Sunday, 22 September 2013

Aussie Visitors

Great excitement at Freshwinds Garden today, when William`s host family (and friends) from Australia arrived.
It was good to meet them all.
They will be staying in the Woodland yurts for a while then they are travelling to Istanbul. From there they will be Greek Island hopping on a boat.

A few days ago Dave came through the gardens in all his hunting gear. He is  working on the rabbit problem.


Steve has made the cross bars on the cob shed roof.

I tidied up the perenniel bed.

Today we harvested tomatoes, cucumbers, a few courgettes and some helichrysum flowers.

 It was overcast but quite warm.

The perenniel rudbeckia and dahlias  were looking good.

The new scarecrow is dressed as a Masai warrior.....perhaps a homily to Tim and Anne`s 
planned holiday to Tanzania.

We ourselves are off on a holiday tomorrow.....Corfu and late summer sun, here we come!!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Vintage Quilt

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a car boot sale in the next village to increase my stash of fabric.
I did very well.

There were a lot of booters there on such a lovely morning, including a lady called Melanie and her husband.
Melanie had a bag and a box full of her mother`s unfinished patchwork quilt. 
My crafting creativity was on red alert.
As I looked at the other things for sale at her stall, I was umming and ahhing about whether to buy it or not.
Well I am so glad I did.
It cost me £10 for the lot.

There were 17 completed flowers and many many hexagons cut and ready to sew.
Some were lined with paper and there were also many paper hexagons cut out.
There was a huge pile of the same vintage fabric to cut out even more.
I surmised from the pictures on the paper shapes that it was around about the 70`s 
when this quilt was started.

After a quick e-mail to my cousin, Joanne who is a quilting expert, she gave me some good advice.
(Her blog is on the right hand side "Lorne Hill Quilts")
The only hex patchwork I have ever done has been sewn by hand so I was quite surprised, on closer inspection, to find that this one had been sewn on a machine and it looked quite good, adding to the effect.
I decided to continue with the machine sewing, mainly due to the daunting prospect of doing it by hand and also to complete it in the way in which it was started.
My first thoughts were about the overall design using the hexagons I had and how big it was going to be.
In the end I decided to surround each flower with a cream border. I did have to find some silky fabric of my own as I needed quite a lot.

When you look closely at the flower motifs you can see how cleverly the fabric has been chosen and cut.

Joanne`s tip about catching the hexagons together at the corners was a blessing, as this held the whole thing in one piece in order to machine using a zig zag stitich.
I built it up in rows.....4, 3, 4, 3, 4.

Interestingly, I would never have chosen to use shiny fabric with cottons but it works so well and gives a rich overall look.

I found that I couldn`t put this project down and have worked on it every tea-break, lunchtime and evening for 2 weeks and 2 days.
Some people have questioned me about completing a project begun by someone else, but I find it deeply satisfying to take over and complete something that has so obviously been planned carefully, worked on for quite some time and shows a high level of creativity.

At the latest boot fair I found a pale green, slightly faded pair of pale green curtains (£2)
After washing and pressing, I used them for an edging and finally put on a bias strip.

I completed it this week....Hooray!!

As a footnote.....I was so pleased when Melanie was at the boot fair again last Sunday and I was able to tell her how I was getting on and show her some photos of the project so far. She was thrilled. We exchanged addresses and phone numbers and I will be contacting her soon because I have made her a round cushion using one of her mother`s flower motifs. I shall also be taking the quilt along to show her.
Melanie`s mum passed away which is why the quilt was available for me to discover. 
Thank you to her for a most interesting and challenging project which I have thoroughly enjoyed.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Pears and Insect Hotel

My 3 year old great-nephew Aiden has enjoyed visiting the plot with his granny. He has fed the pigs, enjoyed the guinea pigs and chickens and watched the frogs in the pond.

On Monday it rained on us but we didn`t mind.
There was lots to harvest including French beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots.
We decided to pick the last lot of fruit from our small orchard. There were 4 pounds of small, hard pears.

The lovely basket was found at the latest boot fair. It was £3.
(More about boot fairs in my next post)
Today I have bottled the pears and we have nearly passed out with the fumes..

I split the mass of yellow flag iris and will pot it into water baskets next time.
I clipped round the pond and cleared an area for the new insect hotel.
It is made of old halved pallets. (What would we do without pallets)
It needs screwing together and will perhaps be a bit taller.
Steve was busy working on the roofing for the cob shed.

