Thursday, September 22, 2016

24 lbs of raspberries and a wrist split...

Greetings everyone! 

Welcome back to life at Bramble Cottage! 

Firstly, the big news, I have new hens!! I sadly lost Myrtle a few weeks ago, with Cornelia and Agnes not really laying anymore (spinsters at 9 years old), I thought it time to add to the menagerie. 

Introducing Mabel, Gwen, Doris and Bette.  2 Bluebelles, a Speckledy and a light Sussex! They are settling in well, with Agnes and Cornelia giving them evils glares through mesh.  I left it a few days, then opened up the (safety) panel.... They completely ignored each other! 

It is a bit 'ghetto' at the moment - 

..with the two groups staying clear of each other.  By 9 pm I had forgotten about them and realised that it was dark.  (No problems re foxes, as the run is secure). All 6 hens cuddled up together in one Eglu.  Agnes and Cornelia are still boss, but there isn't really any squabbling with is great news.  The new girls are 18 weeks old now and should lay all through winter. 

With it being September, nature is preparing itself for winter, as am I. The hedgerows are full to bursting and I have picked my own body weight in blackberries - no mean feat I'm telling you.  Bramble cottage maybe small, but there are plenty of places to stash jars of jam.  I've made 150+ jars so far.  Nearly all with be sold, when I open up my Facebook Christmas shoppe (it sounds cuter if I call it a shoppe) ;0) 

I've had several inquiries already plus preorders (get me) of Christmas puddings. 

I usually do small batches of 10-15 jars at a time. 

The allotment hasn't been a disaster this year, but the slugs feasted on nearly everything.  A mild winter and wet summer didn't help, with all of my seedlings eaten and everything had to be replanted at least 2/3 times.  It's strange, I go there every day/other day and rarely see anyone there.  Work is being done, although a few plots have been abandoned which is a shame.  My raspberry canes have turned into a thorny thug and need some serious work this year.  I'm picking around 2lbs of raspberries a day.  If I leave it for a couple of days they turn to mush and I hate wasting them.  24 lbs of raspberries picked so far.  Mostly made into jams, but I have a few bags in the freezer for my smoothies.  Milo the wonder dog is also partial to them and feels it's acceptable to rummage through the undergrowth in search of his prize.  Spending hours staring at a mouse hole is also a fun game.  Although once or twice he has tried to dig it out. 

I have 4 water butts at the lottie and they are all nearly empty now.  The water situation is on going and we were promised water in March.  I haven't taken any down this year and just left plants to it, only watering when I planted and if it was exceptionally dry.  Seems to have worked well, with healthier plants.  I did decide to move the water butts, as one was pushing against the shed.  

Top tip - don't try and move a water butt when there is water in it.  Especially is you have a bad back and 'bony girl wrists'.  (The nurse's comment, not mine). You will hear a crack, followed by immense pain.  Nurofen won't help. Cocodamol will send you into a blissful sleep, but you will wake up at 3am with a pain so bad that you need to go to the hospital.   One fractured wrist later and you'll be off work, unable to drive (or wear a watch - hell for me) and peed off with yourself for being so stupid.  No plaster, as it was a tiny fracture (gutted, as I'm 42 and never had a plaster) just a wrist split with a metal bar that drove me mad.  The real downside was not being able to go to Pilates for a couple of weeks, I really missed it and my back suffered as a result. 

It's 6 weeks on now and my wrist is better, but I still feel the odd twinge when I'm not careful.  

I did mange to get a couple of quilts sewn though.  Seeing as I couldn't drive, I walked to the quilt shop (2 minutes away, which some would say is wonderful, I don't feel that way as its too tempting) and picked up some fabric.  I know.  Unlike me.  

Poor quality pictures, but just delighted that I can post pictures from my iPad, which is suddenly allowing me to type a blog post (well, I haven't hit the 'publish' button yet, but here's hoping)! 

I also made some curtains for the spare room, with fabric I bough in Glasgow months ago.  
Very country cottage and I'm pleased with them.  

Time to head off now, as I have visitors arriving today and need to reclaim the kitchen table from the jars of jam.  I won't comment on the printer and Laptop that are plotting against me and not allowing me to print jam labels.  J is coming later to help, as I can't seem to get it to work.  

