Thursday, 24 April 2014

Blossom time

A week of sun, after all the rain, meant we were finally able to do some work in the garden.
 The lushness of all the verdant foliage has become almost too green to look at. The fruit trees are all flowering fit to burst. The Prunus family ( Plum, Damson, Cherry and Blackthorn) have given a show such as I have never seen before. 
                                                            ( Above, sweet Cherry)

                                                            ( Pear)

                                         ( Blackthorn, with three wild Cherry behind)

                                                                     ( Apple)

Of course, I had to make sure of a bed for my precious Sweet Peas. Eight packets of seeds, this year. The best germination was that of some seeds I had saved from my favourite colour, autumn 2012. ( Yes, old seed! )  The worst was one plant from an extremely expensive packet of seeds, trumpeted as new, improved, best ever seen! £4.89 for fifteen seeds  ( one normally gets between twenty and thirty seeds in a packet! Usually around £3. ) Needless to say... shan't buy those again.

Good news on the Native Orchid front. This year, all the plants in the wood have come up. Even the Spotted one. The Croquet Lawn Orchid, having failed to appear last year, is back. So, nine in all. Good.

Still knitting

 Finally.... the Exmoor Fair Isle sweater is finished. Nine and a half  50 gram balls of Oatmeal, and  a bit less than two balls of Kingfisher. I got in a bit of a lather, when it came to putting the sleeves and body together, and forming a yoke. The bit I thought would be difficult was matching the lice pattern across all the body and sleeve stitches. It wasn't. I think I was one stitch out, but that got masked, when I did the decreases on the next row. The real fiddle was lengthening the back of the neck, and shoulders. Even that was not really difficult. The big problem is... thinking about it too much! Just do it!

Also finished.... the Susanna Ic Spring Fling KAL. This was a lovely experience, with a beautiful result. Susanna writes the patterns so clearly, and the charts are always easy. If one does get stuck, she provides amazing support with her patterns. I hope Asti /Juno likes it... I don't really want to part with it.

Goodbye to all that...

We have been keeping Bees here for nearly as long as we have lived here. There was no conscious decision to get Bees - they just came. Once they were here, we maintained the highest level of husbandry that we could. From one hive, the Apiary quickly grew to a minimum of six, with many more during the Summer. One memorable, and extremely busy, Summer, we had sixteen hives. The downside was never having a moment of peace during the active season. March to September, generally. At least one day of every week-end, was spent at the hives, with a couple of hours , here and there, to clean, mend, prepare or make equipment. Then there was the time, and hard work, in cleaning, preparing and bottling the honey. The honey harvest alone usually took two long week-ends.
It has taken two years to come around to making the decision to stop Beekeeping. So, last night, after sixteen years,( almost to the day) we sent the last colony off to it's new home. The area that has been used as an Apiary, seems suddenly huge. There has been a little talk of extending the Orchard, with some dwarfed and espaliered Pears, Plums, and Apricots.  We will see.

I used to keep Hens, you know.......