Marvellous Meadows

Yesterday, 1 July 2017, was National Meadows day here in the UK. Our favourite local conservation charity, Denmark Farm, were hosting an event to celebrate, and Mr Snail and I had volunteered to go along and help out. After a cold and rainy week, we were delighted to wake up to sunshine and the prospect of a lovely afternoon.

There were local artists and artisans there, as well as experts on bumblebees, gardening and plants. Once we were set up, it looked lovely:

And, despite being in competition with other similar events in the area, lots of visitors came along… many for the first (but we hope not the last) time.

I led a walk and talked about the different grasslands at Denmark Farm, whilst Mr Snail was on car park and welcoming duty. However, maybe my biggest success was teaching a whole lot of small children how to crochet…

df crochet

making crochet flowers © Mara Morris, Denmark Farm

And the eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed two little bees on my table – one kindly given to us for our craftivism exhibition in Manchester by Helen, Maker of Beasties and one made by me from her pattern. These two felt bees are now going to live at Denmark Farm to help to teach people about the importance of conserving pollinators.

bees

little buzzy bees and a bee house! © Mara Morris, Denmark Farm

Three Things Thursday: 22 June 2017

My weekly exercise in gratitude – three things that are making me smile – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with happiness.

First, bees. Although there is deep concern in the UK about pollinator populations, our garden has been buzzing with bees and hoverflies recently. They seem to have been particularly enjoying the raspberry flowers and the comfrey. Here are two that I spotted recently:

If you want the first, you’ll need to plant some flowers to attract them (the one in the picture is resting on some borage flowers after I removed it from the limery), but if you want one like the second, Helen has a fabulous free pattern over on her Beastie blog.

Second, a hair-do. Just in time for the heatwave (now over – it’s drizzly today), Max went to the groomers. He always looks lovely when he comes home…. you’d hardly know it was the same dog!

Third, money from the tax man. Now, I don’t generally discuss doing my accounts and how much I dislike the process. Fortunately, however, we have a good accountant and we just hand over our paperwork and he fills in the forms… and this morning the outcome was a small cheque for me from HM Revenue and Customs… now that really is worth a smile.

So, those are three things making me smile this week. What is making you happy?

-oOo-

Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.

Three Things Thursday: 28 July 2016

As usual I’m joining with Emily of Nerd in the Brain (and others) for Three Things Thursday’. As she says…

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

First, last week’s unexpected sunflower has been providing even more joy by attracting bees to the limery. I am very careful to ensure that they find their way outdoors again after they have taken their fill.

IMGP9932

bumbling around

Second, we finally have a melon developing on one of the vines in the limery… there have been lots of false starts, but this one looks like it’s actually going to turn into an edible fruit. The variety is Green Nutmeg and it came from the Heritage Seed Library.

IMGP9949

it’s looking promising

Third, an heirloom. My mum has passed on the family’s ancient brass jam kettle to me. My dear friend Alfred mended my stainless steel pan a couple of months ago, but now I can do twice as much preserving.

IMGP9951

just needs a bit of a clean

So that’s it for this week. What are you feeling grateful for?

Bees, boobs and breakfast

One aspect of trying lead a kinder life is making the best of your lot – valuing what’s around you rather than complaining about it. “Grow where you are planted“, as The Contented Crafter would say. And so, this weekend, rather than rushing about seeking entertainment or distraction, we have been making the most of what’s around us.

Yesterday morning I needed to make a trip to the local Post Office to send off the three knitted knockers that I had made over the previous five days. Mr Snail suggested that we combine this with breakfast at a little cafe that has recently opened in Aberaeron – decked out like a 1950s American diner and serving waffles and pancakes. How could I resist the opportunity to support a new local business? Not being organised, I didn’t take my camera with me, so I can’t make you drool by showing you pictures of my pancakes, maple syrup and whipped cream or Mr Snail’s toffee apple waffle with toffee ice cream (yes, for breakfast!) so you’ll just have to take my word for it that the food was beautifully presented as well as being delicious. Yes, I know I can make pancakes and waffles myself, but it’s nice for someone else to do it for me once in a while.

Bee and kale flowers

We returned home to some chores and more knitting of knockers (currently five more on my list). Mr Snail went out into the garden to sort out a slight sagging of his gate made of a pallet, but got rather distracted by the bees that were out in abundance; so much so, that they ended up in a blog post: The Bum of the Flightle Bee. Interestingly we seem to be seeing very few honeybees but many other species. What’s particularly nice is that if it wasn’t for the building work, the yellow brassica flowers that the bees are enjoying so much would not be there. Knowing that builders would be likely to cause damage to crops, most of the vegetable  beds have been left unplanted this spring. However, since I didn’t want bare soil I just left the old crops in place, resulting in a profusion of kale and broccoli flowers for pollinating insects to enjoy. Once they have finished flowering, they’ll be cut down and the green leaves fed to the chickens. I could complain about the lack of beans and peas in the garden but, instead I will celebrate food for bees and hens.

It may be a simple system, but it's working for me

It may be a simple system, but it’s working for me

The orders keep appearing for knitted knockers and I’m enjoying being able to contribute. I’ve had to set up a system to keep track of the ones I’ve agreed to make (sizes, colours, cards to enclose etc) as I’d hate to send a black 34B to a lady who requested a pink 40D! There is still a nearly-finished Welsh dragon peeking at me out of my big work basket, but he’s going to have to wait until there are no more ladies in the UK and Ireland in need of a soft, gentle prosthesis to replace those uncomfortable, heavy silicone jobbies that the NHS provide at great expense. I am loving using my skills to spread hope and kindness… it feels like a real privilege to be able to help in this way.

So, those are some of the small things that we have enjoyed this weekend – what about you?

The birds and the bees

Finally, after a very wet and cool few weeks, the world seems to be waking up again and we are starting to see productivity.

On the chicken front, Lorna seems to has realised that it is spring and is laying most days now. Esme has laid right through the winter with a break of no more than two days between eggs. Gytha, however, is not participating in this abundance and is standing around looking glum, puffed up like a football – she perks up for slugs, but otherwise she seems to be waiting for the sunshine (she loves sunbathing and is often found on the back doorstep doing her impersonation of roadkill when the sun is warm). Like Chicken Nuggets, our girls like to lay in the same box, even when two of them need to do so at the same time…

Always using the same box!

There is another perfectly good box, but they are not interested… they don’t even use it for sleeping in!

But they are not the only birds laying in our garden. A couple of years ago we had the fascias replaced on the house – there was a corner where they were rotting and blue tits had been nesting in the gap under the eaves over the summer. Of course the workmen cleared out all the nest material (long since vacated) and the hole was sealed. Not wanting to make our visitors homeless for the next breeding season we put up a nest box close to the old gap. Mr Snail-of-happiness loves electronics and installed a tiny infra-red tv camera so that we could see what was going on in there. We had residents last year, and I’m pleased to say that we have them again this year:

Nesting Blue tit

There (s)he is, on our tv screen… Mr S-o-h managed to count six eggs as she was rearranging them and the nest yesterday. I’m not sure when they will hatch, but once they do, watching them on the tv will be another way to waste lots of time!

I’m also pleased to begin seeing insects again – an Orange-tip butterfly yesterday in the sunshine and a few bumblebees (one so large it was having problems getting out of the fruit cage!). However, the clouds are gathering again, so I think that we’ll have to wait a bit longer for spring proper to begin.

%d bloggers like this: