Sunday, 13 April 2014

52 Projects Sunday



                                       

This week's project was to start tackling the room of doom, a spare room which is currently being used as a warehouse to store all the bits of furniture I have earmarked for future projects, bookcases, books, sewing equipment, furniture brought from the last house which hasn't yet found its niche here, my treadle machine which is awaiting a revamp, and all manner of "stuff" which doesn't have a home just now. If we had a garage that was water tight this lot would be in there but as ours is an old sectional garage with holes in the roof anything that goes in there needs to be able to withstand the weather.
Yesterday Sophie and I made inroads into decimating the "stuff" a bit. We took a few broken bits and pieces to the bins. Then we stopped off at the local charity shop and unloaded the filled back seat of the car there. After that more things were taken to Sophie's flat where she will make use of them.
Of the furniture remaining in the room a chest of drawers is earmarked for a friend for her craft room, and a pine tallboy will soon be collected to go to someone else. Then the swinging crib will be going down to Lancashire once I have bought a new mattress for it and made the quilt and covers. There are four dining chairs destined for my kitchen once it has been decorated, and a chunky stripped pine coffee table which will be going in the living room. Once those are gone the remaining big pieces will be destined to stay in the room when it is overhauled and put back into use.
If I tell you that these photo's are the after pictures you can have some idea of the amount of stuff that was in there.

 



Every item in the room now has a destination either within my home or off to someone else. The more I deal with stuff like this the more appealing it seems to me to just dispose of all my possessions and live in one of those tiny houses I wrote about in my last post.
My home is mostly filled with recycled and revamped pieces of furniture which hold no sentimental attachments to me and have little monetary value so I could quite easily send the whole lot to the auction house and not think twice about it.
At least now we can actually get into this room, before you could only step two feet inside and then you were faced with a wall of furniture. It's a big improvement believe me :)

Here's what everyone else has been up to this week;

Scarlet

Ann

Angela

L-A

Juhli

Mum

Enjoy the rest of your evening everyone, and a Happy Birthday! to my friend Harry :)

Love from Liz x







 

Thoughts for the future

It's funny how you get older you start to think of the future in different ways and sometimes what you find yourself pondering over can be eye opening.Ian is much older than me and  with his health issues we are under no illusions that sooner or later the time will come when I will be left on my own and I will still be relatively young when this happens. The more I have been thinking about this prospect the more I have been realising that when this happens I will only really  have myself and Jake to consider in any decisions I make from then on. Being left alone doesn't hold any fears for me, I am quite happy to spend most of my time in my own company, and I have a circle of good friends who I could spend time with on other occasions.
I have been thinking that when this time comes I may grasp the opportunity to downsize my life further and try something a little less conventional, a style of living that isn't an option just now as I have to take into consideration Ian's medical needs and the equipment which that entails.
I am drawn to smaller space living and have pondered several different avenues I could try out to facilitate this and also try and combine it with some semblance of living off the grid where possible.
I could try something where I would have the ability to move around geographically and see different places, like a small motor home or camper van big enough for me and Jake.


Something like this, which is currently on sale, not your typical vintage vw camper but functional, although this would mean taking only a bare minimum of belongings and being quite ruthless about space. I would be able to travel wherever I felt like though, even abroad if I wished.
Or I could go down the route of being mobile by water and live on a narrowboat. Living on a boat on the open sea does not appeal to me if I am going to be alone, but I could happily travel along the network of inland canal ways and live on something like this;
Kismet, Much Loved Canal Boat For Sale

Chugging along at a couple of miles an hour and mooring up wherever I felt like staying would be an adventure in slow paced living. These narrow boats are kitted out well inside with plenty of small storage spaces, a galley kitchen, small bathroom and bedroom and a living area more than ample for me and Jake.
The one thing I would miss with the two options above would be having some kind of a garden to be able to grow my own fruit and veg and to be able to spend outdoor time in.Which has led me to the third option I am considering and that is something along the lines of one of these;
                                           Living in a tiny house
I'd love to have a go at actually building one of these tiny houses and could really see myself living in one of these with Jake.
The main issue with this would be finding a place to have it sited where I would be able to have a little bit of garden space around me, maybe some rented land might become available or a bit of woodland to buy at a reasonable price, who knows.
It's all food for thought and possibilities for the future.

