Saturday, 6 February 2010

Poet's Calendar Project

I finished the first instalment of this project yesterday - a reversable hat for Janus, the God after whom the month of January is named. Read more about my year-long project here:
The top picture shows the hat as it came off the needles, more or less, the second one folded ready to wear.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Mistletoe buttons

I was lucky enough for Christmas just past to get a large bough of mistletoe- a proper bough, rather than a piddly wee branch as is what's usually available. I bought it at the farmer's market, and having known the famer for a while, through the market, I know it comes from an ancient Soemrset apple orchard. Research and reading tells me that it was held in highest regard by the Druids, and in ancient times was worn/carried to guard against illness, and if worn around the neck, would render the wearer invisible to enemies (might need to work on that one! lol). I read of a carved ring of mistletoe, and might like to have a go at that, and some beads.
In the meantime, I made this set of buttons which I'm pleased with; the next stage is to polish them with beeswax polish, then to knit a garment which will do them justice; probably something local and handspun.
I have saved the berries and will get out at the weekend and do my annual squashing-into-apple-tree-bough exercise. I've not been succcessful yet, but I continue to hope.

Interesting and informative site here:

10 things you didn't know about me

Julie at Fiddlesticks blog ( nominated me for a blog award, which you can see below. I have to tell you 10 things you didn't know about me, so here goes:

1.I was born in London

2.I'm scared of bears

3.I always wanted to be a concert pianist

4.I won a prize for fiddle playing at school

5.I have a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics

6.I've been on TV and radio several times

7.I've gardened completely organically for 23 years

8.I'm writing a book

9.My favourite pudding ever is creme caramel

10.I don't drive (through choice)

So there you go - you know a little bit more about me! LOL I'll pass it around later. Thanks Julie.:)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Make a log carrier

I've been meaning to make this for a while now - something to make bringing the logs in easier for me; I find it difficult and heavy to pile them up on my arm, keep my balance and not tumble them over the dog or a lurking offspring in a logalanche!
The canvas I used is a piece of vintage deckchair canvas - really strong, and brightly coloured so I won't lose it in the logshed, washable too. I'll put a nail up in there to hang it from. The piece is approx 96cm x 45cm, with the two long edges being selvedges, so no hemming required on them. I turned over and stitched the shorter ends. Add some strong handles in the forum of a continuous loop of webbing/strapping. Where the two cut ends of this joined, I did a few rows back and forwards of zigzag stitching.

It works well, and is much easier on my arms. Not sure MrL will use it, but it's mainly to make my life a bit easier.
The idea came from a tiny little black and white advert I had torn out of a very old Countryman magazine and had squirrelled away upstairs. Both the canvas and the webbing strap came from the scrapstore a couple of years ago, just awaiting the right time.

Pleased with the outcome:)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Earthly Paradise

The Earthly Paradise

I desire no heaven of gold harps,
Give me the harps of earth--
Pine trees with red gold on their stems,
The music of the west wind in their branches!

When I am old,
Give me for heaven a little house set on a heath;
The blue hills behind; the blue sea before.
The brick floors scoured crimson, the flagstones like snow;
The brass taps and candlesticks like gold,
And there, in my soft grey gown between the holly-hocks,
Upon a day of days I would welcome an old poet;
And pour him tea, and walk on the heath, and talk the sun down;
And then by the wood fire he should read me the poems
of his passionate youth,
And make new ones praising friendship above love!

Flora Thompson

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Ruche solaire

Bee keeping question! Can anyone point me in the direction of any more information on this, please? I am aware of the book by Maurice Chaudiere, and will probably invest in that, but just wondered if anyone out there had come across it at all?
Thanks. :) (Can do the French, so no problem with translation if need be)

St Brigid's cake

This is my recipe for a cake for Imbolc - it's lovely eaten just warm, just as the icing is set! Fiery ginger to warm you up on a cold day, and marmalade to add a seasonal tang - good for using up the wee bit that will never fit in the jars when you make it!

6oz butter
6oz sugar
3 eggs, beaten
milk to mix
6oz self raising flour
2 generous dessertspoonfuls marmalade
1 heaped tsp ground ginger

Prepare a loaf tin by greasing and flouring. Cream butter and sugar, add in eggs, then flour. Mix in ginger and marmalade; add milk if required, to a soft dropping consistency. Spoon into tin, and into a hottish oven for 30 - 35 minutes or so until risen and golden brown. Turn out and cool on a wire rack. When still just warm, ice as you like - mine is ginger glace icing, with sprinkly bits on top.
Nice with a cup of strong tea. :)

Monday, 1 February 2010

It's a good day to...................

.....share your chicken breakfast with MrP the pheasant
..... show off your new ear tags
..... have the first egg mayonnaise sandwich of the year from your own eggs at last!
..... take time to smell the hyacinths

It's turned into the most gloriously sunny day here - not warm, but lovely; I've even got a line of washing out. Now having a beer with my lunch, having done all the housework LOL


New week, new month, I'm raring to go, with lots of plans for the week and the month ahead.

The Anglo Saxons called it Solmonath (cake month) because cakes and other offerings were presented to teh Gods at this time. Some Celtic names allude to its being cut short, as in the modern Gaelic Gearran, which literally means "gelding". February has always been a month of variable length, gaining an extra day in leap years (or from the opposite viewpoint, losing a day in three out of every four years).
Chabmers Book of Days

So - plans for February! With a very successful day at the Open Day for our Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers, my enthusiasm has been further ignited, and this week I intend to get the table loom installed in the kitchen and get on with that. I met a lovely lady who is involved with a physic garden, and am going to do somw work/info for her on dye plants.
Today I'll be inventing a recipe for St Brigid's cake, for Imbolc. Imbolc is the beginning of spring in the Celtic calendar, with particular reference to lambing and the milking of ewes.
Other plans involve decorating - that got shelved before Christmas due to illness, so need to get on with that; more decluttering; getting out in the garden (if the ground ever thaws out!); I have various bits of writing I need to finish and start, and ofcourse, much knitting to be done; Valentine's Day and Shrove Tuesday to plan for, and a family birthday near the end of the month.
It's cold again here, a thick coating of frost outside, so I think a very large cup of tea is in order, and some toast, before I tackle the day ahead! Hope everyone is well.:)