Thursday, May 19, 2011

Elderflower cordial

The elderflower blossoms are out and it's time to make elderflower cordial.

Homemade elderflower cordial is so much better than anything you can buy. Serve with sparkling water for a refreshing drink or sparkling wine for a delicious cocktail.


30 elderflower heads

1.7litres/3 pints boiling water

900g/2lb caster sugar

50g/2oz citric acid (available from chemists)

2 unwaxed oranges, sliced

3 unwaxed lemons, sliced

Preparation method

1. Gently rinse over the elderflowers to remove any dirt or little creatures.

2. Pour the boiling water over the sugar in a very large mixing bowl. Stir well and leave to cool.

3. Add the citric acid, the orange and lemon slices, and then the flowers.

4. Leave in a cool place for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

5. Strain through some muslin and transfer to sterilised bottles.

We are just coming to the end of last year's batch and have enjoyed a little bit of summer, even during the winter months.

The Sparrowhawk

In the back of our garden we have a vegetable patch, which at the moment is covered with a netting to keep the cats away.

Yesterday evening my husband called for me to help him, because a sparrow had managed to trap himself under the netting.

Just as we both walked up to the bed to lift the netting off, a sparrowhawk swooped down from nowhere, aiming for the helpless sparrow. Luckily the netting which had trapped the sparrow, now turned out to be a protection for the little sparrow - because the sparrowhawk could not reach him. Instead the netting was pushed down, leaving a gap at the side through which the lucky sparrow escaped.

All this happened in the blink of an eye, no more than a meter away from us!

It was a real "WOAH!" moment.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Feeling burdened

At the moment everything seems to be happening at once - the daily issues of having two teenagers in the house, pressure at work, a busy time in the house and the garden, an increasing amount of responsibility in church with our old vicar leaving, and a husband who would like me to spend more time with him.

To cut a long story short, I feel burdened. Too much to do and not enough hours in the day!

After some time of feeling sorry for myself and then reflecting a little about it all, I can't help but feel that this is somehow a blessing. When I feel that I cannot do all these things in my own strength, then probably because that is exactly true. I cannot!

But I can do it with God's help and guidance and with his strength:

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT).

Right now I may not feel like I can handle things, but deep down I know that I will be okay - because I am not alone!