Monday, December 29, 2008

Fluffy bums....

Baltic is hardly the word for it. It is freezing outside with temperatures struggling to get above 3C!! I popped outside to collect eggs (or should that be egg *rolls eyes*) and my fingers are frozen solid. We now have the heating on all the time and are going through the oil. We will have to get a top up sometime in the new year - at least the price is coming down slowly.

Elsbeth is still halfway through her moult and hasn't laid for a couple of weeks. She is two-tone still, but her new grey/black feathers look beautiful. You can see her old brown feathers on her back still.

Agnes has laid all week and is always in the nest box first thing when they are let out. She is getting big now and her comb is starting to 'flop' over!!

No sign of eggs from Cornelia yet, but her comb is still quite small (Agnes' fluffy backside in the background)

Laverne is still picking on them, but not quite as much as before. They are learning to avoid her now.

I really should go into Town and take a look around for sale bargains. I can't face it though. Having absolutely no cash isn't helping either. I do need to control my spending next year. That will be a New Years resolution.

A friend said he would help me set a website to sell my Christmas cakes/puds and Farm Cottage wares, next year, so that might earn a few extra pennies. I have received lots of very positive feedback from the people that I posted out things out to. Everyone loved my Christmas puddings (even those that don't like them normally).

Everything has gone up so much in price recently, looks like we will be shopping in Asda rather than Waitrose from now on.........!

I was surprised by the comments about the hampers. One friend said I was wasted and should sell complete hampers next year as they were so lovely. Maybe I will, if I can source slightly smaller boxes.

I planted several pots of mini daffodils and hyacinths to give away for Christmas but still have a couple of pots left. The flowers are just starting to open. They are called tete a tete and are so tiny!

Just been outside to fill the log basket and the frost is still on the lawn. It has been there for 3 days now. METCHECK is saying it will be minus 4 tonight, with the wind chill it'll feel like -7!!! The girls water is topped up, but will get a jug ready for the morning, to defrost the glug drinkers. They will be locked up tonight.

Off to lock the chickens in now. The sun is setting and the temperature is already 0C. Time to light the fire and get snuggled down for the night.

C x x x

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

He is nearly here.........

Only a few hours to go until Father Christmas visits Farm Cottage! I am so excited. Jase thinks I am mad. He is probably right. :0)

I still have a few presents to wrap which I'll do this evening. We have had our festive dinner of fish fingers, chips and peas and the fire is roaring.

A couple more pictures of my final hampers fillers. They look and taste really nice and it was well worth going cross eyed, dribbling melted white chocolate on each one, cutting up miniscule pieces of cherry and angelica!

Ready for the close up!

In their little tins

Disaster struck at 11.30 last night when I decided to make a quick batch of gingerbread men. NO GROUND GINGER!! I was horrified. Against my better judgement I HAD to drive to T...TES...I can barely type it. You know the shop. I haven't been for nearly two years as I can't stand the way they are taking over the Country. Anyway, I went as it was the ONLY shop around here, open at midnight. Luckily it was empty (unlike Waitrose yesterday)!

I came home and had a good wash to cleanse my system.
We now have a gingerbread man army in the kitchen. The recipe made a massive amount of dough, so I gave some to next door and put the rest in the freezer.

Agnes gave us another perfect little egg this morning. Only her and Winifred are laying, Elsbeth and Pru and definitely looking bedraggled with their moults and stopped laying a few days ago. Cornelia is still a little too young and Laverne is too busy tormenting the new girls and squawking.

I dropped off the hampers to my neighbours this afternoon and Jase delivered the last of the presents to a friend. Very chilled out affair this afternoon and evening. TV is shocking for Christmas eve and we ended up watching Ghostbusters on UKTV Gold!

Right, time to get into my bed time attire and finish wrapping. Throw another log of t'fire and enjoy the peace. Not forgetting to leave out a mince pie, carrot and a glass of something nice by the fire.........

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Thank you for following my little life in the country!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Nearly finished wrapping....

Only a few days to go until father Christmas comes down the chimney, so time for a festive update I think!

Monday - Jase came out of hospital!!! No face furniture, just a bag of pain killers, a doctor's note for 4 weeks off and instructions to take it easy.

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday - up at 3am EVERY day for work, quick Brussels flight and a Copenhagen and back on my last day. At 1 o'clock on Friday, I drove home relieved that it was all done and dusted for the year. I am now back on the 6th January, but am not thinking about it!

The festivities are in full swing now. I had a major baking session yesterday.

Nigella's Christmas puddini bon bons!

