pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Glastonbury and the Very Elderly

Aaaargh!   This blogger thing is playing games with me today.   Here goes again... with apologies.

During my usual morning call to Aunt Lillian I asked whether she had watched anything on television yesterday evening...suddenly she burst into excited, jumbled, chat.    It seems she had watched the Rolling Stones perform at Glastonbury and LOVED it.     She is 91 years old and suffers memory problems, but their music proved to be so powerful that she enjoyed it immensely.     The power of music - any kind of music - even elderly rockers strutting their stuff.

My weekend duties included helping out at the Village Hall Jumble Sale - as it was also Armed Forces Day we put out the red, white and blue bunting to join in the celebrations.   We were kept busy selling 'jumble', books, raffle tickets, tea and cakes...and enjoyed a catch-up on all the village news.   It raised some much-needed funds for the village hall fund and we had a lot of fun along the way.

The next village event will be the Show at the end of August.   That's our biggest fundraising event of the year and brings out the competitive spirit in everyone.

I made my very first ever batch of elderflower champagne - inspired by Cro's post.  I'll let you know how it turns out.       It was so easy to make that I got another batch under way today.

I don't think I have ever looked closely at elderflowers before - obviously I had to check for bugs and horrid things - this is what the flowers look like through the macro lens of the camera.  

I also made a jar of chive vinegar.   Lots of people have posted about it -  it is quick and easy to make and I couldn't resist the idea of pink, mildly pickled onion flavoured vinegar...a novelty if nothing else.

Toby Too behaved impeccably when the wonderful Dominic, of Belleau Kitchen, stopped by.     Thanks to Dom's kindness we now have lots of wild garlic planted in the woodland.    I look forward to seeing what happens next spring - perhaps in a year or two it will have spread sufficiently for me to be able to harvest some of it.

Because wild garlic leaves are not dissimilar to my beloved lily-of-the-valley, which is poisonous, we have planted it on the other side of the wood.    I would hate to be responsible for the unwary picking the wrong ones!

Later in the afternoon I had the opportunity to grab a few photographs of this lovely cottage garden at Belleau, which The Viking of Belleau Cottage Blogspot has created.

It is an absolute delight with drifts of colour and form mingling, little glimpses of picket fences and velvet lawn - and lots of lupins.    Mine usually get decimated by slugs - but The Viking has far more success.   I suffer from lupin envy when I see his garden.

One final delight - the Canada Geese and their little goslings are in fine form, the youngsters are growing quickly now.    This photograph was taken peering through the hedge - they are on a difficult to access part of the fish pond field.     Clever geese.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Strike a Light!

We got caught up in delays caused by roadworks - usual thing, 
queues of traffic, lots of maintenance vehicles, 
no men working.

We waited...and waited.
My gaze fell upon some trees - several wonderful, long, rows of poplars,
which look a little out of place in this rural landscape.
I remember reading that these trees were planted with the intention
 to sell them to Bryant and May,
the match company.

The company closed in the late 1980's.
Perhaps this is why these trees escaped the axe.
So, they tower very elegantly over undulating farmland,
looking as though they lead to
somewhere quite grand.

© IWM (EPH 4207)

I wonder how many match sticks were made from a single tree.
and just how many of these rows of trees
remain dotted around the countryside.
A crop which wasn't harvested.

Eventually, the lights changed and we moved on
to visit dear old Aunt Lillian.

The homeward journey is always sweeter.
Country roads, as much as possible.
Quiet, single track ones, 

We met no other traffic
and had time to enjoy views like this.

After a hasty sandwich I harnessed Toby Too
and we set off for a 'training' walk,
along this track...

we both enjoy it, 
for different reasons.
I like the peace
he loves the smells,
the possibility of
encountering a pheasant
or a rabbit.

At the end of the track is a paddock with a wonderful assortment of animals...
are these sheep or goats?
I am never quite sure.
They miss nothing.

They share the paddock with this fat little pony,
who is companion 

this beautiful, milk-white steed
and a couple of little goats.

On misty evenings, as I look out across the barley field,
this lovely horse almost looks like 
a unicorn.

borrowed from

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Jonny & Ming Ming, this is for you...

Not long to go now!   
We are really looking forward to having you back here for a while.
Meanwhile, here are a few scenes from home...

A girl on a mission!
This little girl has grown since you last saw her.     
She loves the animals and really enjoys feeding the hens.   
Even Sparky enjoys her attention,
for a short time.

The gardens are blooming.

Lupins and peonies are my favourites at the moment.

...and don't you love these 'cat-tail' lupins?
Sparky is never one to miss a photo opportunity.

My honeysuckle hedge is about to burst into bloom,
the scent will be heavenly.
The men around this place keep trying to decimate it.
I may have lost a couple of battles,
but not this one.
I have planted a few more.

The steps to nowhere have been slightly revealed.
That area has had a lot of work done on it,
as you will see.

Francesca is definitely mummy's girl.
Which is only fair, given that Harry has always
been a daddy's boy.

I have lots more to show you, but I want to keep a few surprises for when you get here.

The vegetable garden is really starting to get going now,
despite the usual dreary summer weather.
The polytunnel is already productive.

Joanne, of Cup on the Bus has a magnificent lettuce-fountain in her garden.
I loved the idea, so here is my mini version!
The Head Gardener had commandeered many of my large tubs and pots,
so I had to make do.
My version is not grand, but it is very productive.
I really like it.
Thank you, Joanne!

