Thursday, December 30, 2010

Only a couple of days left...

Afternoon everyone!

Things are starting to return to normal again this week. After a vile 10 hour drive back from Scotland, we are now settled again at Farm Cottage. Still a few things to tidy away and then we'll be back to normal. We had a very relaxing time at Jase's Mums and I have convinced her of the evil that is roast potatoes cooked in goose fat. It is a slippery slope.

Jase's laptop decided to give up the ghost this week, so he is on the look out for a new one. He has decided to abandon Microsoft and go for a Mac (Yay)!!! He won't regret it. The only trouble is, we were planning on redoing the utility room in the New Year, looks like that will have to wait for a bit due to finances. The 3 metre work top will have to stay in the lounge for a bit longer I guess.......

Now I have more time, I can show you what I have been working on for weeks as it was given to my Mum for her Birthday a couple of weeks ago.

I started with the idea of making Mum a lap quilt, but got carried away with the nice fabric and it ended up large enough for a double bed! Really wish I hadn't done the quilting as tram lines either side of the seams, as this used up 500m of thread and caused my back to go into spasm a few weeks ago. Couldn't post the reason why in case Mum read it! Hee hee.

The back is lovely fabric from Quilter's Dream which Mum loves!


I have one more Layer cake left so might make a quilt for the lounge. That can be my project for next year as it takes so long to make. Something cosy for the sofa on a cold winter's night.

The hens are fine, well looked after and spoilt (judging my the amount of corn gone from the tin) by next door. Elsbeth is still moulting, but her dark grey feathers are looking good. I need to do a thorough clean in the run at some point. It isn't too bad, but with a week of snow, they didn't venture out much. The thing that amazes me most is the amount of poo they produce. HUGE quantities in a matter of days. I have 3 compost bins (that are all due for a turn) full to the brim with chicken ****.

Father Christmas was very kind and sent me lots of lovely things. I am a complete bookaholic, so that is always a safe bet with me.

Jase decided to get me an external hard drive to back up all of my pictures - something I never do. Will have to sit down and work out how to use it soon. Am slightly concerned at the noises my laptop is making. The fan seems to be on quite a lot. Maybe it has something to do with my new addiction (no, it isn't an addiction, just new I keep telling myself). Facebook. So many people are surprised that I haven't been on sooner, but I have been trying to avoid it if I'm honest.

Jase got in from work a couple of hours ago and is having a nap. Time to wake him up with a coffee, so better dash. Still stunned that 2010 is nearly over.

Stay warm and cosy.

C x x x

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Road trip

What a week it has been!!

It has been so cold this week. Loads of snow flurries and the coldest temperatures that I have seen since moving here. It dropped to -13.1C the other night!! I have double wrapped the outside taps with bubble wrap as extra protection when we are away and look like a market stall holder in my fingerless gloves.

Preps are now complete for our trip to Scotland tomorrow. We have decided to take my Mini for the trip as it will have better grip on the road than J's BMW. Jase bought new windscreen wipers today and I have checked the tyre pressure, oil etc ready for an early start tomorrow. I nearly asked him to pick up emergency flares in case we got snowed in enroute, but thought that was going too far.

All presents wrapped and delivered to Mum and Dad's for the rest of my Family. Hens cleaned out, nextdoor briefed on care! (Candle under the drinker and lots of corn to keep the hens happy).

Having received numerous emails asking me to join Facebook, I finally gave in and joined last night. I have lots of friends already and have a couple of games of scrabble going. It will be nice to catch up with people!

The last lot of snow fell two days ago and since we have had a mini thaw during the day, but again freezing temperatures at night.

Before I go, just wanted to say a quick Happy Christmas to you all. Thank you for all the lovely comments all year. *Smiles*

J's Mum now has wifi, so I will try and log on over Christmas. Depending on whether I can move or not after the copious amounts of chocolate I plan to consume.

C x x x

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Snow day!

Woke up early for work this morning to be greeted by a blanket of white.

There was no way that Mortimer the Mini could drive in this. The temperature dropped to -7.1 last night and the country lane was frozen solid. The snow is falling so thick and fast that I think it will continue all day!

I was due to work at 6.45 this morning, but had to call in and say I couldn't make it.

Some snowy pics -

I love the way that snow collects in the willow hurdles!

Not sure what to do today really. We were planning on visiting Mum as it's her birthday today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!! The weather isn't looking too good though, as 2 inches of snow has fallen in about an hour.
Jase is due to land back from Copenhagen at 9ish and will then have to get home somehow! Not sure how the main roads are this morning as I didn't get that far. The lane is thick snow on a thick layer of ice. Gritters down the lane?? Don't make me laugh!

Think I will build the fire for later, then get dressed and do some Christmas wrapping. Might even out on my wellies and walk to Co op for some provisions. We aren't desperate for anything, as I made sure we had plenty last week when snow was forecast. If we do make it to Mum's, I wanted to bake some hobnobs for my Niece and she always requests them! Have run out of porridge oats though, shock horror!!

