Wednesday, December 31, 2008


............. knowing what size needle she needs to get gauge

Monday, December 29, 2008

Seize the Year

Inspired by a thread over on the Creative Living forum this is my 2009 list - not resolutions but a focus for the year.

Set the raised veg beds
Dig out the raised flower bed and prep for veggies
Plant an apple tree
Plant brambles along wall at back of garden
Plant rhubarb
CHICKENS – where, when, how
Spend more time outside.

Paint kitchen ceiling
Repair skirting in dining room (sand, fill and paint)
Repair walls in dining room (previous house bunny ate wallpaper and plaster!!!)
Get and fit new carpet for dining room (old carpet taken up on Saturday)
Declutter – one drawer/cupboard per week
Clean windows (14 old sash windows with small panes that I’ve been ignoring for EVER)

Prepare portfolio to enter the Lace Guild’s Intermediate Assessment – this is a whole year task as need to make another couple of pieces.
Spin more – preparing fleece from scratch.
Attend basket-making course (inspired by hen and encouraged by DH)
Make Christmas decorations/cards for next year in plenty of time.
Make bags
Remember how to make clothes and make some skirts for me

Spend less, budget more
Up my fitness levels
Catch bus to new job so that I can walk up and down hill to bus stop (see above)
Be consistent, efficient and effective in my studies and move forward significantly
Be a good friend

Being prepared-
Go to car boots to get some kitchen items that I’m missing
Preserve, can, pickle
Build store cupboard up
Manifest woodburner (DH is a carpenter so plenty of free wood)
Baby steps towards going off grid
Self-sufficiency here we come

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Dales Christmas

We are well fed - turkey with all the trimmings
We are well watered - a very, very nice bottle of red wine from our landlord
We are well rested - all is calm and peaceful here in the Dale

I'm just going to pick up the knitting and sit with a glass of Bailey's and watch the Christmas special of Dr Who.

I had one of those moments today - I went to the garden to get some greenery for the table. I decided to walk all around the garden and actually look at what is growing ..........why I haven't done this before I do not know. We've only lived here for 4 years. I found four holly bushes, lots of ivy, plenty of unidentifiable shrubs and trees and there at the bottom of the garden what I think will be a good supply of elderberries next autumn. For the past couple of years I've harvested elderberries from work but as I'm moving on in January I needed to find a new supply and it would appear that it is under my nose!!!! Just need to find a good supply of sloes and I'm sorted.

Festive greetings to one and all

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sloe Day

Few words are needed........

Looks like ribena, tastes gorgeous - raise a glass to Festive Sloe Gin

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mince Pies

If I'd used the flash the picture would have been better but the mince pies couldn't taste any better.

This batch is for the girls at knit night tomorrow evening.

I made another four dozen today, some for home and some for work. I first made mince pies with my Granny when I was 6 or 7 and I've made them every year since - that's over 30 years of mince pie making. Granny used to make so many for church, work, home, neighbours and relatives that they would be stacked on cooling racks all over the kitchen.

As I precariously balanced a rack of cooling mince pies on the windowsill Dalesman suggested it might fall and I should move it. At that same moment I felt as if Granny was with me and I laughed with her remembering all the times her husband had said the same to her. I love making mince pies.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Magic Apple Tree

This post could result in impulsive clicky finger syndrome

I hang out on several forums on the internet. I get to chat with like minded people about the things that are important to us.

Our grandmothers chatted over the garden fence putting the world to rights. For many of us those days are long gone. Perhaps we don't know our neighbours. Perhaps we work outside of the home. Lots of people don't hang their washing on the line, or sweep their front path, or scrub the door step like our grandmothers did. Opportunities for general chit chat about life, the universe or 'her over the road' and her latest fella have gone. Coincidentally at the same time as the lifestyle of our grandmothers has disappeared there has been a significant increase in mild to moderate mental health illness - depression and anxiety are skyrocketing. It's possible to get a short course of counseling through your GP - to talk about life, the universe or how you feel about 'her over the road' and her latest fella.

I digress.

One of the most dangerous things about chatting with like minded people is the book reviews. I have bought many books recently - fortunately all second hand. This is a review of my current favourite......

The Magic Apple Tree - A Country Year by Susan Hill

I have read four chapters of this book and it is truly magical. She starts the year as winter descends on Moon Cottage. She has a snow day!!! She tells the story of Mr Ash the eccentric woodsman and her erratic supply of wood for the stove. There are recipes. Let me repeat that - there are recipes. This book may just be perfect.

Written in the eighties Susan Hill, a bestselling author, playwright, wife and mother, moved to Moon Cottage and began living the simple life. Slap bang in the middle of the Thatcher years, the years of 'you can have it all' Susan Hill was living with the seasons, in a village where ritual and festivals marked the turning of the year.

If you are in anyway interested in living a simple life, downsizing, self sufficiency, village life then I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Lots of pictures

Our village has the cutest church:

This bus is responsible for our enforced snow day it was stuck on the hill until noon and effectively cut the village off from civilization:
Somehow our postie managed to get through - he was seen driving his van backwards up the hill. Not only this but he did it all with a smile:
I love this picture:
Off a sledging we go:
Our lane:

The village children having fun:

Now I'm sat by the fire eating warm mince pies and knitting.

Snow Day

We are snowed in!!!! The cars can't get out of the drive, the lane hasn't been cleared and it's still snowing!!!!

We are all going sledging later : )