You can have only 2 kitchen utensils. Which do you choose?

I was cooking last night and it occurred to me (not sure why) that I use two particular utensils much, much more than others. This then had me thinking, in a general train of thought, if I was going to be washed up on a dessert island and could only have 2 utensils, which ones would they be?

The obvious one is the knife. Generally always needed and most utilised in the kitchen. One, well, cuts with it. Mince, dice, sliver, chops… a good knife does all these things. And I also use the side of the blade to crush, such as garlic.

I have a vintage Henkel steel knife that is my go to knife for everything cutting. It was Pumpjack’s birthday present to me a couple years ago, that has now started a birthday tradition. (And for those who subscribe to the concept that you should never give a knife as a gift, like Pumpjack, I did give him a penny for it just to be on the safe side as I did so want a knife.)

And why is it my go to, take to a dessert island, knife? It’s carbon steel, as opposed to stainless steel. It rusts, hence why knives these days are not made out of it, but it also is very very easy to sharpen. And a sharp knife is beauteous thing to work with in the kitchen.

So the easy choice is the knife, but what of the other choice? I’ve been thinking about this for awhile. Again, no idea why, as I have no intent to be marooned on a dessert island in the foreseeable future with two implements. I think it is more about minimalist living. I believe in homesteading, self sufficiency and old stuff. Combine these… and I come up with why I can only chose 2 utensils. (Well, the thought process worked for me.)

So, the other utensil I decided would be tongs. Yup, tongs. Not a spoon, I can use the tongs to stir. Not a fork, I can use the tongs to grab. Okay maybe whisk action would be pretty tricky, but I generally find myself using my tongs when the knife doesn’t, well, cut it. (Sorry, I just had to say it.)

What would your two be?

Knife and Tongs_A_PumpjackPiddlewick

A fox went out on a humid night – causing chaos in our duck world

Last night we lost a young male duck to a fox. We knew something was up when we heard lots of chaotic duck quacking. I went out to find one of our little females on her own, very obviously upset. I walked her down to the other ducks, to find them running over from the other side of the garden. In counting there were only 5, including the little girl by my feet. That left 3 more to find. Continue reading

Our Stairs were designed to catch out advancing Knights with swords drawn

If you have ever visited a castle you may have heard the reasoning that a staircase curved upward clockwise to hinder an advancing enemy, who, normally right handed, would have his drawn sword consequently on the inner side of the stairwell as he climbed, whilst the defender would be free to advance down with his sword extended.

Why am I thinking about this? It’s our stairs. They are wonky. I mean really wonky. Our petite maison is very old, probably about 1600s. We think. And whoever built it, either didn’t have a clue about how to build stairs or was seriously out to put off advancing rogues. Continue reading

Wardrobe change over day has finally come! Getting a whole new wardrobe.

As springs pushes into summer, there is something I really look forward to, my own special Change Over Day. It is something I have been doing for goodness knows how long, and still it is a true treat.  Such a treat in fact that I think it should be nominated as it’s own day, like National Hug Day (January 21) or National Cat Day (October 29). Trouble is it’s fluid. It is never the same day year to year, sometimes not even the same month. You see it all depends on the weather. Continue reading

Romancing the grapes – posh plants or down and dirty agriculture?

I don’t know about you, but I never really thought about wine grapes and their vines as part of agriculture. In fact it sounds almost like a dirty word, when associated with wine. To me they weren’t a crop, like wheat, they were too posh for that. They were more like a seasonal delicacy, like asparagus or artichokes, something I enjoyed, but didn’t really pay attention to how it was grown. I just liked the taste.

I have always liked wine, well maybe not so much when I was younger, but as I grow older I appreciate it more and more. The taste of course, but also the variations, the vagaries and sometimes the sheer fun. Of course, living with a wine maker has given me a whole new perception. He has added to my level of knowledge immensely. And, I am still trying to decide if that is a good thing. Continue reading

Chamomile has taken over my garden – tea any one?

Last year I planted Chamomile, with no great success. I tried it in various places and had a little grow in one of my pallet planters. It produced one really good bunch of flowers, which were duly harvested and made into Chamomile tea.

But what I had forgotten, when I had been, with desperate conviction, trying to get my chamomile to grow, was that I had ‘lost’ almost half a packet of seeds that had spilled out of the envelope. Fast forward to a little over a year later and I now know where the seeds have gone.

Continue reading

Birthdays are meant to be celebrated

It’s been a busy week this past week, as my birthday was amongst it. And as I get older, the longer I like to celebrate my special day. After all, it is my own personal day, one where I can get away with more than normal.

This year I was lucky enough to do a special something each day of the week surrounding my day. It wasn’t possible for it to be a full day each day, but then I discovered, it made my activities all the more memorable and appreciated. Continue reading

Bad Mummy Duck ~ or ~ Making the Most of Grandparents?

Spring is a time or replenishment. A time to plant the garden, a time of rebirth amongst the animal kingdom, and a time – thank goodness – when we can move some of the off-spring out.

Now I can’t claim to understand, possibly sympathise, but not truly understand what it is to raise children. But I can tell you about ducklings, that is about ducklings that live in your house. Having raised Maggie from her hatching to the hatching of her own brood – of 13! – I can debate with myself that I am starting to get the hang of it. And then I think…. nah. Continue reading

A little franglais goes a long way. Stereotypes and misconceptions of France.

We recently had people visit, visitors who hadn’t been to France in years, and when they had been it was always Paris. This was their first trip to the countryside of France. And they couldn’t get over the difference. The French were actually friendly, and helpful! Continue reading

Frost by Nature – Bud Burst Busted

In the past, I personally wouldn’t care that spring has been tentative in coming. It might not have even registered in all honesty other than to complain it was a bit chilly. But now that we manage vineyards and are looking to buy grape juice this next harvest, what happens now affects our future. So, I am noticing. Continue reading