Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...

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27/04/2018

April's Scavenger Photo Hunt Link up Party!

Welcome to April's Scavenger Photo-hunt  -
I am looking forward to seeing 
all your photos and reading your stories :)
Let the fun begin xx

If you have joined in with my

Scavenger hunt, please link

with me on your blog :)



Please add your name to the

link up tool below,

just follow the easy instructions,


don't worry - if I can do it so can you!



Please just add your Name or Blog Name in the 'Link Title',

Now, let the Link-up Party begin!

Don't forget to leave a comment when you visit :)

April's Scavenger Hunt Photos and Stories :)

Firstly welcome to my new followers, lovely to see you here and WeLcOmE to April's scavenger Hunt Photos - I took them all over the course of weekend working in the garden.

Up until the evening of the 22nd (Sunday) we had such gloriously lovely weather that both Himself and I were inspired to more or less completely redesign the garden. (Oooh me aching back!!)

Enjoy x



Swirl
The unfurling of the leaves of my Hosta Albomarginata.
 I have recently discovered that eating Hosta shoots
can be something rather delicious
when blanched, 
then tossed in olive oil and seasoned well.
Guess I'll have to give it a try :)


Rock
One of the 'things to do' in our garden remodeling,
was to move the paths we'd first laid nearly 16 years ago.
However, I'd forgotten that one of the paths we'd constructed
was part of a field drainage system we'd installed (how could I forget that??)
Any hoo, this path was not for moving, so after a bit of a think,
It has become a way of leading the eye
to a tall upright rock pillar and Swaledale sheep skull.
Once the plants have settled and grown - I think it will really good.

Wood
I - well - we, have a love for old things,
things that gently decay and quietly decompose.
we have very old (rescued from landfill) railway sleepers,
blackened with age and rock hard on the outside,
yet inside soft and spongy filled with all sorts of happy bugs and grubs.


Letter

Part of the re-construction of the garden entailed making new compost bays,
which I did last weekend,
this weekend Himself painted the rather starkly pale pallet wood
a deliciously dark black.
Then in the evening, I made two signs,
one for each of them and
on Sunday - Youngest hung them up.

Meet Muck and Magic!!

Balance

I LOVE balancing stones!
There is nothing more to say on the matter !



My own choice

A quick snap, taken before the light faded just as it started to rain.
A view from the back of the garden towards the summerhouse studio.
New compost bays,
new brick pathway (wide enough to traverse a wheel barrow)
new bed (not finished) to help soften the view of the compost bays,
new work area (middle view far distance in front of the glass house)
re-laid lawn, lifted and relaid path.

But now, rain.
Promised cold weather front on the way.
Time to come in and light the fire.

Our brief but incredibly deliciously warm week
was not wasted :)

Now to go blog hop all of the scavenger hunters and catch up with what they have written :)

25/04/2018

Many more than One Word for a Wednesday

Having been reluctantly glued to the laptop for what feels like far too long, I push for a walk. I have to drop off a pendrive and some brochures, seems like the perfect alibi. Besides Moss has that same cabin-fever look in her eyes that I have in mine.
Collecting a rangy teenager, an over-excited dog, lead and fighting back a persistent cat wishing to join us, we step out of the house. The air is fresh and my hair is flipping around by a boisterous breeze. The sunshine misleading us into a false sense of security and we quickly realise it is cooler than first thought.

We stride out, dog with her shoulders set as she pulls on her lead, Youngest - all legs and arms and flapping jacket matches her pace. I, slower and shorter paced, quicken my step to keep up. 

We cross our road, following a quiet lane which curves between a high wall and a row of cottages, over a culvert and up a flight of narrow steps flanked by thick lush grass burgeoning with bobbing headed daffodils. The sound of school play time fluctuates about us as children's voices are carried by the wind and then flung over the village.  Our pace, still quick as we continue upwards, is better matched as I loosen, taking longer strides while Moss relaxes into her walk. Youngest and I talk. On this and on that - on something and nothing. We are able to do that, he and I. Both our fringes fly around our eyes and our ears start to feel cold despite the sun.

At the end of the little lane, we turn right, still upward. We hop over puddles and pot holes, mindlessly chatting.  Finally we reach the house I have to drop off my parcel - job done.

Neither of us want the walk to end.

So I point out a little used path, a small and well tended one quietly following the garden perimeters.  Primula, cowslips, ribes and daffodils line one side and fresh lime green tree leaflets tickle our faces from the other.

