Sunday strolls and dappled shade lanes…..

meadow july 2016

Yesterday mornning while it was all sunshine and warm, we went out for a slow Sunday stroll across the meadows and marshes just down the lane behind our house….it was one of those perfect not too hot, not too bright Summer Sundays, ideal for lazy walking and meandering along, not being in a rush, just walking at a leisurely pace and enjoying being out of doors……

grassy and green

As we cross the main meadow there’s an almost constant chiruping and trilling of crickets and grasshoppers in the grass, and mixed in with the bird calls, it’s like nature’s very own orchestra playing…..at one point though I was pretty sure I heard a snake so decided to keep to the more well worn path rather than veer off to the sides to inspect how the blackberries were doing….the meadows are still incredibly lush, with swaithes of shoulder high meadowsweet and tufted vetch growing in huge patches…..water mint and apple mint grow in abundance and I like to pick  little sprigs to rub between my fingers for wafts of refreshing minty scent, then saving the rest for when we get home where I crush it with strawberries and pomona and have with lemonade in the Sumerriest of cocktails……..

tufted vetch and meadowsweet july 2016

As we walk along by the riverside or marshy pools we’re forever turning our heads, looking up and over as we try to follow the flittering, ever changing flights of damsel-flies and dragon-flies, jewel like, irresdescent colours flicker and dart around us……some are the most intense shade of peacock tail feather blue, others are green and then there are ones that are almost conker brown.

on way to mill

As well as ambling around over the marshes we also walked up to Keswick Mill and peered over the smaller humpbacked bridge just before the weir to see the fishies in the water, we didn’t see such impressively sized monsters as earlier in the year, but instead we watched several dozen smaller fish of assorted sizes swimming about, almost dancing , seeming to enjoy the sunlight on the water before they’d move back to the shaded sides amongst the river reeds…..the water is really shallow here and to be honest is much more of a gentle flowing stream than the deeper, wilder weir just up the way, the water is incredibly clear and on a hot and bothersome day, watching the fishies and the dappled shadows over the water always cool me down.

Looking up into trees and searching the verges and hedgerows has made me think this Autumn may be a quieter year for foraging…certainly the wild mirabelle plums that I’ve gathered for the past 5 or 6 years will be missing from my wild pantry…the blossoms didn’t really come to much which is hardly surprising as the weather was so bad, so no plum crumbles or jams, no plums in brandy to keep Winter chills at bay…and along with the poor show of plums the wild cherries don’t seem to have fared much better…there’s been the occasional nibble when I’ve passed by underneath, but not enough to turn anything into something good to put down for the colder months, or simmer and spoon over ice-cream.

honey bees and bramble blossom

However the apples seem to have done better, I’ve been seeing a lot more trees laden with fruit , even more so than last year, and fingers crossed it will be a good year too for the blackberries, we’ve eaten a couple of fat early berries which have been really juicy, though very tart.  I’m hoping to be able to make a couple of junkets as that is one of my favourite blackberry recipes and which can be eaten with just out of the oven scones under heaped teaspoonfuls of clotted cream or stirred through yoghurt.

bracken

And I’ve noticed the hawthorns, rowan and rose all seem to be coming along nicely as well so I’m planning to make more hedgerow syrups as I honestly don’t know how I’d have got by this year without them…..while not having quite such painful laryngitis as in recent years, this year I’ve still been prone to numerous coughs and colds and sore throat, and a spoonful of amber coloured syrup in a cup of hot water has been really soothing to sip at……the syrup is also nice over yoghurt and ice-cream but my favourite way to have it has been to make it into a tea.

I loved this dappled spot alongside the train track where the sunbeams came streamng down and made all the bracken and mare’s tail gleam all golden light, earlier in the year I walked here when there’d been a frost so the bracken looked quite different then.

And while we just walk slowly, taking our time to smell things, stand and listen to birds overhead, I’m always quite happy to return home, key out to open the door and the kettle goes on to make tea before almost anything else.

 

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5 thoughts on “Sunday strolls and dappled shade lanes…..

  1. So pleased to find this post and join you on a summer stroll. What a shame about the cherries and plums, I hope the weather didn’t affect farmers orchards the same way or they will be having a tough year. Great about the berries though Let’s hope that you can make a ton of syrup and then not need any of it as medicine this winter! Your summery cocktail sounds delicious. I need to get more adventurous in the kitchen again. I used to always be experimenting with new recipes but these days I seem to only experiment with cheesecakes! I shall look forward to your foraging posts soon 😃 xx

    1. The stroll was lovely and I’m so glad you liked it…I always think of you when I’m out with my camera and wonder to myself “what can I share with Sharon today”…. we really ambled a long, not a care in the world….and I’m happy we went Sunday as the weather turned and it feels more like October than August….. I really feel for the farmers and fully expect a lot of food prices will go up accordingly because of the dreadful weather….our oven is on the blink at the moment so no baking cheesecakes for me until we get a new one, we’re currently alternating between lemon possets and creme brulee for puddings.

      1. Aww, thanks, your descriptions are just amazing and I really can imagine myself there . The weather has turned here too and little missy has decided that she doesn’t like getting her feet wet and has been rather naughty about her toilet training today. On the up side when she comes in if we do get her out there (we have to carry her outside and shut the door quick of its raining) She goes straight to the towel to be dried off.
        Yes, so tough for the farmers, such an uncertain livelihood but it must be amazing at times being out in the country. Hope you get the oven fixed soon. I cheat and do no cook cheesecakes as we prefer those. This weekend it was a rather fattening Mars bar creation!

      2. We have special towels waiting for Bernard when he comes in wet, and it makes him purr fit to burst as he gets rubbed dry, he loves it and will often go running off outside again so he’ll get toweled again x

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