Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...


Blogtober day 16 - Yum!

I'm working from home today - something slightly different for me but still very interesting.

Anyhoo, I decided to be a little organised and make lunch early so after breakfast I made Roasted Autumn Vegetable soup in the slow cooker - want to know more?

Yes you read it right - roasted vegetables in a slow cooker - and it was soooo tasty. I had planned on having enough to either save for another lunch or to go into the freezer.... Himself scoffed all (bar my bowlful)!!

Any hoo - here are the nuts and bolts

Turn your slow cooker on to hot, add a gloop of oil
  • 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 largeish potato also coarsely chopped
  • Half a large sweet potato (yes you guessed) coarsely chopped
  • Two large carrots peeled and ... chopped

Chuck all the chopped vegetables into the now warming slow cooker and season well.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Small pinch chilli flakes

Stir to coat everything with the oil and seasoning, place lid and leave. I left for about half an hour, stirring a couple of times ... then...
  • boil the kettle and cover the cooking vegetables with hot water
  • I added a vegetable stock cube at this point - I grated it directly into the hot water and stirred well.
Replace the lid and allow to cook until all the vegetables are tender.

I then blitzed it and added a little more hot water as it was rather thick, stirred well and served with hunks of bread.

Oh my word it worked and was really tasty - go me! The house filled with such a warming scent during cooking that Himself kept coming in to investigate. I will certainly make it again - super simple and super yum xx
Have a lovely weekend



Blogtober day 15 - g'nite

 It's been a long week - I am tired - so you will have to make do with this xxx nite nite


Blogtober day 14 - LARGE strawberry and small mushroom

Somehow I am not sure if this particular strawberry plant received the memo... you know the one - summer has ended, please go dormant.... So it seems there is now an urgent race between the ripening strawberry and the autumnal weather - who will cross the line first?!?

On the other end of the scale ... how small is this?? it was not the first mushroom we spotted in the cut-and-come-again flower bed, it was only after I'd taken a photograph or two of the other fungi that my colleague saw this tiny dot of a fruiting body!

And just for comparison (apart from the looming finger) these are the originally spotted fruiting bodies and they are about 2cm tall.... amazing little things (but what I did not notice until I 'enbiggened' the image on the laptop - something even smaller hds been nibbling the edge of the lower mushroom).

What eeeny weeeeeeny teeni-tiny things have you spotted recently?



Blogtober day 13 - Isn't nature amazing!

Just look what we found today at work - isn't just a thing of natural beauty? The twigs were in a bucket destined for the compost and somehow in the clear up on Friday it was missed. So today when we opened the glasshouse we discovered this delicate transient moment of natural magic. By the afternoon, the mushrooms had faded and all but 'melted' away.
In between the light yet persistent showers, I managed to escape into the garden to plant a row of the most gorgeous chunky little broad bean seedlings - they have such strapping roots and vibrant optimism. The soil is still warm and the row of beans are tucked up under several snug cloches. I'll open each one daily until the weather gets a little too fiercesome for these wee things then they will sit out winter until it is warm enough for them to frolic in the spring sunshine🌱🌞
My apprentice decided today was the day to take down the now decaying climbing beans. They towered above us and have given the most glorious spectacle throughout summer. Now as they fade, their last hurrah are their 'magic beans' - are they not soooo pretty? 

 Has anything caught your eye today?



Blogtober 12 - leaden skies

This morning seemed rather dark when we got up. Such a stark contrast to our last few days we'd enjoyed up in the lakes. Waking to sunshine and warmth every morning.

We do live in a particularly damp area - one specifically chosen by the woollen and cotton mill industry all those years ago. The damp air helped prevent static build up in the textile mills reducing splitting threads in the weaving looms. 

Being situated in the lea of the Pennines, a more or less continuous hilly and mountainous range which runs up the centre of northern England, splitting it into two halves, does mean we do 'benefit' from a goodly dose of rain and cloud on a regular basis. The collective name - Pennines - used to describe this range is considered to be fairly 'modern' from the 18th century as is thought to have been influenced by the 'Apennine' range which runs north to south in Italy. However, locally 'Pen' means hill or head and as most of our place names have Norse or Anglo-Saxon origins -  who knows?

However, it does make you appreciate the good days🌞 and definitely makes you get out and do something nice when you get them!🐾

And the photo?  Taken about a week ago from our back door looking over the fields. Today's sky has no definition, no discerning edge or beginning. It is more of a dull grey duvet which has slumped over our valley today. 

