Friday, December 30, 2011

past and present

A short distance from the busy, bustling city of Glasgow are 260 hectares of ancient woodlands, moorlands, wetlands, river and loch at Mugdock Country Park.
Away from scurrying shoppers, concrete towers and cars is a place where faces in trunks peer at our ant-sized bodies. Let’s follow a tree-lined path through 5,000 years of Scottish history: from  a stone age site, a bronze age farm and an iron age fortified site, to ghostly memories of boats on the lake, animals in an ark and a zoo in the 1940s. The last picture shows Charlie the elephant with his beloved keeper Singh Ibrahim. They were inseparable and when Ibrahim decided to go for a drink in a local pub Charlie followed quietly behind. He was only discovered when he got stuck in the doorway and had to be removed by firemen. How many regulars swore never to touch another drop that night?

Best wishes all for 2012 from the Green Lady X

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

make believe

I love the tiny dog and the snowman made from bricks. I love Polly's felt polar bears and toadstools. I love icy ponds. I love that my son believed a bright green, talking tree at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park was real. I love to stare up at trees that are one hundred years old, with their feet planted firmly in the ground. I love to see the shiny fire engine hanging from a ribbon on a branch. Though yours looks beautiful, I would feel sad to see a fir in my living room without roots. This is why I am happy to take my everlasting tree out of it's box to decorate every Christmas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Liebster award

A big thank you to Jo with the adorable cavalier King Charles spaniel for giving me this award today. I was attracted to her blog The Good Life because the title is the same as a 1970s comedy about a couple, Tom and Barbara,  who are trying to live a self-sufficient lifestyle with hilarious results. They convert their small garden into a farm with pigs and chickens running around to the horror of their immaculate, posh neighbour Margo. They grow their own crops. Barbara attempts to make her own clothes and tries to dye wool with nettles. I hope you don't have quite so many disastrous episodes Jo. Though it's good to have a sense of humour when it comes to 'doing it yourself', because inevitably things won't always turn out as you hope.

I found out from another blog that "Liebster" is the German word for friend or love. I've met some lovely friends here on blogger and want to send love to you all. The Liebster award is intended to bring more attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers. There are rules in accepting the award.
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to them.
3. Choose five blogs which you would like to pass the award on to and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

As Jo mentioned, because it's a bit of a faff to accept with the rules and all, some folks choose not to. So no obligation at all. But I would like to share some blogs that I find inspiring and that brighten my day. So I'd like to pass the award to:

Thanks for all the time and effort you put into your blogs everyone x

Friday, December 9, 2011

Digging for gold

For a "no dig" gardener I seem to do an awful lot of digging. I am planning to follow a more natural, wilder form of vegetable and fruit cultivation but there are some things that have to go first, like couch grass and bind weed and black plastic. The person who owned the plot before me only grew fruit I've been told. This could have been about 10 years ago as the site lay empty for a long time. I have a large carpet of wild strawberries that grow in couch grass, on a layer of soil on top of black plastic bags (that must have been used as a mulch all that time ago). I can almost roll the soil off the plastic. The strawberries don't grow well here so I have transplanted them to an area that previously had potatoes, then onions, then beans. I attempted to turn the soil over but it was so dry it was like an old, dried out loaf. Perfect habitat for slow worms, but I would rather have earth worms and rich, dark soil that my plants will love. This may take some time. (The slow worms already have an area at least a metre squared all of their own; a large family live under an old carpet).

Much of my plot is covered in clover. I never have to cut the grass where the clover grows. I am enjoying reading The One Straw Revolution at the moment. The author, Masanobu Fukuoka revolutionized a natural form of agriculture in Japan. He used clover (as well as straw) as ground cover on his fields and in his orchards as a living mulch. When you 'top' clover it stimulates the roots to grow more and fix more nitrogen. My plan is to use clover more in this way. Nature has been kind enough to do much of this work for me already on my plot; I'm a lot slower to catch on.

Barney spaniel settled himself down for his umpteenth snooze of the day. He watched me through heavy eyes as I struggled with the spade. "Do nothing" Fukuoka reminds us. By using nature more we are able to work less. He thinks a person should have time in their lives to sit and write poetry or to take part in community activities. That's the kind of world I want to live in! So I followed the lead of my enlightened dog and left the digging until some rain comes to soften the ground. A few days later my Polish friend asked which areas of my plot I want dug over. Her husband has finished work on theirs and wants to help me now. He has already completely transformed the plot of a single mum who hasn't had time to get up lately. Amazing.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Being a bohemian - in the Village Voice

My blog has been featured in the Bohemia Village Voice which is available free from 180 locations in Hastings, St. Leonards, Battle and Bexhill. Thanks go to John Humphries, editor and publisher. It's a great little magazine. I found out about "A Flock of Crafty Birds", a shop in St. Leonards that sells locally crafted goods. The owner used to work in a well known DIY store and broke away to start up her shop because she wasn't happy with their customer care. Good for her! Can't wait to visit.

With all this publicity I was hoping to have my own on line shop up an running to sell my wares. But I'm not quite there yet. You can see what I have been doing so far in my craft folder on flickr. I have recently gone back to crafting and portraiture and it may take a while to build up my business. My plan is to donate a percentage of sales to the Bridge community Garden and Sacred Heart School growing project. I took a huge cut in pay to work at the Bridge community garden but the wonderful people I met and the amazing transformations I saw in lives in that garden made it all worthwhile. I am so frustrated seeing gardening projects struggling because of lack of funds when they are so very much needed. Lives become enriched, friendships are formed, people are healed.

If you are visiting my blog as a result of viewing the article, "hello!". I hope you enjoy my photos. Please "like" me on facebook, share and follow as it may help me with funding applications.
I mentioned thrifting and upcycling in my piece and said I had just made some roses out of an old pair of pyjamas, a jumper and some fabric scraps. Here are the results. Really easy to do with a hot glue gun! I can't afford to buy flowers and the ones my mum bought me are quickly deteriorating (though I quite like them in their dying state) - these ones will last me all through winter.

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