Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Cherries, bobbles and raspberry ripple

Last Friday we made our annual pilgrimmage to our cherry tree.  As much as we love fruit, we don't have any fruit trees in our garden, just a small strawberry patch.   Instead we rent a cherry tree on a farm 29 miles away in Northiam, East Sussex.  It sounds a bit odd but it works a treat.  The farm does all the hard work, pruning, netting and everything else required to get as good a crop as possible.  They keep us updated by email on the tree's progress throughout the year and give us a 'picking window', which for our particular variety is usually about the last week of July.  We go, we pick, we eat as many as we pick, we come home with tummy ache and laden with cherries.

The variety is Regina, big and juicy and sweet and we must have picked between 20 and 25 pounds of them.  Some will be frozen in pie-sized portions, some made into jam and we're going to try a cherry cordial this year and maybe some cherry vodka.

These lovely jewel-like cherries helped me decide on a border for the raspberry ripple blanket I finished a while ago (well sort of).

It looks ok as it is, but because it is a Christmas blanket (sorry to mention that in the middle of summer) I think it needs making a little more special, so bobbles (or should that be baubles) it will be. (I should add that I've seen a few blankets in blogland with bobbles attached so it wasn't entirely the cherries!)

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

New Forest

When we set off last Friday for a long weekend (and a much needed break) in the New Forest, we thought we were in for a soaking.  The weather forecast was heavy bursts of rain, thunder storms, flash flooding, etc., but not a bit of it - it seemed to completely miss us so the cagoules stayed in the car and we walked and walked (our idea of chilling), stopping for uninterrupted sleep and large breakfasts here

The forest does not disappoint

Mighty oaks (this particular one, the Knightwood Oak, is at least 450 years old and has a girth of 7 meters close to the bottom of the tree)

Cool, soft mosses

Curious and strangely beautiful fungi

Pretty soft pink heathers

Skeletons (now home to a myriad little creatures, I wonder in which period of the forest's 900-year history this tree lived)

Lots of butterflies, which seemed very difficult to catch on camera, but I did get this rather raggedy little White Admiral


Cool cattle (literally)

Deer (think I've been spotted)

And, of course, New Forest ponies

At one point, while walking in amongst the trees wondering if we'd followed our map correctly, we heard the cry of what we knew must be a bird of prey.  Above us were a pair of Goshawks (we weren't sure at the time but confirmed it later when we found what we saw on the good old interweb), they were huge and we were mesmerised.  They were with us for a good five minutes.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures and nor did I want to, we just looked up and enjoyed the moment and the priviledge.

* * *

On one walk we took time out to visit Furzey Gardens and it's little 16th century cottage in Minstead.

It once housed a family of 15 children, which is hard to believe, it's so tiny inside

In 2012 Furzey Gardens entered a garden in the Chelsea Flower Show, which was returned piece by piece to Furzey Gardens after the show.  The garden was created by a designer and a team of young adults with learning disabilities.

It was lovely to be able to stand in a Chelsea garden, which included this wonderful thatched shelter

Complete with rickety staircase

And a roof of glass leaves

They won a gold medal.  What a fantastic achievement.

Minstead is also the final resting place of the creator of Mr. Sherlock Holmes.  I wonder who left the pipe.

* * *

I think this pony is waiting for the bank to open and where else would he hold an account?  We quietly suggested he might want to try online banking, but he just kept staring at the door ...

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x

Friday, 11 July 2014

Pin cushions

One of my favourite perennial plants is Astrantia.  It has a number of common names, among them being Masterwort, Melancholy Gentleman and Hattie's Pin Cushions, but I know them as Granny's Pin Cushions, which seems the perfect way to describe these beautiful little flower heads.

They've gone over now and I won't see them for another year.  So too have the Alliums and Nigella, but these are as beautiful as seed heads as they are as flowers and are, well, sort of pin cushiony too.

Due to an ongoing injury (golfer's elbow apparently) I am unable to crochet at the moment, but I'm not to be defeated and so will be doing some very left-handed sewing instead.  It's a bit frustrating, but the upside is that, after a bit of practise, I will be an ambidextrous needlewoman, stitching with whatever hand takes my fancy!

This little old cotton reel is one of my favourite things.  Why don't they make them like this anymore? 

Thank you to all who sent birthday wishes a couple of weeks ago.

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x