I cleared and tidied the two beds in front of the greenhouse. It is over-flowing with matted white daisies and  was in need of thinning. The soil turned over very well.

The skies were fantastic and we got some low photos to try and capture their dramatic look.

I have been looking back through my photos of the garden for the whole year. Some of the comparisons are making interesting viewing. I will choose some examples to post for next time.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Green Dragonfly and Sad Teddy

The ground is perfect for weeding and there are plenty to get rid of....nettles, burdock and docks....all quite pernicious and not wanted on the compost heaps. I do love weeding in damp soil. It`s also good for planting but the spring bedding is not quite big enough to plant out.
Our first job today was to feed the pigs. They are huge. William told us that they are being fed the same amount as when they were small.

My great-nephew is just loving the pigs.

Tim is looking a little too relaxed seeing as its the harvest and planting season. The farrier says he would quite like to be the receptionist at the looks like a good job!!! Don`t think it pays that much however.

Spotted this poor little teddy bear. Has he been left behind after someone`s holiday?
He needs someone to love him again.

Steve has begun the construction of the cob shed roof and has taken some good pictures from there.

Here is the other combine harvester in the bean field. There is a lot of work going on round the farm.

As we sat by the pond, a huge green dragonfly flew round us several times, laying eggs I think. As it manoevred under the turf edges, the wings clicked and whirred like machinery. Can`t believe it was laying eggs on bare rock......maybe someone can let me know what it was up to.

I even managed a short bit of film.

The tagetes planted in the greenhouse as companion planting, is still doing well.

Apple Harvest and Michaelmus Daisies

I am getting a bit behind with the news and photos I want to post so there will be two today.
A couple of days ago we found the Fiesta apples were being attacked by birds and wasps so we picked them all. They really needed longer on the trees.

I am astonished and very pleased to be picking these long sweetpeas at this time of the year.
The main row has been dismantled and my row at home but these came from a tripod that was planted quite late in the season. It is a joy to have sweetpeas by our bedside.
Funny to think that I am now choosing the seeds I want for next year as well as saving some of our own.

I am very happy with the health of the pond. The large spread of blanket weed has been significently reduced by the introduction of barley straw in an old pair of tights submerged beneath the surface. As you can see quite a bit of the surface is now covered and the Marsh frogs are very happy here, still calling with the most incredible sound. One of these days I will get it on film.
I have spotted newts, great diving beetles, pond skaters, dragonflies, damselflies, several different kinds of water snails, whirlygig beetles, Marsh frogs and even a grass snake.

The marsh marigold I transferred from our own pond has put on new growth and the two water lilies from Anne`s dad`s pond have established well.

I have stripped the tomatoes back to the bare essentials but I`m still feeding them. The crop has been incredible. I`ve frozen pounds and Steve has made a lot of tomato sauce.....possibly enough for gifts this year.

Despite a bad start these French beans are really producing.....lots frozen and lots in our meals.

A small row but runner beans are doing well.

I have bunches and bunches of statice drying in our garden room. It will brighten up dull winter days.

The Michaelmus daisies are just opening. They will attract many insects.

Think Hollie will need some new clothes in the spring.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Yurting Weekend

We have had a great weekend at the Woodland, Steve, Paula and her grandson Aiden.
The weather was perfect, apart from packing up this morning....(we had to do it in the rain.)

We have made campfires, cooked outdoors, entertained, foraged for blackberries, sloes and wood, made bows and arrows, carved knives, made homes for toy mice and harvested from Freshwinds Garden. We`ve sung camping songs with Jamie on his ukelele, had rides in wheelbarrows, blown bubbles, played football and snuggled up in blankets round the campfire.

On Saturday, everyone came for a barbeque. There were 12 family members.
Quite a lot to cook for outdoors, but we managed with lots of help.

There were chocolate owl cupcakes.

On Sunday we went to the garden to harvest our evening meal. It was a beautiful clear September day with very blue skies and big fluffy clouds.

There was one plum left on the tree and it had been "got at" presumably by wasps.
I had to pick more apples as two branches had broken due to the weight of the fruit.

The combine harvester was having a well-earned rest.

And there were plenty of sparrows around  which will please Clifford. 

Now we are home washing our smoky clothes, enjoying running hot water and electricity.
I love the outdoor life but I also love my home and its comforts.