Showing posts from March, 2015

Stars and dinosaurs and knitting hillsides

The wind blew back in early this week and after a sunny, warm weekend I turned back inside.  There was a huge floor cushion to be made for five year old grandson to accompany his curtains. There was more to be done on the project of knitting a cushion to reflect our hillside. The colours reflect the different greens of the fields and the open hills.  The darker brown rows are the lines of hedges and bare trees and the gold is the bracken.  I have spent an hour or two weaving in the ends, an oddly meditative kind of thing to do, before casting on the other side and seeing what comes. Then there was bread to be made before turning from the practical to the numinous. There was Alan Garner's last public lecture to go to.  Alan Garner is a great writer and counts amongst his admirers the author Philip Pullman and Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury.  The picture shows Alan's house where he has lived and written all his adult life.  He was lecturi

Spring cleaning the shepherd's hut and welcoming the daffodils

Daffodils sing of spring and spring arrived this weekend in a glow of sunshine and yellow flowers.   I have been out in the garden all day long, spring cleaning the shepherd's hut and tidying and weeding everywhere. Spring hits me like this every year, giving me a great rush of energy and sending me outside at every opportunity. All the furniture came out of the shepherd's hut, except for the built in sofa which folds down as a bed and everything was laid out on the grass.  I swept the hut out, wiped down all the woodwork and cleaned the windows.  Then back it all went. Rugs were beaten, curtains shaken out, and the woodburning stove cleaned out. Today I painted the door and tomorrow I will rub down and paint the windowframes, as long as it is dry.  I have a yen to change the cushions and the rug and to move from a palette of soft creams, pinks and greens to something in blue and yellow.  It must be spring! As a break from cleaning and weeding I wandered a

Dartmoor sun and splitting snowdrops

Our weeks have now settled into a pattern which involves a lot of driving up and down the country in order to spend time with my father.  Normally we make a flying visit to Devon but this week we stayed longer and took a day in the middle of the visit to walk, in the morning, and to visit younger son and his family in the afternoon and overnight. It was a cold bright morning with an edge to the breeze and a milky light. We parked high on the edge of Dartmoor and walked immediately out onto the moor, heading for Cox Tor.  The grass was bleached to straw by winter and everywhere stones were piled on either side, crusted with lichen.   Underfoot the grass was springy to walk on.  Blackfaced sheep grazed, their rumps marked red by the ram, not yet ready to lamb.  They are a hardy breed to lamb up here. The tors rise up in piles of stone.  They look man made but they are not, although the stone is piled like liquorice cakes. It is extraordinary to think that Dartmoor, like

Inside and out in the middle of March

I do love a good project and living somewhere like this means there are always things on the go. Inside there is usually something on the needles or on the sewing machine, especially in winter. Outside is ignored when it is cold and wet but it begins to call about now and I have spent a couple of days working in the garden.  So just for the record before inside gets abandoned for the spring and summer, here are this winter's projects plus a new one cast on yesterday. Here are some curtains made from dinosaur material for grandson number two, aged five.  The material comes from textile express , a great business based in Oswestry with a really good website and web presence.  I make lined curtains about once a year and every time I have to go back to square one in terms of reminding myself about the order of events.  Last time I did it I made three pairs in one marathon effort for the holiday cottage so I took the time to write down all the things that were at th

Laying hens and turnip eating sheep

Hens are great heralds of spring.  Although it is still cold enough for the woodburner and the electric blanket every night, the hens are more responsive to the lengthening daylight than the temperature.  We have eight hens and one cockerel.  Throughout the short dark days of November, December and January we get just one or two eggs every couple of days.  It is hard to tell whether they are laid by our rehomed hybrids from the British Hen Welfare Trust or by our own Welsumer crosses as both lay a medium sized pale brown egg, though perhaps the Welsummer eggs are a little darker and more inclined to be speckled.  The Cream Legbars don't lay at all in the winter.  Their eggs are a beautiful pale blue and as the days get longer we check the nesting boxes hoping for the first sight of that pale blue gleam. This one is so pale you can hardly tell it is blue in the picture but I promise you it is.  Now we have all the Cream Legbars laying and eggs coming out of our ears.  Spring i