Scampi

Scampi is still nervous sometimes. He will glance at a certain dog one day and ignore it, want to meet it another day, will greet it shyly for a few days then on our next walk will throw a tantrum if on the lead and will run away to the bushes if he’s off the lead. There are a few dogs he refuses to meet at all, I have to turn and go back the way we came to make sure there’s no barky tantrum. I’m pretty good at reading him so we manage to avoid most stressy situations. I haven’t heard any local gossip but I’m quite sure we have a reputation! But it makes my day when someone on a pushbike sails past, grins and says “oh look at him, he’s so much better!”. This has happened a few times lately, sometimes I don’t remember ever seeing the person before – I’m probably too busy concentrating on calming doggy nerves to take time to look at the person’s face, lol.

But he does have some doggy friends (he does, I promise!), and he loves seeing them. George next door, who he chats to through the front gate as we walk past. Betty on the other side of us, who he chats to through the fence. Arthur up the road, who he likes to walk with if we bump into them while we’re out. Stripe, who he plays ball with – no humans allowed, they throw the ball to each other. Ted and Mabel, who he runs around the house with (our house or theirs, they don’t mind as long as they’re indoors). He likes to hang out in the kitchen with Shep. Penny lives round the corner, they end up playing in her front garden if she’s out there when we walk past. Molly, who he’ll only approach and play with if they’re both off the lead. If either of them have a lead clipped to their collar, he won’t go near her and is quite vocal about it. Paddy, who he’s wary of but will still say hello to if they’re both off-lead. Pearl and Ruby, who he doesn’t see very often because they live in Cornwall but he loves seeing them when we visit.

His best friend is Milo. Although he has specific things he likes to do with his other friends, with Milo he will do all them. They’ve had one argument – over a squeaky ball. Milo loves squeaky toys, Scampi hates them. So us humans make sure there are no squeaks when they’re together. They wrestle, run, play, sit and lie together, steal each other’s food and come over to demand a treat together – without being told, they sit at exactly the same time.

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There are a few other dogs locally that he was terrified of, but his reactions have gone from complete panic to a quiet growl then silence while watching them from a distance.

Cats. Just no. I am never going to get him to accept that cats live on this planet. He hates them with a passion and his behaviour when he spots one is appalling – imagine a cross between the spinning cartoon tasmanian devil and a velociraptor and you get the idea. Most of the time I spot a cat before he does (my eyes are constantly scanning the area for them) and I have to turn him around and walk the other way.

Practising not barking at passers-by at the window, current success rate – 50%

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Mooching about at the park

Scampi park 2

Relaxing after a hard day of play

Scampi patio

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Wednesday, 12th September 2018 at 8:07 am 1 comment

August

August flew by so quickly. I had lots of plans but time just seemed to disappear and my to-do list is still very long. I tried to write a pattern for those sunflowers – I imagined a long post with clear instructions and lots of photos – but it’s just not working out that way! The more I tried the less sense it made, at one point I ended up with a cross between a pattern and a tutorial that made no sense at all 😀 I’m so annoyed, especially as these are so easy to make. I also took lots of photos but they didn’t come out very well at all. I’ve a written it out as best I can, I’ll keep working on it (and those photos!). I’m going to give it it’s own Pattern category, work on it some more and hopefully I’ll end up with a beautifully constructed, makes-complete-sense post.

So here it is –

I used Stylecraft Special DK, Sunshine for the petals, Walnut for the middle and Bottle for the back. I used a size 4 hook. The flower measures 4.5 inches across.

The flower centres are made by working between the stitches, rather than into the top of them. Make two of these, one Walnut and one Bottle

Round 1 – ch2, 7tr into a magic ring (8 stitches)

Round 2 – ch2, tr in same space, 2tr in spaces all round (16 stitches)

Round 3 – ch2, tr in same space, tr in next space, then 2tr, tr all round (24 stitches)

With Sunshine yarn, work into the front loops only of the Walnut circle –
Into 1st stitch – dc, tr, ch2, sl st into 2nd ch from hook
Into 2nd stitch – tr, dc
Repeat all round (12 petals)

Using Sunshine yarn, dc through the back loops of the Walnut circle and both loops of the Bottle circle to join them together (dc, dc, 2dc – repeat all round – 32 stitches). Before it’s completely closed, push a little stuffing in.

Through both loops using Sunshine yarn, make another round of petals –
Into 1st stitch – dc, tr, ch2, sl st into 2nd ch from hook
Into 2nd stitch – tr, dc
Repeat all round (16 petals)

sunflowers

We’ve had plenty of food from the garden. I’ve been chopping/slicing/spiralising/freezing/pickling and eating tomatoes, chives, courgettes, cucumbers, runner beans, potatoes, salad leaves, aubergines, carrots, shallots, onions, radishes, garlic, sugar snap peas and beetroot.

radishes

tomatoes

tomatoes and garic

sugar snap peas

chopped tomatoes

aubergine, garlic and marrow

 

 

Friday, 7th September 2018 at 8:59 am 1 comment

Lovely Lovely Rain!

I can’t cope with hot weather at all. I want to be one of those people who loves being out in the sunshine, having a stroll down the canal while eating an ice-cream or sitting on a bench in the park while reading a book. I’m not just imagining this, I’ve seen people actually do these things. And they do it while looking as fresh as a daisy. I have very pale skin so will start to burn within half an hour of being outside, even with a high factor sunscreen smeared all over me. And I constantly feel like I need a shower, even though I had one just two hours ago. I’m in a permanent state of wilt, my brain isn’t functioning properly and I can’t concentrate on anything for too long. I’m just not built for the summer 😀

We’ve had a few days where the mornings start off relatively cool, I’ve tried to get the housework done then (I don’t want to, but needs must!). I feel very proud of myself for making the effort each time, then it gets to around 10am and I start to wilt again. Crocheting my blanket is impossible so I’ve been playing around with small projects. Even those are difficult, just working with yarn makes me feel hot and it’s hard work.