Peanut butter cups for my Niece and Nephew -

Pistachio and cashew nut brittle -

Chocolate fruit and nut puddles

They are tucked away in the fridge fighting for space. I have hamper fillers everywhere! Seem to have misplaced the spiced cranberry vodka, but it will turn up I'm sure. Once Tuesday comes, I will assemble everything and probably need to get bigger baskets/boxes!

The biggest news this week is that Agnes laid her first egg today. Jase found it in the nest box this morning! Small and perfectly formed, bless her. She is always squatting when I go near her, so an ideal opportunity to pick her up. Trying to get her tame like Winifred, so she can be handled at hen parties in the Spring.

Jase is still a little spaced out after the surgery, but hopefully will be back to his old self soon. He has been through so much over the past two years. The massive change in lifestyle, from long haul to short haul, taking tablets every day and having to adapt to his 'new' life must be difficult. I can't imagine how he feels, but he knows I am always there for him, even when I appear stroppy and frustrated. I love him dearly. I hope we will have a wonderful Christmas and pray (not that I am remotely religious, will probably be struck down for even typing that), 2009 will be better for us both.

Time to finish the last of the presents for a trip to Kent to see my Gran tomorrow. Have a small box of puddinis in the fridge that I MUST remember to take with me. Will probably forget!!

Speak soon

C x

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What can I say?

I have 2 big fears in life. London at night and the underground. Having Jase in hospital in Hammersmith, meant I needed to conquer these fears. I am doing well so far. Shock horror, I even have an oyster card for the tube!!! That is like a chicken riding a bicycle!!?! A very unique event!

I went in today and he is doing fantastically well. He was up and dressed and wanted to go for a coffee. Great news. I even had to force a blueberry (debatable) muffin down my throat. When dinner of char grilled rubber chicken, 2 potatoes and broccoli mush was served, he took one look at it and headed for the door. Pizza express is opposite the hospital, so we ate there. He looked particularly fetching with the bolster strapped to his head and the hospital bracelets on each wrist, but I didn't care. It was lovely to spend time with him outside the clinical walls of '11 South'.

I promise I will post some pictures soon (not of Jase and his white padded moustache)! The house is very festive, tree is up and looking lovely and I put simple lights along the outside of the house. I loved coming home this evening. Yes, London does offer lots; shops open late, 24 hour kebab shops *vomit*, hairdressers open until 10pm, but I love my quiet life in the country. No traffic, lights, or distractions. Fields, horses, cows and stupid pheasants that run down the road avoiding my Mini. Bliss.

Lots to do re Christmas, but the pressies are all bought and waiting upstairs. I have 5 more days at work, starting with 2 nights in Stockholm from Monday. My last day is the 19th of December and then I have 2 weeks off!!!! So happy.

I made more candied orange sticks last week and they are dry now, just waiting for a dunk in melted chocolate. Will do that next week.

Now I have more time, I would just like to say Thank you to all the messages left here and Private messages through the Omlet forum, wishing Jase all the best. It really does mean the world to me, that -

a) people actually read my waffle.....
b) you take the time to not only read, but to respond in such a caring way,
c) even though I am a stranger to (most) of you, you actually care about my little life in the country.

Thank you.

Enough of my waffle, off to youtube Alexandra as I hear she has won X Factor! Not that I watch it. Glad JLS didn't win, or Eoghanamamaowen or what ever his 'big hair' name is!! Not that I watch it. *wink*

C x x x

Friday, December 12, 2008

Quick update

Hello everyone!

Just a quickie this evening! Jase is doing really well. He was up and about today and counting down the minutes until his next meal!!! Not sure when he will be out yet, but soon hopefully. The house is very empty without him.

I was tempted to post a picture of his face, complete with bolster under his nose, but thought better of it.*wink*

Traveling up and down to Hammersmith everyday, so not much time to post, but wanted to update you all.

Thank you for the lovely comments and wishes for Jason, very much appreciated!

And (sorry, shouldn't start with 'and'), a special thanks to Caro!


C x x

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

All's quiet in the chicken house....

Hello All!

Been non stop this week. Generally preparing for Christmas and trying to get organised. I have spent a fortune on ribbon in 'The Range' - a shop too good for words. Lots of crafty stuff at bargain prices, I find it hard to resist.

Jase is going to hospital tomorrow to have his benign tumour removed from his brain. It was removed once already in January last year, but it is back. He will be in for a few days, but hopefully out soon, to spend Christmas at home. I bought him some worry dolls to take with him and I have one too. Daft as a brush I know, but that's me. Mad as a bag of frogs apparently.