What do you think about small scale living?

 

Friday, 11 April 2014

P is for.............

Joining in with Mum's Simply Living Blog for an alphabet blogging post.

P is for planting.

I have been biding my time and waiting for the weather to start warming up a little here before I got serious planting and sowing in my greenhouse and garden. When I have sown my seeds in cold damp conditions before I have had poor germination rates and lots of the seeds rotted away in the soil. It doesn't take long for the plants to catch up once they are up and growing so delaying a short while won't make much difference in the overall scheme of things.

So this weekend I will be sowing lots and lots of vegetable seeds. I have already planted onion sets, shallots, and a patch of potatoes, and I already have some peppers growing. 
I have also planted up strawberry plants, and some of my pineberry plants all of which were grown from runners and have been overwintering in what is left of the little tomato house. The rest of the strawberries have just overwintered outdoors in the various tubs, beds and hanging baskets.
I also want to get some perennial flower seeds in, especially those that may be beneficial for my future bees.

A couple of friends are growing some different vegetable seedlings and we will be trading amongst ourselves so everyone will get a good variety of plants. 

This morning

I'll be heading into town again later this morning where I have a few errands to run, prescriptions to collect, banking to do, and that sort of running about stuff. Then I will be visiting the textile workshop as today there is a visiting fabric shop and I want to buy some fabric to make a baby quilt set as a gift for the new grandbaby. A friend gave me a beautiful wooden swinging crib which I will be dressing so I need something suitable for making the quilt and fitted sheets for it.There isn't anywhere locally to get fabrics at a reasonable price so when this visiting shop comes on its twice yearly trips most of the local sewers/crafters are lured out to indulge in a bit of fabric stashing.
There will be plenty of people also using the workshop as a meeting place whilst they are there as they meet up with other crafty friends and enjoy a coffee and a bit of cake whilst they chat and browse the fabrics available.
I have made arrangements to meet up with two friends there to do a bit of trading at the same time. It's an ideal central point as we all live in different directions from the town.A rhubarb crown has been dug up and will be passed on to one friend, along with a bunch of small clip top bottles for sloe gin making. The other friend is meeting me a while later and bringing me a handsome cockerel to replace Del boy, the silky cockerel that was killed by the fox.
In between meeting up with my two friends I will visit Sophie at her flat and have lunch with her.
Sounds like a plan to me :)  
 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

A good day

                                      pic from here

It's been a very good day today;
 I woke up with my alarm without knocking it to snooze three times first..
 I enjoyed an early morning swim with my friend, followed by a walk down to the forest with Jake.
 I received a nice compliment.
 My usually gruff and grumpy dentist seemed to have had a personality transplant in time for my dental appointment this morning, which was a refreshing change.
 I also enjoyed a cuppa and a chat with my friend while I was in town for the dentist, and I resisted a piece of cake. My halo is gleaming :)
When I got home I had a chatty telephone call from my mum with positive health news from her, which was very welcome after a lot of treatment on her part, and a lot of worrying on our part.
I shared a healthy and tasty lunch with Ian.
I spoke to my son on the phone.
The chickens laid a couple of big fat eggs.
It didn't rain all day.
I enjoyed finishing off one of my books and beginning another.

It is now just 3pm and I still have a lovely long forest walk, with Jake and a friend, to look forward to later.
Then this evening it is time for yet another enthusiastic and fun Beekeeping class.

Some days are just wonderful from start to finish, just by appreciating the small stuff - today is turning out to be one of those days!

I hope you are all enjoying your day.
Love from Liz xx

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Starting

This bit of garden at the front of the cottage was used for my little pumpkin/squash patch last year. It was really productive,  but this year I have decided to grow some potatoes in there instead. I usually grow potatoes in barrels and growing bags but I am hoping to grow some bigger ones in the ground. 
 
The ground was looking a bit sad and neglected after the winter and in need of a good digging over to get it ready for planting again.
 
