Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Friday, 17 July 2009
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
In days gone by, when I grew loads of veggies, an important part of summer crops was finding outlets, and I enjoyed sharing produce with non gardeners. Then, I did not really have the time to make jams and chutneys as well. Now I am privileged to be on the receiving end, and am really grateful to receive phone calls which say ...please come and pick ....we have too much to use. I now have more time to use the produce, and enjoy giving some of the finished goods back to friends.
One of the perks of my volunteering at the Castle is that I am able to pick some of the superb mini strawberries which edge up some of the beds. The jam is just supberb, and is being saved for right royal occassions!
I just had to come up with a posh name for my posh strawberry jam, and being a french speaker, came up with Fraises Du Chateau Confiture. This pot is ready to give to Jean who bought me these lovely little pot covers. I've used preserving sugar with added pectin for the strawberries, to be sure to get a good set, but for the blackcurrant and other similar jams I use Tate & Lyle and find cane sugar better than beet.
Monday, 6 July 2009
There were many other knitters, felters and spinners on their own, and when we sat down in the arena to watch and listed to a commentary on some rare sheep, there was also time to chat.
After my disappointment of not getting a throw whilst in Wales, I was very pleased to find Blacker Designs with a good choice.
The one which really caught my eye was made with a Jacob Sheep and Mohair Blend. The pattern is reminiscent of a slice of stone with cross section of fossils. I checked out all the other blankets and stalls and be really sure which one I wanted. The best thing is that Mr S also really likes it too.
Other items to add to my stash are various balls of Pure Dark Marl Jacob, Pure Black Welsh Mountain Wool, Pure Ryeland Wool, and Pure Lleyn Lamb's wool from The Natural Fibre Co. From other stalls I got Alpaca Sock Yarn, and Lace Weight Organically Framed Merino Woolspun from Fibre Harvest Ltd, Water Wheel spun at Coldharbour Mill. I wonder whether we might have a holiday some time near there?One stall had some lovely metal embellishments. And whilst writing this blog, I just had to go check on which stall it was, and have also looked up Ruth Lee further. She is a lovely artist, and when we chatted, it was great to hear about her work and also that she used live in Coventry. I explained that I had seen her stall once at the Ali Palli show,and asked then whether she had considered shawl pins. How wonderful, that following that request, her partner took up my suggestion is now making them using metal from their old hot water tank. The shawl pins all vary, and I picked one, and was also pleased to hear that they had been a very good seller. I loved the shape of the pin on the one I chose which looked like a fancy Shepherd's crook.
I even spied this knitted clock, at the time my legs were starting to rest another rest!
I felt like it had been Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one. My yarn stash runneth over! Now I can plan what knitting I'm to do over the coming months.
That was the last time we took our waterproofs with us. The rest of the week was very sunny and warm, and further walks took us along the further shore, using the ferry to take us to the southern end. We happened to have a wait to catch the Ferry back, and found a cool sheltered terrace to enjoy tea and scones and cake in the meantime.
Oh that we had more time, we may have got to the top of Skiddaw, instead, we went up Latrigg, where the views of Derwent Water were wonderful.
We stayed mainly in the area. A tour took us over the Honister Pass, along Gatesgarthdale Beck, where we stopped to look at the sheep, then on for lunch at Buttermere. After lunch we walked along the Lake and found a spot thick with orchids. Later we drove to the Coast, then back along the faster routes returning via the road running along Bassenthwaite Lake.
One of our days 'out' was a drive down Sizergh Castle. We both throughly enjoyed our day there. As the house did not open till one we first toured the garden. It gave us time to view the Castle from the outside, and enjoy the well laid out areas. I was specially delighted by the extensive collection of ferns, which were well labelled. On one side of the Castle, was an area planted with acers, small ferns and other interesting small plants, with small areas of water, all within the superb limestone rock garden.
On the way back for lunch, I spotted a lovely clump of plants, and had to return to take a picture, and ask at the shop if they had any pots of Stachys Macrantha for sale. Sadly they did not, but I did get three nice ferns, which will soon be planted in a shaded spot near the back of the garden.