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...

31/03/2021

What happens if ....

I am sitting on the settee with a mug of tea within easy reach and a sleeping (damp) dog near my feet.  I can smell her .... not pleasant.... she has been in the river and despite the water looking clean - the wiff that keeps wafting up tells a different story. But before I can tell you why she is damp, I shall start from the beginning.
We have/had a large and ugly conifer tree completely dominating the garden. It visibly ate up space and light, drank the groundwater until the soil cracked and shrank, dropped needles and sticky sap, souring the pond water and acidifying the garden. It's biggest sin was the amount of sky it hid from me. Last year we'd earmarked it to go - but things got in the way. The pandemic (who'd forget that) and the baby squirrels (who's rather thoughtless mother first used the conifer as a nursery then abandoned them in the same tree which they then both fell out of...).
We have a tree surgeon friend who came round and eyed up the offending tree, gave us a quote and a date and today he made good his promise.
This morning he, two chippies and an apprentice arrived and within moments of arriving had mugs of coffee in hand and were sizing up their task. Last dregs of brew drained they donned their safety gear and shot up the tree. I have never seen such professionalism and speedy work.
Within an hour the tree was down and chopped into easy to move pieces and all the branches were shredded and piled up into a neat mound of woodchip.

I gave them a second brew as they swept up, a quick catch up then they were gone. From start to finish just under two hours and I have now acres and acres and acres of blue sky filling my garden and my heart๐Ÿ’™.  I stood outside and just looked up and I could feel my plants (the ones that managed to survive the falling branches) reach up and feel the air and the sun on their leaves.

Moss had been rather excited by all this activity - she is a complete sucker for boys and their toys (especially noisy toys) so was banished to the house to keep her (and them) safe. So once they'd tidied up and gone, I thought I would let Moss take me on a 'Moss made me do it' walk.

I'd planned to do another one of those - let Moss decide where to go walks and let her take the lead (see what I did there?!?) so why not do it now?
We start by going up the old tram lines, alongside the garages and allotments. Where the geese hiss and chickens run down to the fence in hope of a treat.
At the top of the lines, there is a favourite pathway and I know she will head that way and sure enough, a quick as you please turn to the left and Moss shoots down the path to the gate in no time at all. Towards 'Claire's Field'.
  
As we reach the gate, I peep over - the field is sometimes full of rare breed sheep so Moss has to go back on her lead (she is used to this and did not mind). However, by the time we reach the bottom of the meadow and on to the foot bridge - she is wanting her lead off again and gives me a rather exasperated look over her shoulder.
Across the footbridge and up to the fairy trees - here she runs free as there are no stock and the land is quietly reverting back to it's wild and moorlandy ways.

At the top, the path sneakily winds through a couple of converted farm builds and splits in two - I once again loosen Moss' lead to see which way she wants to go ..... left. 
No mistaking the decision. I nod to myself - I definitely know where she is leading me now.
We cross over and into 'Stone sheep' field and as usual the 'stone sheep' are there. The reason for the name is down to the colour of their fleeces, a mottled browny-grey colour. When the sheep are lying down, the field looks to be filled with boulders until a head pops up and the boulder suddenly turns into a sheep!
At the end of the field, we enter a small and tidy farm yard, where barns are filled with the bleating of tiny lambs and the comforting replies by the ewes.
On the other side, the slightly older lambs are outside in the nursery fields with protective mums watching as we walk by - Moss has no eyes for sheep (actively avoiding eye contact if at all possible) and heads straight for the cattle grid.
An easy and simple leap for her, she has the lane to play in as we head towards her chosen destination.
I love this lane, I have photographed, drawn it and painted it over the twenty odd years of walking up and down it (hell that makes me feel old!!) Moss just loves it for two reasons - there are often sticks that can be picked up and carried and it takes us/her towards one of her favourite spots for running around like a lunatic.
The rec. The recreation grounds, a lumpy bumpy field where playing football at Fifa level is aspired to but not necessarily manged when the pitch has naturally forming potholes ....

Potholes which hold the most glorious wallow-worthy mud, where you can sink up to your furry belly and have a full on mudpack. A place where you can shove your snoot in and blow thick mud-bubbles (yay says the dog, urgh says us).

