Pinterest has a lot to answer for in this house. After painting my spare room last month I’ve not been happy with the join between ceiling and wall, which is wobbly to say the least. To be honest all my walls and corners are uneven as the house is 200 years old but it looks particularly bad with such a deep wall colour and is glaringly obvious every time I go through the room.
The pinning site gave me some great bunting ideas and as I have lots of wool and limited crochet prowess I decided pom poms were the way to go.
I spent a happy few evenings making lots of pom poms in various shades of blue and was contemplating how to join them when I noticed my dining room chairs. These chairs came from my husband’s office during a refit. They were brought into the house at Christmas as extra seating and are so comfy they have now replaced the ones we had before.
They are quite wide but cushions just don’t quite work on them. And then I saw the holes, just crying out for pom poms don’t you think?
So I went a bit crazy and made a few more in a different colour combination. I’m still planning on finishing the bunting after all!
I’m using up lots of spare wool which is always a bonus and having great fun with it. Trouble is I have so many to make I will need more wool if I’m to do them all which quite honestly will be amazing in itself.
I will have to start buying all over again. It’s a hard life for a crafting hoarder!
I’ve been down to the bees today which is good but not worthy of the title of this post.
One of my hives was looking to escape so I artificially swarmed it for them. To do this you take out the Queen and some brood along with a good quantity of bees and move them to another location. Today that was a nucleus box in the same apiary so I closed the front with some grass just so that the flying bees would take some time to come out and hopefully will reorientate to the new position. Otherwise they will all go back to the original hive, which is not a huge problem as without the Queen they will hopefully just carry on bringing in nectar and the Queen cell left in the hive will hatch and start the brood nest again. The old queen in the nuc will also just carry on laying, although I will take her a brood box down in a day or so just so she has more room.
But even that isn’t as exciting as my title indicates.
No the excitement is sitting in an old birds nest. A nest I have seen a dozen times and thought might be something better than a boring old crow. A big scruffy nest on the edge of the copse, wedged in the branches of one of the bigger but still not very substantial trees about 6 foot above my head.
One evening last week hubB helped me take an extra paving slab down for my hive stand to sit on. We saw two little ears poking out of said nest, watched in amazement as the inhabitant took off and flew across the copse but wasn’t able to get a picture.
Well today here they are. Can you make it out ? I’ve got a Long-eared Owl nesting in my apiary and I’m so excited I just can’t hide it.
If it has eggs I will probably camp down there, take a million pictures and burst with the extra excitement.
Watch this space, life is good!
It’s miserable here today and although, as yet, we have not had the torrential rain that was forecast it is very cold. The thermometer might indicate that it is 7 degrees but the wind chill makes it feel much colder.
In the garden a few hardy souls are giving it their all. The bluebells as usual are looking lovely. Every year more and more seem to be flowering white and this year lots are a very lovely mauve shade.
They really are a picture as is the Deutzia and the various other beauties. Lots however is coming into flower and going over very quickly. I totally missed my dog-toothed violets which are full of stems and surrounded by the fallen petals. I always forget they are around the side of the house but don’t usually miss them completely!
There is lots of blossom on the fruit trees this year so, if it survives the wind presently blowing through the garden, we should have a good crop of fruit even though the trees are still young.
In the polytunnel the cucumbers are planted but I took the precaution of covering them with extra cloches. I also started planting the tomatoes but again decided to cover them up. The brassica seedlings are doing great and find the slightly colder temperatures must more to their liking.
Outside garlic, onions, peas and Pak choi are all doing well. With or without homemade covers.
The summerhouse is full to capacity. I have gone a bit crazy on seed sowing this year.
Oca, salad leaves and watermelon are all doing well.
I am determined to use up all my old seeds so am sowing, pricking out and moving to the polytunnel before starting all over again. It is quite a relief when some things don’t take so well as I really am running out of space. I think I have even been so enthusiastic I’ve started double sowing.
This pot seems to be both dahlias and possibly Zinnia’s. I’m guessing on the conveyer belt of pots I had lined up on the bench I inadvertently sowed two packets in the same one. I’m keen if not clever!
The weather has taken a real turn here this week and we’ve made the most of it with gardening and outside busy-ness. This morning Miss C had a dentist’s appointment that saw us in our local town for 9 o’clock. We’re a twenty miles round journey from town and as I detest shopping it’s not often that we actually visit. Today as the sun shone and after a quick dental check-up we made the most of our time, buying some much needed spring clothing and visiting a friend, who runs an amazing wool shop on the high street, for a herbal tea and a catch up.