 
 Luckily for me Sophie and her boyfriend came for a visit this afternoon, and it didn't take them long at all to give it a quick turnover for me :)


Now I just need to rake out the straggly bits of roots and debris left behind and I can get my chitted seed potatoes dug in.
I'm going to use the barrels I usually use for the potatoes to grow squash plants in after I half fill them with alpaca manure. The courgettes and squash plants are all really hungry plants so they should thrive on the rich manure along with plenty of watering.
It feels like the right time to start on my vegetable garden for this year now that the soil temperature is beginning to rise a little.


 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

For Today

Joining in with The Simple Woman's Daybook  for April.



                                Outside my window..

There are two tiny black faced lambs peeking through the wire fencing around my garden and trying to nibble at the grass poking through whilst their mums enjoy a bit of free time to graze not far away. The farmer on his quad bike has just ridden across the field and over the crest of the hill to check out more lambing sheep, and one of the farm collie dogs is now running to catch up with him. There is a bit of a chilly wind today, and some grey looking clouds are passing overhead, but every now and again the sun peeks through for a few minutes. On my side of the fencing the raised beds are looking empty and desolate and crying out to be planted up with this season's vegetables. A few small weeds have started to appear in the gravel path, and the strawberry tub has started to green up as the new leaves emerge on the plants which have overwintered. 
 

 I am thinking....
I am thinking about how to rearrange things in the garden so that I can fit in a  couple of bee hives in a good location.


 I am thankful...
I am thankful for friends and family, and a healthy "bump" which will soon be my baby grandson.

In the kitchen...
Ian is sitting at the table listening to a debate on the radio, eating fruit and porridge and having a cup of coffee. The wood stove is blazing away keeping the room nice and toasty and also boiling a kettle of water for doing the lunch dishes later. Washing is drying on the ceiling airer and a stack of logs are drying out next to the stove. Dinner is prepped and all the morning kitchen chores are out of the way.

 

I am wearing...
I am wearing black leggings, a purple and black sweater and black socks with no shoes.
 

I am creating...
I am creating an embellished cream and white scrap quilt for my bedroom...slowly!

 
I am going...
I am going to drop my collie, Jake, off at Sophie's this afternoon and go to the sewing group for a couple of hours. I will catch up with friends and hopefully get a few squares made for the quilt I have started for my bedroom.
 
I am wondering...
I am wondering whether to dig up a rhubarb crown for a friend and take it to the sewing group or leave it to another day and drop it off at her house.

 
I am reading...
I am reading several books about bees, Patriot by Rawles, re- reading Robinson Crusoe (thanks Harry!) still working on the Spanish language book, and part way through Shirley Maclaine's account of The Camino. 

 
I am hoping...
I am hoping to get seeds sown, a patch of garden dug over and potatoes and onion sets planted by the weekend.

 
I am looking forward to...
I am looking forward to getting my hands dirty again in the garden.

 
I am learning
I am learning lots of new information about beekeeping and the life of bees which is fascinating.

 
Around the house...
The bathroom redecoration is finally finished off and more progress has been made on preparation in the kitchen for decorating in there. The house is a little less chaotic than last month but it seems that in order to make changes I also need to create a mess until things fit together again in their new order. It's all baby steps :)

 
I am pondering...
I am pondering plans for the summer.

 
A favourite quote for today...

 


One of my favourite things...
One of my favourite things is the smell of freshly mown grass. Our garden needs mowing the first good dry day we get and I can't wait to smell the cut grass for the first time this year.


 A few plans for the rest of the week:
 Morning swimming with my friend, long walks with Jake through the forest, housework, a monthly meeting of the local LETS group tomorrow, seed sowing and greenhouse pottering, a haircut, watching some films with Ian, a beekeeping class, and lots of reading.
 
A peek into my day...


                      