I have been to let the hens out, but they were less than impressed. Another tea light placed under the drinker and some mixed corn to warm up their little tummies! Don't think they will be out today.

The saddo weather websites that I am addicted to, are forecasting heavy snow for this area all day. Judging by the snow so far, we won't be going anywhere for a day or two.

Better get dressed and start getting organised. Am tempted to shovel the snow off the driveway, but might leave that until later. Staying in with the fire lit has much more appeal!

C x x x

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Life is like a box of chocolates.....

Evening All!

Been a busy few days, what with Christmas preps and sorting things out.

Waited in all day for a delivery, which didn't arrive! No point getting annoyed, as I did manage to get the decs up! We won't be here for Christmas, but I still wanted a little tree. Melvin is sat next to my armchair, fully adorned with Christmasness!

Went into the loft and dragged down several suitcases and boxes looking for my favourites decorations. All out now and the boxes put back. The fireplace is now done and a few extra lights up. Much to Jase and the electricity monitor's dismay!
You can't see the lights on the mantle, but they are there!

I cleaned out the hens today, only one eglu as they are all having sleepovers together for the winter. Elsbeth's feathers are growing back nicely, although quite dark. They are eating lots and desperate for corn by the late afternoon. I caught Cornelia on top of the run today, peeking over the fence to see where I was. Next door will be looking after them when we go away.
In return, we will be hen sitting later this week when they go away for a few days.

All presents are here/on their way, so no major panics as yet. Can always pop to the shops next week for emergency bits if I need to. The mammoth task of wrapping is set for tomorrow before work and next week before we drive up to Scotland - weather permitting. It is forecast for loads of snow and cold temperatures until the New Year now. Not really sure what to do, but we have decided that if the snow is bad, we will stay here for Christmas.

Seeing as I stayed in, I decided to make some chocolate truffles - having read the recipe on the Omlet forum. Made 3 batches, 2 with brandy and one with orange juice and zest. I rolled some in cocoa powder, dipped some in melted chocolate and some in dessicated coconut. I wore my CSI gloves, as Nigella puts it, but still managed to get chocolate and cocoa everywhere!
Think I have made too many, as I now have plates of truffles all over the kitchen!
Not quite sure why I said I have too many. Must be coming down with something! Saying that, my ears do feel weird and have done for a couple of days. Can't shake that fuzzy feeling.

Anyway, a plate of truffles ready to bag up for Christmas!

Had a visitor today, who picked up the Christmas hamper she ordered. Have a few more jams to wrap up and a couple of puddings still to deliver at work. I have 2 large ones left, as I am not Carol Vorderman and seem to have mental blocks when it comes to puddings. I am sure they won't go to waste. *wink*

Jase is due back any minute, so need to light the fire and think about dinner. Not as cold today, but forecast to get colder tomorrow and Thursday.

Stay wrapped up and warm!

C x x

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Just a little extra

I'm back home now!

Hens cleaned out, tea light under their drinker, spring greens hanging up and pellets topped up. They are happy hens.
They seem to be getting on quite well at the moment. They all sleep together in the same eglu which makes locking them up at night easier. Agnes is still a bit timid when it comes to bedtime, and is always the last in.
Will be leaving for work at 4am tomorrow, so will light a candle and pop it under the water. Have asked next door to keep an eye on them.

Came home to a cold house, even though Jase left the thermostat on 15C. Couldn't wait until it was dark and am sat here, fire lit with a hot chocolate. Not your 'Options, 40 calories' hot chocolate either. Oh no, this is Cadburys, artery clogging delicious, thick chocolate. I felt the shivering was burning calories, so it doesn't count.

Wrapped a few presents for a secret santa and will post them next week. Collected more logs to fill the basket in the lounge and am now wondering what to have for dinner. The fridge is like Old Mother Hubbard's so not sure yet. There will be something in the freezer.

Only one chocolate door to open on my calendar, so the mice must have eaten the others!

Time to make up the Hens' porridge before they head off to bed. Hen pecked? Me??

C x x x

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Seeing stars

Ok, so here I am in Copenhagen. Sat at the desk with a pile of Christmas cards to write and complete lack of enthusiasm. I have lost my list of people I would like to send cards to, which doesn't make things any easier.

I did another fair last weekend and managed to hurt my back again. Stacking jars of jam with fabric things in my plastic trays seemed to work better, rather than lifting a couple of really heavy crates. It was a school fair and people were being extremely careful with money, which I can understand. Luckily my mincemeat will be good for a year or two, so no problems there. Unsure if I can use 18 jars up before the 25th?

Due to the success of my mini mince pies at the first fair, I made another few batches for last week. After cutting out 90 bases and stars, I couldn't cope with any more. My eyes started to go funny! Sold several bags though:0)

The snow finally hit the village on the 1st of December, which seemed appropriate! Only a couple of inches, but enough to transform the area.

