Saturday, 6 June 2009

Dorset gate

We've been here 12 years in August; 10 years ago, or so, MrL saw fit to make a driveway out of a very traditional grass front garden, straight path to the front door, white picket gate, grass on either side, flowerbed between grass and path on both sides. I would have preferred to keep it as it was, but he wanted the car off the road; not that it was on the road- we have a wide paviored parking sapce between us, the pavement and the road, but there you go.
Here we are, said almost 10 years later, still no gate. I went to a garden club talk in another village many years back, where one of the slides was of a Dorset gate. I made up my mind there and then to have one when we got around to having a gate. We got a quot at a local show for one, came in at some £800+.
One person, who shall remain nameless, promsied a quote for making one, but nothing materialised.
Today, on the spur of the moment, we went to a local timber place, where they make sheds, gates, etc etc; a good, long standing local company, I asked for a price list for gates, expecting the same sort of standard 5 bar gate that eg Mole Valley Farmers, garden centres, etc have. Turned the page over, and there it was. Dorset gate. Less than half the price of the quote I got. We didn;t order it there and then ( ) as we need to measure exactly, and the space between the hanging posts, then we get it made to order.
How excited am I? It's a proper traditional, local, Dorset gate, in the vernacular. What more could you ask from a gate?

This is a Dorset gate:

The bars are galvansied steel; some folks paint them black, but ours will be left as they are.
Benningfield had a lovely drawing in one of his books of a Dorset gate too. Speaking to the chap from the company, he said that although there is a some current interest in them, they are few and far between; the estates and farms don't use them - cost, maybe? I love to think I'll have a real and proper gate for our cottage soon. Nothing else will do.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Haul of vintage treasures..................

What wonderful finds today at the tip for us! :) The typewriter and umbrella are for Bean - she's very into vintage stuff of all sorts, and is thrilled to bits with her presents after a stressful day at college......
The unusual old lamp is for me; I'd love to get it working again, so need to get inside it and investigate it thoroughly. The Bel cream maker is up for swaps - shout if you would like it, happy to pass it on! I also managed to procure a rather nice proper vintage card table, but a very large one, good solid conidtion, complete with brass ashtrays around the edges (not that I need them....) I'm hoping it will be just big enough to hold my table loom out in the tent, or back in the cabin over winter.
I was talking to a woman at the tip - it's a great place to meet folk! She said it's a disgrace what people throw away. I agreed with her up to a point, but she had to concur that things taken and put "on the tables" aren't really thrown away, but put out for other folks to browse, buy and take home and love. Everyone wins, and all tips/recycling centres should have this facility, it's wonderful, not just for the bargains you can find, but as a recyling initiative. Does your tip do this? If not, then get in touch with the recycling department of your local council and keep on at them until they do. Tell them MrsL sent you...................;)

We've just had a quick look around the net; the typewriter is a Royal, made in New York, all adds to the interest.

Total cost for all that interest, fun and enlightenment? £7 for the whole shebang.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Chicken update

I moved the two broodies tonight to new, separate quarters, to free up two nest boxes. Hopefully, they'll continue to sit tight and we'll have more chicks soon. Margo, another Buff Sussex bantam is sitting on a dozen, and Willow is sitting on about 10 or so. Fingers crossed again :)

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

On the fiddle...........

I hope! I've long been a fan of real music - fok music from all cultures, from the roots of a people, from their hearts and their surroundings. I was brought up with Scottish folk music, and it was fairly inevitable that I would end up playing the fiddle. I took violin lessons at school, but it tended towards the classical; I did win aprize in a Burns competition for my fiddle playing, though, many moons ago, and still have the volume of poetry I received as a prize.

College and other life then intervened, but I did play a bit on and off over the years, but Bean has expressed an interest, and found one of her own at the tip, believe it or not! So, we now have three in total; one playable, two "requiring attention" - which they will get in the near future.
I have now been further inspired to really get back to grips with it by the challenge being issued over at Cold Antler Farm

So folks, by the end of July I want to be completely competent in playing my blog music - Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing - and in playing Ashokan Farewell, mentioned by one of the commenters at the Cold Antler Farm blog.

