Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A Day with Diana.

The holidays are almost over and finally the sun has returned. It usually does for September doesn't it? Hopefully plenty of after-school trips to the beach will be the pattern of our days, a time to enjoy the quiet of the autumn sun with the beautiful backdrop of sparkling sea. In the meantime, a visit from our lovely friend Diana who arrived bearing the most amazing gifts: bags of gorgeous fabrics (woohoo!!) and these beautiful Rip City dahlias grown in her own garden.

I am a huge fan of dahlias, increasingly so as the years roll by. The beauty of the velvety petals and the depth of that saturated colour just take my breath away. Don't you just want to sink into those sumptuous petals?

In the afternoon we headed off to Coombe in search for Kea plums

and there they were heaped in all their blue-black gorgeousness by the riverside.

Now, I know I have frequently waxed lyrical about the loveliness of Coombe so please feel free to fast-forward as i do so again for I cannot possibly tell you just how beautiful this place is with the monbretia banks by quaint sheds

tiny orchards of heavily laden fruit trees

tidal river which both Isabella and Walter decided to wade into. Isabella walked for ages with her wellies full of water and lent a peculiar squelching sound to those of the river birds calling hauntingly in the background.

Everywhere overhead were boughs of Kea plums, the ground below positively littered with them as we gathered (and ate) as many as we could carry.

One totally blissed out dog!

It really is

so very

very beautiful isn't it? A huge meal later and much chat and Diana headed home for Penwith once more. Such a perfect day and hopefully not too long till the next, dear Diana x

Before I go, this was the result of Isabella's butterfly cakes made the other day and eaten within minutes it seemed.

Not much left on the cake stand for a photograph as they were very delicious.

Have a happy day x

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Next Bit...

Today I scented my favourite time of year in the air: autumn spread her fingers into the breeze and scattered the sweet smells of fallen apples, ripening blackberries and that slight drift of woodsmoke from a distant bonfire. It isn't quite here I know, but I am ready for it particularly as our summer weather has been such a washout.

The little gnarled apple in front of Davey's writing room is bowed under the weight of her bounty; each year the ground she grows in feed and nurtures her thanks to the richness of the soil from running our hens there previously. At the time we worried about the damage to the roots from the incessant scratching of strong claws, but now the tree is returning to a health I have never seen since I have lived here and rewards us with copious amounts of cox-type apples.

The windfalls are scattering the ground and so today I gathered them up to turn into wine with the addition of a few damsons from our Merryweather - such a pretty name don't you think? - some blackfairies, lemon, orange, plump raisins and sugar. I love this alchemy where time turns such ingredients to wines, jams and rich, lustrous chutneys just filled with mouthwatering flavour.

This gathering and preserving is another of the things I love about autumn. I seem to have a need to hoard away whether it is food or wood for winter fires. Not sure what I think is going to happen, but I do know that we have the best time consuming the fruits of our labours and as for curling up by the fire, watching the flames as they curl of the chimney - well, what could really be better?

I also find the autumn brings a real creative surge for me. The chilly days mixed with hot sun seem to spark something inside and I find designs easy to conjure up. The turning colours of the landscape combined with the beautiful grasses shimmering everywhere I go somehow call to the me that sometimes gets a little lost in the busy fabric of everyday and I want to translate it into my work or to handle the tactile wools for knitting which I often find less appealing in the summer. Sewing for pleasure also becomes a desperate need, hence the recent acquisition of these gorgeous fabrics.

They are intended as a quilt for our bed, my first double quilt. A long term project methinks, especially as the build up to Christmas is already well underway and time will no doubt be even more precious.

The colours are soft raspberries, reds, creamy white and some beautiful mint green for contrast. As ever, my photos do no justice to the pretty tones.

And so, that is where I am at right now: thinking and planning and looking forward to the next bit. Enjoying the harvests from garden and hedgerow

Enjoying meals with the family round the table (in a kitchen transformed by proper lighting at last thanks to clever Mr Dave...woohoo!).

Enjoying batches of brownies slathered in thick gloopy custard.

