i was up at about 7am and opened the door to a very hard frost and the little yellow tete a tete's looked rather limp and sad.
however a couple of hours later when the sun had cleared the massive cedar that grows behind us the tete a tetes perked up and spring warmth flooded the house and garden.
its a day to leave the back door open and have the windows open~such a perfect day.
swampy is in the garden giving the earth in the beds a little turn and taking out some weeds~i was pleased to hear monty don ... i love monty don so much~such a love of the land and a gentle manner *sigh*...in fact lets have a picture...
as i was saying, in an old episode of gardeners world on allotments he said that gardening is good exercise.
after his physiotherapist told swampy there was nothing to do but 'work through the pain' i guess he might as well have pain doing something he loves~and he adores his garden.
yesterday i spent the evening on my own shawl...drinking chai...
tea for one?
it is growing fast.
this morning i spent a couple of hours on my sisters one.
as i mentioned before its acrylic~eeep!~and i really cannot wait to get it finished.
you know that squeaky chalk on a chalk board things that sets teeth on edge?
that's me with acrylic.
once its done i am going to make her a really good one~probably with the alpaca cotton...yes i admit it i am addicted to it.
i find myself wondering if i should buy lots and keep in store...my little stash of alpaca cotton to ponder and dream over.
i have been planning my poncho project and this of course means pouring over all the yarn over at Rowan
so much gorgeousness to choose from but i am one of those people who need to handle it before i buy it (and don't forget that quick sneaky sniff if no-one is looking!)
well all that talk of crochet is making me hanker after my hook so think i will drag a deckchair out of the camper and sit and watch swampy before i settle down for rugby~today is super saturday, the last day of the six nations and there are three matches, pretty much back to back (i can get a lot of crochet done in that time!) i shall of course be honouring my irish and welsh heritage (this makes swampy very miffed indeed~in fact he has called me a turncoat for not supporting the english~this made me very cross.despite being born in england to parents who were born in england i feel more irish/welsh in my soul and i see nothing wrong with that) and cheering their teams on.
~i hope you all have days like today~blue sky and sunshine!~
well folks the coconut oil treatment worked a treat.
i think the trick is to really give your scalp a good soaking and leave it overnight, but cover your hair!
i have a floral buff that i have had for years~last seen here in my avebury posts from last year keeping my head from getting sunburnt...
so i just wrapped my hair totally at bedtime to protect my pillow.
in the morning i just washed my hair in my usual seaweed shampoo and so far i have been 95% itch free for two days and my hair is super soft.
i have to admit i have been contemplating using home made shampoo, i seem to have an ever increasing concern over the assorted chemicals in products.
we use faith in nature seaweed shampoo and although it doesn't contain SLS or SLES i still wonder if my scalp is sensitive enough to be intolerant of the ALES in their product~its entirely possible.
anyhow i have been on the susun weed forum to see what other people do~i am not sure i am brave enough to go the no-poo route.
do you want to share your haircare with us?
do you have any shampoo recipes or are even no-poo?
if you want to share just drop me an e-mail and i will do a sham/no-poo post in a few days!
we have had a few nice days and so i have had to combine not using all my spoons with enjoying a bit of time in the garden.
i shall try to get out tomorrow and take some photos, but we have a few nice splashes of colour. the yellow of the forsythia is fading to be replaced with the bright, almost lime, green leaves~that alone makes me think we are really into spring now.
swampy is convinced we are still due another spell of freezing weather but i think mother nature knows best.
we are both excited as next week our raised beds are going in~gone are the days of an almost formal garden, it is now divided into exciting sections.
now we have my 'nook' which hopefully in the next few weeks will be resplendant with wooden seating and a little table~i cannot express how excited i am to have my 'nook'~everyday i look out or stand there imagining sitting in my seat with my crochet or a book, enjoying home made lemonade and looking at our growing things and listening to the birds, we are so lucky to live where there is no passing traffic and are far enough away from a main road.
next come the raised beds, edged on one side by the path~a bench is going under the bedroom window under which is going the small logs we have been collectingfor our fires/outdoor cooking~even boiling a kettle when it is too nice an evening for going indoors!
the pathway will also house a potato growing bag and tomato pots and hanging from the eaves will be baskets with strawberries.
the garden is then divided again with cody's 'bed' and goes up two steps under a wooden arch to a sloped grassy area where a wild life pond is going.
around the edges are beds where we have flowers and herbs.
we have never had a 'forever' home before and so never really had the inspiration to do anything so exciting. although it has taken nearly two years to get to this point (and the bedroom still has not been decorated!) it feels good to know that the main work is nearly done and we can really start to enjoy it.
i have been pandering to my crochet obsession these past few days~one day i couldnt even get out of my pyjamas and did little but read~i finally started 'wildwood-a journey through tree's' by roger deakin (who by the way wore boots from green shoes, the folks who made my lovely green boots!) after finishing 'blackberry wine' by joanne harris (another beautiful book)
i first heard 'wildwood' read on radio 4 and fell in instant love with his lyrical writing and so finally recieved my book as a yule gift.
