Friday, October 31, 2014

October - The Last Post

October has been full of fungi, ferns and fun filled frolicks.

Autumn colour

This month I have been mostly......

Enjoying 'Foodie Friday' in Salisbury market place

Charity shopping in Warminster with my mum and sister.    

We loved this shop - all those scrummy coloured balls of wool.  How I wish I could knit!

S L Corden & Sons hardware store

Shopping in this hardware store was like stepping back in time by about 50 years.

We sang in Winchester Cathedral.  A concert titled 'For the Fallen' comprising of works by English composers who all had some link to either the First or Second World War.  The choral version of Elgar's Nimrod was very moving.

Winchester Cathedral 
- living in Salisbury most of my life, it looks like it needs a spire!

We visited Kingston Lacey National Trust House with our friend Basil.

Kingston Lacey

Spot the odd one out

The kitchen gardens are a new feature

We have had a great month 'fungi' wise.  One day, after a middle aged melt down involving the Ordnance Survey map and moi not knowing where we were - we decided to try the nearest car park we could find in the New Forest.

Milkham Inclosure

It was lovely.  Milkham Inclosure is a pine inclosure, first planted in 1861, consisting of 396 acres of coniferous woodland and mature oaks.  Apparently, much of the original Scots Pine was used for boarding trenches in World War One.  Big Dog loves the forest because it is so soft underfoot, unlike our flint and chalky tracks in the village.

A very happy dog

My fellow fungi loving bungalow girl was in her element too.  This is an Earth Ball

A good day for fungi foraging!

From left to right:

1.  Not sure
2.  Shaggy Inkcap
3.  Russula
4.  Shank?
5.  Some kind of Mycena
6.  A kind of milkcap??
7.  A bolette
8.  Slippery jack
9.  Amathyst Deceiver
10. Penny bun
11. Dyer's Mazegill?
12. ??
13. Yellow Stags-horn jelly fungi
14. Jew's Ear
15. Fly Agaric
16. ??

It gets dark so early now......

Still lots of colour on my walks around the village

There are lots of shoots now and the cows are back in the barn.  So no snorting at the fence anymore.

And I've been identifying trees.  

White Poplar and Lime tree

White Poplars are wind resistant and suckers freely which means that they are sometimes planted near the sea to stabilize loose sand.  It is also regularly planted alongside motorways as it can withstand pollution.  The underside of the leaves are like snowy white felt and really catch the sun when they flicker in the wind.

Not sure which Lime tree this is but it has cordate (heart shaped) leaves which turn a gorgeous buttery colour this time of year.  The wood is used by makers of musical instruments due to its fine grain.  The inner bark (or bast) was once used to make rope, carpet and even shoes in prehistoric times.  These trees can easily live 500 years!  There are some in Britain that are 2000 years old.  I'd love to see the double line of Lime trees on the Clumber Estate in Nottinghamshire.  Planted in 1840, it is the longest avenue of its kind in Europe and consists of 1296 trees - 2 miles long!  Wow, I bet that is quite a sight.

I'm glad to see the funky coloured fruits of the Spindle trees again

I'm being good and practising the piano - it is so hard!

Pops on the piano

I've got plenty of sewing to get me through the cold, dark winter months......

My grandmother's quilt from the 1970's

We found another new walk in the New Forest - Godshill Wood.  We are trying to get to know the forest more.  It is so vast and so near, we are v lucky.  And the weather has been glorious this month. 19 degrees today and had lunch on the patio wearing a t-shirt.  Weird - it's November tomorrow!

Castle Hill - Gorgeous view over the river Avon in the valley below

Castle Hill (5 acres in all) is the site of an Iron Age hill fort dating back 2,500 years.  According to legend, the hill is home to the local dragon who was duly slain by a knight from the nearby village. The local pub bears the name 'The Green Dragon'.  The tracks are little changed from the 11th Century when William The Conqueror hunted in his very own forest.

We had a rumble of thunder but we didn't get too wet under the trees

It was almost tropical!

And we saw my two very favourite fungi.

Yellow Stags-horn jelly fungi

& Fly Agaric

Esme found a den

It is so beautiful this time of year.  I don't care that the garden looks a mess.  It doesn't help that I'm always out with the dog instead of gardening!

I'm sure that hill behind the bungalow gets steeper!

Echinacea in the back garden

Corn for the pheasants

Who knew there were so many greens and browns?

Cabbagey smells

Rain coming

Back down the chalky path, legs a bit wobbly

My neighbour wouldn't like all those leaves!  
He was sucking them up from in front of his house this morning.  They have got to be the most irritating sounding of garden tools, those leaf blowers.

Scrummy, scrummy, scrummy

I made spicy pumpkin and chorizo soup today with the innards of these lovely boys

Well, as the sun sets on the village and our little bungalow, this is also my last post.  It has been fun but I feel strange goings on - it is rather apt that it is All Hallow's Eve!  I feel change in the air.  I need new adventures.  Call it a mid-life crises!  My computer is going - downstairs to my fellow bungalow girl's den, it takes too long to download the photos, having thinband in the village, rather than broadband and I find I have fallen into that inevitable 'social media' trap of recording or telling people about what you are doing rather than actually experiencing it!!!  The only tweets I like are the ones that birds make.......Off I go.  The Caingorms is first on my list.  Better get some fur drawers.

Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

September - a quiet month

September was warm, sunny and s l o w.....  

I've enjoyed hearing the straw in the fields 'pop' as it dries in the sun, watching the seagulls following the tractor and plough in the field behind the bungalow, listening to the witchy cawing of rooks and waking to eerie, misty mornings.  What I don't like are the daddy-long-legs flying up your legs - ppppfffffrrrrttttt.... and the HUGE spiders!  We have to leave all the plugs in the sinks and check the shower curtain every morning at this time of year.  We've also put conkers in every room but I am sceptical as to whether they keep spiders away.......


Walks - 

We've seen fungi at Hare Warren.  This one is poisonous, likes coniferous forests and can grow up to 4 cm high.

Snaketongue truffleclub - good name....

And, one of my favourites - the puffball.  It can grow up to 8 cm high and it's ripe fruit body opens at the apex and releases spores.  I can never resist the urge to give them a gentle kick to see them puff! It likes deciduous and coniferous forests and is edible.  It has a mild taste when young similar to radishes. I'm certainly not going to test that fact with my awful efforts at identification!

Common puffball

I am still struggling with my lack of botany skills.

Dove's foot cranesbill? - not sure....
Likes waste places and cultivated land.  
Used to treat gout, colic, aching joints and heals open cuts and wounds.  
Found April - October

Common mallow.  Perennial 1 - 3ft tall.  
Likes roadsides and waste places, especially in the South.  
Found June - September

Deckchair + basket + flask = bliss

We sat on the beach and had a picnic at Hengistbury Head

I had a snurge along the water mark

I've enjoyed lots of little walks around the village.

I like this lamp post - I keep expecting to see Mr Tumnus from Narnia standing underneath it!

Soft autumn light

Strange padlock I saw hanging from a tree - what is it for?!

I've looked for more interesting shapes

And seen signs of autumn everywhere

This cottage used to be a pub years ago

Nice haircut

A quiet village street

Over the stile

Through the kissing gate

Foooooood, mmmmmm - 

I'm going to miss home grown salad in the winter

We made 'Truly Tomato' soup out of my 'Covent Garden' recipe book
It had apple, celery, carrot and red pepper in too and was delicious

From left to right:

Rosella (my favourite - masses of flavour)
Sweet aperitif
Lidl - cute light bulb shape but lacking in flavour I think
Santonio - nice kick

We also made courgette and tarragon soup to try and use up some courgettes!

Trip out!

My friend Eleanor took me out for coffee (and the best millionaire shortbread I have ever tasted) at Beaton's teashop in Tisbury - very decadent.  Tisbury is a small town but it has everything that you could need - a mainline station to Waterloo, beautiful shops, a butchers, a deli, a pottery shop and a gorgeous florists that will make you swoon with its heady aroma wafting out on to the pavement....  I could live there.

Beaton's book shop and tea room

At home - 

I've dried my lavender - I'm going to make a nice, smelly pillow with it to help me zzzzzzzz.

Glass stopper found in the garden

Our neighbour's grapes are hanging over our fence - shame

Nearly time.....

The tobacco plants have gone on for ever and still smell heavenly at night

Our neighbour, 'Welsh Bill' has a walnut tree - I'm drying this one on the window

My fellow bungalow girl is making beer

Whilst I have been upcycling old t-shirts with my wonky patchwork

Ez and I have been having fun with paints.  That's me walking the dog up the hill on the left!

This month Frank has been mostly walking around the house with a carrier bag handle around his middle, chewing wires and hiding in desk drawers.

Frank having one of his calmer moments

My mum bought me this chicken.  
I was going to use him for food scraps but he is far too handsome.

This month we have been thinking mostly yellow and orange.....

The highlight of the whole month was finally getting a piano.  It sounds lovely.  I've been practising a lot more and strangely, it is so much easier to play than an electronic keyboard.

Our new cottage piano - love, love, love.......

Its nice to be able to pick your own flowers

and leaves - the strawberry leaves are so pretty

I like looking closely at things

Scrummy lichen and moss

Mr Bull looking at me - at the end of our garden (gulp!!)

Big dog keeping an eye on things

The yarrow in the front garden is flowering, to keep with the yellow and orange theme

Sarah's mum grew these from seed and kindly gave us some when ours died

My classy white plastic chair in position for a bit of sun worshiping

Misty mornings

Turning in to sunny days

The runner beans and tomatoes are becoming fewer and the weather is now changing (wind and rain on its way) but we have moved the sofas closer to the fire (in to our so called 'Strictly Come Dancing' formation) and have had another log store built so we are ready to batten down the hatches once more.  

Here we go!