Friday, 31 October 2014

Silly dog

Daisy has more soft, fleecey, warm, luxurious beds to choose from than any small canine reasonably has a right to expect.

But what she really wants is to squeeze herself into the small gap between two filing cabinets under my desk when I'm trying to use the computer.   I've as good as admitted defeat by leaving a comfy piece of VetBed on the floor, because she's going to lay here regardless of what I think so she might as well be warm.


Normally she has the decency to curl up really small so I can at least get my office chair close enough to the keyboard . . . this afternoon We Obviously Feel The Need To Stretch Out.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

It's not a quilt until it's quilted

There has finally been some sewing machine action at Bag End, halle-bloomin'-luliah, about time too!   This is A Very Good Thing - it means that I might be finally coming out of the foggy miasma that I've been inhabiting for the last year or so. So, in no particular order:

Seven years ago I started a log cabin quilt using gorgeous strips donated by a dear, dear friend in Missouri.  Months passed and by March 2009 I had a quilt top, but it was February 2010 before I managed to quilt it.

Along the way some leftover pieces became another top (which remains unquilted):

But I was STILL left with a basket of blue bits.  As I'm incapable of throwing away any fabric that has the potential to be sewn to another piece of fabric, the basket languished - along with 35 others but Things Are Going To Change Around Here.

There's been a huge amount of 'hardening of the heart' and lots of unfinished projects have been packed up neatly and sent off to a charity shop.  The Ikea shelf unit got the heave-ho and was replaced by a dresser top that had been stuffed in the basement 'cos it didn't fit in the house.  I've got to stop using the sewing table as a dumping ground and making it unavilable for working on, that's going fairly well, and moving the bookcase made room for batting-clad insulation a.k.a. "A Design Wall", gosh, doesn't that sound grand.

After some 'creative' scrappy piecing, the blue basket (circled above) is all used up.  None of my piecing is going to win any prizes right now, it's very simple stuff, but I'm enjoying the process. 

The piecing I started less than a month ago is finished (a record in itself) and I now have a gorgeous four-patch top on the quilting pile.

I found a Moda jelly roll in colours completely unlike anything I normally use - think it was a freebie with a magazine subscription.  I've sewn them up quickly in the 'Random' pattern and it will make a lovely soft lap quilt.

There is more - but that will do for tonight :}

Three mile walk to nowhere

Fancied somewhere a little different this morning and the weather forecast indicated it would be dry until lunchtime.

The weather forecast fibbed ....

but Daisy and I still managed a lovely 3 mile wander up the old miner's track towards Force Crag Mine and back again.


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Confused clematis

Clematis 'Guernsey Cream'.  Large-flowered, early, looks wonderful in May and I love it so much that after planting one in the Cottage Garden I bought four more for the obelisks in the big side bed.

But it's not May right now . . .

Until I did a search of the blog to see if there was a picture of the Cottage Garden plant I'd completely forgotten this.  Clearly we have a Clematis with absolutely no sense of timing!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Before the storm

Around the world of gardening blogs people have been 'watching a tree' this year.  We've been watching a tree of our own just not writing about it.

We have been keeping a close eye on a large Rowan next to the top pond, and it's not been good.  Late Spring the tree came into leaf but it was looking particularly peely-wally.  Mid summer the few leaves it had fell off.  Whilst the leaf drop could have been attributed to the long, dry summer, no other trees in the garden were similarly affected, and (thankfully) no other trees have displayed large cracks and peeling bark.  As the weeks went on I've noticed die back on the top branches of the tree, and recently very obviously dead bits have snapped off in the wind.

Cutting out the worst affected branches has been on the list of jobs to eventually get to, but with the tail end of a hurricane due tomorrow and an available LP,  this morning was dedicated to some severe tree surgery.

Very pleased that in four hours (which was all the time we got before the weather decided we should pack up) we cut out the crown of the tree, shredded all the thin stuff, and packed the larger sections under cover in the huge log pile.  Sad to find that there was much more dead wood than we'd hoped.

