Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Look closely - a quotation

It's week 4 of February and that means that it's quotation week.  I was thrilled to see my mint plants starting to burst through in their pots and it is those small beautiful shoots which tell me that spring is on it's way.

Here are a few more photos of the buds and flowers in my garden.

Friday, 22 February 2013

My Funny Valentine

My Funny Valentine

My funny valentine, sweet comic valentine
You make me smile with my heart
Your looks are laughable, unphotographable
But you're my favourite work of art
Is your figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?
Don't change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little valentine, stay
Each day is Valentine's day 
It was in 1979 that I first started to go out with Brian.  We stayed in the same blocks of student accommodation, I was in my third year and he was a postgraduate student, one of the girls in my flat was on the same course as a guy in Brian's flat and that is how we met.
The student flats backed on to an old area which had been pretty much demolished, all that stood was the old communal Baths and a little row with a couple of shops and 'The Royal Bar'.  The Royal Bar was a bit of a dive, frequented by locals and the occasional student.  We once had to leave rapidly when a fight broke out and chairs were being thrown about.  In the Royal Bar there was an old fashioned Juke Box we liked to play and on the B side of Oliver's Army by Elvis Costello and the Attractions, was a vocal and guitar version of 'My Funny Valentine'.  As a dyed-in-the-wool fan of those old musical movies they used to play on a Sunday afternoon, I love those Rogers and Hart tunes and, at that time, Brian was playing bass guitar with the University Big Band and this was one of the numbers that they played.  And that is how it became our tune.
We have the record, but I was delighted to see that you could find it on YouTube so, if you would like, you can listen to it too.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Nostalgic Valentine

This week the Lucky Snapping theme returns to nostalgia and Kathi has asked us to consider 'Affairs of the Heart'.

So, we are back at my Week 3 challenge and I am using 'nostalgia' as the theme, it doesn't have to be a long lost memory, it may just be from last year...or last week.
 My theme this month is going to be 'Affairs of the Heart.'

Feel free to take the prompt wherever it suits..
  • maybe it will be a vintage Valentine's card in a shop or a little gift you have saved in a drawer somewhere.
  • or a special little thing you do in your house that might become a traditon for your children in their future...
  • it might be just your news this week which fits the theme and you can put it down for posterity..  
To start the week we must all have a little story to share about Valentine's Cards or Valentine's Day..or a romantic gesture which was a great success .. or a huge failure even!

 This vintage valentine card is framed and hangs in my hall.  It came from a 'scrapbook' which belonged to my husband's grandmother. She was a great hoarder and I am eternally grateful for some of the beautiful and interesting things that she kept.

Her story is an interesting one, her name was Elizabeth and  she was engaged to a man who went out to South Africa to farm, but in the end she did not want to leave Scotland and broke off her engagement.  It's not clear whether this Valentine card was from her sweetheart over the seas or another!

She later married a man nearly 40 years older than her and moved to the farm and house that we now live in.  They had a son and two daughters, one of whom died falling off a gate.  When her husband died, her eldest son inherited in his early twenties, whether it was that he was not a good business man or just inherited too young, he got into a lot of debt and Elizabeth took out a mortgage to buy the house and farm from her son.  By this time Elizabeth had had another child (out of wedlock) then met the man who would be my husband's grandfather.  He had already been married and had a large family in Lancashire,  he married Elizabeth and she had another three children including my late father-in-law.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the Valentine card and hearing a little of Elizabeth's story.

Monday, 18 February 2013


It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday so I headed up to the top of our road to take some photos of the snowdrops growing on the banking.  They are looking particularly good this year.

The view looking up the road with snowdrops on the right.

Looking back down the road toward the farm with snowdrops on the left.

This morning it was -3C but the sun came out again later, of course, I was back at work so didn't get the chance to enjoy it, so will just have to look at these pictures and remember!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Reflection February - Impossible

And so we come to the Lucky Snapping in 2013, week of Reflection.  There have been some astonishing stories of courage and overcoming adversity from the Lucky Snappers this week.  I found it really difficult to think of anything that had been so challenging to me that it was impossible. I have faced many challenges but am fortunate never to have felt that anything was impossible. 

