Monday, December 31, 2007

Another year! :o)

Sat here waiting for Jason to come home.  Been a busy day doing bits and pieces.  More bits than pieces actually.  Let the girls out this morning and was greeted with 3 eggs at 7.50am.  Bless them.  

They have a lodger with them at the moment.  Well more of a free loader.  Mr Rat has finally discovered the chicken area after 18 months of vermin free living.  Horses moved into the field next to us and suddenly we have rats.  Evil things.  

I managed to get a rat trap on ebay but so far, corn, peanut butter, chocolate and bacon haven't tempted the bugger.  He has dug a hole under the run and visits most nights to feast on chicken food.  I tried bringing the food in at night, but the Girls spill so much of it, there is little point.   Need to get a terrier.

Looking at putting the eglus and run onto paving slabs now, as that should stop the long tailed nuisance from getting in.  £80 ish so far for the slabs which we can't afford at the moment.  No wonder we are going through so much chicken food.  Mr Rat must be holding a banquet every night, inviting his ratty friends over for an all you can eat buffet!!

I spent yesterday and today cooking up nice things for tonight.  Nigella's ham in cherry coke, moonblush tomatoes, very easy, some prunes and cream cheese wrapped in parma ham and a very low fat banana cake.  No icing.  Well maybe a little bit.

Jase should be home by 10pm, so will light the fire shortly and settle down with a book I got for Christmas.  New Years resolutions are not one of my strong points but I have made a list (now there's a surprise) *wink*

  1. Be tidy and put things away
  2. Stop leaving half finished cans of diet coke all over the house........
  3. same goes for cups of tea.....
  4. and glasses of squash.......
  5. Try and think more carefully about spending money
  6. Earn more money (!)
  7. Win the lottery (that overrules 5 & 6)
  8. Be grateful for what I have.  

These should be relatively easy to stick to!  My life has changed so much in the past year or so, I am a much more content person.  Still would love to own more land, grow more veggies, make more jam etc but the little slice of paradise I have is more than enough for now. 

I have a little routine before New year.
I have a fiver in my wallet, the kitchen bin is empty, the beds changed and the washing up done (well dish washer full).  Stupid things I like to do before midnight, but that is me all over.  Crazy, barking mad, Loop the loop are all things I am called on a regular basis, but I am me.  

Wishing you all the very best for the coming New Year and thank you for reading my drivel, thoughts and ideas over the past few months.  I hope I have kept you entertained with my stories and hope you continue reading next year.  

Bye for 2007!

C x x x  



Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oh What A Week!

The week started well with me preparing for the arrival of Christmas.  Presents wrapped and adorned with festive baubles and cinnamon sticks.  Cards written and posted and apart from the state of the house, all was going well.  

At 6pm on the 22nd,  Jase had the pain in his chest/stomach again.  Off to hospital we went. Suspected perforated ulcer in his stomach.  Xray showed it wasn't, so off to have an ultra sound.   

He has gall stones!!!!  After years of remegel and gaviscon, the source of his indigestion is known!!!  The Doctor advised us not to go to Scotland for Christmas, so I made the call to tell his Mum and Sister.  

They decided to drive down here with the dog!  Panic stations.  Jase was in hospital and the house was a bomb site.  No Christmas decorations up and to top it all the fridge only contained milk and capers.

The Christmas garland for the mantle piece was lost, but was finally located in a suitcase in the loft!




  

Jase came out of hospital on the 23rd and was given a duster and a list of jobs.  Bedding to be washed and bathrooms to be cleaned.  In fairness, the Family told me to do nothing, as they would bring all the food.  I did manage to brave Waitrose on the 23rd to get a few bits. 

They all arrived at 7pm.  Jason's Mum, Sister and Sister's boyfriend who did all the driving. Mac the springer spaniel was in the boot and seemed happy to stretch his legs.  It was lovely to see them and I was so pleased that they drove all the way to spend Christmas with us.

On Christmas eve Jase developed more pains and we went to our local Doctor.  He explained what was happening and prescribed massive pain killers and told Jase to avoid fat.  Perfect news on Christmas eve!! Spaced out on pethidine, we headed home.  
My Mum and Dad had popped over with my Gran to see us before they went to Germany for Christmas.  Jase was feeling much better after pain killers and a proper explanation as to what was happening.

We had a help yourself dinner of sliced meats, pork pies, salad and bits and Jase was very careful as to what he ate.  Bed by 11pm and waited patiently for Father Christmas..........

He came in the early hours as I heard the reindeer land on the roof. 
 After a bite of jaffa cake and a Tunnocks tea cake he was off into the night, leaving a huge pile of presents.

The Hen watering can, absolutely fantastic!
 








Chicken bowls!











And a BHWT  key ring that
 doubles as a coin for your shopping trolley!! Hehe.










My first Christmas dinner was cooked without too much trauma.  Everyone enjoyed it and it was a very relaxed affair.  Jase didn't suffer too much and had just about everything that we had.  Shame he couldn't have any chocolates though.

On Boxing day, I had to work as I didn't get leave and the Clan headed back to Scotland.   

Thanks to Jennifer, Vari, Fraser and of course Mac to driving down to make Christmas special!

The Girls are fine and laying well.  Shirley is still moulting and looking a real scruff bag.  Her feathers are a muddy brown colour, but her new tail feathers are growing back a beautiful beetle black now.  She is still laying a couple of eggs a week, but I wish she would take it easy for a while.  

They now all sleep on the blue eglu at night, but we still need to orange eglu for when we are away for a couple of nights.  I need to rethink the chicken area, as we have a nocturnal visitor at the moment.  More of that later!



Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Five at the Feeder

Well we started wrapping pressies again at 6pm on Monday night.  Jase went to bed around 10ish as he had to be up at 3 for work the following day.  I put 'Miracle on 34th Street' in the dvd player and settled down in front of a roaring fire to continue on the mountain of pressies!  
When the film finished I popped in 'The Grinch that Stole Christmas' - can you see a theme here???
By 2.30am and several rain forests burnt in the fire, I had a cuppa and waited for Jase to get up for work.  Really pleased that most of the wrapping was done.  Just a few bits left to wrap before we drive to Scotland.  
Went to bed at 4am and woke up at 7.30 to let the girls out.   

Its been freezing cold again recently with lots of de-icing needed for the  water holders.  Don't get me wrong, i don't like chemicals, but when it comes to car windscreens at 4 in the morning, screen de-icer is the way forward!  At least i use a pump action bottle!










Been busy in the kitchen making a few mince pies for the neighbours and some peanut butter cups for whoever!  They are delicious, just like the Reeses ones in the shops.  Good old Nigella!!

Popped over to Mum's yesterday as it was her birthday.  Jase came straight from work.  Had fish finger sandwiches (haven't had those in years).  The height of culinary excellence!

Had to shuffle the girls around last night as we are both away with work.  Typical that they were all in one eglu again, so opened the egg port and grabbed the nearest feathery bottom, much to their disgust, to put them into the 'spare' eglu.  They are really going through the feed at the moment.  They eat much more now the days are colder.

We changed them from pelleted food to mash as the new girls had been brought up on it.  It is messier, but they all love it and it takes them longer to fill up so eases the boredom when we are away and they can't free range.  
I often go out to see 5 feathery bottoms at the troughs.  Head in, munching away.  

Jase is home tomorrow night, so they can at least have a wander all day Friday/Saturday.
Next door said they would look after them whilst we are away over Christmas.  
Well its minus bloody freezing here in Geneva and I have to be up at the crack of dawn (well earlier) so off to bed now.
Sleep well all of you!
C x x x x

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Finally Wrapping!

We went to a Christmas Dinner Party last night at a friend's house.  Very Danish fare.  Several courses and I mean several!  We started with pickled herring, with a cold curried sauce, then prawns, tuna mousse and bread.  Next came fried plaice fillets with home made remoularde, boiled eggs and tomato, more bread.  Sausages, meat balls, potato salad, pate with bacon to nearly finished us off, but not quite!  

