Sunday, 28 April 2019

Bird Watching at Holyrood

This was to be a quiet weekend with the hubby working both days, but the thought of two days with no solid plan was too against my nature. Fortunately, a good friend of mine came to the rescue and a girls day was organised (Missy most definitely being one of the girls!).

The weather was originally meant to be pretty bleak Saturday, so we decided on a trip to town to do Holyrood and Arthur's Seat with the intention of finding a nice cosy pub once we were too wet and cold. It came as a bit of a surprise as the overcast clouds broke as we met up and the sun came out for us. Our walk turned into a meander before we simply gave up by the loch and decided to share some  chocolate mini eggs and watch the birds as Missy sunbathed.

A pheasant was strutting about taking no notice of the many dogs off lead. Missy gave up her sunbathing to stand and watch the silly thing as it confidently strode towards us. I'm not terribly sure what it expected, but eventually Missy gave a lighthearted run at it and stopped a good ten feet from it as it flew (she enjoys flushing pheasants, especially when you least expect to have a shrieking ball of feathers flap noisily past your head, but has never had an inclination to catch one) and it grudgingly stared at us from the other side of the lake.

Missy trying this bird watching malarkey
My friend will insist she isn't a bird watcher. She will compel you to believe that she doesn't take any interest at all in the sport and that she only knows her different ducks due to her father being a keen bird watcher. Well, as we playfully argued over the semantics of using the word "sea" to describe gulls, she pointed out pheasants, different ducks and then spotted the heron.
It was small by heron standards, perhaps a hatch-ling from last year, and it was creeping about in the reeds and doing a very good job of not being noticed. We both grabbed our cameras and waited for the moment it would become visible from the reed. Except it didn't move from them. It kept creeping round, one long leg moving after another long careful step. Missy had figured out we were looking at something and, sniffing, she stood up for a better look.

The heron opened its wings and glided away from us to the other side of the lake. Unimpressed, Missy returned to sunbathing as my friend and I compared photos. She had brought her telescopic lens so had managed some good close ups whilst I only had my basic lens and had caught the scene as a whole.
Deciding that that was certainly enough excitement for the day, we headed to the Auld Hoose and had the biggest plate of nachos you have ever seen. We couldn't finish it and Missy was allowed a few plain nachos. We said farewells, stopped midway home to walk at Almond Valley and then arrived home at four.
As the heavens opened.
I had a brief panic about my courgettes which I had planted out that morning, but decided there was nothing to really be done and chilled out with some tea and a good book.

Today was a quiet day. The sun was shining as promised and I did some more gardening (moving my established strawberries into a bigger pot and getting my Chinese Cabbage out of the seedling trays and into something a bit more suitable). For the most part I was rolling about in the grass playing with my macro lens. It was a Christmas gift and I've only just had a chance to play with it now. 

There was some baking too and then some sewing. I've just finished a new project, but want to do some matching pieces to go with it before I show it off, so I'll share a project from earlier in the week:

These were meant to be a surprise present for my nephew, but after receiving a picture of him grinning away in a set I had made his sister some years ago, I panicked about the fit. Turns out my nephew is growing much faster than my niece did! After a quick discussion, I've added some little extensions to the shoulder straps and my sister is confident that he should be able to wear them for a wee bit.
I'm going to skip age 2 and move right onto age 3!

Next weekend promises some exciting adventures, so I'll see you all then!

Sunday, 21 April 2019

An Eggcellent Easter

Its been a busy little Easter! The day was kick started with the family egg competition (I placed second, which is the best I've managed since we started getting competitive!) and then it was off to a family picnic at Muiravonside.

Finally! The fur-cousins posing together!
My brother had hoped to come, but as he works nights, it was always dependant on how much sleep he had managed. The thermometer has hit 21C both days this weekend and, with the blazing sunshine, Maisie wasnt letting him have any sleep. My mum offered to take Pouty out on the day trip and my brother agreed it was a good idea (spoiler, he clocked in five hours whilst we were out).

Piggy heaven
My sister (unsurprisingly) was late, but it gave us time to get the dogs worn out so they would behave for the picnic. Pouty stole off with half of my nieces sausage roll, but it was well deserved on my nieces part as she did try to push Maisie away *with* the sausage roll. Missy stole the entire picnic blanket and sat between the hubby and I, carefully watching for any stray bits of food. 

Then it was a walk about the farm. My nephew had had enough by then so went home with his mother whilst we kept Wee Ben and my niece for a proper walk. We decided to go on the river trail to see how close we could get to the aqueduct. I showed off my childish side by getting my socks and shoes off and wading in the river - Missy and Maisie both joined me (as did my hubby) but my mother and niece laughed from the sidelines. Wee Ben wouldn't entertain the notion of entering the water and watched from the bank.

The walk took us up to and onto the aqueduct so we got some good photos and enjoyed the scenery. By then it was almost 5pm so we called it quits and headed back to the car. I always put Ben in the boot with Missy (apparantly he wont travel in the boot for my sister, but he's as good as gold for me and doesn't make a peep) and Maisie (very soggy having being "washed" in the river after trying to imitate the pigs we saw earlier) sat between my mum and niece in the back. Pouty was feeling left out at not being in the boot (hence the first photo) but after a few moments decided there wasn't quite enough space!)

