I had been planning to make elderflower Vodka for weeks, since I saw the first Elderflower umbels begin to flower. I bought Vodka and waited for a lovely summers day to go out and gather some elderflowers. In came the rain, and the gales, and cold weather, Brrr, not going out in this!
Yesterday I noticed that most of the elderflowers were already finished and decided today would have to be the day, or it was all over for another year, and no elderflower vodka. This morning it was sunny and still, a perfect day, and I only needed to walk a short way from my door to find a small elderflower bush with a shady side which was less advanced than I’d seen out and about yesterday. Ten or so Umbels picked and back to my suntrap back garden.
So what else do I need? a Lemon, and a bottle of Vodka, 100g of sugar, and a glass jar.
I gently removed the flower heads from the stems, Elderflowers aren’t toxic but the wood and stems are, I don’t think I would poison anyone if I’d left the stems on but you just never know. I de-stem the flowers over a plate so I can check for foreign bodies or small creatures, which can be encouraged away or squashed according to preference. I encouraged some small creatures to depart, the ones who wouldn’t go got squashed.
On top of the flowers went the zest of a lemon, and a 100 grams of sugar, and a 75cl bottle of Vodka, (it should have been a Ltr but I only had a 75cl bottle) So only 75 cls of Elderflower vodka this year.
On top of the flowers I put 3 layers of greaseproof paper and the lemon slices, this is to hold the flowers under the vodka to stop them going brown and colouring the vodka.
I found the recipe at wild at heart foods, thanks and credit where it’s due.
note to self… next time cut the paper to fit the jar, 3 or 4 layers slightly offset, each tucked down the side of the jar slightly will hold the flowers down better. Some of the lemon slices can go under the paper, all of them is too many. I have made elderflower liqueur before, see :- Elderflower liqueur
It’s been an eventful week, I celebrated my birthday on Monday, I only admit to 43, and it’s getting harder to be convincing, but I take the view the years between 40 and 60 are the best 10 years of a woman’s life. I celebrated by starting a new job, part time and temporary but slightly better paid, so I’ll be able to buy more fabric. Yay!
I took the afternoon off to take the 16 year old to Kendal for a college interview, 2hrs in a stuffy hall while she took her interview and tests, but she got an offer of a place. And Kendal’s only 20 miles away. Yay!
Got to do some interesting and useful things at work this week, all very positive, and came home on time and feeling good about my day.
Wednesday was 1st of May, I got the convertible out of Dad’s garage and taxed it, my precious is back on the road, Thursday morning I drove to work with the top down and the wind in my hair, here comes summer.
Thursday lunchtime I got to exercise my Civic duty, to vote in the local election, I could get a postal vote but actually I enjoy the process of turning up at my local polling station, getting my ballot paper and putting my X in the box. Not only am I grateful to live in a democracy, but I never forget the Suffragettes who risked all to achieve Universal Suffrage. To me, not bothering to vote would be a betrayal of all they suffered. Being an Unrepentant Feminist and for many years a single professional woman, I value very highly the contribution they made to the Equality of Rights in society. Thank the Lord I live in the 21st century.
On the walk back from the polling station, I visited my local charity shop and bought a man’s shirt to add to my collection of 100% cotton plaids, that I am collecting for a project of which more later. It cost me £1.50 and is in perfect condition, doesn’t look as if it has ever been worn, I already have several, none of which cost me more than £1.50, for some I only paid a £1.
The previous week I was standing in my local supermarket considering the price of cheese when I became aware of a couple to my right chatting to a friend, who was talking about a charity shop where he volunteered, he was telling them that they moved all the stock which hadn’t sold into an upstairs room and sold it off at £1 a garment. Now I’m not in the habit of earwigging at stranger’s conversations in the supermarket, but I admit to hanging about long enough to discover the whereabouts of this charity shop, and I admit also that had this information not being forthcoming I would have had the brass neck to interrupt him to ask. I visited that Charity shop forthwith, 3 shirts a £1 each.
I once overheard a woman telling her friend about a factory shop that sold Laura Ashley roll ends and seconds, I wasn’t brave enough to stop her and ask the whereabouts of this shop, and the regret haunts me to this day!
Just as the Summer was turning into Autumn, and in search of some Autumn colour we went one Sunday for a country drive to an out of the way little teashop we know. The Apple Store is set in a lovely spot on the edge of the Trough of Bowland, an area of outstanding natural beauty, on a country estate. It’s a great place for walkers, and I love it for its trees and the fact that I can sit in the garden of a grand house to enjoy my tea under a huge Ginko tree which must be over a hundred years old. The business is new and a work in progress, the owners are doing up the facilities incrementally as resources allow.
Whilst waiting for my tea to be delivered I was free to wander about with my camera, as further evidence that you can find inspiration for quilting everywhere, I found old and broken heating grills in the derelict greenhouse which would make interesting quilting designs, and an old rusting metal chair with an anthemion design, simplified but nevertheless a potential quilting design.
After tea and cake we walked up the hill towards open moorland and along a road that was wick with young game birds, marvelling at the damage to the roads that flooding had done this summer, and wondering if we will ever see again summers like the long hot summer of 1976.