søndag, mai 03, 2015

Henhouse come 'summerhouse'

Once upon a time we used to have a henhouse. Which, in fact, started out as a plain old wood shed. Built by my husband during our first summer here.

But after a couple of summers I decided I wanted to keep hens, so the shed was remodelled, inside and out, to accommodate the much desired hens. A chicken run was built around the henhouse.

All was well, and the hens kept us (and our family and friends) with fresh, delicious eggs. And provided the garden with much welcome chicken manure.

The hens seemed happy, we were happy. End of story. Or so you would think. But it was not to be... As it turned out, the hens had got the prime location on our property.

Facing south and west, the house bathed in sunlight, from early morning way into the loooong summer evenings (as such making the henhouse a bit too warm for comfort for its inhabitants). But perfect indeed for humans. Hence an idea was born.

Wouldn't the henhouse make a perfect 'summerhouse'...? Sunlight and shelter for those summer days (and evenings) that are maybe a bit too windy and cold for comfort. Yet one wishes to be 'outside' (instead of being confined inside the main house, as in the rest of the year...)

So the hens had to go. And work got under way. It all started (very tentatively) last summer, and this is where we are at the moment.

All the henhouse 'decor' has been removed. The ceiling has gone and the room opened up to rafters. The floor, walls and pitched roof have been insulated. All of eleven (old, recycled) windows have been fitted.

Now the room is flooded with light, with views facing south and west towards the open fields, the nearby lake (invisible from our main house), and the garden. Some sort of heating, either a fireplace or a wood burner (yet to be decided) will be installed.

Double doors towards the garden will also be installed. A wooden deck will run around the three sides of the house, making it possible to move with the sun, and to find a sheltered sunny spot as and when need be. The indoor space will be clad and painted white, and furnished for dining and for relaxing.

There is still a lot to do. Yet there is progress, slowly but surely. Hopefully by midsummer we'll be able to enjoy this little summer house, as intended. (To be continued...)

As for the hens, they are gone for now, but the plan is to build new quarters for them in the future. I look forward to their return, as I do miss them (and their eggs) greatly...

On a different note... thank you for all your lovely comments in regards to my previous entry. You've made me feel missed, as well as welcomed on my 'return'.

fredag, mai 01, 2015

What a while it has been...

What a while it has been since my last entry. Truth be told I just seemed to have lost my voice again, leaving me with nothing interesting and worthwhile to say. So I thought I better be quiet. And maybe even leave it at that (for good...?)

What I had not counted on was how (after some time) I would miss this little space of mine. Miss recording the small, insignificant everyday stuff. Miss sharing them with you. Miss you... Thank you for your kind words and for your concern.

All is well in my world. Spring is here. I could not be happier. Spring so far has been wonderful. Bright and sunny. And rather chilly (save for a few wonderful unseasonably warm days). I've been busy in the garden most every day.

Not that I really have anything much to show for my efforts (mostly the usual stuff, like tidying, feeding, watering, weeding, dividing and the like). At least not yet. But hopefully I will be able to reap the rewards of my 'hard' labour later in the season.

The raised beds in the potager have been prepared for the growing season, and the first seeds have been sown. Earlier that usual, so I hope my eagerness will not backfire on me. Worst case scenario, I can always resow the seeds that went in too early.

But I'm hoping for warmer days soon. And even for a bit of rain, as it has been very scarce this spring. But rain is needed for things to really get going. Here's me hoping for a bit of both.

søndag, mars 22, 2015

Sugar and spice and everything nice

Easter is my most favourite holiday. Spring is finally here (even though you wouldn't believe it looking out of my window today. It's been snowing all day, and the world outside is all white and cold, and not the least bit springlike).

At Easter we like to decorate with delicious pastel colours, eat a lot of chocolate (haha), and feel no pressure with gifts and the like (as opposed to Christmas). Easter is pure enjoyment. A celebration of spring and rebirth.

It is no secret that I like pastel colours, pinks, lilacs and light blues. Perfect for Easter. Usually I lay a pretty patchwork tablecloth on our table for Easter. But this year it seems I have a problem. Or so I thought.

The quilt I made last year will grace someone else's table this Easter, so I really needed to put my skates on if I were to have one for our table this year too.

I realised the pinky lilac WIP would make an ever so pretty Easter tablecloth. Only it was less than half finished when the thought hit me. Needless to say I got busy. It still needs quilting, but I believe it'll get there in time for Easter. All pretty, sugary and nice...

torsdag, mars 19, 2015

China cabinet

I love china. Always have, and always will. I like the simple, utilitarian type (plain white, or with a slight touch of blue), I like cream ware, but mostly I love blue and white china. Old transferware and contemporary pieces with a traditional look.

Unfortunately I haven't had anywhere suitable to display my little collection of 'best' china. Those items that are maybe not in everyday use, but mainly brought out when company arrives. Beautiful tureens, gravy boats and platters. Lovely things that spend most of their time in hiding, behind closed doors.

Not any more. As previously mentioned, a new floor was laid in our kitchen/living/hallway area earlier this winter. This meant emptying the book cabinet in the living room (for easier lifting and moving). Once the new floor was laid, and the book cabinet put back into its usual place, I didn't want to fill it with books any more.

I thought the old book cabinet would make a lovely new home for my little china collection. Only a slight problem occurred with my (somewhat larger) book collection. Or not? In my recent quest for 'simple living', I went through all my books, kept only those that really 'brought me joy', and took the rest (a huge pile) into our local charity shop.

The result? A china cabinet. Never mind the (still rather large) pile of books on the floor, that I wish to keep but don't know where to store... At least now I get to enjoy my 'best' china, even when not in use. An no, I do not keep a jug of flowers in the china cabinet on a daily basis, but I just couldn't resist a photo of these lovely roses with the pretty china. Love, love.

lørdag, mars 14, 2015

'Keep it Simple'

For quite some time now I've had a desire to simplify my life. By simplifying I mean my house, and the amount of stuff I surround myself with. This seems to be a current trend, and a good one at that. To only keep the things that bring joy, and to get rid of the rest. I like it.

Yesterday a lovely new book found its way into my home. 'Keep it Simple' by Atlanta Bartlett & Dave Coote (a husband & wife team). And this one does definitely give me joy. I've been a fan of Atlanta's decorating style for quite some time now, and have several of her previous books. I've enjoyed them, yet I think this one is the best of them all.

The book is divided into three main chapters: The simple mindset, Making it happen and Living the dream. Each chapter is then divided into smaller sections. Ditch fashion, Declutter, Save money, The bones, Colour, Details & Accessories... to name a few.

Colour wise the style is also simple, mainly neutrals, whites & greys with a dash of vintage pastels. This does strike a cord with me. As much as I love colour, I do find it easiest to live with less. I tend to prefer the white/neutral colour scheme. Not to forget my favourite blues.

Recently many of my most colourful makes have found new homes. Even though they've been a joy to make, I'm glad someone else will get the pleasure of living with them. Yet who can resist a bit of colourful floral beauty, as seen in these lovely vintage cushions (note the large amount of white, offset by the few colourful fabrics).

Flowers. Wonderful flowers. 'Simplicity is the best policy when it comes to arranging flowers' according to the book. 'But always be bold and generous while remembering to keep an open mind to all forms of beauty. There is no mystery to flower arranging, just a matter of finding the right vessel for the right flower'.

Generally about the book... to quote the writers' own words: 'Keep it Simple' reveals how to create a happy and relaxed home that looks fabulous and works brilliantly for everyone who lives in it'.

I haven't had enough time to read the whole book yet, but what I've seen and read so far I do like. 'Keep it Simple' has given me a boost in my quest for a simpler life. The quest continues...

How about you...?

tirsdag, mars 10, 2015

Seeds and bulbs

It's spring! It's time to start thinking about seeds. I realise I'm a bit late to the game, but somehow I find it difficult to get into a spring/growing mood when the ground is frozen and covered with a meter of snow. Not any more (all snow gone, and ground thawing 'as we speak').

A few seeds have already found they way here (don't you just love these seed packets?). I've not grown runner beans before, so this is going to be a first. I thought they would look good growing along the arches in the veggie garden. The arches were a wonderful support for the sugar snaps last summer. So maybe they'll be just as good for these heirloom beans.

Apart from the runner bean seeds I've got just a few vegetable seeds left over from last spring. It's time to go through them, to throw away the ones past their use by date, and to make a list of new purchases. A task I look forward to the next few days.

As for bulbs, they were of course on the agenda last autumn, not this spring. Now I've never had any great success with bulbs. Probably since I'm not good at finding suitable growing places for them. Yet I do love the bright, colourful spring bulbs. The first flowers of the season, and a lovely sign of good things to come.

Last autumn I decided to try and change my miserable bulb growing record. Making good use of the late autumn bulb specials, I purchased a few. Mostly daffs, but also some snowdrops, crocus and tulips. And what do you know... the first optimistic snowdrop is about to flower. Such joy!

I decided a suitable place for most of the bulbs would be under the wild cherry trees, where they will hopefully naturalise in time. The spot is south facing, so it thaws early. It is not too wet (like most of my heavy clay soil tends to be), and after flowering the bulbs can be left to their own devises, to build up strength for next year's flowers.

I know it does not look like much to all you seasoned bulb growers, but I'm over the moon about these tender little things pushing through the ground. I can hardly wait for the bulbs to bloom, and hope my chosen place will work, and that there'll be lots of happy bulb moments in the future.

fredag, mars 06, 2015

Daffodils and spring bunnies

Finally I've got some of the longed for daffodils in the house. I do love it how they brighten up the room. Generally yellow flowers are not amongst my most favourite ones. But who could say no to these lovely harbingers of spring?.

Mad hares are also a sign of spring. These spring bunnies are a new addition, and not mad at all. Just cute. But hares in the wild are a different story altogether. Certainly not a gardener's friend, and not a welcomed addition in my garden, as it has turned out.

During this winter I've had several unwanted visits from hares, who have treated themselves to my roses (last autumn's newly planted ones. The lovely fresh green growth proved irresistable, I'm sure, compared to the old wood of the more mature roses) and the beech hedge. Argh!

So how did I find out who the culprit was...? I never actually saw the hare in the garden, but its footprints in the snow gave him away. As did his droppings.

We've had some glorious spring days of late. All the snow is long gone, and the temperatures are far higher than what is usual this time of the year (This is what it looked like in early March just a few years ago). So I trust the mad March hare now finds enough to eat in the wild, and leaves my poor plants alone.