Thursday, 8 April 2021

April and our very own Poets Corner

Oh, to be in England Now that April's there, And whoever wakes in England Sees, some morning, unaware, That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf, While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough In England-now! From 'Home Thoughts, From Abroad' by Robert Browning. And in May onwards when you can come and stay with us you too can enjoy the sounds and sights that inspired Robert Browning to pen such words. We are opening up a Poets'Corner for you to pen your own words. If you would like to leave your words and thoughts behind when you depart we will happily frame them and hang them in Our "Poets Corner"for others to enjoy. And you can enjoy reading what other people have written too .

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

6th April - Flitting Day

I was talking to my Dad and he was reminding that the 6th April was knowing as Flitting Day. For those who havent heard of it here is the explanation. As a year-end and quarter day that conveniently did not fall within or between the seasons for ploughing and harvesting, Lady Day was a traditional day on which year-long contracts between landowners and tenant farmers would begin and end in England and nearby lands (although there were regional variations). Farmers' time of "entry" into new farms and onto new fields was often this day. As a result, farming families who were changing farms would travel from the old farm to the new one on Lady Day. My Grandparents moved from the Creiff. A farm 2 miles away or a miles through the fields and woods from here, which is now where Stanbrook Abbey stands. They would have moved with horses and cart similar
to the one in the photo. My dad is a fountain of stories and really I know, I should bottle them up. My Grandparents came to live at the farm in 1902 even though they had farmed the land for a lot longer. My Dad sadly said "They moved in on 6th April1902 and they carried him out him [meaning his Dad] was carried out on the 6th April 1957. I was only 10 months old so that was 64 year ago...crikey I am getting old. Grandad had died on the 2nd. I have wondered many times how old a child is when they start remembering their childhood. Believe me or not I distinctly remember him as I recall him holding on to my leg when my dad was changing me on the kitchen table as I was quite a "wriggly bottom" /Maybe this is why I cant stop still for long now. He was 80 and a tall slight man who always wore a jacket. He was quite formal and had a moustache which was quite spikey. He seemed to be quite amused by me as he had had 3 sons the youngest being my father. My Granny had died when my dad was 18 and the typical farmers wife making butter and cheese. I have made a lot of butter too in my days and icecream - 4pints of cream and 16 eggs that was when I used to serve evening meals and the visitors had ice cream with their apple pies. When we had milking cows we had a good supply of milk but sadly I never got round to making cheese. Although we still have the old butter churns and pats on the shelf in the diary. It is lovely to hear that people are embracing the old traditionas and no more so when there was a programme on television lately as cheese makers in North Yorkshire. It filmed Andy and Cathy who supports these cheesemakers and sell their cheese at Courtyard Dairy near Settle . i have met these folk and they are very knowlegdeable and even sell cheese on line so maybe if you are looking to treat someone or even yourself this is the place to go.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Happy Easter

