Treats And Truths Of Country Living

20031830_1440254776063914_6770098460197945556_n - onto Instagram 13.7.2017 - THTT signed

Our peaches are ripening! The bumblebees, and a little hand pollinating by feather, have done the trick. An exciting time in the rickety greenhouse on our organic acre in Berwickshire, UK.

These are the treats of country living that are hard to beat, a blessing so much appreciated, especially when one pays such a high price for living in the British countryside, surrounded by vast acres on which synthetic fertilisers, highly toxic sprays and huge machinery are employed to perform every task. It’s the little blessing that gives strength to the next hour.

It has been a journey learning to live in this cold and temperamental climate, living very isolated in a range of ways, learning to understand the lie of the land, to work with the seasons, to make sense out of some vicious hands that have been dealt. The eight years have been incredible in many ways, but they have also been eight of the hardest years of my life, pressed and crushed and shocked by all sorts.

With every squeeze, in every rocking challenge, I always take my focus back to the blessings, back to what is solid, back to what is beautiful, back to what is miraculous, back to what is even fleetingly lovely, back to what is simple and straightforward, back to what is truth, back to what is sustainable, back to what is real and utterly good … Always refocusing, always learning, always getting back up, always moving forward inch by tiny inch …

These peaches are quite symbolic, representing what is still reliable, what is honest, what is wonderful, what tastes and is pure and purely good. Nourishment for the body, nourishment for the soul. The taste of Summer, the taste of health, the taste of joy and delight. The taste of innocence, the taste of simplicity, the taste of hope.

I started this blog / website a few years ago, to record some of my experiences, poetry, recipes and thoughts, now and over the fifty plus years of my interesting life. The blog grows in hiccupy stops and starts, but there is a fair body of collected writing here now.

These peaches form part of the story of the last eight years, and so much more.

 

- onto Instagram 13.7.2017 - THTT signed

Yours mindfully,

Holly x

[This post has been adapted from the original, which appeared on Instagram on 13 July 2017  Link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BWeocXsgLZQ/?taken-by=hollymaxwellboydell ]

Autumn’s Artichoke

DSC00243 - THTT signed

 

There is something very satisfying, even decadent, about being able to settle down to a solo lunch of home grown artichoke. What a luxury!

Somehow, with this being the last artichoke of the season in our garden, there was a special tang of just (yet mingled with guilt for not sharing) reward about the perfect plate of goodness before me …

Nothing nicer than a freshly picked, steamed organic artichoke, with freshly melted, organic lemon butter and lashings of pepper  …

Ah. Some days one really feels like a “King”!

 

DSC00249 - THTT signed

 

How slowly I savoured every last morsel, feeling utter gratitude that I had managed this year, at long last, to produce our own artichokes from the little plants that had held onto dear life in the greenhouse, year upon year, as I tried to figure out whether we had the right garden (climate) conditions for them, and how on earth to go about it.

And what did I do with the precious green liquor remaining in the saucepan that had steamed the delicious artichoke?

 

DSC00250 - THTT signed

 

Well, it looked far too healthy and full of goodness itself so, instead of tipping the vegetable water down the sink, as so many do, I collected it, diluted it with cold water, and fed it to some thirsty pot plants.

Oh, and the remains of the artichoke?

Well, they went into the composting system, of course!  Winners all round.

In Autumn health and wholeness,

Holly x

Blackberry Herbal Tea

DSC00263 - THTT signed

The blackberries are just beginning to ripen in our organic garden and, plucked off the ‘vine’ to snack on, make truly delicious little powerhouses of goodness, superfoods par excellence.  As today is the first day of the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, it seemed like a fitting time to post something about blackberries, so here is my little recipe for (an Autumnal) homemade herbal tea, to lift anyone’s spirits.

 ~ : ~

BLACKBERRY HERBAL TEA

DSC00259 - cropped - THTT signed

Ingredients:

1 TBS Blackberries

1 Dsp Rose Petals (eg rosa rugosa ‘Roseraie De l’Hay)

1 Dsp Lemon Balm leaves (a good sprig or two, and can include flowers)

1 tsp Rosemary leaves (small sprig, and can include flowers)

 

Method:

Wash ingredients.

Pop all into a clean, warm teapot.

Pour boiled (not scalding) water over the herbs and flowers.

Cover and set aside to infuse for a couple of minutes.

Pour into your choice of a beautiful cup.

Inhale the delightful fragrance, while you sip and enjoy the benefits.

*Sweeten with a little honey, if required.

NB.
If foraging for blackberries, or other edible plants, please be sure never to collect them from beside the road or anywhere near agricultural cropping fields.
Only ever use organic / chemical free herbs and other edible plants to make your herbal teas, and be sure to identify the plants correctly before using.

~ : ~

DSC00271 - THTT signed

DSC00261 - THTT signed

DSC00266 - THTT signed

DSC00270 - THTT signed

To your good health!

Holly x

[Note this recipe has also been posted onto the Towards Greener Borders Facebook page today at http://www.facebook.com/towardsgreenerborders.%5D

What would Jesus do?

