It was our ninth wedding anniversary yesterday and we made the celebrations last the entire weekend.
On Friday we took Suky and Mavis to the groomers and whilst they were washed, dried, snipped and titivated and made to look even prettier than they normally are, we treated ourselves to a coffee. Later on in the evening we went to the cinema to see Allied, a surprisingly good film, even better than the trailer had led us to expect..
On Saturday morning we opened our Sealed Pot and after years of using the money to do various Challenges this year we decided that the money was ours to do with as we wanted. So we went to the bank to pay the bags and bags of loose change into our account and then hit the shops. I bought myself a new dress and two pairs of shoes, and Lovely Hubby bought himself a power tool and it's accessories.
We ended Saturday with a meal out, something we have not done that often this year, so it was a treat to put on my new dress and dine at our leisure ...slightly too much wine may have been consumed ;-)
On Sunday morning after a much more leisurely breakfast than usual we gave the house a good clean and then put up the Christmas decorations. We don't go mad, indeed each year we seem to streamline the decorations a little bit more. The ones we didn't use have been bagged up and will be dropped off at the charity shop later today while they still have time to sell them this year.
As you can see from these photos, the little black piggies on the gateposts have got their Christmas finery on too :-)
And this is where I have decided to share our lives for the last time.
Since January 2009 you have journeyed along with us as we moved from town to country. You've been with us through the trials and tribulations of learning to look after chickens and pigs and as I learnt to grow enough vegetables to feed us and to preserve them in lots of ways to see us through the leaner months of Winter. You have laughed along with our messy adventures and cried along with our losses ... feathered, furry and family .... you've been true friends in every sense of the word. But, after much deliberation I think that now is the right time to claim back privacy for ourselves, and to close the gates on our lives in this public domain for the last time.
Thank you for being there, for being you, for the comments, the emails and the visits. Thank you for following along throughout the last almost eight years. I will still be around in blogland, and will leave this blog as it stands now for those of you who use it to link to the other blogs on my sidebar, although I will change the photo after this post has been live for a week. This is not totally the end of my involvement with blogland as I will still drop by and comment on those blogs that I read regularly and follow, and hopefully keep in touch in a more low key way with my blogging buddies. I hope you all have a wonderfully happy and peaceful Christmas and a calm and happy New Year.
I've been a bit of an intermittent blogger this week, sorry but I've been busy just keeping things going.
Busy with just the day to day of living, of visiting family, of family visiting me ... but mostly trying to keep things thawed out so that the things that have to live outdoors on our property have water to drink. By things I mean our chickens, the resident sheep and the wild birds ... thank goodness that for now we have no other animal demands.
It's been so cold that I have needed to go over to the drinkers during the course of the day to refill them with warm water as once again they have iced up after the mornings defrosting. I keep a watering can near the house and fill it from the hot tap so that each time I let the dogs out for a toilet break I can check that everyone has thawed water available to drink.
They appreciate it, and drink their fill while the water is still warm.
Someone asked me the other day if chickens drink a lot of water, and the answer is yes. Eggs are composed of lots of water and the laying girls especially need to drink even more than they need to eat, but all of them appreciate some warming water on these cold and frosty days.
Yesterday when we got back from Mum's with my younger son Jason, everything was green again. All nicely thawed out, the sheep were making the most of having lots of grass to nibble at and I went to bed thinking that I would have a morning off from the hot water rounds, but this morning the hard white frost was back and once again it was -3 inside the polytunnel and no doubt a degree or so colder outside, so I donned scarves, extra socks and gloves and did the rounds.
Now it's time to do the rounds again before me and Jason head for an afternoon at the cinema, not a bad way to spend a frosty December day, it's a good way to keep me going :-)
But we got some jobs done around the old homestead, both outside and inside. Lovely Hubby wanted to get his trailer unloaded ready for a manure pick up in the next couple of weeks, so he set to and shovelled out all the stones that were left in there, adding them to the narrow path way that runs down the side of the wall. It soon warmed him up.
After cleaning out the henhouse and adding more hot water to all the drinkers I grabbed the camera and got a few shots of our lovely frosty land.
