The Owl and The Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful 'red and white'(!) boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, 'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are!What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Edward Lear

Saturday, 28 April 2012

For Belinda

I got the machine out and had a sewing session one rainy day this week. One long awaited project in the textiles trunk were t-shirt extensions. I had been thinking of doing this for a while, then back in December I saw this picture on Belindas blog, and it made it ok for me to do this crazy thing

So here, finally are two of mine.
I hadn't looked back at Belinda's picture since I saw it in December, and now I've put the two together they look spookily similar! I really hope we get to meet up one day. We should definitely wear our extended t shirts when we do!
Hmm, mine are a bit beige-y!

On the hand sewing fronts I made these on a different rainy afternoon (it has rained a lot recently, and it's not much fun gardening in the rain). I copied the design directly from an image I saw on someones blog, but I'm sorry I didn't note which one. If you recognise them I'm more than happy to credit you. I've only made these few for myself, and might give one or two away to friends. One is destined for the boat. I have plans for a pussy cat cushion to keep it company.
 And below is an on going project that uses up bits and pieces from other projects and worn out clothing. I don't have a final size vision yet, I'm just sewing 'flowers' and collecting white hexagons for the background at the moment.

Hot Tip
For those of you who keep saying you don't blog enough...announce that you aren't going to blog anymore, seems to produce the opposite effect for me!

Friday, 27 April 2012

I'm back! (so soon?!)

And here I am again, so soon? Partly prompted by Barry (thank you Barry, perhaps there are about 4 of you out there reading?), and partly by not feeling I HAVE to blog, which means I feel more like doing it, because I can be a contrary creature sometimes!
We went to visit our boat called Hope again to see how she's getting on having her bottom scraped. For those of you who may be sensitive to these things there will follow some images of our boats naked bottom, you have been warned!!
Here she is in the shed (and yes, they have to take the masts off to get them in the shed!) This is the front (sorry bow)
 These are some of the lumps out of the hull that had de-laminated and had to be cut out.
 ..and here is the hull, patched up (paler bits), and with numbers written all over it that indicate how damp it was as they dried it out. I love the rustic props that seem to be common to all boat yards.
 here's the nice man who's been overseeing the work, busy at work on the boat next to ours. He's well masked up. Fibreglass and the resin that goes with it is not nice stuff.
 Back out in the fresh air, is the amazing trailer that lifts boats in and out of the water
 ...the hole in the mud where Hope was sitting 6 months ago, and may be sitting again soon
 A picturesque boat with even more hole problems than ours
 ..I got all arty here...
 and finally a sweet little boat kind of 'resting' against the jetty while the tide is out.

In less than a month we shall be sailing her back from Chichester to Plymouth. I'm currently assuming it will be a hideous experience, and hoping that it won't, if that makes sense. It will be something to tell the grandchildren, well it would if I had any..

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

One year on... (nearly)

Looking through my 'archives' a month or so ago I noticed that my first post was on
Monday 25th of April, which is one week away, although my first proper post, with more that a brief hello, was on 3rd of May. Now, I know a lot of bloggers get all excited and do 'giveaways' and suchlike on their blogaversary, but I'm just thinking of calling it a day for now. The seasons have come round again, I'm back working in the same gardens (ok, so I've got two new ones, but most are the same), the  new allotment is coming on, the brassicas are coming up to flowering, I'm spinning a bit, sketching a bit, making a few books, chopping and stacking wood, making bread and morris dancing (amongst other things). Not much has changed, apart from giving up on the book selling thing, which has been such a huge relief.
It's been really good fun, sharing a bit of my life with, in theory, the whole world. It has improved my photo taking and some of my computer skills. What it hasn't done is produced something that I can pick up, curl up on the sofa in front of the fire, with Vince diddling away on the guitar, and browse through. And so, I want to turn this on-line diary, which very few people read anyway, into a real object. A book with writing and text about my life. I'm not exactly sure how it's going to manifest yet, but I'll work it out sometime. I'm not saying I'll never post here again, I just want to give myself permission to not feel guilty about letting it go for now.
One day we will sell our house, downsize, perhaps rent the house out and live on a boat for a while. Then I might take this up again as a good way of keeping friends and family up to date with where we are and what we are doing.

p.s. spell check didn't like 'bloggers' ha ha, that a bit ironical isn't it!, try loggers, floggers, blockers!

Monday, 9 April 2012

How I ended up working on a farm

Lambing is over for me for another year. Here's a bit of background about how I ended up there.
When I was at school my first big ambition was to be a vet, but I'm not academic enough. I had a pony and wanted to 'work with animals', but I wasn't mad enough about horses to want to be taken advantage of for the rest of my life. I wanted to grow organic vegetables, but my parents talked me out of it because the pay is dreadful, and they know because that's what they started doing (tho' not organically) So, almost by accident I ended up gardening . I loved gardening and still do, but all my life I have wanted to work on a farm. (but not own one...big difference!)
 As a person from a non farming family it is difficult to break into the farming world. Over the years I've worked on several 'alternative' farms. I've done 'WOOFING', which is an organisation that enables people to go and work on smallholdings in exchange for their board and lodgings. Very few of the ones I've visited have been in any way commercial. I worked on and off for several years, a couple of days a week on an organic beef farm run by someone quite high up in the Organic Farming world, but I always felt that the family had plenty of inherited money and the farm didn't have to make enough to pay a mortgage or rent for example. There were several occasions when I knew for a fact that my labour had cost them more than the price they would get for what we had produced that day. So, much as I enjoyed it, it never felt as though it counted as 'proper' farming.
About seven years ago, having moved to Devon, I started helping out with the sheep for a local hobby farmer. The pay was terrible to say the least, but I did learn a lot about sheep handling. In retrospect I can now see that his sheep are kept in pretty appalling conditions, but I didn't realise that at the time as I had nothing to compare it to. The best thing that came out of it was that a year later a proper big commercial sheep farmer asked me to go and do some work at lambing time one year. Again in retrospect I can see that I still knew very little about sheep, but I'm bright and work hard and I must have done someting right as I'm still working there, seasonally, 5 years later.
 Traditional farming families are deeply suspicious of people from non farming families, and, having worked on a proper farm for several seasons now I can sort of see why. I know it's a cliche, but farming really is a way of life. There are no weekends off, bank holidays, Christmas day, a lie-in after a late night new years eve. Animals need feeding and checking every single day, rain, shine, deep snow, Christmas, whatever. It's relentless. And if an animal is ill, caught in a fence or has escaped, you can't just go home at 5 o'clock, you have to deal with it, and keep dealing with it until it's sorted. There are also silly little thing that people who grow up with animals just take for granted. Shut gates, don't spook animals at critical times, keep ears and eyes open for animals where they shouldn't be or unusual noises, and so it goes on. People who don't grow up with that sort of thing can be a positive liability. There also aren't many people who are willing to work physically hard in the cold, the driving rain or in the blazing sun, and are happy to get routinely covered in shit, mud and blood.
And so, I'm still working on this big commercial farm, for a traditional farming family, who's parents and grandparents were farmers. And I feel very proud to have achieved it, even thoug the pays not good and I'm routinely knackered, aching all over and covered in the aforementioned stuff.
By the end of two or three weeks I'm muttering about not working there next year, I'm too old, my shoulders ache, the pays rubbish, etc etc. But by the beginning of next season, there I am, loving it again...for the first week anyway!