By the time we reach the far side of the rec, Moss has her lead back on, I know that whichever way she takes me, we will either be on the lane or go through sheep. She chooses the latter and we head through the 'souterills' (we have found out it has a franco-influence and means southern 'something')

Head down, once again Moss refuses to look at the sheep, choosing in the straightest line possible to the far gate. Through the next field we continue, Moss is 'on a mission', she has a plan and I suspect by now she knows who was taking who on the walk and she is going to make the most of it!

Finally we arrive at the 'best gate' - the one that lets us in to the nature reserve, the one that a favourite swimming spot lives behind, the best gate indeed says Moss!
I slip her collar off so that she can swim. Moss runs off without a backward glance straight for the water. Happy dog.
We walk on through the woodlands, plenty of sniffs to be sniffed and smells to be smelt. Then by the end of the nature reserve, I replace the collar and the lead and let her continue her walk. Moss takes up her task and we set off at a cracking good pace. 

Interestingly enough we drop down to the road and we have a short stint on the pavement - I am surprised as Moss does not like this bit. Then, she takes a quick turn and up to some cottages - ah - I know where we are going. She leads me to a door of a lovely friend and she sits wagging her tail. I do hope our friend is in, we have not seen her for a while, so I knock and step back several paces. Sadly to no avail, I have to lead Moss away but delighted that she wanted to visit and did without any intervention by myself.
We return up on to an old lane, away from cars and surrounded by fields and sheep. Then for her final choice, Moss nips down to the river for a final dip before returning home.



4.75 miles later - we sit quietly at home, Moss having had a big drink and a couple of dog biscuits is stretched out, eyes drowsy and nearly closed. I have a mug of tea and a biscuit of my own.  

Today's walk was an interesting experiment - letting Moss lead the way. I wonder if I allow it to happen again - what route would she take? I may wait a while and try it again.


 

29/03/2021

A breath of fresh air and another 52newrecipe

 What to make to eat when uninspired and tired?

  • Something simple - coz head still a bit fuzzy post vaccine
  • has to be tasty  - that's obvious
  • and preferably slow cooked - means I can sit down while it quietly bubbles away

Meet Easy Vegan (don't let that put you off) Pasta Sauce

Today was the first day of the gentle easing of lock down restrictions and as we were both off from work, we quietly packed the van with boots, flasks and home made ANZac biscuits**, loaded an over excited dog plus her towel, lead, poop bags and dog biscuits, made sure we had a fleece and hat each and we took off to the Dales to a favourite walking place.

Grass Wood, Grassington.  
There was a few other dog walkers about and we all did the covid two step and smiled with shared relief at being able to walk a little further away than the front door. 
I'd had my vaccine on Saturday morning and anticipated feeling a little rough but by the evening it hit me harder than I expected and I felt quite rubbish until late Sunday evening. By Monday I only felt a little delicate with a rather tender arm. So going for a walk felt like a wonderful (and gentle) way to celebrate being vaccinated.

Suffice to say, once we'd returned home, we were ready for something to eat but I really did not want to spend ages over a stove when I was feeling rather tired.
I tapped into my favourite 'cookbook' - Duckduckgo - 'simple vegetarian pasta sauce'.  After rejecting a few recipes, I hit on this one ... Easy Vegan Pasta Sauce and decided that this would the one to try.
Once the sauce was simmering away, I sat down with a mug of tea to look at the photos from today's walk. A delicious scent soon filled the kitchen then the lounge - a promising start! ๐Ÿฅฐ

Once the sauce was done and was stirred into the spaghetti and topped with grated cheese, we sat in satisfied silence as we ate. We agreed - this is a definite repeat.

If you fancy trying the recipe - the link is HERE.
Would I do it again? Most definitely
What did I do differently? The recipe calls for peppers, which I thought I had and didn't - so I swapped in mushrooms and I think I will stick with them as we really liked it.

