Sunday Morning

After my rather grey post on a grey day bemoaning the greyness that February can be… sunshine!  Sunday morning really was all about the sun and it was so warm there was no need for coats as I strapped Arty to my back and set off with Minnie to walk to the North Notts Ploughing Match (held, confusingly, not in North Nottinghamshire, but our little village in South Yorkshire – although admittedly, close to the border).

I don’t know much about tractors.  They haven’t really factored heavily in my life (save for them being a regular sight motoring back and forth on the roads around here).  However, Arty is a big fan (well, of anything with a motor really) and so, going along for a nosey was a natural choice, bearing in mind it was being held a short walk from our home.  There were all sorts of tractors on display, from the modern, to the vintage and, also demonstrations of pre-tractor days, with a small number of heavy horses, what I think were mules and two very lovely Fjord horses.

We paused and ate some homemade cake before trundling back home to get some bits done in the garden.  What a difference a bit of sun makes!


Dreaming of Spring

The weather has taken a turn for the colder, as so often happens in February. I always feel I have to brace myself for this month, for the last haul through before the Spring Equinox, when I feel that finally the warmth will start to come (although frosts are still a danger until mid-May here).  I haven’t seen snowdrops yet, this is a photo from a past year, when I got out more, pushed myself to walk in the cold.

But instead I’ve been walking somewhere further afield and far more cold.  I’ve had a bereavement (maybe that has more to do with my yearning for roses than the approaching of Valentines – that need for soothing and balance, that I know the scent of roses brings).  My “remaining” grandmother died a couple of weeks ago, not far past her birthday, only a few years away from her centenary, and that has added an extra level of grey to the month.  I made the trip to Norway, to attend her funeral and it was beautiful, quiet, understated, but special – how she would have liked it.

The flowers were so pretty – all pastels of pink, heather, peach and cream – distanced from the snow and swirling white of the sky – whispering more of a summer’s day.  I could smell the roses as I carried the wreath.  It was good to see family, some of whom I have not seen since they were children – they have now grown to adult.  Whilst I have been to Norway in the past few years, it has been well over 20 since I last visited this town.

We stood in the graveyard in the snow, whilst further snowflakes fell. My great grandmother is buried here. And my grandfather, next to where my grandmother was laid.  They will share a headstone.  The snow was fairly deep around – no going off the cleared path.

Blue skies and sun returned the next day, although the temperature fell further.  I only stayed 2 nights and, whilst it was good to meet up with family and to meet my brother’s fiancee (they live in New York, we don’t often see each other) I needed to get back home and watched the sun start to set on the train journey south to Oslo and the airport.

I brought the snow home with me, but only a shadow of it.  Mostly its just been grey and rainy, as it often is.  I’m hoping it lifts soon, so I can return to the woods – see the snowdrops that I know grow in the borders.  I think perhaps I’ve missed them this year, maybe I’ll see crocus instead.

In the meantime I’m going through my seeds, thumbing seed catalogues and dreaming of Spring.

New Arrivals

It’s been an exciting September in Ides Garden.  Our silkie went broody and hatched out two Cream Legbar eggs (we’re hoping for blue eggs in the future) and we had a further surprise: one of our quail went broody (top right corner) and subsequently hatched a chick (seen as a little yellow ball under mum in the bottom right pic)!

As mentioned in my previous post about our quail, there appears to be a general belief in some quarters that Cortunix quail have had most of their “natural” behaviour bred out of them and that they, subsequently, won’t go broody (and if they do, they certainly won’t be able to care for any chicks).  Obviously further research showed more than a few people who, of course, had had quail successfully hatch and care for their young and we were thrilled when we discovered the little yellow quail chick peeking out from mum one sunny afternoon.  It is yet further confirmation that the quail are happy in their accommodation!

A Wedding!


I’m very pleased to announce that at the beginning of the month my eldest son got married!  We had a lovely afternoon and evening and it was a wonderful (and very touching) ceremony.   They have a baby due in November and move to Germany early in the New Year – so a very busy time for them both!

I also managed to get a photo of all of my children together (a rare thing!)  My eldest son looks so much like my paternal grandfather (it’s quite incredible).


Garden :: August 2016






August is a busy month in the garden – everything tends to go a bit wild and we’ve been busily picking (including shifting bolting chard, perp spinach and fat hen into the quail or chicken pens for them to enjoy, where I don’t leave them to self seed).  Beans have been chopped and frozen and many courgettes used in many ways, as is always the way with courgettes – although they’ve not done as well as in latter years and we’ve been in no way inundated as before and I’m finding myself rather disappointed (I’ll have to remind myself of this on years I’m swearing because I can’t process them fast enough!)

The inspiring Anni Kelsey ( very kindly sent me some sweet cicely and salsify seeds which I have duly planted (and the salsify has germinated – very excited to see how it gets on, it isn’t a vegetable I’ve tried before).  I shared the seed love with my neighbour (who gave me some trays (!) of kale earlier in the year and have built a further raised bed by the patio (meaning J could empty the largest compost bin and dismantle it to be moved to the allotment) which will likely become home to Tsai Tai and more kale.

The chicken area is being steadily re-organised as we make way for a couple of new runs ready for the change in weather (one for the big egg-laying girls, another for the Pekins, although both groups will get to have a wander in a larger area as well, but the covered runs will protect fluffy Pekin feet and offer more shelter to the birds in worse weather).

I’ve been busily drying calendula and infusing it for use in balms and salves, alongside various herbs (and some onions for home-made onion powder) and regularly making various cordials for drinking with fizzy water in the sun (when we’ve had it) whilst laying plans for fruit trees to go in this winter (very excited!)