Monday, April 9, 2012

The Foragers

I was having a cosy chat with Monsieur La Poste this weekend and describing to him the tree at the wetlands where the chestnuts could be found for roasting, which Mr Shoestring was keen to try.  When I mentioned the tree at the side of the rail trail where we scavenge for apples Monsieur La Poste corrected me on my description of the activity (in the nicest possible way, of course).

The venerable apple tree, perhaps grown from an old core thrown from the train

He described our activities as foraging, rather than scavenging, and I am only too happy to concur.  Don't you think that scavenging sounds like something a pack rat might engage in, while foraging has an altogether more attractive sound - picturesque and almost romantic, a much more alluring pastime!
Anyway, we roasted the chestnuts and forced Lord and Lady Raglan to try some when they visited us over the Easter break.  Gentleman and gentlewoman to the end, they were very polite and endured several mouthfuls after Mr Shoestring had smoked the chestnuts over wood chips, but probably a little drop of wine helped wash the chestnuts down and made them more palatable.  We strolled up the road for a delicious meal at the local Indian restaurant, then gently wobbled home groaning softly as we contemplated just how many dishes we had sampled and how delicious they all were.
Lord and Lady Raglan had been to an art deco sale and regaled us with tales of the magnificent new top hat Lord Raglan plans to wear to art deco weekend next year (winning the prize for best dressed art deco golfing gentleman has increased his ambitions in the direction of male sartorial elegance), but Lord Raglan had also made the ultimate sacrifice and bought a magnificent bakelite tape measure which he presented to Mr Shoestring!  Mr Shoestring admires everything about Lord Raglan and I believe this gift was the final confirmation that Lord Raglan is the ultimate in all things Lordly.  We were very surprised upon close inspection to see that the tape measure was made in China!  Even in those distant days China was obviously exporting her goods around the world.

I told Lady Raglan about the day of bulb planting I had spent, enjoyable apart from the fact that my trowel seemed to have an unerring instinct for where the bulbs I had planted last year were located, and constantly plunged itself into them, probably destroying them forever.  It got to the point where I despaired of any new blossoms in the spring time as I was only replacing the bulbs I ruined with the trowel.  Lady Raglan came up with the interesting theory that I was a bulb diviner, rather than a water diviner.  A gift perhaps, but not one welcomed by spring bulb planters!

The "frugal challenge" for this week was an enormous selection of tapestry wools which had been donated to me after Bobby had completed a huge wall hanging.

These are only some of the "left overs", what a sumptuous collection of shades

There are a lot of skeins, but not much of any one shade, so I was looking for a project which used many tones but none of them in a large amount.  Across the road at the library I found this wonderful chart for a bowl of pansies (yes, my favourite flower!) which could be adapted for the multitude of shades available.

It is spread across two pages of the book, hence the break you see in the design 

This chart should be suitable for the random selection of multi coloured wools.  I can't wait to get started, my fingers are itching.  Here is a photo of the finished cushion, from the book which is called Glorious Interiors, by that icon of modern knitting, patchwork and canvas work, Kaffe Fassett.

We went for a very long ride on the rail trail to celebrate the wonderful summery weather.  Congratulating myself on my ability to cycle over the narrow (or at least they seem narrow to me) bridges, I managed to hurtle myself and my cycle down a steep hill at the side of the trail when remounting after a cattle stop, and ended up under the bike with nasty thorns poking into me.  Grimly I continued on and decided this cycle trail will not defeat me - if it takes the rest of the year I am going to master it.  We had already got off to a shaky start because daughters number two and three accompanied us, and rapidly sped off into the distance and became dots on the horizon.  The whole endeavour seemed much more difficult and onerous than it had been formerly.  I was peddling twice as fast as everybody else but only making half as much progress.  Why?  Why?  I knew my stumpy little legs (or leglets as they would more properly be called) were new to this game, but they were certainly working very hard.  Was it the selection of Easter delicacies I had partaken of?  Why did it seem so much harder?  It wasn't until we had to dismount to cross a road that I realised the front wheel wasn't turning freely - after some investigation it appeared that the newly installed mudguard was stopping the wheel from turning properly, thank goodness I wasn't imagining the whole thing.  Once that problem was overcome the whole ride was a lot more enjoyable and pleasant.  But I still needed to lie down on the grass and gaze up at the sky once we eventually returned home.