During the week, I was tweeting with some of my foodie friends and one of them discovered that I lived on a farm, worked full time as well as actively cooking, baking, occasionally crafting, blogging and sharing a house with my 88 year old mother-in-law. That was my lightbulb moment, I would journal about something other people thought was impossible i.e. sharing a house with my mother-in-law!

I put a little altered picture of her (taken in 2009) under the flap (the reason for the flap will become apparent when the cover of the journal is revealed) and I've given her glittery hair!  Anyway, here is what is written in the journalling around the edge of the page:

"I have shared a house with my mother-in-law since 1985.  Many people find this hard to believe and tell me that it would be impossible for them to live in the same house as their MIL.  I am not saying that we don't fall out sometimes, but on the whole we all rub along quite well together.  There is more tension between my husband and his mum, than between me and her. She will be 89 this year and still drives her own car, she has an active social life and helps around the house as much as she can.  Without her help my career would have been impossible, as she was there to look after our children  when I returned to work.  Sometimes I wonder what our lives would have been like  if we didn't share a house with her, but I find it impossible to imagine how it might have been."

Thanks to Anne for a great challenge, it pushes me to do some art journalling which I love, but never seem to find time for.

Friday, 15 February 2013

A special delivery on the farm!

Last Sunday we took delivery of  a dozen weaned calves.  They will spend a couple of months in the shed then go out into the fields until October when we will sell them on to other farmers in October. We have no livestock November to January and then start again in February, it works well for us as we both work full time.

No matter how often we have done this there is always a frisson of excitement and anticipation when the calves arrive in their trailer.

They seem to have settled in well, this 'red' and white calf is a bit of a character and was having a good look out of the window!

Brian had a bit of trouble with the silage bale as it was quite soft and wouldn't stay on the spike.  However, it is excellent quality and the calves are eating it well.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

February brings the rain...

February brings the rain, thaws the frozen lake again

This was a lovely sketch to work with although it took me a few goes to get it right, thank goodness it was digital and not paper I was working with!  Thank you for the lovely sketch Jennie. 

And a little taste of what the view from my kitchen window is likely to be next week and for the coming weeks.  Our calves arrived today and have settled into their shed including nosying out the window.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Through my kitchen window in February

There was a fine drizzle falling outside when I took this photo, it's actually a bit warmer today a high of 4C!  It made a surprising difference to the temperature inside the house though. 

It was a different picture on Tuesday when we had snow and a wind which meant that it gathered on the window ledges.  More snow is forecast for tomorrow, but hopefully only a little.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

What a difference a day makes...

24 little hours brought the snow and the showers, where there used to be rain.  I've used a little artistic licence to change the lyrics of this classic song to fit my photograph!

It started snowing last night and when I woke this morning everything was white again.  This time it was also blowing a gale which is why there is snow gathered on the window.  The snow on the roads has melted but it is still there in the fields and some on the side roads. Skies are clear tonight so I expect tomorrow I will have to negotiate ice.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Lucky Snapping February View

February brings the rain, thaws the frozen lake again

It's the first week of February and time for our Lucky Snapping challenge to wheel round to Jennie's View Challenge again.  It has certainly been wet today, although the sun kept coming out, followed by more gusts of wind and stormy rain showers.  We have a forecast of snow for tonight and tomorrow morning, I hope it is not too heavy.

 Reading the 'Months' poem (our inspiration from Jennie) by Sara Coleridge again encouraged me to make a digital layout for each of the months, hopefully I will be able to encapsulate the verses for each month.  January certainly came up trumps with a stunning display of snow!

This is another layout I made earlier in January when we had a light fall of snow, I never got round to posting it, so thought I'd share it now.  It is, of course, the tracks created by a tractor, the one that was cutting the hedges round our fields.

Look out for another layout using Jennie's sketch at some point during this week.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Melting Snow

Snow melting and dripping off the corrugated tin roof of the shed.  I captured these photographs last weekend.  As I haven't taken many other photos this week I am sharing these with you.