The August / September Garden

Ok, so I have been very bad this year with the garden posts - To be honest this is because I didn't do as much as I had hoped to do in the garden. What amazes me about growing your own food though, is that you really don't have to do much to feed yourself and keep a family in a few fresh garden vegetables.

Even when doing the bare minimum in the garden over the past couple of months, we still had our own:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Rhubarb
  • Brocollii
  • Garlic
  • Peas
  • 3 varieties of beetroot
  • Courgette
  • Lettuce
  • Rocket
  • A variety of Herbs
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Kale
  • Red Cabbage
  • Chili's (hopefully)!

The apples, pears and soft fruits this year are incredible, there are so many of them, on our own trees as well as growing wild around us in brambles and hedgerows. There also seems to be an abundance of sloe's (hopefully this will make up for last year), damsons, blackberries, hips, nuts and mushrooms.

Wild Free Food!

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All the time I am discovering the many wild and wonderful ways nature gives... and just keeps giving.

This, I realise is one of the most precious gifts that we have, It's there for free, for all - All we have to do is respect it and nurture it.

It's Simple - The simple life, we don't need to complicate our lives with over consumerism and waste - Plant a few seeds, grow some of your own food, buy clothes in second hand shops, make them yourself, make do with what you have.

Life is simple, nature is simple - Striving to live in harmony with it, is the part we so often make complicated.

My September garden/life Intention = Harmony. 

Solstice Time

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As some people are already aware the solstice, both winter and summer tend to have a profound impact on me, in the sense that they appear to effect change and offer new direction. This solstice is no exception.

The summer solstice seems to be my time for new ventures, growth and action, whilst the shortest day of the year is my time to sit back reflect and take stock. This time last year I embarked on the project that is America Village. This year I am developing and introducing America Village Apothecary products to the world!

Although this train has been in motion for a while, I now believe that the time is right for it to depart my pantry and move on to shop, bar, market and restaurant platforms - A little daunting but very exciting! 

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To mark the day I hosted an Apothecary Club Brunch, which was a lovely way to begin the new solstice cycle. The gathering continued well into the day - Always a good sign when a brunch gathering continues into the late afternoon. There was great company, stories, plant identification and tasting. Cakes, cakes and more cakes, crumble, scones, syrups, extracts and essence, cordial's, coffee, tea, tea and yet more tea! 

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Of course the day wouldn't have been complete without a twilight walk - Bright until nearly midnight; An Elderflower and Cherry Rosé Prosecco Cocktail -

"So we grew together like a double cherry, seeming parted, but yet an union in partition, two lovely berries moulded on one stem" - 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' William Shakespeare 

Because a cocktail just wouldn't be right on midsummer's night without the cherries - and a wee dance with my love - MIDSUMMERS MAGIC. 

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Natural Dye Days

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For a while now I have been wanting to experiment with some natural dyeing methods. Being that I am such a fan of Ulex Europaeus I figured that here would be a good place to start. 

I had bought some simple pure white muslin a few weeks ago with the sole purpose of brightening up a few of the windows here in chez baile mheiriceá - I had visions of subtle hues of yellow muslin floating on the summer breeze! 

Here is how my vision took shape:

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This was my first attempt, (probably since school) of dyeing something using natural materials. I decided that I would just try it out based on what I knew about dyeing and see how I got on.

For a first effort I was quite pleased with my attempt, the finished outcome wasn't as 'yellow' as I had expected but I am happy with the subtle colour that it took - A shade that would never be possible using synthetic dye's.

I am speculating that it wasn't as yellow as I had expected for a number of reasons: My fixer and the actual flowers themselves (they weren't fresh that day, but had been sitting in my basket patiently for a few days!

I am going to keep experimenting with different methods and process' and will keep you in the loop, but for now: Process number one.

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Process No. 1 

  • I tied the gorse in a piece of muslin to avoid it snagging the material
  • I prepared the material for dyeing with a salt fixer - I simmered the fabric in about half a cup of salt for approximately half an hour
  • The fabric was then placed into a LARGE saucepan with the packaged gorse
  • Pour hot water over the two, making sure that there is enough to cover your fabric and allow for enough room so that everything can be stirred freely
  • Simmer and stir occasionally for approximately 45mins
  • When you are happy with the colour, hang out to dry. 
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If you happen to be an expert regarding natural dyeing techniques or could offer advice/tips - Please feel free to do so... And remember you could always enjoy your efforts and hard dyeing work with a 'Mellow Yellow'!

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