Monday, July 27, 2015

Such is Life...

Posting might be a bit scarce this week - DH is (unexpectedly) in hospital with horrible gallstones. If you've suffered from them you will know how debilitating they are. He is set to have his gallbladder removed sometime this week so my place is with him.

Wishing you all a wonderful week and I shall see you when I do :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Of Hearth and Home...

I have accepted that this year I will not be preserving my own personal harvest :( so I'm doing the next best thing ; buying in-season fruit and veg and processing it. There are some great pick-your-own farms and farm stalls close by to our new home in Devon so I have penciled in a few trips to these farms/stalls to bring in a different sort of harvest this year :)

In the mean time however, necessity calls. I mentioned a couple of posts back that I had opened my last jar of homemade chutney a few weeks ago. Sad that it is the last jar but WOW - it's the best jar so far! 7 months of the chutney maturing and I realize that the longer it sits in the jar the better :)
So - two batches of chutney were canned this past weekend. 

Caramelized Red Onion Chutney - I only got 3 jars out of this batch.

...and Peach Apricot chutney. I got quite a few jars out of this batch - 9 in all. I found some great DIY chalk board type labels on Pinterest. I love the simple, rustic look that the labels give. Happily my grocery cupboards are once again well stocked with chutney. There's something quite satisfying in seeing all those pretty jars filled with your hard work lining the shelves.

On the needles: a pair of socks, one down and half way through the second sock. I love hand knitted socks - there really is nothing like them. I have a good few pairs but some are getting old and worn so I need to restock the sock basket :)

In the past I have used the same simple sock pattern which get's kind of boring, so I am on a mission to try new sock patterns. This one is Hermiones Everyday Socks. For this particular pair of socks I have omitted the pattern and simply used stockinette stitch. I felt that the yarn was so pretty that I didn't want the pattern taking away from it's self-striping design. 

So a productive creative week at Moor View Cottage and hopefully more creativity to happen over the weekend :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nature Study - The Honey Bee

Last week was our final week of lessons. DH has had a bit of leave before he goes down to Plymouth on Sunday and so this week we really wanted to spend a bit of time together with no commitments as we are only following in three weeks.

At the moment we are looking at bees in our Nature Studies. In our first lesson we had a general introduction to bees. In our second lesson I wanted to focus on Honey Bees.

I was thrilled to be able to arrange with a friend of mine for us to visit her beautiful home and for her to show us her honey bees. Her dad used to keep bees while she was growing up and she has now taken on the same hobby. 
We arranged to meet on Wednesday (last week). It was a warm and sunny afternoon, simply glorious in every way. We walked through a rose-laden archway into her back garden.

And what a garden! Oh my - it's beautiful. If I was a bee living here I would be VERY happy :) I definitely had an attack of garden envy when I looked at her thriving veggie patch LOL. As you know I have been unable to plant one this year due to our move to Devon soon. But I am certainly inspired for next years garden for sure.

My lovely friend had a display set up for us, she showed us the different components of a hive and how it fits together and works. She gave us a fascinating talk on honey bees, we learnt so many interesting things. In fact her talk was so interesting and she clearly is so passionate about what she does that it is rather catchy! My eldest has since expressed an interest in bee keeping one day. That's what I love about a living (Charlotte Mason) education - speak to people who are passionate about what they do rather than read a dry textbook!

The girls got suited up for their visit down to the hives.

I think that there was a mixture of excitement and nervousness. As it happened my friend had been stung while gardening (not while dealing with her bees) and had had quite a severe allergic reaction. I think that my youngest was particularly nervous. Thank goodness for safe bee apparel :)

We walked down a little path past the veggie patch down to the hives. This was a far as I could go not being suited up (not enough suites) so I took a few snaps of the hives and retreated to a safe distance where my zoom lens could come into play :) (thank goodness for zoom lenses lol).

I have to say that there was something quite peaceful about observing the girls explore the hives from a  distance. The sun was warm and all was quiet, the sound of birds and bees going about their business. 

Nature clearly loves this garden, the bird feeder was as busy as Heathrow airport! Even the pheasants boldly walked across the lawn. 

As I sat there watching this flurry of nature descend on this lovely English garden, I was inspired to create a wildlife haven in our new garden and have started to formulate a plan for our new garden. These wildlife homes will form part of the framework of our nature study plans for next year.

What a lovely field trip and what a great way to wrap up our 2015 nature studies. It's great to end on a high and inspirational note. When we resume our studies in the autumn we will start with making a bee hotel for bumble bees :)

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Little Autumn Touch In Summer

Last year I made some Autumn Bunting (bunting is a BIG British thing). I love autumn and always decorate my home for the season. So I figured that there must be more autumn lovers out there just like me. I was right, my bunting sold out! I think I could have sold more but simply did not have the time to make more. This year I thought I would get a head start on the autumn bunting.

My mum-in-law gave me this cute autumn fabric she got on one of her trips to Canada. I completely fell in love with it and had it earmarked for strings of bunting from the moment I laid eyes on it.

So here it is - the first two strings of 2015's autumn bunting :)

For close up pics of those little flags pop over to the shop and have a look.

Oh - the shop BTW is doing so well! My daughter makes the most gorgeous paperclips for planners. I had asked her to make me an autumn inspired set and this is what she came up with. 

I am thrilled with them of course - she's so clever - and I shared a picture of them on a FB planner page that I follow. Well the response was huge! I had people contacting me wanting a set, she sold 4 sets through FB and the set listed in the shop was sold too.

 She also got two commissions for paperclips that people wanted. She was so excited and I was so excited for her. She puts so much time and effort into her crafting and I am thrilled that it is paying off for her - it's so much fun!

The last 24 hours has seen 3 of my own items selling too - again - exciting and fun. What a way to finish off the week!

Anyhoo, I hope that your week has ended on a good note and that you are ready for a whole weekend of relaxation. I have a few nature study post waiting in the wings for you - remember our bee study? Well this week we got to visit a friend who also happens to be a beekeeper. More on that next week. 

Have a lovely weekend all.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Snapshot of July

July has been amazing so far. We've had...

 a mini heatwave - and can I just say that I'm really glad it was 'mini'! I do enjoy warm balmy days and sunshine, but excessive heat - not so much.

...the most beautiful full moon


The girls being selected for the Derbyshire Young Ringers team, them traveling to Oxford to compete and their team coming 2nd!

Aren't those medals lovely?

... my orchid is just looking incredible at the moment. It's putting out quite a display.

...and my Hydrangea clippings that I took last autumn are in flower! It's a very satisfying feeling when something you propagated is doing so well. I'm definitely digging this plant up and taking it with me when we move to Devon in August!

So that's 15 days down - 16 more to go :)