August days

When not so small daughter finished school back in June, we said that we would make sure that we didn’t waste the extra-long summer holiday that she has this year.

The main mission was for not so small daughter, who can sleep for Britain should it ever become an Olympic sport, not to spend of all it under her duvet (or on top of it, as we have all been sleeping over the last very hot few days!) and to her credit, she’s not done that at all and we’ve packed in plenty during the last couple of weeks.  You can read more about that in this post.

Last week, we realised that a credit voucher from Adventure Parc Snowdonia where we went for our summer holiday last year was about to run out, so not so small daughter and I took a trip to Dolgarrog in North Wales to make sure that it got used!

A view across a manmade surfing lagoon from the pathway along the side of it. There is a safety rail between the path and the water. In the distance are wooded hills, a white hydro electric building and blue sky with a few white clouds

The surfing lagoon is the first and only one of its type to built and uses the water from the nearby hydro electric station once it’s been through there, and later is drained into the River Conwy as there are no chemicals added to the water.  You can read more about how it works in this post from last summer.

I didn’t surf this time – if you read last year’s post you’ll have seen my family’s favourite photo of my surfing adventures and I was not about to add to the album!  Not so small daughter was delighted to get back on the giant wave, though.

It looks calm enough right now, doesn’t it?!  There’s not so small daughter on the left, paddling to the point where she’s going to catch the wave.

Two surfers in yellow vests on surfboards are paddling across the lagoon. In the background are a grey hotel building and a concrete pontoon for the wave mechanism. There is what looks like an iron bridge running across the water but this is for the wave mechanism too

This is what the wave looks like when it comes in – it’s pretty big!  This is one of last year’s photos taken from a higher vantage point in the hotel across the lagoon.  The beginner surfers are over to the right; they get the wave once the power has started to go out of it so that they are not overwhelmed – but it still feels big enough at the time!  Not so small daughter as on the other side of the concrete pontoon but still waited in the same place for the wave.

The surfing wave is half way across the photo now, the surfer is riding the wave and the beginners are still waiting!

She was really good!  This time, having already learnt the basics last year, she was able to stand up on her board and the smile on her face was something to see.

Not so small daughter has also been coming out with the dog and me in the mornings.  Not over the last couple of days as it’s been so very hot and I wanted the dog walked and home before she was ready to remove herself from her bed, but we’ve had her company more than usual and it’s been lovely!

I love this path through the fields, especially when the grass has grown high on both sides like this.  I think I like it most because the dog stays put on the path and doesn’t feel the need to be wandering – it must feel like a tunnel to him!

A footpath leads through long grass towards a gap in two green hedges. On either side are the golden stalks of harvested wheat and barley. The sky is a brilliant cloudless blue.

The fields have been harvested over the last couple of weeks and all of the wheat and barley has been cut down and safely stored away now.  We watched the combine harvester out until late at night for almost a week; the farmer’s wife is a friend and was sending regular “guess which field we’re in now” photos and was updating the Winwick village Facebook group with photos too.   I think it’s good to be reminded of the connection between village life and farming life.

A combine harvester travels towards the photographer. In the foreground are cut stalks in the field and a line of cut cereal stalks ready to be baled. The clouds in the sky are pink as the sun sets.

Source: Janice Cooper

There’s so much of farming that we don’t see when we drive past the fields in our cars, and there’s only so much that a farmer can do in terms of planting the seeds and waiting for them to grow, but you realise that they really do put the hours in at harvest time and I am grateful for that – that’s our food in those fields!

A view across a field of golden stalks where the barley crop has been harvested. There is a line of trees in the distance and the sky is bright blueA tractor in the distance collects bales from a wheat field which has been harvested. The field is golden, the sky is blue and the sun is low in the sky

The field of blue flax that I showed you a couple of posts ago has mostly finished flowering and the field is starting to turn golden.

A field of blue flax starting to turn golden now that the flowers have faded and are turning to seed heads.

The flowers have turned into seed heads and I imagine that harvesting will have to be timed just right so that the seed heads don’t burst open and all the seeds lost – especially not if the farmer wants to plant something else in that field next year! 🙂

A close up of the round seed heads of blue flax plants

I’ve been doing a bit of my own planting in the garden.  I’ve been sowing seeds for perennials for next year – usually, I only remember to do this later in the Spring and often the seeds get forgotten or they dry out or I forget to pot them on … I thought that if I started them now then there’s a chance I might remember, especially if I know that I need to take extra care of them over the Winter when there’s not much else going on in the garden.  I’ve been thinking of the best ways to do that and my greenhouse might be seeing some over-Winter use for a change!