Each course was accompanied by a shot of Danish schnapps!!  Luckily I was driving, so stuck to diet coke.

A creamy almond dessert with a warm cherry sauce, tipped us finally!!!  The dessert had blanched almonds in, but there was only one which was completely whole.  The others has a slight nick in them.  The winner of a prize had to find the whole almond!  I won this year!! 3 jars of delicious chutney and a lovely bottle of chillis and garlic in vinegar.  They have pride of place in the kitchen now.  It was a really fun evening as it is every year!  

We got home at 4.40 this morning and I was up at 7.30 to let the girls out.  I wandered out bleary eyed,  with a steaming jug of hot water to defrost their water troughs.  Dressed to kill in my blue dressing gown and green wellies.  

As all 5 had shared the same eglu, they shot out the door like a cannon.  A mass of flying feathers, straight to the food!  A tiny dark brown Elsbeth egg was waiting for me in the nest box.  Bless her!

I wasn't saying 'bless her' when she cleared the five foot fence around their run today!  Armed with a pair of scissors, I managed to trim her wing and Winifreds.  Prudence, who saw what was happening, made a dash for it and hid under the privet hedge!

We started wrapping presents tonight.  Tv off and carols on the speakers!  1/4 way there and i will finish the rest off tomorrow as Jase is at work.  

Off to bed now as i'm hanging!!  

Jingle bells, jingle bells.........



Thursday, December 13, 2007

Calling Helsinki, Come In Helsinki

We arrived last night, freezing cold and an hour late.  Luckily there is wifi in the hotel.  Have my diet cokes, marlboro lights, a hot water bottle and i'm happy!  

After spending way too much time on the Omlet forum last night, I got to bed at 2am.  Woke up at 9.30 this morning, freezing cold.  Bad head, all cotton wool brains and feeling a bit worse for wear.  Too much diet coke and cookies I think.  Oh, and peanut M&Ms!!! *blush*

I have just ventured out into the cold unknown.  Scarf wrapped around my head as I had forgotten my beanie hat.  Its -8 out there!!!  How do these people live here??  It isn't even 'proper winter' for them yet!  Went to a supermarket and got a sandwich and a yoghurt for dinner, i know how to live, don't I?! A small danish pastry (should that be Finnish pastry)? for dessert.  Jam and custard so at least i get some of my 5 a day from the jam. 

Back in my room now, with the aircon on 28oC, still wearing a scarf, as my nose has frost bite.  Feet like lumps of ice.  I was only out there for 20 mins.  Sipping on a Lemsip now.  Thought I had finished on those for the year but guess not.  Only one more day at work and then i'm off for 4 days.   Hope this foggy head has gone by then.  I have so much to do.


The spare bed in the office is covered with presents that need wrapping.  We are going to a Christmas party on Saturday night, so will have to wrap those pressies before then. 
Jase is back to work on Monday and I am back on Wednesday, so I have to get up early and crack on with all things festive.
Not one decoration is up.  The outbuilding and garage have been festooned with white lights.   Very cheery as you pull into the drive.  

It is now 2pm and it is dark outside.  It wasn't light until 11am this morning.  The Finns must suffer from SAD.  As well as frost bite. 

Pick up is at 4.10AM tomorrow but it is just one flight home.  Thank God, as I don't think I could cope with getting up at 3am and having to do more than one round of sanwiches!!!!
Will hopefully be home by 11am and will pop out and see the girls.  

Jase should be home tonight from Geneva.  The Geneva passengers are a pleasant bunch.  If you like stuck up, precious wannabe's.  "Hang my coat, I cannot fold it into the locker, it will crease".  Have you ever seen a mink with creases in its fur?  I won't hang fur coats.  I tell them I have an allergy.  

Time to refill my hot water bottle,  the feeling is starting to return to my thighs.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

When Will The Rain Stop????

My friend Clara visited us from Londinium on Friday night, and we sat in the lounge with a roaring fire and Waitrose nibbles.  Lovely to see her and catch up.
I made a victoria sandwich with bramble jelly and fresh cream.  Well, I say victoria sandwich, more of a sponge frisbee.  The filling was thicker than the sponge!!  Not enough eggs to make another one as we have given so many away.  On Sunday last week we had over 30 eggs, today we have 4! 

Yesterday was the day I held my hen keeping course.  Warm,
 sunny morning replaced with torrential rain for most of the day.  Mrs K arrived and we started on the chicken chat!  We couldn't put off the inevitable drenching any longer, so ventured outside.  
With a brolly in one hand and a chicken in the other, i explained the basics of hen health!!  Strange experience in the pouring rain. 

   I received an email from her yesterday, thanking me.  Lucky lady, private tuition and all! *wink*
I have signed up to hold another course in January and wouldn't mind doing one per month in my part time week.

I also made some 'spiced' nuts as a stocking filler for a Christmas present.  Bet you are all hoping its you! 
A couple of bags of mixed nuts, chilli powder and cumin all lightly roasted together, cooled and put in a nice jar!









I still have so much to do, but am back to work tonight for a 3 day trip to Berlin and Duesseldorf.  Home late on Tuesday night, then off to Helsinki for 3 days on Wednesday.  
I will have to separate the girls into their appropriate runs later.  Handful of mixed corn, wellies and pack-a-mac will be needed.  I wonder if Elsbeth and Winifred will mind the blue eglu with smaller run for a couple of days?  What am I talking about, they are chickens!

Shirley was quite good when I picked her up yesterday.  She didn't struggle too much with the embarrassment of showing off her 'bits' to a stranger!  It was all done in the interests of research, showing Mrs K a healthy vent!!!  She later gave me evil looks at the indignity of it all!! (Shirley not Mrs K)!!

Right, off to get organised for later, packing to do.  Washing, tidying and general blitz of the house.  Clean out the girls in the pouring rain, deep joy, top up their food and then write some Christmas cards!   
C x x

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Gusting 70mph!!!!!

Well, am off for 7 days now!!!!  Got up at 5am with Jason, and had cleaned the bathroom,  fed the chickens, white wash in and dishwasher sorted by 7.30.  Am now washed, dressed and contemplating what to do today.
The Christmas cards still need to be written.  Later.
  
The met office have issued a severe weather warning for the South today.  Due to hit by 10am. Judging by the wind already blowing a gale, its going to be bad.  Need to take down the patio umbrella but its too heavy to lift on my own.  Its about 3 metres tall and being a hobbit, i can't get it out of the table!!!!  Damn my short legs.

I let the girls out and topped up their food.  Prudence was sitting in the nest box so i left her to it.  Shirley and Laverne's eglu is full of dark brown feathers.  Poor Shirley is seriously moulting.  She is starting to look like a well loved rag doll.  Thread bare and bitty.  Will give her some tuna later to up her protein in take.  

Just noticed we have 5 egg boxes full of eggs (what else would they be full of)?!?  Will need to give some away.  Should have had eggs for breakfast this morning, but couldn't face cooking.  3 slices of toast with peanut butter and 4 cups of tea have done the trick!

We had a log delivery yesterday and I was fortunate enough to be at work.  Jason wasn't so fortunate and had to stack them!  Bless him.  We should have enough for a few weeks, but I do love lighting fires (seeking help) and the log store doesn't last long.  
Right, off to get the garden wind proof and lock things away.  Its raining and miserable outside. Will look glam in my wellies.  


Mum and Dad came over with Andy and Charlie and the children.  Just as they arrived, a gust of wind blew my small green house over and wrecked all my seedlings!!!  I have been growing winter salad, penstemon cuttings, sweet peas seedlings and lots of other bits in there for 2 months!   All ruined.  I was raging.  The air was blue.  I had to moderate my mouth as the children had just arrived.   Still raging 4 hours later.

