Sunday, 30 August 2015

Friday, 28 August 2015

Over at one of my favourite blogs, assortment, Carmella runs a weekly series called "Do what you can with what you have" and it's all about contentment and resourcefulness. Here is my addition to the series. 



I check in the supermarket, just in case, because maybe they have it. I search, between the strawberry and the soy and the sugared kids version in their bright packages. I just want simple, plain, white, and lactose free. I'm looking for yoghurt, for my breakfast and as a snack in the afternoon but there isn't any to be found. There never is. 

At home I gather my tools. A blanket off my bed, and the hot water bottle from the drawer. A few empty jam jars. Skip the pickle ones, because cereal does not go with a whiff of onion and vinegar. A pot and a bowl and a spoon. The thermometer, hiding away at the back of the drawers again. The milk. 

And then I measure and stir and wait, and stir and wait some more. I fill and seal and stack and wait. I wrap it warmly, snuggly, with a blanket and a hot water bottle. And I wait. It is a slow process, this making, that takes patience and restraint. Don't peek under the blanket. Don't jiggle the jars. Leave the little bacteria be, to do what they do. Wait.

And when I finally lift the blanket, there it is. All white and firm and set, and still just a little warm. Ready for that first smooth, milky, slightly sour mouthful. Ready for my oats in the morning, or that midnight hunger, that needs just a little snack. To be mixed with fruit, or sugar, or honey, or eaten just so. Yoghurt, nothing else. Do what you can with what you have. 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

I wish the picture would show it all. The dry earthy smell of the soft ground under my feet, years and years of pine needles softening each step. The murmur of the breeze, mixing on a tang of salt from the sea. The buzzing of bees and the higher whirr of mosquitos. The promise of blueberries in the underbrush, and the way the sun feels on my arms, just there, as it slants through the gnarly pines. It smells of earth and dust and summer, of childhood and adventures and the sea.





Friday, 21 August 2015

Over at one of my favourite blogs, assortment, Carmella runs a weekly series called "Do what you can with what you have" and it's all about contentment and resourcefulness. Here is my addition to the series. 



After years of onions and tomatoes, of cakes and quiches, of beef and pork and chicken, of apples and strawberries and lemons, of mint and chives and parsley, of eggs and cheese and butter, of peppers and aubergines and beans, they had lost some of their sharpness. After being used every day, sometimes by many hands, they weren't as good as they had once been. After years of being shoved in a drawer, their edges were chipped and their handles a bit scratched. 

"They have character" we used to say. 

After months of "we should" and "remember to get ... ", and after months of forgetting to do so, we finally got a ceramic knife sharpener. With rhythmic movements, first a bit awkward and then smoothers as time went on, they got their edge back. With rhythmic movements, they acquired a few new scratches, when the unpracticed hand slipped. 

Now they have bite and character, to keep them going for many more years of onions and pears and bits of beef that need to be sliced extra thin. Now we have a ceramic sharpening rod, waiting in the drawer for when they start to blunt again. Do what you can with what you have.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Over at one of my favourite blogs, assortment, Carmella runs a weekly series called "Do what you can with what you have" and it's all about contentment and resourcefulness. Here is my addition to the series. 




Old t-shirts, collected over months and years, lovingly cut into strips with the old scissors, a little too blunt for the job. The biggest crochet hook I could find in the shops in town, because sometimes ideas don't wait. A youtube video and several trials and error, because remembering can be so hard. 

A new carpet, for my cold feet in the morning, soft and warm and dry on the floorboards. A bit of colour to brighten up the room. A memory, "I made this", when I shake it out in front of the door.

Sitting on the floor, with a needle and some thread, carefully stitching together loose ends. To keep, to mend, to make do. To save it, for another thousand mornings and another thousand sunny afternoons. Do what you can with what you have.


You might have seen this carpet before on this blog, as it was finished last summer. This post was inspired by some careful mending due last week, to stop it from unravelling. 

Friday, 7 August 2015

Over at one of my favourite blogs, assortment, Carmella runs a weekly series called "Do what you can with what you have" and it's all about contentment and resourcefulness. Here is my addition to the series.

An old jar, just the right size, from the apple sauce lovingly carried from home. You know, the one that brings back the memories, and that is best eaten slowly, careful spoon by careful spoon. A vanilla pod, dried out and not looking like much, chopped into small pieces. Sugar, just normal sugar, from the store in a crisp paper bag. Time, sat in the cupboard between the flour and the raisins, for that day when the recipe calls for it. "Vanilla sugar, 200 g". A generous pour, to be mixed with the butter and the eggs, and then that moment when the vanilla pieces are carefully picked back out and put back into the jar. More sugar from the paper bag, a good shake, and back it goes in the cupboard, between the flour and the raisins, for that day when the recipe calls for it.

Making vanilla sugar at home is extremely easy. Get a clean dry jar, a pack of sugar and 1-2 whole vanilla pods. Chop the pods into a few smaller pieces (or don't, really), top up the jar with sugar and mix the pods in. Leave it to sit for a minimum of a few days, and just use instead of normal sugar in a recipe. When using some, just top the jar back up with fresh sugar, give it a shake and put it back on the shelf. The pods last, and will release flavour, for a long time. 

Friday, 31 July 2015

Over at one of my favourite blogs, assortment, Carmella runs a weekly series called "Do what you can with what you have" and it's all about contentment and resourcefulness. Here is my addition to the series.

As I shake the seed heads upside down, I watch the moments roll out. That one, where the earth is lovingly smoothed and the tiny seeds are carefully scattered, mixed with the soil and with hope. That smile, when I take my cup of tea out in the garden on a chilly spring morning, and the first little plants poke through the earth. That lovely day when one lonely bloom, more eager than all the others, unrolls its delicate petals to the world. That afternoon when I pick an abundance of orange and yellow and reds, to be put in a vase and enjoyed inside. 

For now they sleep, wrapped securely in a leftover piece of baking paper, too small for the cake, and some tape from a crafting project long gone. Tucked into the old tin in the shed, the moments will wait. But then, oh then, when the sun gains strength and the earth dries out, when everything is still brown but the hopes are there, then we will sow again. And one by one, the story will unfold. 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Over at one of my favourite blogs, assortment, Carmella runs a weekly series called "Do what you can with what you have" and it's all about contentment and resourcefulness. Here is my addition to the series.




We strolled along the river and over the old railway bridge, the one where I once got lost in the pitch dark, at night, all alone. How different it feels during bright sunshine, with his hand firmly in mine. We turn off onto the little path, overhung by bushes, the one I always run past and wonder about. Under the branch, over the stile, round the bush and suddenly it opens up in front of us. A big, wide pasture, recently mowed, with it's lush green grass triumphing over the many yellow lawns in our little back gardens. It smells warm, and dry, of summer and grasses and sunshine. Over at the side, spared by the mowers, stands an abundance of wild flowers. Greedily I pick, yellows and whites and purples and greens. Long, fine grasses and thick green stems, until I have to use both hands to hold it.
On the way home people smile at me, and my bundle. A little bit of summer, for my home, just waiting to be found.
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