Welcome back to the garden. I found a sunny morning to show you what I have been up to. I have done pretty well in the garden this month despite the wind and rain and bouts of fluy cold hitting the whole family. I have been concentrating on the veg patch, rearranging and titivating the permanent plants - mostly soft fruits. It all looks to lovely and tidy that I am really spurred on to do the next bit.
It has been a bit like musical chairs. We moved the rhubarb into the veg patch a few years ago from the shady corner where it had been when we inherited the garden. Of course, given well dug and improved soil and a sunny spot it grew HUGE. For the last few years we have had way more rhubarb than we can possibly use and it has over shadowed the three nearest veg beds, making them almost unusable. It had to go.
Half of the crowns are now in an unused piece of ground under the blackcurrant bushes (also pruned for the first time in years - aren't I doing well...) The other half have been given away to good homes.
In another fit of madness a few years ago, we gathered together the three gooseberry bushes that were scattered around the garden and put them into one of the flower beds way away from the veg patch. It was not a good plan. The resulting thorny tangle was too close to a path and made it impossible to properly look after the rest of the plants.
I have moved them to where the rhubarb had been and now have lots of lovely space to fill with new flowers, hurrah hurrah! It's still a bit of a mess but I will get to it. In their new home, the gooseberries are well away from paths and have plenty of space. I do need to think about what I might under-plant them with though, to stop it becoming a weed-fest.
Next up for a new home were the raspberries. They had been in a spot that was way too shady and had also gone unpruned for far too long. Plus the wall behind them is in dire need of repointing which will be much easier if we can actually reach it.
I have reclaimed a bed against a sunnier wall for them and actually moved (and pruned) them yesterday after these pictures were taken. I think I might under-plant them with strawberries. We have heaps of the little alpine ones all over the place so maybe the fatter sort would do well too.
The rest of the garden looks much as it did in January, except that if you look closely there are little jewels appearing all over the place. I love love love how they shine in the sun, even if I did have to lie on the ground to see up into the flower of the hellebore.
Long term readers may remember that back when we were in St Helena we were visited by some lovely friends. Well, shortly after they returned home Janet and Toby got married. I couldn't go to the wedding because we were still 4500 miles away, but due to the magic of the interweb I was able to watch it live on YouTube! I put on my best hat and sat alternately, and sometimes simultaneously grinning like a cheshire cat and sobbing my heart out.
I had always planned a handmade gift and made a start shortly after we got back.Then I stalled, and got distracted and started something else and then something else. Their first wedding anniversary came and went and my WIP was still in a basket under my sewing table.
Then some how, Just before Christmas it all clicked into place and I got my act together. It is no longer a WIP, it is a real and actual Ta Da!
A Ta Da so large that I found it very hard to photograph. I completely love it and hope they do too.
Some lovely friends we met on St Helena are going to have a baby in March. I wanted to make them something special for Bub that would remind them of our crazy rock once they return to Blighty. I was casting around for a boy type colour pallet that avoided the usual and remembered this place...
This valley is called paintbox because the eroded soil and rock has so many colours in it. It is very hard to photograph and we didn't have any pics that really did it justice so I have borrowed these from another St H friend. Thanks very much Ceri.
Inspired by these colours and the folded landscape I made a baby blanket. I used the most excellent ripple stitch pattern written by Lucy of Attic 24.
I used a starting chain of 143 stitches, a 6mm hook and two 50g balls of seven shades of Drops Paris cotton for the ripples: Dark grey, rusty red, strong yellow, light ice blue, dark old pink, orange and petrol. The edging came from a further ball each of dark grey and rusty red. The finished blanket measures approximately 65cm x 85cm.
Loving: That there is a reindeer painted on the rocks at the end of Bamburgh beach.
Eating: Cashew nut butter for the first time... uh oh...
Drinking: Another cup of tea. Of course!
Feeling: Chuffed to bits that a Top Secret WIP is nearing completion. And I love love love it! Nearly time to show and tell.
Making:The most of every scrap of light during these dark days. I have even begun to make my peace with the dreaded snow. I still dislike its slippery ways but I do like how much light it bounces around.
Thinking: About how to turn my resolution to be more Brave into concrete action.
Dreaming: Of warm sunlit camping trips next summer.
Hooking up with Sarah at Say Little Hen again for Here and Now.
A little while ago I offered to test a recipe for Sarah at Say Little Hen. She had been working for a while to perfect her own 100% spelt sourdough loaf and was thinking of publishing the recipe. Now, Sarah grinds her own spelt flour (as well as rearing sheep and cows and hens and tending a fab veggie garden) in Queensland, Australia. It is hot and dry there right now and we wondered how the recipe would fair in damp cold Blighty.
I don't grind my own spelt flour, but I know a place that does, so I used spelt flour ground about 10 miles away at Heatherslaw Mill, Northumberland's only working water mill.
All went well until I left my loaf to rise... It rose more out than up so mid-rise I flopped my UFO pancake thingy into a loaf tin which probably knocked some air out of it. It was a bit denser than I would hope but it was very yummy ad I will definitely be having another go. I think I'll go for the tin from the outset and see what happens.
You can try Sarah's recipe too because she has published it on her blog along with a fab photo tutorial. I'd love to hear how you get on.