Monday, 31 December 2007

New Year.......

........almost upon us; Christmas over, looking forward to the new year now. Lots of resolutions ( as usual), but keep them in my head........ Basically to work harder, get more things done, get the book finished and spend more time outdoors. Wonder if I'll manage to keep any of them? Non-descript weather here today, very heavy cloud, not very inspiring, but I need to get out later I think. Roll on 2008....................

Monday, 17 December 2007

Non-electric sausages

Made some sausages this morning, completely without the use of electricity - took little time, and very satisfying in a lot of ways. Good hefty old mincer, then a hand sausage machine. Tehse are pure Berkshire pork, from the pig we licked up last weekend from a friend, probably for tea tonight. Looking forward to these..............

"Life machines"

"Life machines" - what on earth is all that about, then? I have seen this written on several forums, where (usually) women write about their "life machines" having been switched on; by this they seem to mean their bread machines, dishwashers, washing machines, etc. I use a washing machine, but that is about the only electric thing I have in this vein. I know it's each to their own, but I find it very sad that people can't find time to make bread by hand, wash dishes (using nice things to do the job - handknitted cloths, good washing up liquid and nice brushes, pretty tea-towels). OK, so maybe a lot of people think they don't have time to do these things, but I really wish they would have a go , at least sometimes. The satisfaction got from breadmaking, contemplative dish washing etc is good for my soul, and a big part of my interest in the slow living movement. Maybe it's just different priorities I have?

Roll on Christmas

Well organised this year - so roll on Christmas. Mince pies in oven!

Friday, 14 December 2007

Christmas is coming...........

Been a week since I posted here, so just catching up. Not long until Christmas now, but I'm on track with everything, which is a good feeling. Been avoiding the major shops like the plague - it really does help counteract the feelings of being overwhelmed by the whole thing. Shopping has been done on the net, and at various places over the last few months, so no mad panics - makes all teh difference. Will be decorating and tree putting up this weekend I think. Looking forward to three days of no computer, no phone, no meetings, no hassle..................bliss with gin!!

Friday, 7 December 2007

Somedays, some things come along that just gladden the heart.........

...........and here is the one for today. Made from Oorkney stained glass, inscribed with a Celtic blessing; I don't know what it says yet, but it's just a perfect work of art. Good old e-bay.........

Friday again.........

Made a print as a present to send off to someone in America as part of a forum swap. One of the lino cut native mushrooms I did at the workshop. Quite pleased with it, now framed, hope it survives the trip across the Atlantic!

Turned into a lovely day - might chance some washing out.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Christmas cards

Unintentionally set about the cards this afternoon! All done now; some traditional folded cards, the rest on postcard style, so can get away with no envelopes. Borrowed punch, already had card in stock, and envelopes, also inkpad and stamp - result - free Christmas cards. Just need to write them now!

Thursday already.........

This week is hurtling past at a rate of knots.............still, getting a lot accomplished. Pouring again here, so not much outside, couple of little jobs. Washing and ironing doen for today, so working on Christmas things. Had some cards already, both from abroad, starting to think about decorations, trees and all that jazz.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Turning of the month....

December now, and we are into winter. Not long until the shortest day, love the solstice. Lovely bright and brisk morning her; washing out, and all livestock happier than eysterday with the teeming rain, cold winds and general misery of the weather. Successful quiz for the village hall, spent eysterday pottering around, bit of Christmas stuff, bit of tidying, nothing exciting. I have a veritable Munro of ironing to catch up with today, though..............

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Wet Thursday

I'm alright today - stopped the screaming within from yesterday! Ej has dismantled his bed in readiness for re-decorating his room, and proclaims with delight it looks liek a squat - mattress and sleeping bag on the floor; made me laugh. Clearing out his clothes resulted in a nice pile of t-shirts for cutting up for rag rugs on the peg loom, so I was more than happy with that. Gloomy and wet here at the moment, hoping it will brighten up, but doesn't look like it. Huge amount of knitting to do, so need to get on with it.
Things moving on apace with the Creative Living ideas, so need to get them straightened out and on the go. the year is hurtling towards its end, but looking forward to the returning of the light soon and a blissful Yule. Managing to avoid all the normal Christmas hype and razzmatazz so far, which is good for my soul! Looking forward to printing my own cards this year for the first time too.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Screaming within............. what I am doing today. This is instead of shouting at people and telling them *exactly* what I think, which really won't do any good at all for anyone. So, here I am, screaming within - again. Life should be easier than this.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Back to normality...........

