This pretty much sums up what’s been going on around here lately:
I was browsing through my Flickr album today and found this photo, taken in 2012. I miss Fili, and Smallest Cat tends to have more battle scars these days. But it was nice to see such a sweet picture of the two of them.
Sorry it’s been a while. Other things have distracted me from blogging lately.
I’ve been training Inara, who’s now walking out beautifully on the roads, whilst wearing a saddle (no pic of that, I have my hands full at the time). I’m hoping to have her carrying a rider by the autumn.
So, quite a busy summer so far then!
C and I made marmalade this weekend. We used the basic recipe that came with the seville oranges I’d bought, which called for preserving sugar but no other ingredients. So I added whiskey to most of the jars! The stuff we made with Jura whiskey last year was delicious, so I hope this will be equally as good. It certainly looks pretty.
Also, that’s your first glimpse of one of the windowsills in my new flat. After years of use as an engineer’s office, it took a lot of clearing out of old papers etc. to even be able to see the tiles visible here. It turns out that this west-facing window provides great light for photos, so you can expect to see those tiles featured often from now on.
Apologies for my absence here. December was a tough month, I won’t go into details, but it included illness (mine over Christmas and New Year, I’m all better now), a broken kitten leg – she’s still mending it, and the sad end of our elderly horse Millie. Since then I’ve been frantically trying to catch up with all the things that were left undone while I coped with it all. Anyway, the January club fibre and spindles were completed and shipped before the middle of the month, which felt like a minor triumph, and yesterday I finally managed to put the first stock update of the year in the Wildcraft shop.
I’m also finally moving into my new flat, which is an existing annexe on our house that used to contain the farm office. The new farm office is now officially inhabitable, and D and I have spent the past couple of weeks moving all our work related stuff up there. The old office rooms are gradually being converted into a home for me. I’m very excited, if a little daunted by the work that needs to be done: tiling, plumbing, painting, new doors, carpets etc. it’s practically a total refit of the place, and I’m planning to do most of it myself. But that means I get to learn lots of cool new DIY skills, which to me seem like crafting on a grown-up scale. It’s been a lot of fun already. I don’t have much to show for it yet, but as soon as I have, I’ll be posting plenty of pics.
In the meantime, I have found a little time to spin and knit. Here’s a little skein of yarn that I made with the fibre I received in the Wildcraft Secret Snowflake swap. It’s 50g of Shetland/Alpaca/Silk, sent to me by the lovely Madamemouton. I made just 78m metres of dk weight yarn with it, which may be enough for a pair of little fingerless mitts for me. I loved spinning it, those natural grey shades are so subtle and pretty.
And my other exciting news is sheep related. I think that deserves a post of its own, to follow.
C and I went on holiday to the Outer Hebrides at the end of September. It was an incredible trip, not least because it included my first ever crossing of the Scottish border!
Here’s a montage of some of the highlights of our visits in the Western Isles. We also spent three days on Skye, which was equally beautiful – more on that to come in another post.
You can see more of my photos of the Hebrides in my Flickr album.
Things are looking very spring-like around here now. We have apple blossom…
And the drifts of bluebells in our copse are just coming into flower…
All of which has prompted me into doing some gardening. I’m a somewhat intermittant gardener, only taking action when I’m feeling thoroughly enthused about it, or when I can’t delay any longer, usually because I’m at risk of disappearing like Sleeping Beauty under a thicket of brambles.
My ‘flower’ border is a case in point. I gave up my fight against the bramble plants last year and just let them grow where they wanted to. It looked a mess, but the crop of blackberries was fantastic! Consequently, this year, I’ve come to view the bramble plants as over-enthusiastic companions to the plants that I want to grow. Rather than digging up all the bramble roots, which I hate doing, I’ve simply cut the tops back to ground level wherever I could, leaving some stems to scramble where they want to, which I shall cut back again if they get too exuberant. It seems a much happier partnership this way, I think the brambles and I may actually become friends. And I’ve been able to clear some spaces for some other plants. Like this blackcurrant bush.
I’ve also ordered some raspberry plants and a redurrant bush to accompany it. Along with the blackberries I should have some very tasty fruits for summer puddings in the future.
I’ve also been working on some plans to repair and repopulate our old and currently uninhabited chicken shed…
We used to keep a flock of free range bantams, but one year a particularly fierce fox caught most of them and we didn’t have the heart to restock. The foxes seem to be keeping their distance lately, ever since my sister started bringing her dog with her to visit, I think the scent is keeping them away.
Although the shed looks a bit sad at the moment (the day that my dad accidentally hit it with the JCB was a sad one), it shouldn’t take much work to fix. The chickens I shall keep in it will eventually be completely free range, but to start with I want to keep them penned, just until they know where home is. So I’ll need to construct a wire pen too.
As for the chickens themselves, I’m thinking I’d like to hatch some chicks, probably bantams. I need to invest in an incubator and make a brooder for the chicks when they hatch, but I think it’ll be an exciting project. Little chicks are so cute, and if I start with them this season, we should have fresh eggs by next spring.
Eek, it’s been a while since I last posted here! Did you miss me?!
Rather than go through everything I’ve done lately in detail, here’s a photo montage that shows some of the highlights.
As you can see, there were lambs involved.
Click through to see more details.
Or just enjoy the pictures. I’ll write more soon.
I hope you all had a lovely festive holiday. We’ve had a wintry few days here in the UK, only ice and rain here on the farm so far, but the snowy weather looks to be turning our way this week, so I’m hoping for at least some by new year. I do love snow.
This Christmas I treated myself to an iPod touch. It’s very shiny and lovely and I can write blog posts on it as well as surf ravelry, check my email and listen to my favorite podcasts.
My inner geek is very happy
I’ve written part of this post on my new toy, although the picture editing side was done on my laptop as I’m still figuring out how to drive the iPod…
This is a photo of one of several knitted Christmas gifts I made this year.
It’s a set of ten mismatched mittens that I made for my brother from leftover scraps of yarn. He likes wearing mitts for typing on the computer, but he’s always losing them. So I decided to make a set that wouldn’t be spoiled if he lost one or two. But to prevent the mislaid mitts scenario in the first place I also made a ‘mitten dispenser’ to store them in.
It’s like one of those dispenser bags you can get for recycling supermarket carriers, only designed specially for errant mitts. I’m delighted to report that my brother loved his gift!