May 26, 2012

May, Part 2~

Memorial Day weekend is a big deal here, and a big thrill for me. It is the official start of the summer season here in New England where winters are long and harsh. There is nothing so welcome each year as the birdsong and flowers, the rushing brook sounds and all that green.
Our yard is a small oasis of sun-dappled green, with pockets of shade and places where cold water trips over moss covered granite boulders. We have simple period gardens of natural materials where flowers and vegetables warm and grow in the summer sun.  Today I see numerous butterflies fluttering around our wattle fences and stone walls. The windows are open, and I hear the calls of many varieties of birds as well.
We plan to put their 'daisy' dresses with the matching yellow daisy bows on our yorkie girls  and take them on a short errand today. There is one family-owned grocery store down the road that always welcomes our yorkies in their pouches and never makes us leave them in the car. We are just going to pick up some of their own homemade hamburgers to grill this weekend, and some beer to use for making BBQ'd ribs tomorrow for our anniversary dinner. This is a special treat, and we'll have the decadent chocolate cake for dessert.
Later today we'll just be hanging out in our pretty yard, mowing, painting, and doing the general puttering necessary each spring.
I am still not back to normal from surgery. It is monumentally discouraging, and I am dealing with that right now. It will take some time...
Later this afternoon perhaps a car ride with the dogs---meandering along narrow lanes bordered by ancient stone walls, where trees meet in a green canopy overhead---I don't think there is anyplace so beautiful or so dear as spring in New Hampshire...
All of these photos were taken in our own yard~We built dozens and dozens of feet of wattle fencing by hand, around several gardens. We cut over 400 saplings, hauled them down the hill from the woods behind the house, and crafted the fences using no modern tools, and doing some of it dressed in 18thc. clothing. We built the wattle gates, and the stone wall in front as well. Adam carved wooden hinges and pins for the gates.

  ***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!


These 4 leaded windows are the kitchen. They look out over all the gardens~ The raised beds are just outside the back door...

The brook in our yard~This was taken in early spring
Above, our babbling brook falls down the hill...
The arbor we built from trees in our woods last year~ We put in a stone floor. We plan to have tea under the arbor in 18thc. clothing when we have our period lawn parties.
Wisteria covers this entire arbor.
We have now designed and  built several different twig arbors in our yard. You can read more about this one HERE

Take a tour of our18thc. house and period gardens with all new up to date photos HERE~

We built our authentic cedar raised bed kitchen gardens a couple years ago. This spring I constructed pea tripods---("pea-pods"!)---for the heirloom blue-podded peas I planted from seed.
Adam made all the garden markers by hand as a gift for me, writing them in 17thc. script~

The herb garden in the back by the kitchen door is completely enclosed by wattle fencing the two of us built by hand earlier this spring. The photos are deceiving---the rectangular garden is over 12 feet deep  by over 25 feet long. We cut down over 350 saplings for all the wattle fencing and gates we built, hauled them, and cut and wove each one~


You can see the old granite bench that was here when I bought the house, and the stone English bee bole we just constructed in the herb garden...

We built every fence and arbor using materials from our own property~ We built our cob 'beehive' outdoor bakeoven, even digging all our own clay, and spending no money!


Our house and yard are ever changing~ Visit our website TOUR page to see up-to-date photos of our yard and the inside of our 18th century home, all to period musick~


The Burlap Owl said...

Everything looks beautiful!
~ Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend ~
Take Care,

An Historical Lady said...

Dear Tina,
Thanks so much for commenting.You too!