Sunday, July 20, 2008

First prize at the village show?

Lovely day so far. The alarm went off at 6am and I hit snooze 10 times! Got up around 7ish. Let the girls out and sat in the garden with a cup of tea and the sun coming over the hill. Bliss.

I spent yesterday breaking my back turning 2 compost bins full of, errr 'chicken waste' and veg peelings. Cleaned out the chicken runs and took the blue eglu run out of the chicken area. We don't need it at the moment. They are fine with 4 hens in the extended run. It gives them more space too. I have left the blue eglu there so they have an extra nest to lay in. Another 3 egg day from the Girls. They are doing well, despite looking scruffy.

Did another Hen Party today and Winifred was pretty good at being handled. She hadn't laid at the time and she is always a little bit bolshy before an egg!

The rabbit is back. That is unless something else has a taste for chives. Losing a few chives, I can cope with. The reinforced veggie plot is holding it's own. No further damage. Yippeeeee!

I pulled up the garlic today, as it had blown over. Didn't think it would come to much but it looks good. Left it to dry out by hanging it up. Have about 10 bulbs which will last a while.

The 'front' garden is looking good despite Mr Munchy getting his paws on things.

Hard to believe that this area was only lawn a couple of months ago.

My attempt at protecting the french beans -

My awarding winning Lily plant after an attack. Don't think I will be entering it in this years Village show -

Popped over to Mum and Dad's for a barbie yesterday and the clan were all there. Ellis and Grace were both on best behaviour and it was nice to see everyone. Headed home in time to lock the girls up and settled down to watch the Color Purple. My favourite. Was in the mood for a good tear jerker film last night. Feel better today and have done lots of niggly jobs that needed doing. Made some pistachio fudge for the freezer (if it makes it that far).

All packed for work tomorrow - boo. Only 3 day block so bearable. House is looking good and tidy for a change. Makes you feel better when everything is put away and neat. Oh no, I think the OCD is returning!

Better go and make dinner, chili and jacket potato tonight. Meal for one as Jase is away. Sob!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thought it would take months of persuading......

Been a busy week as always. The weather has been funny today. Sun one minute, drizzly rain the next. Still nice to be sat outside, under the umbrella, writing this though.

Jase and I decided to paint the kitchen, lounge, utility room, stairs and spare room this week. Admittedly we haven't got it all done as yet, but we are getting there.

The kitchen is now wedgewood blue and cord. Really difficult to match the colours as the tiles are a very dark blue. Jase has filled the plaster that fell off the wall from a leaking shower above and we just need to sand that, give it a final coat of paint and we are done!!

The lounge looks stunning, if I say so myself. Cuban red on the chimney breast and far wall. It is so cosy and warm, without being too oppressive. Wish we had used that colour years ago! Need to find a few bits and pieces for the lounge now to tie the colour in.

We spent yesterday outside as it was lovely and sunny. Jase painted the wooden garage and I spent an age rabbit proofing the veggie garden. I got hold of 25 metres of green coated chicken wire from ebay and set about stapling it to the picket fence to keep the rabbit out. After a quick walk down the lane, to get to the outside fence, I used normal, make-your-fingers-bleed chicken wire to try and stop the little blighter digging under. I hope it works!

With the veggie garden now officially (hopefully) rabbit proofed, I planted some lettuce seeds and placed a wire cloche over the top. Took me blimmin' ages to make the cloche and it doesn't fit properly, but looks very 'rustic'.

With one runner bean plant 8' tall and the others 12" tall (thanks Mr Rabbit) I don't really expect a huge bumper crop this year. I forgot that I planted some in the back garden, they seem to be doing ok. Unlikely that I will be selling surplus this year. Will concentrate more on jams, jellies and puddings, with the odd biscuit thrown in for good measure.

Have I mentioned that someone wants to sell my jams and jellies at a Farmer's market?? Not sure if I have. Well, I am really chuffed. Need to source cheaper jam jars, but am looking forward to it. Won't be leaving work just yet, but the cash will come in handy for odds and sods.

The girls gave us four eggs yesterday. Good old Laverne's egg was perfect! The 3 'new' girls appear to be moulting. Their neck and throat feathers are looking a little sparse and Winifred has a bald patch. Small white spines are peeping through, so that is a good sign; more feathers on their way. Will treat them to some tuna this week and give them poultry spice in their food as a boost.

Gave Dad another 3 boxes of eggs to sell, but think that they will slow down, now they are moulting. Shock, horror, we might have to buy eggs!!

Had dinner and off for a bath now. Will light the fire as it is a little chilly.


