Monday, 1 March 2010

Thinking of Kylie

Okay, in less time than it takes for a TV commercial break, there’s what’s happened… The publishers have employed a PR firm to take over the promotion of the book (I checked out their website and they seem razor sharp). Two pregnant sows, Pippa and Maddy have been moved into their maternity units (two nice warm stables with lots of straw). I’ve started curing a whole sheepskin, the largest project like this that I have undertaken, and when it’s done I plan on making Debbie and I a pair of moccasin slippers each from it. Finally I have got one of my own, having begged and borrowed a sowing machine from my Mother-in-law (she had one spare), so I can start making stuff – quilted blankets, fleece rugs for the horses, throws for the sofa, basic curtains for the bedroom, and some simple clothes. But saddest of all, I went down last night to feed the animals, and found Kylie dead.
Kylie was my first pig - that's her in the picture. She was about as close as a farm animal could get to a pet. She was my friend. I found her in her pig ark, just laying quietly. There was no sign of stress, or pain, or panic. No straw bunched up around her. It just looked like she went to sleep, and never woke up. I guess, if you’ve got to go… and all that. That’s not how I feel, but you know what I mean.

I did start logging in the week. Just a couple of hours chopping trees down ready to lay for next year’s firewood. It’s probably a man thing, but there’s something incredibly satisfying about chopping down a tree. I’ve got ten acres of woods, so I’m not taking them all by any stretch of the imagination, just setting myself an area that needs coppicing and chopping the trees down within that. Most of it will go for firewood, but I have half an idea to make a table out of some of it. I really like the idea of doing the whole thing myself, from chopping down the tree right the way through to the finished, polished table. Nothing big, just something like a coffee table. I’ll sketch out a couple of ideas and see how it looks.
Stinging nettles should be up this month, and stinging nettle soup will be back on the menu again! It’s incredibly good for you, and a few hundred years ago it would have been a staple in this country, but the appeal does seem to have died out somewhat – probably the thought of putting a spoonful of nettles into your mouth that did it, but honestly, the cooking process takes out any sense of the sting, and it’s just like spinach, only with more of an iron taste. As soon as they’re up, I’ll blog about making the first bowl of the year and put it up along with photographs and the recipe.
I do love this time of year. Late winter, early spring is about the most creative in the self sufficient year. It’s not that there’s so much to do, it feels much more like there so much you can do. It’s a time of potential, and ideas, when anything seems possible. Whatever we need, whatever we want to make our life pleasant and comfortable, surrounded by things that are unique and handmade at home, things that make us smile, we make. It’s nice – life is good.
And life is sad. Rest in peace Kylie. I love you and I miss you.

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