Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Summer Camp

I was away in the Peaks for a week with "scouts" from school. I have enclosed scouts in "" which to me means we are not real scouts.  If we are not scouts, what are we?  Well, our group from school used to be scouts but two years ago the school decided to break away from the movement.  So whilst we do scouting type activities, we are not scouts.

I ordered sunshine and it was delivered. I wish I didn't. Walking many miles on the Pennine Way to Jacob's Ladder was not fun. But the boys encouraged me ( thank you Wolves ) and we made it.

When we finally got to Jacobs Ladder, it was nice to cool off in the river.


When we finally got to Upper Booth Farm where we were camping, we were issued with a 24 hour MOD ration pack. And we slept, sheltering under tarp. Damn those midges!

As an aside, thank you for all your warm wishes.  I know I am late announcing but I have been catching up on some sleep.  No excuse, I appreciate that. I did that draw thing where H picked a name out of a hat and the winner is CoventryAnn.  Ann, please contact me with your address.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Five Years of Blogging

It is five years since I started blogging. My first post went live on 7th July 2008. This is one of the first layouts I posted.

Here are a few layouts from those early blog posts.
J went to senior school.
Riding a wooden roller coaster at Efteling in Holland.
We went on Safari to Kenya.
I had small break after moving house but I can't believe I have continued posting. I was slow to the uptake of blogging to begin with because I wasn't sure I can keep it up...I am one of those who is afraid of long term commitment.
In the new house, I managed to bagsie myself a new scrap room.  This is what it looked like.  Nowadays it is not fit for company or photograph!
I used to like bright and busy.  Here are some layouts from that era.

Somewhere along the line, I went less-is-more.  Back in 2010 actually, with this post, "It started with this".

But from time to time, I can't resist filling the page up.

2013 Resolution for no new dresses is still adhered to. Go me!

The chickens are now doing something like 15-20 eggs a week.  Go hens...especially the white one that lays pretty much non-stop.

Have you done the Harry Potter Studio ?  That was fun.

Another class for UKS. 

Feeling blessed that we live in such a beautiful spot of the country.

Thank you to all my friends who continue to read and support my blog. I hope we can all stay in touch and being friends forever! As a show of my appreciation, I will send a small padded envelope filled with goodies to one of my reader who leaves a comment below. I will do a draw and publish the result on 15th July. See you then.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Summer Harvests

I think I can declare summer is here as we have just harvested our first ever honey. Here are the bee keepers for the day, inspecting the frames to work out which ones are ready to be taken out.

We have three supers over the brood box.  Supers are the boxes that contain purely store ( or honey ) and no eggs or larvae because the queen is exluded using a metal mesh that she, being a larger bee cannot pass through.  We took out 8 frames from the super.  The honey is ready when all ( or most ) of the cells are capped. Here is H holding a fully capped frame.
Then we spinned the frames in a centrifugal device to extract the honey. In theory, it should empty out all the hexagonal wax cells and we could put the empty frame back into the super. In practise, as we are newbie bee keepers, all the frames warped and broke and the wax had to be melted down for another use. We also ended up with a sticky kitchen. Luckily A covered the kitchen table in cling film.
We got, 14x1lb of honey and some comb honey. I imagine we will have another harvest before the season is out.  I am not sure we got through shop bought 1lb of honey in a year so how are we going to cope with such a full larder ?
On the other hand, I don't have a problem with the next harvest. I have picked these beautiful David Austin roses from my garden. Yes, they smell as gorgeous as they look. And they all have different smell. My favourite is the smell of the yellow one, called Molineux. Who would have thought, being named after a football stadium, a rose could smell so sweet.

When we first moved into this house in 2009, my next door neighbour saw me planting in the garden. She pointed to a Verbena Bonariensis and said, "that didn't do very well in my garden". She proceeded to add, "roses are also not known to do well here". I planted the Verbena regardless and she of next door has seen that it worked and has since replanted her Verbena.  I am envious that her Verbena has thrived this second time around but mine needed replacing every year.  But I am glad I didn't pay any attention to the roses remark and now have 10 different varieties. One, Glamis Castle isn't doing well because it is susceptible to black spots but I am hopeful it will recover. 
Do you grow roses ? I have heard people say that they thought roses are difficult but it really is not. It is a bit of a thug really, you cannot kill it. The pruning advice previously has been quite complicated; finding the outward bud and cutting upward just above it has been shown to be unnecessary. A hedge trimmer works as well...boom, just across by about 1/3 to 2/3.
I believe you can pay David Austin a large sum of money to name a rose after you. One day I will be rich (LOL), watch out Rosa Ifa Zainon and she will be peony shaped and yellow. That will be the day.