Monday, August 31, 2009

What a whiff


Had a terrible week. The M3 was closed and I was late for work. Arrived 40 minutes too late and missed my trip. That wiped the rest of my 6 day block and I finally finished with an Istanbul and back yesterday. Hideous, but over now! Just 2 days off but so happy not to be at work.

The courgettes have gone mad and I am now left with a marrow the size of a small canoe.

It will be turned into some sort of chutney when I get a chance.

I bought some beeswax sheets in Brussels a couple of weeks ago and turned them into candles. I really need to get back there and get some more sheets. They burn really well and smell lovely.

I started making wheat pillows this week. 2 are finished and have sewn 4 more bags but ran out of wheat! Will get some more tomorrow.

Mum brought over my old futon cover from years ago. It is good quality ticking type fabric and too good to throw away. I got creative and used a small amount to make some skittles! They are half filled with pop corn (unpopped obviously)! and soft toy filling. The ball took ages as it is 6 small pieces stitched together, but I love them! If I get a chance, I will make a few more sets to sell at the craft fair.

I spent most of today cleaning out the chickens' runs. Not the most pleasant of jobs, but thankfully one that doesn't need doing too often. Let the girls into the garden and they spent the day digging in the borders and eating grass. They are back in the chicken corner now, sunbathing. Jase asked what the awful smell was and then realised it was me! I was so sweaty after digging out all the muck from the runs. Nice. Am now showered and smell nice again.

Made some plum and apple mince meat too, about 8 large jars. My neighbour still has lots of plums, but I have a tub trug full in the fridge in the outbuilding and lots of apples. I followed Kate's advice and put several plums in Le Parfair jars, filled with sugar syrup and simmer the jars. My jam thermometer came in handy and 20 minutes later, 2 perfect jars of bottled plums that should last for months.

Have a great Bank holiday everyone.

C x x

**UPDATE** the local farmer is spreading muck on the fields. Turns out I don't smell too bad after all.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

...Burning at both ends?

Life is surreal sometimes, isn't it? Take yesterday. Sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky, I was wearing shorts - sewing robins in the garden for the Christmas fayre! August. I know. Madness.

Jase went back to work after a few months off. Barcelona last night and Stockholm this evening. He is home tomorrow. Think it will be a shock to his system.

I have been off for nearly 2 weeks and have done a fair bit. Started jammin' again. The kitchen smelt wonderful.
Spiced Bramble jelly (with the additional of a cinnamon stick and a couple of cloves).

Pottered around the veggie garden and did a bit of digging. The potatoes weren't looking too good, so I dug them all up. Proper gardener's hands!

I had 3 potato bags and a small raised bed with Kind Edwards. Don't think we will be self sufficient in tatties this winter - One bag's worth.

They are all safely stored in a paper sack in the outbuilding.

I finally got round to planting up some strawberry runners. Been meaning to do it for ages. Think I have enough? Hee hee

If you are passing and need any..........!

The purple podded peas were doing really well until the mice discovered that the stalks tasted good.

We ran out of spinach for the Girls last year, so have planted an extra load to keep them in fresh greens all Winter. They are growing nicely on the kitchen window sill.

Speaking of the Girls, Winifred is doing really well. *touches wood* Her appetite is back to normal and she is shoulder barging others out of the way when it comes to treats. Her crop is full most nights and empty again in the morning! I think her comb looks redder and more upright too. The only thing is, I think she has started moulting. Along with Cornelia and the odd feather from Agnes, there are a fair few feathers flying around the garden. All but Winnie are laying though, so we usually get 3-4 eggs a day. I have been frantically watching for her droppings. Strange but true. She eventually turned and produced a 'normal' poo for me! Hooray! (Only other chicken keepers think I am perfectly sane with the previous comment)!!

As Jase had to be up at the crack of sparrows yesterday, I got up too. The house was de-cobwebbed (you would never guess judging by the look of it today) and bathrooms cleaned and house vacuumed. Decided to try and make candles. Like you do.

In May, I bought some terracotta pots in Portugal and managed to get hold of some wicks and pelleted candle wax. Ingenious way to keep the wicks central I think! Cotton thread and some tape.

After lots of swearing, dripping candle wax, ruining of measuring jug and a couple of tea towels -

They do have a wick, but it's not clear in the picture.

'Cushion central' as the house is now known, is still in full production. Getting good at them now and it only takes me 15 minutes to make a cover.

