an Autumn ramble…

Sunday morning & the sun was shining. Not feeling the urge to go exploring in the car, a ramble round the village it was! We set off along the village green & over the main road to splash in the puddles on Cow Lane…

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…so called as it was used by the local dairy farmer, many years ago, to take his cattle for milking. That farm & the dairy halt on the railway are now long gone, but the name has remained.

Along the lane & over the mainline railway bridge the landscape opens up over the surrounding countryside…

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In the past the lane carried on to a neighbouring village, nowadays the footpath runs alongside the railway line. We love waving at the high speed trains, seeing if we can get a toot from the driver!

Autumn jewels were still to be found along there…

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After a while the footpath leaves the mainline railway, skirts around the edge of a field & up on to the old dairy line. Nothing remains of this old railway now except the overgrown embankment, which has created a lovely walk in all seasons…

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Dropping down off the embankment you end up on a disused World War II airfield – lots of history to talk about with the littlies on this walk!

Now we were no longer in the shelter of the trees there was a cold wind blowing across the airfield. Looking at the approaching sky it was time to head for home…

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I love these relaxed rambles with the family. I end up walking, in turn, with each of my children. We put the world to rights, sort out any worries they might have, reassure them that they’re doing well at school, & help them to make important decisions about their futures. Not things which can easily be discussed in a busy home, with everybody about & many distractions.

The countryside & fresh air is an amazing place for helping you to think clearly.

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❤❤❤

 

 

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The Best Broccoli Soup

Soooo cold & grey here again – the sun seems to pop out occasionally but soon gets hidden behind a blanket of thick grey cloud – time for more yummy soup to warm us up…

…the best broccoli soup is made from roughly 1/3rd flowers & the rest stalk! The flowers are great as a side vegetable but do not have the substance to make a hearty soup – do not be afraid to use the stalk – it really is super tasty & contains loads of nutritious stuff – a great way of using food that you would normally waste…

…I made my soup in my slow cooker but it also works well in a saucepan

Ingredients – serves 4:

  • 50g oil or butter (or a mix of both)
  • 100g sliced onion, leek & celery (it doesn’t matter if you don’t have all of these ‘white’ vegetables – any combination will do)
  • 200g chopped broccoli flowers & stalk
  • 50g plain or gluten free flour
  • 800ml water
  • vegetable stock cube – I prefer the Kallo range of organic stock cubes – they add just the right amount of seasoning, have great flavour & are gluten free
  • 200ml milk

Method

  • Melt butter & oil
  • Add the all the vegetables
  • Cook gently – without colouring – for 10 minutes
  • Stir in the flour
  • Add the water & stock cube
  • Bring to the boil & simmer for 20 minutes or leave in slow cooker
  • Add the milk & blend until smooth
  • Reheat gently with some freshly ground black pepper – perfect!

Broccoli Soup

…we had ours with some cheesey garlic bread today – yummy!

After lunch all I really wanted to do was curl up in my warm, cosy cottage & get on with some neglected sewing projects but Alfie needed a walk & the littlies had been inside long enough! So off we set, across the fields in a circular walk taking in a nearby village…

Sign

…we passed a lovely, old rotting tree stump which is obviously now the entrance to somebody’s home – maybe Mr & Mrs Fox or a family of rabbits…

Tree Stump

…passing through the sheep fields I was reminded of when my Littliest E was very young – as we kept chickens he thought that all animals had feathers, not fur – so when out walking through a field one day, he exclaimed, look Mum, I’ve found some ‘sheep feathers’ & we’ve called them that ever since!

Sheep Feathers

I often think that our Border Collie is mad & this just proves it…

Alfie

…it’s an icy cold day & he still insists on going into the brook to ‘rescue’ the stones!

Gayton Church

… once we reached our neighbouring village it was back towards home past the church – a strange building of two halves – it has a brick tower & walls to the rear, & a frontage built of stone

A lovely walk, but I’m glad to be cosy & warm back at home – my little display of Spring sunshine greeting us as we came into the kitchen…

Yellow Tulips

Spiced Parsnip & Leek Soup

Today dawned bright & sunny – such a contrast to yesterday! Still chilly though, so soup for lunch to warm us up…

I like to make my soup in my slow cooker so that it just sits there until I need it but this recipe also works well in a saucepan

Ingredients – serves 4:

  • 50g oil or butter (or a mix of both)
  • 100g sliced leeks
  • 200g chopped parsnip
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder – optional
  • 50g plain or gluten free flour
  • 800ml water
  • vegetable stock cube – I prefer the Kallo range of organic stock cubes – they add just the right amount of seasoning, have great flavour & are gluten free
  • 200ml milk

Method

  • Melt butter & oil
  • Add the leeks & parsnip
  • Cook gently – without colouring – for 10 minutes
  • Stir in the spices & flour
  • Add the water & stock cube
  • Bring to the boil & simmer for 20 minutes or leave in slow cooker
  • Add the milk & blend until smooth
  • Reheat gently with some freshly ground black pepper – perfect!Soup

As the sun was still shining we opted for another family walk this afternoon – this time from our village, up alongside the railway line – we all love waving at the trains hoping the driver will give us a toot & a wave!! No luck today but the bright moon kept watch over us…

Moon

… & home for more hot chocolate!!

Happy New Year!

The turn of the calendar saw a grey & drizzly day here in Staffordshire – that didn’t stop us going for a walk after lunch…

Public Footpath

We’d spotted a loop of geo-caches not too far from home – so off we went to find them…

Muddy Wellies

…a little bit muddy down the lane & across the fields after the snow melted last night!!

Found the first two geo-caches but number three behind the old railway eluded us…

…numbers four & five found – “hurray” – that’s 60 in total now!

Saw a lovely old gnarly tree on the way home – without its leaves it makes a great pattern silhouetted against the grey sky…

Gnarly Tree

…then back home for hot chocolate & an evening snuggled up with some chunky sock knitting!

Chunky Sock Knitting