Growth Spurt

Over the last few days I’ve been watching a hyacinth growing…you can almost see it with the naked eye, but I recorded it more simply with daily photos…

It’s not the most floriferous hyacinth, nor the most colourful, but it’s scent is just as amazing as any of it’s more spectacular cousins and it’s filling the ground floor of the house with the smell of Spring.

Meanwhile, in the garden…

The crocuses seem to have pushed up over night.  Hold on a minute though, what’s that brown shape in the top left hand corner…?

Just checking, are they edible?

From a dachshund point of view, the answer is probably yes…Oh dear…

Higgins has also had a growth spurt, the little black coat he wears for his walks has become like a sausage skin, so we decided to buy another one from Equafleece, this time in a more stylish colour.   His immediate reaction when we tried it on him was “Oh, NO!  A walk!” cue a mad dash to hide in his bed…

He’s just a little ‘weeny’, in every sense of the word!

Lurchers and Llamas

Ok, that’s it, we’re bored now…it’s all …too…WHITE….

 We were off to the other side of the county today for lunch with my cousin and after a lovely day yesterday it was a pain to wake up to frost, ice and gloom and then sleet. We had a phone call from said cousin to warn us they had a couple of inches of snow, but as it seemed the main road was clear and they had a tractor to get us out of any trouble we might run into on the track to their farmhouse we decided to brave it. 

Apart from the nice people, and the good food, we wanted to see their lurcher.   They have two – lovely gentle dogs and I do love  lurchers. ( We used to have one, an enormous blonde called Spike, who was a complete wus,  having little Higgins was really going from the sublime to the ridiculous!)  However the whole family was devastated about five months ago when the young one was stolen.  Despite the theft being witnessed (and the dog being microchipped) a poster campaign, a reward being offered and information being past all round the county there were no clues or leads and every one was so upset.  

Amazingly, and so happily, about three weeks ago she was found in a field somewhere near Skegness(quite a way from Norfolk)  by a lady who runs a greyhound rescue centre who just happened to be driving along a road she had never travelled on before who recognised her from the poster that had been circulated.  Because of her job she had a chip reader at home and was able to identify her and phone to give the good news.  The whole thing hung on so many happy coincidences it was incredible, and although she was very thin when  she first came home she is now looking good, and full of bounce (as the footprint in the middle of  Higgins ‘ little jumper demonstrated) 

So, a lovely Sunday roast, and syrup sponge and custard – heaven – and then a snowy, slippery walk to try and shift a couple of calories.

I did try to get a picture of both dogs together, but look at the difference in the leg length, Higgins never managed to catch up!

He did meet another creature for the first time….Fergus…

Which was quite interesting…

Mwah!

I don’t think I could cope with the real thing, but I did find another llama I would have loved to bring home…

Isn’t he gorgeous?

I found the monocrome theme continued…

…and although I love snowdrops…

I so long for some colour. So it was nice to get back for a cup of tea and look at my cousin’s latest knitting project.  Craftiness runs in the family, and she is an expert on spinning,weaving, knitting, crochet  and  dyeing.  This was a departure, freeform knitting and crochet.  I’ve done a little and it’s fascinating, but this was spectacular.  It’s a shame the light means the photos don’t really do it justice but WOW, after all that white, we need those colours!

It’s mainly hand dyed silk, with little bits of llama and hand spun fleece.  I’ve just realised I was so excited I didn’t ask what the finished article would be, a knockout waistcoat?

It was a busy day, and very exciting for a small dog with very short legs. A lot of sleeping has been going on.  Higgins has obviously been having colour withdrawal symptoms too.  I bought a new fleece blanket yesterday, with the sofa bed that is going into the studio in mind. Higgins is testing it…

Valentines Day…

…and it was nearly not cold.  Although I have become so lazy I was terribly tempted to curl up on the sofa with the Sunday papers I knew this was a rare chance for some sea air and a mud free walk so we donned warm coats and hats, Higgins too  (well I haven’t manage to get him to wear a hat yet, I suppose I could tie his ears under his chin like a head scarf) and set off for Waxham beach.  Even there we had to wade through mud to get to nice clean sand. I’m so glad we chose a portable dog who can be popped under an arm and kept clean.  It was worth it though…

Although he still has all his puppy playfulness, Higgins is now very much a ‘grown-up’ even if it is in miniature,( but is still a complete ‘Cuddle Sponge’!)

Marking Time…

This is what I feel I’m doing at the moment, marking time, waiting… Waiting for the spring, waiting for my studio to be build, waiting to climb out of the muddle of boxes that surround me in which I have packed all my materials so I can’t find anything… 

My sanity has been saved by having some wool and fleece  to hand so I have been needle felting pincushions.  As well as the two I made as prizes (which I got in the post this morning despite the snow and ice)…

I have made a couple more with a view to selling them when I get my Folksy shop up and running (another ‘Watch this Space’ moment!) It’s a comforting thing to do, needle felting.  It’s very tactile, it’s like magic feeling the change from soft fluffiness to springy firmness happening in your hand with just the action of the needle. And the colours are cheerful, just what we need with all this whiteness!

The sun shone yesterday and so Higgins and I managed to go out for a walk.  It really hasn’t been that easy in this weather.  Higgins is very much a fairweather walker, and any suggestion that we might go out in inclement conditions sends him scuttling behind a chair, or burrowing under his blanket, and I am easily persuaded not to bother myself!  However yesterday he was kitted out in his jacket and carried beyond the point of no return so he made the best of it.

