Maisie and I had a go at making 'white soda bread with duileasc' from Irish Seaweed Kitchen by Prannie Rhatigan recently. Duileasc is the Irish for dulse, a seaweed commonly found in Irish coastal waters. According to Prannie this is a seaweed that has been eaten in Ireland since 3200 BC! It also has the distinction of being mentioned in the Brehon Laws, a set of laws governing Ireland that was written in the 5th century. You won't find a better accompaniment to roast fowl seemingly!
If you have a little helper in the kitchen first get her to mix the dry ingredients.
Then add the seaweed.....
After a gentle mix, needed because the recipe uses spelt flour, pop in in the oven and 45 minutes later you have one very big and totally yummy seaweed soda bread!
Even though here on the mountainside everything still looks bare and brown, if you look closely you can tell Spring is on the way! The days do feel longer now, the evenings stretching out and the feeling with it that you can fit more into your day. The daffodils and snowdrops are beginning their journey back into the light and the birds seem louder and chirper and more intent. It's time for more walks, more outside time, time to buy raingear for Maisie!
Winter was good......but welcome Spring we're ready for you!
Found Murphy asleep on some warm knits and didn't have the heart to schoosh him off.
Got the paints out to make Valentine's day cards...painting with a 17 month old is messy but always good fun. We printed the hearts using a potato. I was going to put up a pic of Maisie during this painting session but she had so much red paint on her it looked a little frightening!
Found a new favorite cookie recipe in Get It Ripe. The Chewy Peanut Buttah Cookies are ridiculously addictive.
After my Granny passed away I asked my mother if I could have her sewing box. I remembered it from childhood and was pretty sure it would contain lots of vintage buttons and assorted old things that I would love.
It didn't disappoint.
I put off looking through all it's contents and decided I would only look when I was searching for something in particular. Practically every time I looked in it for the first few months I found another wonderful gem. It's contents were from a time when nothing was thrown away and everything saved in case it was needed again.
When I started knitting these gloves for my sister's birthday I knew I wanted to put some sort of trim around the top. I dug out the box and tucked away in a little plastic bag with other pieces of material was some beautiful lace.
My Granny had used this material for something she made, or saved it from a worn out item of clothing. Perhaps it was worn by one of our Aunts or Grand Aunts. It sat in the box for maybe 50 years only to be retrieved and turn a nice pair of gloves into something perfect.
Late one night last week we heard terrible screams outside. We figured it was the foxes. They sound eerily human sometimes. The next day I noticed the ravens gathering at the top of the field and knew something had died.
So we headed off for a look.
Two sheep had met their end. One of them was barely more than bones and a scattering of wool. The other looked like she had died more recently. Murph and I both peered over the hedge for a look, quietly, so as to catch a glimpse of any would be scavengers. There was nothing about and we were about to head home when we heard a loud bleat........I looked down and there was a tiny lamb!
Ovis aries- a sheep!
Murph was very good and obeyed my requests for him to leave the wee fella alone so I went over for a look. I presumed (wrongly) that the lamb had been orphaned and that the dead sheep nearby was it's mother so I picked him up and brought him home.
Seriously, how could you resist this face? I called our neighbour the farmer who came to collect him. I was already making plans for how we could keep him when he arrived. I realised at this stage that picking the wee fella up was probably not the wisest thing to do as my smell would be all over him. The farmer explained that the dead sheep was not it's mother so he would bring the lamb down to the flock and when he called out the mother should come running. The sheep that had died was an older sheep who had most likely died of natural causes.
Later that day my neighbour texted to say that the lamb had been reunited with it's mother....and it's twin! Seemingly she had wandered away with one lamb and forgotten about the other. I probably shouldn't have touched him at all and was relieved to hear that his mother had accepted him again. But it was so lovely to hold a tiny little lamb for a while!
Yesterday we prepared for St. Bridget's Day. Even though it was grey and windy, we knew we had to venture out to collect the rushes for our St. Bridget's cross. As well as being a patron saint of Ireland, Bridget was also a pagan Goddess. On this day, Bridget the Goddess of nature and growth, heralds the start of the Spring. And it remains a tradition to make crosses from wild rushes in many parts of the country.
First, collect your rushes.
Then pick the longest straightest rushes from your bunch.
Pick two of these to begin, A and B.
Wrap rush B around the rush A.
Turn the two rushes 90 degrees to the left and wrap rush C around rush A.
Turn the cross another 90 degrees and wrap the next rush around rush C.
Turn the cross another 90 degrees and wrap another rush. Keep going in the manner until your cross is the size you would like.
Bind the ends of the cross with string or yarn and snip off the untidy edges.
Hang up in your house as a little reminder of the green that is to come....
Happy St. Bridget's Day!