**ANZac Biscuits - they will be a recipe for another day :)

And (because I know you are about to ask) 
Yes that is a slinky look from Moss ... she is fed up with me poking a camera at her. 
Yes she is wrapped in her towel after swimming in the river.
 And she sat on that wall, wrapped in her towel and had her evening meal in the sunshine while we drank mugs of tea - silly dog...!

#52newrecipes

27/03/2021

Random bits here and there

Remember last year? - mind you, who could forget ......
It was the year of strange times, new things and new habits.
Like when we swapped eggs for cake.
Fruit for jam.

Well, it seems the neighbours have remembered,
coz we now have a mix of hen, goose and guinea fowl eggs
sitting in the kitchen, some of them are destined to be part of a cake (or two).
I think the request went like this ..... 'cake - any kind, not bothered, just cake, thank you'...

I have a tender arm -
a sticker to say I was a good girl,
a card to say I had an AstraZenica jab
and I am more than happy with that.
I am delighted. 
And very very grateful. 
A small pรฅske trรฆ went up a couple of days ago -
celebrating the turning of the seasons, the arrival of spring
and the beginning of new life.
The fields are full of lambs which is heart warming.
We took a short walk today, just a bit of a bimble.
I have had a madcap plan for a while, to let Moss take us, 
so which ever path she chose,
we would, on the most part - follow.
And do you know what? She took us up a path and across a field we've not walked on for over a year
and we found these. Beautifully made 'fairy doors'.

It was a surprisingly lovely walk, we have followed most of our local paths for months and months now, and if I am honest I am looking forward to fresh trails and new views. I am not complaining - we are so lucky were we are - however a new path would be a refreshing change. But letting Moss 'choose' today's walk gave us a lovely (if rather muddy) change - think I might let her take us again ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿผ‍♀️๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿฝ‍♂️

I am stopping now, I can feel my vaccine has triggered an immune response and I feel a little rough, so good night sleep well and look forward to the coming spring and new hope xxxxxx
 

25/03/2021

Light and Dark link up party

 

Welcome to March's final link up party

' Light  and Dark'
Just follow the easy link up instructions ๐Ÿ˜Š
and don't forget to link back to my blog xx
❤️

Thank you every one who has followed, joined and commented on my Scavenger Photo Hunt. I started it quietly on 31st March 2016 where it was mainly myself and my eldest son - a challenge for ourselves, to give ourselves a challenge whilst out walking. Little did I think that five years later (almost to the day) I would be handing over the reins to Astrid of Dragon Stitches and Stuff by Astrid to continue the hunt. I hope you will follow over and still join in - I will be - but as participant not a host 

thank you xxx


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Light and Dark

 Light and Dark


This will be the final time I am hosting the Scavenger Photo Hunt and it seems only right that I use my hairy side kick - Moss.


Two images - one the original photograph, the other a drawing done by a precious friend. 


We had been camping during one of those precious short breaks when we could escape in between lockdowns and after a day's walking in hot sunshine, we returned to the van for the evening. Moss had been fed and was lying on the grass while we quietly drank tea and chatted about our day. The sun was lowering and when I took the photograph, the sun was reflecting off the back of the van and Moss' fur shone out brilliantly against the darkness of the wall.  Light and dark.



23/03/2021

Repairing as an act of rebellion

I hate shopping for clothes.

A.B.......S.O......L.U.T.E.L.Y  HATE shopping for clothes and up until the lockdown, I would occasionally trawl round the charity shops and if I found something I liked, regardless of the size (I tend to look for a size or two bigger than I am) I would buy it, alter it, mend it, make it mine. But that too is/was a very infrequent event. So my wardrobe is quite sparse and 'to the point' - nothing is surplus and everything has to work hard..... 

Inevitably wear and tear happens. Especially in my line of work. 

I decided that my sleeveless puffa needed some serious love after it was shredded by a particularly fearsome rambling rose, and I wanted the mending to full on show!
During the act of mending, I so enjoyed the process of stitching (with a nod to boro), I found it so satisfying and once I'd finished it, I loved the feel of the threads beneath my fingers. My puffa needed two patches and several small holes which were proudly filled with the brightest yellow thread I could find.
Happy?
You betcha!

