Saturday, 2 February 2008

Candlemas Day

If Candlemas Day be dry and fair,

The half of winter's to come and mair;

If Candlemas be wet and foul

the half of winter's gane at Yule.


The returning of the light is noticeable now, full steam ahead to spring!

Friday, 1 February 2008

Fair maids of February........

Beautiful little flowers, now out fully in the garden, a real harbinger of spring. I can understand while people "collect' them. Simplicity itself, and teh colouring so fresh and full of spring promise.


The Anglo Saxons called it cake month Solmonath, because cakes and other offerings were presented to the gods at this time.
February is renowned for having the most unpleasant weather of the year. Rain and snow are welcomed by farmers, however, to prepare the ground for sowing and germination. February fill dyke, be it black or be it white, but if it be white, it's the better to like. If in FEbruary there be no rain, 'tis neither good for hay nor grain. Much February snow a fine summer doth show. Unseasonably fine and warm weather is not a good omen of things to come - all the months of the year curse a fair Februeer.

Well, looks fine so far out of the window - the sun is out and shining, but a bit chilly. February already, month of pancakes and small boy's birthday....................

February comes in like a sturdy country maiden, with a tinge of theh red, hard winter apple on her healthy cheek, and as she strives against the wind, wraps her russet-coloured cloak well about her, while with bent head, she keeps throwing back the long hair that blows about her face, and though at times half blinded by the sleet and snow, still continues her course courageously.........the mellow-voiced blackbird and teh speckle-breasted thrush make music among the opening blossoms of the blackthorn, to gladden her way; and she sees faint flushings of early buds here and there, which tell her the long miles of hedgrows will soon be green.

Chambers Book of Days 1864

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Just as forecast..............

Wet here this morning, and quite windy for down here, not too pleasant out there. Founbd a gap in the rain and got the last two apple trees in and replanted another one. Hens not impressed with the rain, and the ducks don't like the wind. Finishing off the dyeing in the kitchen - doing some alkanet at the moment, most peculiar smell, not very nice, but should give a nice grey/purple colour. I might put some cotton in after. Teh onionskin cotton has turned out a very pretty butter yellow colour, so pelased with that. Fruit cocktail wine fizzing away nicely, need to do some bread this afternoon, and some marmalade. Quilt square to fit in somewhere along the line too.
I picked a few snowdrops for the hall corner - I have a tiny shelf where I like to have a little seasonal something on display. I picked some young euphorbia shoots, and whilst I'm OK with the sap on my skin, I think I've rubbed my eye - it's hot and streaming. Should take more care, but they do look pretty.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Busy, busy.......

Must have been the sunshine - got lots done! 5 loads of washing, 3 of them dry, one in basket, one up on pulley. Talk on the forum of mangles, so have put up an ad on our Freecycle for one, could be useful.
Got the onion skin wool dyed and out of the dye bath - now got some cotton in it for patchwork.quilting; also some wool in an alkanet dyebath. Will leave them overnight to stew a bit. Started off some fruit cocktail wine, hopefully fizzing away in the morning, and a lot of the green jumper knitted. No trees in, but will try again for them tomorrow - forecast doesn't bode well, but will wait and see.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

On this day.........

Picked up a wonderful book in the charity shop last week - A Book of Days - a miscellany of popular antiquities in connection with the calendar; a Chambers book from many moons ago, now reprinted. Wonderful information in it, could lose myself for hours!!
Today, in 1942, the very first edition of Desert Island Discs was aired. Notabel births include Germaine Greer and Thomas Paine; deaths - George III,Edward Lear, Alfred Sisley and Robert Frost.

Monday, 28 January 2008

More on the non-electric endeavours

Still trying to reduce our dependency on electricity. thus, I have made my first non-electric butter, using the hand butter churn, and ground some home grown chillies in the grinder. We have used a stove top kettle for a couple of years now, but I am resurrecting what was my great grandmother's kettle for using now. It is in the process of being cleaned up on the inside, with several good thorough boilings, then needs a clean on the outside. Big, black and very heavy, lovely kettle, though, and I suspect if goes back further than my great grandmother. Nice connection to the past, with tea as an added bonus:0)

The end is nigh........

.....of January, that is! Gone quickly, this year, but I seem to have been busier than ever. I try to ahve a quiet start the the new year, but didn't seem to happen this time. Enjoyed Burns night over the road, haggis was good (for English haggis ;0) ), and some good ale to wash it down. Saturday all day was the open day at the Guild, so was busy demonstrating peg looms and talking about natural dyes. Bean came too, did some weaving and some spinning, and wants to join the Guild now, so that's good. Spent yesterday out in the garden as it was so nice down here. As a result, house looks as if the proverbial bomb has hit it - again. Still ahve bits of shopping from Friday to put away...........