Saturday, 28 February 2009


The weather has improved, so in a break from sewing, I went into the garden to admire the spring flowers. I discovered that it was warm enough for the bees to be flying. (if you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see a bee in the flower).They are collecting pollen,(yellow blobs on rear legs) so there must be brood being laid in the hives. This is very good news. To have all of our colonies come safely through the winter, is a great relief, and a matter of some pride. (Fingers crossed behind my back as I write).

This witchhazel, Hamamelis pallida, is a blaze of glory at the moment. I bought it some years ago, and I remember wondering if it was actually two plants. There were, and are, two distinct seperate stems. I didn't have the courage to try to seperate them, though. Time went by, and it started to flower. One stem always comes out in early December, and finishes before Christmas. The other stem blossoms from mid-January. This year the second flush did not start until February, but have opened all at once.

I have been thinking of going up to Shaftesbury, to Cann Mill, to get some superior bread flour. I rang Jen, to see if she would like me to collect some for her. We decided that she would come with me. So, on Friday, off we went. The drive was very straightforward, and we made good time. We met young Mr.Stoate, who is the fifth generation of his family to be a Miller.
Jen has been using Stoates flour since the early '70s, and I started using it about 1978. We had both fallen off, over the last two or three years, as it was getting difficult to source. A recent chance reminder of it, made us both wonder why we use anything else, hence the trip.
The flour is very fresh smelling, and very silky to handle. As soon as I got home, it was out with the baking kit. Pizza for supper, and Barley -meal and white flour bread for Saturday lunch. Both recipies from Elizabeth David's 'Bread and Yeast Cookery'.
It was worth every mile.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Happy Weekend

Two birthdays today. One Birthday Girl lives in Perth, Australia. The Other lives less than a hundred yards away. My twin youngest sisters, Nicola and Melanie. For Nick, I made lemony sponge sandwich, and we all ate it along with copious amounts of tea, and laughter. Gifts and cards were also given. I sent Mel e-photos. It's difficult to know what is required/desired, when the person in question is out of touch.

Jacqui came over yesterday, for lunch, and a little light knitting. It was so lovely to see her, and to catch up on knitting gossip, family news and Compare Socks! Yes, both of us knitting socks! And I must say, hers were excellent. One pair finished, and a second pair coming along fast. Mine, however......they do seem to take forever. An Aran sweater is quicker! We also had a quick look at the sock projects on Ravelry. Some of them are exquisite. But I don't think I will be starting anymore in a hurry.

Best beloved was not suffering while all of this was going on. He had gone off to watch Bath play (Rugby) versus London Irish, in Bath, with some old friends. By the time he came home, Poppy had been walked, Poppy and Babur had been fed. The fire was burning merrily in the sitting room, and all was calm.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Cake and Spring Blossom

After all the cold weather, snow, rain, and general flatness of February, it is a relief to have a little dry(ish) spell. I have been able to mooch around the garden, and see what is flowering. The winter-flowering honeysuckles ( Lonicera fragrantissima) have been going strong. The honey bees love these early blossoms. The snowdrops (Galanthus ssp.) are giving a wonderful show. A few early primroses (Primula vulgaris) are peeping out. And, of course, the Helleborus hybrids (above) are showing well, too.
(and the cabbage white caterpillars !!!)
I nearly slipped up, on Valentines Day........but Best Beloved can't resist food.

ItalicI was waiting for a parcel from Get Knitted, and was getting a little worried that it hadn't turned up. Who forgot that she had used the Office address, because the parcel needed signing for? So, I eventually fondled my Knitpicks interchangable Harmony set, and the very fine Knipicks fixed circulars (2mm). And despite my protestations that I ''would never knit socks, Goodness no, I remember my Grandmother doing that!!!'', I am. I got very cold feet during the cold weather, and could not find anything fine and yet warm enough, to go under smart shoes for work. I rest my case.
This is Elle sock wool (4 ply), and the pattern is Black Rose from Knitty.

Sunday, 1 February 2009


Tomorrow is Imbolc. The first day of Spring, in the old Pagan tradition. If I am outside at dawn ( not difficult at the moment, as it is about 7.40 am), the birds are singing lustily, and flirting and chasing. It is easy to believe in spring, even though the weather is so cold. The snowdrops are flowering, and the daffodils are six-inch spears of green. Traditionally, a small posy of snowdrops is brought into the kitchen, on the morning of the second of February, to greet the spring. Incidentally, Honey bees love snowdrops as much as we do. So, another reason to plant them.