Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Treacle pudding.

Finally, here is the recipe for the delicious treacle sponge pudding that I made last week. It's lighter than the traditional suet pudding but is probably just as loaded with calories!

75g butter or marg
75g sugar
2 eggs
100g self raising flour
1 tbl sp milk.
Treacle or golden syrup.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and add them gradually, I find that a wooden spoon is best for this, as it seems to curdle less. Fold in the sifted flour and then the milk. Beat thoroughly.

Grease a 1 litre pudding bowl and put the treacle or golden syrup in the bottom. Pour in the mixture and cover with greaseproof paper and foil. I usually make a small fold or pleat in the top of the paper and foil so that there's room for the sponge to rise. If it doesn't rise too much don't worry it doesn't always.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and put the bowl into this, carefully. Steam for 30minutes at a rapid boil and then another 30minutes at a simmer. My recipe book suggested the second time should be 45mins to an hour. I find this too long and the sponge can dry out, but to compensate, I leave the bowl in the hot water for 10/15mins or so with the heat off, as I prepare the custard or get the cream and dishes ready.

This can also be made with jam or apples in the bottom of the bowl in place of treacle. Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Oh Pants!

I can't believe this! Two pets in two weeks. Tonight I found my beautiful bunny, Bigwig, asleep forever. I cried buckets. We've had him a loooong time, about 7years and he's fathered many babies and produced many generations still talked of in the village.

This was taken last August with Charm, Bigwig's son. We will make the most of Charm, and remember all the crazy things Bigwig did, from doing the wall of death around the sofas in our lounge, to chewing his way through the computer cables and narrowly missing death in a more spectacular way.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Fencepost tortoise.

Now you know I'm not normally one to air my political views but I love this little anecdote/story so much that I felt like sharing.

While stitching up the hand of a 75 year old Devon farmer, who cut it on a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Gordon Brown, his appointment as Prime Minister and his delusion that he commanded the armed forces.

"Well, you know," drawled the old farmer, "this Brown fellow is what they call a fencepost tortoise."
Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a fencepost tortoise was.
The old farmer said, "When you're driving along a country road and you come across a fence post with a tortoise balanced on top, that's called a fencepost tortoise."

The old farmer saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain,
"You know he didn't get up there by himself, he definitely doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he is up there, and you just have to wonder what kind of idiot put him up there in the first place."

I know we all have our views and opinions and this comes a little close to mine, please don't be offended :)

Friday, 26 March 2010


I'm feeling really quite low today. After spending my time this week nursing a poorly hen, I finally decided last night that Leia was not getting any better :( She seemed to be suffering from some kind of paralysis and keeping her warm in the kitchen and hand feeding her hourly, just seemed to be prolonging the problem. I'd noticed that she wasn't eating much or coming out of the hen house over the weekend, but on Tuesday I had to bring her in as the other girls had badly beaten and pecked her. I wrapped her up and put her in the cat basket and waited for the inevitable. By Wednesday she seemed to be rallying, so I began the hourly feeding and watering. Yesterday though saw no improvement and her returning strength just emphasised how incapable she was of moving properly. By teatime she was refusing food.

I know that it sounds crazy, but I couldn't face the thought of anyone dispatching her other than a vet. I can't say that I begrudge the money, because I gave Leia a quiet and dignified end. She has been a lovely pet to our family and deserved no less than I'd give to our other animals.

To cheer me up, hubby took me to the garden center and we bought some grow bags. I'm going to get the vegetable area sorted out over the weekend and plan to make a new home for our remaining chickens at the field. I had wanted to get more chickens, but yesterday made me back up a bit. I can be such a sentimental old fool sometimes!

Later, I promise to post up the recipe for the treacle pud :)

Monday, 22 March 2010

Two in one day?

Yes, it's true, two posts in one day. I guess I'm getting over my block then :)

I just had to tell you this as I'm really pleased. We took the ponies out for a walk again today, and I decided that Toffee is probably fit enough now to start carrying me again. I've gained a little weight and he's had a sore back in the past, which is why we've been walking so much. Today he was like a skittish lamb and barely seemed to notice me, although I did leave the saddle off as that can be a bit heavy for him along with my weight compared to the Moomins slight frame.

Both ponies flew along as Hubby jogged beside Merlin and I did my best Gypsy impression on Toffee, which is like a sack of spuds and not traditional English riding, all uptight and neat! Toffee hopped onto the verge to save his feet and before I knew it we were doing a beautiful, rolling canter. My first ever bareback. I'm still on a high now, even after a sit down and a cup of tea :)

When I get back, I'll post the recipe for treacle sponge pudding, just for Julia :)

Edited to add: I'll get to the recipe as soon as possible. I've been busy with a very sick hen :(


I'm feeling Springy today :)

I spent a good hour yesterday digging over one of the vegetable beds at the field, which explains those mysterious aches in my arms, and then we took the ponies for a loooong ramble in the woods.

