Sunday, February 2, 2020

A day without rain

What a lovely day! After days of dark and dreary weather, the sun was shining clear and bright today. Although there was a brisk wind coming from the west, it was far too delightfull to stay inside.
With my cozy winter coat, shawl, and mittens on, I put on my shoes and went outside.
I fetched up my shovel and rake and started working in the garden. After a short while, it seemed not that cold any longer and soon my mittens and shawl were hanging over the fence. The first pair of garden beds were now cleaned up, after the neglect of the late summer. The rich black soil, now freshly racked, is lying ready for the growing season yet to come.

Pleased with the work of this morning, I made a large cup of cocoa, to both my husband and me and we had a piece of apple pie to go with it. 

Monday, January 6, 2020

New year and 2019 in pictures and a silly movie

“To a bright New Year and a fond farewell to the old; to the things that are yet to come, and to the memories that we hold.” “May you have a prosperous New Year.” “Wishing you a happy, healthy New Year.” “May the new year bless you with health, wealth and happiness.”

12th night gone by, it´s the end of the Christmas season. All decoration is taken away and the house is cleaned up. We had a delightful time, got many Christmascards and some surprising gifts. 

A whole new year lies ahead of us, many new ideas to try and continuing on our path to self-sufficiency. 

We are halfway through the winter now and the loft is still full of hay, the pantry filled with many cans of canned food, and in the root storage is also enough left. Maybe it´s not as diverse as we should like, because of some crop failures of last year, but we can eat our stomachs full of delicious meals.  I like to search through wartime ration meal recipes from the UK. They use often the vegetables I have available, like potatoes, carrots, onions, and are healthy and very filling. Although eggs were on ration at that time, no egg ration for us. With only 4 laying hens, almost every day 1 egg and sometimes 2! It´s the first year that we have eggs in the winter. Very useful if you like vanilla pudding... ;) 

These photos are my 2019 in a glance 

 January, just finished my new woolen winter coat in time before the cold arrived

Baking small homegrown cornbread on the stove

 In April it was lovely weather for a bicycle tour with a picnic

In May we started on renovating the south wall from our house and had lots of rhubarb and eggs

 It´s on the 6th of June! A national holiday!

Because we are renovating our house we had, unfortunately, no time to dance with our folk dance society on this big day. But because we love to dance, we made our own dance party in the backyard.

Reading a book in our garden, the old rose variety smells lovely 

In June, haying, haying and more haying

First time for our little pony to draw the haywagon

In September we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary 

and the year ends with the same it started, snow! 


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A glimpse of the hay harvest

This morning, with the scythes on our shoulders and the little old border collie by our side, we set off again to the meadow we are mowing. The mist was hanging in thick clouds on the fields. The sun could not prick trough it yet. When we reach the meadow we already have harvested, two deer are greezing in the field. The remaining haystacks are covered in the mist, it´s almost like a painting, so perfect and bright. Then the deer are scared upp with our presence and galop away into the woodlands. Mowing with the scythe is hard work but working together it´s pleasant. It´s not really difficult, so I think it´s always a nice time to meditate about one thing or the other. Mostly we work in silence, just side by side. The only noise you hear is the scytheblade cutting through the grass, the birds singing, the crickets chirping and the crowing of the rooster att home. It´s very peacefull out here. Every now and then we sharpen the blade and off we go again. Swish, swish, foot for foot the grass is cut. Around trees and stones, every inch turns into hay. It´s not only grass but also lots of weeds and herbs, tistles and even small trees. Even a wild mint grows here and there, it´s the most lovely smell when it is cut but also when you, in the dark wintermonths, are filling the hay trough, it smells like summer.
Everything is blooming and booming in the garden. The calendula is on it´s best, orange and yellow flowers everywhere. Peas, beetroots, potatoes, carrots and loads off other stuff it´s just ready to be eaten. Many jars are already filled and canned with various berries and now the time will soon come for making various pickles. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

tomatoplants, chicken coop and quilting

It´s been a while since I last wrote to you. The winter months have changed to the busy springtime. After a dry april month it´s now almost perfect, alternaty some rain and then some sunshine. Although the month started very cold with most of the nights below zero. I kept my tomatoplants already in the polytunnel and with some cardboard and frostblankets they survived the frost. Until that last night, on the 14th of may, a final frost came and they al where flaggy and I susposed dead. It was very sad indeed. To cover the lost I sowed the same day 16 new tomatoesseed, I know it was a bit late but you can always try, don´t you? The next couple of days I was occupied with other projects on the homestead and paid not attation on the polytunnel exept for watering the seeds. But then, when I had time to trough the frozen tomatoplants away, I spotted on almost every plant new very small baby leafs! They were not dead at all! Since then, I have taken particulary care for them and the hopes for a tomato harvest have returned! Some of you may already have noticed, that exept from the resurrected plants I have now 16 more lovely seedlings to take care of. I hope they will all fit in in the poly tunnel....

