Red roses and asparagus fern

My lovely Auntie H died peacefully on January 31st this year at the age of 88. Here she is on her wedding day in June 1947 – I love those old fashioned trailing wedding bouquets of roses and lacy asparagus fern. I’m planning to write more about her long and interesting life in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future.

I’ve been struggling with the acceptance/pacing stuff lately. The lovely spring weather is just too tempting and I have succumbed to the siren call of gardening whether or not I really have the energy. Which is all very enjoyable until the over-exertion catches up with me and I end up pretty much bed-bound for a few days…

Still, the garden is benefiting from my intermittent efforts and even when I’m in collapso mode I can usually make use of the computer, so I’m making a bit of progress with my family history notes and research too.

Scrivener really suits my bitty style of writing. The way everything is organised means that related documents are easy to find and flick through, so if I get stuck on one subject it only takes a moment to change direction and move forward on another.

Update: Evidence of fatigue – didn’t check name of fern until after publishing, then took three goes to spell it correctly. It’s time for tea!


A little bit of summer

Can you believe that a friend gave me this orchid on 25th July?! I’ve never had one before, but I must be doing something right to have kept it going so long. Or maybe they are just completely idiot-proof…

When the weather got cold most of the flowers began to droop, but there are still four perfect blooms left and I’m hoping they’ll last a while longer.

I’ve had much pleasure from the orchid’s serene beauty these past months. This afternoon, caught in a beam of welcome sunlight, it recalled me to the day of warmth and laughter that I received it.

Another pair of socks

Big socks for my little brother. Knitted in six ply yarn which is a lot easier to handle than the four ply I usually use. Using shorter DPNs (15cm rather than 20cm that I learnt on) makes the job easier too – I wish I’d discovered that sooner!

I had to break my vow not to knit any more socks because my family all wanted a pair for themselves – well, it’s nice to have your work appreciated isn’t it? I forgot to photograph my niece’s lovely pinky-orangey socks in my haste to get them in the post for her birthday, but I’ll try to remember to show you the others when they are done.

I’m hoping to get two more pairs done by Christmas for my nephew and sister-in-law, but as I’m probably the slowest knitter in blogland and the quickest I’ve ever finished a pair of socks before is six weeks I have avoided promising they’ll be under the tree this year.

Thinking of keeping chickens?

Read all about how to keep chickens for eggs and/or meat on Greenmeadow poultry’s excellent website.

I have very happy memories of “helping” my Gran with her chickens when I was small. I was a little bit scared of the clucky hens as they dashed towards the bucket of feed at grub-up time, but I loved collecting eggs from the nest boxes. The rustling golden straw was sometimes still warm from the hen, as were the big brown eggs which needed two of my small hands to hold safely.

The chicken run was a source of great fascination to me and my brother. We weren’t allowed to go in unless a grown-up was with us, but we could poke bits of chickweed and worms through the wire for the eager chickens to peck at. We soon learnt to reach high enough to avoid having our fingers nipped by eager beaks.

I still like the smell of chicken shit and straw, one whiff and I’m back in the chicken run with Gran. It may seem a dirty pong to some, but to me it’s a healthy smell associated with good fresh real food. New-laid eggs with bread and butter make a pretty perfect meal at any time of day.

Flower sharing

When I first moved here I was given some sunflower seedlings to brighten up my then rather empty garden. They bloomed magnificently that summer, I saved seed from them and had another wonderful display the next year.

Then another friend moved home, so I popped some of my saved seeds in with her “happy new home card”. B filled her front garden with a mass of sunflowers. I didn’t bother with sunflowers that year as the space was filled with evening primroses instead.

Last autumn I was very poorly again and B brought me some of her saved sunflower seed heads to decorate my house. When it was so snowy and cold I put the seeds out on the feeder for the birds and squirrels.

Some of the seeds got scattered on the ground and as the weather warmed up they started to grow. I expected them to be scoffed by slugs as soon as they got big enough, but they weren’t. And the first flower bloomed yesterday. It’s only a tiddler as sunflowers go, but I love it because I know it’s history and, like many other plants in my garden, it connects me to my family and friends.

Do you enjoy flower sharing?

Starting again. Again.

I rounded off the crappiness of last week by having a stonking migraine yesterday. Note to self: eating cheese may not always trigger a migraine, but is it really worth risking a whole day of feeling utterly wretched in exchange for a few minutes pleasure scoffing a lump of cheddar?

Anyway, that’s over now and I feel quite a lot better today. Not exactly normal like a normal person, but fairly normal for me and ME. So today I’ve been getting on with life again. I washed my hair (!), made a cake, went for a (short) walk, finished reading a book, gave away my peg loom via Freecycle, and earmarked quite a lot of other “stuff” for disposal.

The last activity takes up most energy – I’m a tenacious clinger-on to stuff of all kinds, but slowly, gently I’m letting go of things that are cluttering up my life. I read a quote on another blog a while back which really chimed with me:

“A lot of clutter is a lack of acceptance that a moment has passed.”
Peter Walsh

I had already started applying that wisdom to various unfinished (or even unstarted) craft projects, throwing out or recycling WIPs that I wasn’t willing to sit down and finish IMMEDIATELY. A few things did get finished, many more got tossed. I’m good at starting things, not so good at finishing them (but getting better on both fronts – not starting so many projects and finishing what I do start).

However it’s less easy to let go of stuff that has sentimental value, might come in useful one day, was a gift, cost rather a lot of money, was bought in anticipation of a future that hasn’t (and is unlikely to) materialise, etc etc. I’m also a master ditherer, so each decision to dispose of something takes a lot of thinking about. Dithering is a spectacular waste of time, which, given the demands of ME, I should treat as a more precious resource.

Bearing the quotation in mind, I’m speeding up the clearing process a bit – has the moment passed? Yes/No. That bit is relatively easy, at least with physical objects, but then I have to decide whether to bin it, sell it, Freecycle it, donate it to a charity shop or pass it on to a friend… Oh well, one step at a time eh?

Potted cat

What can I say? She looked both thoroughly uncomfortable and blissfully happy perched on that pot, which appears to have taken over from the top of the compost bin as a favourite resting place.