Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Garden’ Category

Snow and snow

Heh. Couldn’t resist the pun.

Well, as anyone following the news/weather would be aware, the wet and mud gave way to snow. Severe weather warning type snow. A snowcopalypse. We were on the edge of the zone for the ‘red’ severe snow warning, and it was quite impressive. The school was closed and we were actually snowed in for a couple of days. It was incredibly pretty. The trees over our entrance drive were weighed down with snow and arched over the road.

P1010054

P1010057

Then we had a few days where it would thaw slightly by day and freeze by night. Which means… icicles!

P1010122

And then… it was warm and wet. There was some heavy rain and in the space of a day, all the snow had gone.

But look! There was something even better in their place!

P1010130

(In the background you can see the river. We’ve had a *lot* of rain!)

Read Full Post »

Emma chose ‘Space’ as this week’s word. I love words with a lot of potential interpretations. I’ve been thinking about this word since Emma picked it and there are so many ideas that come to mind. I confess, I am sitting down to write this post with no idea of where I’m going to go – I’m hoping that the pressure of a deadline will work its magic and I’ll have a coherent post by the end. This is fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants blogging, people!

I suppose one of the first ideas that I had was the ‘outer space’ connection. There was the brave chap who jumped from the ‘edge of space’ recently. ‘Outer space’ is a rich source of stories – usually stories about its inhabitants. I wonder if we people the ‘space’ of our imagination with all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures because we genuinely accept the rational view that logically, we can’t be the only living things in an infinite universe, or because the idea of being alone in infinite space is somehow scarier? I find reading about the vastness of space actually hurts my mind. I’ve posted this video before, because it’s amazing – if you haven’t seen it before, do watch it. It’s a marvellous testament to human curiosity as well as being pretty fascinating.

And then of course, at the opposite extreme, there’s the idea of having our ‘own space’, carving out a small part of the world that’s ours. Our ‘room of one’s own with a lock on the door’ that V Woolf argued was essential for creativity. This, as I mentioned in my last post, is a bit of a preoccupation Chez S&S at the moment. We’re trying to create spaces in our home that work for us as a family, and we’re having a bit of a rearrange so the youngest member of the family can have her own space. And my office will be moving to the attic, which is going to be a bit novel – I’m a bit apprehensive about making a creative space up there. It’s exhausting and expensive, but also exciting – it’ll be good to have this place as we need it to be. We live here and work here so it’s very important that our little corner is a happy and comfortable place to be.

And part of that process has involved the creating of spaces – of emptiness – where once there were none. Things have been moved, rearranged, given away and thrown out to create empty spaces in which we can realise our ideas. It’s wonderfully cathartic, and the empty spaces are quite exciting. The overgrown flowerbeds we’ve emptied now seem to overflow with potential. The once crowded storeroom is now empty and is going to be a lovely space for laundry, which means the rest of the house won’t have racks and baskets of washing all over it. This process is making me realise even more strongly that I’d like to simplify. I’d like to have less stuff and more space. More room to breathe, to create. Space can mean emptiness, but a space is a possibility, a potential. In a space, anything can happen. And that’s pretty cool.

Go and see Emma to see what other people have done with their spaces!

Read Full Post »

What a brilliant prompt Aimee chose for this week! This blog is all about accentuating the positive, and so this has come at precisely the right time for me, because where I live is currently somewhat chaotic. We’re doing a spot of reorganisation. We’ve cleared out an upstairs storeroom to make a laundry room. This has necessitated the banging and scraping involved in new plumbing and the heaving about of the washing machine. I’ve just been told that because of a ‘vibration mounting’ (oo-er missus!) I can’t do any laundry for two days. I am, as you can imagine, heartbroken. We’ve also discovered that the chimney is leaking smoke and carbon monoxide into our bedroom so we’ve got to get it lined before we can light the woodburner. I’m also rearranging the playroom to make a proper family room, clearing a lot of stuff that was lingering in corners of the hall, and then I need to sort my office so I can move it up to the attic, thereby making space for Littlest S&S to have her own room (eventually). Then we’ll be finishing the new bathroom and putting in a new kitchen – our current one doesn’t suit the way we cook and the amount of stuff we have (my baking stuff alone could fill half the available storage) so that will be all change.

