Saturday, 21 June 2014

Today In My Garden

I would like to share with you a few photos of the flowers which are blooming in my garden at the moment. My mother and I decided a couple of years ago that we no longer wanted or enjoyed growing vegetables here at The Mount. The garden has very heavy soil and gets quite waterlogged over the winter months and we had a couple of bad harvests which made us change to growing flowers instead. This year it is looking quite nice as the plants that we have put in the garden over the last couple of summers have started to form reasonably large clumps and they are spreading over the soil nicely. Mum has raised a lot of them from seed but we have also rescued plants from the local garden centres when they are on the point of being thrown on the compost heap - a friend of mine told me of this great way of getting lots of plants cheaply!

Happy Midsummers Day.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

A Colourful Weekend

As the weekend was pleasantly sunny and warm with no breeze I thought I would dust the dye pots off and get a fair amount of dyeing done. I ended up with quite a pile of lovely dyed fleece ready for the end of the year when I won't be outside in the garden and will be able to spin it all up with an eye to making socks and rug yarn.

This is some Romney fleece that I bought last year at The Cotswold Farm park on my birthday trip. I'm thinking that I will spin this up into a 3-ply sock yarn.
This second batch includes some Cotswold fleece (bottom left) which I dyed in Gaywool Madder-Orange with a sprinkle of Gaywool Honeycomb. It looked fantastic in the sunlight!
Other colours I dyed included:
Gaywool Tomato Red
Cornflower Blue
Hopefully if the weather stays nice I may be able to get more dyeing done as I have lots of colours I want to try out and I'm going to buy some new ones at Woolfest which is only TEN days away!!! Yippee!!
You remember that I mentioned that my son Nicholas had been to Normandy for the D-Day 70th anniversary celebrations. Here is a link to his blog with a few photos of his trip. Please take a look and I'm sure he would love any comments.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Shearing and D-Day Celebrations.

This years shearing has caused a bit more worriment than recent years. Not only has the weather been cool and wet, giving me a headache trying to organise mowing the grass and planting the vast amount of stuff my mother has grown for our garden, but throw in to the mix trying to get the sheep and alpacas shorn. Then to cap it all my shearer, who has been doing my sheep for the past three years I might add, sends me an email to say he won't be coming to do my sheep as he has too many clients! Fortunately my alpaca shearers are well organised and came to do my three animals early one Saturday morning. Luckily the weather had been dry so despite them having been outside all night their fleeces were not wet. It was all over in a flash and in the rush to get things done quickly I forgot to have my camera at the ready so no photos I'm afraid. After a quick look on the internet I managed to find a local shearer here in Herefordshire who does small flocks and with a fortunate break in the weather I got the sheep shorn on Thursday afternoon.

Here Nibbles is getting her annual haircut.
This is Cyril getting shorn for the first time and he behaved himself too! I have been able to roughly skirt all the fleeces and most of them are very nice particularly Teddy's fleece which is very fine and huge! Bubble and Cloud's fleeces have been washed and I have already started to prepare their fleeces for spinning. As they are twins and their fleeces are small I have decided to combine them in one project which will be made into something for my Mum who bought the girls last years. Hopefully I will get Elwyn Powell to come and shear them next year.
What has this got to do with D-Day I hear you cry? Well my son Nicholas studied history for both his B.A. and his M.A. with particular interest in World War Two. For along while now he has always wanted to visit the Normandy beaches and this year he finally got his chance to join a re-enactment group for the week of the 70th anniversary celebrations. Of course Nicholas wanted to take a Jeep with him, so the search was on at the end of last year to find one of a suitable year to restore. Friends of ours who run a business supplying parts to restore Jeeps put us in touch with a local guy who had a 1944 Ford Jeep for sale and after a quick visit to have a look he bought it. It has been a long haul getting the vehicle ready for the journey to France I can tell you. It has been quite frustrating and slow at times particularly when you are waiting for other people to do their bit. Then there were the annoying things that went wrong days before the trip to the ferry and Nicholas was worried that he would have to go in a modern car instead. But with a lot of help from another friend who is a mechanic and encouragement from his Dad everything got sorted by the departure day. I must say at times it felt like we were organizing the real D-Day!!! Anyway, he made it to the ferry on time and got the Jeep over to France without any problems. We have had a few phone calls during the week briefly telling us what he has been up to including driving the Jeep on Omaha Beach on Thursday evening during the fireworks display. He and his three companions have had a wonderful time and seem to have met some lovely people. When he gets back next week I will have some photos to share with you. I did spend some time on Friday watching the BBC coverage of the celebrations - in between washing fleece! - which I thought was very good and very moving at times. And weren't they lucky with the weather!