Monday, 7 April 2014

Making small changes

I'm on a quest this week to try and make the layout of the cottage flow better. I have had this in mind for a while and have been pondering the ways we use the different rooms and how to make them work better for us.
One of the main things that I have been meaning to change is which door we use for coming and going. This is a big issue as because we live on a working farm there is an endless supply of mud, and animal slurry which ends up on boots and paws. At the moment we use the front door which has a tiny 3ft square porch area where the coats get hung and the boots get kept. The problem with that area is that there isn't really space to be taking off boots and coats and you are blocking up the entrance for everyone else. The hallway is carpeted so if you step inside, muddy boots and a muddy dog trek the outside in.
The back porch which is off the kitchen is about the same size BUT within it is a door to an inbuilt little walk in store cupboard about 4ft square. I currently use this to store my canned foods and preserves, but this space should really be put to better use. We had light and power sockets installed in there when we first moved in so I'm thinking it would make a useful space for coats, and shoes with room to sit down when taking boots off.
It would also mean the muddy dog would enter the kitchen first which has a washable floor, and a friend has already made me a wooden gate to keep Jake in the kitchen area. It would save me such a lot of cleaning and be a much more practical use of the limited space we have.
We got in the habit of always using the front door because the way round to the back was closed off with wire mesh fencing which was fastened to the wall, and very difficult to undo to pass through. Now there is a wooden swing gate on there instead this isn't a problem, but for some reason we just never got out of the habit of using the front.
I made a start this morning by whittling down stuff that was living in the back porch and moving some of it outside. As we haven't been using the back door that area had developed into a bit of a dropping off point for stuff destined for the shed or garage so there was lots to be moved like ladders and part used tins of paint and varnish.
Tomorrow I will start working through my preserves and stash of jars,packing them into labelled plastic crates ready to store in one of the sheds. It may take a while.

Have you got space in your home that isn't working for you?
 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

52 Projects Sunday



This week's project has been on my list a good while but I have not had the motivation to get it completed. My tiny bathroom has three walls which are fully tiled and one which up to now has just been painted. I set to a short while ago and did the other bits needed for a spruce up in there like painting the ceiling and the woodwork, but ran out of oomph before I papered the wall, despite having the paper since last year.
On Friday I spent the afternoon wallpapering in Sophie's flat and at the end of the job there was still half a bucket of wallpaper paste left. I wrapped it in cling film and brought it back home, determined that I would get the bathroom finished this weekend. It's a tiny wall so wouldn't even take that long to do, but up to now I had been avoiding it, maybe because there was a power plate right bang in the middle of the wall which I would have to cut around - not my best kind of job.

So today was the day, no more procrastinating, here's the before after I had already removed the various cabinets and mirrors. Unfortunately the ugly heater has to stay as this is a rental and that is the only heat source in there.




Now it looks like this;


I even managed to do a really neat job of cutting around the socket. Once the paper has dried out I will have the cabinets and mirror to rehang and the heater to fix back onto its bracket.
It took me less than two hours to complete this, so why had I put it off for so long!
I'm really happy to get this project out of the way.

Here's what everyone else has been up to;

Scarlet

Angela

L-A

Ann

Juhli

Mum

A booky confession



Some time ago I posted about books and how much I loved reading. Somewhere in that post I mentioned about loving the feel and smell of books and how I thought I would never be able to settle to reading a book on a kindle. I have to confess that I was wrong and I am now a kindle owner. Ian gifted me one for Christmas and loaded it with books about The Camino for me, so I worked my way through those as my introduction to e books. I still prefer to read real books and I don't think that kindles or other readers will ever fully replace books, but I can now appreciate how they might be useful to have around as a complementary way to read. Minimalising is an obvious advantage as they can store many books without taking up room in the house which is a good thing. I will probably use mine for taking on any holidays as I could use it for keeping in touch online but also load it up with lots of reading matter, and not do my usual trick of filling up my suitcase, carrying extra weight and then usually leaving the books behind or passing them on to someone else so I don't have to bring them home.



One aspect of these e readers I find great is that if I come across a review for a book that sounds really interesting I can usually get a taster preview of it online and then if I decide I really want to spend money on it I can download it instantly and be reading it in no time. I also like the fact that there are lots of free e books to download, many are classics that I haven't yet read but have been meaning to.
  The only problem with technology these days is that things become obsolete in such a short time that I wonder how much use I will get from this kindle before it is no longer compatible with current operating systems or parts of it become fatigued, or it stops recharging properly or gets a damaged screen.
 You don't have to worry about any of those kind of things with real books and you don't have to stop reading because the battery has run out.
So  I have to confess to becoming an occasional kindle user, something I never thought I would say!

 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Green

I love walking with Jake through woodland areas just taking in the sounds and sights and smells of nature all around us. The air in the forest always seems much fresher and energising than elsewhere, and I always go back home feeling refreshed and peaceful. 
 
