Dear readers,… dear friends,
Do you know how long it’s been since I posted anything to my blog? Heck, I can’t even remember myself.
Ok, I just checked. July the 5th. That was three and a half months ago. Far too long, and I’ll excuse myself in advance because I’m sorely out of the habit of writing, as you may have noticed from my weirdly disjointed sentences thus far. The sad fact is that I’m still not quite back to my baking-ways, and will still not be for a couple more weeks, because life has a habit of getting in the way of things, but I did want to give you all a little update so that you know that I’m still around, and that I haven’t given up on FiveEuroFood entirely.
So, what have I been up to in my unacceptably long extended hiatus? Well, I’ve made an 11-part video course on WordPress Blogging for Beginners. This course covers all the aspects of getting set up as a self-hosted WordPress blogger, along with some basic tips on how to grow your audience and monetize your site, and you can check out the course over at Curious.com.
When I wasn’t glued to the computer, taking long walks with my son William was a nice way to spend some time while my wife was working – even if I almost did get eaten alive by mosquitoes more than once…
We spent some days at a local beach (there’s one just 20 minutes away which I never knew existed… but that’s perhaps rather silly of me considering the town I live in is literally right on the edge of Sweden’s coastline).
Do you remember how I mentioned I was growing things? Well, not everything turned out as planned, but some of my attempts were very successful. I had a good harvest of beetroot (albeit rather small), peas, yellow courgettes, tomatoes, and potatoes. I did manage to grow a few small red peppers, and some espelette chillies which finally ripened – and tasted pretty good – though sadly my efforts to grow beans, leeks, cucumbers and lettuce came to naught. The potatoes pictured three images down are called “Apache” – red skin, flecked with yellow spots. I also grew a variant called “Blue Congo”, which are completely blue all the way through (even in the flesh), and some “normal” potatoes for good measure.
Annoyingly my yellow courgettes kept dying, and it took me a while to figure out why. They weren’t getting pollinated! After I armed myself with a little paintbrush and adopted the role of “plant matchmaker” they seemed to flourish.
After the summer fun, autumn rolled around and it was time to participate in the long-awaited activity of berry picking. I wanted to go lingonberry and mushroom picking too, but didn’t get a chance. Blueberries were sufficient for my first year I think, and what a crop! I filled an entire bucket. About six kilograms in total. More than enough for a huge load of jam, tarts, and muffins.
Of course, picking out all those twigs and leaves was a bit of a pain. There are two schools of thought here.
- Use a special berry picker which works incredibly well, but has the unfortunate side-effect of occasionally wrenching up big clumps of bush and leaves. Not often… but occasionally. Obviously, you can mitigate this a little with a good technique, and also by using it only at the extremities of the bushes, and at times when berries are very plentiful.
- Pick all the berries by hand so you’re left with a bucket of berries and nothing else.
Obviously, I subscribed to the first belief, since… well, I’m greedy, that’s all there is to it, but I can see how not having to spend literally about 8 hours picking out all the trash from the bucket later might have its attractions.
August the 19th was my son’s second birthday. Here he is in the morning when I took him out for a father-son fika, eating a cinnamon bun the size of his head!
So that was my summer. And Autumn.
Now winter is here, and I woke up today to a ground covered in snow, which wasn’t entirely unexpected, but never entirely welcome. Looking through the summer photographs in writing this post, seeing all the wonderful warm weather, I find myself longing for it once again. Instead I’ll have to wrap up, hunker down and try and keep warm since I have a sneaking suspicion that this winter is going to be pretty bad.
I’ll be back soon – I promise, and certainly not in three and a half months time – with a real recipe. I just need to find my camera battery charger which seems to have vanished somewhere. For anyone who has left comments on my blog – my apologies that I just stopped replying. I will start again from this post. I don’t think I’ll be going back to three or four month old comments to reply, but rest assured that I did read them all. If you had any specific questions that you did want answered, please feel free to post them again here, and finally a small request. I made a modification to the way my website loads, so if it appears to be loading incorrectly for any of you, please do let me know.
Shashi @ runninsrilankan says
Welcome back Charles! You have had one heck of a busy summer and fall! That Wordpress tutorial is so extensive! And you grew beets?! I am in awe – I never seem to be able to grow them and I so love beets! Happy 2nd birthday to your little boy – he is adorable gnawing on that giant cinnamon bun! Looking forward to seeing your other recipes!!