The narrow path widens to a grassy track, chickens pootle around and are startled by our arrival, quickly ducking under a gate where they turn and watch us walk by. At this point, although not the highest spot in the village, there is a broad valley view of the village and the buildings.  Each group of houses indicating the era of their construction. Higgledy cottages with heavily sagging slate rooves, boxy 1970's social now private housing, modern generic architecture - the type that confirms to a 'look' yet have no character. We walk past larger homes up here, older monied ones financed by mills from years gone by. Our track slips into another more used and rocky one and turns us back down the valley. Snaking around chicken pens and rusting vehicles. Moss runs and puddle-jumps, chasing the ball and returning for another throw - her energy boundless.

The further down the valley, the more sedate the track becomes, the more polite and less rutted more road-like, now tarred, we follow it until we turn into large undulating field. The gate tucked between two large trees lets us enter and once again we feel more free. Youngest throws the ball back and forth for the dog as she hurtles through the bright green grass. Often there is stock in this space, but not today - better for us.  Diagonally across we go, accompanied by a zig zagging Moss.
Our field ends and we resume a lead walk for a short distance, down the road, across the main street, follow a winding lane to mills and businesses, back up the other side of the valley. Back on to fields, this time sharply steep. Chatting slows down to accommodate greater breaths but we soon resume our conversation. I turn and view the valley from the other side, tracing our route with my eyes, noticing we were back in the breeze and it is quite cutting. We leave the steep field and join our favourite 'Ol' Joe's Lane'. A short track, narrow in places with tumbling stone walls and amazing views over 'our' hill looming behind the village.

The ball is lobbed again back and forth, Moss eagerly chases, her teeth snapping as misses or catches, leaping up high or twisting round on a quick paw - she is fast and keen.  We soon reach the end, procrastinating by observing yet more hens, this time quietly preening and steadfastly ignoring - they are used to walkers stopping to gawk.

Lead back on, we step on to the road back down into the village. Past the house that kindly supplies water for thirsty dogs, past the strange half developed half demolished building, down, down, past the row of cottages with cute little gardens out front, past sleeping lambs, down down, past the village shop and cafe, past the 'Old Jam Pots', past the War Memorial. Over the road, past the community hall and old library, past the pub and nail bar. For a village we have a lot of small businesses quietly keeping the heart beating.

Then we are home, through the back door, kettle on - time for a mug of tea.


19/04/2018

What a difference the sun makes

**written last night **

The warm breeze that played through the garden this evening was magic.

It transported me back to my childhood to a particular summer evening in Africa. The air had finally cooled down enough to be pleasant yet still be tepid. I can remember feeling a little chilled as the sun lowered so lay on the rocks to soak in the residual heat.

My husband now affectionately calls me a lizard and he is correct - I love being warm (although I would prefer to be a cat!)

Recently we have been quite creative in the garden - as hinted in my previous post and this balmy evening just called me back out. The blackbirds were garrulous and bumptious in the trees as they settled down for the night while two or three rooks flew over head cawing to each other.

On the whole, the village was quiet, the occasional car and distant shout but not enough to disturb the agreeable bubble I was in. The satisfying scrunch of the soil as I dug at the weeds and that particularly delicious (especially if you are gardener) root pulling sound as you finally wrench a pernicious weed from the ground. Oohf - nice.

Just before it got too dark to actually see things, I wandered into the greenhouse to check on the sown seeds and in my head did a happy dance when I could just about spy the teeniest tiniest green shoots popping up in rows - I will double check in daylight tomorrow - might even take a photo or two (on macro!) as proof.

**written early this morning**

Proof!

Having waved off the boys (Himself and Youngest) I had planned to come in and finish this post, but the lure of the garden and that same balmy air as yesterday called me out into the garden. That combined with a very persuasive cat had me out watering and wandering through our little oasis. When the UK has beautiful weather it does with such charm and grace (and scarcity!) that it is a shame to ignore it.

I suspect that this enticing weather will keep pulling me out when really I should be painting - good thing I can do that and be in the garden ... :)

What are you doing to enjoy this sublime weather?  I hope you can make the most of it, coz, let's face it, it is not a given in this country so you have to enjoy it while you can!





15/04/2018

A story in five parts

Are you sitting comfortably,
then I shall begin ...

Part 1.
Prologue

This dank and dreary weather is not for everyone. 
Sitting in the house with the lights on and the fire quietly crackling away 
makes the outside seem more ... outside.
Giving a dampening numbing feeling to me.
I resort to looking a photographs to give me inner sunlight.



Part 2.
Change of direction

I have attempted this post several times and in several guises
each one relevant and not relevant in one sweep.
When I started, the weather was damp and sullen
as was my mood.
Then the sun broke through, warmed my garden,
 energised me,
exhilarated the weeds
and sparked life in my sown seeds 
to show tiny green shoots of hope.

