random things

Annie at Knitsofacto wrote a “Ten Random Things” post and encouraged others to join in. Given that life around here seems pretty random at the moment, it seemed entirely appropriate.

 

1.  Diversifications have altered the pattern of farming life. No longer ruled entirely by working the land, we find ourselves undertaking random tasks. Most recently Bill has been unleashing his artistic side as he helps prepare the Slamseys & Great Notley Art Trail while I’m helping at Slamseys Gin in preparation for the summer show season. Next month we’re hosting Open Farm Sunday so there’s a heap of random jobs to undertake, not forgetting Risk Assessments and safety notices to put up. Farming life may be different nowadays but it’s far from boring (thank goodness).

forget-me-nots under the apple tree

2.  Some days, it’s good to lie in the long grass and forget-me-nots while the world passes by. Even if it’s just for ten minutes.

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3.  Clothes appear to shrink when packed in a dark drawer for several months. In the hope that summer is on its way, my thick winter jerseys, hats and gloves have been packed away while summer dresses have been rediscovered along with t-shirts and wide brimmed hats. Do clothes pull out of shape, rip and get stained during storage or did I really put them away that like? Why did I think they’d look new and pristine when pulled out months later?

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4.  People look younger when they smile and are happy.

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5.  It is impossible to buy ultra-sheer, light grey tights. I cannot work out if I’m ahead of fashion or way too far behind the times (we wore grey tights for school that laddered daily on the splintered school chairs, despite copious applications of nail varnish). I can find skin tones from lily white to darkest brown; navy and black abound but no light grey. My daughter thinks it bizarre that I should even contemplate buying grey tights, which makes me think that rather than being ahead or behind fashion, I’m simply out of step.

 

from Great Notley country park
6.  A walk up a hill lifts the spirits. Well, it does when you get there, if not on the way up. We have a small mound near us that was made with the spoil when the nearby housing estate was built and standing at the top gives a wonderful view.

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7.  It will rain this week. This weather forecast is based entirely on No 3 above, the fact that I have a washing line full of clothes drying with more in the machine and some of our family have tickets for England v Sri Lanka cricket this week.

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felted bird
8.  Though I may not be any good at nuno felting, knitting something quickly on large needles and then throwing it into the washing machine can have pleasing results. Not useful, intricate or skilful. But fun.

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9. Several blogs I used to read have withered away. I idly wonder if they’ve switched to Instagram and Facebook but haven’t tried to seek them out because I prefer a sizeable chunk of lively writing and beautiful photos waiting for me to look at when I have time, rather than a series of bite sized photos fired out a few times a day, most of which I miss. I can see the attraction but it doesn’t fit in with the way I live. Doubtless, just as everyone else moves to the next “thing” I shall catch up.

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10. One tablespoon = 15ml in the UK but 20ml in Australia, which could explain a couple of wayward recipes. According to Glenda‘s post about Dampfnudeln, nineteenth century tablespoons in Britain were about 22 ml. So, why did ours get so small? Someone is probably writing a thesis on the decline of the large tablespoon measure and its potential extinction with ever more accurate scales. Perhaps it will be the next step for smartphones or we’ll all have some in-built measuring system like a microchip or … a brain.

 

39 thoughts on “random things

  1. Christina says:

    I always thought a table spoon is a table spoon. This random fact of yours will probably resurface anytime I try a new recipe…. I love forget-me-knots but have yet to find a patch of grass with plenty of the flowers for my own few minutes of quiet reflection. I am full of good intentions when the seasons change, planning neat packs of clothing to be stored in a place I can remember. It never goes past the good intentions. And yes, clothes do definitely shrink when they are not worn. Mine do.

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  2. Glenda says:

    Hi Anne, How come we still have 20 mil tablespoons and you have moved onto 15mil tablespoons? It made me think about India when I wrote it. There are so many things in India that are reminiscent of times past in England. Maybe its the same in Australia. Italians who visit Australia often comment that the Italian-Australians are living as they did in Italy at the time they left.

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    • Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial says:

      The Americans work on 15ml tablespoons too. I, on the other hand, work using ceramic Asian soup spoons, one of which I once measured to be 20ml, and I’ve now extrapolated to assume that ALL Asian spoons are 20ml. So far, no major disasters. 😀

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      • Glenda says:

        I love the logic Celia. It is interesting that the States use mils for tablespoons when everything else is in fl oz etc. We should start a revolution to revert to the good old days. Clearly a ‘tablespoon’ started out as a table spoon which were much bigger than 15mils.

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  3. sally says:

    Love the wee birds and there little wire legs, did you make them? I am in Australia and my tablespoon measure says 15ml. But it came from a $2 shop so maybe it is imported? I struggle with using american cup sizes for baking. The are different to the Australian cupsize it would seem. I dont know why it cant be all in grams or ounces, less converting all around.