Thanks Shashi! It’s nice to bash out a post again… I felt so disconnected and I can’t wait to get started on recipes again too… although I’ll need to find my camera charger first 🙁
Welcome back! Always great to hear from you Charles. I have no doubt you’ve been finding plenty of things to keep busy. I can’t believe you woke up to snow this morning already! And I can’t believe how big William is getting. He is so adorable. Love the cinnamon roll the size of his head too. Awesome! It looks like you’ve been having a great time – the photos from your walks are gorgeous. Make me long for warmer weather again too! Talk to you soon Charles!
Hi Kristy! It feels good to be back… albeit not “entirely” back. I felt so disconnected and while it’s nice to have a break every now and again I feel like it went on for too long. It’s nice though, because now I’m filled with this passion to get cooking and baking again which I kind of lost over the summer, as well as a passion to write and document what I’m doing, but gifted as well with a slightly different outlook on blogging in general. This kind of thing really hit home that I’m doing this for myself – not for anyone else. Friends I meet along the way are just a wonderful happenstance, but one should never feel stressed out or obligated by one’s hobby.
Chica Andaluza says
Nice to see you back and your son is looking so grown up! Stay warm, we’ll be here waiting for you 🙂
Thanks Chica – “stay warm” you say… I’ll certainly try my best 😀
Coffee and Crumpets says
About bloody time!!! Three months, really, it won’t do, Charles. Ha! This from a person who also took 3 months off 🙂
Glad to see you’ve kept busy. I hope you’re feeling better.
See you soon!
Hehe, thanks Nazneen 🙂 Feels good to be back, and I can’t wait to get baking and cooking (and writing) again!
Welcome back but it sounds like you were very busy.
Congratulations to William on his 2nd birthday. He’s getting to be a grown up looking little guy.
Thanks A_ – was so busy… still am, but a teensy bit less so now, so hopefully soon I’ll be able to start baking and cooking and writing with a bit more regularity again 😀
I’m always glad to hear other bloggers who have stepped away for a few months! I don’t feel so alone! Your son is so adorable and growing bigger and bigger. He must love all the time he gets to spend with his dad. These are very special years.
You’ve definitely been very busy and it looks like your crops turned out very well! Love all your photos, so very scenic and pretty. Welcome back!
Hi Linda, it’s been so long since I spoke with you! You know, I was going through my old email archives the other day, trying to find an email and I’d had some email correspondence with a “Linda”, and I couldn’t think who it was, and then I realised it might have been you?! We’d been talking about WordPress and things like that…
Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says
Charles! So nice to ‘see’ you again. You know, I’ve been dropping by your blog lately, I think I might have been missing you :). Your blogging video course sounds like an amazing project and one that will be very well received I think. Do you know what I just did? I moved from Blogger to WordPress after close to 4 years of blogging!! Just a bit of a production smoothing everything out on that transition you might say but in the end, (and after some much needed sleep), I think I will be happier with WP. I was so tired of the limitations of Blogger. Your berry shots are gorgeous — so blue… and you took the words right out of my mouth, that bun looks bigger than William’s head! Gracious me ;-).
That’s great news Kelly – How are you finding it, away from Blogger? I think Blogger is a good platform for the “casual” blogger, but once you get even halfway serious, either treating the blog as a serious source of income, or just a serious hobby, I find it hard to advocate any free platform like Blogger, Tumblr etc.
I couldn’t believe how many blueberries I picked… I’d never seen so many in my whole life, and they were all mine!!!!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
Welcome back, Charles! Love your photos of your most recent adventures. It’s just beginning to be fall here, I can’t imagine snow on the ground already! Looking forward to your next recipe!
Thanks Laura – we’ve had two episodes of snow already but it all melted (well, got “washed”) away after a few days with some rain, but I think the weather will soon get quite bad. 🙁
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
You are baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! What a wonderful news! We missed you and your blog. 🙂 You made a video course for blogging? How awesome is that! I can’t think of any other person who can make great videos AND knowing what’s behind in blog… Wishing you good luck with the business! Lastly, Happy Belated 2nd Birthday to William! He got so big! You definitely need to be back with recipes and more pictures of William. 🙂
Thanks Nami – it feels good to write again, even though it will still be a few more weeks before I can return properly, but I’m filled with renewed enthusiasm for cooking and baking and writing, so I can’t wait!