...here i am branching off, i am meant to be showing you this...
do you like it?
my lovely alpaca cotton is being worked into a grannie shawl and as i am working it with a size 7 hook it is growing fast.
as you can see its designed with blocks of 'raindrop' separated with bands of 'rice' and 'salmon'~two more bands of 'rice' today and its back to the 'raindrop'.
i am now debating if i should edge it with scallops of 'rice'...
depending on how much is used i may well make one up to go into my etsy store.
well i have been sitting here too long and feel mentally tired now.
its only just gone 5pm but as you know that is effectively mid-evening for me so its time to get into my comfortable pyjams (not a spelling mistake~read 'pie-jam's'!) and think about dinner.
it is yet another gorgeous day here in this ancient forest~even stepping outside into the garden the air has lost the chill of previous weeks and the wind that is setting off my chimes hanging from the forsythia is a warm wind.
'our' birds have been here feeding, a dunnock is sitting on the fence singly loudly and a buzzard has been circling high above me.
of course my thoughts are turning to the earthquake and tsunami in japan~and i am trying to remember if my second cousin is still there teaching. she returned home last year but i cannot remember if it were for a holiday and if she returned...
yesterday i was doing some crafting and listening to the radio and listened to this on radio 4~it was difficult to listen to, made worse because i remember it being reported at the time.
but it was a good reminder of the importance of acceptance and tolerance...
it also made me think of how society seems to have changed over the last 20-25 years.
when i was in collage the student body was a fine mish-mash of different groups/subcultures and we existed in harmony~this harmony existed beyond college to the clubs and events we went to.
the events around sophie makes me think how and why could such intolerance and dis-harmony exist and it makes me sad.
so onto thrifting...
i have always been a fan of the second...third...maybe fourth hand.
unlike some i have never had a problem with buying clothes or household items that others have worn~after a wash its like new without the crispy newness you often find with new clothes.
i first started to go to local jumble sales when i was still at comprehensive school and my best buy was a harris tweed jacket and a trip into an antique tent at the yearly new forest show gained me a black tailcoat which i wore daily.
i still thrift now~after my operation last year i was very ill and lost a stone in weight and never put it all back on, although i did have some to spare i have to admit!
as a result, all of my clothes, especially skirts and trousers, have become so lose i can put them on and off without unbuttoning them and my new super-strict 'dirt and worms' diet is also making me lose more weight.
so it was time for some serious thrifting!
i have a set routine~i stick with a few particular makes of clothes as i know my size in them, both top and bottom; they are brands that are generally beyond my budget in the 'real world' because then i know they are well made and will last and usually i wont pay over £10 for it...and the lower the price the better!
the only things i wont thrift are shoes~don't ask me why i just wont.
today i am in a combination of thrift and store bought in sales~my green 'kurt' cardigan, bought in a sale, orange and white striped top, a sale find in new york, over a thrifted white broderie anglaise sundress, over sale find blue/grey (one size too large!) linen trousers with striped socks and my 'milano' Birkenstocks...oh and a scarf given me by swampys sister hazel and a hand made necklace of a small vial of white sage.
well now, its too nice a day to sit here~time to go and look around the garden...
the view from my desk today is of grey sky and the tree's moving in the wind~its cold and damp and the feelings of joy brought about by the recent sunshine has crept back under an almost wintery blanket.
today i am having trouble settling down to anything productive.
my ma popped in for a cup of tea bringing with her a bunch of daffodils and hot cross buns and dog print pyjamas from my sister.
i washed up, ignoring the aches and pains~i have had a two day headache/stiff neck~by listening to REM's 'out of time'...
and now i sit at my desk, listening to the birds and the wind...there are two little collared doves sitting on the fence~they appear every spring but i never notice when they vanish in the autumn. there is a little siskin eating sunflower hearts, different finches running up and down the fence and a big fat wood pigeon on the roof opposite...and a gang of goldfinches are having a bit of a row over who gets the sunflower hearts now the siskin has gone!
