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Saturday, 12 October 2019

Chorda filum - dead mans rope

One of the common thong like seaweeds found around our shores and can be easily confused with other strap or lace like seaweeds.


Normally found in the low to middle intertidal zone it's quite easy to see around the northern European coastlines. It's also called whip weed, mermaids tresses and boot lace weed. It is edible and high in antioxidants but not often consumed by people, it's ok and worth a try if you're feeling peckish. It can be dried and then broken up and added to stews and soups to provide a deeper saltier flavour. 


Phil.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Butterburr basket and hazelnuts

There is such an abundance of high fat foods this year and all the little furry critters are stuffing themselves that it's making me wonder what sort of winter we are in for. So not to be outdone and to give the squirrels a little competition I happened upon a great little hazel coppice near a lough and decided to take a few nuts for myself. I wasnt expecting to find anything so I didn't bring a bag but I did find a few nice butterburr leaves..


A couple wrapped into a cone shape and fixed in place with a twig made a very acceptable container


And another 10 or 15 mins collecting saw over a pound of hazel nuts gathered. They are still a little white but on the turn and will further ripen if kept inside. 
Thinking of BlackBerry Charlotte for pudding. Yum.

Phil.

Monday, 30 September 2019

An audience with ... Bob Harper.

It seems to be the season for meeting really inspiring characters. I was recently privileged to hear sir Ranulph Fiennes give a lecture and he was such a witty and inspiring chap. This weekend I got an invite to meet with Bob Harper and his lovely wife Christine.
I'm sure some of you will already know of these wonderful people, newspaper columnists, authors and most especially, round the world sailors.
I spent a wonderful afternoon in their company being told stories of wild weather, pirates, cannibals and hilarious mishaps. He shared some great stories of survival at sea, meeting indigenous tribes, weird food and local primitive skills and customs, I could have picked his mind for ideas for hours.


Bob, christine and oscar.


He also took the time to show me round his property and it had some of the most beautiful ancient trees I have ever seen including this magnificent specimen of an irish strawberry tree, the biggest one I have ever seen. 
I have no doubt our paths will cross again soon.

Phil.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Home made fish smoker

I found a couple of pieces of metal that seemed to fit together quite well, I've no ide what they are from but I figured I could put them to some use. So I reckoned a fish smoker would be ideal,








I think it'll work quite well, I can use a gas heat source or even charcoal and I'm pretty sure the result will be tasty smoked fish either way, time to get the mackerel rods out again !


Phil.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

A visitor to the garden

It's been a long time since I've seen one of these little fellows alive and well, but it was nice to see him wandering around the garden doing damage to the slug population.


Phil.

Monday, 9 September 2019

The Admiral, the peacock and the painted lady.

It's been a wonderful year for butterflies and the 3 which seem most prevalent are the red admiral, the peacock and the painted lady. So nice to see such a wonderful display of colour from mother natures palette box.


The Red Admiral


The Peacock



The Painted Lady.


Phil.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Home made wheat flour.

No matter where I've been lately, along the coast, hedgerow or mountainside I seem to see wheat growing everywhere, I've been noticing it more and more over the past year or so, so I thought I'd have a little trial just to see how easy it is to grind my own flour. I'll do it on a small.scale first then increase the production later.


Wheat stalks with kernels dry and ready to harvest.


Just to show the kernels ready before winnowing 


4 heads produced this much wheat, I gathered more but I'll keep it for later.



I'll start with a little at a time in the pestle and mortar 



Doesn't take too long to grind it up


Didn't take too long to grind it up. The flour is still a little coarse but I'll grind it further. I've another 6oz of wheat to be milled, when I've done that I'll try making something with it. I'm happy with it so far.


Phil.