Sunny house views

Sunny days at home have recently been rare indeed.  A little while ago on one such day I dug out the camera and decided to see what I could see just lying around the house…

It appears our house contains quite a number of dairy-related objects, appropriately enough since it was once a dairy farm.  We get our milk delivered by the local milkman, which is fantastic (not having to constantly say to myself ‘ooh I must remember to pick up some milk on the way home’ is a revelation).  Continuing round the house, we found a small milk jug in France this summer which we now use as a kitchen-top compost bin.

(There is also the large milk churn outside the door which I’ve previously written about.)

Next to the milk jug on the kitchen windowsill is a pot of succulents which, despite neglect and ignorance on my part (they seem to sprout new bits randomly and spontaneously, how do they do that? How can I make one big one instead of lots of small ones, and vice versa? These are questions I do not currently know the answer to, although I am aware, as ever, that they are just an internet search away) have been alive since some time in 2011.

And, in turn, next to the pot of succulents is another find from the brocantes of France- an earthenware jug in which we keep washing-up paraphernalia.  I like containers.

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Summer memories

Looking back through my photos, I’ve found a few from this summer which I never shared at the time.  The photos seem to indicate more sun than I remember having, but probably because I prefer to get the camera out in the sunshine for obvious reasons!

We were so excited to finally have a garden when we moved to our house in the countryside, and we have really enjoyed having a bit of outside space this summer.  I can’t say that we’ve made huge inroads into the world of ‘proper’ gardening but I bought a few seed packets and herbs and things and put them in pots.

Here they are newly planted in July: parsley, mint, lavender, chives and tarragon.  The slugs seemed to love the parsley and the chives, and the latter is now unfortunately defunct.  The tarragon also probably got more rain and less sun than was good for it.  Still, it was nice having green things growing and I’ve moved the pots into the porch now for the winter so I can still pick mint and parsley, and look at the lavender.

We also grew lettuce and radishes, which both we and the slugs found very tasty.

A blueberry cake from the ever-present Hummingbird Bakery cookbook- very moist and yummy, especially with the fruit.  It was an enormous volume of cake though- I think it actually took more than a week to eat up, even with visitors helping.  Unprecedented!

Mark found a milk churn behind the shed one day, and we put it by the back door as a little resting-spot for things like bags and travel mugs of tea for when one needs to fish around for keys to get in or out of the house.  The churn was apparently from the days when the house was a farmhouse for a dairy farm, so is properly authentic!

We also walked up to the top of the hills behind our house one late evening, to watch the sun set over the valley.  It’s the kind of thing we continually said we should do, but it took us a little while to get around to doing it.  It was lovely though- a very peaceful way to end the day.  The light on the grasses were gorgeous as the sun slanted across the hills.

It all seems a long time ago now, as we face floodwaters on the roads and read news reports of accidents caused by the heavy rain and gale-force winds.  Perhaps it is nearly time for a bit of christmas cheer to lift the gloom…


Views around the garden

It is sunny today, so I was inspired to get out the proper camera (so easy and lazy, having the iPhone and Hipstamatic) and investigate various corners of the garden.  Our Japanese maple tree is currently ablaze, and the pink hydrangeas have turned a gorgeous shade of deep magenta tinged with dusty green and hints of purple.  I have cut a few and dried them, hoping they’ll last through the winter as a reminder of warmer days.  There are a couple of apples still on the tree which we couldn’t reach, which continue to cling bravely to their branches.  The lavender is also having a final hurrah.








Country life

We now reside in the countryside…. it is lovely.  Blissful.  There are birds tweeting, and cows just over the back fence.   Really.  We live in the Chew Valley, which is just south of Bristol and seems to be a thriving area with lots of lovely villages, and copious amounts of cows.  There is a dairy in the village (I haven’t investigated daily milk deliveries yet but it’s moving up the list of things to do) and the Yeo Valley dairy company is based two villages over.  I have been a devotee of Yeo Valley yoghurt for years, so I am inordinately pleased that one of my favourite food items is now officially ‘local’.

This is the view from just over our back fence.  I took this a couple of weeks ago when the sun was actually shining, ahem, and for the last week there have been lots of what I think are teenager cows in the near field.  They seem to be quite bouncy and mischievous, and also not that big, hence my teenager theory.  When the weather stops being atrocious I will see if I can get some photos of them.

The sun setting over the Mendips.

We also have a garden, an actual garden with proper plants in it, about which I am clueless.  I think I can handle herbs in pots, so I am planning an expedition this weekend to get some of those.  For the rest, I think I need to make friends with the neighbours and get their green thumb advice!

There is also quite a bit of lawn, which has necessitated the purchase of a proper lawn mower (American readers will not know that there is any other kind, but yes, here in England you may purchase electric mowers, i.e. with a cord attached, and yes, even human-powered mowers.  I had never seen such things before I moved here) and the building of a compost bin in which to house the grass clippings and other organic waste.

This compost bin was built by Mark from some obliging site waste material, and is standing proudly in the garden looking incredibly fit for purpose.

It is also designed with spiky residents in mind.  The hedgehog population is in decline in the UK, which is very sad, as hedgehogs are wonderful.  You can read all about them in the Guardian here.  In addition to residing in hedges (obviously), hedgehogs also apparently are quite keen on nesting in compost bins, and it is important to leave a gap to allow them access to this most ideal of habitats to encourage them to move in.

As you’ll note, one panel of the bin has been deliberately left out so as (all being well) to act as the hedgehogs’ front entrance.  Now all I need is some bunting to welcome them in….