March 14, 2012

Pewter spoons, building a wattle fence, and a trug for me!

I love my trug...I shall feel just like a proper 17thc. lady in my garden when gathering tomatoes or herbs in this little beauty~

I have now caught up with the current 'big' items from our website that have sold are they are finally packed and on their way to new owners. (More things will be soon coming to our OFFERINGS page).
I still have several orders of our 17thc. style pewter spoons to ship, but they are fast and easy to get out in Priority Mail boxes.

The card we designed that gets included with every spoon order we ship...

We are currently watching a fantastic 12 part TV series several years old, featuring 5 historians living a 17thc. life for one year in a 1620 farm house in the UK. They wear and use only things of the period. We are loving this. I also fell in love with a beautiful and unusual basket that the ladies were using for many purposes on the show, and remembered having seen them years ago, and that it was an English trug.
These basket have been used for hundreds of years there.
I now have my own traditional handmade trug. It rests on top of an old barrel in the taproom near the door, and I'll use it in my gardens this summer for many things~

My handmade trug~

This is my 17thc. style bottle. We saw one just like it being used in a TV series of life on a 1620 farm~
Today is cloudy and a bit drizzly but very warm. We still have a lot of snow, mostly in piles here and there, but it is very quickly melting.  Ahh, spring---the happiest time of the New England year. The very long harsh winter is finally over! The anticipation of warmth and green makes me restless and I plan out in my mind all the yard work,  changes, and garden planting I intend to do. This morning our brook is madly running, tripping down the hill out back over rocks, and sounding like the ocean.

 Adam and I have been planning our first big project; one that may get started this weekend if the warmer temps hold out.
We are going to dig out the rounded corners of the herb garden out back and square them off, and build a brand new wattle fence around that garden.  The first order of business is to cut and collect long thin saplings and branches in the woods behind the house. We need a lot, so the plan for this weekend---after going to the town penny sale on Saturday, of course, is to start the collecting of piles of the twigs needed.

The new wattle fences will be approximately 2 and a half to 3 feet tall and we may try a very 'Midsummer-Night's-Dream-kind-of gate'.  I will save photos and more details of our completed fence for later this spring or summer, and post about it then.
We are also planning what to put into our 17thc. style raised bed gardens this year and have decided on only vegetables---colorful kale, cabbages, scarlet runner beans, tomatoes, and more, along with a few period plants such as Lady's Mantle and Lady Bedstraw...

So, on this grey day, I have some candles lit, and have already made some homemade cinnamon rolls for Adam, for treats for the rest of the week. I have a cup of tea and a tablet of paper. I sit in the dim dining room looking out of the tiny-paned windows for inspiration. I already see bright green moss on the old stone walls.
Sean is collecting the last sap of the season for syrup from our maple trees. I have several pieces of authentic, stained cream linsey woolsey---enough to make 2 pads for the seat of the 'new' 17thc. settle in the dining room, so that is on the agenda today. If the sun comes out, I plan to go out into the yard and start picking up downed tree branches and twigs from the winter's storms.
Oh, and it's time again to hang our c. 1704 Queen Anne brit flag up on the porch again...

I want to savor every minute of it, work and all, and prolong and save the spring in my memory.
UPDATE, 2013~Take a tour of our 18th century house and period gardens HERE~
My yard just before building the wattle fences...



 ***You cannot just go out and buy wattle fencing like ours. The 2 of us have tramped through woods cutting down all the fresh saplings needed, and hauling bundles of 15 or more 20 ft. long trees walking and dragging them through the woods, over hilly terrain, over and over again. We stripped off every branch and leaf from each one by hand. By the time we finished, we had cut down, stripped and used over 400 hardwood saplings in our almost-3 foot tall fencing around 2 gardens, and for wattle gates that we have designed ourselves.
 Because terrain is normally not 'even', you cannot just slap up sections of fencing. We built our fencing in long, continuous sections from the ground up. We put the posts into the ground first, at certain intervals, 'eyeballing' them to get them all at a visually appealing and similar height. This is not as easy as it sounds.  The saplings we cut down were very tall, as we wove whole sides of fencing using continuous lengths of tree, NOT piecing the wattle. We cut down and hand-stripped only enough for whatever section we were working on at a time. This is because if the wood dries out even a little, it is impossible to work with and weave, especially when you are working with lengths of 20 feet or more. We did not use a vehicle or any power tools in the crafting of our fences.
Wattle fence-making is a labor of love and NOT a job for anyone with a lazy bone in their body!  


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