In my quietest moments, and sometimes even in the midst of a current or a raging storm, I wonder to myself “What would Jesus do?”

Over twenty years ago, I sat on a panel in London, speaking to an audience of other Christians who attended the Church I loved to be part of too, and I told them from my heart that I believed we needed to take care of our bodies, our ‘temples of the Holy Spirit’. My voice was a lone one in the room that night. And many times since, amongst similar crowd.

A few years after sitting on the panel in London, I stood on a beautiful property in Australia, longing with all my heart to convert it to organic, and I told the ones whom I was with at the time, whom I also loved, that we believers have to take care of the Earth. I was looked askance at, many a time. Once, when my little daughter ran up to a tree and lovingly hugged it (as she had seen done, I’m sure, on Sesame Street, but the action clearly came straight from her heart), I was looked askance at, as her mother, and my daughter was told that she was a “Tree Hugger”. That was not an endearing term and I was horrified from whence it came. I walked on, and sometimes I think I should have walked away. But I loved more, and I continued on my path.

As time has gone on, the fire has burnt ever brighter inside me and I have faced all sorts of ridicule and opposition to both my faith and my belief in how important it is that we show our love to the Earth. I have not wavered from my path, and nor have the many others who have been on this path too, around the world, because we hear and see the messages, intellectual or otherwise, and the situation is now a critical one.

If Jesus walked into the room right now, I hope he would say I have been a faithful servant, but I don’t know. All I know is that we are now hearing from religious leaders too, about caring for our planet, and I thank heaven that they have heard the message at last. I do not call myself ‘religious’, I have no rituals to my belief and will not allow another to own me ever again, having been burnt too many times, but I have a reverence for God, my father, whom I believe created all of this, and listening to the Holy Spirit is fundamental to my life.

I hope I’m right in saying this: we must take care of our bodies, our temples, and we must take care of the Earth too. The Earth is our home while we live in our physical shapes, and it behoves us all to work towards its longevity and good health. Is that what Jesus would say? Is that what Jesus would do? I don’t know … but Genesis tells me clearly it is exactly what he would want to hear.

And what of the Native American Indians, so in tune with who they are and where they came from? And the other tribes and groups who too remember their connection? I think Jesus would sit well in their midst, and they would all take bread together, in reverence for our spirit and our beautiful Mother Earth.

Our bodies are our ‘temples’, our Earth is our ‘home’. Surely we ought to do the same?
Love them.

Holly x

Invitation to join us at Towards Greener Borders

DSC05261 - TGB signed

Sunshine and snowdrops (galanthus) in the little organic woodland during February 2015 … a magical moment.

If you’re on Facebook, we’d love more support at Towards Greener Borders, to help spread an important message and contribute towards a brighter, safer world for us all.

Towards Greener Borders is easily found at http://www.facebook.com/towardsgreenerborders.

Please join us and do tell your friends about TGB too!

Many thanks …

Looking forward to meeting fellow bloggers and others there!

Yours in caring for our health and the environment,

Holly x

Did you know that Towards Greener Borders HQ is a ‘real’ place?

The following is a new post that has been published on Towards Greener Borders’ page today at http://www.facebook.com/towardsgreenerborders. It gives a little background about my philosophy when dealing with our health, environments and wellbeing, and shows what we are doing on our tiny property in the Berwickshire hills and how tenderly it is being managed, while we are the custodians  …

 

Did you know that Towards Greener Borders HQ is a ‘real’ place?
It is ‘An Organic Property’, a place where no chemicals are used, where the grounds are managed as sympathetically and mindfully as we know how, where Nature is observed before decisions are made about what to work on and how, where soil is kept covered and digging is rare, where wildlife is welcomed and nothing growing is considered ‘bad’, where mosses and lichens are allowed to flourish, and self-sown trees such as holly, yew, ash, sycamore, willow and elderflower are being encouraged, in order to save them for use elsewhere. It is a place where the forget-me-not is remembering to seed again, chickweed discovery excites and where dandelions are called friends, where the foxglove is admired and its floral beauty feasted on, where wild daisies are cause for rejoicing and hawthorn allowed to bloom …

At the moment, the snowdrops are shining and soon the purple crocuses will be shining fully too.

“Towards Greener Borders HQ” is where Towards Greener Borders first grew, and from whence it is currently managed. Not open to the public, we are sorry to say, as there are just too many tasks to attend and currently too few to do them, but we’re delighted to share our pictures with all of you.

Thanks for joining us on the journey and helping to spread the word. Just as every plant and every creature is valued at “Towards Greener Borders HQ”, so is each and every one of you. Let’s keep the mission spreading … and for all the help and all the support, we thank you.

The TOWARDS GREENER BORDERS Team
www.facebook.com/towardsgreenerborders

Taken on the first day of March 2015, a glimpse of the lovely snowdrops beneath and surrounding our holly, sycamore and cherry trees at “Towards Greener Borders HQ”.

Taken on the first day of March 2015, a glimpse of the lovely snowdrops beneath and surrounding our holly, sycamore and cherry trees at “Towards Greener Borders HQ”.