Sarah Jane Humke

The life of a traveling, reading, writing, spining and knitting shepherdess.

I realize that I haven’t been very good of late of showing or telling what I’ve been up to since I got back from the US.  So, I am going to have a monster blog entry to try to show you all the fun and exciting things that have been going on since my return.

The hubby and I have been trying to explore as much of the area that we live in as possible.  So, when ever a festival or something comes up, we try to go to it so long as it sounds at least halfway interesting.  A few weeks ago a sign went up saying that the Old Ivinghoe water mill would be open that Sunday.  Of course, we had to go see.

The Ford End Watermill

The Ford End Watermill

It was pretty cool, though a little unnerving as the whole building was shaking pretty intensely because of the grinding going on there.

Heavy, scary looking machinery

Heavy, scary looking machinery

We bought some flour that they had ground there that day and walked around a bit.  That day, like many we’ve had since I’ve gotten back, was beautiful.

The actual watermill.

The actual water wheel

One interesting thing that we did a couple of weekends ago is that we went to a meeting of the Socialist Party to kick off their EU office campaign.  The reason for this was that one of the hubby’s coworkers is running for EU office and was giving a speech that night and we went to support him.  The Socialist HQ was right next to a happening club/pub and there was loud disco-esque music bumping through the wall during the whole meeting.

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This is the time of year for plant sales and fairs in this country and we have gone to a few of those as well.  The biggest one by far has been the Ashridge Estate plant fair.  Ashridge Estate is a local National Trust site with lots of walking paths, bluebell woods and views.  Anyway, they had a big plant sale to help support the site.

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Lots and lots of people were there.

This parking area is probably about a half mile long

This parking area is probably about a half mile long

And a lot of them brought their dogs with them.

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I finally found a knitting store in the area that I like.  It’s a little bit of a drive, but the drive is so pretty that you really don’t care!  It is called The Knitting Hut and it is in Woburn Sands.  Woburn Sands is near Milton Keynes which is where we go to do our “big” shopping days.  It has the Ikea and the Tesco Extra and things like that.  Anyway, I decided that since I was already going to be in Milton Keynes that I should check out this knitting store that is nearby.  I did and I have to tell you that it is great!  It’s a tiny shop but it is jam packed with great yarns and tools.  The part that I liked most about it other than the owner, Sue, was fantastic was that there were a lot of different yarns there.  She had 2 different kinds of British Alpaca yarns for sale.  Most of the knitting stores that I have found seem to sell the same 2 or three brands of yarn and that’s it.  It was great to find someone selling something a little different.  

This past weekend we decided to go see an art and craft show that was going on at the Woburn Abbey.  Since we had never been there before we weren’t really ready for what awaited us.  For instance, we didn’t know that there was a deer park there.

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Or that the grounds were absolutely fantastic.

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The art and craft show was a total bust but we didn’t feel all that let down as the drive to and from it was just so amazing.  As we were driving to show the hubby The Knitting Hut we happened to end-up at this amazing garden centre called Frost’s.

One of the buildings

One of the buildings

The Food Hall

The Food Hall

The Floral Department

The Floral Department

Look at all the plant-y goodness!

Look at all the plant-y goodness!

A display water garden

A display water garden

The OUTDOOR fish area, the indoor part was too dark to photograph

The OUTDOOR fish area, the indoor part was too dark to photograph

It, quite honestly, made anything called a garden center in the US look like a joke.  It was huge, it had a restaurant, a food hall, a florist, a fish and aquarium area, books, clothes and then all of the stuff that you normally associate with a garden center like plants and gardening equipment.  It even had an ice cream stand!  I spoke with a manager there for a few minutes and he asked if I would put in an application and a c.v. which I did.  It would be really nice to have a job even if it was only for a few hours a week.  

This past weekend we also went to the Pittstone Green Museum.  That was an experience.  It’s also just down the road from us and it seems that it is usually only open on Bank Holiday Mondays.  Anyway, we went in expecting a few displays on farming in the Pittstone area and instead we found a really good sized museum on the grounds of a former working farm.  There were displays on everything from brush making to a Victorian kitchen to farm equipment to small steam engines to model train displays.  There was even a room on archeology.  And there were a ton of people there!  It seems that one of the things that this country delights in doing is surprising me!

I’m still crocheting

 

Granny Square blanket with Jiji for size perspective (and I couldn't get her off of it while standing on top of the couch to take the picture!)

Granny Square blanket with Jiji for size perspective (and I couldn't get her off of it while standing on top of the couch to take the picture!)

 

and knitting

 

Scarf, no Jiji for size (but trust me, it's getting bigger!)

Scarf, no Jiji for size (but trust me, it's getting bigger!)

 

and sewing-up finished hexagons

 

Only three more of these to go then I can start putting them together!

Only three more of these to go then I can start putting them together!

 

and trying to wrestle the tiny courtyard garden into shape.

The herbs got moved to the other side of the courtyard

The herbs got moved to the other side of the courtyard

Two bay topiaries frame the conservatory door now

Two bay topiaries frame the conservatory door now

Roses in pots frame the doors from the dinning room as well as Weezy

Roses in pots frame the doors from the dinning room as well as Weezy

My tomatoes in their sunny spot properly caged in bamboo

My tomatoes in their sunny spot properly caged in bamboo

My forlorn looking fig tree in it's new, big pot.

My forlorn looking fig tree in it's new, big pot.

My new compost bin!

My new compost bin!

This coming weekend the hubby and I are flying to Edinburgh for a get away.  We hadn’t celebrated either the first 1000 or 2000 views to my blog so this is sort-of both of those celebrations rolled into one.  I will try to blog from there but no promises as I might be busy.  I mean, Scotland is sort of known for it’s knitting after all!

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