.....after a busy weekend; Guild day on Saturday and programme selling and tea making for the amateur dramatic society in the evening. Picked up an unexpected cockerel on Sunday morning, big handsome Maran, now christened William Barnes - he looks like a William. Lovely big deep crow on him, and the hens seem quite taken with him. He's fitted in quite well already, and seems to have taken up with the Black Rock sisters.

Just prepared two pheasants for a casserole, beautiful feathers, would make a lovely embroidery! I've done some brewing too, but will need to get on soon and do a lot of bottling, and sort out the liqueurs and gins for Christmas, now a month away - need to get a move on with that too, mainly the cards, as the pudding, cake and mincemeat is all done and ready.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Monster chicken makes bid for freedom.......

.......freefall from the goatshed roof!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Last one done......

......for a while now. Machine has done sterling duty, so will give it a quick service at the weekend - more blocks to come as the projects go along, and I've curtains to make too.

Sun is out now, lovely out there - should have washing out..............

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

.........and the last two........

.......make the 7 I need to get up to date with the rest of them taking part in this particular Block of the Month project.

Nice warm kitchen..........

..........bluegrass in the CD player, piecing blocks for one of the quilts; good way to spend an almost dark, very wet afternoon!


.........not very inspiring - bit dreich out there, lots of wet washing hanging around in the kitchen. Knitting this morning, Parish Council meeting tonight. Feel I'm getting somewhere with the house and plans of things to do as well, so pleased with that. Not much excitement really, but suits me.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Latest quilt block.........

This is for the third part of our Friendship Quilt thread on Creative Living

This one is Amish Star; quite pleased with it, it's very pretty. I would like a quilt all in this block, so will keep hold of the instructions for future use.

Early Friday morning.........

This was the sight greeting me from the bedroom window; lovely morning, but very cold. Now turning to that lovely pinky watery winter light I love. Will be lighting the first fire of the season now that winter's here, and I predict snow this year too, on more than one occasion.
Garden is closing down for its winter rest, birds and animals are eating more too, and need to check the wild bird feeders regularly. Plenty to keep me busy inside, though as well as the usual rounds.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Reverse snobbery

Reading on various forums over the past few months, there seems to be a growing number of people who take pride in domestic slobbishness, to a greater or lesser degree, professing to never doing any housework, although I find that hard to believe. Now, my house is hardly a picture of domestic perfection, but I don't boast in any way about it not being, or indeed, being, when it is, unless in fun or with a large dollop of irony. I would certainly never post pictures on the internet of a messy untidy room for all the world to see.
It never ceases to amaze me what some people disclose about themselves on the net. If I want to see things like that I would find Tracy :) :)

Back home...........

Well, it feels like I've been away, anyway! I spent 2 1/2 days stewarding the exhibiton for the Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers in Wimborne. Enjoyed the stewarding bit, but being in the town (albeit a very small, by most standards, market town) flummoxed me completely! Noise, traffic, stony faced people, no smiles, shops full of nothing useful or beautiful, tired looking people and goods, just a bit depressing. Finished on Friday lunchtime, back up country (all 26 miles.......) to the land of the living!! Certainly couldn't do it 5 days a week in town, that's for sure. Nice to get home to the house and back into what passes for routine here! Got a bit caught up with in the garden, caught up on the computer, need to get Christmas things organised, meeting tonight. It's all go, and probably not everyone's idea of an exciting life, but there you go. I can live without a lot of excitment.........

Monday, 5 November 2007

Monday again!

Busy weekend just gone, lots achieved, hopefully more this week too. Fair Trade cafe at the village hall on Saturday afternoon, got an order for a pair of socks! Sunday out in the garden - 4th November, out there working in a sleeveless t-shirt - amazing! Very foggy last night, but cleared early this morning, quite chilly now, and thinking of lighting a fire.