The Autumn leaves are now nothing but leaf mulch on the pathways through the forest, and signs of Spring are everywhere with lots of young plants emerging and the whole place becoming much greener.
 
The small river is flowing quite fast at the moment after a rainy night and drizzly day.Too fast today for Jake to want to go for his usual swim and game of jumping after stones, instead he settled for a quick dip along the edge.
 
 
 In a short while this area will be carpeted with bluebells, the plants are just beginning to emerge now. It's a wonderful sight once they are in flower.

 
 There are still lots of swampy areas being kept topped up from recent bouts of rainfall. The local frog and toad population have been on the move and mating the past couple of weeks, we have been falling over loads of them recently on their travels, so maybe these pools will soon be filled with frog spawn.
 Plenty of pools, ditches and bogs for a water baby collie dog to find and wallow in. He needs an almost daily shower on our return home to rinse out the peat, mud and other forest detritus from his undercarriage.
 Lots of thick moss and lichen on the tree trunks and rocks.
 Shallow ditches and tiny streams which have developed naturally channelling the rainfall down the hillside and towards the little river.

 
Green is a colour I love outdoors in nature yet for some reason I never really have any green indoors in my house in the way of decor or furnishings. I'm not sure why that is, but I only have to look out of any one of the windows here to be totally surrounded by nature in all its greenery.

Little surprises

Last year I split my large rhubarb crowns into small pieces, I rehomed about ten pieces to other people and replanted the remaining bits in raised beds, as they had got a bit out of hand when left without borders. I wasn't really expecting to see much growth this year from the small pieces I replanted but a quick wander around the garden earlier showed all the split pieces growing quite vigorously already. They must like the extra nutrients from all the alpaca poop I have added to the raised beds over winter.  
 
 

I also found a few volunteer ruby chard plants which had self seeded and were doing well.
 

Also a small greengage tree which I planted five years ago has tiny white blossoms on it for the very first time.I hope they survive the winds and cold temperatures and I might get my first greengages this year. Last year the little apple tree was covered in blossom but I only ended up with a couple of apples after wind and frost got all the blossom before the fruit could set.
After being down in Lancashire earlier this week I can't believe how much difference just 200 miles makes to how far ahead the trees and plants are there compared to here in South West Scotland. It was very noticeable with trees heaving with blossom and flowers in bloom everywhere. Still I am happy with the little surprises I found in my garden today, at least it feels like the garden is getting started for the year :)

It's a sheep day

Looking out of the kitchen window today it is a grey and drizzly kind of day but it is also a "sheep day". Sometimes there are cows in the field at the back of the house, sometimes it's just sheep, sometimes it's a mixture of both and sometimes we just have an empty green hilly field.
Today is definitely a sheep day, with lots of little black faced lambs running about in little gangs amidst their mothers, or just laying in the grass resting.



The lambs can be quite noisy with their constant bleating, but it's a lovely sound to hear coming through the kitchen window. In fact living in the countryside isn't really quiet at all as there is a continuous stream of sounds; cows mooing, bulls bellowing, sheep baaing, lambs bleating, birds singing, noisy crows, tractor engines, the quad bikes zipping past, the wind blowing through the hedges, insects buzzing, water running along the nearby stream, the farm dogs barking, my chickens clucking to announce the arrival of the latest egg and the quiet clicking noise of the electric fencing.
 All those sounds are part and parcel of life here, and sounds I will never get tired of hearing rather than the roar of nearby traffic, and intermittent sirens from emergency vehicles that we used to have as background noise in our last home.
  