I took the steam driven camera along and I’m getting such good results it makes me very frustrated with the Olympus (which is packed up to go back to the shop tomorrow)

As I sit here I am looking out at two very chilly chaps building the studio as the snow blows all around and into the cups of tea I have just taken out.  I suppose it concentrates the mind towards getting the roof on, I’m really glad I’m sitting in here at the computer!

The sky looks blue, it isn’t, it’s snowing!  I’m looking forward to showing this view in a few months when the sun is shining, the flowers are in bloom and there is a glass of something cool and delicious on the garden table!

Reasons to be cheerful…

Funny how just a little thing can change how you view the day…Getting out in the garden in dressing gown and slippers with the puppy BEFORE the rain starts is always a good start. Higgins hasn’t got the hang of the fact that the more times you make a run for the door without doing what you came out for just prolongs the agony.  He is struggling with country life really, too much weather, he should have gone to live with Paris Hilton. 

Todays mail was very exciting… firstly, red polka dot cake tins…

So good, I had to do styling…

…and my Spoonflower fabric…


When I first discovered Spoonflower I was too intrigued to go away and come up with a new design, I went for the nearest jpg file, my faithful pink sheep, and like it so much I ordered a fat quarter as a test run. My pink sheep started life on an invitation designed by my son Thomas Taylor for my Graduation party four years ago and was originally wearing  a mortar board. I loved her too much to send her off to oblivion, so with the help of Photoshop she hung up her mortar board and joined me here on Planet Penny. I’ve offered to make Thomas a pink sheep bow tie, but strangely, he’s declined…

I was so excited by all this I initially overlooked the fact that my latest copy of ‘Selvedge’ had arrived…Oh. Joy!..

…with this beautiful image on a card inside.

After a wet morning, a band of blue started to spread from the west, and the wind became a breeze, just right for a spot of exercise.  I’ve tried to get round the short dog = cold wet tummy problem with a rather smart fleece jumper for Higgins.  Apart from the fact that I could have bought myself two fleeces for the cost of a tailor-made miniature dachshund one,  getting it on is a bit like putting  skin on a sausage. Then you have the problem of persuading him to get out of bed…

We got out there eventually though…

Even the sugar beet looks good in the sunshine, and you can just see home across the field…

All that was left was to make a cake to justify the fact I had bought not just one, but three tins to put cake in.  I had some windfall apples, so a quick flip around Google and…Easy Apple Cake? …yes, we like easy.   Well, it was easy enough to put together, but who has a 20cm x 30cm tin to hand?  And how would the capacity of a tin you haven’t got compare with the one you have got?  So, a round cake instead.  Fine.  But…how does that affect the cooking time?  Answer – a lot.  After the allotted 40 minutes a gorgeous crispy crust trembled above a completely liquid interior,  another twenty minutes, then ten and then another twenty five minutes before the ‘sod it’ moment when I got it out and decided that was IT.   


And it was.

 Delicious…

Not amber, but blue…

These days I get a very early start, with an alarm clock which goes ‘WUFF’ rather than the traditional buzz or ring.  At this time of the year every glimmer of sunshine is precious so I bounded up stairs with a cuppa for Tim, not quite with a ‘Hi-de-hi, campers’ but to suggest a trip to the beach to enjoy the early morning brightness.  The baleful eye that glowered from under the duvet made me realise that not everyone does the ‘lark’ thing. However it was even more off-putting to get back from the shower to find a second pair of eyes peering out from under the covers, just as determined to stay snug and warm.  Given a choice of whom to wrestle out of bed and get into the car  I went for the eight inch tall option rather than the six footer.

It was worth the effort.  Coming up over the dunes, out of the shadow and into the bright blueness of the sea,  sky and crisp air and on to the deserted sand was an exhilarating feeling. 

The North Sea has a reputation for being wild and cold, but catch it in a benign mood and it’s as lovely as any far flung ‘Paradise’ shore.
As I’m sure is the coast of the Baltic, where my sons have been staying.  From their description all the wildness usually associated with this time of the year has been  there in full force.  Thomas talked about amber, and the petrified forests under the sea, and on investigation I found the amber found along the Norfolk coast comes from those very same forests, brought here from Scandinavia by the glaciers. 
 


So as we walked we looked for amber too, my little sea dog and I, and we didn’t find any either!

It’s been raining…

…quite a bit.  This time last year I would have been happy to turn my back on the weather and find things to distract me indoors, but that was before I was a dog owner. So while I was happy to park myself on the sofa with a DVD  (‘Batman Begins’ – I’ve never seen it – very good) and my latest woolly project (cue tantalizing glimpse…can you tell what it is yet?)…

…I was very aware that I had a small energetic bundle of fun to tire out before bedtime. In the middle of the afternoon the room was filled with that lovely golden light that comes when half the sky is a clear washed blue and the other half is inky with passing rain..

…so it was time to press the pause button and put on the wellies.  Poor Higgins, it’s  bit rough only being three inches off the ground when the puddles are four inches deep!  As it is the house training takes three steps forward and two back every rainy day.  I wonder if you can get umbrellas for dachshunds?

We compromised by splashing down the road and walking back through the grass at the edge of the field to wash the mud off Higgins’ tum.

Although it didn’t go entirely to plan…

Once we got home all that was required was a warm dry towel…

…and a nice cup of liquorice tea…