Welcome welcome to this page of hopeful knowledge! i invite you in to share the goings on and the growings of many things wise, wierd and sometimes wonderful........

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Early April foraging !

today whilst wondering in the woodland areas and green isle of hedges today, it has struck me that yes it might be bloomin cold and perhaps not as dry as it has been, and my breath is forming cold clouds infront of my mouth as i walk along looking at the floor about me. it does in fact seem to be a very beautiful spring.
spring is one of the most beautiful times of year, not just for your eyes but also for your belly! there is plenty to offer in mother natures larder in these damp and green days!

today i fed myself of a dinner of broad bean and nettle patties, with hedge garlic and chives, along with a few st georges shrooms on the side,i dine like a king at these plentiful times of the year!!  my body is feeling all the goodness of this wild and wonderful food!

Please Always use a book on wild food or foraging, whilst out in mother natures larger, mis identifying your food could end quite badly, if your not sure dont munch it! be careful! but do be interested because it is a brilliant traditional skill to have, one that should be passed on down generations !!

this is hedge garlic! a very pretty little plant , with small white flowers forming at the top, hedge garlic is tasty in salads , and cooking for a slight garlic like flavour, typically despite the name is of not horticultural relation to the garlic family.
another tasty salad 'bitter cress' which is not, in my opinion, at all bitter, very much like water cress in taste, nice peppery flavour, the leaves do look like small delicate versions of water cress. a very tasty salad indeed.
Comfrey!  ah a gardeners best friend, comfrey tea is great for your plants, the leaves are good for mulching with! and its actually a pretty tasty treat once cooked, according to a close friend a comfrey fritter is his favourite spring dish! i like it in my nettle soup! but a fritter wont go a miss.
chickweed! well this is possibly a conventional gardeners worst nightmare! however it is a beautiful little plant, it produces star like white flowers later in the season! chickweed tastes like an earthy less irony spinach! it is delicious in salads, as well as cooked, i love adding a good bit of chickweed to a curry!
bringing back child hood memories! yes this is sticky willy! or cleavers! believe it or not it is loverly once it has been cooked up, and no it will not stick to your insides! its delicious and when wilted it becomes the most vivide emerald green! also good in a nettle soup, they often grow together (picture below) so if you get some sticky willy by accident well it does not matter at all!
nettles and Cleavers! easy pickings for your soups!

 Nettle soup is very good for you, full of vitamins and nutrients, nettles have a cleansing affect on the body, drinking nettle tea is another way of utilising their nettley goodness!
i have had many a compliment on my nettle soup, some people only remember me because of it, "yes im the girl who made the nettle soup"well they remember the soup anyway! 
enjoy and happy safe foraging! 

DON"T EAT IT!!!!!!

Rodger Philips wild food book is a very concise and accurate encyclopaedia , Colins guide do great little food for free books as well.

This is my own Nettle soup recipe, its not exact but nothing ever is these days!

lexi's Nettle soup

1 big bag of Nettles picked fresh
Cleavers as many as you wish
small bunch of hedge garlic leaves (maybe 8)
wild garlic (or shop garlic) each is grand! use about 6 cloves, or 3 wild bulbs and shoots
2 big red or white onions
1 big big potato or 2 medium sized potatoes
lots of black pepper
salt to taste
a stock cube of your choice
olive oil

i always add a bit of mixed spice, 
ground all spice and a pinch or 2 of cinnamon, its good i promise!

  • in a big pot fry up your chopped onions, garlics (if your using wild garlic save some of the end green bits for sprinkling, or a couple of wild garlic flowers for the beauty factor)
  • add your potatoes which have been roughly chopped up fry all of this in olive oil 
  • add in the cinnamon, allspice and mixed spice
  • toss all of this about until the onions and garlic are soft and melty
  • add the stock cube to about 800ml of boiling water (you can add mor or less eending on how thick you want your soup to be)
  •  add this stock to the big pot 
  • add the nettles and cleavers
  • put a lid on the big pot and bring to the boil
  • simmer the soup for 15 minutes or so, until your potatoes are soft
  • if you like leaves in your soup dont blend it all up, but if you want a smooth soup then blend away
eat your soup with a big hunk of wholesome bread! and i hope you enjoy!
thank you for reading!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

