Friday, 28 August 2015

Collecting the Honey

Last weekend we robbed the bees of their honey. About a month ago the husband could see that there was a lot of honey to be harvested but the weather wasn't good in July so the bees ate quite a bit of the honey themselves. So we didn't get as much as we thought we were going to but, nevertheless, it's just great having our own honey.

Here are some of the frames before the honey was extracted.

The beeswax will also be used. We don't waste anything!

The honey has to be strained through two very fine sieves to remove any little bits of wax and any little bits of bee.

This year we bottled some of the honey in these hexagonal jars. They hold about three quarters of a pound. The other jars that we use hold a full pound.

You can look back at last year's post about harvesting honey to get some more information.

The weather has improved slightly this month over July. We get some nice sunny, even warm, days but also so much rain. Everywhere is starting to feel and look autumnal. A couple of weeks ago I took these pictures of our holly; berries already. Lots of the trees have their berries too. Some of the leaves are turning colour and starting to fall. It's been a very strange summer!

There's our wee dog hiding in the hedge!

Remember I told you about the field next to us being used as a 'maternity' field? Well, there ended up being three calves and their mothers. Here they are all together.

This one is a beautiful colour.

These two are very alike. You'd almost think they are twins but they're not.

Look at that wee face! Love the eye patches.

They've all been moved to another field now, a bit further away. Some day the calves will be separated from their mothers and we'll have to listen to them lamenting over their loss. It's so pitiful.

Thank you all for your lovely comments about the sea glass shawl. My big blanket is finished too but I still need to block it. The thing is, I don't really know how I'm going to manage it; the blanket is enormous! Maybe this evening. 

Anyway, all the best for now. Bye!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Sea Glass Shawl Finito

I told you about starting the sea glass shawl a few weeks ago. I crocheted the first two rows of motifs, plus a couple of motifs on the third row, in the car. I wanted to make sure I had enough yarn to finish, so I then brought the shawl into the house to weigh and weigh the remaining yarn. A quick calculation and I was able to determine that I needed to buy another ball of yarn. A bit annoying as it comes in 100g balls! I only needed to use it for three motifs and the edging so I have a lot left over. Never mind, I will use it for something else; maybe a nice lacy scarf.

Anyway, it didn't take long to get all the motifs crocheted and joined. They're actually joined as you go, on the last round. At this point I needed to consult the pattern to see how to work the edging. Now in my first post about starting the shawl, I said that I was using a 3.5 mm hook. And in this post I said that I'd made a mistake and should have been using a 3.25 mm hook. When I consulted the pattern about the edging, I discovered that I had been right all along; it says to use a 3.5 mm hook. It's bad enough to think you've been mistaken but to realise that you've mistakenly thought you were mistaken is a little worrying!

You'd like to see the finished shawl now, I suppose. Here it is before it had the ends sewn in and been blocked.

What a difference blocking makes to lace work especially. It really opens out the design and makes it, well, lacy. This is the dress I'll be wearing with the shawl to the wedding. It has lots of beading at the neck so I didn't do any beading on the shawl.

These pictures were taken this morning when it was nice and sunny. We've actually had some better weather recently. But it is getting cloudy now, we've had a few showers and it's very windy. Hopefully it doesn't knock the power off again. Our power was out for several hours last night even though there was no apparent reason for it.

I'll get more pictures at the wedding so you can see the whole ensemble, shoes and all.

At the stage when I realised that I needed another ball of yarn, I was really temped to add an extra row of motifs to the shawl. I'm very glad that I didn't; it's plenty big enough once it's been blocked.

A close up of one of the starfish motifs.

I always thought that starfish had five legs but it's not uncommon for them to have six. In fact, they've been known to have just about any number of legs up to twenty-three!

Please let me know what you think of my shawl. I love reading your comments. Thanks for them all and a big welcome, too, to my new followers.

If you don't already know, have a look to see why I say finito.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Aren't Giveaways Just Great?

In October last year I won Jo's giveaway of a packet of Mini Munch cucumber seeds. Jo writes The Good Life blog where she has recently shown us the start of her mini munch cucumber harvest. We planted our seeds in the greenhouse and are now starting to harvest the cucumbers. Thanks again Jo for having the giveaway.

Yesterday I received a lovely parcel of goodies from Una. I was the winner of Una's recent birthday giveaway on her Great Balls of Wool blog; something I never expected! There's a 50g ball of Jaeger Spiral-spun pure wool in a gorgeous heather shade, a Cath Kidston notebook, buttons covered with Fair Trade fabric, a cute owl keyring from Oxfam (supporting independent artisans in India) and a very useful button tin. It came in this lovely cotton bag, too. I can think of lots of ways to use it! Thank you very much Una and I hope you have (or possibly already have had) a great 60th birthday.

I should think about having another giveaway, I suppose. Just not sure what to offer as a prize! Here's a picture of one of the flower beds that I snapped very quickly at the weekend. Even though we haven't had good weather this summer, it's still possible to tell that the season is moving on and heading, eventually, into Autumn.

Bye for now.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Welcome back and a special welcome to some new followers. It's been a bit of a hectic week. Problems with broadband and problems with drains. All sorted now, thankfully.

I forgot to show you my second dishcloth that I made recently (pattern here). Here it is with our new, very miniature, rose. More about roses later.

Our neighbour does a bit of farming and for the past few weeks the field beside us has become the 'maternity field'. This was the first calf to be born. The picture was taken the day after it was born.

Mummy cow kept a close watch on her new baby.

In another field close by is the boy I would be pretty sure is the daddy!

Anyway, back to the garden now. The husband made this willow construction months ago (see here) for growing sweet pea. We've had such awful weather this summer with so much wind and rain. In fact, it is now official that we've had the coldest July in twenty years. The result is a slightly skewed willow frame and sweet peas that haven't quite reached their full potential. But they're not bad!

This is inside the frame where there are poppies growing as well.

This rose was planted last year and isn't doing too badly. A lot of the roses in the garden haven't done well at all this year.

This rose seems to do very well every year.

The first of the tomatoes this year. There is going to be a really big crop but that's because they're in the greenhouse. They are very slow to ripen so I pick them as soon as they show signs of starting to ripen and bring them into the house. For some reason they then ripen almost overnight.

Some of the blackcurrants that have been picked. I have washed and frozen over twenty two pounds so far and there's more to come! Later in the year I'll make blackcurrant cordial and probably some jelly too.

The strawberries weren't as good as we'd hoped because of the bad weather. We managed to get plenty to eat with ice-cream but not enough to freeze any.

I've finished crocheting the king sized blanket and have started sewing in the ends. It's therapeutic!

Did any of you spot my deliberate mistake in my last post about the sea glass shawl? I said the shawl is made up of three rows of motifs but it is actually constructed using four rows. The first has ten motifs, then nine, eight and finally seven, making a total of thirty four motifs. Also, I mentioned in the comments that I am using a 3.5 mm hook. Well, yes, I am. When I checked the pattern again (after having made fourteen motifs) I discovered that I should have been using a 3.25 mm hook. To be honest, I think the 3.5 mm hook is perfect so I'm glad I made that mistake! I've now finished the first two rows and am really loving it. Thanks for your lovely comments about the shawl, by the way.

Well, that's it for now. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. I have some news about giveaways that I've won but that will wait for another time.