Archive for the ‘Cottage Life’ Category

Champion Chives

Chives are one of my favourite forms of onion.  The garden clumps are flourishing just now, with plenty available for a breakfast omelette.

Omelette with lots of chives

Chives are a nutrient-dense food, low in calories but high in vitamin C and iron.  They are reputed to have number of health benefits, including prevention of cancer and mood enhancement, and must be eaten fresh to receive the maximum benefit.

Chives were originally brought to the West from China by Marco Polo.   They became popular in Europe not only for their subtle onion flavor, but because of the widespread belief that their leaves chase away evil spirits and disease.

“I relish chives at any meal
for me they have immense appeal.”


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Red Red Rose

Dublin Bay Rose

The first rose is fully out – summer must be on its way.  This Dublin Bay climber was the first rose we planted when we moved in thirty years ago.  It peeks through the front fence and gives pleasure to passers by.

Dublin Bay is one of three roses named after the bays of Ireland by Sam McGredy and is the most well known around the world.  It has been rated as the No 1 climber by members of the New Zealand Rose Society since 1987 and shows no signs of being replaced.  Usually, it has double the number of votes of the next best rose.  I wonder how many of my readers have Dublin Bay in their gardens?

“It seems this rose is just the best
more popular than all the rest.”

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Did you notice that I haven’t blogged for more than a week?  I simply haven’t had the time.

I’ve been working on two weddings that are booked for next week, together with pieces for my writing class and my poetry group.

My voluntary role demands a variety of tasks almost daily, e.g. today I showed a new hirer through the Community Cottage.

Plus the wonderful spring weather has spurred lots of growth in the garden.  The veggies in the raised bed are flourishing.

Veggies in the raised bed

I know it’s early to be planting things out, but I’ll cover them if there’s a frost.  I also have lots of ‘Little Garden’ plants growing on the bathroom window sill.

‘Little Garden’ plants are growing

I try to walk and/or bus wherever I’m going, and that takes time too.  I read the ‘Press’ and do their puzzles.  It’s no wonder there’s been no time to blog.

“It’s just as well I’m not employed
there’s too much life to be enjoyed.”



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Elusive paper

Our daily “Press” is often delivered right outside our front door.  Sometimes we have to look further, but it can usually be quickly found, in the garden, or outside on the footpath.  In recent months it’s been packed flat inside a plastic bag, and often secured with a rubber band to make it easier for throwing.  This morning there was no sign of it at all.  I waited until 8.30am, then went to the dairy to buy a copy.  On my way home I noticed a mysterious white thing sitting on the roof, wedged into the spouting.

“Press” hidden above spouting

Sure enough, it proved to be our elusive paper.  With the help of a backscratcher I managed to pull it down, so today we have a copy each, and I can have a go at the quick crossword as well as the cryptic.

“The Press was not so far away
we have an extra one today.”


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Spring Surprise

Our bay or laurel tree was planted in October 2011.  It has special significance because Stephen’s original heart valve was buried beneath it.  It provides plenty of bay leaves for cooking, and this year, for the very first time, it has flowers.  Apparently these will later turn into black berries which can be dried and used as ‘robust’ spices.  They contain up to 30% fatty oils and about 1% essential oils.

Bay/Laurel flowers

In the classical legend Daphne was saved from rape by Apollo by being transformed into a laurel tree in the nick of time.   Laurel, which is a narcotic and stimulant, was the plant of prophecy chewed by the oracle at Delphi.  It’s a symbol of wisdom, both acquired and intuitive.  Laurel crowns were given to the best poets who were then called ‘laureate’.  Baccalaureate is from the Latin for laurel berries, which were given to Greek students of the classical period.  Placing bay leaves beneath pillows has been thought to bring prophetic dreams.

“This is the first time that our laurel
has shown to us a part that’s floral.”



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Today I woke late, just before 8am.  Normally this wouldn’t matter, but I had a meeting at 10am and a few things to do beforehand.  I like to read the front section of the “Press” with my breakfast, but today no newspaper was delivered, which meant a phone call to Fairfax to report that.  I checked my e-mails and Facebook, and found a long Facebook message from a daughter who’d tried to send an e-mail but it had bounced.  I’m not keen on Facebook messages and needed to delay reading it thoroughly until the afternoon.

The rest of the day went fine, until I checked e-mails later and found a message from Vodafone to say they will close their e-mail service from 30 November.  That means I will need to move to either Gmail or Outlook.com.  Vodafone will automatically forward messages from my Clear account to my new account, as long as I remain a Vodafone customer, but I suspect I may not find the change easy.  I do have a Gmail account, which I almost never use, and will need to do some learning there.  Or maybe I should go to Outlook.com?  How to decide?  I’ve had my ‘Clear’ address for over 20 years, and I’m fond of it.  My internet guru is about to head overseas on holiday, so I can’t trouble her at present.  I wonder what others are planning to do?

To rescue me from despondency I have some early sweet peas in flower.

“My Clear e-mail is now at risk
to live on cloud rather than disk.”




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Various Violets

Every spring we seem to have more and more violets in the garden.  There are white ones

and pink ones

and purple ones

There is a story about Napoleon Bonaparte and the violet.  While in exile on the island of Elba, he supposedly confided to his friends that he would return to France with the appearance of the violets in the spring.  (Such flowers may have had a special significance for the deposed Emperor, as he had once used them as an amorous emblem of his love for Josephine.)  His partisans rallied around the symbol of his triumphant return and secretly referred to him as Corporal Violet.  To determine a loyal supporter, the question was asked of a stranger:  “Do you like violets?”  If the reply to the query was “Oui” or “Non”, it revealed one who did not know of the plot.  If the answer was “Eh bien”, the loyalty of the person to Napoleon was confirmed.

“With violets blooming everywhere
perhaps he may just re-appear.”


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