So wish me luck as you stick your fingers in yer ears - here we go! I might even post up a wee Youtube if I think it's OK enough LOL

By the way - the difference between a fiddle and violin - often a moot point, but this is how I have always understood it. A fiddle has a shorter height bridge to enable faster and more flexible bowing. I did read another definition that made me smile - you put a violin in a case and a fiddle in a flour sack! LOL

May Giveaway - the winner

The winner is Leanne this month - so well done to her, I'll get it off to you asap. Thanks everyone, the June giveaway will be up shortly!
Thanks for reading the blog:)

Elderflower cordial

This is my tried and tested recipe for Elderflower Cordial which I have used for more years than I care to remember. Easy, economical and a true taste of early summer in a glass. I dont; make a huge amount - usually about 4 pints or so, and freeze some for later in the summer. I tend not to keep it longer than that, as it's s uch a seasonal thing to enjoy. This year's turned out quite pink as I included pink elderflowers from the black elder I have.

2 pints of elderflowers ( lightly pressed down in a measuring jug, as little green stalk as possible)
granulated white sugar

Don't wash the flowers, just give them a good shake to remove any isnects, twigs, etc. Place them in a large pan and cover with water. Simmer for 30 minutes, then strain. Measure the resulting liquid, and return to the pan. For every 1 pint of liquid, add 10 oz of sugar and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Stir well to dissolve the sugar, and cover and leave to get quite cold. Bottle and label. It will keep fine int he fridge for just over a week or so; I freeze some in waxed milk cartons, well rinsed out. If you want to bottle it to keep in glass bottles, these will need to be processed in a not water bath.

For drinking, dilute as fruit squash, or to taste. Serve with lots of ice and a good sprig of garden mint.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The colours of summer

Roses and elderflowers for the table, elderflowers for cordial and bundles of fresh parsley for summer wine making. The subtle colours and scents of early summer; it's a privelege to have them in my life.

My first piece of Beryl Ware!

I have several bits of utlitly china, but found my first piece of proper Beryl Ware at the tip on Friday - just one saucer on its own, but I know, just know, that thee will be more coming along, now I'm looking out for it more closely! This had been used as a plant saucer and was filthy, but it cleaned up very wll, and it's just lovely now.
Started drying some flowers with a view to the later year, for making pot pourri mixtures etc. These are the rose petals, smelling rather gorgeous. They're presently drying over the Rayburn stove, and I'm hoping they manage to keep some of the colour too.

Monday, 1 June 2009

A something in a summer's day

A something in a summer's day
As slow her flambeaux burn away
Which solemnizes me.

A something in a summer's noon -
An azure depth, a wordless tune,
Transcending ecstasy

Emily Dickinson, Poems, "Psalm of the Day", 1890

"June has now come, bending beneath her weight of roses, to ornament the halls and bowers which summer has hung with green. For this is the Month of Roses, and their beauty and fragrance conjure up again many in poetical creation which Memory had buried...... This si the season to wander in the fields and woods, with a volume of sterling poetry for companionship, and compare the descriptive passages with the objects that lie around. We never enjoy reading portions of Spenser's Faerie Queen so much as when among the great green trees in summer"

Chambers Book of Days

Summer is well and truly underway here in the south of England; the weather has been very hot and dry over the past week or so. The countryside is looking its very best at the moment, truly lovely; so much helathy green growth, the last wafts of wild garlic as you pass, dozing animals, butterflies and insects on the wing. Lots to smile about.

Woolly workshop for the summer

We spent an hour putting up this tent in the garden yesterday; it's a generous 12ft x 12ft, and will house all our proceesing gear over the summer. By the end of the day today, it will hold 3 wheels, one drum carder, one rug loom, one table loom and several small table looms, along with bags of various fleeces I really must get done with by the end of the summer. It's great to have a space where everything is to hand,a nd we don;t have to clear it away in the house to make room for eating, etc. Bean and I will probably put our sewing machines out there too. A stomr kettle and biscuit tin will naturally have their places LOL
Really looking forward to using it, will report as we go along.

Less grass cutting to do as well LOL