Monday, 31 October 2016

All Hallows Eve

The dark half of the year arrives.

Nature is largely resting.

Celebrations brighten up our modern world and are every bit as important as they were to our ancestors.

Though I fear that some may count their riches in false ways today.

This is more so than to those whose worlds are blighted by mindless consumerism.

Tonight we will welcome all that call upon us.

We have prepared boxes containing a few sweets for the children.

And a stand in soul cake for any hungry person.

I've just enjoyed mine with a lovely cup of tea.

Worth every single calorie!

We still have pumpkins to carve, and fake cobwebs to hang...I know I know...we have enough of the real ones! I just can't help myself.

Blessings J. x


Sunday, 30 October 2016


The air has been that eerie still, such as the calm before the storm these past few days.

We are shrouded in a mysterious haze.

Less dense than fog or mist, but still with a majestic presence.

Though this morning I can see the odd leaf moving in the hedge.

Generally life has been of this same ilk.

Plodding along.

Naturally slowing down after the harvests have been gathered in.

Samhain pronounced almost as sow in explaining in years gone by that all that had been sown was now gathered in.

It's easy to see how folks were very frightened by the stillness, the darkness, the lack of growing crops at this time of the year.

Along with dark shadows cast by flickering candlelight upon uneven walls, shuttered windows, sickness and death were never far away from most families.

Today I shall be decorating the cottage in readiness for our three day celebration of what is now referred to as Halloween.

Not in a spooky way particularly, more a natural look, cobwebs a plenty, flickering candles, though battery for safety, will light our way for most of the celebration.

We will invite in anyone who knocks at our door, offering sweets to the children and my improvised version of soul cakes which actually will be rock cakes, to their responsible adults.

These I believe were given to the poor 'old souls' who came begging for food.

So people have been knocking on doors asking for 'treats' for centuries, we can't blame everything on the Americans! Though in times gone by it was for need I suppose rather than fun.

How time changes things for some, yet there are still many starving in our world. I have a policy that if anyone asks me for money I refuse, but always offer them food and drink.

Basic needs, and instead of scorn a realisation that but for the grace of the gods there go I.

So we have all probably benefited from an extra hour in bed this morning, just remember why you'll be yawning well this evening.

Hubby is taking his newly restored cab-less tractor out on her first tractor run today. I've made sure he's wrapped up good and warm.

We've both been feeling the effects of the changing seasons with a few sniffles this past week and don't want these to get worse thanking ye kindly!

My energy levels are low, so much has happened in the past twelve months. Now I feel it's time to recharge for a while. Running on empty is not productive or condusive to happiness.

I'm not making any promises to get anything 'done' particularly.

What happens happens if energy and time work their special magic together.

I would like to knit another shawl in the same design as I knitted last year in a different colour.

I would like to finish eldest daughter and son in laws wedding gift by Winter solstice...we shall see.

I would like to document our foray into ww2 rationing much more on here.

I would like to find the time to comment on your lovely blogs more often than I have been of late.

But life in general takes presidence over these additional tasks.

This is officially slow season at Little Winter.

So whatever you're doing over these next few days, whatever your faith, beliefs or lack of, be kind to yourselves and others, that's all that really matters.

Blessings J. x

Friday, 21 October 2016

Lazy So N So!

That's me this morning!

Delivery men knocking on front still in bed!

The story...

We have an LG tumble dryer...when I bought it it was supposed to last for umpteen years, save oodles of our saviour and all that... 'alleges' it will dry a load of cotton 9kg in 320 minutes...

Nope...after 320 minutes you start all over again...and sometimes again...

Bored yet?!

We've tried different programs, but it doesn't let you choose really dry unless it's on the darn eco setting...

Our washing generally gets treated to a good 14000 rpm spin and laundry gets hung out whenever possible...

But this is Devon...

It rains...frequently...

We have been drying washing in front of the woodburner, but get this...we are 4 adults and a big hairy beast in a little cottage...damp air ain't really good for anyone day in day out...

So yesterday in a mad fit I succumbed, and ordered a Zanussi dryer...

Which turned up uber early this morning embarrassingly when I was still horizontal in my pit!

I could make excuses such as a bad nights sleep (all week actually) as chucking logs out the store, then playing skittles was a step to far apparently, and Wednesday morning I could hardly move my shoulder. It's still being a painful 'ugger, though not as bad as it was. I could say that hubby woke me up at silly o'clock when I had just nodded off to ask me something, but I shan't.

I shall just tell it like it 7:50am this morning I was still in bed...knowing full well a delivery was scheduled for sometime today...bad girl.

So two delivery men have seen me in my nightie...with tasteful cardigan thrown on top in haste...bare legged and footed...poor things...

And now for another confession...

The other day I was going to bake some rock cakes...well they never happened that day...and they haven't happened since either...but they will...I promise!

