1. Final Day of Christmas !

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    It’s time to take all the decorations down, the ivy is beginning to dry out & crisp up & the needles on the tree are beginning to drop. I always feel a little bit sad to pack it all away but the house looks so much bigger & lighter without it all !

  2. And A Partridge In A Pear Tree !

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    I found this on LSNED, fascinating !

    "For the first fact of Christmas, I bring you a partridge in a pear tree. That’s how the song goes, but it seems that the pear tree shouldn’t actually be there. Partridges are a bird rarely seen in trees, and a pear tree wouldn’t be a great gift in the middle of winter, being completely barren of leaves or fruit.

    The whole thing is most likely a language misunderstanding. The song of the Twelve Days of Christmas seems to be of French origin. A partridge, in french, is une perdrix. Une perdrix – a pear tree. An easy mistake for an anglophone.

    So let’s talk partridges. Actually, the french perdrix has its origins in Greek mythology. A man named Perdix was a young innovative inventor. For example, he was walking along the beach and saw a spine of a fish. Making similar notches in a piece of iron led to the invention of the saw. (or so the myth goes) Daedalus, Perdix’s teacher, was so jealous one day he took the opportunity to shove Perdix off a tall tower. As he fell, the gods took mercy on the ingenious Perdix and turned him into a bird. But, after such a traumatic experience, a bird that was afraid of heights and lived its life on the ground. Such is the story of the first partridge. One genus of partridges is indeed named Perdix, which contains the common Grey Partridge of North America.

    Partridges are smaller than pheasants, and larger than quails. Varieties are found in most all parts of the world, as they have been introduced to new regions as a tasty treat. They themselves, being ground dwellers, dine on seeds, vegetation, and insects. They have strong beaks for digging up those tasty morsels.

    In prehistoric times, partridges were a popular dish for Neanderthals andCro-Magnum humans going back at least 35,000 years.”

  3. Two Turtle Doves

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    These make such a cute dessert! I made the jelly with a little added condensed milk and poured it into a tupperware container to set, After a couple of hours I  got it out of the mould & cut these out with a bird cookie cutter.We served them with blueberries shaped like a heart.

  4. Three French Hens

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    More great facts from LSNED, I like the fact they’ve gone a little off piste !

    For the third fact of Christmas, let’s learn about three French hens. Now, the song mentions hens, but doesn’t go into any more detail. That’s ambiguous, as a“hen” could refer to a female game bird (duck, chicken, turkey), or just as easily mean a female octopus or lobster. Or perhaps the song is being casual in referring to three ladies from France. Hmmm.

    Let’s go with… the octopus! I think it’s the most interesting of the bunch for one very special reason. The octopus is perhaps nature’s foremost master of camouflage.

    Octopodes have special skin cells called chromotaphores, also found in many amphibians, fish, and reptiles such as the famous chameleon. But the chameleon has nothing on the octopus for colour changing talent. An octopus can quite literally disappear into its surroundings in the blink of an eye. It can see the surface that it wants to rest on, then mimic the colour and texture of that surface.”

  5. Four Calling Birds

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    More fascinating facts from LSNED …

    On the fourth day, we get “calling” birds. Turns out, much like the pear tree, this is another misunderstood lyric. The original is talking about colly birds (or collie) which means black. It originates from coal mines so to say something is “coaly” is to say “black“. Now, there are 31 different species of blackbirds,”

    Happy St Stephen’s Day !

  6. Five Gold Rings

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    The kids loved this combination of chocolate rings with jelly jewels !

  7. Six Geese a Laying

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    I love these egg jelly moulds, I bought them online from the states, they are also great for Easter !I thought the rainbow jelly would look stunning here!

  8. Seven Swans a swimming

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    Nigella Lawson’s cookie recipe as before, hand cut swan cookie on a lake of blueberries ! Lovely !

  9. Eight Maids a Milking- part1

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    According to LH this is my weakest link , he just doesn’t get it.

    So to explain, my thoughts went from milking to cows to other animals that could be milked to elks , you can buy elk milk  & it’s high in fat and immune-system boosting minerals… & I had an elk cookie cutter ! Lame I know but I was getting desperate at this stage ..stick with me it does get better !

    On a positive note The jelly tasted good (according to LH & Finn) I simmered some liquorice in a little bit of boiling water to try and get the flavour & to darken the water a little( you can see the flecks in the elk).I then used the liquorice water to make a lemon flavoured jelly.

    So a new favourite flavour, lemon & liquorice jelly!