What is left will either regrow next Spring and if we get loads of water shoots I will just cut out a proportion of them, OR, I finally have a trunk over which I can grow a rambler rose like Paul's Himalayan Musk which has been on the "Plants Wanted" list for a very long time. 

Unless we're talking leylandii, taking down a tree is never a good thing . . . but we have at least another half dozen Rowan in the garden and they'll all get a bucket of home-brewed compost as an autumn treat when I do the pre-winter tidying up :}

Friday, 17 October 2014

Not bad for a Friday afternoon dog walk

You'd think, maybe, that after nearly seven years in Cumbria I'd be taking it all for granted by now;  the views, the quiet, the space, clean air.  Not a bit of it.  There's not a day when I don't look out of the windows and thank the Universe (and Management) for giving me the chance to live here and not in a stultifying concrete jungle.  Drive out of Cockermouth on the Lorton Road and the view unfolds as you leave the town behind, it never fails to elicit a sharp intake of breath.  As I tend to go down here at least once a week heading either for Whinlatter, or Buttermere, or Crummock Water, then there are many pulmonary moments!  Today was no exception as Daisy and I had a late afternoon trip to Rannerdale.

It's a simple little walk, 1.5 miles from Cinderdale Common up the side of Squat Beck to the Hause and back again retracing the same path.  Daisy was in 'no-publicity' mode and unusually would not sit down for a nice picture.  So here's a rubbish one to prove she was there.

On a clear day there are stunning views from the Hause but today it was murky and, as is often the case, our return route was taken at a quick march to reach the car before a following squall reached us.

Hell of a way to spend a couple of hours on a Friday afternoon:)

(If you want to know what fells you're looking at, have a toddle over to Mark Richards' site; superb panorama from every summit.  Hover mouse over "Lakeland Fellranger" in blue section, move to region, then scroll down to appropriate fell).

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Archeaology dog

Having lived here nearly seven years it really is about time I managed to develop a taste for something other than Waitrose teabags - particularly as the nearest Waitrose seems to be in Hexham :-{   Usually Management gets me a supply in London, but I fancied a day out, so Daisy and I went for a drive.

Madam's apparent interest in Housesteads is probably relief that she was out of the car.  Daisy is a gorgeous, wonderful, fabulous little hound to live with, but when it comes to travel she's not really wild about the car as a mode of transport.

I always forget how incredibly bleak it can be up here.

Monday, 6 October 2014

New garden progress

Soil (and tons of compost) have started to settle and there's time and opportunity to make some more progress.

Timber was delivered

And moved

I did some weeding and LP collected a HUGE quantity of leaves from the churchyard which we added to what will be a bed and hedge.   Talking of moving - the yew hedge I put in about five years ago shifted three metres westwards.

Our prettiest occasional visitor doesn't seem to mind that the veg patch is in a bit of a mess :-}

(published on 6th April 2015)

Saturday, 4 October 2014

It's tough being a dog at Bag End

Last night we had much needed rain. In truth, we had something of a deluge from midday on Friday through until Saturday breakfast and Daisy was thoroughly unimpressed that her early morning 'toilet break' in the garden took place under extreme precipitation.  Life took a significant turn for the better a couple of hours later when we had a lovely walk at Whinlatter. The rain must have triggered a plethora of new scents because The Sniffer Dog took even longer than usual to make our way around a 2 mile route :}

She was a bit confused when I met Libby in the car park and spent more than a couple of minutes drooling covetously over her lovely little motorhome. 

Lunch was followed by a 'difficult' afternoon lazing around on one of her many beds (this one is in my study and not really a bed but a pile of cheap duvet waiting to be turned into MORE Daisy Bedding!)

She then managed to struggle through the evening after assuming "the usual position".

It's tough being a dog at Bag End.