Yes, it’s exciting, but the process of planning changes on this scale means that you, of necessity, focus on what doesn’t work, what drives you mad, what needs changing. So, thank you, Aimee, for a timely reminder to do a spot of Blessing Counting.

For those who are not regular readers, I live in an old farmhouse in the middle of Wales. Nobody really knows how old the house is. We know the kitchen is the newest part and was built in the very early 19th century. (It’s the only room to have a damp-proof course). The oldest bit was probably a Welsh long barn and could be very old indeed. There have been people farming here since at least the twelfth century, and probably longer. The sense of history is one of the things I love – the feeling that other women have lived their lives here, brought up their children, done their laundry and swept their floors and tended their gardens and hens. And probably sat by the fire with their knitting or sewing at the end of the day. They are probably looking at me with my washing machine and dishwasher and muttering that I don’t know I’m born. I love sitting in bed, looking at the beams in the ceiling, beams that have been there for hundreds of years, but still have notches in them from where they were used before. How many people have sat under these beams, slept there, dreamed there? Yes, the house is cold, and old houses take seemingly endless maintenance and special paint and so on, but it’s worth it.

I love the river. It runs by the house – when the river’s full we can hear it from the kitchen – and one of our ways out is over a footbridge. I love the various moods of the river and how it changes over the seasons. When the river’s low, there are pebbly ‘beaches’ where we can sit, and the children paddle in the shallows of the clear, sparkling river and spot fish. When there’s been heavy rain, and the river’s full, it roars along at top speed, sometimes bearing branches – or whole trees – as it goes. The beaches are long gone, as are the river banks, under feet of swirling brown-grey water. Then the water subsides and the banks are covered with flattened grasses. And then in winter, the edges freeze and the banks are stippled with white.

I love the remoteness. I love the peace and quiet. We do have the rumble of the odd lorry on the road in the distance, and we also have the RAF practising low flying from time to time – a Tornado going over at less than 200ft is not restful – but generally it’s very peaceful here. Some visitors from the city complain that they can’t sleep as it’s ‘too quiet’. I love being surrounded by nature and the way it’s brought me an appreciation of the passing of the seasons. And I love the proper dark. There’s no light pollution so on a clear night the stars can be breathtaking.

I love the view from my back door. Winter or summer, rain or shine, I absolutely count the blessing of this view every day of my life.

I love the community of living in a rural area. I love knowing my postmen by name. I love seeing lots of people I know when I go into town. I love knowing that if I need a lift, a half hour’s babysitting or a parcel collecting, there are a dozen people I can ask. Yes, there’s gossip and the occasional generations-old family feud that can trap the unwary newcomer, but generally, I love the ‘everyone knows everyone’ thing.

I love the space. There’s room for the children to run around, for friends to come and camp, for parties and bonfires. We have decent sized rooms and big cupboards and store rooms that can be made into laundries. Yes, this sense of space often manifests itself, day to day, as frustration – a garden so big I’ll never get it under control, and a big house that takes an age to clean and has infinite corners to accumulate clutter and dust and cobwebs. (Argh, the cobwebs in old houses! That’s one thing I do not love.) But we will chip, chip, chip away and get things closer to how we want them, and in the meantime, we have space to run about and space to keep all our stuff in while we sort out which we actually need to hang onto. And the space brings possibilities. There are so many things we can do – obviously, doing them is another matter. But the possibility is a wonderful thing. And I’ve got the rest of my life to explore it.

Read Full Post »

Has it really been almost two months? Where has the time gone?

