Saturday, 30 August 2014

Farewell to August

Summer days.  Sunshine, picnics, long country walks, running through fields of corn, laughing, with puppy dogs gambolling at our feet.  So it didn't quite go like that this year.  It was more along the lines of endless hours of Monopoly, awkward car trips with a plastered leg laid uncomfortably along the back seat, showers and slugs, too many library books and a peaky guinea pig.  But I loved it all the same and I'll be sad when it's over, as I always am.  


A few snapshots from this week.  A quick trip to the park.  A treat from the farmer's market.  The boys are loving plums at the moment, and I wanted them to have some proper ones, locally grown Victorias.  They were delicious.  I have high hopes for my little tree at the allotment.  And I'm wondering if I can squeeze in another one somewhere...


Gooseberry and raspberry crumble.  The autumn fruiting raspberries are doing well this year, and they always feel like a bit of a luxury in August and September.  


Card houses.  For a while it got quite competitive.  And ever so slightly obsessive. 


And the grief when someone knocked someone else's down had to be seen to be believed.  You have no idea the yelling and arguments that they caused.  The biggest boy built this one up to sixteen storeys.


The littlest boy walked past a bit too fast causing a slight breeze.  The whole lot fell down.  Everyone was sent to bed.  I had to have a sit down.

We found this chap in the garden.  Not slug, but a lovely silken caterpillar, an elephant hawk moth.  Huge and really fast moving with really grippy feet.  We only picked him up to put him somewhere safe, and we were very gentle and very closely supervised.



I've yet to see the actual moth, it must be enormous.  I do hope he visits when he gets his wings.  I managed to get a very distant shot of this red admiral butterfly.  I'm rubbish at taking butterfly photos, they must see me coming because I never seem to be able to get close.


Despite the feeling that I haven't made best use of the allotment this year, there are still things to pick (including nine cucumbers).   The little people came to help for a brief hour.


I let them loose with the fruit saw, and between them they cut down the artichokes for me.  How they love to wield sharp implements, it's honestly one of their best things.



This afternoon we all went to the country park and spent a while looking at this wonderful view.  This is just a sliver of it, you can see miles and miles of the river from here.


I love seeing the fields turn different colours as the seasons roll around.  The farmers are busy at the moment, we quite often see them working on Saturdays and Sundays, until quite late.  It scares me when I hear that they are being forced out of business.  I can't imagine what the land would look like without them.  This is surely England, ancient churches nestling in tree-filled churchyards, pretty farms set amongst rolling fields, mixed hedgerows full of the diversity of our wonderful wildlife.  I read some John Betjeman poems while I was there.  I feel the same as he did about our beautiful country.


Alpacas.  Pretty no?  And they know it.  It'll be time to knit them into something useful soon.


On the homefront there are plans for warm things.  Some quilt fabric, bought with a voucher from a friend.  I'm liking this one.  I have to be careful not to put too much pink in it though, you know, what with living in a house full of boys.  It will be for my bed though, so I might be able to sneak in a bit.



So all in all things are ticking along nicely here, despite the summer not being John Lewis advert perfect.  Hey, it's life isn't it, bitty, messy, unplanned.  I'm winging it and hoping for the best.  All I can do.

33 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you - life is nothing like what we dream it will be like. John Lennon sang these words in one of his songs - "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." How true! But our job is to make the best of what we are handed, right? And you do that well. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  2. Your fabrics are beautiful! I look forward to seeing your quilty progress. Glad that you have had a good summer all in all. xx

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  3. Summer is always better in our imaginations, I think. I also have high hopes and fantasies about how we'll spend the time and it never quite works out that way. Your allotment did very well this summer, I think. You should be very proud of all the hard work everyone has put in. I love that photo of the field with the churches in the trees, do I see one tree starting to change color?

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    1. Yes, you do, it's beginning. We picked up some early conkers while we were out.

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  4. Who says you are no good at taking photographs - that first one is enchanting and should be made into a birthday card in my opinion. I always feel I could have used my summer better when it comes to the end and always wish it could have lasted longer.

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  5. Life in your neck of the woods looks great to me and real too what with the squabbling and broken leg etc! Love the photos of the views and do so agree with you about our beautiful countryside - long may it continue and let the small farmers survive eh? Your quilt will be fab made with those fabrics can't wait to see it in progress and you have inspired me to get going on some more patchwork with the cooler days on the way - but summer isn't over yet is it? I am still hopeful that there will be a few more weeks of sunshine.

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  6. I think glossy magazines have a lot to answer for - it's so easy to think a holiday / christmas/ family meal etc hasn't gone well, or maybe it's just me?! But you are right, the reality might not be quite so pretty, but it's usually pretty good.
    Hope the return to school goes well. x

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  7. August has been such a strange, mad month. We're back from your county now...and what a beautiful place too. I hope September will be more ack to normal.

    Nina x

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  8. Sounds like a very 'real' summer! Family life is not predictable, which is one of the wonderful, and one of the hardest,things about it! Love your photo's X

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  9. A delightful post and lovely pictures. I like the first one, and well done with the butterfly. I've never seen an elephant hawk-moth or the larva. Alpacas may look pretty but be warned they are likely to spit! Flighty xx

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  10. It actually sounds pretty wonderful. A sixteen story card house is quite something.

    Wishing you a very happy autumn. It is MY favorite season. Tomorrow is my "new year's day". LOL Everything GOOD starts in September.

