Thursday, 30 November 2017

Loopy Willow and Home-made Soup

We woke to a very cold day and were delighted to watch a sprinkling of snow falling, as we lay still snuggled in bed this morning. It was a day for soups and stews.
We went to the garden for the morning, wondering what we would be able to do, due to frost. We were well wrapped up.
Half the garden was in deep shadow, so after pulling out helichrysum, I was glad to get back to the sunshine for the following jobs. 
 I did a little weeding in the asparagus bed....the frost was melting in bright sunshine. Interestingly, the worms were very close to the surface, which in turn meant the robin wasn`t far away.
I weeded the path in the fruit net. The original chipped bark had completely rotted down and had made lovely rich loam. I threw this round the fruit trees and Steve replaced the chipped bark.
I found forgotten dahlia tubers still in the ground, rescued those and covered them up in the polytunnel.
All the garden furniture is now inside.
It was also a day to sit inside for a teabreak.
Now the leaves have dropped, it was possible to see the loopy weaving of the new willow growth.
The pond was frozen over.
Rabbits are digging everywhere, trying to get into the flowerbeds.
Not much growing there now anyway..
 Steve dug out more compost. It has rotted down really well but the present system is not nearly big enough for the size of the garden.
At least the huge pile is sinking down as it decays.

 This is an area for redevelopment in 2018.
I guess visitors who follow this blog, will be surprised to see what the garden looks like in winter.
Here are a few views.
 The little fairy yurt is stored indoors over winter.
We came home for very welcome home-made soup using one of our soup packs. Soup packs are made up of a mixture of veggies from times of plenty.
I can`t tell you how satisfying it is to follow up a morning of gardening, with soup made from our own vegetables.
It feels like a full cycle.
In the afternoon we went to a local beauty spot to collect pine cones for our wreath making. It was bitterly cold.
In this photo it is possible to make out the ribbon development of our village, Pett.
The craft fair in the village hall, last Saturday, went well. I had a stall and enjoyed it all. 
Anne came to help me and we spent a pleasant day catching up with friends, neighbours, ex-colleagues, ex-pupils and villagers. 

And there`s plenty planned for December.
I am excited about it all.
Our family celebrations start this weekend.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

November Butterflies

We`ve had such lovely sunny days....perfect for 
the last jobs of the year. 
The garden has been most atmospheric with deep shade, bright sunshine and a misty feel to the pictures.
We`ve had some frosts so the priority has been to lift the dahlia tubers and get them under cover.
Anne got the ball rolling and I had a nice surprise when I found the first row lifted and already in the polytunnel.
I replaced them with bellis daisies sown from seed and myosotis from around the garden. 
Anne and I did the rest between us with me 
cutting back and her lifting.
It was good to share this job as it`s hard work.
Sad to see the bed empty, but Steve was able to put a few loads of our own compost there.
The tubers, numbering 43, were fantastic and I labelled as many as I could.
They were laid in the middle beds...
....covered with thick permeable plastic...
....then carpet on top held down with bricks.
All snug and warm for winter.
Talking about snug and warm, here are the tortoises already hibernating.
We thought they had gone off on an adventure as they are sometimes want to do.
But they had buried themselves altogether in the corner of their run. They had to be lifted very carefully so as not to wake them up.
Later Anne will take them somewhere even warmer.
There were quite a few raggedy butterflies around, sunning themselves on the last straw flowers.
The sparkling raindrops on the purple kale were like glittering jewels.
Paula and I set to on this flower bed, her trimming honeysuckle and me trying to thin out matted Michaelmus daisies and Iris Siberica.
The crumbly soil was turning over beautifully which surprised me after the heavy rain last night.
Only half done though.
I brought the sale priced geraniums home and potted them on in my greenhouse for the winter.
So I filled the old water trough with myosotis and I also hope to buy some half price bulbs at the end of November. 
 Then it was home for a late lunch, a good rest and then more work on our last raised bed at home, with the sun already sinking.
A good days work.
We will sleep well tonight.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Gerry, Scooby Doo and Tweed

Christmas is creeping up. The Christmas films are on T.V.
There is Christmas music in the shops.
And I am busy with Christmas makes.
If I don`t start early I shan`t have enough time.

On November 25th there is a craft fair at Pett Village Hall.
It runs from 10 until 3.
I shall be having a table there
and I am looking forward to it.
 I`ve made some items to sell and others are for family presents.
Where I can I will give links to the patterns.

I made some tiny Christmas mice and had a lot of scraps left over so I did some mini-patchwork and created tiny sleeping bags with sleepy mice in.

I left one side slightly open to make it easier to put the mice to bed.
Even smaller scraps were used to make heart hangings.
Talking of mice, I made this pattern up as I went along.
My great-nephew, Henry enjoys Tom and Gerry, so I tried it out for him before our last visit.


My nephew, Frazer loves Scooby Doo so I tried him out as well.
Something not quite right round the head but he recognized it anyway. 
Next it was a cute little snowman.
At the moment Advent Calendar gifts are being collected, bought and made around our family.
Here are some patchwork stockings.
 They are made using scraps of velvet and glittery fabric.
It has given them a very rich texture.
Here is a close up of the stitching.

Very haphazard.
I even made one for the dog. It has a doggie gift inside.

On a doggie theme, Scottie dogs to hang on the tree.
Also I am loving this pattern. 
However I did have trouble down-loading it. 

No photos yet but I am trying tweed bunting tonight....the winter alternative to the bright summer coloured bunting.
I have been given a fantastic pile of tweedy fabric and I thought I would give it a go. 
On Pinterest I`ve seen tweed lavender bags, tweed tote bags and even tweed softie toys. Can`t help but think they wouldn`t be too cuddly.
But I`m mulling ideas always.


Monday, 6 November 2017

Chrysalis and Colour

Who would believe that there is still so much colour in the garden at this time of the year.
There have been such lovely sunny days which we have enjoyed so much, despite suffering from heavy colds.
We are just beginning to get back to normal so decided to go to Freshwinds for a short visit.
Oh it was lovely....peaceful, warm and sunny.
Notice the deep shadows across the garden now, leaving the big raised bed in shadow.
Some time ago we put new oak logs by the pond for more seating.
 I started in the polytunnel, where is was so warm I had to take some of my layers off.
I pulled up the last of the aubergines and more tomatoes, at the same time preparing the ground for the dahlia tubers. They will be stored here through the winter.
Here are some of the very last salady vegetables, though there are still a lot of peppers coming.
Here are some vegetables from the rest of the garden.
The gladioli are drying out.
As I pulled up some hazel posts, I found this beautiful chrysalis. Not sure what it was, but I left it there.
There was also a Red Admiral in the polytunnel,
brought out by the warmth. 
Outside Steve pulled up the runner beans which have been so productive this year. Then we cleared the ground.
The black hollyhocks at the front of this bed all look as if they will be coming back next year. 

The helichrysum are better than ever.
What a glorious sight in the sunshine.
Amazing toadstools round by the compost heaps.

 The clary still going strong, which has seeded itself, inula having a last fling and the dahlias I moved from the feeding trough.
 I picked the dahlias.
Altogether a lovely visit.