Beside working in the garden we also fininshed a chicken coop. I think it is the most lovely chicken house ever. Made on the axle from a very old farmwagon, it´s easy to wheel. Our chickens have a great time in it and every day we drive it on a new bit of grass.

After more than 40hours of handquilting, which did take several months, I finished my first patchwork quilt for on our bed. Made from only scratchpieces I had on hand. The patchwork I made the winter before, entirely handsown, and after I get a quiltingframe as a christmas gift, I started in Janari on the quilting.

Now this one is done, I will soon start on making a second one. I have chosen for the bethlehem star pattern, which was a very popular pattern in the eightteen hunderds.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

First day in the garden and considering off grid living

Today the sun was shining, the birds were singing and my lovely hens were picking in the just turned soil, it felt like springtime had arrived.

After the long dark winter I had longed to be outside in the garden again and finally that time has come. With the spade I turn the rich black soil up. My hens are just in front of my spade to snatch the worms that come up, the hen that gets the worm runs away followed by a very hungry troop, sometimes it´s looks almost like a rugby match. I love just watching the hens, they are so intelligent and clever and it´s very interesting to see how the pecking order works. 
With February almost passed away I need to hurry to decide which crops I want to plants this year. It will not vary much from year to year, but the quantities change over the years and I try every year some new plants or verities.
 Our cats are also loving the warmer weather, hunting and clambring everywhere, even on our car :)

Despite of the dryness of last year we have still food left. It´s now a race against the clock to eat the last potatoes before they sprout, and there is still some fresh kale and brussels sprouts in the garden. In the pantry have we jams and canned tomatoes, berries and pears and some jars with pickles. When we run out off fresh food we can still eat from the dried beans and dried corn and maybe by then the first nettles have grown.  

 We have been cogitating for years about to go off grid in the future. All pros and cons must be weighted. Although we use only 125 kWh on a year, it´s something we are used to. Will it be functional to produce electricity for the computer and the phone with solar power? What will it cost? What will we spare by being off grid. This will be the main question's to seek out this year. It would be a big step in the right direction if we could produce our own electricity.

Friday, January 25, 2019

A Victorian winter paletot

I finished my new winter coat! 100% wool both in the outer fabric, which makes it waterproof, as wool in the lining and I quilted an interlining to the lining. This makes the coat really warm.

I found a free pattern from the Godey’s ladies magazine from 1858 for a fall paletot. I did enlarge the pattern and made a muslin, although it fitted it was not what I had expected. But I used this muslin to draft a completely new pattern. After some hours of refitting, I had made my final pattern.

 the orginal drawing in the magazine

quilting the lining

 the pattern pieces drawn on the fabric

 sewing on my singer treadle sewing machine

Made of brown wool felt with a detachable cape

The coat is closed with 8 metal buttons

and 2 button closed pockets.

Bound buttonholes and the blue-grey wool lining

Princes seams on the back

I realy like how it turned out and I love to wear it!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Redecorating the living room

Last weeks I have made some new curtains for the living room. That was the last step for the makeover in there. Except from cleaning and removing the old floor, we had done nothing to it after we moved in. The old windows were in great need for paint and repairing. One of the window glasses was broken when we bought the house. The rain had blown in trough there and did some damage to the window frames. 

After days of scraping off the old paint and sanding it then, I could finally apply the new paint. Now with the windows weathertight was it even worth that the floor received a new layer of paint.  The wallpaper did we not change. It is probably from the 50´s when they (the former owners) did redecorate the living room. Although it is discolored here and there and has some water damage underneath the windows and besides the chimney, I love the design and the color.

The house has old single-pane windows with handblown glasses which makes that there is often a cold draw when you sit in front of it. To make it more comfortable I took the decision to make floor length velour curtains. Because I don´t like when you see the stitching’s on the right-side, I sew all the seams by hand using a blind hem stich.  It took a bit longer than expected men after a while it was done! Still there are some things to do. 

I must buy some nice tie back ropes and when I order something in the shop where I bought the velour, I will buy some extra velour to make some nice curtain drapes, pleated onto the wooden frame. That looks nice and this will hide the curtain rods.