Ten seed trays of various sizes are sitting on the grass. Eight are smaller black ones and two are large grey ones. They all have white labels to indicate what the seeds are.

What have I planted?  Well, that’s a good question.  Actually, it’s a really good question because for most of them, I don’t know! My seed box had a bit of an accident in the garage when it got flooded during a heavy rain storm (and yes, there’s been a mouse in there too!) and this is what the seed packets look like …

Four seed packets on the grass. Only one of them has legible printing on it as the other three were caught in a flood and the ink has washed off the packet

I know that I’ve planted Stachys lanata (lamb’s ears) and a variety of Dierama (angels’ fishing rods) called “Autumn Sparkler” but other than that, it’s a bit of a mystery.  There are at least two other varieties of Dierama (I was obviously crushing on those plants when I bought the seeds!), what looks like a variety of grass and some cornflowers, but it will be interesting to see what grows!

I spotted this tiny Calendula in one of the planters which I thought was super-cute.  I have Calendula growing all over the place in a variety of colours because as soon as I spot seeds on the plants, I scatter them around the garden.  I can’t have enough of them!

A tiny bright yellow calendula flower in a planter. There are other leaves in the background

It looks like a flower from a children’s book, doesn’t it?  I think it should probably have a face with a big smile!

I also saw these …

Two flower heads next to each other; one is white and pale pink (younger flowers) and the other is dark pink (older flowers)

These are flower heads from my Hydrangea quercifolia (oak leaf hydrangea); they start off white then turn pale pink and finally deep pink, but I don’t usually see all of the stages of colours next to each other like this!

And what of the sock knitting in all of this, you might ask?  Well thank you for asking, there has been some sock knitting and to prove it … ta dah!

A sock in purple variegated yarn lies on a pale wooden table next to the remains of the cake of yarn.

I have finished the first of my vegan yarn socks!  It has been an experience to knit these; they are a bamboo, cotton and elastic mix from and the yarn is the stretchiest yarn I have ever knitted with!  Because these are my Emergency Socks that I take out and about with me for when I need to wait somewhere, they get picked up and put down far more than most of my other socks so it’s taken me a while to get used to knitting with such a stretchy yarn, but I have discovered that the trick is to pull the yarn out of the ball so that it’s not stretched when you knit with it.  I’m very pleased with this sock, I’ll have to cast on number two!

Also on the needles is this sock …

A sock in rainbow colours on a dark blue background is lying on a pale wood table next to the cake of yarn. There are two working yarns on this sock. In the background is a leather project back with the brand name MUUD on it.

This yarn is  Twilight Rainbow from Yarn Unique and if you’re wondering why there seem to be two working yarns, your eyes are not deceiving you and there are two working yarns!  I realised when I got to the gusset that the yarn was going to pool so I decided that I would use my method for avoiding colour pooling and flashing on sock gussets to see how it worked on this yarn.  It’s actually turning out pretty well and I’m pleased with it – I have taken it out a few times to get it to look how I wanted, but I’m on no deadline with this sock and I’m enjoying the process so it really doesn’t matter how long it takes to knit.  I’ll show you how it’s going when I’m a bit further down the foot so that it’s easier for you to see.

It was Granny Square Day on Monday 15 August, a visual feast on social media using the hashtag #GrannySquareDay which shows thousands of granny squares which all connect to make a giant virtual blanket.  It’s an annual event organised by Simply Crochet magazine so you should find the details quite easily if you want to join in next year.  I’ve never taken part before but my talented friend Emma Varnam very kindly made me a Winwick Mum granny square to post so that I could join in.  Isn’t that fabulous?  I love it!

A crocheted granny square in cream with a burgundy border. In the centre of the square is a tiny crocheted pink and burgundy sock.

Phew, that was quite a lot to catch up on, wasn’t it?  It’s been lovely to chat to you in the comments recently so thank you to everyone who posted.  I hope you enjoyed this one!

I’m going to love you and leave you now, but before I go, I want to share this photo with you that big daughter posted on her Instagram account.  Hattie, our kitten with the water obsession, has the right idea when she needs to keep cool! 🙂

A small tortoiseshell and white cat is lying on a windowsill. She has her paws in the top bowl of a cascade water feature.