Himself suddenly had a pile of socks with various 'escape routes' and just as he was about to lob them into the bin I stopped him and offered to mend them. He was more than happy to hand them over and I spent a pleasant evening mending the holes with cheerful brightly coloured thread.
And was he happy?
Delighted!
I have a few more to sort out now, what does that man do to his socks??!


Still with Himself, last night he asked me if I could fix a glove for him. It is a thick, multi layered warm glove which has had to work hard over winter.  The outer layer of the thumb had almost come detached and in places the fabric had worn thin and threadbare. The rest of the glove and the other hand fared better, so the repair was concentrated on the thumb. 
Another evening spent quietly stitching and mending. The fabric was tough and it was certainly took some oomph to sew through it. However, by the end of it - Himself has a pair of working gloves again and they will last so much longer than before.

As I mentioned before, I trawl the charity shops and occasionally find a gem which I rescue and bring home. This little pullover is one such delight. It is a boutique design and if bought new would cost rather a lot more than the princely sum of £3.00 I paid for it.  I washed it and wore it several times before I noticed a rather strange 'pull' to one side. A bit of an investigation exposed a rather poor fix I'd not seen before. 
So, I unpicked the yellow thread expecting a small hole and was quite surprised to find how big it was. However, I was not phased and had another happy evening of stitching and weaving and drinking tea. Wearing a repair with pride :)

Then yesterday, a book landed through the letterbox with a thud on the mat - 'Love Clothes Last' by  Orsola Castro and I fell into her words and found what she'd written was exactly how I feel about repairing and mending and making things last - it is not a book to tell how to look after your clothing it is a book to tell you why you should and I am eating every single word!


I repair as an act of rebellion - as a stand against fast and cheap and nasty fashion. I mend because my clothes are part of me and I would rather not just discard them. I mend because I hate shopping.






22/03/2021

Monday's meal 52 new recipes

Last week was full on and I was tired by the end of it. Don't get me wrong - I love being busy, I thrive when my brain has to think, to plan and I have plenty to do, then when I come home at the end of the day - the collapse on the settee with a mug of tea is very satisfying. 

It is then, post settee flump and mug of tea slurp, I seize up. My body goes ...' nope, no, not now' and my brain joins in - making it hard to decide what to cook. To counter this brain fog, I keep a list of our favourite meals tucked in the cupboard and often refer to it for inspiration. However, after a while even the favourites become 'blah', so I find I fall down the rabbit hole of recipe research. Tonight's meal is such an example ....

If I am perfectly honest - as I served it up - I had my reservations, I'd tasted it as I went along, checking seasoning and found it bland. To my surprise it was fine, quite tasty in fact. I did have to oomph up the flavours considerably though and it paid off. 

photo from website

 Pasta Bake 

Ok, nuts and bolts now ...

Would I make it again? : I might do, but certainly work on the flavour/seasoning - and I don't mean just increasing the salt and pepper. I added a pinch of chilli, garlic granules and mixed herbs and then resorted to a generous squish of tomato puree to help 'deepen' the flavour.

Did it go down well? : surprisingly yes (me more surprised than the others)

Any changes? : Apart from the boosted flavouring/seasoning, the recipe calls for 100gms pasta, I increased that to 250gm (I have two hugely hungry blokes in the house) and it made a comfortable amount for four but no leftovers and certainly confirmed that the original 100gms would be too meagre.


Any hoo - we are full and satisfied and the meal did what it had to do ๐Ÿ˜Š back to work tomorrow, Moss and I are ready๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿผ‍♀️๐Ÿพ๐ŸŒฑ


#52newrecipes

52 New Recipes


18/03/2021

Sunset/sunrise link up party


image from Pixabay


Welcome to March's second link up party

'Sunset/sunrise'

Just follow the easy link up instructions ☺️

and don't forget to link back to my blog xx

❤️ 


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Sunsets

There is something wistful
yet defiant
about a wintery sunset.

There is that metallic tang of cold air
as the sun slips behind the horizon


The sky can be soft shades, pale and pastel
or fiery and vibrant.


As I look at each of these photos, I can feel the icy chill that appears as the winter sun slips away. Although as beautiful as they are - I am looking forward to warmer days as the season turns towards spring.