Today is going to be rather hectic...yesterday we swopped the shelves in the kitchen for a small dresser, that's still in the car...reason being we desperately need somewhere to leave out the kenwood mixer. Too big a beast to keep lifting about. So everything that was on the shelves is now on the folding plastic table. We also ventured to Launceston to our favourite butchers and had a big monthly buy up! This we then vacuum packed into ration portions. I need to paint the end of the larder cupboard before the dresser goes into place so basically I really need to get my little butt moving!

Blessings J. x

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Succumbing To What You Fancy

As I sit here, propped up lazily with cup of tea in hand in bed, my digestive system has been sending me signals...strange rumbling noises...

As I have been perusing some lovely blogs I've also spied a few recipes that I just haven't made for a choice today is rock cakes...

Oohhhh...warm from the oven...not too over done, with a steaming cup of tea...maybe in a bone china cup...yes of course!

Now the question of when to make them...a naughty breakfast treat...lunch...or late afternoon and risk them all being eaten off the cooling rack before tea wth none left for packed lunches? Perhaps mid afternoon would be sensible...a quiet treat for me...some magically spirited away for tomorrow's packing and still some for the cavemen to enjoy when they get home. Big smiles all round hopefully.

So that's one item on my to do list then...

The main one though....yuck...paperwork...

I have been very remiss of late...

Bad girl...

Little and often...I know I know...

So today good music, a warm fire, good company...Heidi behave!

And I shall conquer...not all but some hopefully.

Blessings J. X

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


I've ventured downstairs this morning only to make myself a cup of tea. Heidi is still very much in the land of nod, and though I must go to work shortly the warmth of the duvet beckoned for a few moments more.

It's looking like a hunker down sort of day. Next doors bamboo is swaying all over the place, if only I was that supple!

Youngest is still off work and yesterday this has been extended for another week. She's a little less jumpy but just not right bless her.

The other day whilst crossing a river with Heidi I photographed these...I'm useless with naming mushrooms. I bought a book which I still have that frightened me by its photos of very similar but different level of human tolerance for eating mushrooms and toadstools. Said book is at the inlaws...I'm sure you clever people will be able to identify it easily.

Just not me...I'm too much of a fraidy cat!

Blessings J. x


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Early To Rise

I've been up before the sun again this morning...another trip to the city for work...

Training this time!

Happily youngest is coming with me and I shall drop her off for a couple of hours while I probably get hoisted and rolled about.

We as a family haven't blessed the happy couple with gifts yet.

I have just started to make a patchwork snuggle quilt, which I intend to add a little embroidered message to them on the reverse...son is hoping to carve something out of wood...and youngest is preparing to stitch a sampler...

Personal gifts...

As we've already helped them financially I hope these will be things they will treasure for many years to come...they will be made with love anyway.

So away I must fly for today...

I'll just leave you with a picture that for me is very fact it is the picture of my header...

Holly and oak growing together...near a sacred spring...

I wander what fairy folk live in such a place as this!

Oh for the imagination of an innocent child...

Blessings J. x


Wednesday, 12 October 2016


Autumn appears to have two faces...

The one I love beyond doubt, with sunrises so intricate in picking out natures details, clear still air, and beautiful deep blue skies.

Then there is the other face which barely shows sunrise. Heavy dew lies all day, and the chill air seeps into your very soul. These days can only be described as dank in my book.

A dank day can still be beautiful, but takes considerably more work in order to find that beauty a joyous thing.

Today is a dank day.

This is how we are coping so far.

Even heavy fur coated Heidi has chosen to glean comfort from the lit woodburner.

I find a list helpful on dank days to focus my mind.

Today I intend to be easy on myself so said list should be easily attainable.

Youngest is going to college this afternoon for her accounting course. She feels up to going and as all her stresses are work related and not anything to do with college I am hoping it does her good.

I wish her to eat more than a mouse today though. Being away all day yesterday I could not keep as close an eye as I would have liked. I know she didn't eat much at all. Thank you for your kind comments...yes I am giving lots of're never too old for cuddles are you.

And as I sit fire hugging a feint glimmer of sun appears to be breaking through...

I hope it makes it as one job on my list is fetch some logs.

Blessings to you all, I know many of you have your own anguish at the moment also. Together we are stronger. J. x


Monday, 10 October 2016

Choosing Wisely

Foraging is exciting, and lots of goodies there are for the picking.

But some, though beautiful are not for the taking.

Black Bryony, a real no no...

Honeysuckle, to be treated with more caution than I am prepared to worry about.

There are many more berries to avoid, but these are the two I photographed this afternoon.

These little beauties are in short supply this year...sloes

The ones I have managed to find are now in a large pan of mixed hedgerow cordial.

Hubby is out on his skittle evening, and I have retired to bed extra early. I feel quite weary if truth be told. Youngest has been signed off work with stress for two weeks as of this afternoon. She really has been in a very stressful situation for the last few months with a very unsettled resident and it has escalated in the last few weeks to beyond her breaking point. All I can do is give hugs and support and trust the medication prescribed by the doctor will do her much good.

