July really went by in a flash and ended in a heatwave. It’s always such a busy month. Here is a little roundup of what we enjoyed this month.
In Cambridgeshire July is Open studio month. Every weekend in July artists open their studio’s to the public. Each one is unique there is so much variety . Its a real privileged to be able talk to so many talented local artists about their work. One studio we NEVER miss is that of local watercolour artist Susan Eddy. I have known Sue all my life and it’s a real thrill to visit her studio each year and see how her work has evolved year on year. Her studio is idilically situated at her beautiful home and her garden i pretty wonderful too as are in her chickens. A highlight for the children.
I always find the end of term emotional, it never fails to make me reflective. This year was significant as my eldest daughter left primary school and will begin at secondary school in September. She has loved her primary school from reception right through. Made a very special best friend who I think will remain a friend for life. Her 7 years at our village primary have been turbulent to say the least my daughter has had no less than 5 headteachers during this time. The changes have been many and not always for the best. However her school and some fantastic teachers along the way has given her the incredible gift of a love and passion for learning that I know will last a lifetime.
On the allotment we had a good crop of both blackcurrants and rhubarb this year. I have successfully made delicious cordials of them. The blackcurrant is particularly good for making ice lollies with but the rhubarb is my favourite with its slightly more complex flavour and subtle hints of ginger and lemon. Here are the recipies I used rhubarb cordial and blackcurrant cordial.
Last month I recommended My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell that I am reading with my daughter the budding naturalist. This month I though it would be nice to include a book review from our resident bookworm who we shall call Freckles. Here is her review of the Skylarks War by Hilary McKay.
I would recommended The Skylarks War to anyone who likes novels set in the wartime aged 9 to 100+. It’s descriptions of Cornwall in the summers between 1908 – 1913 make for perfect summer reading
I liked how the story focuses on 3 main characters not one. Clarry is a brave femanist girl who wants to be just like her older brother Peter. Peter wants to be like his cousin Rupert. Every summer they spend in carefree Cornwall with their Grandparents but everything changes when World War One breaks out and Rupert joins up.
The war changes all the characters and it seems their carefree “skylark summers” are lost for now. A beautifully written book that’s transports you into its world of excitment and fear.
I enjoyed this book Hillary Mckay’s style and beautiful descriptions of England in the early 1900’s drew me in gently to this story before it became a gripping tale of survival and the passage of time.
It’s been a little while since I shared a recipe. I cooked this the other day and to my amazement all 3 of my children ate it. 2 of them asked for more! So after I danced myself stupid grinning madly from ear to ear I thought i’d best share this recipe.
- Red peppers
- Grated cheese
- 2 eggs
Half and deseed the peppers and lay them in an oven dish with a little drizzle of olive oil and some seasoning. In a bowl mash the falafel, add the beaten eggs and grated cheese (I used cheddar, feta woukd be lovely for more of a tang. Lots of possibilities here) and mix to combine.
Stuff the peppers with the falafel mixture. Press the mixture into the peppers so there are no air pockets. Add some extra grated cheese if you wish.
Bake in an over 200’C (180’C fan) for 35-40mins until the peppers are soft and tender.
It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.
Maud Hart Lovelace
Oh June, be still my heart. My very favourite month. The garden looks wonderful and the roses this year are particularly floriferous after a cool spring. Here is my little round up of what has bought us joy this June.
My daughter and I have been reading Gerald Durrels book My family and other animals. We are thoroughly enjoying it! My daughter is a keen naturalist and has been from tiny so I’ve been wanting to read this with her for a long time. I’m glad I waited until now. At 9 she is enjoying it imensly. Soaking up the wonderful stories about the insects and wild animals on corfu, laughing at the chaos of the Durrell family life and is thoroughly scandalised by the occasional swear word. This gives her the sense she is reading something very grown up and naughty.
I believe that all children should be surrounded by books and animals.
If you enjoyed the recent tv series you’ll enjoy the book even more.
Some people take part in 30 days wild during June. With our aforementioned naturalist in the house every day is wild and we are never far from wildlife in one form or another. My daughter has been keen to have a pond for a long time. Our garden is no more than a postage stamp so accommodating a pond has been challenging. we have tried various forms of container pond. The first one was a large terracotta pot painted inside with waterproof paint. It lasted quite well until one particularly cold winter when it froze several inches deep and cracked open. This meant an emergency re homing of her goldfish which miraculously survived. So last year we experimented with submerging a small plastic bucket into the ground. It worked well, survived the winter and before the summer was out we had a resident frog. Recently we found a large plastic half barrel container in a charity shop and hatched a plan for a pond epansion.
After much grumpiness from Daddy about having to dig the hole the new pond looks good and we are looking forward to planting it up. I hope this encourages you all to take a walk on the wild side with a pond however small your garden.
If a pond feels a little ambitious how about capturing the esennce of June and making some strawberry and elderflower jam. Recipe by Lavender and Leeks. I used my own homemade elderflower cordial, the recipe can be found in a previous post.
We have enjoyed some spectacular open gardens in June. I am always so grateful to those who open their garden to the public and never fail to be inspired.Above is a picture from one of my favourite gardens we visited. Aren’t those pots beautiful? What inspired me about this garden was the attention to detail. Every inch of it felt nurtured and carefully considered. Nothing was left ungardened. It certainly got me thinking about my own garden at home. You can find open gardens near you through the National Open Gardens Scheme (NGS). You might just be amazed at what’s on your doorstep.