Wednesday, August 25, 2010

aaah Autumn!!

Oh yes, it's definitely in the air. I was out for my walk yesterday morning and I noticed a definite chill about, and some leaves have started to turn. There were also a few conkers and fir cones down off the trees. Hurray! I have waxed lyrical already about how much I love Autumn so I won't go on about it again...........but boy, I do LOVE this time of year :D
Trusty Ipod is now nice and cosy in its crochet case, it fits very comfortably over my shoulder and there's plenty of room to tuck the wire in as well so nothing flapping about and annoying me. I just got the soundtrack from the movie In Bruges today so have uploaded that. Beautiful beautiful soundtrack and a really good movie - if you haven't seen it yet, give it a watch. It's hilariously funny, extremely sad, very clever, and very moving. Lots of swear words though, be warned!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Flowers

Finally a nasturtium flowered in our garden! Everything is so late this year. This one is a self-seeded one from last year, which were self-seeded from the year before, so it was good value from one packet of seeds. The flowers are so bright and vibrant in amongst all the green.
I planted a packet of black pansy seeds and they all germinated and grew well, and were planted out in a row under our birch tree. However, I didn't realise how much the snails enjoyed eating them, so only 2 plants survived and this is the flower from one of them. I am hoping they will come back and multiply a bit as they are rather beautiful.
In the same bed, but round the corner (its an L shaped bed) is this white Aster, that I bought the other day for Flash. Something about the flowers made me think of his white flash on his forehead, and also, they look like stars. I liked the idea of his plant being like stars. It's evergreen and hardy so I'm hoping it will be there all through the winter and then be covered in little stars each autumn.
And last Friday's flowers were these little purple ones. I know where they are going - straight onto a book I am making for a friend - the cover is purple and green. Perfect!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thank you , Lily

Thank you so much for this lovely poem that you left as a comment - I am copying it to its own post cos I want to share it.......I love it and I hope that some more people will read it and love it too.


Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Dinner from the garden

Great excitement yesterday as I pulled half the first row of carrots, some spring onions and a few peas for our dinner! The main part of the dinner was Dhal with rice, I added the onions to the lentil mix, along with one of our ordinary onions from the plait.
Then I cooked the carrot separately, boiled them first and then put them back in the pan with a tiny bit of butter, a veggie stock cube and a tiny bit of water. They were soooooooo delicious. They were such funny shapes too, it makes me wonder how the carrots that you find in the shops are so perfect.
There weren't many peas, but I threw them in with the carrots just at the end of their cooking time so they got the nice buttery sauce, and they tasted delicious. Will definitely be growing carrots again next year! Does anyone know if you can eat the carrot tops? It seems such a shame to put them on the compost heap, and I know if we still had our guinea pigs they would be having a wonderful time this summer!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Life goes on

Well, life carries on and I have to get used to being without my furry friend. I didn't think I would miss him this much, but my goodness I really do. He was such a companion this summer, no matter who else went off on travels he was always here, cuddling up to me and purring.
Last Friday's flowers were little wooden sunflowers, very pretty - I'm not sure what I will use them on just yet, I have a few now to use up. I think some sort of gardeny lay-out would be nice.
I finished my little crochet tortoise this week, he is about 3" from end to end. I am going to make some more, they are so quick and easy but I'm not happy with his head, it's a little too big and I think I might have lost count with the rows! I am also nearly done with the Ipod holder, not because it's hard, but because I just keep putting it down and doing something else!
The new lot of lettuce and salad leaves are popping up in the beds now, and the gourds are making male flowers but no female ones yet, so I'm wondering when they will appear. We also have to find a nice plant to put for Flash, not sure what that will be yet. I thought about catmint but then decided that no, the other cats would just roll in it and flatten it and be a complete nuisance! any suggestions welcome - its a semi shady spot, slightly damp. ty :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Flash

My dear feline friend had to be put to sleep this afternoon. He became ill on Wednesday evening with a blocked urethra, and just deteriorated very fast. The vet was lovely to us, and I know they did everything they could for him, but by today he was very weak, his bladder had burst and he really couldn't take any more treatment. When we saw him he was so weak that he didn't react to us at all. We brought him home and he will be buried in the garden this evening.
He was such a character, right from the first moment I saw him. I picked up him in one hand and he sat there looking at me with these great big eyes and a white flash on his forehead and I said - oh you're Flash. And that was it. We loved him and he was so loving to us. The first time he purred, he gave himself such a fright that he jumped about a foot in the air. He loved sleeping in things, bags, baskets, anything really. He loved to be warm, and quite often came looking for a cuddle. He always knew when you felt sick or upset and came to sit with you. For a few months when he was a kitten he went completely grey and looked like a posh oriental cat, but then his black fur grew back again.
He had the most lovely paws, and he used to sit beside me and let me hold them in my hand. He hated winter time and just slept on someone's bed most of the time and he specially loved it when my hot water bottle was in the bed and he could lie on that. He was always happy to be cuddled and squeezed and never complained. He was never sick either, until this week. It has all happened so suddenly we are still coming to terms with it. There's a gap in our family today. Flash, thank you for all you gave us. We miss you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lessons

One side-effect of this GL eating, and keeping my blood sugar levels constant, is that I don't feel tired and drained like I used to do. And I can't sit still on the sofa for as long as I used t0! After a lovely morning out with my friend, having coffee and chat (well, herbal tea lol) I gave 20 year old son a haircut and then trundled out into the garden to sort those jungles of veggie beds. We always knew this first season would be a learning curve, and here are some of the lessons. Above, Lesson no 1, leave the tomatoes in a Grow-Bag! I cut back a lot of them before I took this picture as well, there are lots of tomatoes on them, but they are still WAY too big and take up too much space which could be better used.
Lesson no 2 - plant the broccoli in a square, and not a row (and not near any tomatoes!). This would make it easier to net, and of course this poor broccoli doesn't have enough space anyway. I'm thinking that the next lot of planting (which will be autumn and winter crops courtesy of a nice pack of seedlings from Quickcrop) will be in blocks, rather than rows, I think it would be easier to manage, particularly as one of our beds is near an old wall with an apple tree on it.
Lesson no. 3 - gourds and sunflowers like this wall! The gourds are doing really well, I'm hoping for lots of fruits from them. They are an ornamental variety called Crown of Thorns, and I'm just growing them for fun. I might try a different variety next year, or some pumpkins, I love pumpkins.
The sunflowers are a dark variety, they survive the slug attacks much better than the ordinary yellow ones (which all got eaten yet AGAIN this year). My dear friend Joan always loved these sunflowers. This one is for you, Joan. I miss you. xx.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Which bit is the mortar?

Last Friday's flowers are unusual, they are metal daisies with little green brads that you can put in the centre, or not, as you choose. I like them, which probably means I will save them for a while! I still haven't used up my most recent flowers, I have been decorating boxes and doing some layouts, and the colours just haven't worked. When I was in Scotland I started crocheting a mini tortoise, which I still haven't finished and is this week's project, that and the Ipod holder that I want so that I can bring my Ipods on walks with my pocketless trousers. Why don't women's trousers ever have pockets?
I am still going on with the GL eating, I don't miss tea and coffee at all now, and I was standing at a muffin stand this morning with my daughter, getting her some lunch (not a muffin!) and I didn't feel an urge for any coffee and cakes like I used to do. It's quite liberating in many ways, not to be in the grip of a caffeine urge. The diet uses seeds and nuts quite a lot, and as you need to grind seeds before you eat them I decided to dig out my mortar and pestle from the back of the cupboard. Yes, it was one of those things that I got as a present and then never really used at all. I never threw it out, because I actually like the look of it, and because it was a pressie, and because I always hoped I would get round to using it more one day. And so I have! It is perfect for grinding linseeds, those annoying little tiny seeds that do horrible things to your digestive system if you eat them whole. I will try sesame seeds next!
Soooo.......which bit is the mortar then? :D

