Tag Archives: spring

The Spring Phoenix

Flowers bloom

as the sun illuminates

gossamer spiderwebs.

Lambs gambol

in the grass

crocuses spring

birds sing

and bluebell hoods

carpet the woods

as the Spring phoenix dashes

from winter’s dark ashes.

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Something to put a Spring in your Step

Sheffield's peregrine

One of the peregrines

Earlier this week it was easy to feel the joy of Spring – the weather was perfect for running and walking. But even when it’s raining try this to Spring clean your outlook.

When there’s a break in the rain go for a walk, even with wellies and an umbrella you can still coo at the cute lambs. Bring Spring indoors with some flowers and paint them or a seasonal scene.images (3)

Take a look at the Peregrine Falcon webcam, some chicks have just been born. It has been set up in Sheffield at the top of a church, by a nest box. Sadly one of the eggs didn’t hatch and the mother is still trying to incubate it, but the survivors provide much entertainment.

It’s not recommended for vegetarians though. Tonight I watched in awe as their mother flew off and returned with something red and bloody and proceeded to tear chunks off it and feed it to her chirping fluff-balls. You can’t see much details though so although I usually don’t like gore I could tolerate it. Having done this she settled down over her brood for the night. The chicks looks cutely vulnerable huddling together for warmth when their parent left, one eagerly looking around for her.

Peregrines are incredible birds, flying up to 180 miles when diving. In 1956 there were 650 breeding pairs in the United Kingdom, but following ingestion of pesticides in their prey which made them infertile, there were only 68 pairs left six years later. However, since the 1970s those harmful chemicals have been banned. They mate for life and often return to the same eyrie, so hopefully we’ll see them next year too.

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This year’s English Spring…

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I opened the back door today to this, the coldest spring since 1962. I saw some great snow photographs in The Metro, which I still enjoy on my way to work. Most seem to be outraged by the relentless wintry onslaught, especially when the calendar says that we should have daffodils not bare branches. Others however are using it as an opportunity to showcase their creations or fashion-sense. It didn’t stop my boyfriend going on a “10.62” km run last night!

I was glad to hear that The Duchess of Cambridge managed to get up to Windermere in the Lake District to spend time with Beaver and Cub Scout groups. Some of the footage for which was shot by my boyfriend’s housemate! He is one of the leaders of a group that attended. Luckily the Duchess went back early by train (Virgin of course), whereas the cameraman had to endure a 6 hour journey home. Although Kate looks down to earth in the photographs, the Telegraph is quick to point out that she is wearing £300 wellies.

The weather is in stark contrast to last March.

Meanwhile in New Zealand my relatives have been enjoying their best summer for years.

This is our fourth snow dump of 2013. I must really love this country to be 037putting up with this

But it gives me the perfect opportunity to make the most of the time indoors with a curry weekend. I intend to cook a korma tonight (ok I admit this one’s with a ready-made jar of sauce) and tomorrow a proper home-made dahl with red lentils and mushrooms. I had an M & S microwave one last night which was fantastic, but nothing beats healthier home-cooked food.

It was certainly better than the lamb tikka bhuna I had when I last went out to an Indian restaurant, which consisted of a couple of pieces in a watery thin sauce. With all the other meat on the menu being chicken it was clear to see that meal quality had been sacrificed in favour of cost-cutting. This could be another case where trusting reviews let my boyfriend and I down, or perhaps I just ordered the wrong dish, his was delicious.

Red Lentils

With heating costs rising it’s even more important to save money, and at around £1 per kilo these are great value. You only need 1/4 cup per person! I 027usually do 250g each time so I have plenty for leftovers and to freeze. Simply wash through like you do with rice and cover with boiling beef stock in water and add a tin or two of chopped tomatoes (one tin is enough for two servings). Boil for 5 mins, then simmer for 15 mins with a teaspoon each of various herbs and spices (I added mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cinammon, garam masala, coriander seeds and frozen coriander. You should also add tumeric or curry powder) and any vegetables you want, I used pretty much everything I had!  Fresh coriander on serving was great too. I’d recommend about 200g of spinach added just before you take it off the heat. If it needs sweetening up add more cinammon.

I chose to slow cook mine for a more intense flavour burst – it really made a difference! Overall it’s a cheap, healthy, high in fibre and filling meal. I have only recently discovered this and felt the need to share. I cooked the above dish from this recipe. If you try it do let me know how it goes.

As for the bizarre weather, there is some debate about whether this is due to climate change or the arrival of another Ice Age…what do you think?

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