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Three children *** Two dogs *** Two parents *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That's us!

We've been blogging since January 2010.

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"A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe."

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  • Fiona Cambouropoulos Cheryl this is really ingenious. The design is so eye catching, it would cost quite a lot to buy a branded pencil case like this,... 26 Apr
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Time to smile

"God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles."

- J B S Haldane

Debs Random Writings

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nature studies

Rumpole and the Sunflower Thief

You’d be forgiven for thinking I’ve forsaken all other craft apart from knitting recently. I guess it’s temporarily true, but not for the want of trying. The problem is that I lack machine oil. It’s on order, but it does mean the sewing projects lined up are sitting idle, while my knitting needles are left to click.

So here I am again talking knitting. Although I do have another yarn to share too, but first it’s Wednesday, which means it’s time to share my latest book and knitting project.

My sock knitting, from last week, is waiting in the wings. I added a bit more, but a more pressing need raised its head, or maybe I should say hands. A small pair of cold hands. Regular readers will have seen my finished grey gloves. For me.

You might remember that I had almost a full ball of yarn left, which I was eyeing up to make a pair of gloves for my youngest. Would it work, or would it not? Curiosity got the better of me and I went for it. Casting on for a smaller pair of gloves.

I’ve finished one glove, but now I’m playing yarn chicken with the second. I’ve warned my boy that I may not have enough yarn and the glove will be unravelled, but I’m also thinking creatively. I have no similar yarn to mix in, and, as I’m on a stash busting year, I’m not going to buy any more. They may become fingerless gloves. I may have enough yarn. We’ll see.

Book-wise, I’m still reading Incredible Numbers, but as a lighter book, I’ve chosen a Rumpole. I really don’t want to read anything heavy in January. It is a month that needs every help it can get. For me at least. Something light, witty and cheery. Rumpole. To be precise Rumpole and the Angel of Death, which now I write it down, doesn’t seem like a cheery title at all. Maybe we shouldn’t judge a book by its title, as well as its cover.

Now to the yarn, I promised at the beginning. We’ve solved our own mystery this week. Playing Rumpole, indeed!

Back in the summer, we grew sunflowers to store for the winter. The idea was to bring a sunflower head out for each of the cold months, to feed the birds. So far, so good. We’ve learnt a few lessons along the way, but it has been a success. We’ll be planting more ready to repeat this again, this new year.

Anyway. First month, I put the stored sunflower head out. The little birds loved it and pecked it clean within the week.

The next month was colder, so I put out a bigger head. I stood back ready to enjoy the sight of little birds pecking happily away. Not to be. Within a day, it had disappeared. Gone. Completely. No trace. I checked the garden, but there was no sign. It was a big head. I put it down to an ambitious crow and drew up plans to nail the next one (sunflower head, not crow) to a fence post. That would sort out any crow shenanigans. I continued to mutter about how crows should stick to the surrounding farm fields.

Then this weekend, I was talking about the Fibonacci sequence with middle daughter, and how it’s easy to find it in nature. I produced a stored sunflower seed to demonstrate my point.

I wasn’t ready for what happened next. The pup, who had been fast asleep, or so I thought, suddenly leapt up and tore the sunflower head out of my hand. She started to rip the dried leaves off and toss them above her head. Sending them flying through the air and scattering sunflower seeds around the kitchen.

She knew what this was. She’d played with one before. It made a wonderful crunchy noise. It was fun. Lots of fun, which she intended to repeat with this new sunflower head. How kind of her mistress to bring her one again.

I think we’ve found our culprit. (oops! Sorry, crows.) Rumpole would be proud.

p.s. Before you start searching, I don’t think John Mortimer wrote a book with the title Rumpole and the Sunflower Thief, as my blog title might suggest. Although if he did, I bet it would be a good read.

Linking up with Ginny


 

Sharing. Good idea.

Catching leaves at Lytes Cary

lytes-cary-houseI admit. I was hoping to go somewhere last weekend that didn’t mean big crowds but still with a nod to Halloween. My children have reached the stage where dressing up as witches and following pumpkin trails, in broad day light…it’s just not going to happen. (After dark is a whole different matter!) We chose to avoid the obvious National Trust properties and tried our luck with Lytes Cary down near Somerton, Somerset.

lytes-caryIt is a small property, with an interesting garden.  Showing the children a medieval hall and how it had been added to, was on my list. They enjoyed wandering around the house and hearing the stories about some of the objects. I was intrigued by the brandy warming table. Ingenious!

The boy was interested in two unusual, elizabethan looking ladies, made out of leather, in one of the rooms. About a metre high. The guide told him a couple of theories about them – servants moved them round so their shadows, cast by the fire, deterred burglars, or being the fourteenth person at the table. Why two? A lady can’t possibly be seen in the same dress two days in a row.

It was the garden that the children really enjoyed. There are lots of high hedges and topiary. Breaking the garden up into rooms. The children could go off and explore without us. Playing an unofficial game of hide and seek.

“Oh there you are,” as I look up from taking another photo. Only to see them disappear again.

flower

For the end of the season, there was still plenty of interest in the gardens.

I’m not sure if I missed a herbal garden, but I had hoped to see one.  In the house, they have one of the few copies of an old herbal remedies book, Niewe Herball, which a former owner Henry Lyte translated. Maybe I missed the herbs, but I did see the book.lytes-cary-garden

We did find medlars on one tree, alongside blossom. They also have apple and quince trees. I couldn’t resist making sure everyone breathed in a little bit of the quince fragrance. I miss our tree. It’s been a few years. Youngest wanted to know if it was meant to have fuzz on it. Oh yes.

medlar-fruit-and-flower

I quite like the idea of adding a medlar tree to our little orchard.

We were too late to hunt for conkers. Hoards of other children had beaten us to them. Not that it stopped the children searching through the empty cases, just in case. They tried to catch leaves as they fell from the impressive avenue of broadleaves.

They may have grown beyond the fun trails offered, but put the children in a landscape with trees and a place to run, and they will have fun. round-houseOur trip had the perfect balance of autumn and interest for my growing family.

 

Country Kids

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There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

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