Went to lock the girls in this evening and Prudence is definitely preferring Laverne and Shirley's dwelling to her own......I couldn't face picking her out and moving her as the rain lashed my face.  I don't mind so much when I am here, but the point is, the 3 girls should have the larger run when we are away.  
2 eggs today c/o Winifred and Prudence.  Laverne has given up for a while, Shirley is tatty lady and Elsbeth laid late yesterday so had today off.   

Off to cook a roast now as Jason should be home soon.  His flight was delayed 2 hours due to strong wind at Heathrow.  Long day for him, but he has just called and is making his way home now.    

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Lone Trumpeter

Here I am in Stockholm!  There is snow on the ground and it is so cold here!!!  I am sitting at the desk in my hotel room with a hot water bottle on my lap.  Its freezing!  The hotel is non smoking, so i have to lean out of the window like a school child!!  Can't face going out as the rain is coming down now.
Was in Duesseldorf again on Tuesday and visited the Christmas market!!

I took the girls on the crew with me into Town, but managed to lose them pretty quickly!!!  After a bite to eat, I picked up a few bits and bobs, which I can't talk about until after Christmas and then grabbed a fresh prawn roll and headed off to the supermarket.  6 pots of goose fat, some Christmas bits and several shopping bags later, i got back to the hotel exhausted!!
The goose fat will be posted soon Kate, i promise!! *wink*



When I finally got home yesterday, I quickly let the girls out before it got completely dark!  They only had about 20 minutes until bedtime, but were happy to stretch their wings and have a root around in the bark chippings.   I cleaned them out and topped up their, now empty, feeders.  Also collected 5 eggs!!!!!!

All but Laverne had laid but she is still having some 'me time', so deserves a break.  Her feathers are all back now and she really is looking beautiful.

I can hear a trumpet out of my window, some poor so and so is playing Christmas carols in the high street.  It is so cold and he has been playing for 4 hours now.  Must be frozen.  That would explain the odd duff note.  And the slightly strange tempo.  He has just been joined by an accordionist.  Its really festive!  

I have all my Christmas cards ready to write.  In truth they have been in my crew bag for a couple of weeks!  Its the one job I never seem to get done.  Always a last minute dash to get them written.  I have 2 more days at work, then off for a week.  WILL get them written!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas Shopping!

Up with the lark this morning, (well the alarm clock) and headed straight out to the garden centre 40+ miles away!  Its a long way to go but it's the best garden centre in the world.  I was very restrained and only bought the pressies I needed (and some oreo cookies and a large tug trug for me)!

Then down the motorway to Festival Place in Basingstoke.  How I hate shopping centres.  Frantic people.  Crowds.  Shocking Christmas carols, the same cd in every shop.   We did well and bought nearly everything we needed.   Just my niece, Grace, to buy for.  Birthday and Christmas.
Nearly everyone I know has a birthday in October/November/December and January.  Its an expensive time.

We stopped off in Nando's for lunch and I had the veggie burger option.  Jase had the bean pita.  Delish.  It was nice to go out for lunch as its something we don't often do.  Back home in need of Lemsip and I cleaned the girls out and gave them some corn.   

They seem happy enough and we had 3 eggs today.  Laverne and Winifred are on strike at the moment.  They deserve a break anyway.  I had to shuffle them around tonight as we are both away for a night and they will have to spend the day in their runs.  Moved Prudence back in with Winifred and Elsbeth, she didn't squawk at all this time.  Think she might be the ideal candidate to show people at the hen keeping course.  Will train her with food, it works for me!!

Back to work tomorrow for 5 days, throat is better but the aches and pains are still racking my body.    Will take my hot water bottle and some lemsip, God I know how to live!!
The good news in that I am in Duesseldorf tomorrow (just for a change) and the Christmas market is on!!!  I should land in DUS by 10.30am and will be at the market by 11.30 if things go to plan.  Need to get a few bits, as always, and can't wait for the food!!!  Currywurst and chips, warm sugared almonds and anything else that i can gorge on!!!!!!

Speak soon

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Mad Chicken Professor?

All was well with the hens this morning.  They appeared rested and were gorging on layers pellets when I opened the run door this morning.   Not a sleepless, dark circle under the eyes to be seen.  Well, not on the chickens anyway!   I woke up, throat feeling like a cheese grater.  Cotton wool brain and numb fingers, which was odd.

We went to Waitrose for a big shop and half way round, I had had enough.  Even with the Christmas stock to tempt me.  Will go back, alone, when I'm feeling better.   We now have enough food in the house to last for weeks, so bring on the snow!  The log basket is full.  Let Mother nature do her worse, we have enough houmous.

Not long after getting the original girls, I mentioned to Jase about running a course on chicken keeping.  Just the basics, you know, cleaning, care, feeding, eggs etc.  I hadn't given it much thought until recently.  Omlet are looking for keen eglu owners to run mini chicken keeping courses from their own homes and I have signed up!!  

My first course is planned for the 8th of December and i am really looking forward to it.  2 hours talking chicken, what bliss!  Jase says he needs to get me a barbour jacket and Indiana Jones' hat to really look the part.  Cheeky sod.  Do I need to think of a country bumpkin accent to use for the talk now?  I can't wait.  I have one person booked so far, which isn't bad as my course wasn't announced until 11pm last night!

Need to sort out the course details.  Will try and inject humour in the talk, people already think i'm mad so will have to tone that down a bit!
I hope it goes well.  It is amazing how much you pick up in a short space of time.  Will delight in talking hens to a group of like minded people!  

For more details, click on the title of this post!  ;0)




Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I Didn't Make it to Milan

Woke up at 3am this morning, feeling like death on a stick.  Flew back from Duesseldorf and went sick.  Got home and went to bed for an hour.  Had Lemsip and Jase's homemade carrot soup and will chill out in front of the fire tonight.  

The girls are fine and still free ranging together nicely.  Just been out to lock them in for the night and they are deciding where to sleep.  Laverne was in the new eglu with Winifred, so at least they are mixing well.  

Off to bed early tonight so speak soon

C x  

Update - Jase and I have been out to shut them in.  They are all in one eglu!  I was really tempted to take a picture but i didn't want to disturb them.  They look so sweet all huddled up for the night.  Hopefully this will sort out the minor pecking issues that Elsbeth has with the 'old' girls.  Feeling all warm and fuzzy that they are getting on so well.  Sad but true!!!  
Off to read December's Country Living magazine now...........

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Guess where I am?

Up at freak o'clock this morning. Left the house at 5.55am. Traffic was murder.  The flight to Duesseldorf was ok and uneventful. I do fly to other places you know! But the DUS flight is quick, easy and I get to spend the whole day chilling out with internet access.  You would think that the hotels would provide it as standard, but most charge £20 or so a night, which i won't pay.  If you are lucky, you can get a wireless signal.  Depends how far you lean out of the window, balancing on one leg, trying not to drop the laptop!  Trust me, I have been there many times in Brussels!

I decided to let the old and new girls free range for a bit yesterday.  All was going well until Prudence saw Shirley and it was 'beaks at dawn'.  Then Elsbeth saw Laverne and all hell broke lose!  No damage to either parties and it seemed okay after 10 minutes.  A sprinkling of mixed corn and they were all friends!!  Winifred is too big for anyone to bother with.  She just struts around, Lady of the Manor. 

Jase let them all out today and they were fine, a case of chasing around the eglu to hide but things have settled down.  4 eggs at the last text message alert!!! Not bad from 5 hens, 2 of which are moulting.

Off to Milan tomorrow for the night, the flea pit of Europe.  I can't stand the place.  Luckily we land at 12 noon and leave very early the next day.  I have never known a city with so many mosquitoes!!  Its like an all you can eat buffet for them when I arrive.  Even in November, the buggers get me.  My arms and legs look like a brail version of War and Peace by the time i wake up in the morning.   Just seen the Temperature is  -4 tonight there, so hopefully the gnats will have frozen.