Friday, 4 April 2014

Another week gone

It has been a week of visits this past week. My son Tom and his partner Cat arrived on Sunday to surprise me with a visit on Mother's Day which was lovely. The bump is coming along nicely! They also brought a friend and the two fur babies with them so Jake had doggy play mates for the day and went to sleep that night totally exhausted. I imagine Cat would have been exhausted that night too after driving over 400 miles in the one day to get here and home again.
On Tuesday night I made the trip down to Lancashire along with Sophie and her boyfriend. We stayed until the following night, visiting my mum who has just returned from three months abroad, and fitting in a million other things whilst we were there. It was a hectic 24 hours, enjoyable, but very tiring. Jake stayed with my friend on her farm and had his own little holiday with her three dogs and the alpacas. He does not enjoy being cooped up in town and misses being able to run free through the forest and countryside so I opted to leave him on the farm where he is much happier.
Once we were back home we spent most of Thursday daytime just chilling after arriving home exhausted around 3am.We encountered a convoy of about 30 military vehicles as we neared home, they were part of a big training exercise which has been going on locally for the past week or so. There have been military Jeeps and trucks up and down the main roads every day lately, but not so many at once as we saw in the early hours.
Thursday night was my second beekeeping class which was just as informative and fun as the first one had been. I met more local beekeepers, learnt lots more about keeping bees, specifically swarming bees, queen bees, queen cells and lots of related topics, and generally just had a great time.
Friday was back to my usual morning swimming session and walking Jake along the river in town, after which Sophie and I transported her mountain bike from the cottage to her new flat in the back of my little car. Then we spent the afternoon wallpapering her bedroom with some bargain paper that was picked up in the sale reduced from £15.99 to £2 a roll, which made for a very cheap bedroom makeover :)
We finished in time for Sophie to head to her evening shift at work whilst Jake and I made our way to the forest for our usual evening walk with my friend and her two dogs.

 Another week almost over, the days are passing so quickly just now!

Q is for .................

Joining in with Mum's Simply Living Blog for an alphabet blogging post.



Q is for quad bikes,


which are currently whizzing past the cottage all hours of the day and night as lambing season is well underway on the farm here. Sometimes the quad is towing a little trailer with a sheep and her new born lambs if there is a problem, or the lambs are cold and need warming up. Mostly there is a collie dog perched on the back of the quad ready to leap off and get to work once the farmer gets to the right field. It's a busy time of year on the farm and the noise of the quads zipping past the cottage is the soundtrack we have got used to for lambing season.  

Sunday, 30 March 2014

52 Projects Sunday

                                  

I completed a couple of projects this week. One was celebrating Earth Hour last night with some friends, which I wrote about in my last post. The second small project was learning how to make a couple of different little Easter decorations at the textile workshop on Friday.It was a small group and we were hand crafting stuff so it was a quiet, relaxing few hours working and chatting together. At the end of the class I went home with a lovely fabric covered egg, a glove bunny and a couple of chicken pin cushions :)










Here's what the others have been up to;

Scarlet

Mum

Angela

Ann

L-A

Tracy

Juhli

Enjoy the rest of the day everyone.
Happy Mother's Day to all mums.

Love from Liz x

 

Earth Hour

For Earth Hour this year I invited a couple of friends over to the cottage for the evening. We started off taking Jake and my friend's collie Meg for a walk in the dark down to the forest and then back along the lane.



Once we were back at the cottage we had the open fire in the living room and the wood stove in the kitchen for heating, and lots of candles in jars for lighting. It was quite cosy and atmospheric having the place lit just by candle light.
We ate a simple meal that had been cooked on the woodstove, and we also finished off the last bottle of sloe gin from the past season.
After we had eaten we sat and talked in the living room by candle light and just enjoyed the conversation and watched the flames in the open fire. It was a good way to spend a low tech evening and to enjoy the simplicity and peacefulness of being disconnected from the power grid. 

Saturday, 29 March 2014

R is for ......

Joining in with Mum's Simply Living Blog for an alphabet blogging post.

R is for regrets.

In the past there have been periods of my life when I wasn't happy but I didn't do anything about it for a long time for many different reasons. I have since come to regret the period of my life that was in effect wasted time. My life passed by whilst I was treading water and trying to stop myself drowning. The only good thing that came out of that time was my children, I will never have any regrets about having had them whatever happens in my life.,
These days I am a much stronger person, perhaps I was all along, and that is how I kept going and managed to move on to a better and much happier life.
Today I try to live my life so that I don't have any regrets. I live one day at a time and make the most of what life throws at me, I try to live in a way that does not hurt anybody else. I try to be kind and respectful to people who I meet and considerate of their feelings. I am always conscious that the strangers I meet may be fighting their own battles and "treading water" trying to survive in their own life. What I will no longer do now though is to put my own happiness on hold and have a miserable life so that someone else who doesn't even consider me at all can live the life they want.
If things are going badly now in my life I do what I can to change things to be more positive - no more treading water - no more regrets being stored up for the future. No more toxic people making my life miserable. My life and the relationships within it may be a little unconventional but it is what works for me and what makes me happy so I have no regrets.
I can go to sleep each night with a clear conscience that whatever has happened that day I have not intentionally hurt anyone in any way, that I have been kind, that I have shown the people important to me in my life that I love them and support them, and that I have been true to myself. As long as I can keep doing that I will have no regrets :)   
 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Happy!

