It’s been a busy week in the Corner Cottage Homestead as it’s that time of year again – harvest time!
You may have noticed that I have been rather preoccupied with my author career at the expense of my homesteading/frugal-foraging lifestyle and you know what…. it’s not making me happy. If you remember, I gave up work to escape my 9-5, deadline-driven, time-sapping existance in exchange for a life of freedom. I was going to get up early, walk the dog in the woods or by the river, forage for wild food, and return to our small homestead to potter in the garden. I would grow all our own fresh fruit and vegetables and live the good life. I did just that for over a year, and you know what – it was glorious.
I also intended to pursue some of my dreams and hobbies. To indulge in all the things that I never had time for before… but ironically that’s where my idyllic lifestyle started to unwind. It was wonderful at first, I wrote my first book and things were great. I fitted it in around everything else and wrote when I wanted to write. However, once the first book in the series was out the pressure began to mount to get the next one out, and then the next. This pressure was not helped by the author podcasts and various writers’ blogs I followed which urged writers to publish a minimum of four books a year in order to be successful. Soon I found myself becoming more and more obsessed with writing and more and more begrudging of anything that took me away from my desk. I had somehow migrated from my ‘good-life’ model right back into a pseudo ‘day-job.’ Unknowingly little by little I had returned to the rat race lifestyle that I had escaped over a year ago!
However, now I’ve come to my senses, I’m back enjoying doing what I want to do when I want to do it. Foraging, running my herb and kitchen gardens and cooking up a storm. I haven’t deserted my writing, but it is been firmly put back in its place – something I do when I want to do it, for my own enjoyment, in the middle of winter or when the weather is so awful that there is little else to do. The rest of the year I am going to enjoy the outdoors, the garden, the woods, the river and days out having fun. My new mantra every morning now is THIS IS THE DAY! If I want to do something I do it! Enjoying each day as if it is my last and living every moment is my number one priority – because let’s face it – one day will be my last…
Today I begin my new weekly Corner Cottage Homestead Update to share a little bit of my ‘good life’ adventure with those of you who may be thinking of joining the frugal, foraging, homesteading lifestyle. Here’s the first edition!
Corner Cottage Homestead Weekly Update
Wednesday 6th September 2017 – What we are up to this week:
In the Kitchen Garden
The peas and beans are now starting to go to seed so we have left some to dry for collection in a couple of weeks time to store away for use next spring. We are still picking tomatoes, cucumber, rhubarb, spinach, courgettes and rocket. Apples are almost ready to pick and my first figs are ripening nicely. Squash plants are producing beautiful fruits and the marrows are huge. I decided I would try to make something a little different with this monster – Marrow and Ginger Jam.
In the Herb Garden
This week I will be harvesting the herbs to dry for winter use. I’ll be drying mint, catmint, fennel, lemon balm, lemon verbena, bay, sage, rosemary, thyme, lavender, tarragon and raspberry leaves for teas and seasonings. Other delicate herbs like basil, oregano, parsley, marjoram etc I’ll be preserving in oil or freezing for winter use. I hang bunches of freshly cut herbs in the airing cupboard and put seed heads of herbs like fennel in paper bags to hang with them. The herbs take a couple of weeks to dry and then I’ll put them in jars, label them carefully and pop them in the store cupboard.
I love this time of year – there is a myriad of wild plants to forage! This week I have picked rosehips, elderberries, blackberries, and crabapples.
On the Menu/Preserving/Store Cupboard
There is nothing I love more than making Jam’s, Jellies, Syrups and Pickles! This week I have made a start with our yearly preserves. I made Hedgerow Jelly, Rosehip and Elderberry Syrup – for winter colds and Marrow and Ginger Jam – my own recipe and it is delicious!
Recipe of the Week
CORNER COTTAGE MARROW AND GINGER JAM
1kg Marrow – peeled and seeded
1kg Jam Sugar
Juice of 1 lemon and Juice and zest of one large orange
a 3cm piece of root ginger grated
Chop marrow into 1cm pieces and add the lemon juice. Cook until tender (add water if needed)
Add sugar, orange juice, zest, and root ginger.
Heat over medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Turn up the heat to high bringing to the boil, then boil for about 20 to 30 minutes or until setting point is reached. Pour into warm, sterilised jam jars and cover immediately.
Homestead / Crafts
The great home (very late) spring clean is finally done. Every room in the house has had a thorough clean and next week I am going to decorate the sitting room! It’s a big job and I pretty much always end up with more paint on me than on the walls or ceilings. I hate decorating and am not looking forward to it – but the room is in desperate need of a lick of paint and we are off to Cornwall on holiday at the end of the month and I don’t want to have to have that to come back to. Hopefully, the garden will be all ship-shape by then too!
Well, I hope you enjoyed the first in my new series of Corner Cottage Homestead Weekly Updates – Check back next week for the next instalment!