I will leave you with pictures of Furface.....

C x x x 

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Down dog and navel to spine...

Fear not dear Reader, for I have returned.  :0)

After a rather anxious wait, several cups of tea and copious cigarettes, Google have finally let me back into my own blog.  This is the price I pay for forgetting my password and not posting since August last year!

So, all is well, however, I have a new laptop (the shiny brushed metal one mentioned in my last blog post circa 1923), that for some reason is not allowing me to post pictures to my blog.  Don't despair, I will work out a way to do it, but until then you will have to read my ramblings, without pictures of my packed lunches to interrupt the boredom.  ;0)

I have no idea why I haven't been updating this, just forgot, then didn't, then got out of practise I suppose.  The picture issue is driving me mental (more so than normal), but I will suss it out at some point.  The iPad allows me to post pictures but no text.....arrrrgghhhhhh. So if any Mac geniuses (or should that be genei)? know how to solve the problem, please get in touch.
(I can't seem to drag pictures from Facebook into iPhoto).....?

I'm back after a mad dash across the kitchen waving a tea towel in the direction of the smoke alarm, as the toaster insists on burning my hot cross bun (my 3rd today, shocking).

I've just realised that you weren't aware that I was gone.....

Anyhow,  apart from the depressing news that my pension sucks and I have to work until I'm 109, not much has changed really.  Furface, aka Milo the Wonder Dog (MWD), The Terrier, Little Man, and Bear (I know, but he is so cute and deserves so many nick names) is doing well.  We haven't been to training in a few weeks as work keeps messing up my life.   He is fine though and still jumping onto the sofa, the minute he sees my Mini driving off.  Talking of which, I have a new Mini!  He is called Melvin and he is British Racing Green, with white stripes.  

The big news, that isn't really that big, is that I've started Pilates for my dodgy back!  (I started in September last year, so do keep up *cough*).  Having to get diazepam from the Doctor really made me question the future of my back and whilst the drug is so, so wonderful and floaty, it isn't ideal for day to day living.    No kaftans, or lycra are involved, just a mat, funky socks, shorts and a t-shirt.  Plus a rather attractive selection of vests that I wear under said t-shirt to prevent the women attending from passing out when my t-shirt rides up.  No one wants to see that.  Ever.
Sometimes we use half inflated balls, bands, rings and these horrible spiky balls to release tension (and swear words).  It has really, really helped.  I do mean really.  I had no idea that my 'core' muscles were so weak.  Or that I even had core muscles.  I now know what a pelvic floor is, even though I don't have one.  Heavens above.

I have also given up meat for a year.  Just decided to.  Well, not just this second.  I stopped on the 27th of December and it is going well so far.  I'm still eating fish, but my veggie intake has gone through the roof, as well as my bread consumption.  No shocker there as I am a bread fiend.

I'm still doing my writing job which is going well, but unsure how long it will last.  I've been asked to write a blog for them, but not sure where to start really?  I'll have to speak to the boss and see what they have in store for me.

For some reason, The Terrier decided it was appropriate to wake me at 6.25 this morning.  Lots of huffing and pawing at my face (with the standard long, Terrier claws).  So I got up.  And nearly froze.
I need to explain that my beautiful cottage in the county of Hampshire, is my sanctuary.  However, there is no gas in the village, so everything is electric.  Including the sodding economy 7, appalling radiators.  Stanley the Rayburn is oil fuelled and does a marvellous job of heating the kitchen and 1 square foot of the lounge, but the rest of the house is baltic.  I donned my trackie bottoms, hoodie, scarf, gloves, 6 pairs of socks and my crocs (it's not a look) and headed out for the Terrier's ablutions. Why is it you always bump into someone when you look like death warmed up?  Today it was the man who always wears a day glow coat, that you can see from space, even in the summer.  Milo gave his dog the laser beam eyes, a friendly growl,  and we carried on.

Since I was up, I got ready and headed to the allotment.  I haven't been down there all winter, apart from Christmas eve when I dug up my parsnips and carrots for Christmas day lunch.  The sight that greeted me was green.  Bloody thistles everywhere.  Hundreds of the bloody things.  How I loathe thistles.  I dug over 1 1/2 beds before my back started screaming at me so I took Furface for a walk and then came home.  Chopped some logs (again, not good back therapy) and cleaned out the hens that aren't laying, then decided on a nana nap on the sofa.  Cuddled up under a blanket, a snoozing Terrier at my side.  Perfect for a Saturday afternoon.

