Friday, January 29, 2010

No more sprouts

The weather was really strange today. Jase left at some ungodly hour of the morning and I got up around 7am. Black clouds whizzing across the sky, rain, then sun, hail and a few snow showers.

I drove into Marlborough to get some bits and did a food shop. Made the huge mistake of visiting Laura Ashley and spent rather too much on nice material for my next project. Have blown my self proclaimed fabric budget for the year, in one transaction.

This week has been dry, so we managed to stack the logs and I spent a couple of days in the veggie garden. All the beds have been dug over and weeded. The Hens decided to help.

Elsbeth and Pru paired off to search the perimeter. Lots of bugs to be had!

Winnie and Agnes with their bums in the air! Cornelia found a secret corner and feasted on slug eggs *yuck*

I started the week by going into town to renew my passport. What is it with passport photo booths? Eeek. Horrible photo. I was really hoping it would be returned quickly, as I am due back to work on Monday. Luckily, the courier arrived with my new passport at lunchtime. Complete with the kind of picture that will have me whisked away for interrogation by immigration.

As it was so nice this week, I got the planting bug. Broad beans went in and I plan to sit down next week and get the seed catalogues out. Will only plant what we actually eat and does well here. Gone are the days of brussels and broccoli, I just can't grow them. The cabbage whites will be so disappointed.

I spent tonight cutting squares for the patchwork quilt that, I think, will be a very long project. Cut 30, only 195 to go! Fire was lit early as it was baltic by 5pm. Fished out my Cath Kidson 'Sew' book and decided to make a couple of egg cosies. Well, it seems only fitting, as Agnes is laying nearly every day and the egg stock is looking healthier than it has done in months. Quite happy with the result. Will post a picture tomorrow.

Time for bed. Nighty nighty.

C x x

Update! A little pic of my egg cosy! 4 made so far!! Think I might sell these at my next craft fayre. What do you think?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chicken cuddles

The big melt is on it's way and flooding is now forecast! Oh, how we like some drama in Britain. The roads are slushy, but the chicken area has finally met the chickens' exacting standards. Enough bark is showing for them to scratch around, so they are prepared to come out of the run!

Work went wrong earlier in the week and I lost part of my trip due to snow at Heathrow. Came home and popped out to take a few more snow pictures.

There are raised beds somewhere under the snow -

I drove Jase to the airport today. He flew up to Glasgow to visit friends, I am going up tomorrow. All checked in and boarding card printed. The power of the internet!

We had a wood delivery tonight. 2 cubic metres of logs blocking the garage now. Many, many wheelbarrow loads to get that lot stacked. Just hope it stays dry on Monday.

Just chilling out with the fire lit and finished off the cushion for my neighbour. A proper commission piece. Sounds odd writing that, but I guess it is? I think he is rather sweet, just hope she likes him. *anxious* I have named him Hamish! He needs a collar still and maybe a name tag.

Elsbeth has no tail feathers and is looking like a right scruff. However, she did lay an egg yesterday! Agnes' comb is looking quite red and she squatted in front of me today, so that is a good sign. Eggs are on their way. I even managed to pick her up and give her a cuddle before bed. She is usually quite frosty towards me.

Plans are underway for making my quilt. I have ordered a rotary cutter and self sealing mat. No idea what they are for, but was told they would make it much easier! We will see. Just the fabric to choose and then I will get started! Now, do I have fabric in the house? I think I might have a bit stashed away somewhere.

Have to be up at the crack of sparrows, so better sign off.

C x x

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Any eggs?

Good afternoon!

Glad to report that my 3 days of classroom training did not result in a fail, or losing the will to live (not quite). A day of lifting training and customer service (please, taking crew off the aircraft is not conducive to customer service) followed by aviation medicine and then on the last day, emergency training. When you cannot take anymore, they make you do an exam at the eleventh hour! Clicking away on the mouse, to get out as soon as poss, before the building suffocated me. It has to be the most depressing place on Earth. BUT IT IS DONE FOR ANOTHER YEAR!! Yay!!!!!

Am now in Royal Edinburgh, on my own as the rest of the crew flew back to London (that was the plan, it wasn't because they didn't like me) and my new crew arrive later. Am due to fly to Hamburg tomorrow, but more snow is forecast, so time and gritting will see if I get there!

Our lane is still covered in snow and ice and Councils are running out of grit. They have been told to only grit major roads now, so if we do get more snow we will be scuppered. I don't mind when at home, as have enough food to eat and wood to burn (ish - running low) and plenty to do in the house, but it is the driving to work that becomes a problem.

Reports on the tv have shown neighbours actually helping each other. Like War time Britain, people are chatting, clearing snow and helping the elderly, as so many roads are still blocked with snow. Nice that people pull together when they need to.

It is freezing here. 'They' (who ever they are)? are forecasting more heavy snow for our area on the Hampshire/Wiltshire borders. It has already started snowing in Devon/Cornwall and heading our way. Lovely, If I am at home, but worried it will head for Heathrow! First thing they do is cancel Domestic flights! Might be up here a while.

Non smoking hotel, damn and blast, so having to pop outside every so often! Luckily, there is a 'crew room' next to the exit, so filling up on tea and home made biscuits every time I go out. That wasn't a New Years resolution. I am still eating biscuits *wink*

Having had a chance to chill out and catch up on a few blogs I like, I saw that many are making quilts. Something I fancy doing! A large quilt for our bed, simple colours, nothing complicated. Will crack on with that soon I think.

The garden can wait as it still a blanket of white. Veggie garden is worst, so not much to be done out there at present.

