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Sunday, July 14, 2013

In the Summertime

This has been a jam packed summer up to now. For the last couple of weeks the weather has been wonderful and it has really felt like a proper summer for the first time in years. The relatively quiet summer that I had been envisaging has turned into a tremendously busy one with much happening - some things sad but many more things joyous. I have been making a conscious effort to take time out of the working week to spend time with mum and dad and also to tend my garden which has in turn rewarded me with an incredible crop.

broccoli and kale plants

one of my lavender plants

pears forming on the tree

Beautiful pea plants

 turning into pea pods!

A pumpkin flower which opened this morning

A few sprigs from the impending redcurrant haul

My first sage flower

A days harvest

 A few weeks ago we also built this beauty in the garden where I hope to spend many a day working on various projects. There's a lot of work to be done to make it 'user friendly' as yet though.

the summerhouse still au naturel

The first step is protecting it from the elements and making it look pretty. I chose a soft blue edged in white to soften the structure and work with the surrounding planting. Still so much more to do but is beginning to look so so lovely.

and after its coat of paint

 We were also very lucky to be invited to Wolf Lowe Farm on the border of Staffordshire and Shropshire. Wolf Lowe Farm is a beautiful smallholding set in an unbelievably tranquil setting. I'll be writing a full blog post about our fabulous day with them next week but here is one of the main reasons why we were invited:

 This beautiful hebridean ewe is one of a small flock that live on the small holding. Alongside the Hebrideans are these magnificent - and somewhat larger - Poll Dorsets.

 We went to "watch" the sheering but as I should have expected, Gavin couldn't wait to get involved and he spent the day acting as unofficial sheep hand!

Gavin collecting the newly shorn fleece from the sheering pen

Rolling the fleece ready to go into the Wool Board bag
Inbetween all this gardening and shepherding we have also been working hard on the Vintage Shetland Project. Here's a little teaser of the latest pattern nearing completion.

We are using Gavin's own Fair Isle Visualiser programme that works hand in hand with the earlier colour readings we did at the Shetland Museum many moons ago. Again there will be more on the progress of the Project over the next few weeks.

We then took the time out to visit some National Trust properties with mum and dad. The most recent trip was to Speke Hall in Liverpool. Building began in the early 1500s with the the most 'modern' part of the building shown here being completed around 1600.  One of my personal favourite things about this house is the large amount of original William Morris wallpaper used by Frederick Leyton in the 1800s to decorate much of the interior. Archive information about William Morris wallpapers is also available to view in the house. Unfortunately photographs are not allowed in the delicate interior of the house so instead I would strongly recommend a visit!

This is the main entrance to the house over the former moat.

Here are mum and dad having a great time heading off to the house. 

And here I am with them both. I hope we get to spend many more days like this.

Finally a few nights ago I headed off to the beach with daughter Charlie and her boyfriend Denis to take some photos of some fabulous hand knitted swimsuits knitted in pure Shetland wool.

Look out for my next blog post which will tell you all about them but in the meantime here's a little taster:

I am off to Edinburgh today to help Charlie move into her new flat and spend a bit of time in my favourite city but I'll be back in a few days. I do hope you are all having a wonderful, sun filled summer.

but for now,
Ruby xx