Thursday, September 22, 2016

24 lbs of raspberries and a wrist split...

Greetings everyone! 

Welcome back to life at Bramble Cottage! 

Firstly, the big news, I have new hens!! I sadly lost Myrtle a few weeks ago, with Cornelia and Agnes not really laying anymore (spinsters at 9 years old), I thought it time to add to the menagerie. 

Introducing Mabel, Gwen, Doris and Bette.  2 Bluebelles, a Speckledy and a light Sussex! They are settling in well, with Agnes and Cornelia giving them evils glares through mesh.  I left it a few days, then opened up the (safety) panel.... They completely ignored each other! 

It is a bit 'ghetto' at the moment - 

..with the two groups staying clear of each other.  By 9 pm I had forgotten about them and realised that it was dark.  (No problems re foxes, as the run is secure). All 6 hens cuddled up together in one Eglu.  Agnes and Cornelia are still boss, but there isn't really any squabbling with is great news.  The new girls are 18 weeks old now and should lay all through winter. 

With it being September, nature is preparing itself for winter, as am I. The hedgerows are full to bursting and I have picked my own body weight in blackberries - no mean feat I'm telling you.  Bramble cottage maybe small, but there are plenty of places to stash jars of jam.  I've made 150+ jars so far.  Nearly all with be sold, when I open up my Facebook Christmas shoppe (it sounds cuter if I call it a shoppe) ;0) 

I've had several inquiries already plus preorders (get me) of Christmas puddings. 

I usually do small batches of 10-15 jars at a time. 

The allotment hasn't been a disaster this year, but the slugs feasted on nearly everything.  A mild winter and wet summer didn't help, with all of my seedlings eaten and everything had to be replanted at least 2/3 times.  It's strange, I go there every day/other day and rarely see anyone there.  Work is being done, although a few plots have been abandoned which is a shame.  My raspberry canes have turned into a thorny thug and need some serious work this year.  I'm picking around 2lbs of raspberries a day.  If I leave it for a couple of days they turn to mush and I hate wasting them.  24 lbs of raspberries picked so far.  Mostly made into jams, but I have a few bags in the freezer for my smoothies.  Milo the wonder dog is also partial to them and feels it's acceptable to rummage through the undergrowth in search of his prize.  Spending hours staring at a mouse hole is also a fun game.  Although once or twice he has tried to dig it out. 

I have 4 water butts at the lottie and they are all nearly empty now.  The water situation is on going and we were promised water in March.  I haven't taken any down this year and just left plants to it, only watering when I planted and if it was exceptionally dry.  Seems to have worked well, with healthier plants.  I did decide to move the water butts, as one was pushing against the shed.  

Top tip - don't try and move a water butt when there is water in it.  Especially is you have a bad back and 'bony girl wrists'.  (The nurse's comment, not mine). You will hear a crack, followed by immense pain.  Nurofen won't help. Cocodamol will send you into a blissful sleep, but you will wake up at 3am with a pain so bad that you need to go to the hospital.   One fractured wrist later and you'll be off work, unable to drive (or wear a watch - hell for me) and peed off with yourself for being so stupid.  No plaster, as it was a tiny fracture (gutted, as I'm 42 and never had a plaster) just a wrist split with a metal bar that drove me mad.  The real downside was not being able to go to Pilates for a couple of weeks, I really missed it and my back suffered as a result. 

It's 6 weeks on now and my wrist is better, but I still feel the odd twinge when I'm not careful.  

I did mange to get a couple of quilts sewn though.  Seeing as I couldn't drive, I walked to the quilt shop (2 minutes away, which some would say is wonderful, I don't feel that way as its too tempting) and picked up some fabric.  I know.  Unlike me.  

Poor quality pictures, but just delighted that I can post pictures from my iPad, which is suddenly allowing me to type a blog post (well, I haven't hit the 'publish' button yet, but here's hoping)! 

I also made some curtains for the spare room, with fabric I bough in Glasgow months ago.  
Very country cottage and I'm pleased with them.  

Time to head off now, as I have visitors arriving today and need to reclaim the kitchen table from the jars of jam.  I won't comment on the printer and Laptop that are plotting against me and not allowing me to print jam labels.  J is coming later to help, as I can't seem to get it to work.  

I will leave you with pictures of Furface.....

C x x x 

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Down dog and navel to spine...

Fear not dear Reader, for I have returned.  :0)

After a rather anxious wait, several cups of tea and copious cigarettes, Google have finally let me back into my own blog.  This is the price I pay for forgetting my password and not posting since August last year!