We had partridge for the first time last night; I bartered a pair for the loan of some chimney sweeping brushes, a good deal. We had them with redcurrant gravy, sprouts and parsnips, baked potatoes.

A friend popped in this morning on her way home, had a good natter, and lots of tea, followed by a trip to the tip. I procured a lovely pile of striped cotton pillowcases and a lovely old blanket with the wartime utility mark on. Star buy was a Dryad table loom for 1.00. Bargain of the year so far!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Our wonderful fishman

I am very , very fortunate in that I have a visit every Thursday from the fishman; he only took over the business this year, and has taken it forward in leaps and bounds. Excellent selection fo fish, beautifully fresh, well dispalyed, and he knows his stuff. He knows I like local, and to know the provenance of the fish, so he is always well prepared with lots of info for me, which is appreciated.

Today's haul was a beautiful sea bass, caught last night off Poole by a man in the next village, and a lovely selection of wild mushrooms. A veritable feast if ever there was one.

New blog........

Thought it was time for a brand new garden blog, so started this today; hope to keep up with it.

Lovely weather here at the moment, November today, so hurtling towards the shortest day at a rate of knots now. have done the Christmas cake and puddings and the mincemeat is in the jars, so up together with Christmas stuff so far, even done the lino cut for this year's cards, so please with that. Huge amount to do inside and out and in between as usual; I have decided to get on with some of the painting and decorating, whether OH likes it or not, or it will never get done. I do a good enough job, and it doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be done. He hasn't the time, so I will do bits in between everything else, starting with painting the front porch, half done/started earlier thsi year with a new side window put in. I have the paint, and a new coat rack which just needs cleaning and waxing/polishing, that's about it. A new floor will have to wait, as I can't see him "letting" me do that......

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Winter on its way.......

Definitely wintery today - sky white with clouds, cold, bit gloomy - soon be with us. Not that I mind, I accept teh seasons ans they approach and unfold - each one has lots to offer me. Keeping busy in the nice warm kitchen, though.............yesterday saw the mincemeat made and the fruit in to soak for the cake, which I will get done this afternoon. I finished my exhibits for the Guild exhibition, will post picture on figheadh blog later. Made a little quilt whilst waiting for the next parts of my two ongoing quilt projects to start. This one is Moon Over Mountain - one of my favourite blocks, very effective.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Marty & Fancy Day

Meet the goaty girls!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Tuesday today

Ah yes, Tuesday. Beautiful day out there - off outside in a minute. Bit weary after a late night again last night, but this afternoon is the thrid lino cutting class, so looking forward to getting on with more mushrooms.

Thinking yesterday, why do people have to push and shove themselves at you and in your face to try and appear more important/intelligent/interesting/competent/clever than they really are - on the net? It's becoming more transparent to me every day that there is a lot of what I see as unhealthy competition to be the best at/worst at/ have the biggest/smallest/travelled furthest etc.

Why can't folks be content with their lot and not build themselves up into something they're not? They're only fooling themselves.

Monday, 22 October 2007

More photos

Good weekend

Achieved a lot this weekend, I felt. Managed to find unpasteurised milk to buy ( thinking ahead to cheesemaking here too, been looking for ages for using it for my cheeses); great bargain at the scrapstore for curtain material for the kitchen curtains - big pink check cotton, 12m @1.00 per m; huge carrier bag of free apples from outside a gate; interesting bits and bobs from the tip again; got lots done in the garden yesterday, more chutney made..............

Some photos:

Friday, 19 October 2007

Friday already.........

........this week's gone quickly! Made some quilt blocks yesterday for a couple of ongoing Forum quilt projects. I like the way the scrappy one - Railfence - has turned out - impressed myself by finding 36 different fabrics in the stash to use up! I want to do one of those after the scrappy triangles one is done.
Tuesday afternoon saw another lino cut workshop - started a series of 7 cuts on edible British fungi, inspired by the River Cottage 7 challenge in their new fungi handbook. Have done The Blusher so far, so need to get a move on with that, would like at least two more done by next Tuesday. Having said that, it's a bit like quilting - you do one block and find it hard to stop............
Off to the scrapstore tomorrow morning I hope - should be able to stock up a bit on supplies of various things. Roll on the day when I can shift it all into my new studio out in the garden.....