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    • Glenda says:

      Hi You have to be so careful with tablespoons in Australia. There are a lot of imported ones from China and they are all 15mils yet most Australian recipes use the Australian std 20mil tablespoon. If you go to a good kitchen shop you will find 20 mil tablespoons.

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  4. Sarah says:

    I really liked number 2 – lying in the long grass among the forget-me-nots, but the one that’s stayed with me is number 10… are they really a different size in Australia?

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  5. Fiona says:

    I so enjoy your writing Anne. Trust us to be different in Australia. I really had no idea how much our tablespoons measure, and the array of tablespoons in my second drawer all look to be different anyway!
    [On another note, our old Mama Pig must be about 9 years of age. She only had three piglets last litter which I’m assuming to be an age thing (she has had as many as sixteen in the past). I didn’t dare write it on the blog, but she will end up sausages in our freezer. A very hard thing to do, and I’d like to think we’re just practical, not heartless as there’ll definitely be tears and we’ve already had this discussion with the kids about what a wonderful life she’s had and how as soon as she’s dead, she’s no longer Mama Pig, but just pork.]
    Look forward to seeing images of your Summer. We’re cooling here and days are so pleasant, great working weather.

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  6. andreamynard says:

    I liked all the points but the one about lying in the long grass for 10 minutes is my favourite. Hopefully it’ll make me smile and look younger!

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  7. rusty duck says:

    I got my crate of summer clothes down from the top of the wardrobe over the weekend, on the hottest day of the year so far. Then it started raining and has barely stopped since. Crate now taking up precious floor space and remains unpacked. Leaving everything time to shrink some more.

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  8. Denny144 says:

    I sincerely hope that you stay behind the times and don’t move to Facebook or Instagram. I love your blog just as it is.

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  9. Jane @ Shady Baker says:

    Beautiful things at your place Anne. Farming has changed I agree…we no longer do just one thing do we? The diversification at your place sounds interesting. I absolutely love those birds…just gorgeous!

    As I may have said to you before, I am not on Instagram, I know I would find it too distracting and I like the idea of reading a well thought out blog rather than snippets. I hope you are having a good week. PS your brioche was lovely…do you ever serve it in a savoury style with bacon and eggs for example? I have a special breakfast on the horizon and cannot decide between brioche/bacon and eggs or brioche with jam. Decisions.

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  10. The Food Marshall says:

    Beautiful photos of your beautiful countryside. I’m so envious of all your green!

    I know that when I pull out all my summer lovelies after 3 months in vacpack bags, they’ll be just a smidge tight and out of shape, purely because of all the mashed potato and comforting stews I’ve eaten over winter. That and I tend to do absolutely no exercise over winter.

    Bah, what am I saying, I don’t exercise over spring, summer or autumn either.

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  11. Gather and Graze says:

    Love your 10 random things Anne! Those little knitted birds are fabulous – will you let us in on how you made them?? I’ve just begun my first ever knitting project (a scarf – terribly unoriginal I know…) but will be extremely useful if I get it finished in the next few months. 🙂

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  12. usinguptheveggiebox says:

    Love this post Anne. The birds are adorable, not that I craft at all but a friend has just taken it up and she would be smitten. I keep English and Australian tablespoons on hand as I have a obsession with English cooks (Hugh, Nigel & Nigella) and find the 5mls really does make a difference!

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  13. knitsofacto says:

    Oh to have ten minutes to lie among some forget-me-nots! Although if I did that at the moment I’d get wet … I’m not sure whether to congratulate on your perspicacity re. the weather or blame you for jinxing it 😉

    Re. the withering blogs … yes, I’ve noticed that too. Almost feel my own was in danger of following. I’m sure Instagram et al have much to answer for but I also think that there’s a natural span to these things – 3 years ish seems to be common – at which point people either give up or rejig. Please keep posting here … good blogs are ever harder to find, we can’t afford to lose any more.

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    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      Has been a bit wet hasn’t it? I managed to get caught twice in downpours yesterday, both times unsuitably clad in shirt sleeves. On the plus side, the fields and garden are positively bursting with growth and looking wonderfully green and lush.

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  14. Alison says:

    I like my grey tights just a little opaque, but could never find a pair to replace the ones that laddered last year. I swear they go with everything! And my tablespoon, from a reputable Australian homewares’ store, is most definitely 15mL. I will be questioning everything I bake now…

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  15. Mel says:

    Lovely randoms Anne. Lying in Forget-me-nots, felting little birdies and walking up those beautiful green rolling hills all sound absolutely fantastic. Blogs seem to be declining for sure and I’m sure social media is making a difference. Facebook and Twitter leave me cold. I post photos on IG but I absolutely value a good blog post over anything else any day and there are enough of us that feel the same way so don’t panic….Mel x

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  16. Emily Grace says:

    #6 looks like my home.

    #9 yes, some like the tiny bits of social media in multiple settings, but I am not on those media, except some Pinterest. I agree, I like nice lengths of conversation and images. Suits better. My attention span prefers longer reads.

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