Monday, 25 April 2016

Get Yo Freekeh On

The first draft of this post was entitled something lugubrious along the lines of: "The dust is settling".
And then I read a blog post which kicked me up the backside and reminded me that I am not dead yet.
I need to keep my energy up.

The other day, the Most Huge Boss asked me:  "Ruth, tell me - are you feeling empowered?"
The boiling bubbles of laughter were not easy to quell , but somehow I managed.
"Absolutely!" I replied. "I always feel empowered!"
You don't really need to know the context of the question (it involved a deeply sober Committee) but it was one that I have continued to ponder.
Empowered?  Wow.
It's a concept that fits well with my plan to take control this year.
I don't have a clear direction right now, but I need to get on with living my life.
As FL put it (one of the last things he said to me):  "Roo, you need to get your zing back".

So this weekend, thinking that a healthier diet would be a good start, I drew up a list of 5 recipes I want to try this week.
The first:  Seeded Halloumi and Harissa Rainbow Bowl involved a special trip to the shops and broke the scanner in the supermarket, as nobody had ever bought Freekeh before and it was not on the system.  It was absolutely worth it - I had trouble saving the second portion for Sunday lunch, it was so delicious.
The second was:  Roast Roots with Grapes and Lentils, an unlikely sounding recipe which has you roasting cauliflower, sweet potato, squash and grapes with fresh herbs and eating it with puy lentils.  Another taste revelation!
Both recipes come from Anna Jones' A Modern Way to Cook.  Buy it now!

On Saturday, it snowed.
So I lit the woodburner, and started a new knitting project:  the Always Amsterdam shawl by Isabell Kraemer.  I am using some beautiful handspun by Teos on the Isle of Skye, a gift from Christine several years ago.  It is going to be gorgeous - soft, warm and drapey.

While I knitted, I listened to the audiobook of Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, a modern-day rewrite of Pride and Prejudice.  It got a scathing review from Ursula Le Guin at the weekend, but if you enjoyed An American Wife I reckon you will appreciate this as a novel in its own right, Austen roots notwithstanding.

On Sunday, early morning sunshine saw me loading rubbish from the side of the house into a wheelbarrow and decanting it at the back of the garage, for a future trip to the tip.
I actually found a full sack of seasoned logs under the 3-foot deep pile of dead leaves, broken window frames, empty oil cans and golf balls.
Woo hoo!

Later in the afternoon I had a trip to the village, where a "collector's" shop opens only at weekends.  I was hoping to find an outdoor bench, but instead came home with a sturdy vintage wicker basket with lovely wooden handles - perfect for logs and a definite upgrade from the plastic sheep feed bucket which used to sit at the fireside.

The bench was intended for my Garden of Remembrance up on the hill.
The deer have nibbled the buds from FL's tree, so I need to protect it somehow.
I have a little cairn of stones beside it that I add to on significant dates.
7 April was the anniversary of the day in 1979 when he first gave me a poem.
I want to put a seat up there so I can sit and knit .
I scattered some poppy seeds, in the hope they might grow and help FL sleep.
Don't worry -  I know how crazy that sounds.

The roof repairs are complete:  it no longer rains in the kitchen and I can open the upstairs windows  - huzzah!
I have moments when I start to think I might have the kitchen refurbished... or I might keep chickens... or wallpaper my bedroom.  But I still shy away from anything that feels permanent.  A rug can be rolled up and taken to my next home, but new kitchen floor tiles would be part of the fabric of the farmhouse.

So although I am trying to dance again, I am treading carefully, in case I trip myself up.


  1. sounds like you are doing brilliantly roo. i think of you often and hope you are getting on top of things, which of course you are. the garden sounds lovely and it will be beautiful when full of poppies! you might enjoy this on the subject of empowerment!

    1. That was interesting reading - I had already read the Hadley Freeman article it references.

  2. What on earth is freekeh?!! it looks like a grain of some sort from the photo, but not sure...

    so glad to hear that you are feeling empowered to tackle new things and embrace life (sober work meetings aside).

    1. It is cracked green wheat ... not "crackers" which is what the person on the till thought. Yes, a grain. A bit like bulghar wheat I am told, but I have never tried bulghar wheat so I don't know!

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  4. That sounds not crazy at all, but full of meaning. I hope my English make sense. Take care, Ruth.

  5. Chickens are portable, (we even allow them in Yorkshire), and they are so good for the soul. I'd definitely recommend getting a few ;) 3 or 4 would be plenty for you.
    Think of you often, and very pleased to see you getting on with life.

  6. Roo - always good to read your posts. I had a giggle about the high power asking if you were Empowered...what a question?! Keep taking care of yourself but remember to LIVE, not just plan for transition or change...

  7. It's amazing how bit of action can create energy and lift our spirits. And some really good meals......................

    My, you are doing well.

  8. Love that encounter with the very big boss. My, you think faster than I do. The principal of my daughters' grammar school used ti confront me, look deep into my eyes and say, "Tell me, Mrs. what are your hopes and dreams for Spring Street?" - which statement always sent me into a blank--Ah...
    That Jane Austen up-todate version book looks like fun.
    Show us the shawl when it's finished. Marvelous color.


  9. Thanks for sharing - I love reading what you write :)

  10. Thanks for sharing - I love reading what you write :)

  11. those recipes sound amazing, will have to hunt down the Freeeh. Never heard of it before, the Anna Jones book has been on my wish list and will have to go and get a copy - the link to Eat your books looks interesting too.

  12. Just a suggestion for your garden - you could plant some Rosemary which is meant to be for remembrance.
    Glad someone else asked what Freekah was - I'm not much of a cook and dismiss any recipe that includes ingredients I haven't heard of. Or more than about 6 ingredients. Or separating eggs. In fact, I'm just a sh**t cook!

  13. Freekeh, eh?? I'll have to look for it in my well stocked supermarket - I love good grains!!
    I think you KNOW that you want to stay in the house you are slowly making your own. You fixed the roof, hauled the junk, planted the TREE & are opening the possibilities with every window . . .

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  15. A wire cage might help FL's tree -- wire fencing is cheap here but I don't know about where you are -- nor how high the tree is, but you'll want to keep the deer off or they will eat the poor thing right down. But then again, it's hard to sit next to a tree in a cage and feel connected to your dear FL! Although it might be good for a giggle on a bad day.