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.