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April 2012
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June 2012

tiny steps

From the window
Today, midday

Sunrise & rooftops
At dawn, a week or so ago

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A few weeks ago

Border & arch
At dawn a week or so ago

Lady's mantle
My favourite Lady's Mantle, at dawn again

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Resident turtle, a few weeks ago

Shed & roses
Our tiny shed. Admire the ivy-free roof that does not leak on our mower

These photos are all over the place, much like my head at the moment. I had a GRRRRRRRR, moment with Typepad and lost this original post so here it is again condensed – probably better that way.

Our garden is made up of a small courtyard which now is home to things that don't have a home in our new home. Like the children's trampoline, extra shelves and some junk; I saved you from the image but if you really want one I'd be happy to share. From there you can climb up to a little terrace and then on to the main garden. The main garden is level with most of the roof tops in the village. As you might imagine, lugging bags of compost up is interesting and not a little bit four letter word inspiring.

As we've rapidly tumbled from spring into summer weather here, the garden has surprised us with some real delights. Amazing roses, wild-looking gladioli and sweet poppies. Lots of work is still needed to get it into shape and honestly I think next year will be the time but we're enjoying what we have now. 

So if you're in the neighbourhood stop by for a cold one. We have space for you to sit and put your feet up and I might even take down the laundry – don't worry, I won't ask you to fold.

Happy Wednesday,

Jx


18 days

House martin cartoon
Pair of House Martins 

It takes a pair of House Martins about 18 days to build a nest (only a few days to prepare their existing nest from the previous year). 18 days may not seem long for a new home, but consider that amount of time in bird years. They are amazing architects and so selfless. Imagine carrying mud in your mouth, back and forth from puddle to nest for 18 days, after having flown thousands of miles from equatorial Africa. Do you think their little chicks appreciate it? Probably ;)

Good mama
Taking a peek; image taken around midday

I don't have a good view of my garden bird feeders in our new home but I've moved my computer to an upstairs location that just happens to be right underneath the eaves of our house where eight pairs of House Martins nest. At certain times of day their frantic activity is mesmerizing. I can't help but stop and watch their comings and goings when I hear the familiar screeching starting up. 

Emerging
Off to catch more flies

I've been trying to capture them with my cameras for the past week but haven't had the best luck. I managed one shot with my good Canon and long lens yesterday afternoon (2nd image) and a couple with my little Lumix just before sunset. I wish you could see their silky blue/black feathers and sweet little faces better. Most mud nests here in Somerset are a reddish colour because of the red colour of the soil here. You see it a little better in second picture taken at midday.

::: Note – click images for a closer look :::

While I haven't been dashing out to try and photograph the birds I've been trying to meet deadlines this week. Now I must be off to finish another big one. Before I do I must mention a very important fundraising effort Margie is involved in. Margie and her family are taking part in the, 2012 Walk for Memories, a Canadian-based charity raising money to support individuals with Dementia. Learn more about this important cause and the devastating advance of this disease by visiting her current post, here.

Happy Wednesday!

Jx


in-between

Wall garden
Wall garden

I'm savouring in-between time right now. I feel like these ferns that are sucking every drop of moisture from cracks in this wall. Finally getting back into making, squeezing five minutes here and five minutes there, in-between this and that and it seems to suit me just fine at the moment.

The incessant rain has subsided, now we soak up every last ray when the sun appears. Gracie even had a full day of it on Saturday when she went riding, more pleasant than the downpours she's experienced for the last few weeks, which of course didn't put her off.

Street fair
Village fair

Turns out our village has a huge fair each year; bands and beers, antiques, art and lots of food – we had a fantastic time but I have no decent piccies to show. Here's a funny video about the day that I found, it gives a tiny glimpse. The rain poured in the morning during set-up then it was sunny and warm for most of the day, perfect.

Fi's sparrow
Fi's sparrow

At the fair we got a big bag of roving from sheep and alpacas up the road (bought from the farmers, not the sheep and alpacas :) It was a great opportunity to introduce Fi to needle felting, she's making a sweet sparrow. 

Wet grasses
Grasses wearing rain drops

The rain hasn't stopped me and Pippi getting outside everyday, if it had we'd have missed so much.

Drenched dandelion
Drenched dandelion

Like the way dandelions are transformed by water...

Apple blossoms
Apple blossoms

and the way this old apple orchard is taking it's sweet time coming into bloom.

Larch love
Larch love

And I'd also have missed out on picking up these fallen larch branches, I love their flower-like cones. I used a little in-between time to circle them up and put them on the wall.

Gracie and april
Gracie, lovely pony April and, Cath her instructor (an amazing horse whisperer)

Spare moments have also led back to a long neglected dolly, her face is coming together every time I steal 5 minutes. She's a surprise for a special little person.

Making faces
Face WIP

Other stuff. I finished The Life of Pi the other day (again chosen from the Oxfam bookshop, and again a title I wouldn't normally choose). It was a good read, it ambled along nicely yet it's chock-full of philosophy to ponder. It was more than good really, I loved it.

Also, our new little garden has been receiving some much needed TLC, mostly in the way of clearing out dead stuff, harvesting the abundant ground elder and mowing the weeds. I spent at least an hour sawing down ivy that was wriggling it's way under the felt on the shed roof and I used muscles I haven't used for years – ouch. BTW, if you pull yourself up on to a roof with ivy, then cut down the ivy, make sure there's another way of getting back down ;)
We're starting to uncover a sweet space with some wonderful flowers, old roses, lovely bay and more surprises popping up everyday. We just have to find the right place for our bird feeders and the space will feel more like home. 

I'm also learning about lots of great activities in the area. I want to take the sourdough bread making workshop, join the Pilates class, the sewing group, the creative writing group, the weekly art workshop... not sure if I have enough in-between time for everything on offer, maybe just one thing.

I hope you're stealing in-between moments for yourself, if so what are you doing with them? 

Jx