We are over half way through the Wildlife Trusts #30dayswild challenge. So far it’s been great fun and in the next three days I’m having a go at three things I have never tried before.
Day 16 Willow Weaving
We have a willow den in the garden which produces vast quantities of excess willow so I thought I would utilise some of the surplus and have a go at willow weaving. Willow is an amazing plant with flexible stems and the ability to root straight into the ground especially when the willow is dormant. I keep meaning to book myself on a willow workshop but never seem to get around to it.
I cut some stems from the willow den, striped most of the leaves off and decided to go with the flow. The plan was to create a willow ball but I found it wasn’t that easy to plait the willow. As I played with the stems I could envisage a fish and there you go a rather poorly designed and droopy fish. The willow was too flexible to use as a pole hence the bamboo stick. Not my proudest moment. I think I need to book that workshop.
Day 17 Lemon Balm Herbal Tea
We have a large clump of the herb lemon balm in the garden. It self seeds readily, grows easily and the leaves smell lemony. However there don’t seem to be many uses for the herb. I have in the past soaked so leaves in the bath for a lovely lemon fragrance and I know you can candy the leaves with egg whites & sugar. It is not the sort of herb you can just pop in with some chops or a casserole. So I thought I’d have a go at lemon balm tea. I just infused some leaves with hot water. Delicious.
Day 18 Elderflower Champagne
Ever year I say it, but I never get around to it. There is only short window when you can pick elderflowers so you have to move when you see them begin to ripen on the trees in the hedgerows. This year #30dayswild has spurred me into action.
We have picked a huge bunch of elderflowers to make champagne, probably too many as I shall not have enough bottles. It was great fun foraging the hedgerows to find them and helped that we had a pair of scissors with us. There was lots of discussion about the difference between elderflowers and cow parsley As I write this the elderflowers are soaking with lemons in water. The next stage is to sieve them and then add sugar and cider vinegar and then bottle. I have chosen a recipe that does not use yeast as there is meant to be enough natural yeast in the elderflowers for fermentation to take place. Here’s hoping we will be toasting July with the champagne.