Wednesday, June 16, 2010

If you go down to the woods today .....

... you might have seen two large black bear-like dogs enjoying the fresh air and warm sunshine. We headed off to our woods, just 5 minutes walk from home.

The sky was blue and the sun was shining when we reached the gate

Which way shall we go today?

Amy chooses the path ... but is quickly left behind.

Wait for me!!

The orchid glade

I think they're Lesser Spotted - the common sort - but very lovely anyway.

Come on girls! (Ben is such a poser)

Look - what's that? Is it a wolf?

Last one home's a sissy!!
A lovely, gentle afternoon's walk in the shady woods - perfect for Amy, though I think Ben will need another outing this evening!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blissful Blossom!

When I first learned Amy was so ill I didn't think I'd want to carry on with this blog for a while - the idea of recording life during her final months seemed simply too painful. But now, having lived with the knowledge of her illness for the past couple of months, I feel differently. I want to keep a record of this, the very last summer the three of us will ever spend together, and make sure we enjoy every single moment.

I think it's helped that she is keeping very well (the photo above was taken only a couple of days ago). She's on much stronger medication now which is controlling her pain and has recovered from her operation. She's returned to being the Amy I love so much and it's tempting to think that she'll be fine. But although vet is very pleased (and surprised) by her, he has warned me that I mustn't expect to keep her through the winter.

So.... for the moment we are carrying on as normal ... and here in Coombe Leigh when the elderflowers are out normal means .... homemade elderflower cordial.

We have our own in the garden. I don't pick them all - leaving some to become berries for the birds in the autumn, but I do gather a good few handfuls.

For each pint of water add the juice and grated zest of a lemon, 1lb sugar, 2 teaspoons cider vinegar and a dozen heads of elderflower.

Lemons always remind me of holidays in the Mediterranean ....

Can't be bothered to grate .. always grate my fingers! So I use a peeler instead. You have to boil the water and sugar together then pour the mixture onto the elderflowers, lemon and vinegar. Stir well ...

Leave to infuse for 24 hours .. the kitchen smells wonderful!

Then bottle in sterilised bottles. Yes, they are wine bottles .. it was no hardship to empty them ready for the elderflower! The cordial has to be kept refridgerated even before it's opened, but it does keep for up to 3 months in the fridge. The taste of summer!

Friday, June 11, 2010

In the garden..

It's been so nice to be outside over last few weeks. The newfies and I love to sit in the gazebo until quite late on these long, warm evenings, and then Ben and I often go for a final walk up through the woods whilst Amy snoozes gently on the cool slates of the courtyard. I love this time of year when everything seems so full of new life and potential. The lanes are especially lovely at present - although the bluebells are over, the cow parsley froths along the verges, ragged robin and willowherb peek through the grass and the dog-roses are just beginning to bloom in the hedgerows.

In the garden we have geraniums in the old stone trough ....
Sweet peas and scabious in the apple crates...
and a newfoundland dog in the lavender ....(!)
Yes, it's Amy .... if it had been Ben it would have been an action shot of him crashing THROUGH the lavender. Happy days !!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Amy is ten today!!

Happy Birthday Amy- 1o today!!
Seem here with my daughter - one of her biggest fans.
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