I've just finished roasting cauliflower in the oven.  Thank you Mary Berry, but I can't help feeling that it would be more appealing swimming in a rich cheese sauce.  With grated cheese on top.  Ho hum, it'll do for tonight.  The falafel I bought to go with it looks like droppings from a sumo rabbit, so i'll give those a miss.

Time to light the fire and get into my moochy gear for the night.  I do apologise for the lack of pictures, but as I said, I'll work it out soon.

Take care and thanks for reading

C x x x

p.s A message for Di, not sure if you received my emails?  Hope all is ok with you and thank you for the Christmas pressies!

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Milo the Household helper...

Ok, I promised I would blog more often and basically I'm a big fat liar.  There. I've said it.  

Hello! (He creeps in the back door, slightly ashamed that it's been 5 months since his last post)......

Let me start with a few pictures of the allotment and associated produce.  I'll try and gloss over the fact that I haven't blogged in so long.  However, I wasn't abducted by aliens or in a coma, just haven't had a chance and the uploading of pictures is driving me to copious amounts of tea and Marlboro Golds as it is so slow.  My laptop is old and I really do need a new one (need, not want), but with the vast amounts of cash I have spent recently on the house, things like a beautiful MacBook Airs in brushed silver, will have to wait.  Sighs.  

So, the broad beans were the first thing I really harvested.  Delicious little orbs of green in their velvety cases, boiled then eaten with melted butter and sea salt.  I gave a way a few carrier bags full as I don't have the freezer space.  That's a job for next week, get another freezer.  

The carrot thinnings......the second time I have thinned them.  Hopefully the main crop will be even more impressive. 

 Patty pan squashes and Italian courgettes.  Breeding like rabbits and I can't pick them quickly enough.  Away for a couple of days and I return to monster veg.

...and the best until last, my sweetcorn plants...the largest on the allotment and like a mini jungle on my little plot.

I've spent countless hours at the Lottie and taken numerous pain killers, but it is great fun and really rewarding.  You don't often see many people down there, but I tend to go during the day 'for an hour' (or 4 hours as the time just goes) and potter around weeding, tying things, planting and harvesting...

I have nearly put weed suppressing membrane over all the paths now, so need to get bark chippings and then I'll be happy. 

It's exhausting this allotment lark...

On my birthday in May, I woke up to find poor little OOna had passed away.  She had been laying strange eggs for a while and wasn't her usual self.  Nice that she went in her sleep, but I had a few days of the others calling for her. *sadface*  Pru who is 8 has surprised me by laying a few eggs this week, Cornelia is moulting and grumpy.  Agnes is laying 5/6 eggs a week and Myrtle hasn't had a day off in months!

So, lets talk about Furface.  My little Bear and friend.  He is doing fine, still making me laugh and keeping me company on the cold nights of Summer.  Yes, I admit it, I did light the fire the other night.  It was the 29th of July and 7C and I was freezing, so brushed out the fire place, stacked up the logs and prayed that the odd twig that fell down the chimney, wasn't the result of a bird's nest.  It wasn't.  The flames shot up and I was cosy again.  

Milo and I are still going to training on a Monday night, work permitting and he is doing well.  I've had workmen in over the past few weeks fitting the last new double glazed wooden window (finally), so the cottage should be toasty and warm this winter.  No more bubble wrap stuck to the window with drawing pins in the spare room, to stop the gale blowing through.  (Yes, I did do that.  Unsightly, but effective). 

Now, as you may know, the Wonder dog isn't that good with strangers, especially workmen.  He tends to want to bite their feet.  I decided to go into Town on Market day, to get him used to more people being around (he doesn't bite the general public, just those that want to come into the house - actually, thats a tad unfair, he hasn't done it in 2 years.....)  

