Thursday, 29 April 2010


Wonderwool Wales was everything I had hoped for. I managed to meet up with the other members of Close Knit within minutes of arriving, and that was by chance!
It was surprising how many familiar faces there were. Jo, of British Yarn, and Yarngathering (Jowatso on Ravelry) was there, and I had a lovely chat with her. ( See Jo below, with her son). Lots of the Schoolhouse Press books on her stand. John Arbon, and Juliet, from Coldharbour Mill. The Injubalo button people. Fyberspates, Laughing Hens, (I always buy something from these last two),Garthenor, and West Yeo Farm.
The reason I say it is surprising, is that I don't normally go anywhere. I am rather like a hefted Ewe - never away from my own hillside!
I loved this fabulous ewe, in her aran sweater. She was made for an Arts project. I foolishly forgot to make a note of the name of the stall!

And this lovely Angora bunny. It was on the Snowdon Angoras and Easter Bunnies stand. There was also a white one. They seemed very calm, and completely unconcerned by all the people cooing over them.
There were also sheep in pens. Each was an example of a particular breed - I loved the Shetlands.
At one of the Guild stands, Spinners, Weavers and Dyers, I saw some of the most fantastic felt. Not knitted, more of a very fine fabric. I think it was made of Alpaca fibre. The most gorgeous pale fawn. It was one of the last stands I visited, by which time I had run out of money. It would make the most wonderful tailored skirt, or maybe a short jacket. I shall have to go again next year, and start saving right away!

As we travelled up to Wales and back, we noticed that blackthorn bushes were flowering as never before. Blackthorn blossom usually heralds a hard frost, which often finishes it off. Not this year, though. This one in my garden (above) is flowering for only the second time in it's life.
When I got back, I had to turn around and do the Otter Group two day Event. (Cencus). The result for my patch was nil. A rather bleak end to a wonderful week end.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Spring last.

The beautiful weather has meant that we have finally been able to carry out the spring cleaning of the Bee hives. Most of one week end was taken up with preparing the kit, doing the job, then cleaning up afterwards. It is not great fun, but gives us a good foundation for the seasons' work.
We move the brood box (carefully) onto a spare floor, then thoroughly scrape and brush the original. Then, a clean brood box is put onto the clean floor. Each frame is then taken out, inspected and put into the clean brood box. Spotting the Queen is important. We can't afford to lose her! Any dirty or damaged frames are removed, and replaced with clean. Best beloved and I are ruthless at this point. We would rather put in clean frames, and feed, than leave dirty comb containing stores.The point is not only cleanliness, but it also leaves fewer hiding places for varroa.
The rest of the hive is reassembled, cleaning and brushing as we go. We did this for all six hives. At dusk, I put a feeder onto each hive, containing prepared feed.
The upside? We put a super onto every hive a week later. The oilseed rape is just coming into flower locally, so not a moment too soon. It's no joke having rape honey set in the brood frames. The bees then can't move it, so it reduces the brood nest. That in turn increases the chance of swarming. And that is another thing they don't need any encouragement to do!

The fruit blossoms are beginning their procession.This is a bee on Cherry.
One of my passions is the genus Magnolia. I planted several in the first few years that we lived here. I only have two left. A Magnolia grandiflora, which has yet to flower, and this one, Magnolia soulangiana. Two years ago it had three flowers -which were finished by the frost before reaching flowering size. Last year, it was covered in buds. But again, they were blasted by the frost. This year I didn't bother to look, after the winter we had. Then I caught a flash of white a few days ago.The (small) tree was covered in these lovely blossoms. Some were slightly touched with frost damage, but what a sight, especially in the bright sunny mornings, with a pelucid blue sky as background. Joy and pleasure.
Best beloved and I are off to Wales, tomorrow. We will stay with his Godmother, who has recently moved house. Aunt M only lives forty minutes from Builth Wells, now. How lucky is that? I shall be meeting up with some of the Close Knit girls, and I have no doubt that we will all be spending. Wonderwool Wales, here we come.

Saturday, 3 April 2010


There was a message on the answering machine when I got home. 'I am sitting on top of a hill, west of Tiverton' said the voice of Best Beloved. ' I can see Dartmoor, covered in snow. And two Swallows are flying about in front of me. It must be Spring! '
The intention had been to do the first opening of the Bees, this week-end, and spring clean. The cold wind and torrential rain has put a stop to that plan. They (the Bees) are flying, intermittently, but we are not taking any chances.

This amused me. The Primroses are flowering safely in a mossy bowl - six feet from the ground.

I mentioned recently that we were off to a sixties/seventies party. I have been denied permission to show the incriminating evidence, but did manage to take photos of the jeans. These are cheap bootleg jeans. I unpicked the lower leg seams, and put in velvet triangular inserts, to make the wide flares. Then a little applique in the usual places, (on the seat, too).Worn with a plain white cotton 'Grandad' shirt, and an 'Afro' wig, B.B. looked a fair approximation of the hippie I started going out with in 1977. I wore an Indian-print wraparound skirt, with a cotton lawn embroidered blouse.

This is the scarf I was knitting for my Mother. Patons sublime, on 4.5mm needles. Finished well in advance of her birthday, I know she will be pleased with it.
I have a couple of other scarves on my needles, too. Another go at the Myrtle leaf scarf that Poppy unravelled, and one in 'blackcurrant' Kidsilk Haze, but I don't know the name of the pattern.
Enjoy the Spring break....and keep warm!