Enjoying the children cooking up messes, from the eldest of the girls making rice crispy cakes

to the littlest of the girls making fairy cakes this morning with her mummy

to just gazing with delight as such beauty as this, just because...

How are you feeling just now? (and apologies to all who are desperately holding on to summer!). x

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Beach Days and Blackfairies.

Another sunny day yesterday, another day on the beach. It hazed over from time to time and the breeze was chilly, but we all managed a swim nonetheless. Let me tell you, that sea was freezing! I'm sure it was warmer a couple of months ago.

Of course, the youngest ones insisted it 'wasn't too bad'...huh. Isabella finally consented to wearing her beach robe and felt my hat would help to keep the worst of the chills away.

About the only time the sweet child has happily posed for photographs I think.

Today was cooler with a light drizzle first thing. Jobs at home seem the way to go until the sun reappeared late afternoon. Isabella, Lucy and I headed off for some blackberry foraging, leaving Daddy and Elias to put in the new lighting in the kitchen...hurrah! No more gloom (though of course now we need to decorate as the unbelievably sorry state of the room has been brought to light).

The blackfairies (yes, Isabella still calls them that) in our usual patch seem late this year, but we picked plenty for an apple and blackberry crumble.

I absolutely love pictures of fruits and nuts, and that whole autumnal 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' thing - yes, I know it's supposed to be summer and it certainly isn't mellow in the right way, but you know what I mean.

A little rest for Lucy as the breeze carried her dreams away.

The light was so flat and dull, but it was good to get outside and walk.

Please note the empty box

Isabella ate as she picked and thus her box remained determinedly lacking in the fruit department.

Home once more and the lighting is done, Isabella has long since fallen asleep snuggled in her bed, two children are playing Monopoly on the sitting room floor, and Dave and I are about to sit down with a glass of last year's blackberry vodka...lovely.

Have fun x

Monday, 16 August 2010

Images From Our Day.

Just a short post today for the sun is shining and I want to see if I can clear the workload ready for some more of this...

Yes, finally we had hot, hot sunshine. A blissful day of lazing on the beach - actually I didn't do much of that now I come to think of it because the rock pools were so beguiling. Just look at all these finds from the two kinds of starfish to an endless supply of hermit crabs.

All were returned safely to the pools leaving Isabella free to stick her foot into the bucket. Why you may ask? I really haven't a clue.

Still, it made her giggle and that is always a lovely sound to hear with the swooshing of the sea as a background accompaniment.

Really so very pretty aren't they?

So, at last I have stopped moaning about the weather and am hoping to spend today doing much of the same.

What are your plans today? x

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A Winner!

Oops, I forgot to post the winner of my Lavender & Bees Notebook giveaway. I actually did the random number generator thingy earlier today, but then got on with some sewing instead of blogging. Hmm, such a butterfly brain at the moment.

The winner is.... the lovely Kate from the very pretty and most readable Harmony and Rosie . Actually, I do recomend you go have a read as kate has some lovely pictures of a recent trip to Cornwall for you to peruse.

Thank you all for entering and Kate could you please forward me your details to poltiskofarm@talktalk.net so that I can get the notebook off to you. May well do another one soon, but in the meantime I have been drying herbs to remind me of summer when the weather is grim (!!!)

Scoffing loads of courgettes and tomatoes laced with garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and gorgeous herbs from the garden.

Picking pounds & pounds of our own scrumptious greengages

Beginning the blackberry season with ones from our garden before raiding the hedgerows. We are blending a bottle of last years blackberry wine to a bottle of reduced price Merlot to make the best red wine ever. Everyone old enough to imbibe is obsessed with it as it has the most gorgeous rich, fruity flavour, full body and is just amazing, plus each bottle of mixed wine costs us £2.00 per bottle! We are planning to make gallons this year.

Picking pretty flouncy sweet peas

Doing a lot of sewing

and generally just enjoying chilling out. Of course, a little more sun would be most welcome. Not asking for much am I?!

Bye for now x