Things are coming along nicely. Shame I am back to work on Tuesday. Work gets in the way of my 'stuff'. At least I can relax at work.

Mum and Dad are coming over for dinner this evening, so better get organised. Have baked some Hobnobs (or the non copyright equivalent *wink*) and filled a bag for them and a tin for us!

See you all soon.

C x x x

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Poorly Winnie

Winifred is not doing too well again. The constant rain all day didn't help her mood either. She spent most of the day hunched under the privet hedge and I didn't see her eat or drink for most of the day. She was drinking just before bed, so that is a good sign. She pottered off to bed with her friends Pru and Elsbeth. In a way, I hope she goes in her sleep, as that would be a nice way to go. Just hate to see her so sad and hunched in the run. Squish squish.

As promised, here is a picture of the happy couple!

Next door are on holiday this week, so we are looking after the Bantam Ladies. They have been laying really well. Nearly 3 eggs every day. The eggs are ridiculously small. Almost cartoon eggs! They will look lovely in a glass jar filled with vinegar and pickling spices.

Compared to a standard hen's egg -

It has been raining on and off for days now. I am not back to work until the 18th August, but think there is little hope of the garden getting any attention. I am more of a fair weather gardener.

I picked up Winifred yesterday to give her some natural yoghurt, to help with her crop problems and jarred my back again! It was absolute agony. I was hobbling around for most of the day, doing a distinct impression of Mrs Overall from Acorn Antiques. Had a wonderful nights sleep though and woke up feeling better, but still a tad sore. Not keen on popping pills, but sometimes needs must and the anti inflammatories do help.

Tomorrow is set to be miserable again, so will make the most of the day and get some sewing done. Really want to make a hot water bottle cover. Depending on the look of it, will see about adding them to the list of things for the craft fayre. A friend suggested making wheat pillows (the type that I have had stuck to my back for the past 2 days). Jase mentioned flame retardant fabric to make the bags, as we don't want a flaming microwave incident, but I really have no idea! If anyone knows how to make them and what to fill them with (is it as simple as wheat)??, then email me please!

Fire is roaring in a bid to thaw out my feet. What is going on? It is August for God's sake!!

C x x x

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Nice Sporran.....

Greetings Readers!

Am in Vienna at the mo and thought I would make a quick entry.

The wedding last weekend was wonderful. I was made to feel very welcome. V & F had a lovely time and the sun shone (and rain held off) until the evening. Lovely bunch of people, dancing, great food and hunky men in kilts everywhere! *wink* I digress. I will post pictures when I get a chance as they are still on the camera. (Not of the men in kilts)!!

We drove back on Tuesday and had to stop off at the airport to pick up my car. 9 hour drive in total. Vile. The girls were fine all week, but didn't lay too well for next door. I think they got 6 eggs in total. They are away this week, so we are looking after the bantams for them. Day 1 yesterday and we got a full house. 3 eggs! Looks like dad might get pickled bantam eggs for Christmas afterall.

There, have mentioned it. Christmas. Can't wait, hee hee. The present buying has started as you know I like to be organised. I know it is August, but I got in from work last night and the fire was lit! *Shock*. It was quite cold, but who would have thought the fire would be roaring in August?? Nice though.

Managed to get a few brooches sewn for the Craft fayre, that I still haven't paid for or arranged. *rolls eyes* Will get it done next week.

Major trauma. I was in Berlin and a car hit the wall behind the house and crashed along the side of the fence. About 40 ft of fencing needs to be replaced, but the driver will be paying for that!! Jase had to deal with it all, getting quotes etc. He sent me a text to say 'the chickens are distressed'. No wonder when the fence was right next to their coop. They wouldn't come out for a while.

Winifred is fine, still not laying, but pottering around as normal. Cornelia is threadbare and looking really scruffy. She is moulting big time, but her new feathers are coming through already. Elsbeth, Pru and Agnes are all ok. Laying on a regular basis. I think they are looking forward to being let loose on the veggie garden in a couple of months. I usually let them dig over the raised beds when most of the crops have finished. Jase and next door very kindly put up some netting, so the girls can free range after the fence incident. There was a 30cm gap were the fence was shunted and they aren't 'road savvy'. At least they can free range now.

Off out for Schnitzel and low cal chips in a bit, so will sign out now.

Have a lovely evening!