There has been the usual school holidays/ camping holiday business, but mostly the last few months have just been pretty stressful. I won’t go into detail as this is my ‘counting blessings’ blog, but suffice to say, we’ve had a rather difficult time, and juggling a family crisis on top of the usual ‘three-children-under-five’ stuff has been a bit of a struggle.

But things have been happening and somehow, in the fringes, I’ve been managing to find some pockets of creativity and inspiration, so I hope to be back to the blog a bit more.

In the meantime, here are some pictures I took a few weeks ago and meant to share with you. This year has been a wonderful year for foxgloves. The first summer after we arrived here, so four years ago, was wonderful for foxgloves. The next year, there were hardly any. I reasoned that as they are biannuals, they should be back next year, but they weren’t. But this year – they were everywhere. Every hedgerow was filled with clusters of purple spires. Gorgeous.

Read Full Post »

Weekword: Scent

After a bit of a blogging hiatus (baby with growth spurt, husband with tonsilitis, me with family stresses) I am back. Emma chose ‘Scent’ as this week’s word and I couldn’t resist so I’ve snuck in unannounced with a wee post.

The garden is looking a bit ragged at the moment as my months of neglect are compounded with wind and rain. But gardens after rain are especially sweet smelling (the scent I wore on my wedding day was called ‘Wet Garden’) so I trotted round with my camera.

Here’s the beautiful Gertrude Jekyll, a rose with a rich, deep scent:

There are wild roses growing up through the trees – they look amazing. The scent is quite subtle, but it’s there.

Then there’s my very leggy lavender. The lavenders really need to come out but I’ve decided that until I have plants ready to take their place, they’re staying put. I know that if I take them out there’ll be dandelions and couch and worse in there before my back’s turned.

The honeysuckle is going mad here at the moment – every hedge seems to be full of it. Here’s some climbing through a willow:

Pop by to see Emma for more scented wonders!

Read Full Post »

Well, I haven’t managed to do a Tuesday 10 for a while since I restarted, but here I am again.

My garden is a work in progress – long term readers will remember that we started re-landscaping last year. Since then, we were overtaken by work, pregnancy and needing to replace all the pipes in the house because water was coming through the ceilings. So the garden is, to put it mildly, not what I hoped for. The flower beds are either overgrown or dug over and covered to await replanting. The veg beds are no more – we removed the last lot and didn’t manage to build more. Hey ho. But despite that, there are still some signs of spring.

The primulas are out – including the ones I transplanted from the bed that was dug up. They have survived being transplanted at completely the wrong time of year and look marvellous:

And there are primroses everywhere – they’ve even spread into the lawn, which makes me very happy. I’m not someone who longs for an immaculate lawn (which is probably a good thing, all things considered…)

The daisies are up and out and being ruthlessly picked by Miss S&S the Elder:

There are lots of new leaves:

And lots of new lambs:

And my herb pots by the back door are showing signs of life – my parsley:

And my mint:

I shamefully ignored my strawberry plants last year. They’ve sat outside in all weathers, but I have a few flowers, which is more than I deserve!

The marvellous magnolia stellata is going over now, but here’s a picture I took a week or so ago:

And the cherry blossom is out in force:

Plenty to gladden the heart even without the flowerbeds … but next year will be better!

Read Full Post »

Seasonal confusion

So, it may be the beginning of February, but spring has been springing for a good few weeks.

And now, today, after a few days of freezing weather the snow has started and is coming down thick and fast. Apparently this is good for fruit trees, but I’m not sure what it’ll do to the magnolia, which is very heavily budded, or to the poor little primulas. The snowdrops should be fine – or at least, they will be if C.M. Barker is to be believed. Generally I like the Flower Fairies for the pictures more than the poems, but I have a soft spot for the Song of the Snowdrop Fairy:

Deep sleeps the winter, Cold, wet, and grey;
Surely all the world is dead;
Spring is far away.
Wait! The world shall waken;
It is not dead, for lo,
The Fair Maids of February
Stand in the snow!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »