13 Jan 2017

Five on Friday

I'm joining Amy's Five on Friday - thank you Amy for organising the linkup once more - although I'm rather behind today in writing up my blog post as I suddenly decided to sort out all the plants in the covered yard, sweep and clean in all the corners and wash the windows.  I think it must be a response to being relatively inactive recently and the covered yard certainly needed a bit of a Spring clean.

2. We've just finished the last of the tomatoes that were brought in on the vine to ripen indoors in the kitchen and I took these sweet peppers off the plant in the pot in the covered yard.  They'll be used to flavour some stews or a roast  in the next few days.

3. We woke up to a slight fall of snow this morning which soon melted as the sun came up. Looking around the front and back gardens the bulbs are beginning to appear as they push up through the soil.

4. I've finished another six squares of my blanket this week and have another panel of six which I left in Italy.  I usually do some crocheting in an evening and complete one square each day, but there's no rush to get the blanket finished.  I think I might start on my embroidery instead although that needs more concentration than crochet work.

5. I've nearly finished reading my book for the book group that meets at the local library, The Last Runaway.  I read it when it was first available in our library and see from my notes that this was in May 2013 so it's a refresher read. Actually, there's a lot that I had forgotten so I've enjoyed the re-read and was especially interested in aspects of Quakerism and also the descriptions of various types of quilting and the making of quilts that is an important activity for the women of the community when they're not busy with the farming in the need to be self-sufficient. 
I've read most of Tracy Chevalier's book and I like the fact that the subject of each book is different and well researched.  I've also read her latest At the Edge of the Orchard which is also about a pioneering family in Ohio who in order to settle on a piece of land must grow a certain number of apple trees in an inhospitable area called the Black Swamp. 

In The Last Runaway Honor Bright is a sheltered Quaker who has rarely venture out of 1850 Dorset when she impulsively emigrates to America.  Opposed to the slavery that defines and divides the country, she finds her principles tested to the limit when a runaway slave appears at the farm of her new family. 

Many of us are hoping that we won't get heavy snow in the next few days or if it has already fallen that the snow will soon melt.  Thankfully, the tidal surge along the eastern coast of the UK that hit late this afternoon did not cause as much damage or flooding as expected.
Wishing everyone a good weekend.

11 Jan 2017

Floral Bliss # 3

Today I'm joining Riitta's Floral Bliss linkup

Arthur Bell

I've just been out in the garden to photograph the roses. Blue skies, but I nearly got blown away by the strong wind and had to snap the flowers very quickly when there was a lull so that they weren't blurred!

Joie de Vivre

Arthur Bell

These photos were taken in the first week of December when there were many more flowers.

Joie de Vivre

Brother Cadfael

Our son and his family came to visit during December and daughter-in-law gave me a bouquet of roses and lilies that lasted for ages. 

It's possible that snow is on the way and the garden scene might be very different by the end of the week. 

6 Jan 2017

Five on Friday

Hello everyone. Like most of you I've been busy this week tidying up after the holiday festivities. Now I'm also getting back into our usual routine as our daughter left for home on Monday ready for her return to work on Tuesday. I'm joining in Amy's Five on Friday link-up - thank you Amy for organising it - and I'm sharing some of the projects based on my interests that I'll be working on during 2017. 

Crocheting: I started work on another crocheted blanket whilst we were in Italy in November to match the colour scheme in the main living room. Back here in the UK I've been crocheting more squares whenever there's been an opportunity and when our daughter brought her crochet work with her it was relaxing to be able to sit together and crochet during some evenings. Our daughter has been working on her blanket most of 2016, but as she works full-time she can only do it in spare moments. There were many squares to join together and whilst she was with us she crocheted more squares to go around the edges.  It was good to see her finished bed cover.

Knitting: A more challenging project will be to do some knitting!  Our daughter-in-law gave me the book below for Christmas which has some beautiful patterns to knit mainly jumpers, cardigans and coats. She must have confidence in my ability to follow the patterns although they look difficult to me as someone who only does plain knitting!  However, I'll choose one of the less complicated patterns and have a go sometime this year.

Sewing: I've also got a piece of embroidery to work on.  I've given up on counted cross stitch pieces because of eyesight problems, but a design or picture that has been printed onto the material is manageable and the flower will look pretty when finished and framed.

Writing a journal and local history study:
One of the grandsons who lives in Berkshire gave me a fascinating book for Christmas which was written by an historian who also lives in my home town of Reading.  I've always been interested in local history studies and met the author when I was living in Reading and won another of his books in a competition organised by the town's central library. Looking at the photos brings back good memories and hopefully we shall get back down to Berkshire when the weather is better, see the family and visit places in the town and surrounding area. No doubt we shall see some changes in the buildings and streets since last time we visited! Time flies and it's nearly ten years since we first came to settle in South Yorkshire and we're happy to be living here. There's still much to discover about this county and the adjoining county of Derbyshire and now that I'm feeling better I'm motivated to get out to see and learn more about this interesting and beautiful area. Perhaps DISCOVER, which would cover many aspects of my life, should be my word for the year?

Gardening/in the garden:  There has been no reason to get out into the garden over these Winter months to do any gardening.  However, there are seedlings in pots on window sills and the plants in the conservatory/covered yard need tending.  I brought my glass vase for growing a bulb in water back from Italy in November as it wasn't being used there and placed a blue hyacinth in the bowl at the top so that the roots would seek out and grow down into the water below. Over the last few days the flowers have appeared and the plant is growing taller each day.  

We have a big picture window in the back living room that's perfect for watching the birds that make the neighbourhood their territory.  One day in December I saw and captured a new visitor who perched on a ladder in our neighbour's garden. I think it's a male sparrowhawk, but if anyone has other thoughts I would be grateful for more information. It stayed there for ages without moving except to turn its head now and again.  Then it flew up into a huge cherry tree whose branches are well used by the larger birds before flying back down to perch on the ladder again. It hasn't been back as far as I'm aware so it must have been passing through the area.

Well, this is all for now so I wish you a good day and a very peaceful weekend.