Monday, 25 April 2011

From Creator to being in The Created

In mid-April I took a short break to my usual haunts in Herefordshire. I left work one Wednesday evening and travelled up to Hopton Titterhill where I camped out in the car for a night. I then went on a long bike ride before going to stay with my mother and doing some gardening work for her. It is now over a week a later and I am only now writing up my notes and reflecting on my travels.
The light is disappearing beneath the grey skies. I have had an easy journey here and at around 8.30pm there is still just enough light to enable me to absorb some of the landscape and cook a light meal. Then I go for a walk.

I saw a woodcock 'roding'. It made a very distinctive "craw, craw, squeek" sound as it flew with rapid wing beats between the trees. I hadn't seen one display like this before and I had to look it up when I got home to check what I had observed.

There were a couple of deer on the edge of a field and only a slight breeze in the trees.

Walked out onto a dry flat cultivated field that was showing initial signs of spring barley growth. It probably hadn't rained since the seed was sown. Darkness is all round me and the mooing of cows in a valley farmyard echo around the hillsides overlooking Hopton Castle. In the stillness the loudness of the cows seems rather eerie as they must be quite a distance away. I hear a few sheep also. There are few lights in the landscape and shape of the hills merge into the evening haze/mist.

The field gives a deep sense of space and openness after the enclosure of the office where I work; the drive here, and the conifers that surround the car park.

At work I am the creator - a place where I form ideas and colours into shapes, patterns and images. It has been a bust few days where demands are made, deadlines created and the need for me to be a creator are expected. The Mac is my tool - taking my thoughts and creating tangible structure. Now I am sitting in my car surrounded by the tall conifers, the gathering darkness and a gentle hush in the trees. Silence, stillness and timelessness are my companions. Now I am in The Created - the creative playful springtime energy of nature. I am now an observer, treading quietly and absorbing the sense of space and creation - within The Created.

I am looking for inspiration, for a language, for a sense of belonging. Thoughts of 'dark' and uncertainty gather but I chase them away. The night can seem scary but yet my mind is slowly adapting to this new place. Tomorrow I will walk out into creation and receive, explore and learn.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Spring 2011

11 April 2011:
  • Bees and Bumblebees
  • Ladybirds
  • Bluebells beginning to flower in woods
  • Tulips in the garden, daffodils just past their best
  • Parsnips, beetroot, carrots, leeks sown in allotment
  • Spring cabbage and lettuce plants bought and planted
  • Potatoes in ground a couple of weeks ago
  • Tomato, courgette, squash, red cabbage, purple sprouting, lettuce and herb seeds sown under cover
  • White blossom everywhere
  • Occasional butterflies
  • Sunburn and hot sunshine
  • No rain for many weeks
  • Watering wilting plants and germinating seeds
  • Meals in garden
  • Summerhouse too hot
  • Nettle and bean soup last weekend
  • Amelanchier in blossom
  • Need rain to break up soil on allotment


Rocket Stove Casserole

After a good month or more of dry weather, the past few days have been very warm and sunny. Just right for a bit of garden cooking. I have been wanting to make a Rocket Stove for ages and yesterday was an ideal day. My supplies of waste wood around the garden were dry and a good supply of old bricks was all I needed. The web is awash with images and principles of rocket stoves, so I won't expand here,  but basically it was a matter of building a brick 'chimney' with a opening at the base into which wood is fed. The fire draws air though this hole and supposedly burns very efficiently.

Using an old wok I cooked a pork in cider casserole and the stove worked surprisingly well, considering I had never made one or seen one in action before. Keeping it constantly fed meant I had to make quick dashes to the kitchen to prepare the food. Once the bricks had warmed up it seemed to generate quite a reasonable amount of heat and the casserole bubbled away nicely, though I did cover the wok with foil to ensure the meat did cook properly. The design could be made more efficient by sealing in the gaps between the bricks and creating more of a space for ash to accumulate.