August love

There's definitely been a harvest feel to my days lately. I 'took off' my first honey and have made beeswax candles. There should be more to come next week but this is a one hive production line at the moment as my other colonies are swarms from this season and I want to build them up for next year. I have learnt so much from mistakes as well as successes and I feel I could become a half decent beekeeper in a few years. I decided to give each of my queen bees names, homage to my reading of medieval poetry in my twenties, so we have Guinevere, Isolde and Aliénor. Guinevere may well be superseded this month but her hive will always bear her lovely name. Isolde is very capable and her colony should be very strong next year. Aliénor concerns me a little - there's not much brood in her hive. A beekeeper needs to be patient and nurture a weak colony and I have more of an idea now about what to do. 
I enjoy homesteading as a lifestyle choice even if I do just a few things with herbs and plants and the bees. Do you remember when dried flowers were a thing? I liked them then and this week I have been foraging stems for drying and display. I love nature's colours and feel inspired to match them in yarn and cloth. I am continuing with my Cedar River Blanket with its pops of stronger colour but I feel the draw of a hap or shawl in earthy tones using some of the left over alpaca yarn when I was crocheting some of Ed's Animals. I'll need some more obviously and I should also start to make Patrick's bat soon too; his birthday is in October.
The sculpture of the girl reading is from Ragley Hall near to us. We had a surreal afternoon there on Friday. We were the only visitors and the guide gave us a private tour. It's an 18th century house with an amazing interior and a Capability Brown landscaped garden. A hidden gem I would  say. I loved the contemporary murals that cover the hall and south staircase.  
We are off at the start of September, to North Africa and we've been watching Yotam Ottolenghi's Mediterranean Feast series in anticipation. The food reminds me of Provençal dishes which I really like. My next post will be about our trip to Morocco. 



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