Source: @fearlessyoga



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30 Responses

  1. Jennifer Oborn says:

    Very enjoyable to read your posts and see your photos! Thank you : )

  2. Tineke says:

    Thanks for the lovely update. The Wave! isn’t it fabulous? Great your daughter enjoys it. And yes, after growing up kids will never sleep as much anymore, goodness, what a talent ;>p The socks are gorgeous, as usual. And the kitty, it made me laugh so hard.

  3. Ruthie says:

    I always enjoy getting my letters from you!!! The pic of Hattie made me smile!!!

  4. Julie Culshaw says:

    Since your climate is not so hard, you might want to try planting cool flowers in the fall in the garden directly. They winter over and do better than if planted at another time. Check it out in this video. I just wish I lived in a warmer zone and it would work for me.

    • winwickmum says:

      Yes, they’ll be what’s known as hardy annuals which grow and flower in one season. I’ve got packets of those to sow later in the year too, but often lose them to the snails early on – but I always live in hope! 🙂 xx

  5. michelle says:

    love the kitty picture

  6. Sue Edgeler says:

    Brilliant read Christine.

  7. pmmm says:

    it is so wonderful that you are getting to spend a lot of time with one of your daughters. i miss my adult daughter very much. it has been a very, very, very long time since i have seen her or heard from her. we used to knit and crochet together. i taught both of our children when they were small. you are very Blessed.

    • winwickmum says:

      I’m sorry you haven’t been in touch with your daughter recently, I do hope that changes in the future. I am very lucky that I’ve been able to spend so much time with not so small daughter recently; you are right, I am very blessed! xx

    • GillieB says:

      Better late .. etc! Great read, thank you. You have SO inspired me to start knitting sox and, having spent years thinking it would be far too complicated, am now addicted!! Having filled my own sock drawer am now starting on my children. Loose sense of the word as all 4 of them are in their 40s but with 2 daughters, 2 daughters in law and 5 granddaughters before I start on the blokes, I should be able to keep going for a year or ten!!

      • winwickmum says:

        Oh my life, that’s a lot of socks you’ve got to keep you going! I’m so glad I’ve been able to help you get started – you are definitely going to be the family favourite if you can keep everyone’s toes warm! 🙂 xx

  8. Ruth Howard says:

    Another enjoyable post – always look forward to them – farming and knitting 🧶- very much my world!!! – so thanks very much – keeps us knitters linked together- could even say knitted together!!!
    Enjoy what is left of the summer holidays
    Love Ruth x

  9. Lyndle says:

    I love your posts about your walks and gardening – we’re in early spring/ late winter and incessant rain so enjoying the views through your posts! I love the Winwick Mum granny square too. How lovely of your friend.
    All the best with the mystery seedlings.

    • winwickmum says:

      We could do with a bit more of your rain but despite hosepipe bans, nobody is that keen to wish it on ourselves as once the rain starts, it probably won’t stop until next year! 🙂 The granny square is fab, isn’t it? Emma is very clever! 🙂 xx

  10. Corinne says:

    Thanks for sharing your travels and memory making, Christine. Your photos are really lovely and the blue skies are just something else! We’ve noticed more of the rectangular hay bales this year, but the farmers do work really hard for us and it’s great to watch the changing seasons through their eyes. Gorgeous socks, as usual.
    Hattie looks very content there. 🙂

  11. Helen says:

    Who knew flax was so pretty. I’ll think about this every time I scatter them into my cracker dough. You have to live a water cat for the sheer contrariness.

  12. Gillian Edwards says:

    Really enjoyed that Christine, as I do all your posts. Love the photo of Hattie, made me smile. Thankyou x

  13. Just love getting your posts , loved that twilight sock wool , big wow a pop showing under jeans and that crochet granny Square with that little sock , clever friend you have , I wish you had a sock making kit Circular needles and the wool , I just never get the small Circular needles right , and as as for Hattie she’s a funny little pusscat wonderful picture .

    • winwickmum says:

      Ah, short circular needles have the biggest choice of sizes and needle tips and whilst that means there’s choice for everyone, it can be frustrating if you don’t find the one for you straight away. Have you tried any of the sizes? xx

  14. Paula Middleton says:

    Your kitten has really grown. I enjoy all your walks with photos

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