Foraging and fossicking

We’ve had some glorious days recently. I have a stack of indoor projects queueing, but when it is sunny it is hard not to get stuck into the garden. There is still a fair bit of late colour and the waterlily colchicum are spectacular. Keith’s vegetable garden is in overdrive. Apparently his onions are much admired……(for best effect you have to imagine Kenneth Williams declaiming this). In an attempt to use things up, soup making has commenced in earnest. Today was minestrone – though Keith asked if it was “mulligatawny inspired” – I do wonder about his palate sometimes.

On our walk today Lyra confronted the existential dilemma – freedom or cheese? She had made off over the stile and into the next field before I could get the lead on her and was trotting wilfully off towards the wood. Rather than run after her (often tried, usually fails) I held my ground and played the cheese treat card. It was not an immediate winner. Lyra took a few hesitant steps towards the wood and looked back at me with come hither eyes. I stood firm and brandished the caerphilly. Reluctantly, but somehow inexorably, she curved back until we both sat, in the middle of the stubbly field, playing cheese poker. Lyra tried to bluff her way into the cheese without getting into the harness but this time I had the better hand. I grabbed her paws before the snackerel hit the gullet. We then took the long way, by the road, to Kersfield to avoid the pheasants (although the little sods are getting adventurous and so, at the corner of the road, we came across ten of them sunning themselves. Pheasants, however, are less enticing than cheese – and I had the lead firmly in hand – so the pheasant revolt continued undisturbed).

We unearthed much good foraging on that walk. There are tons of brambles. Elderberries are hard to find this year though. (Lyra likes a bramble or two, but the elderberries did not find favour with her.) The trees in the hedges have been trimmed at the wrong time for berry formation I think. I have, though, spotted one unmolested tree and I shall definitely drag Ishbel over for a picking when she’s up on Thursday – she likes a good forage too! I have not seen Ishbel since February, so am getting quite excited about this visit. I am keeping a running list of things to show her and fun activities (of the sort Keith and Lachlan do not favour) for us. I rather fear it’s going to be messy! I shall also be running the tape measure over her – it is coming into Christmas jumper season after all….

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