The Beech Fairies.
This is just part of a bigger picture that I’m working on for a poster for my RedBubble store. The finished picture will show the entire tree and it’s various inhabitants.
This is another project on hold. I have to finish up my work on the next Helen Foster James picture book for Sleeping Bear Press.
I really love doing this kind of work, taking my time over a piece. The British countryside and it’s folklore has always filled me with a feeling of magical intrigue. I could lose myself in an ancient woodland world full of talking owls and pixie tricks.
I’ll get back onto this soon, hopefully, life is just so full of things you have to do, I never seem to get enough time!
Hopefully.... to be continued!
Since moving to our new house I've been attempting to grow edibles. Things to add to my salads, sandwiches and smoothies.
Now, I realise this blog post shows my immense ignorance at proper vegetable gardening. I own gardening books, I have read and watched Charles Dowding, and my little mind has balked at the work a veg gardener has to do- making compost, building raised beds, getting the soil right for each type of veg, cycling crops and all that jazz... that's not me, not at the moment, I have to build slowly. Now, I just wanna sow and go! You can smirk at ma work, but just know that I know... I'm no Charlie Dimmock. I've not really got the hang of it, and certainly couldn't survive on my meagre plantings.
Last August I planted kale and strawberries:
The kale was great, I picked off and nibbled leaves for seven months. I let them flower for a while, the flower buds where lovely to eat! Now they've been chopped them down and replanted. They seem to be shooting again. Perhaps I'll be lucky and get another harvest.
I seem to remember eating one sad strawberry from the strawberry plant last year, but since then they have grown incredibly. One small clump has developed into seven large clumps. I added some wood ash to the soil when I replanted them this month-May, and there are several fruits forming!
This April without any ceremony, I gaily scattered a few seeds in a small bed. It's May and I have already been nibbling baby salad leaves: spinach (Trumpet F1) and 'Tuscan salad lettuce mix'. Sharing the leafy bed are a handful of half-visible swelling radish balls! (French Breakfast 3)
Last week, I went crazy and scattered the rest of the packs all over another, larger bed, just randomly, without any care or love. When I related this to my sister she laughed and told me she'd found a plastic box full of various packets of seeds that my mum had left lying around and she'd done the exact same thing, and if mum's spirit was watching wouldn't she be exasperated with us both! :oD
Our mum, Patricia, was a lady who did things by the book. And she had a book for everything... several books for each thing. Never knowingly not reading or doing things by the book! She absolutely loved gardening, but was not a veg gardener. The extent of her edible gardening was tomatoes and cucumbers, in the greenhouse, in grow-bags. She was more into herbs and ornamentals. But if she had grown fruit and veg it would definitely be done properly.
This May I've added one sad tomato plant, one apple tree, chives, parsley, basil, coriander and red onions to my list of edible plantings. I have plans for more... maybe potatoes, carrots, rhubarb, currants...
Slowly, little by little I'll get to grips with growing my own. I get such a happy feeling, trotting out to the garden to collect a handful of goodies for my plate. I'm in love with the idea of food for free, fresh and clean. I've been making super green juices with nettle shoots, dandelion leaves and kale from the garden. Last summer we harvested apples from two ancient cooking apple trees that must have been planted when the house was first built. Also bowls of plums from the many wild plum trees, and of course, hundreds of wild blackberries from the extensive bramble patches.
I'm not sure if we'll be able to stay here until next summer, with a little luck we will, and perhaps then my garden will be full of all sorts of yummy fruit and veg.
It's been awhile since I updated this blog... a lot has changed. For several years I was helping to care for my mum. She had dementia. It was a tough time for her and for all the family, especially towards the end. We had a great care team thanks to the British care system. I really appreciated the help and support all those ladies gave us. I lived with my parents at that time and so was on hand to help her through the day and night. Luckily I have the most wonderful sister who lived very close and she would sit with both our parents several times a week so that Iain and I could escape. There was lots of love and support and we all of us managed quite well. The last few days I found terribly difficult, but thanks to Iain, my sister and my dad... I coped. They coped. We got through it. My mum got through it. I'd never seen death before. It messes with your head.
It took a long time to get my real mum back, those old memories... but with the passing of time, she has returned and those last few years have receded.
After mum died Iain and I rented a house, a few miles away, whilst my sister and her husband sold their house and moved in with dad. For the first time, I have my own house, after living with my parents my whole life: fifty four years! They were good parents, friends really, so it was easy most of the time. It's been almost a year and life in our new home has been getting better and better. I feel myself relaxing into the place. My head is back in order at last after that shocking time. Iain and I are both so happy in our own little house... something we've always dreamed about of over the fifteen years we've been together.
A warm hello to whoever is reading this. Welcome to Petra's blog. I'm an illustrator and writer of children's books and keen amateur photographer. I enjoy living in North Wales with my wonderful partner and fellow adventurer, Iain.
This blog is a place where I share my creativity and thoughts.
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Wandering Around Wales in Search of Celtic Magic -
Check out my photography blog where
I try to capture the Wales that I love in my photography... haunted Wales- the land of the Mabinogion, the druid and the the bard;
the lonely hills marked with abandoned quarries, mines and mills; ruined homes, cold hearths, empty barns and rusted relics.