Tomorrow I have an extra early start as I need to be in Exeter. I'll not be happy leaving my baby by herself but unfortunately needs must. Heidi will keep her in good company I'm sure.

The other day I changed my header picture and Sue has mentioned that my blog no longer fitted width ways...I hope I have remedied this.

Blessings J. X


Sunday, 9 October 2016

Hubble Bubble

The words hubble bubble, toil and trouble have been springing to my mind as various vessels have been filled with jewel coloured liquids these past few days.

We have been blessed with a few days of lovely autumn weather, though rather windy at times. Dressed up in the correct attire (as in several removable layers) it really has been gorgeous.

Yesterday truly did find me practically bound to the kitchen perimeters, though I and Heidi took a lovely late afternoon ramble. We both picked blackberries, I brought mine home in my basket, whereas she ate directly from the prickly thorns.

I don't think Heidi understands the concept of storing for winter!

Yesterday I tasted the first of my blackberry cordial...with was delicious! I'm sure a little calorie laden also so it will be a treat rather than thirst quencher. (Well maybe)

The blackberries I had juiced using my steam juicer and not wanting to waste the berries afterwards I made some pastry, lined a tin, baked blind...

Next mixed in some sugar and cinnamon to the blackberries...and spread this over the pastry case. A basic sponge mix on top and hopefully I have an edible offering to take to the harvest festival this afternoon! If not I shall have to deny all knowledge as to who brought said offering! Have now tasted and it won't be making it to harvest! I should have sieved the blackberry mixture!

I also dealt with a load of tomatoes that were picked over a week ago...roasted with onions and garlic...skins and all, then blitzed...just right for topping pizza bases.

And for our tea...well a lovely but small piece of brisket cooked slowly on a generous bed of onions for most of the day tasted gorgeous with roasted potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, runner beans, carrots, peas and sweet corn. Lashings of onion gravy to boot! Yum it was indeed and just what was needed after a long day toiling in the kitchen.

Sadly my energy ran completely out the door after this and so there is still a small mountain of dishes to be attended to...well the beef one has charred welded onion remains, and the veg saucepans were just left to soak. I'm not expecting any elves in to do the housework this week so I guess it's another task with my name on it.

That was my yesterday. Happy all the way!

Blessings, J. X


Friday, 7 October 2016

The Morning's Chill

Summer tried desperately to hold on, but past Mabon the days shorten rapidly and the magical dew sprites visit almost nightly.

Cobwebs glisten as fine as any lace cloths amongst the hedgerows.

For those willing to look there are many treasures to find, natural jewels to gather for the lean months of cold and damp.

My most recent pickings are rosehips.

Now with nothing more than a little gentle kitchen magic these have been turned from inedible berries to a sparkling elixir of syrup to be enjoyed in the months to come.

Hygge is the new word for cosy, hugs, contentment, warmth, satisfaction.

Well I'm pleased to report that collecting natures offerings makes me very happy.

I probably look like a reincarnation of Beatrix Potter with my knitted shawl, boots and basket as I wander the local lanes.

Heidi is my very willing companion.

We will be heading out again shortly, to gather more of whatever we find, ensuring that my table continues to look like this for a while longer yet.

Blessings to you all for your kind words after my last post. Hopefully this troubled feeling will soon pass. Gathering natures offerings is helping soothe my soul.

J. x


Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Foraging Happiness

Well as the weather has been lovely the last couple of days what's a country girl to do but a spot of foraging


Yesterday afternoon a dog walk on the commons found me bringing home this

Destined to be hawthorn jelly


Also bubbling away the past couple of days has been runner bean chutney and some rose hip syrup


I tried my new steam juicer for the rose hips but in the end decanted the lot and boiled it up


Dawn from has one and I was keen to give it a go


Part of the problem was a non juicy fruit that I didn't cut up first


No worries though I have plenty of juicy blackberries to pop into it later


And some apples and a few sloes which I'm undecided what to do with yet as we still have loads of sloe gin un drunk


I'm doing my very best to be upbeat but unfortunately hubby has come crashing down after the wedding


Now he wants to move again, not to our forever home, oh and as we've put most of our money into this house quite frankly we're up a junction


I am happy here, no the cottage is not in our name, but we do have a claim on at least half of it which when husbands fathers farm/estate is eventually split we hopefully won't need


I enjoy living with youngest and her partner, and they are happy, for hubby it's a man's not in his name, and obviously as we are the ones hoping to be leaving eventually we have let them choose styles etc.


So no I will not be contacting a financial adviser to pay nearly £300 to be told we can't raise enough money to go it alone up the road in a smaller but more expensive cottage that's coming onto the market


I have spoken to father in law though...he does have a rental property he could sell and buy said cottage and rent to us, however this still wouldn't be our forever home and needs much work doing on it just to bring it up to what we are already living in


Oh and it still wouldn't be in hubby's name


Happy days


J. X