Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Early Spring Days

After the cold weather the ground is slowly warming up and everywhere around are signs of spring. Green and yellow tones fill the woods and our garden, our home and our kitchen and I've felt a renewed energy for cooking, gardening and crafting which can only come with the longer days and hopeful glimpses of warmer weather. 

£1 bunches of daffodils fill jugs on the kitchen table for as long as they are in the shops. I love the way they look like paintbrushes before they unfurl their vivid yellow petals.

I am delighted with my new string of hearts plant.  The muted green leaves tangle together in such a beautiful way and it looks really good in my copper hanging planter.

Bored with bread for lunch every day, I made a large batch of salad at the weekend and have been taking it to work instead of my usual sandwich. 

I've been eating lots more fruit, vegetables and eggs, not deliberately, but isn't it funny how our bodies and appetites want different sort of foods as the seasons change. I want cake year round though, and these lemon bars from Making Winter were delicious, with a sweet biscuit base filled with a lemon curd style topping.

Something about lemon - I don't know if it's the colour or the scent - makes me think of Easter. 

I recently bought a copy of Mollie Makes (issue 90), my first purchase of that magazine in about three years. This was the first one I'd seen in ages that actually grabbed me and filled me with enthusiasm, largely because of this little project, an embroidery hoop project designed by Ovo Bloom. I love houseplants and I love embroidery, so it stands to reason that I'd love this design too.

Thanks to a bargain job-lot of vintage Observer books from eBay, and a couple that my parents found for me in a charity shop recently, my little collection is growing. Angus likes to sit in the chair next to this bookcase and read them. I recently found him engrossed in the Dogs volume.

Outside in the garden, things are starting to wake up. It's still a muddy, squelchy wasteland, of course, but there is hope. The large wooden planter is filled with as many daffodil bulbs as I could fit into it, and they are just starting to open up. 

The tulips are a little further behind, but soon I will move these pots to the front door step.

We had a couple of really nice walks in the woods over the weekend. I love being around the trees at all times of year but especially in the spring and autumn, and I'm already thinking of my favourite places to go locally for bluebells later in the spring. 

There weren't that many buds or leaves on the trees yet, but the forest floor was full of growth and green shoots. 

Of course, now that I am in spring mode, now that I am full of plans for the garden and itching to get to work out there, the weather is predicted to take a sharp and wintry turn this weekend, with snow even forecast in some places.

I don't think we'll get any but the icy winds will be a shock after the 15°C temperatures and sunny days we've enjoyed lately. I'm not complaining though, it's an excuse to light the fire and do some embroidery. 


Jennifer Hays said...

It looks like you're having nice early spring days, Gillian. I especially enjoyed seeing your new plant and the bulbs coming up outdoors. I hope the weather stays nice so you can enjoy some more lovely days soon.

O meu pensamento viaja said...

Great post! I wish you a happy Spring.
Around here rain doesn't stop falling!

CJ said...

What gorgeous photos today Gillian. My youngest loves that copy of The Observer's Book of Dogs as well, in fact he was absolutely obsessed with the Brabancon (p.34) for at least two years. It is a dog in a league of its own, do check out the picture if you have a minute, it will make you laugh. I do love your copper planter, it is a thing of beauty. Also the lemon bars, lemon is pretty much my favourite cake. Hope you have a lovely weekend. CJ xx

VeggieMummy said...

So many lovely spring things: the cake looks yummy, your houseplant is beautiful and I'm envious of your Observer books. I have a few from the market in Oxford, but would love to add to them. Enjoy your embroidery. xx

galant said...

