Monday, June 29, 2009

28/29th June 09, Rain, Sun and Buster

Sunday, June 28th


Yesterday it rained overnight quite a lot. So much so that our water butt (old dustbin) was full again. It collects water off the roof:

Doesn't it look black? Buster drinks from the top of it when it's hot.

Of course the plants and weeds just love this weather, some rain, some sun and everything is growing like mad.

Strawberry Jam

Jim and I made some strawberry jam yesterday too, using our strawberries. I think they were a bit over-ripe and we had to boil it for ages. Sadly we then burnt it and the strawberries have risen to the top of the jars. Still, it seems to taste lovely so who cares? lol.

Bi-coloured strawberry jam - with a slight toffee undertone

Alchemilla Mollis

I can't resist taking photos of the 'hammamellis mollis' as my youngest son used to call it, when it has rained. It looks so pretty:

Here is one of the flower stalks too. They make lots and lots of babies

Daddy's Chimes

I brought my father's chimes over from the UK on the last trip. They used to have them hanging in the hall at Lancing, Sussex and they always remind me of both my Father and Mother. On one occasion when I was there with my children Kay and Jason (they were pretty young), we had a bit of a sing song around the piano. Both K and I had done 'Daniel and the Lions' at School and Daddy played it on the piano (after a fashion) and Kay and I sang through it. Feeling left out, Jason went and rang on the chimes! I have a tape recording of it somewhere. It was pretty bad, but we did have fun.

I think my parents bought these in Germany

I spent much of yesterday cleaning up again. I washed the kitchen/diner floor, dusted and polished everywhere. I can't imagine why as it's all coated with muck again today.

Monday, 29th June


This is the doorway to the sun room from the snug and the builders have been working on this and the doorway to my room today. Hooray!

This is the top step into my room. The outer door frame is up too.

It's been really hot today again but less humid. I weeded the gladioli bed which is a real pain as they're crammed close together and it's hard to get at the weeds. Still, I just about managed it. I was surrounded by horse flies and one of them got me on the arm. I put some stuff on it straight away and thankfully it isn't too swollen. Later this afternoon a little breeze appeared and they seemed to disappear. I then weeded another bed on the arboretum and pulled up tons of weeds from the road that goes up to the meadow. Busy busy. I did have time for a Buster cuddle though. He hates the heat.

and Me

Home Alone

Jim is off to the UK in the morning until Thursday night. Hopefully there might be some new Poppy photos! He is taking my hearing aid in for repair as it has given up. I had an old one and that has given up too, so now I'm using a temporary one given to me in hospital after my operation on my left ear didn't work. It's really uncomfortable and because is doesn't have a proper ear piece, it whistles and pops out of my ear occasionally. When Jim isn't here I won't wear it all the time as it also makes my ear sore. I get very down when I can't hear properly.

That's it for today. Short and sweet (especially the jam).

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday June 27th, A Naked BT? Never...

Naked Computing

I was happily sitting at my computer this morning in my thick dressing gown when I came over all hot and bothered, so I took it off of course. Can you stand the sight of this? Bad Jim.

I trimmed it too as it went lower than that. Mad hair and cellulite. You don't need it, do you? Sorry kids. It's like the WI calender, the one made into the film Calender Girls with Julie Walters!


Later in the day I was holding my camera and Buster came right up to me! Wolf's eyes...

We were playing with his rope, his favourite game of tug of war when he accidentally caught the top of my hand and it did hurt. It hit the vein and is now all swollen. Just now Jim heard a noise on the roof and thought something had fallen on it. It turned out to be Sandy sliding down it, frightened to death and yowling to be rescued. Luckily our roof is low at the sides, so Jim climbed up the ladder and rescued him, getting clawed in the process. Animals, who'd have them?

At one point, Buster ran outside barking like mad, his heckles rising. I told him off and went to see what the fuss was about. Michael's cows were milling about on our path so I quickly shut the gate. Buster then got lots of praise. Good dog.


I have been doing crafts outside again this afternoon. I have made my Artist Trading Cards for the ABC/ATC group I belong to for the letters 'H' and 'I'. I can't post them on the site yet, but here's a quick preview:

This is 'H' for Hedgehog on hessian and will be going to Soulbrush

And 'I' for incomplete! This one goes to the boss of the outfit, Teri. It's been such fun doing these.

I also made a card to send to Bella and her girls on the sad loss of her husband.


Andy Murray was playing today, the great British hope and he won by a mile. He is really something else to watch.

I did a bit of weeding before dinner but that was my lot for the garden today. I just sat and admired it instead, oh, and I swept up Jim's grass cuttings after he's mowed the front lawns.

Just a quick post today. I guess you're all still recovering from the first photo anyway.

Fri, June 26th. Rain and Sun, Work in Garden

It has obviously rained quite a lot overnight as the water butt is full again. It's just what the garden needed, especially the vegetable plot. This afternoon it's been hot hot hot. I did manage to weed the 3 beds in the front garden though. With a little help from Buster and BlackJack on occasions. Then I weeded the rest of the Fairy Hill and planted some bulbs I've removed from a circular bed that didn't do very well this year. I've planted them mostly on the fairy hill. So I feel I've achieved even though I felt a bit drained from the heat.

Joe the builder has been constructing the doorway between my room and the old cottage. It's taken him some time as he's had to make steps down into the studio too.

Jim bashed his little toe coming down the stairs from his den upstairs and his foot is now all swollen up. He's off to the UK again on Tuesday for 3 days, so I hope it's better by then.

I had a phone message left for me today from Ann Broderick, the lady I visited yesterday afternoon. She said her sister thought I was a lovely lady and really enjoyed my visit. I was quite chuffed!