Anyway, I put his red car harness on him and headed off to get Country living Magazine.  Forgetting how backward this country is about allowing dogs into shops.  I stood outside the Newsagents, umming about what to do (too many Facebook stories of dog being dognapped whilst being left outside a shop), but was called inside with the Lady saying 'come in, come in, it's fine.  We allow ASSISTANCE dogs in here....'  She thought his car harness was a 'special' coat!  I didn't actually correct her, I sort of lost the ability to speak properly, which as my friends know, is something that rarely happens.  So I bought the magazine as the shop keeper stroked him and prayed he didn't cock his leg over the cheese and onion crisps.  He didn't.

I am now trawling ebay looking for am assistance coat for Milo.  Will have to come up with some reason to justify taking him with me everywhere now.  I don't think 'fabric addict' could be classed as a disability?  

I was invited to a neighbours house last night for a Barbeque and they have a dog.  A white Lab/husky type cross that Milo will often have a go at.  He was really good and played nicely (most of the time) and actually lay down and gnawed a bone, next to the other dog.  Apart from plate surfing and begging for scraps from everyone there, he was great.  

I'm a bit awkward at times and generally avoid social gatherings (ok, I admit, I have thought about moving to Orkney, to live in a croft house, with a walled garden, several wayward rescue terriers, ex-battery hens and a goat, aka the Hermit life), but I had a nice time.  

Bento madness continues......

Plus this lovely little bento box that my friend Lisa "saw and thought of me'!! 

One of our usual walks.  Spot the Terrier....

I am still doing lots of ghost writing but no longer wear the sheet over my head.  I've proof read and edited a 65,000 word document and the current project is coming to an end.  I started it in December, but only a few weeks to go until I'm finished that part (sorry for the vagueness).  I need to start on blog posts for them - I think we all know just how reliable I am with that (oops), but I'll have to crack on and be disciplined with it.  I do love sitting in my conservatory typing away with a snoring Terrier at my feet and copious mugs of tea.

Plus they pay me.

That helps. ;0)

I've managed to nearly write this whole post without mentioning work.  Meh.  Let's just leave it there shall we?  Only 24 years to retirement.  There's a cheery thought.

I treated myself to a Nutribullet this week.  I had some John Lewis vouchers and have been after one for ages.  I say 'treated', but really don't think a machine that produces thick green sludge is that good a treat.  I shot down to Sainsburys and loaded my basket with spinach, raspberries, strawberries, melon, grapes, mango and a variety of green stuff.  I managed to hide the pack of mini dark crusted pork pies under the huge bag of spinach.  It's easy to make up the smoothies and they taste ok if you don't put too much veg in, but thats the whole point I suppose?

My favourite so far is Strawberry, pineapple, beetroot (cooked and cooled - from the allotment), orange and coconut water.  Plus a blob of Ben and Jerrys cookie dough ice cream. Delish.

Time to go and get more writing done.  Pleased I've written this now, as it will keep the blog fans from my door for a while ;0) and it's been far too long.

I'll leave you with this cheeky man cuddled up to me on the sofa.

C x x x

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Yoga for Beginners..

Hello fellow Earthlings!

Well, we made it.  After the doom and gloom of the solar eclipse, when some predicted the end of the turned out to be a slightly cloudy 10 minutes and the world kept on turning.  I am relieved as I had a cake in the oven and it would have been a shame to waste the eggs, they are so few and far between.  

All is ok here, it has been a bumpy ride, filled with operations (not me, but J), hospital visits (with me being a Londonphobe - not good) and plenty of dog walks, cleaning out hens, cursing stones on the new allotment, baking, jamming and no crochet whatsoever as I still can't do it.  I have learnt many things over the past few months.  

Number one - Don't leave a tube of Germoline to repair allotment related damage, next to your toothpaste.  Ever. 


Number two - When cooking in a Rayburn at 6pm and placing a delicious Cornish pasty in the oven, set a timer.  Otherwise you will find it at 8am the next day, Fossilised. 

December. Yes, it was a long time ago that I last wrote my blog....I know I'm bad at this.   So, a few pictures from Yuletide as I like them :0) and feel bad that I didn't post a single festive post. 

A Christmas Cake for a friend.  He's Danish (which isn't relevant, just explains the use of the Scandi ribbon).  

My kitchen table with about 50% of the orders I made last year.  That there's a lot of cake, jam and puddin's! 

More cakes and German Spiced Almonds..