Monday, 15 October 2007

Blog Action Day today!! Theme - the environment.

I have always been interested in what is now called "the environment" and "environmental issues". Brought up mainly in the countryside in south west Scotland, the environment was right out there, on our doorstep- countryside, seashore, woods and forests, lochs and glens, machair, the lot.
My family had always been as self sufficient/self reliant as possible, and I think I have gone a long way in carrying on this family trait or tradition, call itw hat you will. Very few of my decdisions are actually made without considering in some way, the impact on the planet, other people, animal welfare, etc. Sounds grand, but that's the way it is with me.

I see recently feeling of hopelessness and despair around - how can the little things people do affect the whole planet? What's the point of recycling? Why bother when so many don't/won't? Well, as far as I'm concerned every little done will help, must help...............

If everyone in the UK did something as simple as change to energy efficient bulbs - not too costly, easy to find, easy to fit, then that would have a huge impact.

As for me, I keep on keeping on..........................gardening organically, growing and eating good food, recycling, reducing consumption, going non- electric with a view to going off-grid, buying second hand, reading, keeping informed, keeping in constant touch with like minded people with a positive attitude.

You don;t have to live in the countryside on a smallholding and raise livestock and grow vegetables - you can effect change wehrever you live, with every decision you make. make your choices count - I do.

Nice to have a chance here on Blog Action Day to clarify my thoughts.......

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Damp and foggy..........

.......start to the day; garden is covered in very beautiful jewelled cobwebs. One of my aims in life is to take a good picture of one of these, but haven't managed yet! Fog is lifting, and the sun is trying to come out, so washing is on its way out - still waiting for the part to fix the machine, but feeling very worthy about handwashing ;):) - hard work, though.
Picked a lovely bucket of quinces, a good crop for a first crop from the tree; last year I just had one, which was half eaten by slaters before it got as far as the kitchen! Some are destined for some more quince brandy, the rest to make membrillo for Christmas I think; a few will be put into apple pies, or bottled with apples. I did see a reference to "quincemeat" somewhere on the web, so might put some into the Christmas mincemeat, not sure if I would have to cook them first, at least cut them up very very small. Needs thinking on.
Lovely time of the year - Hallowe'en coming up, then bonfire night, then the winter celebrations - starting to think towards that, now.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Natural dyeing

Result of a natural dyeing workshop yesterday - really looking forward to knitting this up:

Sussex Duck's Bill

One solitary apple picked this year; there were more, but the chickens may have got them! Planted as a dual purpose apple, eating and cooking, ate it this morning - nice apple. Looking forward to perhaps a *few* more next year..................

Tuesday, 2 October 2007


Saw an apparition/presence in the pub last night. It glided right behind my chair, then disappeared on the right hand side. My friend realised something was up, as I moved my hand to hide my answer sheet (it was in the middle of the pub quiz, thought someone was having a peek!);I felt it was a male presence. A short time later, a darkish shape moved behind the chair next to me and then my chair, then disappeared. The pub is very old, dating from at least as far back as the 17th C. Apparently it was used by monks for brewing. There have been instances in the past, but in the cellar there; this was in the middle of the bar. First time I've actually seen anything there, but I've felt a presence in certain parts of the pub, and don't like wandering around on my own.

Catching up..........

....on here, after a busy weekend. Saturday was a Guild day (Weavers, SPinners and Dyers) - very good talk on alpacas, and I bought a small amount (400g) of alpaca fleece to have a go with that some time. Sunday was doing a photoshoot at home for a Christmas article in a magazine. yesterday was mostly pottering about ; made some candles and did a bit more dyeing, knitting and pub quiz in the evening.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Dyeing with pecan nuts

Very pleased with this, a lovely rosey pink wool resulted from a deybath of whole pecan nuts on wool mordanted with alum.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

More fungus pictures

Well it happened..........

I realised a very long-held ambition to go on a guided fungus forage; lucky enough to go along on one locally, led by the River Cottage mushroom man, John Wright. Thoroughly enjoyable, learned quite a bit (although I was amazed at the amount I actually did know and recognise as he talked to us), got some great photos, and picked and cooked some hedgehog mushrooms. tired now, and very happy.