Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bright, work and play.

Last week I made it down to Lisbon and of course to Feira da Ladra. I was fairly lucky this time and bought 3 brightly coloured patchwork bags, an even brighter small hand stitched rug and a hand knitted woolen hooded jumper inspired in the traditional fisherman´s outfits from Póvoa de Varzim.

I also managed to buy some more fabrics to add to ´that´ patchwork quilt I am making. Better still I caught up with friends. Ben, who was visiting from London, brought me over ´Robocup´, a genius set of measuring cups.

Back on the farm, as you can see the office is not so bad. I decided to work there specifically to keep an eye on our chickens after we built this extra fence to keep them from getting to the veggie garden and still have plenty of space to run about and feed on grubs and green things. Either our chickens are incredibly smart or as I am starting to believe we are the least smart of all the animals that we share this space with. They managed to find every single weak point in this very badly built structure. I am not really sure why they feel the need to go beyond it, they have so much space to run around and do what they need there. But when they see an opening they go running as fast as they can, even take flight for a few seconds, lifting off to a height of about 30cm or thereabouts, such is their excitement at having even more space to scratch about.

I made 2 potholders to give Alice as a small thank you for looking after our chickens while we were away. They are hanging for this photo on my studio wall garden which is also coming along nicely now the weather has warmed up.

We learned how to make balls from the leaves of the Asphodelus Ramosus, commonly known as Branched asphodel. The leaves are wound round to form the ball and then fastened using the left over tips of the dried seed pods of the Cistus Ladanifer, commonly known as the Gum rock rose. These balls are what kids used to play with in a time, not so long ago, when creativity and resourcefulness ruled the world, two things often confused or mistaken unfortunately, as much then as today, with poverty.

May is the month to start collecting and drying flowers to make infusions for medicinal purposes. I have been busy collecting the flowers of the Baccharis Trimera (Less.) (of the aster family), the Fumaria Officinalis (Earth smoke) and the Lavandula Stoechas to name a few. I am hoping to build my own herbal medicine cabinet. I feel like a bee when I am picking these flowers, although I am sure bees are a lot better at navigating from flower to flower, less easily distracted, than I am. I see flowers here, then spot some more over there and off I go leaving half the flowers to be picked behind. The real bees can have those flowers. It is a fun activity apart from the fact that I am constantly thinking there is a snake about every time some weed or stick brushes my feet or legs and I have a small panic attack.

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