Sunday, 17 August 2014

A walk in the woods.

What with one thing and another we've been rather tied to home lately, but yesterday the weather improved for long enough for us to take a walk through the woods. We went to the pond with its two small islands where in the past we have seen a kingfisher. No brilliant flash of blue feathers to be seen on this occasion, just a couple of wild ducks skulking in the shadow of the overhanging trees.

The rain has fattened up the blackberries nicely. We didn't have a bag with us so we just ate!
The path that had been widened for taking out wood has grassed over. Bracken is threatening to encroach but for now it's lovely, easy walking underfoot.
Another part of the woodland is being cleared. It seems very intrusive, but nature will soon reclaim the space.
Young pheasants have been put in the pens to grow for the new season. No flight feathers as yet.What dim birds they are!
On our way back by the lake we met a neighbour with her grandsons. The boys were very well equipped; explorer hat, backpacks, spotter's guide books - with stickers!
Great excitement, a heron flew over! Out with the spotter's book, out with the stickers!
I was given a gold star sticker to wear. A strange old bird, obviously, although not in the book.
I've not yet been brave enough to climb to the top of the scaffolding. I made a start  but a strong side wind gave me the excuse to climb back down. Himself, who is made of sterner stuff, took the camera from me to record a bird's eye view. Just look at the tenuous state of our chimney!

I'm much happier at ground level pootling about in the vegetable garden.

Today the wind is even more freaky and we're skulking in the greenhouse with the Sunday papers. There's good growth going on all about us.

This lovely flower is from a piece of greenery that came home in my wash bag from our holiday in Sardinia last September.
The climbing Hoya I've had for many years. It was supposed to have been a popular buttonhole flower for gentlemen in the Victorian era although I don't know how they dealt with the sticky nectar that drips from the open petals - but the bees love it!
I've picked  a few wind-battered flowers for the house.

Wishing you all a good weekend.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Skywatch Friday. Up in the air!

We've been doing quite a lot of sky watching for the last week or so. The scaffolding has been with us for a fortnight and now it is higher than ever.
What a palaver!
We've had 'weather' - high winds and lashing rain, but happily the chimney stack stayed up on the roof!
HOPEFULLY everything will be sorted sometime next week, so here's a more promising bit of sky for Skywatch Friday!
Down at ground level the garden has really appreciated the deluge.
Plants that were looking rather pathetic have revived and are giving a good display of late summer colour.

Phlox are among my favourites.

This everlasting sweet pea has no perfume at all but it makes a very good cutting flower. It is not as robust as the deep-coloured version that rampages through parts of the garden.
I've put the 'Meyer' lemon back in the greenhouse while there are workmen moving about. I like it to be outside in the summer months because under glass it is very susceptible to scale insect damage. It's a mass of scented blossom and small fruits and the perfume wafts round the house, but blow me, it's only been back inside for a couple of weeks and the scale insects are in action!
There is plenty to eat from the garden. Today a simple lunch of vegetables with pearled spelt and toasted seeds and nuts.
Vegetables, chopped chicken and halloumi cheese fried in coconut oil, add the cooked spelt,
top with the seeds and nuts, torn basil leaves and a good drizzle of lemon. Mmm.

Monday, 11 August 2014


Tail end of a hurricane, the wind is getting up. What are we to do? Well, fortunately Himself was a boy scout and rather good at knots. Up the ladder he went (dear little wife steadying the bottom rung)  lassoed the errant liner and anchored it firmly to the foot scraper.
The man's a marvel! (There are a few things in the veg garden that are in need of similar treatment.)
Wee One and Roman were home for the weekend and we went to the farm to buy free-range eggs. British summer, you'll note the appropriate clothing of wellie boots and macs. The hens know that the grain is kept in the shed and always try to come inside when the door is opened.
A handful of corn keeps them diverted.
Scrambled eggs for breakfast - delicious!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Murphy's Law!

Do you know Murphy's Law? It's the principle that if you drop a piece of bread and butter with jam on it then it's sure to land jam side down. We've had two jobs lined up for the house requiring several workmen and a day each of labour. That was the general idea. One week later and the scaffolding is still up, because the wrong part meant that the solar panel work could not be completed.
That was last week. This week the two charming workmen who adapted our Aga returned to line the chimney that serves the wood burning stove in the sitting room. We had sheeted everything up, the weather was good, it would soon be done.  I would have a good tidy-up before family came home at the weekend.
Stove out.
Ladder up. The liner ready to be fed down the chimney.
"Can you pull a bit harder?"
It's stuck!
And now the chimney pot is loose.
And that's the current state of play!
Sometime next week, hopefully, the scaffolding is going to be moved round the house, the chimney cleaned with chains(!!) and the chimney pot re-set. Murphy's Law!
The scaffolding gives me the opportunity to have a bird's eye view of the garden. This wall looks very bare now that the dead tree has been cut down and you can see how parched the lawn looks with week after week of glorious warm, dry weather.
The fir tree in the foreground is looking rather sickly.

'Stop moaning' says Vanilla, 'just enjoy the sunshine.'


We are eating well from the garden with rather a lot of courgettes. I took a peep under the leaves of my squash plants and discovered - courgettes!
Only one squash growing so far.
The onions are small and have folded their stems and stopped growing, the 'Blue Lake' beans are cropping well
and the coriander is setting seed. It smells wonderful when you brush past it.
I've cut our wisteria hard back. It's a disgrace, not one flower this year. Walking down the road to the fields I passed my neighbour's wisteria giving a second burst of colour.
After weeks of sunshine the fields are golden, the crops cut and ready to be baled.
A balloon floated overhead as we walked back home.
And tonight. just in time for Friday Skywatch, the most amazing sunset!

The tail end of Hurricane Bertha is supposed to be arriving at the weekend - I hope the chimney stack stays up on the roof!