The big news this week is the harmony between Agnes, Cornelia and the Big Girls. They are let out first thing and all seems well. I am glad. Was so worried they would be picked on. Only Laverne has issues with them now and they are starting to stick up for themselves a little. We still separate them at night, so they sleep in their own eglus.

Winifred finally laid an egg yesterday after several weeks off lay. Her feathers are all back and I wasn't expecting an egg until Spring......Good girl!

Finally finished the Christmas shopping yesterday. Only a few hundred presents to wrap now. Not sure when I will find the time, although I do love wrapping. I wonder if I can be a professional wrapper?? Worth a thought!! The parcel paper, ribbon and tags are all waiting. Will light the fire one night soon and begin. It has to be done at night. Carols on the ipod speakers. Fire lit. It is the law. In my world anyway.

Freezing here in Duesseldorf this evening. Sat here with a hot water bottle on my lap. Early to bed for me as have to be up at 4am tomorrow. *Yuck* I did manage to pop out to the supermarket and pick up a few stocking fillers. Plus 3 tubs of goose fat. Don't ask.

Started writing my Christmas cards at 1pm and am nearly finished. Not my favourite job in the world. Really should make a list of the ones I have written before I post them off. Every year I get that sinking feeling that someone has been forgotten. *shock*

Time to top up my hot water bottle......

C x x x

Monday, December 01, 2008


Thank you to everyone who left nice comments on the last post. Really very nice of you all to be so kind. I still haven't watched it.

The countdown to Christmas is on!!!
After a quick dash to Scotland last week, dropping off presents for Christmas, normality has descended again. I have been busy getting the house ready (tidy) for Christmas. The office and spare room now have visible carpet and my mind is at peace with the state of the house. The decorations will go up this week, when we have bought a tree. The six footer that Jason would like won't fit into my Mini, so his car will be used. Let him find pine needles for the next 6 months. Hee hee.

Been busy making more candied orange sticks. They are drip drying in the utility room at the moment. I used 5 oranges this time, so there might be enough for my hampers. If I don't sample them first. I have iced some gingerbread biscuits ready to put on the tree and all of Jase's presents are wrapped and hidden away. Only 15 bags' worth of pressies left to do. Cards to write too. Arrrggghhh panic. Time is running out. If only I didn't have to work this month.

I drove into the local village today, after spraying febreeze on my car windscreen - mistaking it for deicer - and got my hair cut. Posted off the last of my Christmas orders. Still have a few puddings and cakes, but they are for friends and family. One or two to take into work and then I'm done. *smiles* Bought myself a chocolate advent calendar. Big kid at heart.

Will bake some mince pies and other festive goodies nearer Christmas.

Here is a little picture of one of the hampers I have done so far.

I wish I had taken a picture of it all wrapped in way too much ribbon and all things festive, but hey ho. Still have several more to fill, but the jam mountain will be reduced, as will the flavoured vodkas. Some things I won't add until just before Christmas.

Had a quick glance at Nigella's Christmas book today and was devastated that she has included the recipe for peanut butter cups. I had hoped that the recipe had vanished, as they are divine. Many a pound has been added to my stomach due to those little morsels. Will make some for the *cough* hampers!

It is perishingly cold at the moment. The weather station has struggled to get above 3 degrees C. It is good for killing the germs, but I am so cold. The fire is already lit and roaring. Will need to get some coal I think. It keeps the house warmer for longer. It is days like this that I wish we had a log burner, but I do love an open fire.

The new girls had their big day. Freedom. Agnes refused to leave the safety of the run, but Cornelia went up to Elsbeth bold as brass. I was most worried about Elsbeth as she can be a bully. My fears were unfounded. She ran a mile, honking like a goose. Coward. Winifred, top chook, was a little scared too. Pru paid no attention, chilled out like always. It was Laverne, bottom chook, that really went for it. She jumped on Cornelia, then hunted down Agnes in the run and went for her too. I was stood watching with a tub of mealworms and a broom at the ready. After a few squabbles they settled down and ate mealworms together.

I will let them out together every day now, so they get used to eachother. Relatively painless so far. Think the food helped.

Feeling very Christmassy tonight. Have Dean Martin playing on the ipod speakers and feel like I am getting there now. Most of the pressies are upstairs in several bags, just one or two to get. The annual wrapping festival can wait for a week or two. I have stockpiled brown paper, star anise, cinnamon sticks and more raffia than is humanly possible, so I should be ok.

Stay warm everyone.

C x x