But this morning at 5am I woke up to the sound of rain, I was so pleased and jumped out of bed just to look at it. But it was dark and I couldn’t see a thing. This was the view of my garden an hour later – grey skies and rain. Lovely 😀

rain

I managed a few more rows on my blanket a couple of weeks ago but haven’t touched it since.  I’ve just discovered a mistake – when I start a row of what I call ordinary stitches (a row of trebles, half trebles or dc), I do the chain then work the next stitch into the same place. This gives a perfectly straight edge – when you’re turning the work. I carried on working the rows in my usual way, forgetting to take into account that I’m not turning it and now I have wonky bits. I’ll keep it in mind from now on and hope that when the border is done, it doesn’t show. Much 😀

Gardening is being done late at night or early in the morning, I’m not stepping foot in the back garden once the sun has come round. We’ve eaten plenty of strawberries, salad leaves, carrots, cucumbers and courgettes. The potatoes are looking good and we’ve managed to grow a melon. The melon is tiny at the moment, I have no idea if it’ll ripen properly in the UK but I’m just pleased it’s grown at all. The tomatoes have gone into a state of suspended animation – will they ever ripen? I’ve plaited some onions and have hung them on the side of the shed, when I sit out there under my little shelter in the shade, I look at them and feel very Pioneer Woman.

I’ve come up with a crochet pattern for sunflowers, I’ve searched and can’t find the same thing anywhere so it’s safe to say it’s mine! I wrote it in my own weird way and have tried to write it out properly but I didn’t realise how difficult it would be – hats off to pattern writers everywhere 😀 I want to make stalks but I haven’t decided how I want them to look yet, for now they’re balancing on sticks from old reed diffusers.

blanket progress

carrots

green tomatoes

Onions

beetroot

sunflowers

 

Saturday, 28th July 2018 at 12:14 pm 4 comments

Food

The garden is giving us plenty to eat, I’m really pleased with it this year. I’m not an expert so haven’t got much to say about it, except it’s delicious – and free 😀 Some things won’t be ready for a while but here’s a few snaps of some of our pickings so far. We have strawberries, mini cucumbers, courgettes, salad leaves, shallots, beetroot and onions.

Strawberries First Crop

Mini cucumbers

Courgettes

Salad leaves

onions and shallots

beetroot

Twin strawberries!

Twins

 

Sunday, 15th July 2018 at 6:51 pm 2 comments

Around The Garden

My blanket has been put to one side for now, it’s too warm to have it on my lap while I work on it. I’ve been spending a lot of time outside instead, walking and gardening. The garden gave us lots of lovely food for a few years but for the past two years, things just didn’t grow properly, or at all. This year, it’s back to it’s productive self 😀

We have a lilac tree, which grew from a stray root from the garden over the back, the scent is amazing. There’s a Californian lilac too. The flowers don’t last long on either of them but they look great while they last. There are lots of pots with various flowers. I have no idea what most of them are, Mr MB knows all about them but I choose seeds and plants by looking at them (or the picture on the packet) and saying “that one is pretty, let’s get that”.

The salad leaves and strawberries are almost ready, my tomato plants are on the small side but Scampi has been ‘helping’ me with them so I’m sure they’ll be fine! My little Christmas tree is growing well, my first proper strawberry patch looks great and the veg patch is overflowing – we put raised beds in to keep it a bit tidier (and make weeding easier) but it’s still out of control 😀

As we prune things, we throw the bits into the chicken run, the girls have a great time picking off leaves and searching for bugs.

And my Easter cactus has finally flowered!

Lilac

Californian Lilac

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Patio Pots

Dog Checking Greenhouse

Little Christmas Tree

Strawberry Patch

Veg Patch

Chickens Bugs

Easter Cactus

 

Wednesday, 20th June 2018 at 7:49 am 2 comments

Blanket Progress

I’ve made a bit more progress, I was hoping to be further along by now but it takes me ages to decide what to do each time I start a new row 😀

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Sunday, 27th May 2018 at 12:04 pm 1 comment

From The Middle

I need a new blanket and don’t want to follow a pattern, I want to be a bit more creative. I decided on a row of granny squares then was going to do rows of various stitches in various colours. So I made eight squares and joined them together by slip stitching through the back loops

square

joined squares

I always turn at the end of each row when I’m making a blanket but I’m doing this one all on the ‘right’ side, for no other reason than I haven’t done it before. The first row is half trebles, with two trebles together across the corners. The second row is half trebles. So far, so good

htr 2 rows

 

There are 121 stitches per row, but now I want to do something different – block stitch. And this is where it goes wrong. If I’d done the maths it would’ve worked out perfectly but for that to happen, I’d have to plan the whole thing. It’s supposed to be random, I want to decide which stitch to use next as I finish a row. So I’ve ended up with rows of 121, 122 or 123 stitches, depending on what I’ve chosen.  I’m hoping the numbers don’t change too much as I carry on 😀

The next couple of rows are block stitch with half trebles, then block stitch with trebles

block stitch 2 rows

The squares were supposed to be the beginning of the blanket, with maybe another row of smaller squares as the blanket grows. But I’ve decided to turn it and repeat the same stitches on the other side of the row, so the squares will be in the middle.

from the middle

The edges may not be perfectly straight by the time it’s finished (though they look fine so far) but they will be unevenly even so that’s OK 😀

One last thing – I’m pleased to announce that my Easter cactus finally has one fully opened flower!

cactus flower

Sunday, 20th May 2018 at 11:42 am Leave a comment

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