In other news, I didn't get the days off I wanted at Christmas. I am off the 24/25 but working the 23/26th!!!!  I have leave on hold for the 26th but might not find out if I'm off until 6pm on Christmas Day.  What good is that???  We were hoping to go to Scotland for Christmas to visit Jason's Mum and Sister.  Looks like he might be going without me this year.  My Parents are going to Germany, so Christmas for One (and 5 chickens).  

Trying not to think about it at the moment, there is always hope.   



  

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Too Many Eggs In One Basket??

Jase was up early today, so I decided to get up with him. By 7am, i had stripped the bed, done the washing and tidied the kitchen. Once it was light, I let the girls out. Laverne and Shirley were straight back to the alarm calls, warding off the new comers! So glad next door are away for the weekend.
The new girls came out slowly, then, remembering where the food was, dived straight into their breakfast. I wasn't expecting any eggs for a while, but there was one in the nest box. Clever girl!, Whoever it was.

Next job was the shed. Nightmare. I can't blame Jason for the mess as he only goes in there to get chicken food. After a hour or so, it was looking better. Lots of rubbish in the bin and hundreds of old flower pots moved to the garage, ready for next years seedlings.

By lunchtime, i was exhausted. Then I heard squawking. Shirley was eyeing up the new girls through the run again. Elsbeth was in the eglu, clucking contently. I creep out of the area and left her to it. 10 minutes later, she 'announced' that an egg had been laid. Similar noise to Laverne, but much quieter! Egg number 2!!!

By 3.30 all was quiet and i prepared some porridge to warm their cold tummies ready for bed. Don't laugh, they love it!

Prudence was in the eglu laying an egg!!!!! I am so pleased that they are ok and feel comfortable enough to lay!

The one thing I had to stop, was Winifred sleeping in the nest box. Laverne and Shirley used to take it in turns. Not a problem. Apart from the large poo that greeted me every morning!!!!!
I put a flower pot in the nest this evening and have just been out to check that they are all ok. The flower pot is in the run. Winifred is in the nest. Smug look on her face!!!

Will leave you with this picture tonight. It really made me smile.


Left to right -
Winifred, Prudence and Elsbeth :0)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Introducing...........

Got up early this morning and had breakfast. Got dressed and set about putting the new eglu and run together.
I drove to the New Forest and picked up the new girls.......
Not the best picture as, obviously, they are not used to the media attention yet.









The white one is a light sussex called Winifred









The grey one is an English maran called Elsbeth











And finally a Silver Sussex called Prudence (at the back, very camera shy)!









They are so beautiful!!! And HUGE!!!








So much bigger than the original girls. Talking of which, Laverne and Shirley are not happy! They are creating in the garden as I type. They keep pacing around asserting their authority. It is so funny to watch. Luckily the neighbours are away for a long weekend, so the noise won't bother them.


I will leave it for a while until I let them freerange together. The breeder said let them see eachother for a couple of weeks, just to get used to 'other chickens' being around. I can't see the new girls being bullied too much as they are so big!!!!!

The two eglus together......











Jase is back to work tomorrow so I will crack on with the garden and leaf collecting! They are everywhere. Need to make a leaf mould bin to put them in. Have to hoover out the car to lose the smell of chickens. They were good as gold in the car, but the smell is lingering!! Hehe.

Thats enough for now, off to peek at the new girls again. All seems quiet outside, so maybe Laverne and Shirley are chatting to their new friends nicely. Fingers crossed.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Roadworks

After 15 days off, it was eventually time to return to work. I was actually quite looking forward to it (i don’t say that often). I threw some sweetcorn in the run to get the girls in and locked them up for the night. It is rare that they spend much time confined to the run, but Shirley has a habit of pacing like a caged lion if i’m stood there watching. From the bedroom window they are perfectly happy! When i cleaned them out, i sprinkled some dry mealworms into the aubiose so i’m sure they will have a good time rooting around.

I gave myself 2 1/4 hours for the hours drive as Sunday night can be a nightmare. In their infinate wisdom the highways agency decided to make barrier repairs on the outside lane. Perfect on a Sunday night, when everyone os returning to London. After 1 3/4 hours!!!!! I finally made it to work. Lovely crew just 5 of us to Berlin for the night.

I made the HUGE mistake of wearing new shoes. My feet were throbbing all the way there. Had a long discussuion with a passenger as to whether or not eggs were vegetarian. I tried to explain that I don’t make the sandwiches, just serve them. He wasn’t having it. Am I wrong? Vegetarians eat eggs/cheese/milk and Vegans don’t eat animals products? He settled for the chicken and bacon sandwich. He was trying to make a point. I do despair sometimes.

I met up with the crew for a quick drink then headed back to my room. After running the bath i sat on the edge soaking my aching feet. *mental note to self never wear new shoes to work*

Have spoken to Omlet and the eglu is definately being delivered tomorrow at 2.30. Jase will be in but i won’t be home until late in the evening. I am so excited!!!!!

It is brass monkeys here in Berlin. Snow is expected! Shame it hasn’t snowed yet. Might venture out to grab a bite to eat. Problem is, i forgot to bring a jacket. Its minus 1 outside and i don’t fancy my chances with just a polo shirt.

Off to Duesseldorf tonight, but only about 12 hours there, then an Amsterdam and back on Tuesday. I have two more days at work then am off for 4 days. Gives me a chance to settle the new hens in.

Time to get showered now and peruse the room service menu.........

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Watch Where you Tread!

Just been pottering around the house and garden recently. Thought we were going to lose the roof with all the rain and wintery gales we have had. I locked the girls in their run early as they we being blown around my the wind.

I spent most of yesterday calling breeders all over the south of England, trying to find 3 breeds of chicken. I have finally found someone near Beaulieu, so am off in a bit to take a look. The new eglu is arriving on Tuesday, so I will pick the new girls up on Friday if poss.

Right, back from the breeder in Beaulieu. Slap bang in the middle of the New Forest! After avoiding several donkeys, a couple of horses, pheasants and a rather large bull, I finally arrived at the farm.
The place is fantastic and a chickens lovers paradise! Chooks running around everywhere! Ducks too. He showed me the chickens i was after and their housing etc etc. The place is very clean and tidy except for the chicken poo liberally scattered all over the place.

I have picked a Light Sussex, a Silver Sussex and i think i will go for a French Maran. They lay dark chocolate brown eggs with a glossy finish. I am picking them up on Friday next week and am so excited.

I left the farm with a bag of grit and a tray of eggs. All different colours and a couple of duck eggs which i had for breakfast this morning!


I have to get my backside in gear now. Leaving for work at 3.45 this afternoon and want to get the chicken area ready for the new eglu's arrival. Need to scrape the bark up and move the old eglu round to fit the new one in. My back is killing me today, must've slept funny. Nurofen is definatley needed today! Haven't had any problens with my back for a while so thats good news.

Eglu is now moved, new aubiose in the run and looking good. Have raked the bark and aubiose into a corner ready for the new eglu. It has just started raining so good excuse to come in and have a cuppa. Laverne and Shirley had fun digging up the ground, revealing worms, baby slugs and woodlice! Back is agony. MUST see the physio again soon.

C x

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

And Then There Were Five?

Feel much better today and we had a leisurely breakfast, then got on with things. I popped to the shops and picked up a couple of Christmas pressies. Jase got some bark for the garden and had his haircut.

We were sitting in the kitchen and he said, out of the blue, "Should we get a couple more chickens"?
After picking myself off the floor, taking a seat before my legs gave way again, I said "ok".
I can't believe it. He was so adamant that we weren't getting any more, after Babs was ill last time. We discussed it and we are now getting a new eglu and 3 new chickens.