So, let me explain whats been going on.  J had another brain tumour removed (lucky number 3)! and was due to spend 6 days in hospital.  8 weeks later, after many complications, (an understatement) he was finally set free!  It was getting to the point that they were going to have to name a wing after him and to be fair, the food is enough to drive anyone insane. 

A 2 1/2 hour commute each way for me, but I like to think I kept him from completely losing his mind.

He is doing ok, now, but 5 general anaesthetics have left him really tired.  It will pass but he is doing really well.  

Bento land is alive and well here.  I am still trying to do one for work, but they aren't that healthy anymore.  They are still better than crappy airline food though, so at least I'm trying. 

and a new bento box for day trips....because I really needed a new one.


What with work getting in the way and hospital visits, I hadn't been to dog training in 9 weeks.  Furface was getting a bit stubborn and to be fair, I missed going for the social aspect.  I don't go out that much (aka I'm a hermit) so meeting up with the 'dog clan' every week was nice and I missed it.  I was told that they had all lost weight since my absence due to lack of baked goods.  I've made up for that since returning...hmmm, cheese straws.

The Allotment

I have been very busy with the allotment, (mainly going to the cash point to get money for the builder) but don't judge me.  I am hopeless when it comes to building things.  Unless it's a huge sandwich.  The fence is up, beds in, shed done, painted by me and it is looking fab.  I've had 11 days off so armed with a mattock (like a pick axe, but with a blunt end) and my new trusty lunch tin (essential), I started the back breaking task of digging over each bed.  All 8 of them.  HUGE beds. It has taken me all week with much muttering and cursing but it is done and I am over the moon.

Painting the shed on a cold day, did little to help my back, so off to the physio I went.  She advised I start yoga, as apparently I have a fantastic 'arse and legs, very strong...and amazing abs...' (it was at this point, I thought she must have been secretly downing a few cans of Stella between clients), but she was referring to my core strength, not my six pack.  Obviously.

Having received a fair few John Lewis vouchers, (thank you JL partnership Mastercard), I ordered a 'Yoga Bunny' mat.  I was so excited when it arrived beautifully wrapped in that plastic shrink wrap, that I tried to rip it open....

And pulled a muscle in my back.

It could only happen to me.  Or Mr Bean.  The mat hasn't moved from the spare room since January.  I still need to find a local yoga class.  And a Kaftan large enough.

After a week of agony, I visited the new Doctor, (no wedding ring, just saying) and he prescribed codeine and diazepam.  What a marvellous man he is.  I love modern medicine. I floated for around a week.

The first two beds and amazing cold frame made by my neighbour from my old bedroom window -

Look at that soil! 

I managed to pick up a couple of rickety chairs from the local auction place for £10 each and I think Furface approves!

*cough, I need a cushion

Everyone needs a lunch tin! And too many packets of seeds. My new addiction.  

I am due back to work on Tuesday.  Bleurgh.  More trouble at t'mill, but won't go into that here.  Needs must and I have a cute terrier to provide for.  I've been so busy, the time has flown by.  His 'Furriness' has been waking me at 6.30am every day, but I now get up, feed and walk him, get ready and head off to the allotment by 8am.  Spend a few hours there, then back home, quick bite to eat and then take him for a 6/7km walk.  Home by 2pm, resist the urge to collapse on the sofa and head off to the conservatory to get at least 2/3 hours of writing done.  It is going well so far and I'm enjoying the work.

When I'm doing my writing, Furface is usually sparko under my desk -

The hens are laying again.  TODAY, I actually got 4 eggs!  Well one was broken and eaten by 3 deranged hens screeching, like banshees to get to the yolk.  But you can expect thin shelled eggs when one of your hens is 6 1/2 years old.  Pru, the Matriarch of the group is 7 now and laid today!  A weird, torpedo shaped thing, but still an egg.  Good girls.  

It's now Sunday night, I'm listening to Michael Ball on Radio 2 (I'm so rock n' roll) and the little man is spread-eagled across 3/4 of the sofa.  Snoring.  And farting.  *mental note to not add a few left over sprouts to his supper next time* 

I will leave you with this adorable picture of him.  I now I am biased, but just look at that face. 

Night night Peeps!

C x x x

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Static Terrier..