After a quick lunch and the fastest maths and English work Miss C has ever managed, she rushed off to meet a new home ed friend in the next village and I had the afternoon to myself.
I wandered for a while. Wondered about doing some pricking out in the summerhouse, but it was to hot. Wondered about painting the decking, it desperately needs it but still to hot! Eventually I allowed myself to just sit in the shade with a cup of coffee and this craft kit.
Following on from my room tidy I have found a number of kits that need finishing. This one had lost its packet and threads, but thanks to my huge collection of everything craft I was able to match all but one of the colours needed. A mistake in the pattern half way down needed a bit of twiddling to make it work and was probably the reason I had abandoned it before.
It’s part of a set I brought probably 20+ years ago. Some are already done but I seem to remember there were 6 so I’d better have a hunt around for the rest. That will keep me busy!
Over the Easter weekend hubB took a few extra days of work. The idea was to put up a fence in the garden but as with all good plans the weather played against us. Plan B came to me in a flash. While refreshing Miss C’s room last year I had brought an extra tin of paint in a deal. I brought it specifically for the dressing room but, as we hadn’t preplanned it, it didn’t happen. It has sat on the shelf in the garage ever since and the rain looked like a good excuse to use it.
The room was lemon coloured before but as the ceiling was looking tired we gave the whole room a good coat of white as an undercoat. Three coats of blue ( and another trip to the local store for their last tin in the same colour) later we were fairly happy with the result.
The main wall looked a bit bland and a rummage through a box of old picture frames gave me a great idea.
I have a huge collection of cross stitch pictures stitched over the last 25 years. I gathered them together and banged in the hooks.
There’s no real finese involved. I just mixed and matched them. Collecting them from boxes and drawers all over the house. I liked the effect so much it inspired me to find a few I’ve finished but done nothing with
I finished one that only needed about 20 more stitches.
I’m almost ashamed to say that I found others that need a lot more work. Some I don’t even like enough to finish. Some that look so difficult I might never finish
This is a headless wizard it seems. I think I might know why I didn’t finish that one!
Today during hubB’s Formula One session I’ve spent 3 hours on this beauty. Can you guess what it is? And more importantly if I’ll ever finish it!
It’s Mother’s Day today. I’ve had gifts, someone else cooked my breakfast, I’ve pottered in the garden, there’s been cake, family visiting and a country walk. It’s been a good day all round.
In the garden the sun has brought out some spring flowers.
In the polytunnel it has been almost tropical and the covers have come off all the pots
The bulbs I planted in January are coming into flower and some rather feeble hyacinths scent the air amazingly.
The summerhouse was 40 degrees when I first went in but in my rush to fetch the camera and take these photos, I left the door open and it dropped to a healthier 30
The seeds sown in there earlier in the week are not through yet but the onions and alliums are doing well.
In the house I have seedlings a plenty. Miss C is lucky enough to have her own bathroom with a lovely wide windowsill that she covers in collectables for the rest of the year. In the spring she has to move them all aside for the good of the garden.
The tomatoes I sowed last month have been pricked out into individual plugs along with French and African marigolds. This week they were joined by celery, chard, leek, melon and cucumber seeds. The peppers and chillies are also there but have been for a while and are not showing any sign of germinating yet. They are always a bit slow.
It’s still feeling warm at teatime and spring fever is kicking in. I can hardly wait to sow more things but as they all have to go into the unheated summerhouse I just have to be sensible and sociable. I won’t spend the evening on my own in the garden, I’m joining Miss C on the sofa and watching Dancing On Ice. It’s her favourite programme and she did sort of cook my breakfast, with a little help!
This week has seen the country covered in layers of snow. We have been advised not to travel unless it’s absolutely necessary and the news channels have had a grand time reporting the ‘Beast from the East’ stories.
Now in our village it’s been bitingly cold but quite honestly I think we must be the only place in the country with virtually no snow. Until today. Just as they tell us it’s all over we woke up to a white out, and very pretty it was as well.
I had already intended visiting the bees and a bike ride in the snow even appealled to Miss C, who in general stays at home while we check them.
They are in the copse of trees at the top of this picture and although the track is used by dog walkers today we were the only people around. Miss C loved leading the way!
