Thursday, July 07, 2011

A ROUND UP OF MAY & JUNE AND THE JOYS FOUND.....

Its been a busy time since my last post, in fact the month of May, seemed to evaporate in the blink of an eye. We've had more guests than usual staying with us these last two months both family and friends.

We are so fortunate to live amidst the beauty of both coast and countryside, particularly now, as late spring has slipped quietly, yet beautifully into summer.... when it's a joy to walk over fields and along leafy lanes with high hedges.... and your heart overflows with a spontaneous love of all that the eyes behold.

It is little wonder that our corner of Wales is a popular destination for holiday makers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the cities and towns of England. There are many charming cottages to rent if you prefer to self cater, or local guest houses and hotels if you prefer to be catered for. However, the most popular holidays are camping or caravanning. Life changes for us locals when the holiday makers arrive, the population of the area increases considerably, roads become busier and the two small supermarkets in our nearest town frequently become depleted of stock... it is not unusual to pop in for a forgotten item and find shelves completely empty. Being at the 'end of the road' for deliveries, food shopping can be uncertain, even if, like us, we get into town early. Our small village has neither shop, post office or pub, we do however have a small village school with the total count of pupils being about 20. We have an ancient church and a chapel, years ago there were four chapels in use, but in recent years have sadly been converted into dwellings.



JOYS OF THE COAST:

I do enjoy these longer hours of daylight. In our part of the world on 21 June, mid-summer's day, the sun rises at 4.53 am and sets at 9.44 pm. It's a time when calm sunny evenings by the seashore, are just perfect!
Along the Cambrian coast, where the mountains roll down to meet the sea, many small harbour towns, pretty resort and quiet coves are waiting to be explored.


I often visit this small bay which is sheltered by the headland when I'm searching for driftwood and seashells and as you can see, there's an ample supply of beautiful grey smooth pebbles too, great for craft work projects and garden decoration.

This scene made me smile as a ribbon of tickets from the parking machine blows gently in the evening breeze.

Children have abandoned their sand castles and sun bathers have left the beach as we walk Kenzo on this warm, still evening.

“I have always loved the beach.

The smell of the salty water,

the wind in my face,

the gentle roar of the waves all combine to create a sense of peace and calm.”

--Anonymous--





'We sleep.... but the loom of life never stops and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down is weaving when the sun comes up tomorrow'
--Henry Ward Beecher--


JOYS OF THE COUNTRYSIDE
Early morning sunlight glints through the hedgerow, a delicious fresh fragrance of wild flowers, the dewy earth and wafts of last evenings new mown hay fills the air....


The scene is quiet except for bird song and the buzz of insects in the air.


I'm keeping a watchful eye on the wild plum trees growing in the hedgerow... I'll have jam making on my mind when the fruit ripens.

'If you truly love Nature,
you will find beauty everywhere'
--Vincent van Gough--
I linger as I approach the exquisite perfume of honeysuckle in the hedge.


I love roses and have many in my garden, but there is something about the simplicity and innocence of the Dog Rose, it's delicate pink colour and faint lingering fragrance never fail to delight.


The frothy creamy elder flower, reminds me of the refreshing cordial Mother would make at this time of year. I should look out her recipe.


Foxgloves... are another favourite, both in my garden and seeing them growing at the side of the lanes. Their wonderful purple hanging bells flowers, so resemble a glove finger and it is a delight to watch bumble bees climb right up inside each flower in search of pollen. I read somewhere that each foxglove plant is estimated to produce well over one and a quarter million seeds each year.


The glorious golden gorse grows in abundance on the hillsides, it is one of the first splashes of spring colour, but it does in fact flower the whole year round..... hence the old country saying
'when the gorse is out of bloom, kissing is out of fashion'.


Red Campions.... their colour is more pink than red, grow prolifically in hedgerows, woods in fact any shady places.

The Bluebell woods of Britain... surely are the greatest spectacle of the British countryside, the sight and perfume... a joy to behold!


JOYS OF THE GARDEN
'The kiss of the sun for pardon
The song of the birds for mirth
One is nearer God's Heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth'
by
Dorothy Frances Gurney

These beautiful red poppies look so dramatic as they grow against the white wall. There boldness sets this little corner ablaze and yet on close examination their petals are so fragile, paper thin and crinkly as they emerge from their tight buds.


I have several clumps of this versatile flower/herb growing both in flower border and veggie patch. The pale purple flowers are quite decorative, I sometimes dry a bunch or cut a few stems of the long stemmed blossoms and place in a vase of water.... but most of all I favour their culinary uses.... snipped with kitchen scissors and sprinkled over salads.


Let me introduce Cassie, my brother's faithful companion. Brother Roger took a holiday recently and Cassie came to stay with us. Cassie and Kenzo get along well together.


Hanging baskets and other containers are looking their best right now, fresh and full of colour.



Work on the raised veggie plots has been a joy and growth is prolific....


Runner beans, broad beans and peas, courgettes, onions, leeks, purple broccoli, chives,
parsley, thyme, radishes are all growing well.
'What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back with a hinge in it'
--Anon--
Here John is putting in place hazel sticks to act as pea supports.


A few garden pretties
Wisteria has been stunning this year.... the air has been filled with its fragrance and one branch, heavy with flowers falls over the kitchen window.