For Christmas last year we got a lovely surprise from my son Tom and his partner Cat, it was the news that this little bundle of fun was on the way.

                                  
My Mother's Day surprise was the news today that our little one is a very healthy and lively blue bundle. We are all thrilled to bits and can't wait now for baby to arrive safe and well in August when I will become a nana and my mum will have her first great grandchild  :)

Happy! Happy! Happy!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

For Charlotte and Sophie

Hi Charlotte and Sophie,
 
Here are a few photo's of the two chickens I named after you, so you can see how they are settling in to their new home.
Before they came to live with me they lived on my friend's farm with some of these chickens on this picture.
 
Then as you know they came to live with my two lonely chickens Mabel and Belle after the fox had killed their friends. That is Mabel at the back of the photo behind Sophie the black hen, and Charlotte the brown hen..
 All the chickens get along together well but Mabel thinks she is the big boss and sometimes gives the others a peck if they do something naughty. She is the biggest chicken and also the cheekiest.
Charlotte is also a little bit cheeky and is sometimes quite naughty. She is moulting just now so lots of her feathers have fallen out and she looks a bit scruffy, but soon they will regrow and she will be lovely and fluffy again and then she will probably start to lay me some eggs again. The wild birds have been collecting the hen feathers off the ground and flying off with them for lining their nests. 
Charlotte likes to scratch in the dirt for bugs and worms and she also likes to steal the food that I throw on the ground for the wild birds even though the chickens have lots of food in their own feeders.

Sophie likes to fly up and sit on one of the garden chairs or on the steps at the front door. Sometimes she sits in one of the big plant pots near the door, usually after she has emptied the soil out of it all over the step and the path! She is a bit clumsy and sometimes falls off things she is perched on. I found an egg in the big plant pot at the front door one day, so I think she had been so comfortable there she couldn't be bothered to go to the nest box to lay her egg.
 Sophie also likes to forage among the dry stone wall and ivy at the back of the greenhouse.
 She is good at finding snails among the stones. I'm quite happy when they eat the snails as it is a few less snails to eat my vegetables when they are growing :)

 
Their favourite human food is spaghetti which I sometimes cook for them on a very cold day as a warm treat, they like to peck out a long piece of spaghetti and then run around the garden with it in their beaks while the other chickens chase them and try to steal it. I think they think it is some kind of worm as that is what they do with real worms too. Sometimes two of the chickens will have an end each of the spaghetti and be fighting over it. 
Their favourite bird food is dried meal worms, all the chickens and the wild birds go crazy for those. Meal worms are like haribos to chickens :)
 

 Sophie and Charlotte are usually together either just the two of them as a pair, or as a gang of three with Belle, that is Belle with them in the photo underneath. They do a very good job of weeding underneath my flowering currant bush and along the edge of the wire fence. They also like to watch the sheep through the fence.


 Sometimes when they are out free ranging in the garden they get up to mischief like digging up my freshly planted seedlings and eating them.......and eating the basket that they were in!
 
 
They have also pecked away at the polystyrene tray holding my Sweet William seedlings.
 


 
 Here is the two of them weeding along the fence line.
 This chicken is called Doris, she also came from the farm where Sophie and Charlotte came from but she likes to do things on her own, like sunbathing amongst the daffodils,
  or looking for insects and worms in the compost bed that is in the chicken pen. She is also moulting just now and looks really straggly and scruffy.

So that is my little chicken family now, just five girls and no cockerel - Mabel, Belle, Sophie, Charlotte and Doris - two of them are laying eggs now. I think it is Mabel and Sophie but I haven't caught them in the nest boxes yet. Ian is enjoying having freshly laid eggs again for his breakfast though.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about "your" chickens.