobs that I have had on the list for over a year but did not get around to. I finished outside with putting some stray pots of herbs like basil into the cold frame to overwinter. The table and chairs which we only used once or twice during the bad summer remain on the patio for the moment, not that I expect to use them to eat outside, but because there is a container of sweet peas on top and some other plants.
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I am reading this brilliant memoir by Joy Larkcom, it’s a large work, so interesting.  She fills the pages with so much information about the history of vegetable growing in Europe.  She also talks about the year she and her young family spent travelling around Europe in the seventies, exploring what vegetables were being grown and used and writing about this, also collecting seeds and much more.  I have now nearly read half of the book and am still enthralled and learning some bits.  It is also interesting to see how the author discovered growing organically.  At the moment, every night I go to sleep with my head full of these stories, it is a great ‘down to earth’ sort of thing to read after the long discussions with my partner about the current state of the world.

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Soup being cooked, vegetables copped and heaped up with dandelion, nettles, garlic, cumin and other herbs and spices.  Next the resulting goodness, very tasty, this is food I really like.

DSCF9958   A calm moment after work outside.  The poppies have almost all finished flowering and the seed heads are very decorative inside the house.

ODE TO BORAGE FLOWERS

Cleared away the destroyed Borage plant today, but before I took it all away to the compost I had to get a nice bouquet to be enjoyed still by the bees and us too. I had left it on the patio table, and the bumblebees did come and feasted on the pollen of the still fresh enough flowers. It broke my heart almost to have to cut it all down, but then I remembered that the comfrey plant is also fully in flower now and has plenty of pollen for the insects, bees and all. Took some pics of the lovely bumblebees, and some other creatures that came across my path today.

Somewhere else in the garden, another borage plant is already getting big and is flowering.

To date I have not used the borage flowers for producing anything really, and I am not even sure what I would make, but it is supposed to be used in a skin cream. It’s ok because I cannot try everything at the same time, there is so very much that one can use and make with plants, and there is so much information about it all these days, interesting books, like for example, Sof McVeigh’s ‘Treat Yourself Natural’ which gives many ideas and recipes for making and using things out of the garden. A book beautifully produced and well recommended.
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These creatures, a wood lice, and a little red mite were hidden under a stone that I disturbed today.

GORSE SYRUP & THE BOOK “WILD FOOD”

Recently I have had a book out from the library called “Wild Food” written by Biddy White Lennon, and Evan Doyle, a brilliant little book (256pages) and I have found it very interesting and useful. It features many recipes of wild foods, and great recipes on preserving wild berries and other fruits. I received copyright (for one month) to copy one of its more intriguing recipes, which I am certainly going to try out soon.
The plant Gorse (Ulex Europaeus,Linn) which grows abundantly here in West Cork, has a lovely scent and bright yellow coloured flowers, and it is shown to have more uses than one. In the above mentioned book it has a recipe for Gorse syrup made of the flowers. But the plant is also known for it’s bright yellow dye also made from the flowers, I personally have also heard of it’s use in soap making and for making tea.

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The Gorse flower

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