The hens are really hacked off with the snow and I don't even open the run doors in the morning. They would rather stay in under the protection of the run. Ruth, who I get my chicken feed from, very kindly dropped off a 20kg sack of wheat, so they aren't going without! Pru laid another egg yesterday!!!! A whopper, bless her. They are still getting their pellets porridge mixed with sweetcorn and a sprinkle of chicken spice every day. Spoilt hens.

Have started listing chicken courses again now. The runs are looking good, except for the snow and am so pleased that they are all done for a few months. Having said that, the amount of time the hens are spending inside, they might need cleaning out sooner.

Waiting for Jase to call with a snow report! He has milk and bread so should be ok!

C x x

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I'm dreaming of.....

...a white January!

As anticipated, the snow that was forecast finally hit Hampshire yesterday! Luckily we are both off, although work emailed us and said that all flights this afternoon were cancelled, so we would have been off anyway! Sod's law!

We stocked up on food yesterday and headed back home to weather proof the chicken area. We hung a couple of shades up from the fence to the end of the run, to try and give the hens some protection from the snow. Wood stacked up by the back door to save frozen feet traipsing to the log store!

Having had a power cut a couple of years ago, that lasted 4 days *shock*, we bought a small gas camping stove. The house has a oil boiler and electric cooker, so if we lose power, we cannot cook or heat the house! The fire in the lounge comes into it's own and the camping stove will help! I always have enough candles in the house, enough wax to rival Madame Tussauds!

The girls are less than impressed. I let them out this morning and they refused to leave the eglus. A bowl of warming pellet porridge did tempt them to venture in the run though. Was amazed when we heard the 'egg laying call' yesterday morning. Rushed out and Prudence had laid! Our first egg of 2010! Well done that girl.

Jase fell asleep on the sofa after lunch, so I wrapped up warm and took a few pictures.

Our lane -

The house -

The view from the office window -

The driveway -

As you can see, not very deep, but enough to cause chaos around here. Very few cars on the road, just the occasional tractor. We have lots of food, milk and wood. We'll be ok!

Both back to work on Saturday, so wondering if the roads will be any better by then? The main roads are clear according to our neighbour, but I am not risking it on the country lanes around here. Mortimer the Mini is ok in snow, as he is pretty heavy (well with me in him) and front wheel drive, but Jase's BMW is rear wheel drive and a nightmare on ice! Will see what the roads are like on Friday and see how we go.

More snow forecast for Sunday! It is already -3.2 now and dropping! We have had temperatures of -8 this week. The coldest winter for 30 years according to the press. At least it will kill off some bugs. Time to get the nuclear tog duvet out I think. The hot water bottle will be in use tonight.

Hope you are all ok? Stay warm!

C x x

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Is that the alarm?

I got up early again today and set about finishing off the chicken area MAJOR clearout. Put on my filthy clothes from yesterday and attempted to pressure wash the blue eglu. Top tip; Frozen hose pipes and pressure washers aren't a good combination. Ended up using a bucket of water and a brush until the hose pipe thawed out.

The orange eglu was scrubbed to within an inch of it's life yesterday. Slabs were cleaned, powdered liberally with disinfectant and refilled with soft, fluffy bedding.

Ignore the uneven slabs to the left of the picture. I was never very good at anything manual. Hence the patchwork, 'up and down' look to my paving! It does the job.....!

Whilst the cleaning crew (me), spent time scrubbing, digging and tidying, the girls had free range time in the garden. Surrounding by netting, they happily scratched at the lawn, rootling around for bugs.

Not sure what has happened, but Winnie's pantaloons are mighty impressive. She finished moulting a while ago, but these seem to have appeared over night.

Forgot to post a picture of the new dust bath 'house' that Next door made for the hens' Christmas pressie. They are still scared of it, but will get used to it eventually. They have managed to sit on the roof and leave a little present, but as yet, haven't had a bath.

I am actually quite embarrassed by the next picture. The veggie garden shut down for winter in about November and has stayed untouched since then!!

Having frozen my bits off for two days, I might as well spend another day outside tomorrow, to try and reclaim some 'veg cred'. I did add some composted chicken poo to the raised beds, but serious weeding needs to be done.

The chocolate mountain is being dented slightly. It is everywhere, in every room! I can't resist.

Jase is away on a 3 day trip tomorrow and I am back on Monday. Still don't know what I am doing, as they haven't filled my roster yet. Will find out at 6pm tomorrow night. Might get up with him at 4am tomorrow as that way I can get more done before work. That is the theory anyway. Will see how I feel in the morning........

C x x

Friday, January 01, 2010

January the first!

Seeing as it is the first of January, I would like to wish you all HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I hope you all have a happy & healthy one. *smiles*

Another year and another blog entry. Don't you get bored reading my stuff?? Hee hee.

Jase went to bed around 10ish late night, after falling asleep on the sofa. I managed to keep my eyes open until 11, then headed upstairs. Woke up around 7 and let the hens out. The bantams next door fancied a lie in, but thought I had corn and came dashing out! Blimmin' freezing start to the new year. Minus 1 and really cold in the wind.

Have decided to get my hat, scarf and gloves, brave the elements and finally clear out the chicken runs today. The lifting of soiled bedding should keep me warm! Just need to find somewhere to put it! We have a paddock behind the house that is unused and the neighbours all seem to use it for garden waste. Might take the wheel barrow for a walk around there *wink*

I am looking at a mountain of chocolate and thinking 'is it wrong to have that for breakfast'? Yes it is. I know. Will make toast. With nutella. A compromise.

Better get my backside ready. Enjoy your day!

C x x .