Saturday, 16 August 2008

To market , to market, to buy a fat pig............

Actually, it's just as well they don't sell fat pigs there.............. I always make sure I have bought the weekly shopping before I brave the lovely, interesting stalls in the other sections of the market; always something interesting, and I get to visit my lovely vintage jewellery lady too. Yesterday, she had the little candlesticks; solid brass, enamelled in sea green and cream flowers, about 7 " tall. They look beautiful on the sitting room mantlepiece. Funny, but I feel I've ahd them before, or seen them somewhere before, or touched them, can't quite put my finger on it. The other thing that caught my eye was a table cloth, shown in the close up above; oldish Irish linen, well used, but beautifully looked after in the most wonderful colours, a lovely faded solid red, with floral print. Just fits the kitchen table, very, very pleased with it.
I am in the process of moving things around in the kitchen, so the table cloth was a welcome addition.
It's so nice to have the time and opportunity to shop slowly like this - I have from 7.30 am until about 12pm to myself, to do the food shopping, plunder the charity shops, have coffee and croissant, talk to the producers in the farmer's market, just take my time and enjoy the whole experience. An added bonus yesterday was my old sandal finally giving up the ghost; I spent the morning in bare feet, which was wonderfully liberating, felt great and brought back lots of memories of going barefoot more often than not! Much more comfy than shoes. My new sandals arrived in the post this morning, but if it's nice weather again, I would like to repeat the experience!

Sock yarns .....

Above is a pair of socks (now finished, since I took the pic yesterday) I knitted as a barter for transportation of my carpet loom - they will be off to the recipient this week coming. I love sock knitting, and haven't bought socks for about 6 eyars now; the recent surge in interest has resulted in some wonderful sock knitting books and yarns available, there are just too many socks I want to knit!! Good small projects, portable (get loads done in the car!! :)), make very good presents, small qunatities of woll/yarn used, so that proverbial boat can be pushed out a bit. I have quite a few sock yarns to tell, but my favourite concerns my great grandmother. My great grandfather had a funeral to go to, but no black socks; in those days, you either wore the proper attire for such events, or didn't go, thus shaming the family. My ggm stayed up all night and knitted him a pair of black socks to wear the next day for the funeral - now that's going some! Wonder if that's where I get it from!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

10 sounds I love.............

*the wind
*laughter at a shared joke between my children, adults not privvy to it!
* a whistling kettle
* Scottish fiddle music
*the whirr of a spinning wheel
*clicking knitting needles
*summer rain
*lowing cows
* the distant hum of machinery working in the fields
* complete silence

Why grow your own?

Why indeed? A snippet I caught on the radio this morning has caused me to ponder this one today. The presenter was interviewing a chap who had had an allotment for 20 years, and he concluded that for the time, effort and price of seed, fertiliser and other sundries, you would have been as cheap buying your veggies in Harrods as growing them! Probably, if you did take the time and interest to log every cost you put into growing food, he may well be right in money terms, but for me, there is so much more to life than the bottom line all the time! I do accept that sometimes, the bottom line is the only line, and I have to use it msyelf sometimes, when money is tight , and make compromises, etc, and I also realise that for many many people there is no other line than the line at which the money just isn't there. For what it's worth, however, here's how I see it. The satisfaction of growing your own, and bringing a basket or colanderful of fresh produce into the kitchen has never dimmed for me, right from when I was a child, helping my granny pick blackcurrants, picking sluggy lettuces for tea :), and especially over the past 20 years or so when I have had my own garden. The thrill never leaves you when you think that what is on your plate has been produced by you, grown and nurtured, picked and prepared, and now ready to eat. Freshness, knowledge of growing conditions - what you put on your land is as important as what you don't put on it -, taste, variety, colour, keeping old varieties going, stories about what you've grown, seed from a friend, cuttings with memories attached. The whole is much more than the sum of its parts, and getting that fresh produce on to the table is little short of a miracle when all is taken into account. Another aspect for me is from the self- reliance stand - I am doing soemthing for myself, something for me, without having to rely on what other people deem I should buy in the shop/market. Another aspect is the time spent outdoors, even in the wet and wind - you're getting out there in among it, at the mercy of nature and the weather, being part of and taking part in the world. A great part of it is to grow what you like, something different, colourful, interesting. If I turned the whole garden over to fruit and veg, I reckon we could be pretty much self-sufficient in them; hwoever, staples such as carrots, cabbages, potatoes and onions are reasonably cheap to buy and good quality in season, and take up a lot of room. What I like to grow are the things that need to be prepared and cooked as soon as possible - asparagus, beans, tomatoes, fruit, herbs, salads......... I do grow new potatoes, winter onions, spring cabbage, garlic, baby carrots - but that's to get the other great attraction of growing my own, which is the anticiaption and thrill of the first taste of seasonal veg - the first strawberry or raspberry, the weeks watching and waiting and tweaking the asparagus bed, theheist crunch as you sink your eager teeth into the first ripe, sun blessed apple of the autumn. It's got it all for me, the anticipation, waiting, patience, growing with the seasons and everything in its time.

