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there’s treasure in them thar woods

March 28, 2010

Yesterday the boys and I had to amuse ourselves while daddy was busy all day with a group of garden designers, who were here to learn how to identify conifers. With an unusually wide variety of conifer species, Castle Beastie is an ideal place for such a course, and my husband was pleased to join them and to have the opportunity to add to his knowledge of trees.

Once the visitors were busy in the woods, we took ourselves off for a walk; into the woods as well, inevitably, since we are surrounded by trees here. I hope the garden designers found what they were looking for. We found treasure! Treasure, that is, on our own various terms. The dogs were delighted to find an old furry rabbit leg to chew. The boys rediscovered their favourite fallen log, which they pretend is a pirate ship. While they were sailing the seven seas in hot pursuit of Cut-throat Jake and his scurvy crew, I had a potter about in the leaf litter and found my own version of buried treasure. This particular wood is on a slope below the castle and was clearly once used as a tip by the castle servants, since one often finds broken shards of china there in amongst the leaves. Protruding from the roots of a beech tree, I found two old glass bottles, almost intact despite decades in the soil.

I have scrubbed the worst of the mud off them and they are now soaking to try to remove the rest. Near them, I found a large-ish piece of willow-pattern china, to add to my collection of pretty pieces from the woods. Some of them are really quite big:

With smaller pieces, you can make a sort of mosaic, as I did once with a delivery of pottery that was smashed in transit: it was very cathartic bashing them to size with a hammer, and then I stuck them on to a cheap wooden mirror surround with putty. It’s pretty basic, but it’s my favourite mirror.

It seems a shame to break up the big pieces, however. I’d welcome creative ideas for what to do with them. We have too much ‘stuff’ in the attics clogging the energy of this house already, so perhaps it is foolish to go scavenging for more. But there is such a childish satisfaction in finding things, isn’t there, and in making something pleasing out of other people’s cast-offs? We all came home from the woods feeling well satisfied with our morning’s adventures.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2010 6:06 pm

    Interesting treasures that got thrown out in your wood!

    The bigger pieces of china could perhaps be used as a stepping stone path in your garden. Or as a border around a tree.

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      March 28, 2010 6:47 pm

      ooh, intriguing ideas, I like them. Thank you very much!

  2. Mary Z permalink
    March 28, 2010 6:46 pm

    What a great treasure hunt! It’s like beach-combing and finding the lovely pieces of polished glass. I think your idea of making mosaics is wonderful. Perhaps you could find a way to combine the larger pieces into a free-form vessel, which could be held together and coated to make an even surface with some sort of clear plastic stuff.

    • dancingbeastie permalink
      March 28, 2010 6:49 pm

      Thanks, Mary. Yes, maybe some kind of plant holder?

  3. March 28, 2010 7:18 pm

    No creative ideas but *love* your mosaic mirror! And thanks for the pictures of the trees – yes Orkney & Shetland could do with a Tree A Day blog!! LOL! There ARE trees in Orkney just not in the abundance I’m used to coming from “south”

  4. March 28, 2010 11:36 pm

    What wonderful finds! And I love the mirror.

    I often scour the cliffs off St Andrews (below the coastal path) at low tide and find many broken bits of pottery and china. None quite as substantial as yours, but I’ve been collecting them with the intention of decorating a tea pot with them. I’ll share the final product!

    I support the Tree a Day idea! I do miss trees a great deal.

  5. dancingbeastie permalink
    March 28, 2010 11:49 pm

    The tree blog idea is taking root, as it were. Dancing B could easily become a tree blog by default, as (1) I love them and (2) we are surrounded by them. So you will definitely be seeing more trees here, one way or another!

  6. March 29, 2010 3:03 pm

    Your day in the forest seems to be a good one, that’s nice! And your finds were good ones. It’s amazing that it is so nice finding things, and when you can turn finds into such a lovely mirror as you have done, that must be very rewarding. It looks very, very nice! Good work!

    I love the forest. And the Caledonian forest with its pines looks VERY much like the pine forests around here. I am longing so very much being able to get into the forest. We still have a little too much snow to get there, but soooooon I will be there!

    No, I did not get an AGA. It was kind of a part of the timber house we were not allowed to build on our plot. In my head next vision is of course already there and still including the timber house with the AGA.

    There used to be one in the family, but I don’t know what happened to it as it is no longer in any of the houses I know of. Unfortunately all persons of the older generation are gone so there is no one to ask.
    I guess you enjoy your AGA every minute of the day. Nowadays the come in all kind of colours….and I saw one with silverflakes in the colour. The manufacturers are broadening their market.

    Do have a good day!

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