...nourish the end of the winter is a time when I long for the foods of spring and Summer, salads and the 'lighter' foods. But when we still have the odd day of snow, frosts in the mornings and the lazy winds* I am glad of the warm nourishing foods of Winter. We are still eating lots of soup, especially on those days when we need an outdoor picnic, and pies. I finally got round to sharing my pie recipes you can find them here. The odd salad is finding its way onto our menu but often it coincides with a particularly cold day and it is the last thing we want!
...prepare last month I shared with you my sourdough starter which I had just started to make. This month I have been getting to grips with using it. I have started off with a 100% rye one and have been making 100% rye bread with it. It makes two small loaves which is perfect for us, we are not big bread eaters in this house but we do like a little every now and then. At first the loaves did not rise very much, if at all. Now they are rising a little and each time I make a loaf they are a little bigger. I have been reading and researching as much as I can about sourdough and wild yeasts so that I can get a feel for what to do next. One thing I discovered is the more you make bread, the more yeast you have in the air which means your bread will rise more. This has helped me not to be too disappointed with those early flatter loaves. I know that rye does not rise as much as other grains but I knew they could rise more than mine were!
...reduce some months ago our washing machine died. We were loathe to sent it to landfill so my husband stripped it to see what we could do with the bits. We kept some for ourselves, we took some to a scrap metal merchants and local recycling facilities, the rest we tried to sell. At first we thought that no one was going to be interested, we had listed them on eBay and no one looked at them, but slowly and surely, one by one all the pieces have sold, the last one the last week in March, it seems we have done it. We have disposed of an old wasting machine without adding to landfill.
...green a few years ago I developed the symptoms of hives or urticaria on my hands, luckily for me it didn't and hasn't spread anywhere else. Once I worked out what it was and more importantly what was causing it, I have managed to keep it mostly at bay. I have always used skin products that were gentle on the skin and the environment, the sort with a list of ingredients I could understand, but the hives put paid to using any of the things I had in the house or any that I could buy. It was easy to make most things myself mostly using bicarb but there were two things I had always used, moisturiser and lip balm, which I couldn't find an alternative or a satisfactory recipe to make them, so I simply stopped using them. To my surprise I found I didn't need them, if I drink plenty of water then my skin doesn't get dry, my skin needing nourishing from within. I protect them from the cold by always wearing gloves, which I have also started to wear for washing up and cleaning as I find water to be the worst for drying out my skin. There are occasional days, usually just after a flare up, that my skin gets ultra dry, damaged by the hives. I have now found a cream which I can use and I do for one or two days but no longer all the time I not sure that was really helping my skin at all.
...grow I had hoped that March would see the start of me sowing seeds the month started off cool and then started to warm up. Just at the point when I was ready to go the temperatures nosedived again. We have finished the month with frosts and lots more snow! So the seeds area still waiting..........in those warmer days some of my spring bulbs did start to put in an appearance I just hope that the cold has not killed them off! I still have some salad leaves, that I sowed last year, still producing in the polytunnel and I have been sprouting beans, alfalfa and lentils in my kitchen as a welcome addition to our winter salads.
...create I have started lots of projects this month as we are moving towards a birthday season for me. I made a rainbow story sack for a friends little boy, I started on the contents of another one for my twin nephews. I ventured into the world of fairisle with a jacket for Alice which is knitting up fast. I cast on a project for myself with the wool that I ripped out of another project as it wasn't quite right. I have also designed a pattern for a dress/top for Alice, the fabric has now been cut out and is waiting to be sewn up.
...discover we were lucky enough to have a partial eclipse this month which I used as an opportunity for us all to learn about the sky, sun, stars and moon. It has been a great topic and we have learnt a lot, we have decided to continue for a few more weeks and learn about all the interesting planets. We are also hoping for some clear skies at night so that we can actually see the things we have been learning about!
...enhance I had a busy end to the month with several D of E commitments. It's a shame that these always get bunched together but as most of the participants are in school its inevitable that in the school holidays I am suddenly having to be here there and everywhere......
...enjoy I joined a local amateur orchestra back in October last year. They are part of an outreach group started, about fifteen years ago, by a professional orchestra . I have been attending their weekly rehearsals since then and have really enjoyed getting back into playing the violin and being in an orchestra, two things I have done little of since leaving school. They also hold regular events at weekends too, concerts, play days, sight-reading days amongst others. In March they have an annual get together of all the orchestras (there are now nine) to play together the music we have all been rehearsing for the past few weeks, this year the theme was dance. It was such fun but very tiring, I ended up playing for the best part of five hours!
*where I live they talk about a lazy wind being one that blows right through you rather than round you!