Hello and greetings from Bramble Cottage!  

I thought I hadn't blogged in 4 months, but it's only 3 1/2 so feeling better about that! ;0) 

Life is still the same, except for more hot water bottles, pain killers & me hobbling around the house cursing my spinal cord, extra cosy beds for Milo (seriously, he has 3 now), Christmas puddings, jams, jellies, cakes & baubles everywhere.  My conservatory resembles Santa's grotto.  On acid.  

I'm just back a walk with Furface and thought I'd set aside some time for blogging, seeing as it's been a while.  You can't beat walking the dog on a cool day, leaves on the ground and just you, the dog and peace. Being at one with nature and all that malarky.  Gives you time to think about stuff and plod on with the voice of Endomondo, my saddo tracking app, calling out each kilometre. Enough Mother-nature-tree-hugger crap, lets get on with this.  

Work is a bit of a nightmare at the moment.  I say bit, the way that a terrier rolling in fox poo is a 'bit' of an inconvenience.  I would however prefer to bath the aforementioned stinky dog than go to work at present. I am not going to go into it, due to the Company Secret Service watching, but I'm glad I only have 24 years and 6 months left.  Now there's a thought........

So, the Christmas fair i have been planning for, has been cancelled.
Like last year.  You see a pattern emerging?   

I won't bother again.  In truth, I have lots of 'private' orders to do and am frantically cooking, wrapping, list making (no shocker there) and planning what, where, who and how.  

The first of my mini Christmas cakes.  Only 713 to go.  I am joking. Sort of - 

Bento madness is alive and well.  Yes, I know I'm not 6 1/4 and have too much time on my hands.  

Big news on the allotment front! It is ready for planting.  Ish.  The field is ploughed, string is marking out the plots and I have a SHED!!  As modelled by the wonder dog! -

 I think it needs a touch of Cuprinol 'sage green' with white edging. And a curtain in gingham for the side window.  Plus bunting.  A shed has to have bunting doesn't it?

I need to get the edging sorted (luckily I have a corner plot, so just two sides needs doing), plus some sort of fence to prevent wandering terriers.  Then raised beds, guttering, water butts, cold frames, compost and leaf mould bins and paths.  So not much work then.  Luckily I don't have a dodgy back, eh?

We all went to Germany to Dad's house to sort out the will for Mum and the house deeds.  An emotional trip but had to be done.  It was nice to get away, have leisurely breakfasts with fresh baked rolls and just potter around and do a spot of eating, shopping and a bit more eating.  My uniform was a tad tight when I got back to work but I managed to get it on.  With a shoe horn and vaseline.

I did spot this shed in a back garden and had to take a picture.  #shedenvy #jealousofthelogs

Oona the ginger hen is no longer bald.  She lost the feathers on her back last June but is now sporting her winter look.  Even though her tail feathers aren't back.  She looks like a ginger wig walking around the run, but she'll get there.  Myrtle the white hen is looking like an albino porcupine with quills sticking out of her back.  The feathers are coming slowly.  Pru, Agnes and Cornelia are all fine, the free loaders.  Looking forward to more eggs in the spring.

On to Milo the Wonder Dog!  He who-must-not-go-on-the-sofa (oooh, that sounds very Harry Potter)  As you can see -

He is doing fine and we are still going to dog training on a Monday night, work permitting.  Still making cakes for the tea break.  We had an issue with him meeting sheep, via an electric fence which he didn't see.  Lets just say he isn't obsessed with sheep anymore and walks to heel along that stretch of the walk! He is adorable and my friend and I wouldn't be without him.

 My word, it's only 5pm and I've managed to complete this before midnight.  A cuppa is called for, then a quick walk with Furface and I'm going to light the fire and watch the Holiday.

Speak soon,

C x x x

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Not my Egyptian cotton one!

Good evening *waves*

I am stunned that my last blog post was back in May (thanks for the nudge, you know who you are, Ms D of the V *wink*).

There is a definite autumnal feel in the air. The leaves on the trees are starting to turn and the hedgerow is laden with fruit, my favourite time of year.  Ideal for a forager like me.  I was tempted to light the fire last night as it's getting chilly in the evenings, but I managed to resist.  I've started collecting fallen wood for the kindling collection again.  I won't bore you with pictures of a basket full of twigs, that would be too much, but I'm happy with the amount collected so far!