How to Make your Own Worm Composting System

How to make a worm composting system

WHY would you do such a strange thing??
•Vermiculture or worm composting is a rapid composting system
•Responsible, easy RECYCLING of organic household waste, apparently by using a composting system to get rid of our organic waste, we can reduce the amount of rubbish (per person) that goes to landfill, by 50%, i think that is pretty incredible!
•Each worm can convert its own weight of waste into compost each day
•Produces high quality compost

To make your composting system You will need:
•Worms (you can buy worms, but personally i like to have a little dig for them myself, or you can leave the bottom tyre open to the soil, and they will find their own way in)
•A sheltered spot (e.g. corner of a garden)
•4 used tyres (which you can pick up for free from a local car workshop, there are always plenty of used , leftovers which we can make use of)
•Old newspapers
•Drainage material (pebbles)
•A bucket of good quality Compost
•And last but not least a lid!

working from the bottom up, this diagram explains the set up,layout, contents and layout of the worm composting system!

What can i feed my Worms?

Most organic household waste
e.g. plate scrapings, tissues, vegetable peelings, straw,bones, hair (from your hair brush or pets hair), the hoover bag contents(excluding plastic bits and metal bits, and pennies or even pounds, if you should be so lucky, that may be hanging about in the hoover bag),paper scraps,newspapers, your torn up bank statements, material or fabric off cuts.

all of these wonderful things you can feed your worms! which is excellent, but do be careful not to feed them too much of one thing, e.g. loading up your worm's house with straw will cause problems, with the speed of decomposition, just be careful and add things to your compost system thoughtfully. it may look very full sometimes, but a week or two later, it will have sunk down, as the worms begin to do their job of munching and converting your waste into wonderful compost.

What to avoid feeding your worms
Avoid excessive citrus fruit peelings
Avoid adding excessive amounts of meat
The vegetable to meat ratio is about 70 /30

Your Worm Compost!!

the end product of your worm composting system, is not just a large population of very happy worms, but also a great deal of nutrient rich incredibly good compost, which should be dark in colour and earthy smelling.
i have a 3 tyre stack in my back garden in a 5 person household, we have emptied our compost system around twice a year, depending on the temperature (warmth increases decomposition speed, so summer is the best season for your compost).
to empty the system and get the compost onto your garden, move the bottom tyre out, and empty the most decomposed and rich composted goodness onto your vegetable garden, flower garden or wherever you feel it will work its magic, when the tyre has been emptied we put it right back on top of the stack. it really is an efficient easy system to use!
Why it was A GOOD IDEA to invite these worms into your home?
•Worms can be highly beneficial members of the house hold
•worms are highly efficient, and we can benefit from them greatly, using them to help reduce our food wastage
•They also can provide us with large amounts of wonderful nutrient rich compost
•FOR FREE!!!!!

Happy composting !!

feel free to ask me any question about your worms and their new home and i shall do my best to answer them! and if i cant i will research the answers especially for you! how does that sound?

the table of spring

Ever since i was a youngling i have been an avid collector, i collect mostly natural things, although the odd key, nut or bolt has been known to join my natural collections.
i begun as a child by keeping a small wooden cupboard with my little sister, and in this cupboard there was many small sections, we collected flowers, acorns, little bits of moss, amongst other small bits and bobs to add to this cupboard, and each season the collection changed.
i still keep a nature table in my bedroom, i find it a good way to keep track of the seasons, as well as to keep my curiosity and connection with the natural world chugging along throughout my daily life.
This is a great way to involve children with the outdoor world, and encourage a love of plants, seeds, and animals.
The adventures of collecting are unlimited and when your collection grows it becomes something you are very proud of. I hope that my little nature table inspires you to collect your own bits of nature in your homes. A little visual tangible snippet of outside, indoors if you like.......

here are a few photos of my collection from April :-

moss, lichens, bones , dried flowers, egg shells, feathers from a pleasant pheasant, dried mushrooms, a bumble bee amongst other bits and bobs, i collected these over a month or so, i think its a rather beautiful little spring collection and i hope you agree.....