I dashed outside, with tape measure in hand and we can fit a new eglu in the chicken area. It also makes it easier to introduce the newbies. Without a second to spare I was on the phone to Jan at Omlet HQ and have reserved an orange eglu, which should compliment the blue one really well.
The only dilemma is what type of chickens to get??

I am still in shock and keep thinking that this is all a dream. I will wake up and is all been a horrible nightmare. That is why I am writing this, so there is written proof. I am so cynical!!

We have agreed that this will be our Christmas Present to eachother, although I feel that he has got a bum deal. He is happy if I am. Bless him. What a guy. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful person. I don't say it often enough.

Enough of that mushy stuff ;0)

Here is a pic of the sloe gin I made last week.

The colour is amazing, really dark red. Last year's batch took weeks to change colour. I'm hoping the flavour will match.
Well, my friends are hoping the flavour will match. Nearly 5 years sans alcohol for me!!!!

Well its 7.40pm now and 3 degrees C. Fire and heating are on, so i'm not doing my bit to save the Planet, but its freezing here. I'm sure its colder here than it was in my last place. Then again, we don't have as many neighbours, buildings, etc near us to hold the heat in. Just fields, fields and more fields, Bliss.

Speak soon

C x x x
(the happy chicken boy)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Goodbye Miss Babs

On the 21st July 2006, Roy from Omlet arrived in his van. After unloading the eglu and run and a mysterious wooden box, he leaned on the fence and drank his coffee. When finished, he slid open the box and handed me a ginger chicken. Miss Babs. I trimmed her wing and put her in the run. She was the first chicken I had ever held. She was a cutie. Such a character. She was the big boss of my little 'peep of chickens'.

Over the next few months, she rewarded us with small but delicious eggs. Chris, the Postie, always liked hers best.

She was the first into everything, the first to escape from their 'chicken area' into the veggie garden. The first to escape from the veggie garden into the main garden. Aloof at times and a bugger to catch, but always interested in what you were doing.

I would like to say that Babs, Laverne and Shirley have given me so much pleasure over the past 18 months. I really enjoy keeping chickens and could not imagine life without them now. They bring life to a garden and eggs to the kitchen. Whenever i open the back door, there is an excited 'bawk' from one of them, eagerly expecting some sort of treat.
I hope Laverne and Shirley don't miss her too much, I know I will.



RIP Babs

Healing Vibes Please

Been a busy bee for the past couple of days, just pottering round doing stuff.

Jase was up early this morning and let the girls out. He said Babs wasn't looking too good. I tiptoed across the frosty veg garden to take a peek and couldn't find her. She was sat in the dust bath (with lid) and didn't really move. She is like a fluffy football with legs. Her head and neck and withdrawn into her body. Not a good sign. I have made an appointment for her at 11.15 this morning. If its the same problem that she has been treated for three times this year, then we can't keep putting her through it. Sad this morning.
Can't really concentrate on anything, hence my typing and the constant delete button!

I planned to get some bark today and cover the new garden borders as the weeds are already growing back like mad. The lawn has been scarified and looks awful, but will hopefully look better come Spring.

I'm still off until the 11th, so have some time to get stuff done. The Christmas shopping is coming along nicely and i'm waiting eagerly for the Postman every day. I love getting post, especially when its parcels!!

Going to pop outside now and see Babs. Positive vibes please.

C x x x

Been out to see her and she is sat lifeless in the run, so I picked her up and brought her inside. She is sitting in her box, with a towel over the top and is quiet. The heating is on, so she is nice and warm. Off to the vets in 30 mins. Fingers crossed.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Three Fat Ladies

A beautiful day here today, sun is shining and the sky is blue. Tempted to cut the lawn but its still wet at the moment. Will maybe do it this afternoon. Been busy on t'interweb buying pressies for C********. Have got loads today! 80)

I have decided to get the sewing machine out and finally make the table cloth and bags that have been on the back boiler for a few weeks. Shame as its such a nice day outside.

Update!
Finished the table cloth, only took 5 minutes!! Really pleased with myself now. Off to start on the little bags........

The sewing machine is jammed! I have taken it apart, not a good idea, and now can't put it back together again!! Oh how i hate machines!!!!

In other news.......Grow your own and Practical Poultry mags were out today. Going to chill out later, in front t'fire and read them cover to cover.

Just been out to say goodnight to the girls and tuck them in. With the shorter days they are going to bed earlier each night. Shame, as i miss them chatting in the garden. I opened the eggport door and they were all huddled up together, fluffed up to keep the cold out. Bless them. Got a look from Laverne, who always sleeps by the door, as if to say 'do you live in a barn'?
I closed the door and heard them murmuring in the eglu. They are so funny, love them to bits.
Topped up their pellets so they can feast in the morning.

Here is a picture i took of them earlier


The rehearsals for syncronized chicken dancing are going well, but Shirley must learn to keep her tail up!

Off to find a sewing machine repair shop now............

Bye

C x x

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Hallowe'en

Hello All.

Busy day today, by 10am i had visited a friend and had my hair cut. Jase is on his way home after not being used from stand by at the airport. Going to cook pork schnitzel, chips, brocolli and gravy for dinner and light a fire.

The girls are fine and i have had two eggs this morning from Laverne and Shirley. Babs probably won't lay again, the little freeloader! I spent a good hour taking the eglu apart and giving it a really good scrub for winter. Took the run apart and cleaned that too!
I had to leave it for 2 mins to answer the 'phone and when i came back there were several little muddy chicken footprints all over the base! Shirley always has to be where you are and get in the way, bless her! After a sprinkling of red mite powder (it smells lovely - i think i am becoming addicted) and the lid back on, Shirley ran inside and laid an egg. What a good girl!

Will be carving a little pumpkin later and need to get a few treats incase the girls from down the lane come around this evening.
More on Hallowe'en -

'The term Halloween (and its alternative rendering Hallowe'en) is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the eve of "All Hallows' Day", also which is now known as All Saints' Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions'

The joys of Google!!

Back to work on the 11th of November so still have plenty of time off. Lucky really, as the job list is getting bigger by the day.

I decided not to bake two smaller Christmas cakes as the tins were £10 each and i was being mean. So at 9pm, I started cooking the big Nigella Christmas cake. Really easy and by 10 minutes past midnight (why don't i start these things at a reasonable time)? it came out of the oven smelling gorgeous. It's all wrapped up now, ready for decorating in a couple of months.

Here is a little Hallowe'en picture for you all. Chicken related, of course!!



Hope you all sleep well tonight, don't have nightmares. Whoooooooaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

C x x

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Its Raining again.....

We went out for dinner last night to celebrate my Dad's 60th Birthday. Colleys in Reading.
(See www.colleyssupperrooms.co.uk )

Lovely restaurant and fantastic food. I had the spiced sweetcorn fritters and salsa to start, followed by tomato and red pepper soup (hate peppers, but the soup was lovely), roast beef with dauphinoise potatoes and then pear and sultana crumble with ginger ice cream and Somerset brie and crackers to finally tip me over the edge. The beef was too rare for me, I know its supposed to be, but this was still mooing. Still a very enjoyable dinner. Home late and straight to bed.

Jase left for work at 6.20 this morning and the weather is pants. Need to go to Waitrose as the fridge is bare. I mean really bare. Parmesan cheese and butter is all thats in there! Oh and courgettes for the girls. Can't face going out in the driving rain but am going to have to brave it. Heating is on and will build a fire later. Need to finish the tags for the Christmas puds and will probably have Bing Crosby album on whilst being creative.

Decided to bake a Christmas cake today but need 2 small cake tins, will mix up the fruit today and get the tins tomorrow. Nigella recipe so should be easy enough.

more later........


