Friday, 30 January 2015


So here is a pic of the area beyond the den R has cleared of brambles. On the left you can see there is more to do, mind you, as she nears the wall she will find a dip and in this are various discarded metal objects from the previous owner including and old hand mower.

Down by the bottom hedge is the bit I have done. The area on the right will be full of white wild garlic or ramsons in the spring.

Some of the hazel and ash twigs have been cut and placed on the trestle to keep them dryish for pea sticks, well, bean sticks.

This morning 
I was looking out of my study window and there was the squirrel on the peanut feeder. Then I noticed two fat rabbits at the top of the banking and where there are two rabbits, presumably of the opposite sex, there is going to be TROUBLE!
Little breeders!

I am listening to John Renbourn's Traveller's Prayer from his Ship of Fools album. Once was involved with putting him on at a folk concert at Liverpool University in 1967 (I think). The less said about that the better.

We have had some pink viburnum bodnantense dawn in a  vase but now it has gone over. I have trimmed the sticks and shoved them in the cutting bed - unlikely to root but you never know. (Or perhaps you do.)

Now, I know you think we are basking in the sun so here is a morning photo from the house to dispel any doubt that might be lingering in your grey matter.

Plenty of room for gloom especially when my friend P in NZ goes on about to being 26C out there. I can just imagine myself lying in the warm sea off the Coromandel. Unfortunately there is the large question of the journey. It is about time we had wormhole technology so I could walk into a booth here and step out in Auckland.

Back to gardens and stuff.
In the autumn I bunged some chopped mint into vinegar so I could have mint sauce (R does not much like it) with my lamb in the winter.
In my mother's recipe book are two alternatives :-


Pick young leaves and wash.
Chop very finely, almost to a mousse & put into a screw top jar - preferably with a plastic lined lid.
Make a syrup of equal quantities of vinegar and sugar - i.e. 1/2 pint of each. Boil syrup gently for 5-7 minutes. 
Pour over the mint and screw down lid.

To use - take a teaspoon or so in a small jug adding more sugar and hot water and, if desired, more vinegar.
(I like to use a good malt vinegar if possible.)


2 oz butter
1 heaped tablespoon fresh mint
salt, pepper and lemon juice

Pound mint in a mortar, add butter and pound again. Season and add lemon juice.
Good on lamb cutlets, grilled sole and in small quantities on carrots, potatoes and green peas.

Personally I like the rather hairy apple mint better than horse mint, it seems to have a sweeter flavour.

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