The Vegetable Plot

A few days ago I took some photos of Jim's vege plot so I'll post them today:

The peas are growing fast and the pods developing. I like to eat them fresh off the plants - Jim tells me off.

The sweetcorn is looking strong and healthy

It won't be long before we are eating broad beans.

We have already had some salad leaves and small chard leaves and rocket. I love its peppery taste.

Here is Jim inspecting his carrots. They're doing brilliantly as are the potatoes, I don't think they've ever grown as well. He's worked hard on the plot this year.

It seems that every day I walk around the garden, something else is in flower. Here's a few photos from today.

This deep red clematis flower has just come out today

Old fashioned marigolds always remind me of my parents' garden where there were lots of them.

This little primula window box is bursting with double flowers.

These are the 3 beds I weeded today. The sweet williams are in the top one, the red acer and yellow acer plus grasses in the middle one and the magnolia stellata in the front one. There is also a rose bush, taken from a cutting, and it is covered in buds. You can just see one or two flashes of red among the magnolia leaves.

Our Silver Jubilee rose flowered today for the first time, and what a lovely flower.

There is just one drip left from the rain on a petal.

The other rose to flower today is this lovely yellow one


The three hanging baskets are coming along well.


Buster was all hot and bothered too and decided to usurp one of our garden benches:

Well, it is under the parasol!
I do like this photo of him.

Jim took him for a walk to the wood by the lake when it had cooled down a bit.


This speckled wood butterfly was in our porch so I photographed it before Jim carefully put it outside.


The long white garden wall is a bit of a problem. We were going to make a flower border along its base but have discovered that the concrete comes out about 3 feet under the lawn. After some discussion, we have decided to make a raised bed, probably with stone as we have lots of it. Don't hold your breath though. Think of all the lovely plants I can fill it with!

That's it for today. I gather the sunshine will last a few more days which is great. I have caught up with my art making for now so can play outside some more...

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Few More Garden Photos, Swallow Parents 25th June

The Garden

The flowers seem to be opening almost as you watch them with all this sunshine and heat. We've even had to water! I took my camera around the meadow and back yesterday and found another orchid, a very pale lilac, almost white. Butterflies teased me but when I approached they flew off.

the single pale purple orchid, it is just beginning to fade a little. The larger one with multiple heads is now past its best. The little white flowers are 'stitchwort'.

The sun has almost whited this one out. These sort come on rather thin stems and are prone to falling over occasionally.

The grass is at its best now in the meadow. There was a light breeze and the grasses waved to and fro. The path is one of Jim's mown paths through the meadow.

I had to trample down the grass around this little pine tree as I could only see the top shoot. It was about a foot tall when we first moved here.

some of the meadow grass against the amazing blue sky

Another grass, but one I haven't noticed before

lovely rust red sorrel and meadow sweet, not quite in flower yet

This meadow sweet is almost fully out

Purple loosestrife

Purple loosestrife close up

A sun kissed fern at the side of the allotment. Some of our ferns are ridiculously huge!

amazing daisies on the allotment

The fuchsias flower all summer long

A meadow sweet with the blue water butt behind. Love it!

wild flax, one of the wild flowers I have sowed and below is another one but I don't know its name!

The first two dahlia flowers have appeared


Buster enjoys running through the long grass and discovering lots of new smells.

Buster got too hot and flopped down in a heap

He doesn't realise he's far too big to sit on Jim's lap now!

what a couple of softies.


As we sat having a cup of tea, we noticed a young swallow sitting on the electric wire. Then it started flapping and one of the parents appeared and fed it. This carried on for ages, so I went and fetched the camera. Here is the result:
Sometimes it seemed to have to wait ages and looked around for a parent

Here you can see the fledgling fluttering its wings as the parent approaches.

Isn't that just so sweet? The parent would whiz past in seconds so I had to be prepared to shoot quickly.

Studio in the Garden

It was so dusty inside from Joe knocking out stones and concrete that I took my 'studio' outside:
The table was a bit small, but I managed.


It's amazing anything is still alive in the garden when you see this lot having a party!

Cats and Boxes

Cats just love getting into cardboard boxes, don't they? Here's Sandy inside 2 boxes in the garden:

At first, he lay on his back and attacked the sides of the yellow box!

Amazing Skies
I took a few sky photos too, some over Lough Graney and some towards the hill Maghera.

What a sky. If you click on it you can see the wind farm.

This was in the other direction and the black clouds billowed up

The lake turned pink and the water looked glass like.


I can't post the art I did as it's a surprise for someone. I'll post it when she receives the parcel.

Afternoon Tea

I took my parcels to the post and called into Mrs Broderick's house on my way back. Ann is the lady who runs the 'Mountain Cafe' as a charity. All food provided is for a donation to her sister's charity for children in Zimbabwe. Ann's sister is a nun and spends most of her time caring for the many orphaned and under privelaged children in Zimbabwe and every 2 years she has 3 months off. She is currently on her 3 month rest and was at Ann's, together with one of Ann's daughters from Dublin and her 7 month old baby, a delightful little girl called Jane.

Ann immediately invited me in and made me a delicious cheese and ham sandwich, a cup of tea followed by a gorgeous slice of rich fruit cake. What a treat. It was wonderful to meet Margaret, the nun. She was quite lovely and you wouldn't believe she's 65. No wonder she needs a rest every 2 years. We had a wonderful discussion about religion of course and laughed and chatted for over an hour. I do hope I see her again before she has to return.

Sad news today of the death of actress Farrah Fawcett from cancer and then the sudden death of Michael Jackson, aged 50. He was an odd character but I loved his music in the 80s and 'Thriller' was an all time favourite of mine. He was also one of the most amazing dancers I have ever seen.