i am lucky because all houses close by are bungalows and so i have nothing but tree's and one roof in my direct view of the sky and tree's. and even the roof is covered in moss and lichen so gives a very organic impression.
my little 'nook' is finished and stained an 'old' looking green and the climbing rose and jasmine have been untangled enough so that it looks like my nook has been there for a long time. the birds love it as extra perches.
since another neighbour, the one who 'encourages' sterility, did our direct neighbours garden last summer and cut down everything to below five foot (our fence is about 6 foot) the birds have had few places to perch so this is almost a new act of rebellion on behalf of the birds!
so its nearly three o'clock and to me the day is nearly over.
i know that must sound cazy but to me and my two little distractions generally late afternoon is the start of the end of my day.
its the time when any aches and pains i started with slowly get worse, or go, only to be replaced with new aches and pains. the act of just being since waking up induces the feeling of exhaustion to the extent all i can think about is getting into my pyjamas and taking up residence on the sofa.
i hate it but have come to the understanding that i just have to go with the flow and hope that tomorrow will be a more productive day...
we have had a jig around here in the little house in the forest
when we first moved in we were excited at having what we saw as a second bedroom...it was small but it was a room we didn't have in our tiny cottage in dorset.
and yes we did have people stay.
then it turned into 'my' room, where i would study.
while waiting for my studies to start again (i have taken an extra few months break until i start up again in october) swampy took over the room and it has now become his 'model' room~where he sits building his huge truck models while listening to his rock music (ac/dc arrghhhh i cannot bare that mans voice).
so now, with my increased crafting and thinking ahead to october 'my' room is now the bedroom.
we have the luxury of a large bedroom which looks out over the back garden.
so, if you can imagine, behind me at the far end of the room is a large black iron bed, my large desk sits against the other end wall under the window that takes up the width of the room, facing, as i mentioned, the garden.
i have been sitting here today working on some ideas i had for little teeny bags to hang on neck cords~wouldn't you know it, i made three before becoming frustrated, cutting out a basic shape, sewing and threading and that was the best one i had made all day!
it is actually very sweet (and swampy my biggest critic loves it so i know its more than okay) and so i will finish it properly tomorrow for myself and it's future followers are destined for *a little eclectic*
i am hoping to pin swampy down (oh er missus) for a bit of a photo shoot tomorrow and fingers crossed my first items will be on etsy later in the day.
tonight i plan to work on some crochet.
i started a shawl for my sister ages ago with some yarn she gave me to make one (unfortunately its acrylic and really puts my teeth on edge) when i first started to crochet and before i knew any better.
as a result i was creating a shawl in totally the wrong stitch and as a result it was taking forever...and ever...plus my increasing looked rather dodgy and i was very unhappy with it.
well i started all over again...with the acrylic~eeep!~ and working on the idea of an ever increasing triangular granny square and its working perfectly. more importantly its growing quickly.
do you know i haven't started work with that gorgeous alpaca cotton?
i keep looking at it and thinking, and thinking some more but finding it really hard to take the plunge and start work with it.at this rate i will still be pondering over it come yule.
well time to whip up a nice salsa to go with my veggie roast!
i pulled back the kitchen curtains at about 6am this morning and was surprised to find everything covered in a layer of frost, but even better a pale blue sky that hints at another nice day here in this ancient forest.
we have had a few days of nice, but cold weather which is raising the spirits no end i can tell you.
i am hoping today will be the day for a photo shoot for the first of my etsy goods and i have set aside today for creating more goodies.
my 'secret nook' is up already!
i just need to encourage the long strands of climbing jasmine to start their looping journey around it~although i don't think it will need a whole lot of encouragement.
i am now thinking that once the pots have been put back i shall light a small fire in my little iron cauldron and sit in my chair wrapped in a blanket to welcome my nook.
i am thinking i need another green man to decorate it...
in the garden the snowdrops and crocus have nearly finished now and our daffodils have started to flower bringing a nice burst of assorted yellow tones, the forsythia is still a glorious burst of yellow and i was pleased to find tiny buds on my oak, birch, hawthorn, beech and rowan.
we were in a small garden center the other day looking at tree's and found a small~well its about 7 foot~snake bark maple that had been reduced in price to under £10.
no other tree had been reduced and i can only think it had been passed by so often that they wanted rid of it the poor thing, so it is now happily sitting in our front garden.
there is a story behind my wish for a tree...and a whole lot more, in the front garden...
the front gardens in our small part of the village are rather...sterile to say the least.
