Sunday 31 August 2014


We went for a walk yesterday, not our usual route into the woods but instead keeping to the fields so that we could pick from the hedgerows.
Most of the crops have been harvested, only the corn is remaining and the badgers are  having quite a feast of it.
We took containers for blackberry picking.
The picked fruit hung overnight in the jelly bag and this morning it was made into bramble jelly.
I've also made several batches of plum jam
and baked a mixture of apples, pears and plums to put in the freezer.
I like to prepare the fruit in this way because it requires the minimum amount of sugar, just a sprinkling, unlike the huge amounts in the jams and jellies!
Today has been beautiful.

Although the sun was warm it felt very autumnal. The garden, and it's gardener, are starting to look a bit tired and bedraggled.
Most of the citrus are still outside while the weather holds.
But leaves are dying back, exposing the crops beneath,
 whatever they are! (Grown from seeds exchanged at the seed swap.)
Colour is fading and the birds are enjoying the seed heads.

I love the combination of the globe thistle and bronze fennel through all it's stages, from the blue and yellow of flowering to the textural contrast as the colour fades and the seed heads form.
Yes, it's definitely autumn now!

The sedum is just starting to colour up
and things are going well in the greenhouse.

A few more cucumbers still to come
and the peppers and basil cropping well.
What's not to like!

Friday 22 August 2014

Friday Skywatch

The contents of the sitting room have been camping out in the dining room while we have waited for the chimney to be fixed. It's chaos in a small house when work needs doing. We've been in this state for weeks now.

This morning the sitting room was still sheeted up. A bank holiday weekend ahead and family arriving on the evening train! But the workmen came and EVENTUALLY the chimney lining was in place  and the wood burner reinstated.
By late afternoon we had our sitting room back,
with pictures hung and every little knick-knack washed and replaced.
Then it was time to drive to the station to wait for the London train, and to take a photo for Friday's Skywatch.
Wishing you all a very happy Bank Holiday.

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.