Any hoo, enough waffling, I have to get ready for work - have a lovely Tuesday 😊🍁🐾



Blogtober day 11 - reflections

Himself and I - as part of his birthday celebrations - were up in the Lake District for the weekend. We were spoilt by wall to wall sunshine and gentle autumn warmth.
We parked up in Torver - a small village near Coniston and for a small donation (the requested amount is £5) you can use the village hall car park for an over night stay. It was a quiet green space surrounded by fields and hills - we'd rather pay for a simple space with the money going to a community than pay an extortionate price for a field with facilities we don't need or use.
Our walk today took us through the fields and woodlands down to Coniston Water. Moss could not believe her eyes when she saw so much water and as soon as she could, she was in and splashing happily.
I went to the edge of the jetty and just revelled in the blue-ness of the lake and the sky. Moss came too but was a little unsettled by the slight bounce that came with walking along the planks. So I sat her down and took pictures. The air felt clear and tasted crisp - definitely with a tang of autumn and earth.

I loved the clarity of the water, you could see through the reflections and see the pebbles below - well you could until.....
...a certain dog paddled and splooshed to her heart's content!
I took many photos today - of which several I am delighted with - one of them is this one - the colours and the reflections sum up today beautifully.

Thank you everyone who wrote such lovely comments over the last few days (particularly for Himself's birthday and the ice cream thieving hairy woofer posts). I've  replied now I am home, for some reason blogger would not let me before!



Blogtober day 10 - the birthday boy special


The best thing that could have ever happened to me.

Happy birthday - you are more precious and loved than you know❤️


Blogtober day 9 - sweet sweet scent

When I first met Himself, he took me back to his childhood home where it was the first time I'd ever come across hyacinth bulb jars.

Over the years I've had one or two different varieties but they were never as robust or as well balanced as the ones I have now.

I've recently rejoined the RHS (for non UK folk, that is the Royal Horticultural Society) and with that received a rather nice introductory voucher to go shopping with. So I did!

I can not wait for the house to fill with that glorious scent which wafts from the hyacinth blossom, it almost makes up for waiting for spring during a dreary wet Northern winter!



Blogtober2021 day 8 - You're such a fun-guy


Early this morning, we both peered closely at the small orangey red lump in the woodchip below the tayberry vines. From a little distance away I'd thought it was a berry or a ladybird, my colleague said she thought it was a bead.

As we got down on to our hands and knees - I perched my glasses on my nose then focused my eyes on the teeniest tiniest mushroom I..have..seen!! It was not much bigger than a ladybird. 

I used the back of a pen to tease away the woodchip the mushroom was bravely pushing through so I could get a photo. In the same area (apart from the dozens of ladybirds) was another mushroom - the head of it smaller than a five pence piece. 

I know these are only the fruiting bodies with the main portion of the mycelium spreads far and wide beneath our feet and I am humbled at their quiet determination to grow and spawn before the gentle warmth of autumn vanishes so we carefully returned the woodchip, tucking the mushrooms back into the warm and safe mulch.



Blogtober day 7 - the angelic face chronicles

 The face of an angel....
One, who's face could not melt butter...

One that is allowed her special dog ice-cream at work, when the staff have mango ice cream....
That same angelic face that scoffs her peanut butter and banana with dog biscuit chips ice cream...
Then goes on to steal mine before I've even had a mouthful. 
Which is what she got from me when I realised what the thieving hairy woofer was doing! 




Blogtober day 6 - the autumnal light edition

After days of high wind and torrential rain - today was absolutely sublime. The light and the clear blue skies were such a relief and a delight.

I was working in the walled kitchen garden today and along with the apprentice and volunteers we just revelled in the warmth. Unfortunately most of the late summer flowers have been hammered however tomorrow I have the perfect volunteer who will painstakingly and carefully go round and deadhead anything less than ideal and the remaining flowers will certainly look the better for it.
Whilst I was teaching the apprentice how to do blackcurrant autumnal pruning my attention was caught by the palest almost translucent little cluster of mushrooms as they peeked through the fallen leaves and woodchip.

The staff are used to me abandoning my post and taking photographs of apparently banal things - however there is the most amazing magic in nearly everything I take a photo of - you just have to look for it - except dog poo ..... I am hard pressed to find anything 'magical' in that.... however I also have to record offending (yes they are very offending) lumps of poop in the park while the council try and work out a way to reach out and train those folk who seem to turn a blind eye. Good luck to them.

There is a little acer tree in the centre of the park which has, in the last day or two, turned into the most flamingly beautiful cloud of colour which stands out amongst all the other less vibrant foliage. Gorgeous. πŸπŸ‚
At lunch time, Moss and I wandered around the park (I say wander - we gallop around at high speed - that dog has no concept how to wander, she has one speed and it is 'high speed'! πŸ™„πŸΎπŸ˜„) Any hoo, we walked galloped our way around the bottom of the bowling green as I'd spotted all the wind damaged branches and leaves languishing on the perfect grass. Then my eye was caught by spider webs decorating the fencing. 

