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Saturday, 25 January 2020

How to roast beech nuts

Every few years or so we get a mast year , a year when nuts are in profusion. Most people know about hazelnuts and walnuts and acorns but few ever bother with beech nuts or mast as they are sometimes called. It is understandable as they can be fiddly to prepare  but if you take the time you can end up with a delicious snack that tastes just a little different than other nuts.


The first thing you have to do (after the husk is removed) is to peel off the tough skin that coats the nuts, this is fiddly, but it is worth it so persevere.


Next step is to roast the inner nut in a shallow pan, the inner skin that coats the nut (similar to a peanut) can be left on as its roasting as it often falls off in the process. Keep roasting until the steam evaporates and the nuts start to gently brown.



Once roasted you can rub them gently in a cloth to remove and skin that is left, then put them in a container with a little salt, they taste wonderful and have a distinctive taste to other nuts that is quite delicious, if stored salted, in a jar, they will keep for a considerable time. Enjoy.


Phil.



Saturday, 18 January 2020

Rustic 3 leg stool

I found, as you often tend to, a log washed up along the bank of a small stream. Instead of using it for firewood as would normally happen I decided to try and make something useful out of it


I cut a couple of rounds from it and one longish length the idea being to make some stools.


The rounds made lovely little seats easily capable of holding an adults weight though they do have a tendency to split over time, I will split the longer piece and make long stools that will be more stable.



And after a few coats of linseed oil, they are practical, pretty and easy to make.


Phil.




Sunday, 5 January 2020

Sea Buckthorn

One of those nice and nasty little sea bushes we find all around the coasts these days, it's got wonderful little berries but they're a nightmare to get at leaving behind scratched and bleeding arms.


Normally you can find lots of these berries, often called sea berries, on these bushes but the ones I came across where rather sparse, none the less it always worth a nibble for the really sour astringent taste you get from them which I really like , as long ad you can get past the initial plasticy taste!
They have been used in the past to feed to horses, been used as a herbal medicine and often used in proprietary brands of cosmetics. They are also often found when most other berries have long gone.




Messy when picked you often have to lick the juice off your hands but if gathered in quantities can be made into pies , jams and juice drinks. They also contain trace amounts of vitamin B12 which is rarely found in plants.


Phil

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Happy Christmas 2019

To all my wonderful buzzard friends who have joined me down through the years I just wanted to thankyou so much for being a part of the Buzzard family, I love and appreciate you all wherever in the world you come from, may you have a blessed christmas and a happy and healthy new year.

Tried something different this year instead of a wreath I hope you like it.




Phil.


Sunday, 22 December 2019

Winter Solstice at Newgrange.

The solstice, this year, fell on the 22nd december and we made the trip to county Meath as the northern tribes have done for thousands of years to celebrate the turning of the darkness into light. Older even than Stonehenge or the pyramids of Giza, Newgrange has been a focal point for those who watch nature and feel compelled to follow its calling. The site faces south east and has a light portal that shines into the chamber at sunrise on each winter solstice, a few lucky ones get to see inside when this happens.


Facing south east just as the sun crests the horizon


The light reflects on the site facing it..


And casts our silhouettes upon the stones


Entering the chamber at sunrise


And inside 


The roof of the burial mound.

I hope the tribes from the north and indeed the rest of the world continue to visit at this remarkable time and honour those of us who have gone before.


Phil.


Friday, 20 December 2019

Scottish road trip part 6 - scenery.

I think the one thing I'll take away from this trip was the beautiful scenery and colours of the landscape, it really was quite breathtaking, not much else I can say best just to let the pictures do the talking.






Phil.

Friday, 6 December 2019

Scottish road trip part 5 - firethorn

Another unusual plant find was this lovely looking thing, pyracantha or firethorn. When I first noticed it out of the corner of my eye I thought it was hawthorn but the berries were very crimson red, on a closer look the leaves were similar in shape to blackthorn, I'd never seen it before so had to do a bit of research on it. The berries are very astringent but good when cooked and made into pies or jam. It is often grown as an ornamental and I'm sure could be confused with cottoneaster. Still one I hope to find again and I'll make use of the fruit this time.




Phil.