Conkers, Berries, James Wong and Archaeology!

Elderberry cordial

Elderberry cordial

It’s been a while since I wrote anything – sorry. It’s a busy time of year. I’ve been harvesting hedgerow berries (haws, sloes, elderberries, rosehips, crabapples) and making jams, jellies, syrups and cordials. Will try to post a few recipes for you soon. I’ve also been collecting conkers. Many Horsechestnut trees in the UK and elsewhere are being attacked by the bacterial ‘bleeding canker’ disease, so I’ve decided to plant as many conkers as I can in an enclosed environment for now. The RHS has more information about this disease.

A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days taking part in an archaeological excavation at Boltby Scar on the North York Moors. If you want to know more about this, click here. Luckily the weather was perfect – rarely the case at this time of the year in Yorkshire.

I met James Wong yesterday. What a thoroughly nice chap. He’s just finished filming a second series of ‘Grow Your Own Drugs’, and there’s a Christmas Special in the pipeline too. He was performing the Grand Opening ceremony at Proline Botanicals, a manufacturer of herbal medicines in Lincolnshire.

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Come and say Hello!

On Saturday 20th June I’ll be in Malton Relish delicatessen in the market place in Malton North Yorkshire. Do drop in for a chat – I’ll be there from 11am until 2pm. This shop sells all sortts of wonderful edible goodies – get some inspiration for Father’s Day!

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A new family has moved in next door!

I spent yesterday morning in my dispensary updating my client notes and gazing out of the window onto the farmyard. A little striped feral cat kept going in and out of one of the sheds, so I went to investigate. Up the stairs into the hayloft, and in one of the grain hoppers was an old sack with four tiny kittens cuddling each other. Mum looks very skinny, but she seems to like canned tuna. Her babies look around four weeks old – too young to be rehomed at the moment – but they’re as feisty as Mum, hissing and spitting at me with gay abandon. Mum was probably born in the wild too as she is obviously completely unused to people. The right thing to do would be to gather them all up when the kittens are weaned and take them off to the vet for neutering, but that’s going to be pricey for five of them. All the local cat shelters are full to bursting, and I already have a former feral cat (Smokey)  who decided to adopt me after giving birth to her daughter (Button). So if there’s anyone out there in East Yorkshire who would like to adopt a kitten next month, give me a call. Don’t know their sex yet as they refuse to be handled, but there are two with beautiful mackerel stripes, a shy black one, and a little white one with tortoiseshell splodges.  I’ll try to take a photo in a couple of days, once they get more used to me.

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Sunshine!

Can’t believe it’s been sunny and warm for a whole week. I woke up very early this morning and went for a walk around the back of the farm. There is a huge pharmacy out there – hawthorn blossom, dandelions, nettles, ground ivy, cleavers, avens, medick, to name but a few! My comfrey patch is turning into a jungle and the marshmallow and elecampane are getting taller and taller. The marigolds are ready to be made into a beautiful golden infused oil, but my new echinacea plants seem to be struggling a little.

I’ve just had a delivery of oils and waxes so that I can stock up on my creams, so I’d better start unpacking them and stashing them away as they’re blocking up the hall at the moment. That’s after I dispose of the remains of the rabbit that the lovely Smokey just stashed behind the sofa in the hope that I wouldn’t take it away from her. Don’t you just love cats!

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