Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Spring has sprung!

Spring is well and truly here and  I really need to sit down and appreciate it before it has passes me by! The pace of life is not reducing as new projects replace ones that are now complete!

Last weekend we took a short trip up to London to enjoy a lovely Easter lunch with my sister followed by a wander across Hyde Park to the Royal Albert Hall to attend the 25th anniversary concert by the folk group 'Show of Hands.'

Back home in Dorset everything is looking so fresh and green accompanied by beautiful spring blossom and flowers.

Our annual Good Friday Hike this year took us into the countryside, even a field of dandelions was a delightful find.

 In a hidden valley, a pretty cottage and barn were surrounded by hedgerows, which had splashes of the white blossom of blackthorn and leaves in various stages of emerging. 

While the wild garlic and bluebells scented the air.

 A green field of wheat grass.

 and empty winding lanes in the Bride Valley that head back to the start of our walk.

Hope you all have had a wonderful weekend too.
Sarah x

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Living a greener life

One idea can lead so far........

Our town hall clock is an important feature of the town.  The clock face has occasionally turned different colours for short periods for celebrations/commemorations.. When I originally came up with the concept of creating a fortnight to celebrate all the green initiatives in the town, the clock was an important part of this idea.  The idea of the fortnight was also to encourage the community to look at their lifestyle and take further steps to make it more environmentally friendly and reduce their carbon footprint. When I previously mentioned the fortnight on my blog some of my followers asked what they could do too, so here are some suggestions......

1) Reduce the miles that food is being transported by buying locally produced items. Fresh seasonal food tastes better, you get friendly expert advice from the growers, there is less packaging and it helps to support local jobs and the local economy. Just by shifting a percentage of your weekly spend from supermarkets to local businesses can make a huge difference to their livelihoods.

2) Grow your own vegetables and fruit and create a wildlife friendly garden.

3) Reduce your energy consumption when you need to buy a new equipment choose the most energy efficient models. Energy efficient light bulbs have improved so much over the years they now come in wide range of sizes and fittings and warm white and daylight versions. If you need to replace any light bulbs the LED ones are the most energy efficient.

4) Consider a car free day or use your car for one less journey a week. Going by bike or walking can turn into a pleasurable experience by bringing you closer to nature.

Winter storms in 2014 at Portland, Dorset.

5) If you are concerned about the effects of climate change and want to do more consider joining a group where you can work with others to improve things in your locality too, or just find out more about the issues.

Suggested groups include :-

Transition Towns (they started in Totnes and Ireland 10 years ago and now have groups  in over 50 countries.
Other environmental groups also have local groups e.g. Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth,.

A French film called Demain - 'Tomorrow' has just produced an English version. If you ever notice that it is showing in your area I would strongly recommend that you see it. It is a documentary that instead of focusing on the environmental problems highlights the positive work that ordinary people have done  in 10 countries to live a greener life.

The greatest hurdle is to make that initial change to your habits and do things differently. Is there anything you think you could do to live a greener life?

Sorry for not much blogging activity here or visiting others, normal service will resume soon!
Sarah x

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Through the garden gate March 2017

The garden has made a remarkable transformation in the last month, so much has started to reappear from plants to bees and butterflies. The birds seems to be singing constantly in daylight hours and we are already appreciating the longer evenings.

The first tulips have appeared in the garden with the promise of many more to follow, these grape hyacinths have been a uplifting sight from my kitchen window.

Some flowers like the crocus have appeared and disappeared in a short space of time.

 These daffodils were a new addition to the garden.Having failed to find any Thalia daffodils last Autumn I was initially attracted to the name of these Sailboat daffodils- the swept back petals look like sails catching the breeze.  At one point this month they had to contend with gale force winds. The casualties of this were taken inside to admire and filled the rooms with a beautiful scent. Do you have a favourite daffodil?

March has also been a busy time in the garden. We ordered 750 litres of  composted cow manure from a local farm. It arrived when my daughter was away in Tenerife and with my husband still recovering from his operation the job of putting it on the beds was left to me!. The beds did look good  when I had finished and then when Monty Don, on Gardeners World recommended this job, it felt good that I had already achieved it!

I have previously shared my cutting flower border with some fruit plants. In one of those moments of
direct action I decided to remove the rhubarb and gooseberry to a different part of the garden and have gained so much more space for flowers! This is probably just as well with the number of seeds I have just started to propagate!

Same views as last month just much greener!
The garden is erupting in so many different shades. Plants or seeds from friends are always treasured. The white honesty flowers are from seeds that fellow blogger CT sent me.

 The start of Spring is such a wonderful time these daffodils brightened my day and made me smile ,  I hope they brighten yours too!

If you want to join in with Through the garden gate each month please let me know in the comments below and I will add your site. Those participating this month so far are :-

Coastal Ripples

Rusty Duck

Glebe House Garden

Urban Veg Patch

 Thank you for the supportive comments about dear Twinkle they gave us such comfort.
Sarah x

Thursday, 23 March 2017

A tribute to Twinkle

Yesterday was  a sad day for us. we had to say goodbye to our beloved cat Twinkle.

If you think of life as a play she held the role of director in the family. She knew how to keep Daisy and then Tavi in check, was a reliable time keeper reminding us that meal times were due, and provided a calming influence most of the time! She rarely appeared in the limelight but her antics brought us joy, laughter and fun.

Twinkle and Daisy

Twinkle and Tavi

A cat in a bird's nest

We first met her when she was about six months old when she started to appear in our previous garden. She seemed fascinated by our West Highland Terrier Daisy and often appeared on the fence. Then on our son's 16th birthday as we sat in the garden after school she came into the garden injured. We rushed her to the vet who told us that she was 9 months old, was pregnant and had been hit by something possibly a car or a person. We put up posters and went from house to house to find out where she had come from, but although she had been spotted by others no one claimed her.  We never did discover what had happened to her but she never appeared to be frightened of vehicles and would sit at the bottom of the drive watching the cars,buts and lorries go by. She was however very frightened of men apart from my husband and son and would hide away when any workmen or male friends came into our home. One of her eyes was damaged and over the years her sight deteriorated.

There was one instance when we were planning on taking her to the cattery before we went on holiday that she took matters into her own hand, escaped into the garden and found a good hiding place. Luckily our neighbour offered to feed her while we were away and she never went to the cattery again while we were on holiday!

We were concerned that when we moved that she would not like her new surroundings and despite already living with us for nearly eight years she might disappear. She did however love her new home, the neighbouring field provided a good place for shrews and the fence posts provided a good look out . Luckily, she never, as far as we were aware, ventured as far as the cliff edge or saw the sea.

Last year her breathing became more shallow and we had to inject her every day, she still however enjoyed the pleasures that she had previously enjoyed. Over the past year we have had many occasions when we thought that she wouldn't make it but each time she managed to bounce back. Last month we had numerous visits to the vet and had to inject her 3 times a day, her heart-beat was so fast the vet couldn't count it. Yesterday on returning home from a walk with Tavi we discovered her lying in the bedroom in pain and unable to move, the vet confirmed that the kindest thing would be to put her to sleep.

The house feels empty and quiet without her,  when we opened the door for her she would always meow her thanks. The passing of pets can be so sad but we had the privilege of being chosen by her to be her human companions and share our lives with her for almost ten years. Rest in peace little one.

Sarah x


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