So, what's been happening at Bramble Cottage?  Loads, and nothing really! Been pottering on as per usual, walking Furface, looking after the hens, garden, veggies etc and very little sewing!  My 40th birthday came and went and I feel the same (like a big kid still) apart from the usual knackered back, I'm fine!

Now, work.  It is so vile that I don't want to give it the time of day on here.  However, seeing as it keeps me in the style that I have become accustomed to, I feel it needs saying (or writing about).  *Actually scratch that (*gets out the rubber), I am refusing to talk about it, as this is about my life and the things that make me happy, it isn't making me happy and it'll turn into a rant.

I will talk about my bento boxes though, yippee *does a little dance.
Yes, that really is cold corn on the cob. Don't look at me like that, try it, it's lovely.

...and left over bbq chicken skewers.....

Now, the hens were laying brilliantly.  Even Pru who is 7 years old decided to start up production again.  The egg skelter was earning it's keep and looking fab with the home grown sweet peas, but things have taken a turn.  Cornelia and Agnes are broody.  Two Eglus and 2 broody hens leaves no space for the others to lay.  Having said that, Cornelia is an angel and will shift her bulk out of the nesting box long enough to allow the others to lay.  Her reward is to clamber back in the nest to try and hatch the infertile eggs.  Daft hen.

 The rain and sun, then rain have done wonders for the vegetable patch.  I picked the first lot of tomatoes today.  Even though the terrier has taken a liking to them.  I discovered two paw prints in one of the raised beds and a few tomatoes missing.  I won't comment on the lack of strawberries from the pots as I have a sneaking suspicion that he was involved in that too.  Time to put up defences around my corn on the cob.

The on going saga with the allotment continues.....there are now horses on the land to help clear the long grass, then the farmer will plough it, ready for the sheds etc.  I'm not holding my breath.  

My local family run garden centre is closing down, the land being sold off for housing *sad face.  However, they reduced everything by 50%, so I popped in and got loads of bits for the allotment, in the hope that one day I'll be able to plant something there.  80 Pea sticks, netting, large iron hanging basket, seeds, box hedging, twine and a Dutch hoe (? no idea, but it was £12 and has a lovely wooden handle), for the bargain price of £50. Sad though as it was a lovely garden centre.  

Yesterday was a year to the day that my Mum passed away.  My Dad and the rest of the Clan are in Germany on holiday, but I didn't want it to be a sad day.  I pottered around, gardening, walked Milo, and generally kept busy.  J came over for a Chinese takeaway and then I went to dog training.  A nice day all in all and I lit a special bees wax candle for Mum.  x x x 

Ooh, ooh, ohh, completely forgot to mention this, but I have been offered a job writing! Yes, writing, as in this sort of stuff! The company want me to write articles about self sufficiency, hens and all the general things that keep me sane at Bramble Cottage.  AND THEY ARE PAYING ME! whoop whoop.  It's all very cloak and dagger as I'll be a ghost writer, so I just need to find a sheet that i'm prepared to cut holes in and I'm all set.  *lameexcuseatajoke 
On a serious note, I am really excited (not quite a little wee in my pants excited, but you get the idea) and am looking forward to picture taking and writing about all that occurs at Bramble Cottage and the weird and wonderful world I live! 

Furface, aka Bear, aka little man, aka Milo the wonder dog is just a joy.  He has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few months, with him allowing complete strangers into the house and not a growl out of him.  For the record, I don't just invite strangers into the house, but I need to let workmen in for quotes (the last window needs doing)!  We still attend Wherwell School of Canine Excellence (ok, I made that name up, it's just a village hall) on a monday night, when appalling rostering allows and I like to take baked goods with me.  Well who wouldn't??  


It's gotten to the point where the owners are now requesting certain snacks! The cheek of it.  Some prefer sweet, others savoury, so victoria sponge and cheese straws are a winner! 

Talking of Furface, here he is, in all his photogenic splendour.  I think he looks like a little seal here! *suchcutewhiskers

Time for me to go.  It's 10pm and a certain boy needs his last walk of the day and I need to get a proper nights sleep.  So, night night all and sweet dreams.  

C x x x