It has been a busy March. Getting ready for lockdown lifting and welcoming guests again. And moving furniture about.Glad I have had a strong man to carry things about to do most of this. But not one to be stuck and wanting it done now rather than later, I sometimes did as a carthorse would do when I was small when backing a cart... put my behind on it and pushed. .I havent mastered carrying a fridge yet but had help. So now can revel that when you come to stay with us we can offer you a room with its fridge,microwave, toaster and enough bits and bobs to make snacks and small meals. During lockdown we have realised it is not altogether about going out to eat, but to be able to get a take away, some nice deli food and enjoy local bits and bobs suffices. I know when we have had holidays abroad in the past how much I enjoy shopping and eating local produce. Live like the locals so to say. So true is the saying a change is as good as a rest. And if you want a delivery just say, you order what you want and I will stack it inthe fridge for you ready for your arrival. I have also been busy getting plants growing ready to put in the garden as it warms up . It has been over 20 degrees here for the last 3 days but as it probably wont last for too long I have commondered my Dads passage way to grown my seedlings on as I have run out of windowledges here. Also it helps he has far more green fingers than me and they stand a better chance of surviving . My first planting was rhubarb seeds,they have grown really well.They say when you become a gardener you dont say rhubarb for example you would say Champagne or Victoria. Potatoes are not potatoes, but Maris Piper, Charlottes and Kind Edwards. I have even bought a white peach tree and it is treated much as a baby in a pram, take it out on a nice day, bring it in as the day gets colder just incase there is a frost. A white peach but with lovely pink blossom I am tempted
to buy another one. Tom has been busy digging up some of our most robust bushes as I want to create a framework of greenery around a very sparse looking covered over sitting areawhich looks more like a bus shelter at the moment. I have some hops which are very delicate at the moment. Again they have gone to my Dads for that extra bit of care and it didnt help that Dorothy - the young cat, like to sleep in the same plant pot as them here. It is nice to see that there is some grass now for the deer to eat, as they had a very lean time over winter. They are regualr visitors although we can't guarentee them coming every day. They do come more late afternoons onwards and come within 20 to 30 foot of the house. Just dont eat my magnolia bush. It will be nice to see the grandchildren over the Easter holidays as they are around just before they go back to school. No doubt it will be hectic as the sugar rush of chocolate will be rocketing. There is something about Easter eggs that taste different to a bar of chocolate. It is ok this on line shopping lark, but to me nothing beats going into the shop and seeing and sme ling what is on offer. Oh and just incase you have forgotten, I prefer milk chocolate -thank you Well I must crack on ,the birds are beginning to sing and the sun is just getting up .Jack is in for his breakfast as he has been out with dogs and ready for something to eat and it isnt 7am yet. I dont know about you, but lockdown I hardly known what day of the week it is, and clocks well my body clock is all out of sync. I look back on the year and think where has it gone. Nicholas is busy on the farm with lambing and hatching as eggs are coming by post for him to put in his incubators. And he has just hatched out a pair of alligators Happy Easter, and sorry no alligators just Aprils Fools Day

Friday, 5 March 2021

Amazing what our woodland holds. Scarlet Elf Cups is just one of Nature's Miracles.

Jack spied 3 the other morning and so took me up to see them as never in life had seen them before. It was only when I googled them ///thank goodness for Google that we were able to put a name to them . Yes there were 3, but then I look to the right and it was as if they had just sprung out of the woodwork there was hundreds of them. The Scarlet Elfcup displays bright red cups with short stems. It can be seen in late winter and early spring on fallen twigs and branches (often Hazel, Elm and Willow), usually buried under moss. It is reasonably widespread, but not very common. It is mostly found in damp, shady areas. Fungi belong to their own kingdom and get their nutrients and energy from organic matter, rather than photosynthesis like plants. It is often just the fruiting bodies, or 'mushrooms', that are visible to us, arising from an unseen network of tiny filaments called 'hyphae'. These fruiting bodies produce spores for reproduction, although fungi can also reproduce asexually by fragmentation. Hopefully there will be still some about for the grandchildren to see as it is quite near to where they play in the woods and by the stream. As we walked back to the hours we could see how nature is waking up from its winter sleep. The daffodils are pushing through, the catkins are dangling delicately from the branches and the wild garlic is coming through. Another week the ground will be covered with a green wild garlic carpet. If it rains you can really smell the garlic bouncing through the atmosphere
. Even a bumble bee had ventured out to see what pollen he could find. Bobbing and buzzing from one plant to another.It was nice to see.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Looking forward to cooking breakfasts again...

When I first poked my nose out of the door this morning, the wind was so warm
. The thought was the Caribbean Trade Winds. Then the reality was I was in North Yorkshire and what a nice morning it is. Jack had already been up two hours ahead of me. So another chapter to the book as he was actually the pirate. Oh dear what this lockdown is doing.I must have been still half asleep. Dorthy the cat flew out of the door as I opened it ,so quickly she could have been the parrot. Reality was I was just up by 6am to get Jack his breakfast. I listen to Bojo give his statement of how lockdown is hopefully going to unfold. 17th May looks like D Day for the Bed and Breakfast providers which includes us. We are so looking forward to welcoming guests again. With the amazing surroundings we have and have explored this last year which we are happy to share with you when you stay with us ,there is now even more reason to stay with us on your stay in North Yorkshire .