So, all is well, however, I have a new laptop (the shiny brushed metal one mentioned in my last blog post circa 1923), that for some reason is not allowing me to post pictures to my blog.  Don't despair, I will work out a way to do it, but until then you will have to read my ramblings, without pictures of my packed lunches to interrupt the boredom.  ;0)

I have no idea why I haven't been updating this, just forgot, then didn't, then got out of practise I suppose.  The picture issue is driving me mental (more so than normal), but I will suss it out at some point.  The iPad allows me to post pictures but no text.....arrrrgghhhhhh. So if any Mac geniuses (or should that be genei)? know how to solve the problem, please get in touch.
(I can't seem to drag pictures from Facebook into iPhoto).....?

I'm back after a mad dash across the kitchen waving a tea towel in the direction of the smoke alarm, as the toaster insists on burning my hot cross bun (my 3rd today, shocking).

I've just realised that you weren't aware that I was gone.....

Anyhow,  apart from the depressing news that my pension sucks and I have to work until I'm 109, not much has changed really.  Furface, aka Milo the Wonder Dog (MWD), The Terrier, Little Man, and Bear (I know, but he is so cute and deserves so many nick names) is doing well.  We haven't been to training in a few weeks as work keeps messing up my life.   He is fine though and still jumping onto the sofa, the minute he sees my Mini driving off.  Talking of which, I have a new Mini!  He is called Melvin and he is British Racing Green, with white stripes.  

The big news, that isn't really that big, is that I've started Pilates for my dodgy back!  (I started in September last year, so do keep up *cough*).  Having to get diazepam from the Doctor really made me question the future of my back and whilst the drug is so, so wonderful and floaty, it isn't ideal for day to day living.    No kaftans, or lycra are involved, just a mat, funky socks, shorts and a t-shirt.  Plus a rather attractive selection of vests that I wear under said t-shirt to prevent the women attending from passing out when my t-shirt rides up.  No one wants to see that.  Ever.
Sometimes we use half inflated balls, bands, rings and these horrible spiky balls to release tension (and swear words).  It has really, really helped.  I do mean really.  I had no idea that my 'core' muscles were so weak.  Or that I even had core muscles.  I now know what a pelvic floor is, even though I don't have one.  Heavens above.

I have also given up meat for a year.  Just decided to.  Well, not just this second.  I stopped on the 27th of December and it is going well so far.  I'm still eating fish, but my veggie intake has gone through the roof, as well as my bread consumption.  No shocker there as I am a bread fiend.

I'm still doing my writing job which is going well, but unsure how long it will last.  I've been asked to write a blog for them, but not sure where to start really?  I'll have to speak to the boss and see what they have in store for me.

For some reason, The Terrier decided it was appropriate to wake me at 6.25 this morning.  Lots of huffing and pawing at my face (with the standard long, Terrier claws).  So I got up.  And nearly froze.
I need to explain that my beautiful cottage in the county of Hampshire, is my sanctuary.  However, there is no gas in the village, so everything is electric.  Including the sodding economy 7, appalling radiators.  Stanley the Rayburn is oil fuelled and does a marvellous job of heating the kitchen and 1 square foot of the lounge, but the rest of the house is baltic.  I donned my trackie bottoms, hoodie, scarf, gloves, 6 pairs of socks and my crocs (it's not a look) and headed out for the Terrier's ablutions. Why is it you always bump into someone when you look like death warmed up?  Today it was the man who always wears a day glow coat, that you can see from space, even in the summer.  Milo gave his dog the laser beam eyes, a friendly growl,  and we carried on.

Since I was up, I got ready and headed to the allotment.  I haven't been down there all winter, apart from Christmas eve when I dug up my parsnips and carrots for Christmas day lunch.  The sight that greeted me was green.  Bloody thistles everywhere.  Hundreds of the bloody things.  How I loathe thistles.  I dug over 1 1/2 beds before my back started screaming at me so I took Furface for a walk and then came home.  Chopped some logs (again, not good back therapy) and cleaned out the hens that aren't laying, then decided on a nana nap on the sofa.  Cuddled up under a blanket, a snoozing Terrier at my side.  Perfect for a Saturday afternoon.

I've just finished roasting cauliflower in the oven.  Thank you Mary Berry, but I can't help feeling that it would be more appealing swimming in a rich cheese sauce.  With grated cheese on top.  Ho hum, it'll do for tonight.  The falafel I bought to go with it looks like droppings from a sumo rabbit, so i'll give those a miss.

Time to light the fire and get into my moochy gear for the night.  I do apologise for the lack of pictures, but as I said, I'll work it out soon.

Take care and thanks for reading

C x x x

p.s A message for Di, not sure if you received my emails?  Hope all is ok with you and thank you for the Christmas pressies!