After dropping Ben and my niece off we went back to mine for dinner and Missy and Pouty played in the garden. Pouty loves the freedom of it and it was wonderful just watching her play and run about. My brother was very pleased to have her returned to him and we'd worn her out so much he even got a full nights (days?) sleep today, so was very chipper when wishing us a happy Easter!

Of course I made something for everyone for Easter! These little cones held a good handful of kinder treats (or, in the case of the doggies, a dentastix, some smackos and some biscuits) and I'm sure my creative family will find other uses for them. 

Today has been spent pottering in the garden. I have managed to get all my seedlings out of the house and either into the little plastic greenhouses I have or into growbags. I officially have a "corn field" (24 plants over two growbags) and several pumpkin patches! I'm in the process of fobbing off giving way my giant sunflowers (well, at the moment they are three inches tall, they have a lot of growing to get to their promised 8/10 feet!) and my work are doing a seedling swap, so my spare pumpkins will be going along to that. With half a dozen courgette plants waiting to get potted and put out, I don't think I'll have space for much else though!

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter!

Sunday, 14 April 2019

A Wild Windy Weekend

It's been a funny old week with the weather - each morning I scrape ice off the car before going to work and then the temperature ramps up with the sunshine to a near-tropical 11-12C. Unless you are in the wind, then you may as well be huddled amongst the penguins in the antarctic.

Still, I've done well with the garden. The grass has had its first cut, my indoor seedlings are threatening to either take over the world or move out and go to college and my outdoor ones have been well enough protected from the frost that they are slowly showing their little heads. Except the tomatoes. I broke and brought them in and they have appeared to have survived their brush with icy death and begun sprouting on the windowsills. Apparently you can develop green fingers as you grow older - I would never have imagined such success even as little as a year ago. Although I may have to give away some of the seedlings, no one needs almost thirty pumpkin plants (of various kinds I add, but still, that's a lot of gourds at the end of the day!).

Missy has enjoyed a lot of company this week with the way the hubby's shifts have worked out so we didn't feel a compulsive need to be off and adventuring. Both of us are also suffering a bit from burning the candle at both ends the last few weeks, so we decided to enjoy a long walk around Beecraigs including a trip up Cockleroy where we all felt like the wind was going to blow us away.

Truly though, if you are in the shelter of the woods, spring is here. We saw lambs and calf's frolicking in their fields whilst Missy sniffed through the undergrowth in the hunt for young rabbits and squirrels. El-ahrairah were on their side yesterday and she found none. Still, she enjoyed meeting some other dogs and her etiquette when waiting for horses to pass was much admired.

It was a girls night (with the hubby who these days is an honorary member) as my friend from Inverness came to stay the night. My more local friend came along too and we all played board games and ate too many biscuits and drank a lot of tea. A perfect evening for friends to catch up. We all agreed not to wait so long again and so hopefully we do manage another get together.
Today there was more hanging out and a bit of shopping before I dropped my friend off to get her bus home. I don't envy the four and a half hours it's going to take her! Missy was spoilt with lots of goodbye hugs and then a long walk around Almondell.

Sewing has been a bit on the wayside this week as I've focused on the garden, but I've managed to get three projects up and started, so hopefully I should have some fun bits to show off for next week. We did find time for some arts and crafts - this year we are resting the bonnets and doing egg decorating instead. Take a wild guess who decorated which set of eggs!

Now, time to get the house tidied up, but perhaps after another cup of tea!

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Dreich or Drookit? That is the Question...

Dreich. Drookit. And the best fitting word of all; Smirr. That wretched, hazy, mist of a rain that's like being trapped in a cloud and slowly but surely seeps into the bones. That is exactly the kind of weekend we've had in the Lothians. A plowetery kinda weekend.

Still, we did get plenty of walking in, but nothing particularly grand. Missy dislikes this grim weather as her undercoat gets damp and then she's a bit cold and soggy for the rest of the day, so shes been reluctant to go out. Cuddles on the sofa was most certainly the way she wanted to spend the weekend, not trudging through mud wondering just when we had signed up as extras to a Silent Hill movie...

Missys preffered habitat, cuddles under the blanket
Still, its been a good opportunity to get on with some sewing - not one, but two big projects out the way this weekend:

A new quilt for Missy made with the leftovers of the king size quilt I made for myself (rather pleased about that!) and a backpack for myself. Its my first attempt at a back pack and I'm very pleased with it - one or two things I would do differently next time (a stiffer fabric for the lining being one) but still super happy. Expect to see more in the future!

We did manage to have fun this weekend too - the hubby and I had planned road testing my new picnic hamper and decided that, since there was no point in shivering around a castle pretending to have a nice day, we'd just have the picnic indoors. Bring spring and summer to us, as it were! 
On went the lazy summer tunes playlist and we popped open a bottle of cloudy lemonade before enjoying our sandwiches and sticky buns. Missy did us proud by not trying to eat up all this food that technically was on the floor and patiently waited for us to pass her bits. She did have her own goodies in there, but they didn't last long!

Perhaps next weekend will fare better.