There is beauty in the smallest of corners and the most mundane of areas - you just have to look for it πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•



Blogtober day 5 - the ripped up version

I am supposed to be working today but the weather outside and the weather on my laptop (and my cell and the TV - yes I checked them all) all say it is going to be ..... 
hmmmmmm πŸ˜•

Any hoo ... in fact the sky outside is a most evil yellow grey mush - my camera can't pick up the true depth of grot but it is definitely rather menacing. The interesting thing is though - it is not so much the weather being the issue but this morning's first garden ..... which has to be done no.matter.what... Most folk are really understanding and if I postpone coz of the weather - so be it, however...... I best get my waterproofs out (all of them....) for my first garden (the owner is a lovely lady - but her garden is very very important to her and it has to be 'just right').
What I was going to waffle on about was something a little more domesticated (no - that sounds like I have been house trained to behave .... try again) what I was going to waffle on about was a bit of an essential repair job. 
While we were on house moving duties, I caught the back of my puffa jacket on the corner of something sharp and ripped the fabric. Now, this jacket is a working one and has suffered rips and snags before and has been repaired. Not I might add in the usual way but in one inspired by boro boro mending.
Using a rather eclectic mix of Japanese influenced stitchery, patchwork and good dose of old fashioned 'I-don't-really-follow-rules-and-just-make-it-up-as-I-go-along' method, I appliqued a flowery shape over the tear, then ran a double thread back and forth to strengthen the fabric below while securing the patch. I love the unevenness and random bumpy feel of the stitches on the cloth. 
While I was stitching a certain cat was making the most of having the other settee to herself and was snoozing happily in the glow of the woodburner - I knew she was warm coz she'd flopped over and exposed her feet and her little 'toe-beans' looked rather pink.
I am no expert, nor am I particularly neat when it comes to sewing - however it does what it is supposed to do - repair the rip, look fun and make me happy and it does all three!

So, how is October so far for you?

Were you one of those floored by the lack of FB, Whatsapp and Insta?
Did you even notice is was off or was it a blessing?
And ... the million dollar question .... will I be working later!?!? (answers will be added laterπŸ˜„☔)


**Edited to add: Morning garden was a washout and fortunately the owner cancelled without a quibble,  although obviously a washout of a day, just waiting for confirmation of cancellation of afternoon - 


Blogtober day 4 - the prickly edition

Day 4

When the boys were little, to get them interested in gardening and wild things and plants and caring for 'something' I introduced them to succulents and cacti. As you would expect they were enthusiastic at first but like all 'slow' things, the boys stopped being quite as hands on. However the succulents quietly continued to grow while the boys basically did the same thing but with a lot more maintenance required!
Fast forward to them going to uni and they both took their collections with them and suddenly I realised that although the plants belonged to the boys in the first place, it was me who for the most part kept an eye on them and now they were gone - I was missing them (the plants not the boys for heavens sake!!) So to fill that space - I may have added (one or two) to my remaining (ex)meagre succulent and cacti family.
Some of the family are a little spikier than others .....

However, with the right platitudes that particular prickly cat-cus can be got around (occasionally).
Most of my little family I have either purchased or been given as small plants and have grown them on.

However, (and I fully blame MrsL for this!) recently I was introduced to, then fell down the rabbit hole of a certain crafty website where you can purchase leaves and plantlets (also known as pups) to plant up and grow on .... so I may have accidently bought one or two (not one or two leaves - don't be silly - boxes!) One of which landed yesterday and I will be going into the glasshouse to settle the leaves and pups into the nicest lumpiest grittiest, well drained-est soil I can lovingly make them.
The second box is due any day now (fingers crossed today then I can get all my new pups planted up) squeee, I may be a little over excited!

Just some of the pups and leaflets I'll be working with later this morning, and in case you are a nerd (as it appears I am) from left to right they are : Titanopsis calcareum (in my hand), Sinocrassula yunnanensis (tiny black leaves),  Dischidia nummularia (little bright green top centre), Echeveria Diffractens (dark purply ones), Curio rowleyansus (top right) and finally Echeveria Setosa Doris Taylor.

I shall also tackle this large, grumpy and reclining Golden Barrel (Echinocactus grusonii) of Eldest's. It needs a bit of surgery (yup - going to chop off the top bit, let it callous over and then plant up, then remove the pup at the base and do the same and hope the main body will recover and grow on) - so a bit of careful TLC should help this fellow recover both his former glory and his mood.🌡

What tickles your fancy? (polite answers please!)
Do you have an obsession? (how ever slight or overboard)
Go on - share your guilty pleasures - here in the comments or over on your blog - sharing is caringπŸŒ΅πŸ˜„

**Edited to add - the second box of succulent leaves arrived so they have all been planted- fingers crossed and I have 'decapitated' the E. grusonii and that and the pup are drying off in the glasshouse where the bare cuts can callous over before I plant them. The main trunk has been planted upright in nicer soil - so hopefully all three parts of the original plant will settle and grow.