Thursday, April 22, 2010

Apple blossoms

The apple trees are blossoming.

How pretty and delicate they are!

Because our garden is quite narrow, we chose to plant two ballerina type apple trees last year. They will grow up straight (to a height of 8ft), instead of branching out.

Sadly that means, I won't be able to sit in their shade in the summer heat ...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sowing seeds

Today I sowed some seeds to start off in the cold frame - runner beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes.

I have tried to use recycled material, such as newspaper, toilet roll inserts and egg boxes.

The last one is a picture of another plant container, which homes several strawberry plants. It was originally a chutney barrel, which we found behind the local curry house.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Foraged soup - nettle and wild garlic

   We love foraging, and today was a great day to go picking fresh nettle tops for soup. 

   They went well with the wild garlic, which my husband showed me on yesterday's walk. I had somehow never known about wild garlic. It has a distinct garlicky smell and flavour - although milder than it's commercially grown counterpart.

Here is the recipe we followed:

Serves 10

1 bag full of young nettle tops (wash well)
1 large leek (roughly chopped)
2 medium-sized onions (roughly chopped)
2 very large potatoes (peeled and chopped quite small)
1-2 cloves of garlic (chopped/crushed)
vegetable stock to taste (cube/powder, etc)
3 pints water
2.5 pints milk

4 bunches (of approx 50g) wild garlic (finely chopped) 

a little olive oil
cream (single or double)
salt and pepper

a few garlic mustard leaves for garnish (optional)

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan except the cream, wild garlic and one pint of the milk. Bring to the boil and simmer for about half an hour, then liquidise. Also, liquidise the remaining pint of milk with the chopped wild garlic. Swirl some of this and a little cream into the soup once you have put it in a bowl. Garnish with a couple of garlic mustard leaves.


Monday, April 5, 2010

I love you

Just recently I have been wondering how often I say "I love you" and really mean "I love you when you are the way I want you to be" - when what I should really say is "I love you just as you are" ...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday

This morning I got up early to put some brightly coloured primroses in the flower bed outside our church.

There is a very practical reason for me doing it at this time. Unfortunately we have had flowers and plants stolen from the churchyard in the past - so the best way to ensure that the flowers are there for people to enjoy on Easter Sunday, is to plant them very early on the same day!

But on a different note, getting up and preparing to go to the churchyard so early in the morning reminded me of another journey, which other women took 2000 years ago:

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!"

(Luke 24:1-6)

I am reminded how quickly mourning can turn into joy.

Just as on Good Friday the hopes and dreams of so many seemed to be dashed - leaving them feeling hopeless and helpless; so now the sadness is turned into new hope, new life and a new promise!

May we never lose trust in God's promises.

May we never cease to hope and strive towards his kingdom!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

Today is the day when Christians remember Jesus' trial and death on the cross.

The churches in our town commemorate this event by a Walk of Witness - a walk through town, with people taking it in turns to carry a large wooden cross and the rest of the congregation following; stopping in places to read from the Bible about Jesus' last hours and praying; followed by a joint service in the town square.

I have always found the Walk of Witness very powerful.

Firstly, it really is a witness of our faith! Walking around with a wooden cross certainly does raise a few eyebrows in this day and age. People stop and stare, and we are noticed!

Secondly, it is one of those opportunities when people from different churches and denominations lay aside their differences and join in the same thing which as members of the Body of Christ all hold dear - following Jesus!

Thirdly, we are reminded that Jesus called us to take up our own cross and to follow him. We should not just watch from afar, but we should get in there and get to work!

Every year I am struck by how difficult it is for us the comprehend how terrible this day must have been 2000 years ago.

We observe Good Friday with the knowledge that Easter Sunday is not far behind, and that there will be joy and hope and the promise of eternal life.

How different it must have been for the disciples!

All must have seemed lost.

Jesus arrested and condemned to death.

Gone! The end!

What about the promise of the new kingdom? The claim of being the way to the Father?

Why can he not save himself?

Was he lying?

Have we been deceived?

Where do we go now?

Perhaps, if we cannot fully comprehend this time of darkness, hopelessness and despair, we cannot really appreciate the miracle and wonder which Easter Sunday brings?

Most of the disciples disappear or watch the crucifixion from a safe distance. Hide. Deny ever having known Jesus.

I wonder where I would be?

Standing at the foot of the cross? Or running away, fearing for my own safety?