Why is there never a greenfly about when you need one?
The bug-crazy Model has hatched out ladybirds and refuses to let them go until eggs are laid. Each year we get either caterpillars or ladybirds from here and if you're not familiar with this company I can strongly recommend it. Last year we saw them hatch from their eggs into the teeniest and ugliest of grubs, watched them grow at an alarming rate and then change into the most lovely bugs of them all. Then the cycle continued as we watched them mate and finally witnessed the egg laying. Right in front of our eyes we could see the eggs popping out and, believe me, it was fascinating stuff. Anyway the bugs are hungry and I've spent a great deal of my time searching out nourishment this morning.
It's a miserable day today. As I sit here in my sewing room with all the lights on, pretending it's the sun beating down (perhaps I should put the heating on for added effect), I can smell Pomona's wonderful lavender, sent as part of her recent giveaway that I was thrilled to win. With an assortment of other goodies, what a joy that was to come back to after my week away. Thank you so much x
Finally it's time to attempt some work, now that I've finished my glass of elderflower cordial made with ingredients brought back from Dorset. I based mine on Sarah Raven's recipe from her brilliant Garden Cookbook. Would you believe the whole of Swanage had sold out of citric acid? Never mind, it won't keep as long but some has gone into the freezer and the rest won't last long here anyway! This is the recipe ..
flowers from 15 - 20 elderflower heads (shake off any bugs)
2 oranges, thinly sliced
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 limes, thinly sliced
30g tartaric (or citric) acid
Put 1.15 litres water and the sugar in a large saucepan and dissolve completely before bringing to the boil. Add the flowers, bring back to the boil and remove from heat immediately. Put the thinly sliced fruit into a large bowl, add the tartaric acid (if using) and pour over the hot syrup and flowers. Stir well, cover loosely and leave for 24 hours. Strain the mixture and pour into sterilised bottles. Bottles can be sterilised either in the oven or by pouring boiling water into them.