Hotly Spiced says
I can’t believe my very lengthy comment disappeared. Where did it go???
Hi Charlie – no idea, sorry 🙁
That’s what stuff like Feedly is for – keeping track of bloggers on hiatus :). Glad to see you drop by.
Berries were quite scarce down here this year (Västmanland). However, there was a tremendous abundance of mushrooms.
And btw, using a berry picker is for whimps 😉 (but yes, not using one doesn’t make for huge quantities at once).
I know people that are able to at least somewhat grow melons (a few here and there), but they live in Skåne or on Gotland, or they have a temperate green house. They take too long to ripen to make it before it turns too cold.
Hi Jessica, there were quite a lot of blueberries, although not very big alas. Not many lingonberries either, and I didn’t even try to find hjortron but I’ll look next year.
I’d LOVE to go mushroom picking. I had hoped to try this year, but that’s something for next year too. I need to find a course to go on, or else I’ll probably end up coming back with some toxic toadstool instead of some nice fat Karl-Johans!
Experienced mushroom pickers do tend to say that Karl Johan is easy to recognise. I fear the same thing you do though. That I’ll pick something highly poisonous and end up killing off the family. Which would be very unfortunate.
Welcome back! Very pretty place you have here…gorgeous! Your son is getting big too. Wow! you did good job with your garden.
Thanks Nipponnin – it was very satisfying to get my hands dirty in the garden this year 🙂
Hi friend! …no new post yet? … I was just checking….Have a wonderful holiday! And stay warm.
Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says
Charles, welcome back to the blogiverse! Looks like your time away was not wasted. What a lovely harvest! Glad you included a photo of the even-more-handsome-than-ever William! One thing about the long cold winter, it will likely get you baking again, right?
Thanks Jean – there was so much to do this summer, and still is, but things are starting to quiet down a bit now. Within a few weeks I should be fairly much back to normal again. Indeed – I can’t wait to get baking!
Linda Walbridge says
Hey – Nice to see you back…somehow I’d lost track of you. I don’t know how long your site has had the new look but it looks great! That little fella on your shoulders is too stinking cute! I have re-vitalized my blog too and am liking it so much better – hope you’ll stop by again!
Hi Linda, long time no chat! I hope you had a good summer. I certainly will stop by your site again… I’ll add it to my feed-reader right now so I don’t forget, although it might be a little while yet before I can get back into the swing of things, but I’m well on my way!
Gourmet Getaways says
Hi Charles! Nice to see you back! You’ve been productive all this time, great to hear 🙂 William has grown fast, too!
Thanks GG – it feels good to be back. I feel like I have renewed enthusiasm for everything, so I can’t wait to get stuck in soon!
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
Nice to see you out and about in the blog world now. It sounds like summer and fall in your new home was good. I was surprised that the beetroots that you grew were elongated instead of round…new to me. William has certainly grown and looks wonderful. I bet he loves his new adventures.
Sorry it took me so long to get over here to say HI! WOW – you’ve been busy! I can’t believe you did a video series on WP. I’m headed over there in a minute. Your garden output looks great! A lot did grow over the summer, but I think William grew the most. I can’t believe he is 2 years old! He’s so cute! So sorry that it has already snowed there. Please keep it in your area because I don’t want it any colder here than it is now. We haven’t had our first freeze yet so the garden is still going and I’m hoping to make it to Thanksgiving. That would be a record! Looking forward to your next post!
Eva Taylor says
I can’t believe I missed this! I do check my from time to time but I missed this! I can’t believe William is two already! Time certainly does fly.
I’m definitely checking out your series, wordpress should reward you for doing that!
Helene D'Souza says
I understand you, I have been rather off too over the summer and finally I am getting a bit back to my blogging life. I missed it but I doubt it will be as it was before, time has become precious.
As it comes I wrote about wild blueberries and lingonberries too. =D
My husband loves picking berries in Europe so we ended up frequently in the forest, he with the comb and me collecting by hand. It’s really rewarding to collect berries no?
Charles you can be proud of your garden’s bounty. I had little time to do anything much last season. Watering the garden can take up so much time every day and I blame the mosquitoes too for my not being active in the garden.
I hope to read your food posts soon again and I also hope to get surprised by your food discoveries and tales Charles. Take care!