This bit is on the very edge of the woodland at the back of the house, and don't worry I think it's my camera angle that is leaning so badly to the left not the telegraph pole ;-)
It took a while to thaw out each day but once it did we had glorious sunshine, it was so lovely to see but it was still bitterly cold and you had to keep busy to keep warm.
Mother is the name we gave our Christmas Cacti when it came to live with us after living previously with Lovely Hubby's Mum and before her, her Mum ... it just had to be 'Mother' didn't it ... it couldn't simply be the Christmas Cacti :-)
After a break of about three months she is back in glorious flower and bringing a shot of the most beautiful colour to the room off the kitchen.
Yes, that's a Marrow in the background, the last one that was harvested before the frosts struck.
And talking of frost, we woke up this morning to a magical white wonderland of thick, thick frost.
The chickens water had to be thawed, not once but twice.
And with a big snack of corn in their tummies and warmed water to drink they were happy to mooch around in the chilly November sunshine.
Keep cosy and warm this weekend, and thank you for all the lovely comments yesterday.
I am off out now to try and hunt Chris down, it's going to be another freezing night tonight.
Edit: I went to Llandudno and immediately found Chris who was thrilled with his early Christmas presents, while we were chatting another guy came up, gave him a pound and said he had a nice warm jacket that was about Chris's size that he would drop off off next time he was passing if Chris wanted it ... he did . Nice things happening to a nice guy for once :-)
Well it's Black Friday and all morning emails were pinging into my inbox advising me of all the fantastic unmissable deals available to buy on this day of supposedly mass consumerism.
Well we've just been into Llandudno, the biggest shopping town of our area and there was no manic buying in evidence ... thank goodness. May be we didn't look hard enough but then we didn't want to. We walked the dogs along the prom in the bright November sunshine, chatting to each other and planning something we had had in mind since my chat earlier in the week to our regular Big Issue seller, who I found out is now, through no fault of his own, living in a shed.
We went into the local camping shop and bought a waterproof rucksack and then we bought some things to put into it. A warm hat, a couple of pairs of good quality thermal socks, a pair of thick gloves, a set of thermal base layers (long sleeved t shirt and leggings) a waterproof bag that fits inside the rucksack to guarantee everything stays dry, and finally a thin insulated roll up sleeping mat.
Then we went outside to look for Chris. He had been in his normal place but was no longer there, so we went into Waterstones and had a coffee while we waited to see if he would reappear, and took the opportunity to take the labels off all our purchases and pack them neatly into the rucksack. When he was still not in sight as we left the shop, we slowly walked along the road looking in all his usual haunts, and checked in at the newsagents where he picks up his copies of The Big Issue, but he was nowhere to be found.
Oh well, that was our foray into shopping on this Black Friday, it's the only shopping we did. And as the messages and emails keep pinging into my inbox still, I just keep on deleting them without reading ... there's nothing either of us want and nothing either of us need. And I'm glad that our favourite town appeared peaceful and untroubled by mass buying expeditions.
Chris's early Christmas gifts are in the boot of my car and we will check to see if we can find him at every opportunity.
Have you been tempted by any Black Friday deals or are you, like us, happy to go about your normal business and not shop when you are told to shop?
It was quite a nice day today, although it was cold and damp after days and days of heavy rain, the sun was shining and the view from the window was of the cottages on the hillside opposite bathed in sunlight.
On our side of the valley it was a bit duller and it wasn't quite as tempting to go out, so I stayed in the kitchen pottering around with the cupboards. Pulling things out and wiping down the empty cupboards, before putting things back in and trying to make the contents of the various food cupboards more logical. There will be pictures over on the other blog for the next couple of days.
While I worked away the dogs snoozed in their beds, they like it when they know what I'm up to and when I stay in the same place for more than an hour. Mavis was curled up on the sofa with Ginger :-)
After snapping the photo of them sleeping I carried on taking pictures around the room.
Just little areas that I love ...
... and that make our house a home.
It's nice to have an indoor day and feel like you've accomplished something.
Tomorrow Lovely Hubby has decided it's the day we put all the raised beds to bed for the Winter, weeding them, piling on the manure and the homemade compost and then covering them with membrane, so there will be lots more accomplished .... just not in the warmth of the house.