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Thank goodness for the telephone

And I dont mean a mobile. I mean the house phone. I have a mobile because I need to case I break down when I am out in the car,in case I want to take a photo and in case I have forgotten to take something out of the oven and have to ring Jack to rescue his near burnt tea. For one thing the buttons are too small ,I have to put my glasses on to see what I am doing and you have to keep charging it up .SO I have Alexander Graham Bell to thank Yesterday I spoke to two people, Sue in Cornwall and Chrsitine, touching base with her, over the other side of Harrogate. So while I was busy nattering I was able to get Jacks dinner ready, put the pots in the dishwasher and feed the cats. Also I went outside to feed the birds for the umpteenth time of the day. It makes for good viewing on the live cam on website. You should take a look if you havent already. Christine ,another Christine often tells me what is on the bird table when we speak on the landline phone . Jack tends to watch them through the dining room window. There are so many robins about now ,and blackbirds and too many pigeons come. The last couple of days we have seen the woodpeckers back again with their flash of red tail. Anyway back to my conversation that I had had on the phone .I was surprised when they both said they had read my blog and how they had missed it. So as I had finished my breakfast by quarter to seven- you cant beat Quaker Oats to make porridge. As they were on offer recently I bought quite a stack - my normal non Covid hoarding habit. I thought I had time to write another blog before the world wakes up and I get side tracked. I dont know if it is more a "woman thing" but I can spend ages chatting on the phone. I even delight in asking the person who rings up to offer me double glazing or change my energy bill .Trust me it is quite fun and doesnt raise the blood pressure quite as much as swearing at them down the phone. When asked if I am the home owner I never say yes as I once read an article which says if you say yes to such a company, they move it like copy and paste. The next thing you know you will be in a contract for something you dont want .. So after they ask and say I hope you are having a nice day I launch back to them and ask them are they having a nice day and where are they ringing from and so I ask them what the weather is like. Is this such an English thing to say ? amd a host of other questions reeeling them off so fast ,they havet time to get a word in edgeways and mission accomplished they hang up on me rather than the other way around. Well one thing I wont be giving up for Lent is the telephone. I saw some said she was coming off Facebook for 40 days and I thougtht what a good idea but then I would miss what was going on in the world. Giving chocolate up for Lent is like me making New Years Resolutions - a complete waste of time .So I will stick to making pancakes . There will be two batches one lot for Jack at lunctime ,the other for my Dad at tea time and I will probably have to have them for bother meals .Life can be hard some days. I used to love it when it fell that the grandchildren were here on Pancake Day and it was who could eat the most . I was sure Martha would have popped as she seemed to be able to tuck them away and eat a phenomenal amount of them. She is always the winner of who can eat the most Yorkshire puddings. I will be glad when we can have them over for Sunday lunch again.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

St Valentines Day

Well we are 6 weeks into lockdown and I had hoped to blog most days. But even the best made plans dont always work. You dont need to know but when you had good health hold on to it. So aplogises to my loyal blog followers for bearing with me. Snow, well yes it comes most years and social media must think it has just been invented. For people like me, who went to school in the 1960s, the snow we get now a days is just a sprinkling. In those days you could be snown in for 6 weeks so similar to lockdowns of today . In the 70s and in teenegae years it was great as th eschool bus couldnt get through or was later so we used to hang on until the last minute, see the bus coming in the distance and then scarper. Two miles in those days was nothing to walk home.We would get home just in time for dinner,snowballing and sliding along the way. I feel sorry for the white owls as the mice run under the snow and there is not a lot we can do to help them. It has been extremely cold but with good supplies of logs Jack keeps bringing them in by the barrow load every day. So as Valentines Day is tomorrow.I
dont need to be reminded he loves me with a soppy card or flowers. As long as he just keep bringing logs in that is enough for me. Today we sat snuggled up on the sofa with the log burner door open now that was poor Heaven. The heat is so much better than having to wear long john under your trousers. Oh dear they arent called long johns these days they are thermals . Well whatever they are called that extra layer of clothing is so appreciate when you areout and about. The basin in the down stairs bathroom is frozen so glad we have others to use. That bathroom is facing north so really doesnt get any sun on it at all. I went for a walk the other day up into the woods. I would never have thought to take photos but Tom had been up and said it looked like Narnia . I saw 5 deer too. They are coming down now off the moor as there is no food for them and someone spotted 30 last night. With the seasons all to pot there are still some very late born ones about so sadly if the weather continues like this they will not survivie the winter. We feed the garden birds constantly during th edays and sadly keep finding little wrens dead from the cold. The days are starting to lenghten and when the sun comes out it throws its heat around. The aconites were out first and now th esnowdrops and other bulbs are pushing through. My dill and thyme have taken a beating and the early showing of chives well we will see. So try and stay warm everyone ,stay safe and look after your selves till next time . . .