Gorgeous pix, Gillian, as always. I do hope you've not discarded the dust jackets from the Observer's books? As no doubt you know, and I know you haven't bought them with future values in mind but for the family to read, but dust jackets add to the value of old books, especially if they are hard-to-find 2nd hand books. I don't know whether there is a market still for Observer's books, but when I was helping out in a friend's 2nd hand/antiquarian book shop several years ago, some of the titles were quite hard to find and therefore had quite a considerable price on their heads, so to speak. But most were published in their thousands, so can be picked up for a song these days. I still have some from my childhood in the 1950s; as with early Ladybird books, they bring back a wave of nostalgia! And as they're small, they don't take up much space on the bookshelves.
I've noticed, though, in all my 'style' magazines, as with Persephone books, they have become a stylist's 'prop' and are now appearing regularly, supplying a 'pop' (awful description, I know) of colour.
Margaret P
Margaret P

Gillian Roe said...

I did, and yes it made me snort out loud. 😂

Gillian Roe said...

Don't worry, the dust jackets are all safely tucked away in a drawer. :-)

Librarian said...

Wonderful photos, as always on your posts!
Yes, unfortunately, more cold weather is on its way, after we had such wonderful mild and sunny days of spring this week and last weekend. O.K. and I even went for our first "proper" ice creams of the season on Sunday afternoon!
I only hope that towards next weekend, in time for my big birthday bash, the weather will be a bit warmer again. It would be so nice if my visitors from Yorkshire could at least go for a walk around the palace grounds.

Christina said...

Ah spring. I wish there were more signs of it here, it is biting cold and yucky. I enjoyed your spring photos all the more and I am longing to go out and find bold signs of warmth to come. Lemon and Easter go well together. Personally, I would also add semolina to the mix. There is an Easter cake that is made in Switzerland with semolina and lemon. x

angryparsnip said...

Such lovely spring photos, you live in a beautiful place. The tree covered with moss is a favorite for me. I live in a desert and although a green one, you would never see moss on a tree.
I had a heart plant once, It was in a hanging planter in a two story window. When I was selling my home, someone cut about half of it off. I was so upset. It is a lovely plant.
Enjoyed your hint of spring post today.

cheers, parsnip

mrsrobinson said...

Your early spring is looking rather lovely!

Ladyh said...

Your embroidery is so beautiful. I must see if I can do some plant hoops so lovely and just a bit different. Enjoyed your daffodils too.

Hooks and Needles said...

Lovely photos Gillian, your lemon bars look real tasty. Your embroidery plans are looking good. Cathy x

Julia said...

Really lovely post, Gillian! The daffodils are so pretty and sunny. All of your food photos look delicious. I love lemon bars and the salad looks nice and healthy. I planted a pot of parrot tulips this year, but it looks like only four have sprouted and have buds now. Hope you have a great weekend!

Lazy Days & Sundays said...

I'm definitely with you Gillian. My food tastes are definitely around the season. I will be so glad when Spring finally does arrive and salads and pasta dishes will be back on the menu. I love my stodge foods of autumn and winter but need a change.

Sandra said...

Lindas imagens. Maravilhosas flores. Feliz dia.

Sarah said...

Reading this was like a walk in a damp sweet-smelling woodland - beautiful. I love the little embroidery design. At the Garden Museum in London recently (a really lovely quiet oasis just by Lambeth Palace and with a fantastic cafe/restaurant too) I saw a series of embroideries in hoops featuring for example a beetroot in various stages of growth - just love things like that. The string of hearts plant is so pretty. The leaves remind me of cyclamen Coum - the early spring-flowering outdoor cyclamen which does well in dry shade. I too have a collection of Observer books that came from my grandparents and parents. Yellow-bound Cacti and black-bound Architecture are my favourites but I’ve never seen cyan-bound Sewing - so will keep my eyes peeled for that one. Hope you’re having a waffling good Saturday morning Gillian.

faith76 said...

I too am itching to get out in the garden but too snowy and cold. I love Daff's at this time of year. Your photo's are very cheery. Have a lovely week xx.

galant said...

Glad to hear that, Gillian! I love Observer's Books and have a number of them. They are just the right size to slip into a jacket pocket.
Margaret P

Sandi said...

great photos!