Monday, 26 November 2012

Christmas Card Baskets

We visited the garden in beautiful sunshine last week. It was warm and quiet. There were Bellis daisies flowering away...a bright spot amongst all the green. Good to see.

 There were also helichrysum still flowering. I have been using the dried flowers to make mini-wreaths.
(Pictures next time)

Today I found all the netting blown off the greens. We need to keep it covered due to the activities of the pigeons. The door of the cob shed had blown open and bent the hinges on the round door. Anne has propped it closed with heavy planks of wood.

Beautiful blue skies.

I`ve been tidying the greenhouse and purchased 2 huge bins to store all the fleece and netting.
It looks a bit neater. I`d like to use pea gravel for the rest of the floor.

At home I have been recycling last year`s Christmas cards to make bowls. They can be used for gifts, sweets or fruit over the Christmas holidays.

These are the parts before assembly. I crotchet round the edges with fluffy wool then oversew the pieces with a darning needle. I usually try to keep to a colour or theme, such as silver glitter, red robins, nativity, snowmen etc.

Here it is when its finished.
Different colours.

Even more fingerless gloves. They knit up very quickly as I am having a teabreak.
Because of the wet afternoon, I settled down by the fire to make my candles. Its the best place to be, as the wax gets soft in the heat and can be moulded more easily. It is very satisfying to do. This year I have made red and natural coloured ones.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Fingerless Gloves and Wreaths

Recently we trimmed a willow structure in my sister`s nursery garden. We saved all the pruned whips with the idea of making some garden structures for climbers (not started yet.) I have used the thinner pieces to weave wreaths for Christmas. I was quite pleased when I didn`t need to use any wire to hold it together. I started to get the idea of working with the strengths and weaknesses of the different thicknesses of whips. 

In the nearby woods some of the darker paths have been cut into "rides," not that they are used for riding.
Honeysuckle and silver birch have been coppiced.  After a foraging walk yesterday, I used honeysuckle for the rings and then pushed the birch in and wound it round and round. Again there was no need for wire.

On a visit to Hobbycraft during the week, I found some lovely wool. 
I have to be careful in that shop! It is not cheap and I have sooooo many crafting materials already.
But, I could not resist this wool. It was very exciting to knit up as the colour changes every few lines.
I made these fingerless gloves for myself. I weighed a finished glove and found I had enough wool for another pair and possibly part of a third. Maybe I will use a contrast colour for the cuff.

Today I have made my mincemeat. It is soaking in Metaxa brandy. I will give it a good stir before bedtime and put it into jars tomorrow.  I had to use bought eating apples as 
we had such a poor crop of cooking apples....none left. 
Bring on the mince pies!


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Beautiful November Day

The garden was beautiful today.....bright, with warm sunshine, very tranquil, the only sound a cow with a rather human-sounding cough and of course the birds. It was lovely to just sit in the sun as we had a teabreak. There were quite a few insects around.
The shadow of the barn is far across the garden now, even at midday.
The grass needs cutting but it is far too wet.

I was working in shade unfortunately, but I really wanted to get the last dahlias cut back and covered. Hopefully they will survive the frosts under their coverings, as they did last year. The growth this year has been amazing and I filled the wheelbarrow about 6 times from just one patch in the raised bed (third picture.)

Anne has been spreading the well-rotted manure and Steve did some more. The asparagus bed, half the fruit net, some of the greenhouse, the strawberries and the dahlias have all had a barrowload each.




I spent some time on the butterfly garden. I defined the edges using long-handled shears and an edging spade and filled it with leftover daisies and forgetmenots. Rabbits don`t like forgetmenots but I`m not sure about daisies especially if it snows when they seem to eat anything. Quite a few "Love in a mist" seedlings are growing strongly and will most probably survive the winter.

This is what we brought home today....cabbage, parsnip, leeks and a little brocollic. 
Also the very last bunch of dahlias.

I am busy making gifts and preparing for Christmas. In the next few weeks especially if the weather is bad, I will post photos of my crafts and the preparations.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Buzzards and Clear water

We made our last October visit last Tuesday. 
It was a lovely warm sunny day. 
We are astonished to see how clear the pond is. We can see right to the bottom. Many of the oxygenating weeds have rooted. I don`t think the water hyacinth will last long once the 
very cold weather comes.

Between us we levelled the compost heaps. It was very hard work. At least there will be room for the dahlia growth which will be added soon. It looks a bit more manageable.

I have spread one whole bed with our own compost. The soil feels great, crumbly and easily broken up. It reminds me of the time we first dug it over, straight from the field. Boy that was hard work. I actually split my wellies on the sole. The soil has improved so much since then with the addition of manure.

The cows were pretty noisy. The calves have been taken away. They are now in the barn. It`s hard to believe that the barn dance was held in here last July.

On the way home we stopped to look at the winter wheat which is just through. A magnificent buzzard was resting there. What a fantastic sight!