Our little lane -

Logs were delivered on Saturday, a day early, so as I was at the fair, Jase stacked most of them. He went to work and only left a few for me to do. Perfect size logs, so no extra chopping to do. I seem to spend my life chopping up kindling though. We go through a fair amount to start a fire. Tricky, as there is nowhere sheltered in the garden to do it, so it tends to get done done the side of the house where the North wind whistles.

Report from home that the candle under the hens' drinking is working! Trouble is, the tea lights only last 4 hours, so need replacing at least once a day. Fine, if we are at home, but tricky if we are away. Ebay has come to the rescue as I have ordered 30 8 hour tea lights!! Perfect for next door to light and forget about, if we are both at work overnight. I have ordered another galvanized drinker, which should be here tomorrow. Will lend it to next door as they are struggling too.

I have just called housekeeping for a kettle. My feet are like blocks of ice and need my hot water bottle! The Scandi's do love their solid wood flooring, which I like, but when you think you have frost bite on your toes, you need at least a bit of shag pile under your tootsies!

Wake up is at 4.45 tomorrow morning, but just one flight home. Might get some cards written in the afternoon. I check in early again on Friday for another night away. Looking forward to getting home, as I have 3 windows to open on my advent calendar; unless the mice have eaten the chocolates!

Stay safe and warm.

C x x

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A fair update

Blimey it is cold. The temperature has been below freezing for 3 days now and it is currently a balmy -0.9C! The house has never been this freezing. A hat and scarf are needed everytime I go outside. I called my Gran in Kent and she said she had never seen snow like it.

The hens have taken to all sleeping in one eglu at night. I usually shuffle them around with 2 in each eglu, but at the moment I don't blame them. The orange eglu is redundant most nights. I have also started locking them in at night as it is dropping to -5.

Their water keeps freezing (hardly surprising) and I have taken a top tip from Kate and bought a galvanised drinker from Scats. It is sat on 2 bricks with a tea light in a jar underneath. It stops the water freezing - so far so good. Day 2 and it hasn't frozen yet! Next door's bantams have been moved into the greenhouse for a bit of protection.

The country (well a lot of it), is covered in snow. More snow than has been seen in 60+ years according to the news. We haven't seen a sniff! Ok, we had an icing sugar dusting the other day, but it was more like a hard frost than snow. I feel cheated. Although, I would rather it arrived after Saturday, as I have a Christmas fair to attend in the afternoon. Talking of fairs! I have been given a nudge to post about the Weyhill Fair I did at the weekend. (ok Hazel? *wink*)!!

Saturday started very early and cold. A biting wind was whistling around Hampshire and I was hoping it didn't snow! The fair opened and it was quite a slow start, but things did pick up and I had a really good day. A friend was on bacon roll and tea duty, so that was great! I was freezing, but remembered to take my little hot water bottle with me, so managed to fill that from the urn in the kitchen.

Here are the pictures! The tables were covered in cinnamon sticks, gold coins and candy canes to add a festive touch....

The gardener's shortbread cut from a watering can cutter! I love these! 2 sets of elf skittles sold too!

I have sold around 20 of these little Christmas cakes so far!

A couple of days before the fair, I decided to make some cranberry and orange jelly. When it was ready, I stirred in a few sprinkles of edible glitter and the result was fantastic. Deep ruby red jars with a hint of sparkle! The campest thing I have ever seen! Hee hee. I made 10 jars and saved one for Jase's Mum when we go up to Scotland for Christmas. I sold all 9 jars at the fair quite quickly, so made another batch today as I had cranberries left. I dashed to get my hair cut today and the Hairdresser asked if I could save her a jar! Will definitely make it again next year!

The glitter didn't come out well in the picture. So here is the pan with cranberries and orange rind instead. Not as festive :0(

All ready for Saturday and hoping the snow stays away. Due back to work next Tuesday, so it can snow then! ;0) Heathrow didn't cope too well this week and I heard that they closed Gatwick all day today. Jase went to Athens today and said there were lots of cancellations.

Ordered another load of logs which should be delivered on Sunday. We are going through them quickly as it is so bitter outside. Thermals will be needed when we stack that lot. Who cares about fashion? I look like Mr Potato head in a knitted beanie, where as J looks like a burglar/convict. *sniggers* The sky looks heavy with snow, but not a flake yet. It is forecast for tomorrow, but who knows when/if it will reach us.

Some stunning pictures posted on the Omlet forum - cannot believe that we have missed it all! It is getting dark now (only 3.40pm) and I have 20 minutes to go until my 3 Christmas puddings finish steaming. They have been on since 9.30 this morning!!! I unexpectedly sold 4 large puds at the fair, so have to make another 3 for orders that came in weeks ago. One large bowl of dried fruit, soaking up brandy on the kitchen table for another day or two and then I am all done with Christmas puds. I have lost count how many I have made this year!

Christmas cards to write (mind numbing, my worst job at Christmas) but think I will take them with me to work next week.

Thanks for all the well wishing for the fair *smiles*

Wrap up warm and fingers crossed this little corner of Hampshire gets some snow soon. I have a 25kg bag of salt and 2 snow shovels that are desperate to get to work!

C x x x