A wild weekend

It’s raining again. This isn’t really a surprise as it’s been the theme of the weekend. Summer-like sunshine, cloud, rain, sun, rain, and on and on. This didn’t stop me from spending most of the weekend outside, and the rest of it gazing out the window.

Autumn is the season of foraging: fruits and berries are ripe or ripening, and there is so much wild produce the birds just can’t keep up. This gives us humans a window of opportunity to reap the wild harvest.

Everything has been early this year, and I’m sure there’s a difference between the north and the south, but in Durham the elderberries and blackberries are about half way through and beech mast and rosehips are just coming in to season. Sloes are thinking about ripening while the rowan berries are already starting to turn. The forager is fighting time, the weather, the wild beasties, and other foragers. I’ve found out the hard way that someone else has been keeping an eye on the local blackberries and elderberries, but today I’ve found a stash of ripe and unharvested elder trees, so keep off, rival forager (all’s fair in love and foraging).

Yesterday I slit my time between picking berries and doing things with them. I made hedgerow jelly, which it turns out is delicious in cream scones, and played about with this elderflower cheesecake recipe. I made the cheesecake as per the recipe but added a layer of elderberries cooked in hedgerow syrup to the base. I like this a lot!

cheesecake made with elderflower and elderberry, and hedgerow jelly & cream scone

This morning I played with my Caldera woodburning stove in the garden. There must be a knack to it, but so far I’m mainly good at making it smoky. I did manage to light it using only one match, so I’m getting there. I made two cups of tea and some boiled eggs. Self-sufficiency here I come!

playing with fire - making tea on my new toy

As I’ve temporarily run out of jars and bottles I decided not to make another foraging trip this morning. Instead my Taller Half and I took a walk through the woods, stopping off in Durham for a bite to eat. We came across this Panther Cap mushroom (pretty but poisonous) in St Oswald’s Church:

On the way back home we saw a double rainbow. What was special about this one was that we could see (or thought we could see) where both ends of the rainbow touched the earth. I know it’s an optical illusion, and that the rainbow moves when you move – it’s not really touching the earth – but it was nice to think that we could pinpoint the exact spot where the pot of gold was buried. I might take a look for it tomorrow. If you don’t hear from me again you’ll know I’ve found it…

Happy foraging and enjoy the wild weather.

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About Yasmine

After working with horses for many years I came to my senses and got a 'proper job'. I now live in Weardale with My Taller Half, a mad border collie and 5 chickens. Still wishing I could spend all my time in the great outdoors
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2 Responses to A wild weekend

  1. we were out elderberrying around Prudhoe this weekend and have made about two litres of cordial, certainly enough to be going on with but we really need a lot more to keep a family of 3 clear of bugs for a year.

  2. Yasmine says:

    Hi Robert. I’ve put all my elderberries in the freezer now to use later, but I’m also collecting rosehips to make rosehip syrup. It smells a bit weird but it makes a very warming drink on dreary winter days and makes a lovely comfort drink for when you’re poorly.

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