Friday, August 6, 2010

Home

I was reading something the other day about finding our spiritual home, the place where you feel you belong. It isn't necessarily where you live, or where you were born, just somewhere that you feel is home. My spiritual home is definitely Scotland. It's the place where I feel right, where I feel like a real person. I have felt like this for a long time, and it often puzzles me as to why. Yes, it's beautiful, but so are many other places I have visited, including some places quite near to where I live, so it's not that. And I haven't always felt like this, because when I first moved there, I hated it. I was desperately homesick for 3 months. I hated everything about it. And then, gradually, I started to fall in love, and it's a love affair that has lasted for more than 25 years. I love the scenery, the cities, the people. Sure, there are some places that aren't so nice, just like anywhere, but on the whole, it's all good. So why this overwhelming love and need for a place that is neither the place I was born, nor the place I live. The only other place that evokes this sort of response is London, and that's probably because I was born there. I love London and am fascinated by it, but it is a very demanding lover. After a week there I am exhilarated and at the same time completely drained and exhausted and desperate to leave. Scotland, I never want to leave. I cry every time. And I plan my next visit almost immediately. And it doesn't really matter what part of Scotland I am in, anywhere will make me feel the same peace and contentment and feeling of being. Maybe it's because in Scotland I first became a mother? Probably not, I felt like this before I became a mother. Maybe it's because I have made many good, deep, and long-lasting friendships with Scottish people? Maybe. Maybe even it's something subconscious. I don't know. Maybe when I visit some of the other places on my travel wish-list, like Iceland and Norway, I will fall out of love. I don't think so. Whatever the reason is, Scotland has my heart, Scotland is part of me.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dreams of Giants

We went to the Giant's Causeway today, and it was a really lovely day. The sun shone all day, and in the distance we could see my beloved Scotland like a blue dream. The rocks were amazing, although we found it strange that there were no signs explaining how they actually formed, but plenty of information about the legend of the giant! They are columnar basalt formed by an underwater volcano, and in some places you can see pillow lava also. This is lava in the shape of round balls or pillows, and has been extruded underwater.
I love the story of Finn McCool making a path to go and entice his enemy over the water so he could kill him, but its also amazing to consider how these structures were really formed. Some of the shapes have names, below is the Organ.
I was standing looking up at it, and at the top of the organ pipes you can see the unstructured basalt that was extruded after the columns. While I was waiting to take this photo (it was quite busy there today!) I happened to look down and saw this -
I think it's a Cinnabar Moth on some thistles. There were lots of bees around too, and plenty of wildflowers.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tea and Flowers

Well, week one of the GL eating plan is almost complete and although I have not been enamoured of it, I have lost 5lbs so will stop complaining now! I have found it hard to go without tea and coffee, but it does mean that my little teapots get great use just now, and also my new teacosy knitted for me by Carol (hug). It fits both my teapots, which are those pretty china ones with a cup that they sit in, and depending on my mood I can have my tea surrounded by pink or blue roses! The reason I am using my little teapots is because I am drinking herbal teas and Redbush tea, all caffeine free, and of course, they cannot contaminate the main family teapot!!! As I type this I am trying a new flavour, Lemon and Ginger, which is quite nice, but not really very lemony (my favourite one is Lemon Zinger, yum!).
Anyhow, last Friday's flowers were these little pale blue ones, which are very useful for cards. You can use them on their own or as the centre of bigger flowers. I have a card hiatus at the moment, except for one manly birthday at the end of August so I might put these on a box instead.
The veggies continue in their mission to populate the entire county, and this week i harvested the onions, and managed to make 2 plaits out of them, which I have hung up in the kitchen. I don't know how practical this is going to be, but I like it for the moment! There's nothing showing on the broccoli yet, but there are some tiny green tomatoes on the tomato jungle. The peas continue to be disappointing, I'm not sure where we are going wrong with them. The smallest box is now cleared of raggedy salad and is ready for some autumn and winter planting.........watch this space!
I never posted any pictures from Scotland, mainly because I had put them all on Facebook, but this is one of my favourite beaches in the world. It's at Nairn, and is very beautiful, in both winter and summer. I had a lovely wander along the water's edge with my very small friend, who decided she really didn't like the feel of the sand under her feet and it would be a much better idea to keep her socks on!