Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Beekeeping and a Crocheted Cushion

There has been some necessary beekeeping going on. Hives have been split in an attempt to stop the bees swarming. So far none of the hives have swarmed. We've heard that just about every other beekeeper in the county has had a swarm this year.

Hopefully I'm not speaking to soon, but it looks like we're going to have a really good honey harvest this year. You can read about last year's here. Actually, looking at those old photos has reminded me that there is crocosmia to come soon round the bee hives.

I was trying out a pattern using some left-over yarn. After a while I thought I'd make it into a bag. In the end, though, I decided to make a cushion. It's all wavy on the front and just plain stripes on the back.

The cushion has found a good friend to care for it in the Manor Nursing Home in Rathfriland.

Short and sweet this time. Thanks for your comments; I always appreciate them so much.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Crochet and Garden

Thanks for all your lovely comments about my holiday. We really enjoyed our time away despite some bad weather.

So now for a bit of crochet that I've done since I came home. I bought the Baby Brights book because I thought the patterns looked really cute.

Once it arrived, even though I was working on other projects (yes, projects not just one project), I had to try some of the baby shoes. I made two pairs of the little boy's shoes and one pair of girl's shoes. This first pair is orange with navy buttons.

Then I made a green pair with red soles and tabs and with green buttons.

Last I made the little girl's shoes. They have pale pink uppers, deep pink soles and a purple flower. I didn't add a leaf as it says in the pattern because I thought it made it too thick.

Here they are again, all together.

They are all made using Rico Essentials Soft Merino Aran. And it really is so soft. I really love the shoes but I have no family babies to wear them. So I gave them to some friends instead.

I have some photos of the garden taken earlier in June. I'll let you see them even though they are now a bit out of date. Everything I do recently seems to be behind. Just when I think I've caught up, something else happens!

There has been lots of activity at all the bird boxes. The ones in these photos are outside the kitchen window and there are others dotted about the garden. You can just see the baby bird sticking its head out to be fed. Unfortunately the wire looks like it is hanging right across the front of the box (it's actually to the side).

The bluebells came much later than usual.

The clematis was also very late and then never really came to much.

The first of the iris to bloom this year.

I think this is called Californian lilac. It's doing very well this year.

These were probably the last of the tulips to flower. Their deep purple, almost black, colour really appeals to me.

A gardener's resting place! Not final resting place, hopefully.

All the best for now and I hope to be back again before too long.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The Outer Hebrides - Harris and Lewis

The next stage of our journey was to take the ferry from Berneray, North Uist to Leverburgh, Harris. Unfortunately the weather had changed; it was now cold, very windy and very rainy. We were worried that the ferry wouldn't be able to sail but it went ahead anyway, with a bit of a delay. 

This was the view while waiting for the ferry.

The only thing that had any colour was my crocheting!

At least the crossing was a short one.

The ferry had to manoeuvre between these buoys, seemingly heading in completely the wrong direction and then turning again at the next buoy.

Our accommodation was on Lewis so we drove right up through Harris, stopping for coffee and scones. The weather was still atrocious. By the time we got checked in to our B&B, the rain had stopped and we were able to go and see the Calanais Standing Stones. We were staying just a few miles away from Calanais so it only took a matter of minutes for us to get there.

It's an amazing site as well as an amazing sight. There were only a couple of others there that evening, making it very quiet and peaceful.

We decided to visit the standing stones again the next day and, on that evening, go for some dinner. On the way to the restaurant we spotted these Highland cattle down at the edge of a small loch.

Aren't they absolutely gorgeous?

The following morning the weather wasn't much better; very windy though, to start with, not raining. We went to see the Iron Age Doune Broch - Dun Carloway - which was very interesting. There were coach loads of other visitors there which made it hard to get any decent photos.

People actually lived in this many years ago! The husband just had to get climbing up as far as he could.

This little village is just below the broch.

Next we went back to the Calanais Standing Stones, mainly because the visitor centre was open and we could get coffee! The older son was on holiday with us too. He hadn't been to the stones the previous evening so this was his first experience of the ancient stone circle. He really loved it. You can get an idea of the size of the stones, though they think that quite a lot of each stone is still buried.

Some of the stones looked like they were carved from wood.

The rain came on - with hail - while we were looking round the standing stones and this was our cue to head for the visitor centre and coffee. It was very busy as all the other visitors had the same idea!

We decided to go and see the Gearrannan Black Houses. We managed to get into the houses that are open as a museum and to see someone demonstrating weaving. Some of the houses are used for self-catering accommodation.

There was a video explaining how to cut peat and stack it correctly so it dries and can be used as fuel.

The houses went right down to the sea.

The weather was getting worse at this point. It was really windy, lashing rain and bitterly cold.

We decided that the best thing we could do would be to cross to the other side of Lewis and visit Stornaway. It was a one-track road over the moor, through driving rain and, at times, snow! It was hard to even see the road in front of us.

But we had made the right decision for the weather in Stornoway was very good.

We took a good walk up round Lews Castle grounds. Some work is being done to the castle by a firm from Northern Ireland that is based not far from where we live.

We rounded off our visit to Stornaway by going to a great chip shop for our dinner. Then we had to face crossing the moor to get back to our B&B. It was still raining and snowing up there!

This was the progress made on my sister-in-law's bag by the time we got back.

We spent two nights on Lewis and were then to sail to Skye for the last night of our holiday. We had a good opportunity to see Harris better before getting the ferry from Tarbert to Uig. Harris is extremely scenic. All these islands, even though they are so small, have their own unique features.

We had lovely walk on this road.

The son thought it was all fantastic and took lots of pictures. So did I.

The husband had to climb!

The son wanted to walk out as far as he could into this loch.

He got right to the end of the finger of land pointing into the loch. It didn't look that far but you can barely see him there because he's so tiny and far away.

This is the harbour at Tarbert, a lovely wee town with great hotel where we sampled the coffee and ice-cream.

We spent our last night on Skye; in Portree. This is the view from our bedroom window.

Then it was time to start our long journey home. We stopped off in Largs to have a delicious dinner followed by ice-cream. A real treat. This Viking was standing just across the road from the restaurant. You can see how big he is!

Well that's all I have about our holiday. Only eight days but with a lot packed in. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Your comments have been very nice to read and it certainly seems you like the scenery.

I've finished crocheting a few small things that I'll have to tell you about next time. The crocheted bag just needs to be lined now.

All the best for now.

PS I've been wearing my new crocheted cardigan that I told you about here. It's very itchy but I wear it anyway. Well it looks nice!

PPS I cut the first sweet peas today. They're gorgeous but can you believe how late they are? We've had such awful weather.