Part 3.
A mini retrospective.
Last spring - I needed to create a vegetable patch,
I needed to feel productive,
I wanted to provide and produce something from the garden, from me.
 The potager was born and for a few short sweet weeks
we regularly harvested and ate from the garden.

Then, we planted something new - my summerhouse studio.
I lost my potager and although I am beyond happy and in love
with my studio in the garden,
I missed my veg plot.


Part 4.
New shoots.
Last week, all my boys were at home,
from school,
from uni,
from work.
We walked (when the weather was good)
we talked, a lot.
We gardened.
With a irresistible urge to connect with this vernal movement,
we rescued my glasshouse of years of incorrect usage and towers of plastic pots,
removing the floor and laying new paths.
Creating deep beds.
Needing a lot of compost,
I emptied the compost bays.
All three of them.
All deep and chocolatey worm rich
black soil.
Whilst digging out heavy spadefuls
and pushing even heavier barrows
from compost
to glasshouse
gave me time to think and to plan.
A garden game of tetras 
became a long list of what to do next.
*Move the old composts to a new site
*Flatten and tidy old site and replace decrepit fence
*build a new shelter for the wheelbarrows
*build new compost bays
*lay new paths
*lift the lawn
*create new growing spaces
*plant the sprouting bulbs
*sow wild flower seeds on the green roof
The list seemed exhaustive and growing each time I thought.

Part 5
Finale (almost)

Most of the list is done.
As am I.

But, Monday is a new day
and I am ready to paint
because
both my garden and I
feeling fully charged

so ...
Bring it on!

And the photos? They were the images that gave me my inner sunshine :)

07/04/2018

Of being a scatterling and feeding the soul

To be able to step out of the parked car into sunshine and to feel a lightly warmed breeze on my face was sublime.

There is a definite turn of the seasons, the fading of winter's grip and an awakening of spring.
 We left the car and stepped out of the gauzy sunlight into dappled shade following a yew lined mossy pathway. The track undulated gently alongside Arnside Knott in Silverdale, leading us away from the road and slightly upward revealing a silvery blue and green panorama.
 This is why we were here. The draw of that exquisite juncture where earth, sea and sky meet and vanish in a sunlit shimmer. It does something to me - it makes my heart pound and soar and I have to fill my eyes and head with the vision of it. Devouring everything.
Despite being surrounded by the sea, where we live - it is not that easy to 'pop down to the coast'. I originate from a landlocked country before landing on a northern island nation and I yearn for that thin clear blue light that only the sea air can give. Where my eyes can see forever and yet not see the end.

The track led us back away from the vista and into still winter sleepy trees. In the pools of light small evidence of  emerging spring flowers that I have been so starved of for what feels like an age.
 The dog acted as my heart felt - absolute joy of being out and breathing slightly damp woodland air tinged with salt. Her paws flew along as she ran and jumped and played with such visual happiness. Just having her around raises the spirits -she radiates delight in her surroundings and shows no mercy to mud or puddles or sticks or balls - they are all for the playing with and having fun.
The darkness of the woodland ended gently as we entered a rambling camping site, a jumble of static caravans tucked in between trees and summerhouses. A quiet murmur of holidaying folk could just be heard as they pottered about their personal boltholes.
Our path threaded through the site and led us past a colourful and noisy playpark filled with small children completely enthralled in their games while parents and grandparents sat by the cafe nursing hot mugs of tea or coffee. Most of them engrossed in a newspaper or some form of electronic device. The light and views and the gleefully playing children passing them by.
Leaving the noisy crowd reminded me of something I read about Seamus Heaney who advocated that we should move from HERD (easily manipulated masses) to HEARD (the discerning ear that keeps you alive to anaesthetic, trance states and seduction). It was a relief to step off that path on to a pebble strewn shelf towards the receding tide. To be able to leave the disarray of parked cars, disinterested parents and shrieking children in the distance was bliss.


As was hearing the gentle repetitive hush and shush of the sea on the stones. We happily stumbled around the headland, laughing as Moss propelled herself at high speed into the small lapping waves creating a dash of white water as she went along.
The chink and stumble of the pebbly beach changed to brackish streams, marsh grasses and mud banks. All the while the flash of the twinkling sea water filled my eyes and my heart. As I write, I can smell the salty air and see the sunglint on each small wave.

