All Posts · Animal tales · Writing and Illustrating

At the bottom of our garden

June and July have been solid work, pushing to get our home and gardens clear of overgrown woodland, brambles, piles of unwanted packaging from our moves and painting all our buildings and new fences from a huge array of pots left by my father from his garage.  We are now left with an off assortment including a dark green, a bright green and a red terracotta.

Our veggie garden is mainly green and white, so a splash of red wont dont any harm and the greens will complete all the recycled timber we utilized for benches and tables.

The huge stack of terracotta tiles is now sitting by the wild flower garden, waiting to be crushed to make a winding path.  The Italian tiles have found their way onto a garden working bench where I can cut herbs, pot up plants and sit and listen to the buzz of the bees.

The composter has done sterling work, but is too large, and now half holds pots and tools and sticks.  The winters are very cold here, so the ceramic pots can stay here safe from frost.

Judi Castille Making Memorial Tiles

So for now the garden is tidy, the tables built and awaiting a large roof and a kitchen, and the stones from the barn and the demolished store room will make two long winding paths to the forest area.  The sand and soil from our future bedroom had no where to go, but some huge humps and hollows in the forest made an ideal resting place.  Just have to dig the stones out and rake it over.

JUdi Castille Draft idea for memorial tile

One other little corner is developing too.  Our little graveyard for the bees, mice and this week “Les Trois Taupes” – the three moles.  After demolishing our garden with nearly 50 mole hills and the traps and spade digging failed, we had to do the horrid job of killing them.  Totally against the grain, but no choice.

Tony invented a tool for fast despatch. Moles are extremely sensitive and die very quickly. My job to remove the moles and to find them a resting place. A horrid advert on the web said to bag and bin them. No way. In our garden we bury our little birds, bugs and bees.

Our ritual is to wrap in dock leaves, with a few wild flowers, bury solemnly and then add a memorial tile. The tiles are increasing but I have found I love trying to capture the character and writing a few words or a poem to send them on their way.

I have a lot a heavy tiles found on the barn floor, about 2000, and they are ideal for painting on.  I use felt pens, the ones that have a lot of free flowing ink, coloured pencils, and for the recent moles, balsamic vinegar gave a good brown wash.  The garden ones I am about to work on, for the veggie patch, will use herb and flower dyes and illustrate tomatoes, beans, bees, cabbages and butterflies.  I am going to fix them onto the little posts we have made by each raised bed.  Photos to follow soon.

Having completed these few, I am on the lookout for other tiles and have some square floor ones that may work for other projects.  Our barn shower was supposed to have some decorative tiles and maddeningly in Paris we saw some chucked in a skip, but we had no car, only train to travel back and left them.  I really wanted to go back and try and take them one by one and then maybe post onto us, but you know how it is, you think you will find others later, but so far, I haven’t. Oh well.

So these tiles just need to be varnished somehow so the colours wont run in the rain and they can all have their place.

Rest In Peace little souls and have many hours burrowing, pollenating and mole hilling in heaven.

If you would like a Memorial Tile for your pet or to illustrate your garden, or your vegetable patch, email me with a photo, or a description, words or poem or any ideas you might have.

Judi Castille Woodpecker Memorial tileJudi Castille Mole Memorial tileJudi Castille Little Mouse Memorial tileJudi Castille Bee memorial tile

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