Blind Mary and picking up sticks

In 17th Century Ireland there was a woman who played the harp – very unusual for the day as it was men’s work.  However this lady was supported by the harp players.  To earn enough money to live she searched the woods for sticks to make up bundles of kindling to sell.  I consider myself very, very lucky to spend 10 minutes in our wood every day collecting kindling.  At one with nature the rabbits and birds seem to ignore me breaking twigs and branches.  I see and hear all sorts – its beautiful.   Yesterday the Canadian Geese were making a racket – gathering together ready to migrate for the winter.  The reason I pick sticks?   We researched and bought the top of the range Italian wood burning cooker!    It is absolutely brilliant.  It heats the house, heats the water and cooks.  It needs small, tinder dry pieces of wood.   It is the best ‘boy scout’s toy’ ever!  Me and my son (a Scout Leader) have challenged ourselves to cook a full ‘fry-up’ breakfast on a bucketful of sticks – it does it easily.  I am making Bramble Jelly at the moment and for the first time I have a cooker hot enough to set it beautifully.  My next project is Crabapple and Rosehip Jelly – an essential food for me (I hate ketchup!).   The temperature dropped the other night so I have just replaced 3 strings on my collection of 33 harps.  Not bad when you think each harp has up to 122 strings!

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