Wednesday, 19 May 2010

New arrival

I seem to have acquired another dog *looks innocent*

She's named Jess and she's a rescue from RACR like my Collie cross Darcy was. Last week I saw a request for someone to do the second half of a transport run, from my town to Chester. Since I don't trust my car to do that journey I offered to be an overnight stop for her instead. When I found out she was a (suspected) Collie cross German Shepherd, described as dog, child, and cat friendly but can be high energy, she sounded like Darcy's perfect companion. 

So the overnight stay turned into agreeing to foster her for the rescue. And if she fits in with us I'll probably adopt her so Darcy has a permanent friend. It's going ok so far, they get on fine. Now I just need to teach her the same manners Darcy has and walking will be a lot easier.

Could it be love?

Friday, 14 May 2010

How is the veg doing so far?

Sooooo, I've not actually got anything planted 'in' the garden yet. All my veg is either in pots/planters or still too small to leave the seedling pots. I have taken over nearly half the patio with my pots though:

I've still got 3 half egg boxes of seed potatoes I haven't found room/compost for yet. I may try putting them in the ground when I start digging it over (radical idea I know). My potato pots have multiplied since the last time you saw them:

The tomatoes are still struggling on. Mine look so pathetic a friendly relative has donated some of her spares. The sweetcorn (bought from B&Q) was very disappointing, I've only managed to get about 10 to germinate from the entire packet. I also have one butternut squash and some cabbages on the go (again, relatives donations). 


My peas and broad beans are ready to go in the ground, I just need to prepare a patch.

Unfortunately the garden is very much a neglected space. This is the area where I want the veg beds to be, next to the compost bins:

On the other side of the path you can hardly see is the area I want to keep chickens on should I ever get round to sorting it out:

Lastly some help of you don't mind? I have an old toilet sitting in the garden. It never made it to the tip for some reason and I'd like to plant something in it so it looks useful. Can anyone give me ideas of what I can plant in it that won't mind the lack of drainage (except the pipe from the u-bend)? Edible or otherwise.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Greenman Festival

I have had a busy weekend! Yesterday in a perfectly appropriate end to the May bank holiday/Beltane weekend I was lucky enough to be taken to the Greenman Festival in Clun. The Clun Greenman is unique in that he has a pair of deer antlers as well as the usual leafy face. 

As we walked through Clun we came across some morris dancers entertaining a crowd:

The main festival kicked off at noon with Paraffin Man:

 Followed by a battle between the Greenman and the Frost Queen. Thankfully the Greenman won which means we'll have a summer this year. 

After the battle we moved to the main part of the festival where there were craft stalls and a great beer tent with a small group inside playing guitars and violin (I've just found out the group was Whalebone). At first I thought they'd be playing some kind of folk song but as I queued up for a pint of 'Old Rosie' cider (fantastic stuff by the way!) I realised they were playing Green Day's 'Time of your life', which was followed by something from The Who.

Amongst the stalls was an arena where a pair of knights were battling:

And a small maypole:

My favourite stall of the day was from Dragons Wood Forge. It's a craftsman who works with metal and wood to make sculptures like the huge and impressive dragon that was perched next to his stall:

The whole festival made for a very enjoyable day out for both adults and children. It's definitely one to look out for next year.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Beltane 2010

Last night I celebrated Beltane. Beltane is one of the main festivals in Wicca, celebrated on April 30th/May 1st. It's all about fire and fertility. Wiccans believe that the Goddess gives birth to the God (the sun) at Yule, by Beltane the God is a virile young man who takes the Goddess as his lover. Young people used to use Beltane as a time that they would go into the woods and choose a lover, under the pretense of "gathering may flowers". To come back the next morning with a basket full of flowers would be a sure sign they weren't successful! Beltane is a time to do magics for good fortune and fertility in all areas of your life.

I particulary like this verse from Rudgard Kipling's 'A Tree Song'
"Oh, do not tell the priest our plight, 
                Or he would call it a sin; 
            But--we have been out in the woods all night, 
                A-conjuring Summer in! 
            And we bring you good news by word of mouth -- 
                Good news for cattle and corn -- 
            Now is the Sun come up from the south, 
                With Oak, and Ash, and Thorn! "
 Here are a few of photo's from our celebration:

Our altar:

Our indoor version of a Beltane fire:

Some cord magic:

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Dog show

We found out yesterday that there was going to be a dog show today within easy walking distance of us. When we woke up to sunshine this morning we decided to go along and see how Darcy behaved there. He's just over 10 months now, and while he's not really bad, he does get over excited and bouncy, so we were anticipating getting there and coming straight home. However he's coped really well with all the other dogs and especially the parentless small children that were running everywhere.

The dog show was just a fun one, nothing serious, raising money for hearing dogs for deaf people. We entered 3 out of the 17 classes as we were unsure how Darcy would take the whole thing. In the end we got through the first round of 'most handsome boy', missed the second class altogether as we didn't hear it called, and the crowning achievement of the day was winning second place in 'waggiest tail'.

We were out for five hours altogether. Not a bad day considering it was all spur of the moment, Darcy's rosette has got pride of place on the fridge.