coming over all domestic

I don’t know what it is about the spring sun, but it’s making me terribly domestically-inclined. Every time it moves a little, so that the light shifts in the house and plays on the walls in a different way, it makes me reach for my camera with the desire to capture something of its brilliance and optimism. I had been innocently sitting at the kitchen table, working at my laptop, when all of a sudden I noticed how awesome my knitting looked, heaped up in its chunky pink felt basket, bathed in all that sunlight. It was due to the increased sunshine, I think, that I emerged, a few weeks back, from my wintery slumber of low knitting levels, and began to pick up projects that I’d started before it got cold and subsequently abandoned.

Last weekend I even got as far as venturing out to the still-fairly-new wool shop, just down the road from our house in Cambridge, The Sheep Shop. I’d managed to stay away until then – an attempt at saving my pennies – but having made the trip, naturally I had to bring back something as a souvenir. Hence that luscious looking skein of Malabrigo lace yarn in sunset shades, peeping out of my wool basket. Now I’m faced with that terrible affliction that troubles all fickle types like myself, where my natural inclination is to ignore whatever project I was working on until I obtained New Exciting Wool, and start knitting with that instead. So far so good: all I’ve done so far is stroke and fondle the new wool, and imagine what it will one day become.

On that same domestic note, I recently became the proud owner of a little pot of sourdough! It was a gift from my mother, who packed me off home with it when last I visited. It was only a very small pot, and so I immediately re-housed it when I got home, into an old Bonne Maman jam jar, in which it could be merry and grow. Then I made bread with it, not terribly successfully (it didn’t rise satisfactorily, and it came out a bit doughy in the middle), and realised that the jam jar wasn’t big enough, as it didn’t allow for enough sourdough to bake with and still have some left over for next time. So I re-housed it again, this time into an ex-gherkin jar (which at the time was not yet ex, which meant we had to rapidly eat the remaining gherkins on Saturday morning before breakfast), and that seems to suit it just fine. So we fed it up with lots of tasty flour and water, and left it to bubble, and went back to our reading and knitting, and forgot all about it… until late in the afternoon, when the deputy bread baker went to check on it. The lid SPRANG off at his touch, and before we knew it there was sourdough all over the kitchen. On the bright side though, sourdough bread round two was vastly more successful, and not doughy at all. Most delicious in fact. So at least we know what to do for next time. Minus the dough explosion…

Sadly, though, it would seem that my (haphazard) domestic touch doesn’t extend quite as far as I’d like. Here is my poor sad bay tree, a pitiable thing. Having left it in the weedy little plastic pot it arrived in last September for months, first it flourished, excitedly sprouting new shiny green leaves before Christmas. And then the actual winter hit, and rather took it by surprise. All its new leaves turned orangey-yellow, and suddenly it looked a far sadder bay tree altogether. I tried to coax it back from its depression, by buying it a brand new spacious pot to live in, with plenty of yummy new compost, but I fear I got there too late, as now its remaining green leaves are turning brownish, and starting to point downwards. The poor dear. Clearly my pink, duck-shaped watering can is not enough to make it smile. What can I do? Is this the end for little bay? We’ll have to wait for the next breathtaking instalment of Gardening with Agnes to find out!