Ways to enjoy your garden/surrounding countryside

Five minute ways to relax in warm weather 

  1. Lie down upon a patch of warm moss, or dry grass if there is none, and shut your eyes, turning your face to the sun. Listen to the sound of the birds sining, and the trees rustling – even the swish of cars on a road can become a sweet sound while you lie in the sun. Then sniff – sniff in a huge draught of air, and see what it reminds you of. You may recall all the other Spring days, and sweeten and sober your mind with memories. It can be sad to remember, sometimes, but always sweet too. Doing it always reminds me of the  William Allingham ‘Four ducks on a pond, a grass bank beyond, a blue sky of Spring, white clouds on the wing; what a little thing to remember for years – to remember with tears.’
  2. Sit on a swing, close your eyes, and imagine you are a bird flitting through the blue sky, or a fish through the blue sea. Open your eyes and throw your head back, so that you see the world spin and turn below you. It is a wonderful feeling and vision.
  3. Make a daisy chain. It is a very simple thing to do, but it is a lovely spring or summer occupation. If you don’t know how, I will tell you – pick  daisy, and slit a loop in the stalk with your thumb nail. Then thread another through that slit, and slit the stem of the one thread through the slit in turn, and so on. Deck yourself out in daisies – make a daisy bracelet, a daisy necklace, a daisy crown, even daisy belt or hairband, or a little rings of daisies to hang round your ears.
  4. Climb a tree. It is so lovely to see the sunlight shining through the leaves like stain glass, and falling in golden splashes on the trunk. Try to reach the very top – it is such a wonderful feeling to emerge from the leafy canopy into empty air with the blue sky above, with the wind blowing in your face. The view is also always grand from the tops of trees.
  5. This is an occupation mostly for late Summer, or early if the weather has been especially warm. Go into the garden, and gather the petals of the over-blown roses as you hand them into the basket. You can also gather sweet smelling herbs,and throw in some tangerine peel, and them put the mixture in a pretty pot in your house to scent the room.
  6. Make a salad out of the herbs in your garden. I have written about this and will be posting it soon – after I have done so I will add a link on this post to that.

 

A little bit more ambitious

  1. If you don’t have a swing to use for  idea 2, try making one out of a straight stick and some ropes. They can often swing straighter than bought swings.
  2. Try keeping a nature diary. Get a blank exercise-book/notebook/clutch of paper or anything else of the sort, and keep a dairy of the garden wildlife and plants. Even ordinary things can be written down, like the sighting of a frog, interesting lady-bird, especially fat bumble-bee, or the first butterfly of the year. I put a few lines of poetry describing the day at the beginning of each entry.
  3. Have a little flower bed to yourself. Buy a packet of seeds, or transplant some flowers not wanted in the other beds of the garden into a little hidden away patch, and steal some soil from the compost or another bed, and plant them in it.
  4. Eat breakfast in the garden. See my post about it Here.
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Christmas things to make

1 Orange peel shapes

At christmas a few years back we discovered that it a lovely christmas activity is cutting up orange peel into the shapes of stars, christmas trees, angels e.c.t. drying them, and putting them into little golden gauze bags with cloves and all-spice. These bags can be tied onto presents with tags, given as christmas gifts, tied onto a string and hung up to cent the house, or anything else you like.

2 Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper is very expensive and not always very pretty; therefore if you have any spare time, a much better idea is instead of buying paper to make your own. If you buy thing from Amazon you  can begin with decorating strips of the recycled brown paper that comes in amazon packages. We cut stamps out of card and printed christmas trees, stars, and other shapes onto the paper. You can also spray the paper with gold spray paint, cover it with glitter, or anything else you like.

3 christmas cards

There are many different ways of making a christmas cards, and many different styles; too many to every right down. However, I will state a few of the ways of making them that I have found particularly successful.

 

Card 1

Try writing a poem or christmas carol, preferably with a fountain tip pen or dip pen, and in neat and attractive handwriting, on your card. Then decorate the edges with christmasy patters (you could do a branch of holly growing out of each corner) or else draw scenes from the song/poem round the writing. Then write the name of the poem/carol above in large colourful calligraphy or other pretty writing.

 

Card 2

Cut a picture out of an old christmas card or calendar and stick it on a card on top of a doily or piece of lace.

Card 3

Cut a piece out of your card, leaving a window in it, either round, or pointy at the top, the same as windows in a gothic church. Then draw a christmasy picture on tracing paper or some other transparent material. Then, outline your picture with a black marker. Colour in the background so that all the part of the tracing paper that you are using for your picture is covered. Then stick your picture into the inside of the card so that you can see it through the window you have cut.

 

Preserving Leaves

Many times in Autumn I have strolled out along the wet grass and found blown into the hedge a single perfect leaf, in which a sensational mixture of beautiful reds, golds, and browns, flow into each other. It makes you sad to think that in few days, that gorgeous leaf may be tattered, sodden and ragged, rotting away into the mud. But there is a way of saving such perfect specimens of autumn leaves from this melancholy fate.

Leaf preserving is great fun; you can gather the beautiful red and gold leaves while the sun shines and the garden is radiant with gold, and then when one of those cold and windy autumn days was playing outside is out of question comes along, you can do the preserving part.

We tried two ways of preserving leaves but the only really successful one involved glycerine, which is thick liquid that comes in bottles. The instructions for preserving in glycerine are as follows

1 Place all the leaves you have gathered in a large bowl or tray

2 pour in two jars of water, half a jar or less of washing up liquid and one of glycerine. There ought to be enough liquid to cover all the leaves. If not, rinse out the jar with more water and pour it into the bowl/tray

3 press a plate down over leaves and water, (firmly but no so hard that the mixture rushes out over the plate), and leave it.

4 leave to sit for around two or three days ( we left ours in for much longer than this by mistake and they came out perfectly fine, so don’t worry, but try to have them out before four days if possible)

5 take leaves out and dry carefully, one by one.

Tip (it works best of yellow or gold leaves as the glycerine can sometimes take colour out of the red and pink ones)

 

After you have given your leaves the proper treatment they should stay as though freshly picked, or perhaps a little squashier, for at least several months and possibly years (I do not know because we only finished our leaves a few months ago.

The second method of preserving leaves did not work as well; therefore I shall not bother to give exact instructions for how we did it. The place from which we got the idea suggested laying the leaves between two layers of grease paper and then iorning them. This ought to have made the two pieces stick together; thus trapping the leaves underneath. The idea was that you’d make scenes or patterns with he leaves and by trapping the leaves under the paper you could make them stay in whatever arrangement you’d put them. This did not work for us however, as the two pieces would not stick together. It did make wax and flatten the leaves however, and made them more manageable for making pictures. We put them behind plastic and stuck them up on the window for the sun to shine through and they looked beautiful.