In places the snow was deep enough to come almost to the top of my wellies. HubB and Miss C took great delight in sliding and skidding through the drifts but my old bones needed more careful treatment and I ended up walking and puffing for a lot of the way.
The bees were fine when we arrived. I took the chance of quickly looking under the lids to check they still had some fondant left. This is their winter feed as a supplement to their own honey stores. Some hives use it, some don’t, but I always make it available to them. This year the bigger hive is on its second 250g block, the smallest still has most of its first left and the middle one is on its third. There is no rhyme or reason to it as all are still heavy with stores and I can see from the one with a removable floor screen that they are also uncapping those stores. A removable floor is a great way of checking, as the wax cappings fall directly below the bees cluster, letting you know exactly where in the hive they are. It is not so easy to tell on the large hive as due to damp problems I have removed the board and left the floor open to the elements. It’s a first year experiment but so far, so good. On today’s visit I expected the bees to be in torpor but the two open mesh floored hives where both up and eating. My smallest hive is still on a solid floor as a test hive and seems to be acting much more traditionally with little activity on my visits.
HubB took this picture of the snow under the trees. They stand 8 rows deep and make the copse a little micro climate within hundreds of acres of open farmland. It’s an interesting spot and I am looking forward to seeing it in spring immensely.
Last autumn I had the idea of picking up a bag of bulbs each week with my shopping. After 2 weeks I abandoned the idea, as I hadn’t planted the first ones, and the bags got left on the side in the utility where there were promptly forgotten. It’s now January and to late for them to go in the soil so I persuaded hubB that a trip to the garden centre to buy compost was needed.
As the compost is stacked up outside the store, I just pay for what I want at the end of my visit and take the car over to put it straight in. As we walked into the store for a coffee I happily told B we didn’t need a trolley. I could carry anything we brought. Famous last words!!
The store had all autumn bulbs at 50p a bag. 50p! They also had all Christmas stock at 70 percent off. B took one look, turned around and went for a trolley, he knows me well.
By the time we reached the coffee shop I had this little load.
While we ate our breakfast rolls and drank slightly dodgy coffee B rang his dad to tell him about the sale ( he’s a keen gardener) and took another order. Luckily Miss C was at horse riding as she would not have been impressed to have to go back and shop again. I on the other hand rose to the occasion and picked even more stock.
Today has been spent happily potting up the 444 bulbs. I feel pretty smug that I was able to lay my hands on washed and sorted pots and labels. Standing in my new summerhouse out of the wind and placing the pots straight into my recently tidied polytunnel. Sometimes I’m so organised I amaze myself and it feels good!
If I’m honest the 75 litres of compost wasn’t enough and I ended up lasagne planting lots of the bulbs in one big pot. I also didn’t need the extra 160 onion sets I now have in plug trays.
But look at the savings. I’m one happy gardener today.
Can you believe that another year has begun? In just a few days I will be another year older. I remember, as a child, a lesson on the millennium and a task to work out how old we would be on that date. I started enthusiastically enough but when I realised it was more years than I had fingers I declared ‘ I’ll be so old I’ll be dead by then’ and stopped counting. Now we’re 18 years past that event and I can remember it like it was yesterday. Well to be honest yesterday is often forgotten to me but then I’m getting older!
Our family tradition is to spend New Years Day at the coast. Hunstanton is fairly close to us and as the weather was fine we set off.
It was already busier than it often is in the summer and by the time we left, the queue into the town was a good few miles long. I’m glad we’d started earlier than most this morning!
The beach was busy with windsurfing and a few hardy souls were even sitting and digging in the sand. We contented ourselves with a very brisk walk from one end to the other. Walking into the sun meant facing the wind and it was bracing to say the least.
Heading back to the car we had the wind and the sun on our backs and the promise of a good lunch to haste our way.
As we pulled into the drive, back home, I noticed this rather lovely rose growing on the front wall. It inspired me to find some other treasures.
There’s a rather nice geranium still flowering in the summerhouse.
There’s a very brave Hebe outside the back door and a rather bedraggled marigold out the front. Nothing else has survived the almost constant frosty mornings and warm days of the last month.
If I’m making one new year promise this year it’s to be more organised. I won’t keep it, I never do, but wouldn’t it be nice. I could start planning now but I have a good book, it was a Christmas present and it would be churlish not to read it while it’s still new.
Happy 2018 to you all.