What we did this summer...

I'm back! Seems like forever since the last time I logged in - I've really missed the dialogue with you all.  It's been such a hectic few weeks, the final push to finish my next book, coupled with scary episode with Mountain Lion installation, when tech peeps warned all may be lost.  I feel like there's been no head space for anything at all other than work and worry.
Chaos in my office, won't show you the rest of it!
So today I'm going to post a photo essay of the good bits of the past three weeks, more than anything just to remind myself that there have been some lovely times too. Let's start with the cats as they're always a laugh a minute.
Arlo enjoying the sunshine
Yes, we have had some sun, albeit not in the doses we'd like, but as soon as it shines the cats are the first to be outside basking in it.
Arlo plants himself in his fave pot
Clean sheets freshly dried in the sun  - just for me
I've recently designed a set of baby beanbags to go in my next book, just like the ones we used to play with in gym when I was at school. When the polystyrene beans arrived the kitties thought they were the best toy ever. My beanbags are 5ins square, so if any of you need any filler, just let me know!
Half-hearted fight over beanbag territory
Django settled in straight away once he'd sent Arlo packing
One of the nicest things this summer was having grand-daughters Isabella and Ava to stay with us in Wales - lots of good times here. The garden is usually full of colour at this time of year, but this year as it's been so wet, it's like a sea of green.  However we did find some colourful flowers to press and put in their scrapbooks.
Dried flowers
Girls sharing a joke in the garden
Django finds some shade in the den 



Painting in the sun
Isabella painting on the terrace - me in my Crocs!
Always looking for ways to get the girls to eat more veggies
We had a windy, overcast day on the beach, but no-one seemed to care, we were too busy building sandcastles, paddling and watching the windsurfer's kites.




Isabel and Stuart, the girls' other grandparents, arrived to collect them, but just before they left, we had some other visitors...

... much to everyone's delight a flock of mallards arrived in the garden to wave them off.

After they'd gone we decided to make a bonfire and burn all the brash we'd collected. Not allowed in some places for ecological reasons I know, but I think in the UK it's a matter of scale.  Here farmers are not allowed to burn the stubble any longer, but we do still have bonfire night and it's still ok to have campfires and domestic bonfires.  Sitting around a fire in the evenings with a can of beer after a day working in the garden is one of life's best pleasures and though I'm an ardent saver of the planet, I do hope our children's children will still be able to enjoy doing this.  The smell of woodsmoke in the air, the odd bat swooping around, watching the sun go down outside - bliss. 


Someone mentioned I don't seem to be dressed for this activity.  All I can say is that I've never liked the Sunday best concept - I wear what I fancy when I get up in the morning and surprisingly it seems to be OK for most things.  
Later I made a bechamel sauce, poured it over leftovers, put tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, balsamic and basil in the oven with it, and washed it down later with a bottle of white burgundy - no fuss supper after a fun day in the sun - mega yummy.
Back in York, the climbing French beans are growing apace and we had our first meal from them a couple of days ago - don't know why but food you've grown yourself always tastes better.
The day lilies are looking good too!
The other day Philip was joined in his breadmaking by two very enthusiastic helpers...

... it always surprises me how children have no problem eating wholesome bread if they've made it themselves.
The garden had a very special watering by a princess...  it certainly needed it after we got back. Sod's law that the week we were away the sun would shine unremittingly in York and the garden was looking faded and wilted to say the least.  Several good drinks later it started to pick up, but some things like the lobelia and certain limbs of tree peonies I suspect are destined for the green bin.
On our day with the girls last week, we all had a lovely time at Harlow Carr.  The planting there is superb and there's lots of great stuff for kids too.
Isabella and Ava loved exploring in the woods and guess what they found...?
... a wonderful treehouse, full of interesting nooks and crannies.

Isabella on the log trail around the tree house
Amongst other things there's a log maze, outdoor snakes and ladders, draughts, connect 4, noughts and crosses and croquet as well as the conventional children's playground.
Also hidden in the woods are several musical instruments like this xylophone, encouraging children (and adults) to have a go - well I couldn't resist, could I?
Django boning up on upcoming visit to Connemara
Next week I'll be in Dublin for three days, putting the finishing touches to our knitters' tour of Ireland.  I know, hard life you're thinking.  Really looking forward to soaking up this fabulous city - the music, the food, Bewleys,  the Guinness brewery, the craic - I'm sure it'll be great, I'll keep you posted.

Comments

  1. It looks like we both have mountain lions to contend with then? (we have them living here , right here where I live !) But your little lions Django and Arlo look as cozy and healthy (and funny) as ever. Enjoying your spot of sun looks like, and yum...clean sheets off the line? Nothing smells better in the world, nor induces a dream-filled sleep as much as linens dried in the sun . Even spotty sun. Here today we have a spot o' weather !! I'm loving it ! I would trade the hot relentless sun anyday for a verdant moist world such as yours. I love the photo of you taming the flames ! Here we do bonfiring a lot, being a stewardess of the forest as I am... no kidding, I'm a pro. Last but not least,is that some sort of gourmet 'bubble & squeek' you make there Jean? (Another Welsh friend of mine , my music partner actually, enlightened me to the Bubble & Squeek dish ;) . Everything is looking lovely. Oh ! And I listen'd to your interview on a craft podcast and heard you sing "More Yarn Will Do The Trick" ! I LOVE IT. I think I will write a tune with mandolin and yarn. Just wait. Your Princess Grandaughters look as adorable and helpful as can be, and I'm really loving these homey posts of yours. Have a great time in Ireland... I'll read about it on the flipside.

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    Replies
    1. Look forward to hearing your yarny tune. We'll be looking for some good sessions in Dublin. More Yarn Will Do the Trick is free to download on my website http:www.jeanmoss.com. Great to hear from you again Jen x

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  2. Gosh you have been busy! Its good to see you back. :-D

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  3. Dear Jean, I'm so glad you are back! I've missed your blog! Thanks for the wonderful photos and summer-update. Hilde from Norway

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    Replies
    1. Hello again Hilde, good to hear from you. Today our new grandson was born. Hope you're having a good summer Jx

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    2. Hello Jean,
      Lots of good wishes to you and Philip on the birth of your grandson. I love the pictures that you take, particularly of your grand-daughters. Looking forward to seeing one of the new baby. Have you knit anything for the little boy? What about his name?
      All the best, Eileen from Ontario

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  4. Congratulations to all on the birth of Louis, is he a brother to the girls? I love your blog, things like Naughts and Croses, but what is Draughts. See you in September, Ireland will be great! joan in Dallas.

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