C x x x

P.s BIG NEWS - Jase agreed to getting more chickens in the Autumn!! More about that later, I am so excited!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

R.O.M.D (rabbit of mass destruction)

After spending an eternity driving home on Monday, I am now off for 12 days!! The motorway was closed for a while as a lorry had split it diesel tank across all four lanes. 2 1/2 hours for a 50 minute journey, but home now.

Jase and I went to Hampton Court flower show yesterday and were really lucky with the weather. It only rained for about 3 minutes and the rest of the day was sunny and quite warm.

The Daily Mail marquee was stunning as always.

Here are a couple of pics -

It amazes me how they built all of this for a show. It must take weeks to do. The effect is really stunning. Shame that the whole lot is ripped out at the end.

The vegetable garden was an inspiration.

I had my eye on a Victorian style greenhouse and got a couple of brochures. Looking at approximately £3,000 for the one I would like. A little overtime is needed at work I think. **look here** for a sneak preview

The rabbit is still alive and kicking in the garden. I caught it outside the kitchen window today. Bold as brass munching on some box hedging. Is there nothing it won't eat? We are surrounded by corn fields and it has decided to stay here.

I have no alternative but to buy chicken wire and section off all the raised beds. It might look unsightly, but the damn thing is eating everything. Roses, lupins, onions, runner beans, euphorbias, peas, radishes, curly kale, scented stocks, lillies, the lot!! All munched. Not sure what to do about the 'front' garden and that really can't be fenced off. Tempted to get an air rifle, but there is no way I could shoot it properly.

I keep banging the window like a loon every time it hops into the garden. It runs away only to return 10 minutes later.

In other news, we had 4 eggs today!! Ok, Laverne sat on hers and broke it, but it was still a 4 egg day! Gave 3 boxes to my Dad to sell at work. The price has gone up to £1.50 a box, still good value. I have to pay for that greenhouse somehow! *wink*

It has been tipping it down all day. The chickens looked like drowned rats, even though I got the emergency shower curtain out of the shed to cover their run.

Jase was called from standby to fly to Lisbon for the night. The house is spookily quiet. The fire is stacked and I will light it this evening. It is cold, damp and depressing tonight. Think I will curl up on the sofa with a dvd and chill out. Was going to make biscuits tonight, but don't have the will to do anything really.

Hopefully it will stop raining tomorrow and I can get out in the garden to do some damage control.

Right, 10pm and time to light the fire!

Bye for now.

C x

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

'Brights eyes, burning like fire'

Finished my 5 day block and have today off. I got up with Jase this morning at 5ish(?) It's a bit of a blur to be honest.

Anyway, did have a Larnaca trip tomorrow (the start of a six day block) but managed to finally swap it for a Frankfurt and back tomorrow and a Rome and back on Thursday. Just want to be home a bit more at the moment. Plus the thought of 5 hours on a plane with the shell suit brigade, brings me out in hives.

Spent the day pottering around the garden and sat out reading Country Living magazine for an hour or so. It was warm today, but cloudy. Watered the garden and tidied up a bit. Have cut up 'garden fresh' strawberries for pudding this evening. Haven't thought about what to do for dinner yet.

Thinking of renaming the house 'Watership Down'. I have solved the mystery of the nibbled carrot tops and dug up onions. A bloody rabbit!! A nice little pile of rabbits droppings greeted me this morning. Think I preferred mice. At least chickens eat mice. Will have a think about what to do now.

If the rabbits weren't bad enough, I also have the blackbird to deal with. She has taken it upon herself to eat my ripe strawberries. Not whole ones, just a few pecks from each!! I have netted them now. That should stump her!!

The sweet peas are taking off finally and i have picked a few bunches so far. Mowed the lawn today too. Looks tidy now. Didn't quite manage the stripes that Jason gets, (I don't have the patience) but it looks good now.

The girls keep the other lawn 'tidy' and haven't dug a dust bath in the middle - yet. We have had a fair few occasions of 3 egg days this week. All the 'new' girls are laying well. I won't mention Laverne's laying!! She is doing well though and loves being on the lawn, scratching up the moss. I have enough for a few hanging baskets now. I might rent her out as a scarifier.

Next door are on holiday so I went over to check that all was well. Watered a couple of hanging baskets and opened the greenhouse. Their garden is beautiful, but Sandra doesn't work, so she does have more time than me.

Can't wait for this block to be over. We are going to RHS Hampton Court flower show on the 8th July. Really looking forward to it. Shame I am poor as there is always so much to buy. Have the handy box on wheels ready to pop a few purchases in. Who am I kidding? A few purchases??

Jase has just text to say he has landed, so should be home by 8pm. Better think of something for dinner.


C x x x

Edit - Call from M&S and a rather eager Jase wanting a BAR-B-Q. We are having steak apparently. Better go out and pick a lettuce to make some sort of salad to go with it!!