Summer Alert!

gulls following cultivator

The sun is shining, the thermometer is hovering in the high 20s and Met Office has declared a level three heatwave alert *. While MPs debate whether employers should be legally forced to provide air conditioning to combat high temperatures and commuters face delays as rail companies reduce train speeds for fear of hot rails buckling, we just get on with life.

In the fields …



cultivating with Discordon

The oilseed rape crop has been harvested and today the field has been cultivated, drawing in hundreds of gulls that follow the tractor and cultivator down the field. They swoop down behind the cultivator forming a long white row and then, when the tractor turns at the end of the field and comes back towards them, they lift into the air in a white mass and repeat the whole procedure.

eating …


We’re eating so many blackcurrants that our vitamin C levels must be at maximum. In an effort to prove to my sons that making meals is simple, I forced encouraged one of them to make ice cream. Not complicated egg custard ice cream, but the ‘whip up a pint of cream and add a tin of condensed milk’ variety. We swirled in a few tablespoons of blackcurrant compote and hey presto, Blackcurrant Ripple Ice Cream that has been very welcome this week.

baking …

Adelaide cakes

I baked Adelaide Cakes for a visiting Wheaton relative from Kangaroo Island, which seemed appropriate.  I also discovered that replacing the raspberries in this easy loaf cake with blackcurrants makes a deliciously sharp and fruit cake, which is perfect with a cup of tea.

Printing …

jelly printing on fabric

Ruth runs Print Club sessions in the Barley Barn and while others crank delicate drypoint prints through the press or make detailed screen prints, I ink up a slab of jelly and randomly throw bits of foliage on top. I enjoy the simplicity of this sort of printing and the way it reflects the seasons.

In early spring I print with primrose flowers and leaves in spring colours of pale yellow and zingy greens and later, the lacy umbrella shaped flowers and fern-like leaves of cow parsley make delicate prints alongside young dead nettle leaves. At this time of year,  I use leaves from the herb garden (marjoram is particularly good) and from the ash tree and hornbeam hedge for their different shapes.

After much experimentation, I’ve finally worked out a technique for jelly printing on fabric and now just need to find some sewing projects to use it all.

Playing …

jelly print repeat

I’ve been jelly printing onto fabric strips about 22 centimetres wide, which is fine for the children’s sunhats that I’ve been making, but not so good for larger projects. With the vague thought that I might want a long length of fairly uniform fabric, which will be a bit tricky with this slightly unpredictable printing method, I’ve been playing around with some digital manipulation.

I think this could become a little addictive.



*Please don’t mock if you come from a hot climate! It’s hot for us, even if our Australian visitor described our heat as like a warm spring day.

29 thoughts on “Summer Alert!

  1. Farm life seems to be a busy but fulfilling one. I have a medium sized garden that keeps me pretty busy. The ice cream sounds delicious!

  2. I love black currents but we don’t get them here in California. I’ve been making shrubs with berries and that’s a great addition to any drink. I love your prints, stay cool during the heatwave .

  3. We’ve been picking Bilberries recently, eating bilberry meringue pie and frozen enough for nice treats in the winter. Love your printed fabric,! Hurrah for summer hey.

  4. Yes, I am laughing Anne about your ‘heat wave’ … but also know that what you would consider a mild Winter’s day would have me huddling by the fire. Your creativity, as always, astounds me!

  5. We are forecast 27C today on the mid-north coast of NSW! Not bad for winter!
    Loving the look of your summer days.

  6. Anne, lucky you put that asterisk there :). We Australians like to mock you British :). Btw. It is freezing here, literally, we hit -2. Now you can mock me!!

  7. Delicious food ideas, thank you Anne. I used to have four blackcurrant bushes (they propogate very easily!) on the allotment but I grubbed them out to make more room for ever bearing strawberries, Autumn raspberries (these are both now cropping, taking over from the summer raspberries and strawberries) and a third apple tree. I think I was becoming worried about the amount of sugar required to make them palatable – although I don’t feel that way about rhubarb, maybe because from March to May it has no competitors in the fruit department. I love the colours of your fabric printing.

    1. I agree about the sugar, which is why most of our blackcurrants go into Slamseys Blackcurrant Gin. My husband insists on growing gooseberries, which I would happily go without because they need excessive sugar and still don’t taste that good to me (though he loves them).

  8. I agree even in Australia the weather varies so much from Broome one of the hottest places to hobart that what one person considershot or cold another dosent do in this small world let’s revel in our differences and laugh with not at one another enjoy your summer as I struggle with our winter.

  9. I love the colours and designs of your printing. I’m off to look at that cake recipe now as I too have a glut of blackcurrents.

  10. Keep cool Anne, those paddocks looks dry and dusty, a lot like our paddocks usually are. Those Adelaide Cakes look soft, light and delicious. Pretty colours in your printing!

    1. It was surprising just how quickly the ground dried up once it was cultivated, though I hope it won’t get quite as dry and dusty as your paddocks.

  11. We’ve been stuck in a heat wave and drought here in New England. Temperatures have been in the high 90’s (35C I believe?). That’s very high for us especially in July since we usually don’t get that until august. The farms here are really hurting with the lack of rain.

    I love those prints!

  12. wow, I never thought the UK got hot enough for railways to buckle!
    the blackcurrant ice cream sounds delicious, not matter what recipe it uses. yum – enjoy a slurp for me!

  13. My favourite way to make icecream, I made one with cherry sauce the other day. Your prints are gorgeous, we are doing a similar digital thing with our tie dye! Jenny

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