That's why I grow my own, and will go on doing so as long as I'm able.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Count my blessings..........

At this time of reflection in the year, I take stock, step back and count my blessings. 10 things I am thankful for -

*my family
*my home and garden
*living in a beautiful part of the country
*living in a peaceful and free country (relatively)
*mother earth
*good friends
*beasts and birds of the wild
*good food
*time to enjoy all of the above, with some over for the other things I love

Turn of the year...........

Today it is autumn here. The year turns for me in autumn; harvesting, first yellowing of leaves, a perceptible shift in the light and its quality, golden, wind, looking forward and back, inside and out. Autumn is a time when I undertake quite a few changes, physical and mental, looking back and planning forward. My life isn't as simple as it could be, so I will be changing things on that level, the physical often being easier to undertake and complete than the inner. I will be moving on quite a bit over the coming weeks I feel, on many levels, and looking forward to it. I need change to inspire and stimulate. There will be a lot of the out with the old, in with the new......... Exciting times, and nice to have changes to hug to your heart and keep to yourself as well as the more visible ones you are happy to share.

Monday, 11 August 2008

This morning's work..........

This is some Shetland fleece I got at the Fibrefest last year; soem of the dirtiest fleece I've ever washed too! Very different to the Jacob for spinning, much softer, and needs careful handling, getting the hang of it. I'd like enough to knit up a replica 16thC hat I've found a pattern for, for OH's Christmas present.

Picked the first of the Victorias this morning; I ate the biggest one (gardener's perks!!) ; my favourite plum.

This is the rag rug I'm working on for the hall, at the foot of the stairs. Made froms trips of cotton skirts bought from the jumble sale last weekend. Takes a while to tear it and wind it up, but not an unpleasant task. Almost 3/4 done. Good skirts too - Anokhi, Monsoon, Laura Ashley, sadly in impossibly small sizes, so no good to me as skirts........ :)

Back in the swing.........

Nice to be back after a few days away from here! Bit of a disrupted routine due to various things. Major event was Bean's 17th birthday on Thursday last; we had a lovely day out - Dorchester in the morning, where she got her present - a very pretty Elizabeth spinning wheel, then a trawl of the charity shops, then on to the cinema in Yeovil for the X files film (not me, I did some more charity shops!) and pizza. Friday was down to Wimborne for the farmer's market and shopping. Strange weekend in that I spent most of it out of the kitchen! Due to the rain, OH decided he *had* to take his bike to bits, so did it in there, so my kitchen was filled with grimy morotbike bits for two days, so not much done in there. Never mind, spent Saturday afternoon watching Tales from the Green Valley and spinning, so got lots of that done, then more or less the same yesterday.
Anyway, all back to normal now, looking forward to more blogging, house straightening and even some gardening if the weather holds off. Sadly, the potatoes got blight - the whole lot went down between Wednesday evening and Saturday morning, so I need to get out and lift the tubers today some time. Only the second time in 20 years, so not bad going; however, teh warm wet weather made it inevitable. I also need to get some winter veg planted out and the usual tidying up as well. All activities interspersed with lots of tea drinking and contemplation, ofcourse - I can use my new cups in the photo. They are so sweet, came in a matching round box, from the charity shop. I swear tea tastes nicer from a proper cup and saucer......:)