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  11. Lucky you had your boys to pick up that giant caterpillar - I'm not sure I would have liked to do that! My summer has sped past with my boy off to university in a couple of weeks, it seems to have come round so quickly. I can see fleece coverings on some of the beds in the allotment - are those yours? I won't get round to clearing beds and mulching for some time as I'm always reluctant to let summer go, although it will be nice to have less to do and catch up with my crochet!

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  12. I love the fabric you picked out! I can't wait to see the finished product:) Looks like you have been making the most out of summer. It's wonderful to have this space to capture it all. Hope you're having a great weekend, CJ:)

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  13. That all sounds like a pretty good summer to me, true to life, who want's a John Lewis advert, that can't be all it's cracked up to be. Those Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillars are weird looking things, I used to get them on my old allotment as they feed on rosebay willowherb and there was plenty on my plot. I've never seen the moth either, but there was a feature the other week on Gardener's World, they're quite pretty things, nothing like you'd imagine from the caterpillars. Hope the biggest boy's leg's healing.

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  14. Your quilt is going to be beautiful, the design you like will work well with your fabric (not that I am an expert). Best to get your boys used to a good dose of pink! Your allotment is a place where I quite fancy to while some time away, maybe even yielding some sharp implements, if the boys let me have a shot. I love the odd shapes of your cucumbers and courgettes. I am glad you enjoyed your summer, despite the biggest boys accident. I hope he is ok? Cx

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  15. I love the alpaca photo. Isn't everywhere so sandy coloured.?

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  16. Hey CJ,
    Olly is looking forward to wielding sharp implements at plot number 10. Your produce and your allotment post has given me hope. I have runner beans and sweetcorn, but nothing else. Apart from couch grass and what I suspect is a warren. Yikes. How do I persuade the bunnies to leave without being cruel? Your summer sounds perfect to me. Even with sending to bed. It happens very regularly here, I can tell you. How is your eldest? Is the plaster cast off yet?
    Leanne xx

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  17. This summer will be memorable. Maybe not for the reasons you envisaged at the beginning.. but it will be! Thanks for the alpacas.. cute!

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  18. It looks like there is still a lot of fun going on. A fruit saw!? Now it isn't everyday a boy gets to use one of those! That caterpillar is humongous! And the card towers might get a bit tiresome, but so much more engaging than television.

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  19. sigh ... that's what i hope our summer is like, full of green grass and gloriously juicy pums and crumble and sunshine! maybe not the big caterpillar though.
    i always love seeing rural england thru your lens, CJ; thank you.

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  20. Such much goodness where you are CJ! I loved that first shot of your little guy on the bridge...the perspective in that shot is outstanding! And just look at those card houses! I don't think I have ever made one that tall!!! Your harvest is just inspiring! You have so much yumminess up there and that crumble looks delicious! What is happening with the farmers by you?? And your fabrics have a lovely richness to them! Such a cool look into your world and the beauty that surrounds you! Have a wonderful weekend to you! Can you believe that it is September?!?! Nicole xoxo

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  21. I'm glad there are some happy summer moments although it wasn't quite what you imagined x

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  22. Yes, daily life isn't always pink and fluffy Instagram perfect but that does sound like a good summer. As for that crumble, I just want to dive in!

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  23. Hi CJ,

    I've just stumbled across your blog and have enjoyed reading this post. Your caterpillar caught my eye as I'm a big fan of moths and regularly run a light box in our garden here in Hampshire. There are pictures of the ele hawks we've had in the garden this year in these two posts, if you want to see what they look like as mature adults:

    http://countrysidetales.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/the-perils-of-inviting-your-husbands.html
    http://countrysidetales.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/a-day-of-moths-and-hunting-for-glow.html

    Looking forward to catching up with you again. CT :-)

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  24. I adore the first photo of your little man .What a huge caterpillar.Your photos as ever are truly beautiful

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  25. So sad that it's already September. Give me that dessert it looks soooo good!!!

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  26. Looks like you had a lovely productive summer, that crumble looks delicious! Your boys are having a fantastic childhood learning skills that most kids these days haven't a clue about, I miss my boys being little (time erases all the disaster!) ;)
    Jess x

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  27. So quickly. I love the recap of where you are at the end of August. I love the fabric and the plums and the card house building. Your boys' love of the fruit saw makes me think of my son's fire building affection when camping. I think he only wants to camp to burn things. It's okay, I'm not concerned, yet ;) Wishing you some more fun these end of summer days.

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  28. Your fabric is beautiful it will make a wonderful quilt :). It has been quite a summer I hope it has been good even if it wasn't quite what you envisaged ;).

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  29. I love hearing about what childhood is like for boys. Having only had sisters, I really don't have much experience with that. The games they play together sound fun. And the fights they have make me laugh a little because sibling arguments over silly things are amusing. I love the photo of the countryside. I can picture being there myself and it seems peaceful and happy.

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  30. Some gorgeous photos for you to look back on one day. I also really love my holidays with the kids and just love having them at home. I fact I am feeling a little blue since they have returned from school, not really knowing what to do with myself. Today however I feel like I have grubbed on to a little direction, I think I needed two or there days just to mourn. xoxo

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  31. When you can wing it, you are flexible and a good one bends, and doesn't break right?

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  32. It still looks like a good August was had, even with all your unplanned dramas. I love the look of those fabrics, and that quilt. And I say put as much pink in it as you want. :-)

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