Right, I'm back. Been to Waitrose, £84 later...........Fridge is full again! Made some sloe gin as a pressie for someone, whilst eating a bag of peanut M&Ms (yes a big bag)!
Sloe gin is sooo easy! Take a jar/bottle, put sloes in (prick each sloe with a skewer) and cover with sugar.


Then top up with gin. Seal and shake the jar to mix the sugar. I leave it in the kitchen and give it a shake every few days. Leave for as long as you can. The longer the better.






I then managed to delete all my pictures from iphoto on my laptop! My friend Darren, the Mac guru, is working on it. So far we have downloaded the pics to my ipod (don't ask me its all waaaay over my head) so they are safe for now!

I have finally finished the Christmas puddings!!!!

They are wrapped, labelled and ready to go.




I continued wrapping to the dulcet tones of Bing Crosby and Dean Martin singing the Christmas collection. The mince meat jars are also done!!! I'm nearly there!







C x

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mr Moley

Hello All!

Back from my Aberdeen night stop and the crew bus was so late picking us up from the aircraft, we were too late to do the Manchester and back! So we were sent home. Shame. Hehe.
Home now and just given the girls their evening snack before bedtime. Picked some spinach for them and noticed a bloody mole hill in the middle of the raised bed!!! The whole veg garden is covered in weed suppressing membrane, so the sneaky burrowing bugger must have planned his resurface very carefully!

Fire is stacked and ready to light. Chilli and chips for dinner. No vegetables, unless chips count? Lazy dinner tonight. Lovely.

Jase is busy with my new guillotine, cutting things to size and laminating. He's happy, so will let him get on with it. I have to make the labels for the Christmas puddings and the mincemeat jars, so will be reclaiming my guillotine soon.
My friend Andrew managed to get some more fabric from Copenhagen for me, so I now have enough to make all my jam lid toppers, ready for Christmas.

The temperature is dropping rapidly now as the sun is going down. Time to crank the heating up.

Looking forward to Gardeners World tonight. Is that sad? Don't care, I like it.

Going to Annie's tomorrow to get some donkey manure for the raised beds, will take Jason's car I think. Hopefully the smell will put Mr Mole off and force him somewhere else!

I have 15 days off now and can't wait! Lots to do, as always, time for a list I think.

C x

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dressing Gown Gardener

Woke up early again today, without setting the alarm. Thats a worry. I could happily sleep until 10.30 unless woken. Decided to get up and crack straight on. Still too dark to let the hens out, so had a leisurely breakfast and several cups of tea. When the sun came up over the long field, I dashed across the garden to let them out. Started pulling up a few weeds for them to munch on and ended up weeding most of the veggie plot in my dressing gown and green crocs. Neighbours know I'm mad, so not too worried. Later I went into town to post a parcel, visited the kitchen shop (lovely bits and pieces) and then headed home.

Gave the girls some corn for breakfast as it was freezing, something to warm their little tummies. The new plants in the garden didn't suffer from the frost last night!!

Only of the newly planted beds -








A friend popped over for coffee, then i set about wrapping the Christmas puddings and mince meat jars! Just need to print the labels and then i'm done! Will post pictures soon.

Did some potting up and planted out the window boxes for some winter colour. Cyclamen look lovely but frost hardy they are not! Managed to get some heucheras from the farmer's market and they look really good. She assured me they can tolerate temperatures down to -20. Judging by the north wind that is blowing at the moment, we will get to test her promise!

Had dinner and blitzed the house quickly, The cobwebs are starting to drive me mad! They are everywhere. Not good for Jase as he hates spiders. At least it saves him going to a shrink for therapy. Just spend a few hours in this house and your phobia is cured.

Heading for bed in a bit as have to be up at 4am tomorrow. 4 flights, finishing at 6.15 tomorrow night. That should really do my back some good. Bag is packed, nurofen at the ready, lemsip and lip balm as its cold season! Once tomorrow is over I only have 3 more days until i'm off for a while!!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Farmers Market

Got up stupidly early this morning. Pitch black outside and freezing cold again. Made Jase a cuppa to take to work and then got ready to go out. The local farmers market is only on once a month and, with work, I'm not always around. I like to pop along if i'm off. After scraping the windscreen again (ok, i used chemicals) i sped off down the lane. Nobody was out. The roads empty. Bliss.

The market was small but had more than enough temptation, now the garden needs plants. The cake/jam/chutney stall was paid a visit too. And the hog roast stall. Lovely pork, stuffing and crackling. I did opt for the wholemeal roll just to be healthier. Hehe. I left the market with several plants, cakes, no money and a stone weight gain.
Also managed to get a couple of Christmas presents. Think i will try and get the word Christmas into every post i make before the 25th December. That'll drive you all mad! ;0)

Still haven't wrapped the puds, so will definately do that tomorrow!

Right off to bed now as i'm falling asleep writing this, you probably are too! ;0)

Speak soon

C x

Just checked the weather station in the kitchen (no, i'm not Michael Fish) and its 0 degrees C. The bloody weather forecast was wrong this evening and my plants aren't covered in fleece! Will check out the damage tomorrow! Bugger.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Officially Christmas Season?

Hello All! Sorry, have been at work for a few days and finally finished yesterday after an Athens and back. The day started with a severe frost and me desperately tried to find the de-icer. Don't get me wrong, chemicals are a bad thing, but at 4.55 in the morning when i'm freezing cold, hacked off that i'm going to Athens and just want to be snuggled up under the duvet, chemicals are the only thing that gets the screen clear quickly. Driving down country lanes with a 3cm gap at the bottom of the screen is a less than ideal start to a 60 mile journey. I have enough trouble dodging rabbits and mice!

The flight was fine and much quicker than normal. The Copenhagen trip was lovely and a guy on my crew, Philip, showed me a wonderful shop that i will definately go back to!! It took me ages to get home, as the traffic was pants, but when i came through the door, the fire was roaring. Nice to be home.


Woke up early this morning and we headed straight out to get some birthday presents for people. Went into Boots and Christmas has finally arrived in the town centre! Big news, the Boots Christmas catalogue is out!!!! I was so excited as this is normally the catalyst to my festive gene going into overdrive. I really have to get organised. Starting to panic slightly now. Ridiculous I know, but my November roster came out last night and before you know it, Christmas is here biting you on the bum!
Popped in on Mum and Dad and left with several carrier bags full of plants from their garden. Just finished planting them out now.

Jase is off to work tomorrow and i need to get the house organised and tidy things up. The Christmas puddings are still sat on the dining table waiting to be wrapped. Have the cellophane, tissue paper and Festive bits, but haven't the energy to sort them out. Will do this week.

Off to feast on veggie burgers now, the chips that i thought were in the freezer have vanished so will make do with the (slightly) healthier option of onion rings!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Borders!

Been busy for the past few days and aching too much to write. The main part of the garden borders are now finally done! YAY!


We went to a couple of garden centres and bought a few plants, but need loads more. The garden is at least taking shape now. We put an arch over the brick path and planted 2 climbing roses next to it. Should look good by next summer.


The lawn is the next huge job as it is mainly weeds. Tempted to get a mini digger, rip out the whole lot and start again, but Jase would probably take out all the fences in the process!! Patience, weed, feed and moss killer will have to do.

Was up at 4.15 this morning, first day back to work. Madrid and back. Vile passengers. Not a smile out of 174 of them. I know its early but come on. I'm stood there smiling (well kind of, more like a grimace), wiping sleep out of my eyes and they just walk past you, not saying a word. Ramming you with their oversized 'carry on' bags! Asking for help lifting them in the overhead lockers. I don't think so. My back isn't fit enough for me, let alone you!

Got home to find Jase cooking dinner. Bless him. Just packed my bags for my 3 day trip tomorrow. Off to Duesseldorf for the night, then Copenhagen overnight Wed/Thurs. Haven't been to Copenhagen for ages. Looking forward to it.
Need to do some serious Christmas shopping, so think that'll be the place.

Today is International Blog Action Day - Topic - The Environment.

If we all do our bit, maybe the world would be a better place to live in.

We recycle paper, card, magazines, plastic, tins and cans etc
Glass to bottle banks
Use our own bags when food shopping.
Energy saving light bulbs, where possible
Compost religiously (i am a bit of a compost freak)
Grow our own veg (am planning to do more in terms of quantity)!
Keep chickens (hardly an effort, they are adorable)
Cavity wall insulation installed
Loft insulation
Double glazed windows
Water butts (still need to fit more though)

A pretty good list and hardly any effort required. Shame my job has me pumping CO2 into the atmosphere but if i could pay the mortgage making jams, jellies and Christmas puds, I would do!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire

Freezing cold again this morning and the fog was rolling in as i let the girls out. Another Laverne egg!! I was so excited. She is a good girl!

Managed to get loads of house work done AND bake some scones, Proper Delia I am!! The sock mountain has finally been conquered! 27 pairs all drying nicely! No wonder i was down to Christmas present socks.

Decided to finally bake the Christmas puddings today, Wish I hadn't! The first batch went in at 10am, came out at 3.30pm. Still waiting on the second batch to cook. They are larger, but will hopefully be cooked by midnight!!!!

All laid out like cookery school









All mixed up and ready to go








Little bundles of Christmas Joy!!! Hehe











'White Christmas' by Dean Martin playing in the background, the smell of mixed all spice and cinnamon lingering in the air, as the puddings steamed. Lovely!



I have been topping up the water every hour since 10am. Not feeling quite so festive now!!

Jase is finally coming home after an epic day! The fire is roaring!! Just missing the chestnuts.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Its Taking Shape

When we moved into this house, there was a large lawned area at the back. I needed space for the chickens and a separate vegetable area. So when the fence man came, we decided to use the old willow fence to split the garden in two. When it was done, Jase was horrified, as the 'new' back garden looked really small. Having finally completed the veg garden and chicken area, it was time to do something with the rest.

Yesterday was the day.

With pick axe thingy in hand, i ploughed my way through the appauling lawn, digging out weeds and clumps of grass. Trying not to get more soil under my nails. After several 'butch' and back breaking hours, I realised i hadn't eaten (first time in years that has happended)!!

The garden before work began.


Luckily it wasn't hot yesterday and I managed to dig most of the grass out. Next was a trip to the paddock behind the house, to get some old bricks (the owner did give permission). After 3 wheel barrow loads of bricks, 4 of old grass roots and weeds, 2 blisters, several ciggies and cans of diet coke, interruption from Laverne and Shirley who both laid eggs, this was the finished design!!


The soil is fantastic, good enough to make Alan Titshmarsh weak at the knees. The small brick 'path' took ages to get right, and i need to find an arch to go over it now. Will take more pictures when it stops raining!

Sorry about the picture quality but it was dark when I finally finished! I say finished, but as you can see from the top picture, i still have to cut out and 'line' the area where the hose pipe is. Its pouring down here today, so will stay in and be creative with Christmas puddings i think. Don't think my back could take it today anyway. Hot water bottle on it as i type.

So, back to good news! Laverne laid a proper egg yesterday!! She is still moulting slightly, but looks lovely with her new beetle black feathers!! I have just been out to see them and they are not impressed with the rain. They were all huddled up in the eglu. Bless. Will give them a bowl of warming porridge later.

Jase has just left for work. 3 day trip for him, so i will see him again on Thursday night. Will hopefully get the office sorted and make the Chritmas puds whilst he is away. If my back holds out. More nurofen i think.

Speak to you all soon

C x x

Update!
My back is holding up, nothing to do with the cocktail of drugs and hot water bottle strapped to my backside!
So, i decided to start on this years Christmas pudding! As it was so successful last year, i am using the same recipe, but tweaking it from the original. It calls for the fruit to be soaked in stout for 30 mins. I soak for 24 hours and double the alcohol, but use cointreau, brandy and drambuie instead! I can't be doing with mean recipes, calling for a 'splash' of alcohol.

Gorgeous Nigella bowl!!!!





The rain has finally stopped and I could see Babs sitting on top of the run, looking over the fence. Waiting for treats. Could just imagine her saying 'he's boiling the kettle and.........yes!..........He has the blue treat bowl out........chopping courgettes now. Yay, sweetcorn too'!

Wellies on and a mad splash across the garden with treat bowls in hand.

Munching like they have never eaten before!




Shirley gets her own bowl, as she won't share!!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Oh My Back! (Again)

Well, its 6am, been up since 5.15 and waved Jason down the drive.
Pitch black outside and just the hooting of the owl to disturb my writing!

I started digging up the lawn yesterday to try and design the back 'cottage style' garden. Boy, am I feeling it today!
My back has been dodgy since I hurt it on a flight in December. I haven't had any more physio for a few months but think I need to go back to her.

I'm not back to work until 16th October, so that gives me a few days to recover, but still have 3/4 of the garden to dig.

Jase decided to make scones yesterday. He remembered the sultanas, this time, but forgot the put any butter in the mixture! They are like rock cakes, but nice enough with butter on top. Just had 2 for breakfast! A delicious healthy snack to start the day! (well I needed to eat to take pain killers, so the scones are medicinal really. Ok! I had three and two cups of tea)!

Not too much to do today (yea right), so will go and get ready.

C x

Friday, October 05, 2007

Lists

Got up today at 5.15am as Jase was off to work early. Thought i'd make use of the extra hours so did washing, tidying etc. Popped into Town for food shopping, the latest magazines and to get petrol. Was delighted to find this years 'Christmas Magazine' already available. 2,000 ways to make this Christmas the best ever!! Shame I might be working!
The shop staff were busily stacking shelves with wrapping paper, cards, decs and chocolates. Was tempted to buy an advent calendar, but Jase says i'm 33 and they are for children. Spoil sport. (Seen a lovely Lindt one, will get it soon)!

Town was full of old people dressed in shorts. Its OCTOBER. It was 4.4 degrees this morning when Jase left the house. Mind you, the washing is out on the line and drying nicely!

On my way back to the car, trolley full to the brim, i bumped into a guy dressed as Batman and a girl with huge butterfly wings and a wand. I thought it best not to ask.

I am a great believer in lists. Nothing more fulfilling than crossing things off at the end of the day.

*Make Christmas puddings
*Damson and apple jam
*Mow lawn
*Tidy office (still haven't even started since May 06)!
*Clean out girls ready for winter
*Start searching for Christmas pressies
*Contact lens appointment
*Dig over and completely remodel garden
*Lose 2 stone before Christmas
*Stop making unachievable lists

There feel better now. Now, where do I start. Chocolate cake and a cuppa I think.

The sun is shining, so i'm going to chill out in the garden, read this months "practical Poultry' and listen to Laverne aka 'the singing chicken'. She has been very vocal for the past couple of days. She was always the noisiest of the 3, but recently she has started 'singing' for want of a better word. Lovely sound. Content and happy hens!

Ok, well the grass is cut and magazine read. Kitchen is tidy and Jase is on his way home. Expecting lows of 4 degrees C tonight so will build the fire for a nice evening in.

heard screaming coming from the chicken area earlier. Rushed over to find a dead field mouse in Shirley's mouth!! She was trying to eat it and run from the others. Honking as she went. Down in one. Quite horrific. At least we don't need a cat now.

Got to go as 'lookout' Babs is sitting on top on the run, waiting for their afternoon treats. Think Shirley has had enough for one day.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Nice in Nice?

I woke up at 5am yesterday and dragged my sorry butt out of bed. It was pitch black outside, which is something I am still getting used to, living in the country. At my old house, there were always street lights and light pollution from the nearby Town. Here it is total darkness unless the moon is out.

I got ready and, with mug of tea in hand, (those travel mugs for the car are a fab invention) wrapped up in a fleece, i headed for the car. Traffic was murder! I made it to work with 15 mins to spare. Not long enough. I like to chill out with a tea and ciggie before i head off to the briefing room.

Lovely crew. I knew everyone which is rare. Shame the Purser had a fetish for carrying a tray at all times. “I can’t stand to see crew with handfuls of rubbish in the cabin, use a tray” Get a life more like.

The flight was bumpy but ok, the walk through the terminal wasn’t. 30 minute walk to get to the crew bus!!!!!! Madrid is not my favourite place in the world, but we went out for tapas and a bit of shopping.

Wake up was at 03.45 this morning. No, that isn’t a typo. 03.45!!!!!!!! Flew back to London and am now in Nice for the night. Thats NICE not nice. It isn’t nice. The people are vile on the flight. All Brits with homes abroad, thinking they should be in Business class but won’t pay the fare. Asking for sandwiches with brown bread not white. This isn’t a restaurant, its a plane!!!!!!
Holidaying with the children they never see at home, unable to control them without a nanny. The Parents haven’t got a clue. Its quite sad really.

Passenger - "I can't eat chicken. I'm a vegetarian"
Me - "Would you like a vegetarian sandwich instead"?
Passenger - "Yes". No manners.
Me - "here you are, cheese and tomato'
Passenger - "I can't eat this it has onion in it, give me the chicken sandwich back"
So a vegetarian that eats chicken, but doesn't like onions. IF YOU ARE VEGETARIAN YOU DON'T EAT MEAT!!!

I can't help but roll my eyes. Little precious Princess.

My life is sooo glam. I spent Sunday painting the brickwork outside, in an attempt to stop the damp in the utility room. Trying to dodge the drips of noxious chemicals falling from the paint brush. Gave the house a quick blitz, filled up the girls food and water and packed my case for this trip. Its amazing how much crap I carry around Europe with me. But its nice to have your own things around you when you travel.

Went to bed at ten to Seven (pm) and dreamt of trays!

Beautiful weather here, sun is shining, birds singing and the traffic is loud outside my window. Just one flight home tomorrow then off to Brussels and back at 05.40am on Thursday. The main road to work is closed all night, so i will have to master the country lanes at 3 in the morning. Not renowned for my navigation skills. Will probably get to work around 10am!! Have 10 days off after that, so don't care.

Bye for now

C x

Friday, September 28, 2007

The North Wind Blows......

Its been freezing lately! I left for work yesterday at 4.30am and the car temp. gauge said 3.5 degrees!! Am off for a couple of days now, time to catch up with the housework etc. Jase and I went to Waitrose shopping today and came back down a lovely little lane, lined with trees on both sides. The house on the corner of the village always has something strange in the front garden. Sometimes a goat, sometimes a shire horse, but today it was a tractor!

The wind has taken its toll on the sweet peas, they have nearly all blown over. I took them down today, along with the runner beans as they were all growing together. They filled my 2 new compost bins!. The baby pumpkins have been picked and we still have a few cobs of corn left!







I planted up some winter crop lettuce and checked on the curly kale in the new mini greenhouse






The days are numbered for Mrs Frisby and her babies. They have now eaten they way through the base of my new clematis that i planted next to the shed.

The winter spinach and swiss chard is doing well, but i need to build a fleece type thing to protect the plants from the worst of the frost. The village, well 8 houses if you can call that a village, sits in a dip surrounded by fields, so the frost tends to stay for longer. I bought some fleece in Germany and now need to build a frame to staple it to. Will take Jase's car to Wickes as I don't think i'll get that much in Mortimer!

Shirley is still laying well and today we had a soft egg in the nest box, so someone is trying to lay again! Probably Laverne as she is now fully feathered around her frilly knickers and just has her tail feathers to grow back fully. Babs is back to top chook and refused to let the others enjoy an afternoon snack of spinach leaves!

Last day off tomorrow, then back to work for 4 days, Booooooo

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Wanderer Returns....

On Saturday morning we set off for Folkestone. I was very brave and drove Jase's car (aka the Beast) all the way! I chickened out when it came to driving onto the channel tunnel train. It is a lot bigger than Mortimer the Mini and I didn't want to prang it!!!
We made it to Mum and Dad's house in just under 5 hours, not bad for a 300 mile journey through France, Belgium and finally Germany.

Mum and Dad had no idea we were coming and the look on my Mum's face was priceless. She was speechless for minutes, which is rare ;0)

We spent the time shopping for food, visiting restaurants and eating from food stalls. Do you see the common link???
Currywurst with chips (sausage covered in tomato/curry sauce) Yum!

Here is a picture of the house -









And the Barn -







As usual, I didn't take enough pictures!! The village is on top of a mountain, very 'Heidi', surrounded by fields and woodland. There is a bakers shop for fresh breakfast rolls every day, a hair dressers and a shop that opens every Friday! Very quiet pace of life and friendly people.

We set off for home on Wednesday and stopped off a couple of times for diesel and loo breaks. Bumped into a Romanian who was looking for directions to London (this was in Belgium) and sent him on his way with a scrap of paper labelled 'Tunnel sous la Manche' (channel tunnel). Hope he made it ok.

We stopped at Auchan hypermarket and stocked up on more food (terrible really) and then went to check in for the return crossing. We were nearly 3 hours early but they put us on the next available train. We got home 2 hours earlier than planned, so i popped out to see the girls. Fearing the worst for Babs.
She was fine, snoring like a trooper!!! Shirley came out to say hello and Laverne gave me a filthy look for waking her up at midnight!!

Babs is back to her old self again. I am giving her a last dose of antibiotics and will take her to the vet for a final check up next week.

The curly kale i planted last week has come up and i have inherited an old plastic greenhouse from next door! Think it will be full in no time! Just need to anchor it down somehow as the wind is blowing a gale today.

Mrs Frisby and her babies (the field mice living under my beans) haven't done any more damage yet, so they are safe for a while! The pumpkins are looking good and i'm going to pick some sweetcorn for lunch! First time i have grown it and it's ripe for the picking.

Still a bit sniffly, but my nose is no longer dripping like a tap. Ears are still a bit blocked, so work tomorrow should be fun. Only a madrid and back, so home in the afternoon.

I'll leave you with a view from near the house in Germany.

See you soon!










Update!

Just picked some sweetcorn!
Months to grow.............








Minutes to cook..................








seconds to eat, but worth it!!!


They were small but perfectly formed. Still have a fair few on the plants so will leave those and eat them next week! Might even pop a couple in the freezer.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bath Time!

Woke up still feeling bad this morning. Got ready and let the girls out. Babs trotted out of the eglu happy as Larry! (Who's Larry)?!?
Mundane things to do today. Washing, tidying and packing for our trip tomorrow!


Decided to give Babs a bath as her fluffy bum feathers aren't so fluffy due to *cough* her upset tummy! I filled a tub trug up with warm warm and plopped her in it.








She loved it! Sat quite happily for 15 mins whilst i gave her a shampoo and set! I then wrapped her in a towel and gave her some rinsed tuna for protein and she was as good as gold.








'I'm ready for my close up now' (She wasn't aware that her beak was covered in tuna)!






The vet called and we agreed to see her next week when we are back from our hols. I didn't want to stress her out anymore. She seems happy at home so we'll see how she gets on.

Sat here sniffing away, hoping i am better before the drive tomorrow! Will make up a cool bag later, full of snacky things to munch on the way! Just had my 2nd Lemsip of the day, so slowly weaning myself off them, (have you tried the wild berry and hot orange one though? Its delish)!

Good news! My 1971 copy of The Magic Faraway Tree arrived today and the seeds i ordered yesterday! Curly kale, which i have potted up. Hope they shoot by the time we get back! How I love snail mail!!!

Off to get the washing in and tidy up now. Sniff sniff.