we have two cattle grids that keep out the ponies, cows, donkeys and pigs as the front gardens are all open plan (my mum has two catches on her gate~one of them a special safety catch which means ponies cannot push it open easily). but that is no excuse for sterility...do you know there is nowhere for the birds to perch?
when we moved in we were 'encouraged' to keep the sterile atmosphere for assorted reasons...even not to have anything grow up the walls of our house~none of which would stand up in my fictional gardeners court.
well now, if anything was designed to make me rebelis to be told how to have my garden.
but one house just around the corner is one i find so exciting...rebellious you might say and has been frowned upon!
they have bushes and plants everywhere and it gives it a nice feeling of privacy...then you walk around to our end of the cul de sac and its sterile city-central~board expanses of open lawn with flower beds only under the window. woe betide anything that eats into the expanse of lawn.
well no more i say!
we started by erecting an arch over our front door and planting clematis that could grow over the arch and then along under the eaves of the house...no?! how vary dare...
last week we planted two small beech hedge plants in the wall of bare cream brick wall between our kitchen and living room window, these we are going to grow up into a raggle taggle high but narrow hedge...and of course the maple which went in right in the middle of our lawn in front of the living room window...how vary dare...
we have a small acer in a pot which is going to go in the middle of the lawn the other side of the path and...we are going to put a narrow bed either side of the path and grow a lavender hedge...how very, very dare!
and we are going to paint our front door a bright poppy red...
to use the talk of my childhood...'ummm I'm telling...'
thank you all for your kind comments about my crochet~as many of you know i only taught myself last year after many unsuccessful attempts in the past that involved much throwing of hooks and yarn and tears...yes tears of frustration!
its lovely to know there are folk out there who actually like what i make!
as you can see on my sidebar i decided to take the plunge and finally in the process of setting up my own Etsy store~ *a little eclectic*~but at the moment showing my two favorite sellers, the bloggers ren at fairysteps (who made my lovely bag!) and rima at the hermitage.
i love crafting and admit to having become totally obsessed with crochet, but realised i have reached the point where i cannot keep everything i make in our small house and my sister will not want everything so decided that it would be best to see how i go with Etsy.
we have had a few nice days here in our forest which has inspired swampy to start work on the pergola over our little patio in our garden. he was going to start with our raised vegetable beds but the shop had run out of gravel boards so as it was a big job decided to get the pergola made.
some of you may remember last year how i was unable to go into our garden during the hottest days of summer without burning as our garden is open to the full sun from almost the moment it rises until early evening at summers maximum and we have no shade from tree's.
we planted a climbing jasmine outside our back door two summers ago and it has flourished amazingly and will grow quickly over the pergola. last year we planted a rambling rose in the bed alongside our little patio and that will also grow up to provide shade.
so i am getting very excited, and hoping we have a lovely summer, about sitting in my shady nook with a book, my journal or crochet (even maybe even all three!) with nothing but the sound of the birds and water.
i am even more excited (if that's possible) as swampy is also creating a 'water feature' (i really hate that word but have no alternative for it!).
in our garden we unfortunately have a large metal cover over what goes down to, i think, underground overflow pipes and so our plan has been to cover it with something easily removed if workmen ever need to access it...
as you can see until now our stone bird bath has sat on top of it with pieces of purbeck stone and plants growing around it which disguised it but we have always longed for the gentle splash of water.
well luck came our way, swampys sister gill gave us a small fountain pump she no longer used. so we bought a small tub to hold water and two bags of north sea cobbles, was given metal grating to stand the cobbles on and swampy is going to create a rustic wooden surround for the tub. hey presto there is my splashing water and extra water for the birds to enjoy.
we stopped at burley yesterday on our way to get the wood and walked from where we parked 'pretty pagan' into the centre of the village via the woods~well we found a square lump of granite just sitting there and the first thing that popped into my head was how perfect it would be as a small alter stone for the garden~and so my lovely swampy carried it back to pp for me.
it seems it was just sitting there waiting for me to walk by!
and later this year a small wildlife pond will also be finding its way into a small corner~i never imagined we could squeeze so much into such a small space!
~swampy by the way has finally started his very own blog!
he, as yet, has not caught the blogging bug however and so you will find two lonely posts here and for more gardening gill's blog is here. those of you who go to see her blog, yes that is her gorgeous blue shed and i am so envious of it!~
well time for me to get moving~we had planned to go to lymington as it is market day but its turned into a grey day with a chance of showers so i may just buy what we need and come straight home~i had planned on some thrifting but maybe that can wait until another day.