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elderflower turkish delight
Just when you think you have tried all the good elderflower recipes – we have elderflower champagne, elderflower cordial and elderflower  fritters here every year, along comes another one. And it’s a winner: elderflower delight.

I’ve made Turkish delight before, but without success, either it didn’t set, or set into hard rubber.  But this one is just right, and I shall use it as the base for other flavours… but when elderflowers are in season, and you have an abundance of champagne, eaten more fritters than you ought to, and have a year’s supply of cordial,  what can you do.  The recipe is from the river cottage hedgerow handbook, and they have helpfully put it on their website too

in all the commotion, and yes there was a fair bit going on, I forgot to tell of new arrivals:

sheep and lambs
New sheep, this ewe (Geraldine) only has one side of her udder working, so no good for breeding from, but we don’t intend to so that’s ok, she comes with her twins – the girl lamb (Gilly) got the good side but the boy (Godfrey) was bottle fed – he’s eating grass now, and will soon catch up in size with his sister. They are all poll Dorset, but clearly not all that pure, as Gilly has black around her eyes, the tips of her ears, hooves and scattered through her wool – as we like naturally coloured wool, we will be interested in seeing how her fleece turns out.
fiesty and chicks
In addition to the ewe and lambs we also have had chicks.. lots and lots of them – too many really… and the latest lot (fourth hatch of the year) were hatched under our new broody – given to me by the lovely Sandra from Bellecross hens – and this hen is mean when broody.. but a good trait in a mother I think, as she is very protective her her charges

It’s all go in other areas too, in the veg garden and house renovations, and getting out and about too. The flower garden has to manage itself – I’m all about the cottage garden
home sweet home

clematis

clematis
Three years ago we built the pergola (hidden under this mass of flowers) and had to severely prune the clematis.
pergola
I worried we had killed it… it seems not. It has now covered the whole structure, and it seems funny now to look back at the fact we planted two more – since moved to other walls, and that I used to arrange a sheet to make shade under there. It is so covered that the seats inside are lovely and shaded. We were going to do something to the ground, paving or mowing, but never got around to it and now we are happy to walk in amongst the shade loving flowers to take a seat.
clematis in oil drum
You have to love clematis montana, a plant that does well on neglect ( a must in my flower garden), and one of the ones we moved now lives happily in an old oil drum, and flowers over the shed

shearing day

before
It’s been a funny spring, with a warm April and a cold start to May, making picking the moment to shear hard to choose. But this last week we have had some quite hot days and showers, and so today was the day. Who knew there was a 7am on a Sunday morning?
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The shearer did his usual swift and professional job and the sheep were happy to be let back into the field one by one, minus that heavy coat, and sniffed at each other trying to recognise who was who. Apart from Betty obviously, who can’t be like the rest of the flock:
betty looks for her coat
Instead she seemed intent on finding her coat before leaving.

windsor

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My son has been an adult for some time now, and our home education days a long behind us, but our approach to education did leave a lasting legacy: we turned following up an interest in a certain area of history into having a jolly.

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And so, as my lad is still fascinated by Henry VIII and wanted to see where he was buried, we found ourselves visiting Windsor Castle. First port of call is St George’s chapel. Well they call it a chapel – my idea of a chapel is something about the size of a large shed, their idea of a chapel is cathedral sized. It is a beautiful and peaceful place, and the final resting place of many royals.

St Georges chapel, Windsor

For my son, this brought a sort of reality to this story from history. For me, I got more of a feel of that when visiting the state apartments, and seeing all the art – so many portraits of Kings and Queens past, that I am so familiar with, only this time the actual pictures.

The staff there were lovely – really helpful, and when they clocked my son’s obvious interest, engaged him and were keen to give more information. A good day, and St George’s day too, which seems apt.

Once home, our son happily researched what we had seen today, put his memorabilia carefully away,   then moved on to the next plan. Still rating Henry VIII as his most favourite character from history, he is now plotting a trip to Hampton Court Palace.

april outside

small blue
Today, I spent a fair bit of time sat in the shade of the big umbrella, needlefelting hedgehog pincushions, as you do. It’s bizarrely warm for April, I mean.. sitting outside.. in the shade! We’ve been barbecueing and walking in the evenings too. Far too nice a day to craft inside, in fact the house was colder than outside.
I brought my camera too, as I had a lot of company:
swallow
The swallows are very chatty, and sit on the telephone wire above my head telling it all. Behind me on the rosemary the bees carefully worked each tiny flower
honeybee and rosemary

pear

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butterflies taunted me, an orangetip scooted by several times without stopping, and it took a lot of leaping up with the camera before I snapped a picture of the small blue. She seemed to like the marsh marigold, as did the bees
marsh marigold and bee

The flowering currant was covered in all types of bees, this, I think, is a tree bumblebee
tree bumble bee and flowering currant

Not a bad place to work

Knightshayes
Today I met up again with the lovely Rosie and her boys.
I know Rosie from the blogosphere, and her blog Eco-Gites of Lenault It’s nice to interact with someone going through the same sorts of experiences, re smallholding etc, albeit in a different country.

We met at Knightshayes, lunched and partook of cake, before touring the house, which is really interesting, and all the guide people were friendly and helpful

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We walked the grounds
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I really liked the fox and hounds topiary hedge
fox and hounds hedge

and am always jealous of the large walled kitchen garden. And perhaps the team of gardeners. They sure do grow a lot of rhubarb there..
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Obviously, that was all very tiring, so we were obliged to eat cake yet again – well it is Rosie’s cake holiday – it would be rude not to.

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