Calender Quilt-along

On the creative living form : some of us are doing a calender quilt along, where for each month we will do a square to make up as a quilt hopefully this time next year. I've decided to make a wall hanging from mine and have gone for applique for the squares. This is my first completed square, for May.

Shower cap

Finally finshed sewing the shower cap I started making weeks ago. The pattern came from the Cath Kidston - Sew book, and the fabric was a bargain flat sheet from the charity shop.

Also finally managed to catch Milly on camera:

One Lonely Ramson

Whilst wandering round the garden at the weekend, under the trees, eagle eyed John spotted this one lonesome wild garlic aka ramson. We have never seen it in the garden before, although it was hidden under the shrubs and near to the fence, so maybe it has been there all along. Certainly it didn't walk in and I am sure a bird didn't plant a bulb.
I don't think it will seed as there is little chance of it being pollinated out there on its own, but maybe later in the year I will be able to get some bulbs and plant them with it and we will be eating ramson egg salad next summer.

Last night we cracked open our first bottle of Hawthorn berry (haws) wine. Very nice. It was a good year for Hawthorn last year in Derbyshire, so we managed to collect enough for a demijon. But with only another four unopened bottles we will have to save it for special occasions. It has a very delicate almost honey like taste, very drinkable, yum.
Also we have some calves now in the field behind the house, we think it may be used for the calves and mums who had birthing trouble as there is only three sets, where as there are loads of them in the other surrounding fields.

Blue bells

The blue bells are finally flowering in the garden. Although I love the daffodils for their first splash of colour after the winter, it is the bluebells I have been waiting for. Even on a cloudy day, the contrast of the blues against the stone and green is just breath taking.

We also have several shades of pink and mauve bells in the garden, but not as many as last year. I can not seem to catch the colour on camera so I may have to try again on a sunny day.

Bargains galore

Another fruitful trip to the charity shops this week, it becomes almost like an addiction.

One copper mould for wrought iron owl trivet for 10p....two hankies for 10p each....and a fab pair of nearly new Evans boots for £1, which i was very pleased with as i have big feet and usually have to buy all my shoes from Evans :)
Also a James Herbert book for 40p, a baby blue dish for 10p, three balls of wool for 50p and a copy of the slipper and the rose for 10p. big spender me :)Also I am finally picking some of our rhubarb, it has been very late compared to others up here as I over picked it last year, consequently I am only picking a few stalks here and there this year to give it chance to recover. There is nothing like stewed rhubarb.

Sycamore buds

Until I moved up here I had never really appreciated the sycamore tree. Bane of gardeners and riddled with disease down south, up here is one of the few trees which will grow to any height. They grow all twisted up here due to the harsh winds and look more like old goat willow, but the buds in may are very pretty and it is time to give them their due as Orkney winter survivors.

Captain Beaky and his band

A few months ago back in feb/march, we got four more chooks, two 1year old cuckoo marans, and 2 white hybrid point-of-lays (not as one of john's mates thought, an actual breed called 'pontlays' lol).
A week later one of the hybrids started laying, a week after that the other started crowing ! ooopppss!!
Anyway we have finally gotten round to naming them, they are very flighty and you can not get near them usually, i had to take these pics on zoom.
So introducing......
Captain Beaky:
Loony Luna:

and Calamity Jane & Doris Day:

We called one calamity jane as she has spurs, which is unusual for a female, but we get an egg a day off both of the marans at the moment so I dont mind :)

milly monster

I'm slowly working my way along the front border in the front garden, thoroughly taking out all grass and dandilion roots which is taking rather a long time in amongst everything else. One problem. Milly Monster !!! She keeps using my lovely tilled earth as her own personal luxury litter tray. agghh. i've tried laying twiggy sticks over it to no avail, so now i have put sliced lemon rind down, hopefully this will help otherwise tomorrow i get out the big guns and lay chicken wire over the whole lot till the seed grow, not very attractive.
Here is said guilty party next to the scene of the crime.I have also spent most of the day playing chippy's aprentice to john as he makes the window frames for the sunlounge. Looks good now so far :)

