After a still, cloudy day, the late afternoon is streaming through the trees casting long shadows over the grazing goats and dancing across my bedspread. It’s been a good but busy week, and I’m basking in this moment of quietness and light.
It’s been so nice to be out in my gardens again, nurturing the established silverbeet, elderberry, artichokes, and chilies, cheering on the newly sprouted sugar snap peas, broad beans, lettuces, and leeks. Yes, leeks. THEY GREW!!! After four years of trying unsuccessfully with different types of seeds and in various soils, I finally found success with Musselburg leeks from Eden Seeds in black soil enriched with worm castings. I’m overjoyed.
Bear has been working hard on a 12th century medieval bed. He found a “close enough” bed in a thrift store and we brought it home. He dismantled the entire thing, took out all modern screws, nails, staples, and other bits, and has painstakingly rebuilt, holding it all together with wooden dowels. It is nearly done and is so beautiful. I can’t wait to show it to you. But first I need to finish making linen sheets for it, and a medieval patchwork quilt to keep us warm on very frosty winter nights.
With our first medieval event less than two weeks away, I’ve also been paying special care to my medicinal herbs and plants that I use in my medieval folk medicine demonstrations. Next week I’ll be mixing a comfrey poultice for broken bones, elderberry cordial for sore throats and influenza, fenugreek gel for fevers, and my favorite boozy date jam that makes stomach aches disappear. (If you’re interested in medieval recipes for home remedies, click here to see my book: “herb & spice: a little book of medieval remedies.)
I’ve also been adding flowers to my garden, both to entice our newly arrived bees and for my own pleasure. I put in fiery red salvias, hollyhocks, vinca, and these gorgeous Hypoestes aristata, a gift from one of my gardening friends.
I’ve been adding more Australian natives to our farm – grevillea and bottlebrush – and magnolias, just because they make me happy.
This week my blueberries started flowering. They survived the summer heat thanks to a thick mulch of pine cones and pine needles that also help keep the soil acidic. Last year they produced just enough to snack on a few each day, but this year I hope to get enough to bake with, and maybe enough for some blueberry liqueur.
Today my friends Oma and Jess came over to teach me how to make Hungarian sausages. While I’ve been making Italian sausage and sage-y breakfast sausage for several years, I’ve never made authentic Hungarian ones before. It was so much fun!!! We made a seasoning slurry of garlic, salt, black pepper, and paprika and mixed it into the beef mince until it was perfectly sticky. It was the grown up equivalent of mixing mud pies, only a lot more fragrant. Then I manned the sausage press while Jess fed the sausage into casings and Oma tied off each sausage into long, fat links. 51 sausages later the kitchen smelled amazing, the bottom of my freezer was full, and we were more than ready for bowls of soup and a chat. I’m so thankful for kind people who teach me how to do such fun and nourishing things.
Although there’s been a lot of work this week, there have been many moments of rest as well. I’ve made time to read, watch NUMB3RS and NCIS: LA with Bear, and wood-burn this little wooden knife for me to use at medieval events. It’s small and delicate and reminds me of the wooden butter knives my Danish family uses.
Now it’s time to join Bear at the lamb pen and give Emma and Anni their bottles before it’s time for bed.
What good things happened in your life this week? xo