Bennie takes a break...
on the newly planted onions.
Her job is to scare the pigeons
which have been feasting on the greens.

The Head Gardener joins me in sending his love.

Friday, 21 June 2013

How Big was the Door?

One of the things I love about this place we call home
is that I frequently find
 'buried treasure' in the gardens.

Like this old, broken, key.
It is huge,
very heavy,
and weighs almost a pound.
It was buried deep in the soil.

In another part of the garden
I found this...

...a huge metal door handle.
It is approx 9 x 6 inches
and weighs about two pounds.

They must have been used
for some quite impressive doors.

My very first metal find
was the cog wheel at the
back of this photograph.
It is still my favourite piece.
I haven't a clue what it weighs,
but it is heavy!

These wonderful pieces of more modern metalwork
were also found in the garden.
They are massive and currently live in
the small rockery area.

I am always up for a digging project -
because there is, potentially, 
the chance
finding more buried treasure.

Harry has told me he would like my collection
of scrap metal when I die.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Toby Too's Progress

Toby Too is very happy with his new life in the country.    
He is loving and eager to please.
I love him, too.

The cats still prefer to live in the polytunnel, the log store and the gardens.
As long as they get fed and can assist us with the vegetable gardening
without 'that dog' being around,
they are content,
for the moment.

I am trying to broker peace between them
I like all my furry animals under the one roof at night.

The hens occasionally get a little more exercise than normal.
Sometimes Toby just can't resist giving chase.
I'm working on that.

Toby has taken an inexplicable dislike to my brother (Owl Wood).
Toby is not drawn to him, which is very unusual -
I assume he reminds him of someone in his past.
He growls, he barks.
So does Toby.
I'm working on that relationship too.

It is a long list!

A few days ago we began some 'serious' training.     
I say we, because I have as much to learn as Toby Too.    
We are using reward based 'clicker' training.    
He is responding very well and enjoys his training sessions, 
so do I.
 I know that the time and effort invested now will pay dividends for the rest of his life. 

A friend in the village has agreed to train us.       
She has over 20 years of experience in dog training and it shows 
in the ease with which she 'shapes' the behaviour she wants from him.
Watching her instruct Toby is like watching a ballet, or reading poetry.
He recognises her authority and responds.

Our instructor has twice been asked to represent 'the South' with her agility dogs, at Crufts!
with a lot of success and placements.  
She knows her  stuff.

Toby and I are putting in lots of homework.    
We don't want to let her down.
The dog shows great promise, shame about his mama!

Wherever I go, Toby follows.
I enjoy gardening, so he enjoys gardening.   
I love poppies - he says he does too.

Bennie, however,  finds all this gardening exhausting.

Spinach and chard are growing well, beans and peas have begun to climb higher.

The gardener in chief is working dawn to dusk.

Problems with my laptop computer have meant that I am way behind on
reading your posts, commenting, etc.
I hope the problem has now been resolved, but if I go quiet....

Thursday, 13 June 2013

"Time out, Gran"

These building blocks are about 25 years old.   
They have been in storage since my children grew up.
Davina, Tim and Jonny got so much enjoyment from them that we decided to hang on to them, 
for any grandchildren who may come along, 
like Harry and Francesca.
Now that Harry is five, and has nimble fingers, we have brought them out for him to enjoy.
He has similar bricks at home, but they are all geared towards building spaceships.

He is enchanted by the little horses, the soldiers, pirates and sharks.
Each evening, as we meet him from the school bus, his first question is always whether he can play with the castles and horses until mummy and daddy come home.
George usually plays with him, but yesterday he was busy.
So Harry had to settle for Gran instead.

I thought I was doing really well, pouring boiling oil on people, firing arrows and defending my castle...
but suddenly I heard the words
"Time out, Gran."
Apparently only Harry is allowed to win.

I have never been in time out before - but it is strangely appealing.
One minute for every year of age 
That means I have a whole hour to myself!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Anvils under the Hammer

Yesterday afternoon news reached me that our village blacksmith (click the link to read about over a hundred years of  his family business in our village) was selling up, everything in his forge and workshops was up for auction - NOW!

He is an elderly man with no one to take over the business, so I can fully understand his reasons, but I also felt a little sad at the loss of yet another traditional trade from our tiny village.

Ninety-six year old John, the beekeeper, recently visited us to borrow a book which I had previously lent to 1898 account book for a village blacksmith's business.     He wanted to show it to his friend,  the blacksmith.

How could I refuse?   
Besides, who better to peruse the old entries than these two chaps, both of whom are nearly as old as the book and to whom the old terms and old farming equipment would have been so familiar.

They had a wonderful time poring over the book together and were able to decipher some of the stranger terms and to explain how things were done all that time ago.

The old and rusty equipment, covered in so many layers of dirt and dust was wonderful to behold.

I love the old and worn metal work,  the grain of the wood which has silvered and worn.
This equipment was used for making wheels.

Keith, our local village pub landlord, found this old knife, it is bone handled and has seen a lot of use.
Our wonderful Railway Tavern often gets a mention in posts, here is one.
We have lost our Post Office, village shop, butcher's shop,
the village school
and now the village blacksmith.

we still have the pub and the village hall.

As we left,  prospective purchasers were pouring in.
I didn't want to stay and watch.