Homemade Natural Sugaring Recipe (or Cough Sweets)

I have finally got around to making some more sugaring solution, no more hairy winter legs!
I've made this a few times now, and this is how:
You will need:
1 cup white sugar,
juice of half a lemon,
and 1/4 cup of honey.
Give it a mix and heat gently till sugar is all melted and it bubbles a little. you should end up with a syrup, not toffee.
When it is warm spread on legs and rip off with fabric strips !
Don't despair if you over heat it and it turns to toffee, simply wait till it cools, smash it with a toffee hammer and you have cough sweets !!
The recipe originally came from this brilliant website:

After spending months I have finally finished the window dressing in the front room ( craft/relax/pagan/book room). I spent hours scouring the internet for the right fabric, till mum suggested plain calico, which looks great.

Also got some funky tie-back hooks to go with them from ebay, very me :)

Stocked up

Now this may sound odd, but there are few things I find more satisfying (domestically speaking) then a wellstocked fridge or larder, sad but true.
Perhaps it harkens back to primitive times when food was scarse, or of harvest times when all the crops were stored for winter, who knows.
Unfortunately most of my stocks at the moment are not homegrown, although hopefully more of them will be by autumn this year,and more so next.
That is provided I dont make mistakes like last weekend, when I planted out my beetroot and courgette seedling during the lovely weather on sunday,only for it to snow and hail monday and tuesday, killing off all the seedling. I was not a happy bunny.

At the moment I seem to be living off oatcakes and hummus so here was my attempt at making my own with tinned chickpeas. Really pleased with the results and made extra garlicy, yum.

Now these are the first recipe I have tried from my Nigella Lawson - how to be a domestic goddess book, which I bought a few years ago but haven't got round to using yet. I have heard mixed views on this book, with many people saying some of the cake recipes just dont work properly, i will reserve judgement till i have tried them but these 'sweet and salty peanut cookies' worked a treat, very morish and light and crisp like vienese biscuts.

Isbister loch

It was such a beautiful day yesterday that I had to get out and explore, nevermind that there is a huge amount of garden to dig, this is what we moved to Orkney for.

This is Isbister loch which is about 4 fields away, you cant actually see it from here as there is a slight rise between us, but after a walk up the lane and across the fields this is the view, gorgeous. There are a lot of wetland birds as the area has a lot of wetland, and last time i went down to the loch earlier in the year you couldn't get near it for bog, but i may try again now that the ground has dried out some what.

I noticed up the lane that the "blue" bells are starting to flower, although the ones in the garden are not yet open. Can't wait for ours, there is rather alot, ranging in colour from blue to mauve, but I don't think Orkney has any native blue bells.

kingcups (aka marsh marigolds) out in the dykes around here, a welcome splash of colour. Also loads of primroses growing beside the roads.

Poppy bookworm

Poppy apears to be engrossed in reading Monty Halls - Beachcomber Cottage

Recent charity bargains

John has a thing for old fashioned tins, so i picked this one up for only 20p, also got th fab blanket which it is sitting on for only 50p, its wool also not acrylic, i'm really pleased with it as it goes well in the front room, perfect!

Got these four tarten napkins with rings for 5p each, so I have put them away for christmas.

As I was looking at the books in the charity shop I thought to myself that I can't really justify buying any more recipe books unless I find something specific like a Madhur Jaffrey recipe book, 30 seconds later one of the shop ladies put the above book on the shelf !! (insert the twilight zone music here!)

Weekend round-up

Had quite a busy weekend getting loads of seeds planted and seedlings planted out, although I think today's snow and hail may have killed them off. Poppy decided to help out in the garden, but only if John ferried her around place to place heehee.

Second batch of dandilion wine set away, this will be our first brew of the new house. We haven't got an abundance of hedgerow fruit uo here, so its a good job we made loads of elderberry last year. We have got elder in the garden but not enough to make wine so this year we will make elderflower champagne. Hopefully ofthe raspberries which have spread all over the veg plot do well again i'll make a demi-jon of that also, good job we don't drink often.


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