Sunday, 31 July 2016


I'm fast becoming convinced that my favourite part of our garden is the fruit. I love reaching that time of the year when you get a complete glut of one thing or another. The effort required to sustain them - pruning the trees, or tying up bushes, is minimal compared to the potential rewards.

At the moment this joy is coming from the raspberry canes as we go out every few days and collect another tub-full. Mostly we're just eating them, often with ice-cream. So good. There really is very little to beat soft fruit fresh from outside.

The hens, of course, would heartily agree. They are complete gluttons over all things fruity and always hang around while we're picking in case any manky bits get thrown their direction for them to fight over.

Read More

Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Mechanical Doorbell, Part 2: Bash

One of our very first posts on The Urban Cottage was talking about our slightly fantastical doorbell, created from bits and pieces found around the house (follow the link for a reminder). This has been quite a talking point and provides us with much amusement when we open the door to a new visitor to be greeted with "is that your doorbell?! Please can I see it?".

The intention was always to expand this beyond it's initial "ding" to also include a "dong" but a couple of years later we ended up skipping that plan (for now) and instead went straight for "bash".

A very tired cymbal, looking for a new home, has been lined up next to the guitar. A short section of pipe left over from the bathroom is then carefully positioned to catch the marble as it speeds off the end of the original shute and directs it into the cymbal. 9 times out of 10 this then bounces and is caught in an old weaving shuttle.

All in all an excellent addition - not least because the previous incarnation was only just loud enough. If you were in a far corner of the house you were more likely to pick up the sound of a marble hitting the floor than you were the guitar. The cymbal certainly solves that problem!

Read More

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Scarf or Shawl?

My Regina Marie shawl is now completed. I'm really happy with this one; it's come out pretty much as I hoped for, the yarn has been great to work with and is still beautifully soft.

I made a couple of tweaks to the pattern as I wanted something that was more scarf than shawl; long and thin. Firstly I went for 32 repeats of the main pattern block, rather than 26. I wish I'd been braver and gone even further with that as I still had yarn left at the end, though I'm not sure an extra couple would have made much difference.

Then during the short rows section I knit four stitches beyond the gap on each pass so that I consumed the stitches more quickly to create a thinner crescent.

I don't know what the technical definition of a scarf vs a shawl is - but whatever it is I've made I love it.

Read More

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Squawks from the Chicken Coop

This is Lemon and Pepper checking in with the Blog. Things are much the same as ever in the Garden.

There is grass to be scratched, dirt to be rolled in and sparrows to chase.

There are sudden sounds that are a bit scary and we have to make lots of noise about. That's especially important early in the morning when no-one is around in case they don't notice the scary things.

There are eggs to be laid. Not as many as we used to have to do - getting old has it's advantages. The downside is that getting the shells right seems to be a bit tricky at the moment, sometimes they're a bit thin and then we accidentally stand on them so they break. That's not so good.

And of course the best bit is still when people come out of the door with something tasty for us to eat. Corn is our favourite, but stale bread or apple cores are pretty good too.

Cluck Cluck.
Read More