I think this is one of Merlin's favourite walks. There are lots of horses in the field below that he can shout at and show off to and then this steep but exciting track up through the trees.

It's such a magical place here. So still and silent, removed from the real World by tall elegrant trees and thick undergrowth, gnarly roots and more than a few faeries.

Toffee found the stoney path a struggle, but he'd follow the moomin wherever she went.

It was late when we got home, but our roast dinner was cooked to a sticky, delicious melt in the mouth crumble and as if I didn't need the extra calories, I topped it off with a home made treacle sponge pudding, yuuuummmyyy :)

Saturday, 20 March 2010


In the last few months, I feel like I've been so caught up with distractions from the school and fitting in my new routine that I've begun to lose the essence of who I really am. Now, with the Spring Equinox upon us, I feel the need to reconnect with my beliefs and myself.

Ostara is celebrated at the Spring equinox, it's a time of balance, when day and night are of equal length, when Winter is losing it's grip on the World. Spring is waiting patiently to delight us with green shoots and the promise of her bounty. Very soon it will be time to pick nettles and indulge in nettle soup season, one of my favourites. Around the same time, the asparagus will be coming up and we'll be eating fresh greens from the garden.

Despite the heavy rain yesterday, we managed to have a great time. Firstly indulging in a little couch potatoism and then some unenthusiastic housework!

The afternoon found us visiting with some lovely friends who's daughter played the harp as we sat drinking coffee. I didn't want her to stop, the music was so delightful. We then went to see one of their ponies who was in need of a Reiki treatment. He was a joy to treat and I had a very pleasant time with him. The afternoon whooshed by and then it was home for a dinner of sausages.

I hope you all had a lovely day and can feel the approach of Spring wherever you live in the World.

Monday, 15 March 2010


I had a rare quiet day today. Moomin was poorly and I didn't feel so great either so we spent a relaxed time making art. I had a few things to catch up on, including my Eriskay pony painting, which is over on the studio blog. I finished a few bookmarks and made some lovely (well I think so) crystal necklaces.

I had help from my dear old cat, Arnie, while my even older cat Max kept an eye on the fire all day.

I prepared a couple of pieces of wood and a canvas, and it was blue, all blue!

We curled up on the sofa with my sketchbook and The Labrynth on the DVD. I sketched a few owls and then for fun, some badgers, but strangely, no goblins today!

Finally, just one of the necklaces, a gorgeous banded blue tigers eye, with a perfect little eye at the tip, which is pretty rare. This will go in the Etsy shop, but the price is eluding me, as it's worth a lot due to the rarety of the eye in it, but I'd rather sell it than keep it, as I already have one of my own ;)

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The real World

The intrusion of the real World is so very vexing! I'm quite snowed under with things to do and not enough hours in the day.

In an effort to declutter and simplify my life, I've actually given myself more work to do!!! But as the saying goes, you can't make omelettes without breaking eggs and so the mundane has been taking over everything else. For a brief moment, last week, there was light at the end of the tunnel, but now I'm back to surveying piles of dross with mounting panic.

How I ever managed to fit in some sewing is beyond me, but I had a commission to fill, and so put on some harp music and stitched Reiki into a little pouch to heal a friend's bad back. The whole experience was very spiritual for me, as I filled the pouch with healing and Universal Energy. It was such a pleasure, that I may well consider selling these in the Etsy shop.

This is the pouch, lightly scented with herbs appropriate to help my friend's back and with Reiki held in every single tiny stitch. I then sat for a while and meditated while focusing on my friend.

I was so pleased with the pouch, I then designed this little book based on a needle book.

It is lined and again filled with Reiki energy, but with no specific issue in mind. You simply write the name of the person or situation that requires healing on a piece of paper, and place it inside the book. The Universe does the rest.

For me now though, it's back to doing my chores. I wish I could magic up a paperwork fairy to help out with my growing stack of papers!

Edited to add: One stack of papers is gone and now the rest can be filed (in the bin, haha!) I feel so much happier now at the prospect of a week filled with artisic endeavours :)

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Treats and eats!

I managed to get some baking done at the weekend, and used my favourite and best flour from our local mill. When I say local, I mean about 15miles away, but actually, these days that's pretty good. It's quite a heavy, wholemeal flour and I usually mix it with some Allinson's, which isn't at all local, but if I use it straight, then it tends to produce a loaf with the density of a housebrick.

The bread was delicious, burning our fingers and mouths with our eagerness.

A little home made jam and a pot of tea made it the ultimate comfort food.

Later, a visit from some lovely neighbours bearing gifts of French chocolate, wine and

a large sack of 5 cereal bread flour. They are such kind and sweet neighbours, and were very grateful to us for looking after their adorable little french kitty, Mimi, whilst they were away.

I'm so looking forward to making bread with this flour that I may even do a step by step photo experience!!!

lastly, a little note to say that there are a few new cards in my Etsy shop, to celebrate Easter or Eostre or Ostara. Whatever you choose to call it is fine as it's still the beginning of Spring and lets all jump for joy.