Preserving the Bounty: Easy Spiced Plum Jam for Beginners

Thank you Veronika for an “Eau My God” lovely, scented plum jam. I love the satsuma plums and star anise combination. Delightful and spicy, gorgeous with yoghurt, on toast or a beautiful gift. Simply amazing. ūüôā

Eat The Roses

Edit:  if you are looking for a recipe for spiced fig jam to go with your cheese, it’s here and it’s just as easy and awesome as this one.  For plum jam, and the better-detailed rundown on equipment and hot-water processing, read on!

One of the things I adore most about autumn is the fruit ‚Äď a generously wide variety of it, beautiful, ripe and inexpensive ‚Äď in some cases even free, unless you count picking it and hauling it home.

Obviously, as the time and stomach volume permits, I munch away at all of this glorious bounty raw, or in pies and tarts, but there is something incredibly comforting about preserving some of the perfectly ripe fruit at the peak of its flavor in jam jars, to keep for when the landscape turns white and blue, to remind us (and the lucky recipients of such jars) that winter…

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Bubbles, Candles and Music

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Rudyard Kipling has been¬†credited with the quote, “Delight in the little things.”

I’ve been thinking on this trying to work out what the “little things” are.¬† My conclusion is they are the things we take for granted, the things you do not miss until they are gone often those same things which when you had them were accompanied by a lack of gratefulness.

My thoughts lie with my old hot water heater, which is now sitting on my driveway with the hope some resourceful person may want it for parts.¬†¬† It has served me faithfully for one and a half decades, but 18 months ago it began to fail.¬† Until then I’d never given it¬†a minute’s thought.¬†¬†Over recent months¬† I’ve managed to “bandaid and/or¬†fix ‘er up a bit” but as she was laid to rest today¬†I came back to Kipling’s quote and realised that the simple pleasure of having running hot water on tap must be one of those little (first world) things to delight in.¬† I am grateful.¬† I am grateful that I have a home, that I have a job which can help to pay for the replacement of said hot water system.

I am grateful I have the time to delight in the little things.  This evening I will be expressing that by indulging in a hot tub with bubbles, candles and music.

May your little things be amazing.

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My favourite facts about Iceland so far!

I really admire people who go to the less well-known parts of the globe and are ecstatic about being amazed by things so different from what they are accustomed to at home. However, when I got to the last point on this one I decided should I ever step onto Icelandic shores I may become a vegan. Enjoy the simple delight bought to you by Hannah ūüėÄ

Merino Wool, Silk Sari, Raw Silk and Golden Threads

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There is an artist in me.¬† I am sure of it because I wanted it to be so since I was a child, as a teenager, as a young adult and still now as a woman looking towards retirement I want it to be so.¬† I participated in¬†a few years of art classes at high school, following all the guidelines, principles etc and produced some works considered good enough the school asked to buy my end of year folio.¬† However there was something not quite right from my perspective, it didn’t feel wild and exciting, like I thought it should be and I was a little disappointed.

So I dabbled here with a little textile, there with a little photography, a bit more in clay, followed by more classes including one where I used art as therapy to reach some dark places in me, jewellery making, then pencil and charcoal. Nothing ever seemed to fit, but something stuck was always trying to get out.

I’ve learnt in recent years art does not have to be perfect.¬† But it must be a rich,¬†deep form of SELF expression, a contemplation of one’s own truth.¬† That is what has been lacking, it’s not been the me I know speaking through the mediums I’ve tried.

“To me art is making mistakes; it’s the undetected magnificence of everyday¬†life and the pleasure of creativity.” Unknown.

This quote I came across a while back invigorated me.¬† Recaptured in my mind the¬†wild of my¬†garden, something I created¬†which is becoming a beautiful fabric of wonders.¬† Observing the magnificence of my garden and responding to it as a living, breathing system has given me that simply amazing pleasure of creativity.¬† And it’s a glorious mess of nature.

So now without perfectionism, without exams, without expectations I am heading for another rollercoaster ride.   Last weekend I produced the magic of felt for the first time.  It was tactile, I had a blast and am back on the artist train again.

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Oh Joy!  My heart is crying out for more.  Colours, clay, swirls, paper, faces and trees, trinkets, feathers, paint.  And more felt, fabric, ink.  I am ready to play again, like a child.

Paying the Price

A truly inspirational post. How hard do you fight for your dreams, or do they simply stay as dreams? Have a read of this amazing story, it certainly made me sit back and review my goals, how much I want them and how hard I would work towards actually achieving them. Thanks Grace and Huy for this post (more simply amazing people – I recommend you read their story).

Transponderings

Everything in Nepal comes with a price. Freedom from poverty for those fortunate to be in a position to attain it, has a steep price, paid not only in money but in blood, sweat and tears.

Behind every smiling face here, there is a story of the price that is willing to be paid.

Whilst riding up Tiger mountain just outside Pokhara Valley, I got to hear just one of these many stories.

I met a young man at the top. He was resting after a grueling training run up. It was Saturday, the only day off in the Nepali week.

He was training to get a place in the Indian army as a famed Ghurka, and follow in the footsteps of his father.

My father has been serving in the Indian Army for 18 years. He lives in New Delhi together with my mum. I live in Pokhara with my…

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Brigid’s Ritual

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brigid wanna be

Yesterday, I trimmed and tidied the lemongrass in the garden.  Today, I find this photograph which puts me in memory of my beautiful, black feline, Brigid, who delighted in lemongrass as opposed to the more mundane catnip or cat grass which I grew for her and her sister.

Well actually, she more than enjoyed it, she revelled in it.  It was a sudden change, one day she was happily chewing on cat grass, the next she was all over the lemongrass like a dog who enjoys a dead fish on the beach <phew!>.  It became an addiction, if cats have addictions.  It became a ceremony.

Every morning I would hear¬†a bleat from her and never having been very vocal all her 14 years it was an amusing thing for me.¬† Out the door, a quick squint in the sunlight, then to check on ‘her’ lemongrass.¬†¬†She would slink¬†around it once, eyeing off the juiciest leaves, then settle down and chew for about five minutes releasing the aromatic oils.¬† The young leaves would drop around the base of the plant.¬† Following¬†said mastication¬†she would lay down, roll and squirm among them for another five.¬† I found the scent arising from all the bruised leaves to be invigorating.¬† I am sure Brigid did too as I could swear she had a smile on her face after engaging in her morning ritual.

Today, like most days, I miss her company.  But simple memories bring her back.

RIP Brigid.

No One Spoke

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It’s been a while since I posted, I have been busy doing mundane tasks. This morning I promised myself to stop long enough to smell the roses and it worked. I stopped long enough to read and be a part of this beautiful morning ritual with a group of people unknown to each other and fell in love again with those small, but simply amazing, moments. Thanks for bringing me back, Stuart.

Storyshucker

Friends and I enjoyed sun, sand, and surf with other beachgoers on a recent Saturday. Sitting slathered in sticky sunscreen beneath our umbrellas, we pointlessly brushed sand from our legs as we discussed evening plans. The seagulls overhead laughed louder than the swimmers splashing in nearby waves while those of us on the beach napped, read, or simply watched people. My friends discussed how relaxing it was and how nice it would be to sleep late the next morning.

Sleep late? I mentioned to them that we only get so many sunrises in a lifetime. Shouldn’t we get up to look at a few?

They stared blankly for a second then shook their heads in unison. No.

In the wee hours of the next morning, alone in the dark, I started the short walk from house to beach guided only by dim lights above the boardwalk. It was eerily quiet at…

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