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

D Day for father

Tuesday was D Day for my Dad as we set off on our second trip to Malton in three weeks. It was for his 2nd Covid jab. A big thank you to everyone who stood out in the cold, directing cars and making sure everything go like clockwork. All went well, till his leg gave way getting back into the car. He ended up on his backside on the ground. Fortunaley no broken bones and two kind helpers came and with a shove, a push and a bit of lifting we managed to get him to his feet. I told the helpers, one of the last time, over 5 years ago, when fell was when he was planting peas in the garden. It was just before he was due in for his dinner.It didnt help that he had just had a full clean set of clothes on that morning. When my mother went out to see what he was "playing at", she was a stickler for meals on time and it was probably 3 minutes passed 12 noon. She discovered him "riggwelted" in a pea row looking like a snow man. My Dad, as many of you know, is a keen gardener and he spread the wood ashes from the fire on to the garden. Wood ash is an excellent source of lime and potassium for your garden. Not only that, using ashes in the garden also provides many of the trace elements that plants need to thrive. As any of you who have empty the grate you will know the grey mucky looking sediment of ash. As he couldnt get up ,had wriggled about and covered himself in ash. Not a pretty site. Anyway yesterday was a doodle of a job as previously he had been well and truly stuck like a sheep. Previously had been well and truly stuck like a sheep . So on your walks and jaunts through the countryside if you ever see a sheep laying with its legs up in th earea this is what we call riggwelting. You need to go up to the sheep and usually just by doing that the sheep gives that extra push to get away from you and there you have saved its life. Sometimes you have to push it over ,so go to the spine side of it and push. Anyway yesterday was a doodle of a job. So now is the time to think about planting your seeds ready to plant out when the weather get a bit better. When the house get turned into a potting shed and the growing cycle begins, here is a photo of my dad in warmer weather in the position he would have been in just before the pea fall. The other photo shows Jack out with the dogs ,the ground is hard and icy so do take care folks as the last thing you need is a trip to hsopital to fix a broken bone at the moment . Eldest granddaughter had taken to her sisters' Christmas present the other day - a hover board- and ended up with a damaged wrist. I would have hoped when I was young and at school I would have had 6 weeks off but no less her she was back to school after the weekend. Stay safe everyone.

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Well it is here 2021.

We must look forward. As the days are even now starting to lengthen, just a little bit I know,we start to think about planting seeds and the year start it ever turning cycle. Wont be long until lambing time .Nothing is better than seeing lambs frolocking about in the fields. Even with the Covid hanging over our heads, we still live in such a fast moving world. The years are ticking by. As I said to Jack this morning I cant beleive it is 15 years since we were planning out trip to New Zealand. Social media brings news of our friends who live there now, lighting up screens in our living rooms with photos or sunshine,hazy days and bright flowers. For the many, they have found new vocations in life. I seem to bake more, day dream more and still have a host of things to do with not enough hours in the day. We are lucky to have so many choices and I have lots of hair brain ideas. Well I did find out that there wasnt any courses on how to be a professional scarecrow maker. Then I see something on Pininterst and think ah I shouldnt have thrown that away. I am a hoarder, it is in my nature as when I was young things were not as plentiful as they are today. My parents grew up through the war years, there were hardships and I suppose I adopted their way of making do and mend. Sharing the last piece of cake between 3 was not uncommon and hand-me-downs clothes were what we expected to wear and grateful for them . So what will 2021 hold for us all. I will continue with my little cakes of kindness which put a smile on faces. If anyone has any spare bundt tins or individual cake tins they do not want any more I would be happy to give them a new home. Bundt times are good as they make a pattern in the cake and so it leaves you with very little decorationing to do as the mould has done it for you. I expect I will continue to knit for the youngest in the family as my dinosaur jumper went down well for Christmas and in next to no time it will be Easter. What we all should wish for is Good Health as without that we are nothing so below you will see my dad raising his glass to just that, with homemeade Christmas cake and Wensleydale cheese it is the Yorkshire mans way of welcoming in the New Year.

Saturday, 2 January 2021