Thursday, July 10, 2014

July days














July has been a string of warm, sunshiny days broken only occasionally by a passing thunderstorm.  Mornings are my favorite, walking the dog and enjoying our surroundings filled with birdsong, the occasional bullfrog croaking, and the cackle of the hens.  So far, walking the hay meadow, we've come upon a little fawn curled up in the tall grass and a fox near her den, as well as the usual frogs and snakes.  There are markings from skunks, but luckily we don't run into them during the day.  At night, as I head out to close up the hen house, the field and trees are glittering with fireflies. If not for the mosquitoes, I would stand there and watch for a long time.


Over the weekend we worked in the garden, weeding, staking tomatoes, and trellising string beans.  We biked the canal towpath, passing by many families of geese along the way.  I fit in some reading {I've discovered a room at the antique store, filled with wonderful old books} and a little bit of crochet--embellishments for the knitted tea cosy I'm working on.  We celebrated the Fourth with a family picnic and grilled {slightly burned} chicken, potato salad, fresh corn on the cob, cheddar biscuits, deviled eggs, blackberry pie, Lorna Doone spoon pudding, and cookies.   We missed the fireworks, but sat around the campfire instead, eating s'mores.  

Life in July...it's some of the best I think.




Monday, June 30, 2014

June



















The beautiful month of June is ending too soon.  Never has this month smelled so sweet...from the fragrance of the roses and wild honeysuckle to the heady scent of the mock orange and the sweet clover in the hay meadow.

The gardens are doing well with plenty of warm weather, sunshine, and just enough rain.  We are harvesting lots of lettuce, green onions, and radishes for salads.  The green onions were started from a bunch I bought at the grocery store {as mentioned by The Prudent Homemaker} and are doing wonderful.  Again this year, the strawberries are doing poorly, and I've only picked a handful.  I was unable to order more of the mara des bois plants, my absolute favorite, as they were already sold out.

This is my first year growing hard-neck garlic, and I was completely unprepared for the scapes.  I've only just researched them and found out they are best cut early for eating; I thought this recipe sounds good, but am not sure whether my scapes will be tender enough at this point.

When it is tea time or just too hot and muggy, I take a break for a little knitting or the reading of a few pages.  I'm working on a tea cosy from Jane Brocket's book, The Gentle Art of Knitting: 40 Projects Inspired by Everyday Beauty and am reading Forty Acres and No Mule by Janice Holt Giles; both books are good so far, if you're looking for a summer read...

A final note: homespun living is now on Instagram!  Though I don't own a smart phone, my Nexus 7 is working out great for this purpose...I hope you'll stop by and take a peek.

~Deb

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

some knitting

Once the warm weather arrives, my knitting projects become less ambitious ~ a few rows at tea time, a few more as I take a mid-afternoon break, and often a bit more as I relax at the end of the day ~ and, trying some new dish cloth patterns seems perfect for that sort of knitting.
 
My stack has been slowly growing as I have enjoyed some time admiring them before actually putting them to work.  Then it occurred to me, surely they might be a useful gift for daughter in her new apartment...  With a new purpose in mind, my enthusiasm and speed has picked up.
 
Below are some links to each free pattern:
 
 
Modified the three-and-one tweed pattern to dishcloth size, using Knit Pick's CotLin and size 6 needles; didn't add the edging at the end.

 
I used Knit Picks CotLin and size 6 needles; I also use ssk instead of K2tog just because I like the result a little better.
The color block design is how I am using up the smaller bits of yarn.


I'm modifying the basket stitch dishtowel pattern, again using CotLin and size 6 needles.  I did not bother with the pretty edging. 

 
 
Used CotLin and size 6 needles.  Nice for using up small bits as long as you don't mind weaving in all the resulting ends.
 
I'm thinking one for each day of the week so I best get going!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

 
Linking up today for the first time {and a little late} with
Like Mother Like Daughter
 
 
~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
 
round button chicken
 

 { pretty } 

 
 Both clematis are gorgeous this year--it took years and several tries to find a location we could even keep a clematis alive--will miss them when we move.
 


 

{ happy }



Remembering a windy but wonderful early spring walk at the park...
 


 

{ funny }

Had to pull this from the archives--an exhausted vet tech daughter and two sleepy pups.
I know she will be missing that woodstove come winter in her new apartment.
 


{ real }



Yes, I still have plants waiting to get in the ground and in urns--peppers, tomatoes, flowers--and grass seed yet to be planted.



 
It's pouring rain today, so maybe tomorrow.
 
 


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

looking back at May...

 
 
 
 
 
The more hectic the days become or the more challenges and changes come our way, the more I appreciate the predictable rhythm of the seasons.
 
 
 
In the May garden, here, that always means lilacs, violets, bleeding hearts...

 
...flowering crab apple trees...




 
grape hyacinths, and allium...

 
There's lots going on here this last month as we've readied our little farm and house for sale and helped our daughter move into her first apartment.
 
We're officially empty nesters now, and it's left us feeling, well, quite...empty.  With both kids on their own and no more horses or donkey to fill the barn, we've decided to start our own down-sizing journey.  Deciding to sell our home after 20+ years of accumulating  a-lot-of-stuff means a lot of sorting and purging and packing...in addition to all the gardening and planting still going on.
 
Keeping busy is good...not much time to dwell on the empty nest. 



 
Deb

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

office chair makeover







Should you ever happen upon an ugly looking, but free office chair, have hope.  With a just a screwdriver, a staple gun, and some fabric on hand, it's the perfect candidate for a makeover.
 
In the midst of spring cleaning the spare bedroom I decided I could no longer live with the shabby-though-free office chair that Mike would sometimes use at the desk there.  It was one of those 'there's no better time than the present!' moments.  I rummaged through the fabric cupboard and came up with an Orla Kiely tablecloth that I found at Target a few years ago, grabbed a screwdriver and my staple gun, and set to work.  About an hour later it was done, and I got back to my spring cleaning.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

the wonderful month of May












Spring...it has finally arrived, and all we want to do here is be outdoors!
I've started working on the garden and have all the raised beds ready for planting, and I've trimmed and mowed around them.  At the end of April I planted some seeds--lettuce, kale, radishes, and spinach--but so far only the radishes have come up.  The rhubarb is ready, and I tried a good recipe for strawberry rhubarb crisp bars and made a rhubarb blueberry crumble.
Daffodils and tulips are blooming, and the lilacs are almost in bloom.  The scenery around us is becoming greener as the leaves on the trees are beginning to unfurl.  I hung three birdhouse gourds in the pines.
Spring cleaning is still in progress, with most of the painting done and an office chair recovered {makeover pictures soon}.
I made it to the library book sale and, as always, found some good magazines and a few books.  My favorite is the 1939 copy of the Book of Trees, which has beautiful illustrations by Earl G. Wright.
Unfortunately the spring weather has also brought out the fox, who raided the chicken yard the morning of Mother's Day.  Two hens were lost, but we managed to scare the fox away and save a third hen {minus a few tail feathers}.  Otherwise, I had a wonderful Mother's Day and hope you all did too,

Deb

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