Our feet continued to follow the narrow corridor as it rose above the sea and wound beneath wind bent trees. On a gentle day such as today it belied the anger and strength of the on shore winds. This stretch felt as walking alongside the flank of a sleeping animal.
My feet by now were tired and heavy, the others however were still striding forward happily in their element and I was falling behind. Before, I would have felt agitated at my inability to no longer keep up as I used to. I would have angry tears and angry words in my head - raging at them and raging at me. Then I came to the realisation that this anger and disappointment aimed at my failing knee was more harm than help. So I told myself that I can only do and go as far and as fast as I am able and to allow them to range on ahead. 
This acceptance of my limitations actually freed me - I now enjoy my walking more. I feel more, I see more, I no longer miss out. Then, when one of the boys notices I have fallen back, they stop and wait. For when you wait - you see what you would have otherwise missed.



I am a scatterling - not a nomad but not held by one place - walking feeds that need, walking feeds my soul.
What feeds yours?


01/04/2018

I walk. I stop. I see. I knit.


 

It has been a while,
since my knitting has come walking
with us.

A quick stitch here and 
and quick stitch there.

Too cold
to knit for long,
but long enough
to allow
the walk to weave in and out of the stitches,
moss and grass to collect on the knit,
the early spring air to fill the spaces.

I think both both my knitting
and I 
feel better
(although I am knackered!)
for being out
and about
on the hills.

Thank you everyone for joining in with March's Scavenger Hunt -
once again I was blown away by
your photos and stories - I love reading each and every one of them.

I will 'release' the next set of words soon!

xxxx


Edited to add : new list now 'released' and frolicking happily at the top right corner of my blog

30/03/2018

March 18 Scavenger photo hunt link up party



Welcome to the 3rd Scavenger Photo-hunt of 2018 -
I am looking forward to seeing 
all your photos and reading your stories
Let the fun begin xx

If you have joined in with my

Scavenger hunt, please link

with me on your blog :)



Please add your name to the

link up tool below,

just follow the easy instructions,


don't worry - if I can do it so can you!



Please just add your Name or Blog Name in the 'Link Title',

Now, let the Link-up Party begin!

Don't forget to leave a comment when you visit :)

=
**
**
Late entry for the link up - Tigermouse - https://mousehouselife.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/scavenger-photo-hunt-march/

March's Madness - words and photos

Hole

I am a magpie, a collector of 'things' and of 'stuff' and 'magic' and of 'junk'
All of it treasure.
This knotty swirl of pine was found in a local stream and carefully brought home.
The pebble is from a windswept Scottish island beach
they were made for each other.

Making


Reading Now

The Weir by Conor McPherson - it made my heart surge with sadness 
and 60 north -  which makes my heart skip a happy beat when it arrives through the letterbox :)


Black and white

Although not truly black and white - the shot of yellow gives it away.
It had been a most beautifully harsh and cruel week for the birds.
They trudged and hopped through deep snow as they looked for food and water.
This blackbird was waiting his turn at the water trough,
as the snow kept falling.

Starts with an ... H

I'd mused over this one, not sure what would fill this space, 
until I caught myself staring at my latest felted hare ... 
next to my 'HOME' wooden blocks.
With a small pink Heart on an ear ...


My own choice

This photo was almost going to be the 'Black and White' choice 
however, I felt I would lose Moss' intense stare if I changed her from colour into B&W, 
so here, for your pleasure - 
Moss doing her best to fill the brief and making me laugh at the same time! 

And if you wondered why she has a harlequin face... well, 
she was charging after her ball with such intense concentration 
that she failed to notice a huge muddy puddle. 
SPLAT!


So, these are my words and photos for March :) Hope you enjoyed them, I am off now to see what you lovely lot have got up to xx

27/03/2018

March Hare Madness

Whilst tidying today, 
I came across
a bag filled with snipperty bits of felt
and fabrics
I could feel a welling up of making-itis
and reached for a piece of paper,
scissors, pen and threads.
Snipping snipping,
soon two little hares
appeared,
one gold coated and his chocolaty shadow.
Tiny blanket stitches,
tiny bits of floofy stuffing ...
soon my hare
looked a little less flat.
Little Hare had to choose his tail...
would it be a greeny grey one with spotty dots?
Would it be a pale yellow one with a little heart?
Or would a shade of blue look better with his coat of gold?
Whilst deciding the perfect tail,
who should I spot but two little fellows
made many years ago
by a very much younger
and smaller son.
I'd forgotten I'd stashed these precious little folk in my button box,
now - at least ten years later,
I am making my own little felty creature.
It made my heart squeeze with both love and nostalgia.
Meanwhile, Little Hare continued researching
the perfect tail
and decided on the one he wanted.
With tail firmly added,
Little Hare met his 'cousins'
and wondered if they would like to become broaches too. 
Then he hopped up on to my jersey,
settled down
and kept me company for the rest of the day. 
I might be looking for more snipperty bits of felt
to be inspired by.
I feel another bout of making-itis coming on.


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx