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!


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.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Home to Roost

Went into Andover today and got oranges from the market and some snacks for our journey on Saturday. Left Boots, with enough cold medicine for a small army. I am trying really hard not to use plastic bags when i go shopping. I normally carry a couple of bags with me, but i'm amazed at the look i get when i say i don't need a carrier bag! Am I that unusual?? WH Smiths had a sale on stationary, but my paper and pencil collection is at an all time high, so i resisted the urge to buy. It wasn't easy with 50% off but i took deep breaths and walked away.

On my way home, i popped into the vets to see Babs. The vet said i could bring her home for a night and see how she is. After an initial squabble with Laverne and Shirley they are dust bathing together and just getting on with chickeny things. She still isn't herself and i have to take her back tomorrow. Small steps but with a little luck she will be okay.

I feel worse today, but am plodding on (so brave), dosed up on lemsip, sudafed, halls soothers, fizzy Vitamin C tabs with Zinc and copious amounts of fresh orange juice. At least i won't get scurvy!

Managed to get another copy of last years Good Housekeeping Christmas food magazine. Me thinks the other was recycled, as i can't find it anywhere (all my magazines go missing)! Fab recipe for mini Christmas Puddings.

Off for a little nap now. Jase is home soon. Yay!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Germs Galore!

Woke up ridiculously late today when Jason called after landing back from Barcelona. He had a couple of hours before he had to go to Amsterdam. 10.45 the phone rang and i woke up with a start!!!! Annoyed at myself for sleeping so long, I got up and let the girls out of their run.

Popped over to Annies to drop off some chicken pellets as she had an op and cant drive/lift anything. Then headed back home and got a call from Darren from work, who wanted to 'pop' over. I say 'pop over' but it was a good 80ish mile trip one way for him!!! Lovely to see him!

I called the vet this morning for a Babs update and not good news. She is still really poorly and not eating well. We will see how she is tomorrow and make a decision. Not looking forward to it, but i have to think about how she is and her future. I can't put her through this stress again. Hopefully she will be allowed home tomorrow, fully recovered.

The bath melts i made (not sure if i mentioned them) have been on a baking tray in the fridge for a few days. I bagged them up and hid them away. Will make some hessian bags to put them in for Christmas pressies! Gave a couple to next door to try. My Mum loved them - see comment on 'its dark outside'- cheeky mare writing about bath cleaner!!!!

Feel like a badger with a sore head and a cheese grater throat. Coming down with something. The Lemsip isn't helping. Going to Andover tomorrow with the great unwashed public, can't wait. Oranges and Vit C are called for!

Spoke to Jase this evening in Amsterdam, he still feels rough after 7 days with this cold. He has 3 flights tomorrow, but will hopefully be late back from Amsterdam and lose the Glasgow and back!!!!
He needs to rest and take it easy, poor lad!

We are going away for a few days on Saturday, so the long drive will be fun, with us both sniffing away. Will go to Waitrose and get some picnic type food for the journey.

Have a list as long as my arm of jobs to do, but will get round to them all eventually! The TV hasnt been on all day, which is just how i like it. Kitchen is tidy, office still isn't!!!! Mum's elderberry jelly is liquid! So will either reboil it or call it 'elderberry coulis'!!!!!!!

Up the wooden hill now, at least i can hog the whole bed. 'Star fish boy' as he likes to call me!!! Really missed him today, but he'll be home with his germs tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

its dark outside

Jase left this morning at 6am for a 3 day trip, so i got up and let the girls out. There is something nice about getting up when its dark and watching the sun rise. After breakfast I wandered into the veg garden and pulled up the last of the beetroot. Still have a few baby ones growing, but not sure if they will be ready before the 1st frosts. Laverne was making a racket, crowing, as Shirley was laying an egg. I don't know why she does it, as she is moulting big time at the moment so doesn't need the nest box. Maybe she was calling for Babs.

"Where did he sprinkle that corn"?

Cleared the brussel sprout bed and planted some green manure! We had some for dinner yesterday with fish and chips. (Sprouts not manure). Unusual combination, but tasty. The Veg garden is starting to look a bit scruffy now, so will have to give it a tidy up.

The sweet peas are growing for Britain! I can't keep up with the cutting.

Planted out some swiss chard and spinach, that will hopefully keep us and the hens happy over winter.

The tiny 'Baby bear' pumpkins are doing really well as is the sweetcorn, but still not ready yet - needs a bit more sun!

What lovely 'roots!

Boiled up some elderberry juice and made 3 1/2 jars of jelly for my Mum. Painted the inside of the kitchen door (4 coats now) so that is looking better. Still have a list of jobs to do, but can't really be bothered. Will call the vet later and see how Babs is doing. Will also ask the vet to ban the pay movies from her room! ;0)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Babs Update

The vet called this morning to say that she was doing well but still producing fluid. They want to keep her in until Thursday! Now i am worried that Laverne and Shirley will bully her when she returns home. Laverne is missing Babs and i hope they will be friends again. Will call the vet later and go and visit her. Have grapes and 'chatty chicken' magazine for the poor patient ;0)

Jase washed and cleaned the cars today, whilst I harvested the sprouts, turned over the compost bins, dug over a raised bed, planted some winter veg and planted up strawberry runners for next year. Laverne and Shirley enjoyed the sprout leaves, shredding them like a scene from Jurassic Park!
The veg garden is looking much tidier now, but still lots to do. Jase is away on a 3 day trip tomorrow, so i will blitz it then.

Jase is recovering from a cold, which he kindly passed on to me. Woke up with a really sore throat this morning. The magical lemsip should do the trick!

Off to pick more sweet peas now!


Back from the vets. She bought Babs out wrapped in a towel and took us through to a private room! She looks so much better, red comb and alert. I gave her some mealworms and she loved them. We discussed her treatment and decided that it was best to leave her at the vets for a few more days. She has to take antibiotics for a couple of days still, but then, if she improves, she can come home. *smiles all round*
The vet said 'I'll leave you two alone for a bit' (it really made me laugh when she said this) so i gave her a cuddle, wrapped her up and took her through to her cage (the chicken not the vet)!

The bill so far is £90, which includes treatment, room, board and antibiotics. I haven't seen the room service or pay tv bill yet, but it doesn't matter.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Good News

Just back from the vets and Babs is doing well!

They are still taking fluid from her abdomen and want to keep her in over night again, but the vet said she is doing well and looking good. :0)
Laverne and Shirley are still missing Babs. Laverne is pacing and looking for her, bless. Jason said that when he tucked them in last night, they were roosting towards the door as if waiting for Babs to come to bed. Hopefully she will be home soon.

Just bought some croissants , so will have a leisurely breakfast and then get on with the jobs that i should have done yesterday.
Jam making, office tidying (yuck) and general house stuff.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Chicken with 9 Lives

Babs has not been herself for a couple of days and after cleaning the eglu this afternoon, I noticed she was panting. So we headed off to the vets at 6.30 tonight. She has egg peritonitis again and the vet thought it best to drain the fluid tonight and keep her there and try to drain more in the morning. So I left Miss Babs with them and hope it is good news tomorrow.

We discussed how comfotable she is and i decided that if she was in any pain, then the vet will put her down. A horrible decision, but at least she wouldn't suffer anymore. We will see how she is tomorrow and hopefully i will bring her home.
It seemed strange locking the run door this evening. Just saying goodnight to Laverne and Shirley. I wonder if they miss her as much as I do?

I called the vet this morning and the nurse said she was doing well and eating lots, which is a good sign. They promised me the vet would phone me back later. I waited and waited and by the time i called them, the surgery was closed. I hope she is all right.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mouse trap

Finished my 5 day block today, and should do some overtime tomorrow, but every fibre in my being is screaming no!
I just want to be at home for a while. The trips were pretty uneventful. Had a nice Amsterdam and back with Ruth, *hello Ruth* and spent all day Sunday in Duesseldorf, surfing the internet for bits. Got some fabric, which was delivered today. Need to fish out the sewing machine and make something now. Probably cushions.

Warsaw was lovely, even though we didn't have long there. Very autumnal, the trees had already started changing colour, mottled browns and oranges. Lovely.
Bumped into a stupid American couple in the hotel lift. "Oh do you work for British Air"? "No" I said. "Its British AIRWAYS" rolling my eyes.
Guess who was on my flight the next day?

The girls are fine, a couple of eggs from Shirley, nothing since from Babs and Laverne is sooo scruffy around her bum feathers. They look like they are just about to fall out! She is definately moulting which explains the lack of eggs from her. Poor mite. Hope she is fully feathered before the frost sets in. They have just tucked into a bowl of pellet mash and some sweetcorn.

The mystery of the borlotta beans is solved. They didn't die of thirst. There is a family of field mice living under the teepee canes (aw bless) and they chewed right through the base of each plant! I have left the pods on the plant to dry out for next years planting. *Must get a cat*.

We have made a list of jobs that need doing before the winter sets in. (I don't mean to keep mentioning the W word, but we are nearly there)!

* Repointing of the utility room and paint with damp sealant
* Transform garden (shouldn't take long)!!!!!!
* Paint exterior doors
* Fix outbuilding door
* Fix kitchen door (gap big enough to drive a bus through)
* Paint the garage.

We had a delivery of logs, so the woodstore is full. I get such a nice feeling when we have wood stacked up all over the place. Its comforting, like opening a fridge full of food. Unfortunately, the wood arrived a day early, so Jase had to stack the lot, just to be able to get the car on the drive. I was away. Hehe.

I got home this morning to find two enormous compost bins on the drive. We ordered them weeks ago. Am I barking mad for getting excited about compost bins? Don't answer that.

Just found out i have a Moscow and back tomorrow on overtime! The money will be handy but not looking forward to it! A lovely 12 hour day. I haven't done overtime in 4 years, so i guess it won't do any harm.