Sunday 26 September 2010

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

A frosty morning,the first this Autumn. I start by heading down to the shady cycle path to get some frosty foliage photos.

The area around the standing stones proved to be good hunting ground. Soon after this I left the cycle path to head out to the countryside.

I like the sky, the silhouetted trees along the top of the hill and the long row of sheep in the field in front.

From here I have a long and steep climb, one I've still not yet managed to do without stopping to catch my breath.

At the top. Lovely views of the distant hills, the highest one is Ben Lomond.

This week's cows.

Beautiful sky.

An enchanted forest.

Black faced sheep wondering what I'm up to.

Along this little road views of the mountains are ever present on a clear day such as today.

Through the avanue.

Looking up.

Looking north, dramatic branch and tree silhouettes against a sky so blue.

Baa baa black sheep and friend.

Just rolling along, not a car to be seen on the roads (though there are three parked in a nearby field belonging to some model aeroplane enthusiasts, the buzzing of their planes slightly spoiling the otherwise peaceful countryside at this point).

Reservoir number 4 for the month, Cuffhill Reservoir.

Oops! I ignore the sign. There's usually enough space to get by on a bike, if not it's easy enough to turn back.

Reservoir number 5, Kirkleegreen Reservoir.

Red berries against blue sky.

Who wouldn't want to cycle down this road on such a lovely day? Just before I go...

...I take a quick photo of the three highland cows in the field just to my right.

More branch silhouettes framing lovely views and blue sky (can you tell I'm rather liking the blue sky!)

Past lots of farms. The farmhouse for this one looking rather neglected...

...but the farm outbuildings are very photogenic, especially with the little white kitten passing by.

Little rusty trailer, rusty coloured bracken (and more of the blue sky!)

Lastly, a view of Barr Castle across Barr Loch. Then home. No scones waiting for me this week, I was a little late in setting off (8:30) and hubby had been up early so they were ready to eat before I left.

The rest of the day was glorious and sunny. Today is much the same so I'm about to head off out again, this time with the car & kids (Sunday morning is hubby's cycling time).

Friday 24 September 2010


In the kitchen this morning I try and have a sneaky look at my blanket to see how the border is coming on...

...within minutes I'm discovered. The plane, teddy and Thomas cushion are flung down as he spots the balls of wool. Noooooooo! All is quickly bundled up again out the way, it'll need to wait till after bed time, as usual.

I did manage to get one little photo of the border so far. I think the row of dark turquoise is too wide, I should perhaps have done half trebles instead of trebles. I've gone quite far round with it, can I bear ripping it out? Hmmm, at the moment I think not.

It was a lovely day today and also a school holiday. We went for a walk in the woods. After a bit of clambering up some steep slopes we are rewarded with lovely little peeks of the village through the trees. I'll need to come back and see how much more is visible once the leaves have all turned and blown away.

Hansel and Gretel.

Back home via the lane lined with begonias, always colourful.

Autumn treasure gathered on our walk.

Breadmaker bread. I'd forgotten I'd loaded it up before going out so it was a nice surprise to smell it when opening the door. It makes quite a dense loaf which is nice once in a while but I would tire of it if we ate it all the time, so it's one of those gadgets left to linger in a cupboard.

A took a shine to one of the projects in the Paper Fun book I'd bought in the charity shop yesterday so while N was having his afternoon nap we made a paper house each.

Next she wants to do more houses then the church then some people then the train then the landscaping (papier mache) then the zoo... Perhaps it's just as well she'll be back at school on Tues. However, at least I have completed a project from one of my craft books, more than I can say for many of the others in my collection.

Tea -beef stew and dumplings and brussel sprouts...

...then crumble with rhubarb, strawberries, brambles and bluberries. It was nice with toffee icecream.

Thursday 23 September 2010

The End Is Nigh

I'm going to a craft night this evening and I'll be taking along The Blanket.

I've finished with the hexagons and half-hexagons. Now I'm on to the border, hurrah!

It seems to make a good playmat though that is not what it will be used for.

Also today, a little trip to the charity shop:- eight books (including two arty crafty books - my favourite kind!), four sparkly red candles (for Christmas) and one aeroplane (now in bed with N after being played with for most of the day), all for a total of £2.


Monday 20 September 2010

Saturday Morning Bike Ride and Jelly

After my recent brambling efforts I'm keen to see what else is on offer in the hedgerows. I remember spotting a blackthorn bush on a bike ride back in May and decide to visit it again to see if there are any sloes.

After a fairly flat start there's quite a big hill to climb once I'm across the river. It's worth the effort for the views (and the downhill on the way home).

Not too clear a view today though as the grey clouds are obscuring the far away hills.

Yet another reservoir, I think that's three in three weeks. This one (Barcraigs) is the one I often go to on my bike. Not only does it offer lovely views but there is a good network of roads right round it.

Wild geese (look closely just above the ground in the middle), despite the distance their honking was clear to hear.

Barcraigs. I almost managed to fit it all in the photo. The water level is much lower than this time last year as we have a relatively dry (for us!) summer.

I don't know what this plant is, but it looks rather nice!

I surprise myself by actually being able to find the blackthorn tree. There are even some sloes on it but not many. I pick what I can, just a small pocketfull, before heading off again, looking out for some more brambles now instead.

Just a little bit further down this hill I find a reasonable bramble patch on the left hand side and start picking. After a couple of minutes I become aware of movement across the road behind me...

... I'm being watched!

Nosey cows.

From here I just head home as I need to be back early. The rain is on and gets quite heavy so I stop to wrap a platic bag round my leg(!) - I've a dressing I need to keep dry. At some point during last week's cycling adventure I got bitten on my ankle by an insect. By Monday my leg from below my knee to my foot was red and swollen with a lovely big blister full of pus where the bite was (sorry if I've put you off your tea!). I was worried it was infected to went to the docs. It's been drained but I need to get a new dressing on it every three days, it looks like it's going to take a wee while to heal properly (Edit to say that the swelling is all away now it's just the blister bit that's being dealt with, also I put the plastic bag under my cycling leggings so I didn't look a complete numpty!). Anyway, back to this week, I probably did about 10 miles so it was a fairly short cycle compared to my recent ones. However, I've only been doing these weekly cycles for just over a year and when I started I considered 10 miles quite a decent distance.

On Friday I picked all the crab apples from our tree. We planted the tree three winters ago and this is our second crop. Lots more than last year, can't wait till next year!

Softening to make...

... crab apple jelly. What a gorgeous colour it is, the above photo doesn't really do it justice. I'm sightly tempted just to leave the jars in front of the window so I can admire them whenever I pass. But I don't, they're now in the cupboard along with another batch of bramble jelly I made yesterday. I'm learning all the time with this jelly making - crab/cooking apples instead of dessert (more pectin) for bramble jelly and a rolling boil (not just simmering). I used this recipe for the crab apple jelly.

Now, what to make next...


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