Clematis viticella flora plena always gives a showy display

The Rhododendrons too
At this time of year my garden surrounds me with fragrance, particularly the roses and lilies.


This beautiful rose is 'Nightlight'.... it climbs vigorously against the wall of the house, the flowers bloom yellow first of all, but gradually pinky red tinges develop which light up the whole flower.... it's very aptly named but....
......it's thorns are treacherous!

Foxgloves grow prolifically in our acid soil, click on the picture and you'll see a bee about to enter to collect pollen.
Grandma's bench is a favourite place to rest awhile with a cup of coffee or curl up on a comfy cushion with a good book.

What's unusual about this garden gate, nothing really! it replaced the former wrought iron one and matches the gate at the other side of our home.... what is unusual though, is where it was purchased..... not your normal timber merchant or DIY store, no it was a local jewellery shop! We'd called in to get my watch battery replaced and there propped up against the wall was this garden gate for sale.... open to offers, we made an offer and it was ours!



JOYS OF CRAFTING
Since childhood I've enjoyed messing about with bits of paper and fabric, creating things out of unwanted scraps as well as knitting, sewing and crochet..... not that I'm very skilled, I just enjoy 'playing'. It may even be renovating something for our home, make do and mend, painting up an old piece of furniture, altering the use of something that has been re-claimed.... there is a joy in giving something new life.

I belong to our Church Guild, a group of ladies who craft, making items to sell at our coffee mornings and church fairs. We are always trying to think up new ideas of items that we can sell to raise funds. Here are a few of my recent makes.....


This notice board was achieved with help from John who cut the piece of board to the required size. I covered it with quilt wadding and over that the blue and white strip fabric, it was all stretched and stapled firmly at the back as too was the ribbon.

These pot were made one sunny afternoon at a Guild craft session, unfortunately the picture doesn't display then very well... driftwood found on a local beach has been glued around the pot and raffia and dried seaweed added for decoration. The pots can be used a candle holders, a posy of flowers or pen pots.

The shape of the driftwood often prompts ideas for what it can be made into.

More scraps of fabric are used in the making of these pretty cat lavender sachets... great for use as a drawer fragrance and great for deterring moths.



The art of decoupage is used to transform these
smooth stones from the beach.... decorated with paper napkin and other cuts-outs, they become paper weights and doorstops.

Paper beading is yet another simple and yet effective craft... making paper beads from strips of magazines pages or even junk mail.
A few of the Guild crafters.

Hope you are all enjoying summer, I shall be catching up with comments on your respective blogs in due course.
Blessings - Marion

8 comments:

Willow said...

You've experienced a lovely spring and summer. I especially enjoyed reading your quotes that accompanied the photos. Ah, the fascination and draw of both coast and countryside is strong. Now I want to drive to the beach!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Wow, Marion, you have waxed poetic in this amazing post. It is full of beauty and wonderful quotes and your own lovely descriptions of all the wonders you've been enjoying! It was sheer pleasure to read through this and look at your photos. You truly are blessed with so much to be thankful for there in your own green and bejeweled corner of Wales. Thank you for sharing the treasures with the rest of us!

Beth said...

Hi Marion, What a beautiful vignette, so well written and equally well illustrated. I loved seeing your shots of the water and your garden is spectacular; I especially like the roses, wisteria and foxgloves. I really enjoyed reading about you and the joy you have in life and in nature.
Blessings, Beth

Betty said...

Marion,
Here we are at the seashore! We've shopped today because of rain keeping us away from the beach....as we rode by Fernadina Cay today I made a picture of 'our' condo we enjoyed while you were here....

I decided to check to see if you had posted and you have...all the pictures are beauitful!!!!

Cassie looks exactly like our 'Lady'...

Being here makes me miss you and John immensely....as I look across the Atlantic, I send my love and prayers....

Blessings...Betty

Denise said...

Wonderful post, both the read and all your lovely photographs. Thanks very much Marion and have a great week.

Jan said...

Wonderful post! I have enjoyed and fell in love with the photos. I love the craft ideas also. I am very happy to have found your blog and became a follower~~~
Jan

Deanna said...

So glad I stopped in for a visit! Wonderful post! We are so hot here in Savannah, GA your flowers and pictures of the beach were quite refreshing!

Kerri said...

Hello dear Marion!
Ah, you live in paradise dear friend :)
You have a wonderful ability to show and share the beauty all around you, and the joy you find in each and every aspect of your lovely surroundings.
Foxgloves are one of my favourites too. I love to watch the bees crawling into them.
Your spring/summer garden is pure delight, as are the lovely wildflowers you and John enjoy on your walks with Kenzo.
I'm breathing deeply and imagining the smell of that beautiful sea air. Oh, for a stroll along that lovey beach with you both!
And down those country lanes...simply glorious!
Our daughter, Kylie, harvested elderberries today and is planning to make elderberry/apple jelly (my recipe, which she loves).
Those raised veggie beds are beautiful! We're enjoying tomatoes, swiss chard, spinach, radishes, kale....beans soon, summer squash and cucumbers. Oh, and sweet corn..first taste yesterday....and wonderful new potatoes. And concord grapes!
I can't believe it's September already, and the cooler nights and mornings have begun.
This is a joyful post, Marion. Thanks for sharing the joy :)
Hugs xoxo