Sunday, 31 May 2015

I Don't Believe in Calories ...

I don't believe in calories .... 

..... a strong statement that no doubt caught a lot of folks attention, but what I am really saying is that I don't watch calories, never have, never will.  I've lost weight on a few diets, sometimes dramatically sometimes slowly and surely ... but I have never counted a calorie in my life.

And I don't ever intend to, although all through June I want to lose a stone in weight, fourteen pounds that I want to see the back of once and for all.

I started slowly losing weight a few weeks ago using the label on this blog of 'Weight-loss Monday' which I intend to pick up the reigns of once more this month.  Monitoring my weight week by week I went down from 13st 2lbs to 12st 10lbs, which was good as a couple of weeks before this official start I was actually 13st 8lbs.  However, I've really taken my eye of the ball this past couple of weeks and Jason really didn't help making this tray of Caramel Shortbread while he was here last week ....and leaving the whole tray behind when he went home to start on his healthy eating and fitness plan.  Talk about sabotage!!

The thing is in my opinion, and what I have really found is that you can eat anything, yes anything if you eat real food and only eat when you are hungry, and it's wise to check that you are actually hungry and not just thirsty, the body can confuse the two so easily.

And when you do eat, remember that your stomach is the size of your fist and only eat that amount of nutrient dense foods.  That much food eaten slowly and purposefully with a drink is as much as you need to fuel your body.

This is exactly what I intend to do for the next four weeks, and what I'm going to do is cut out the sugary foods, so no more caramel shortbread (the chickens have just eaten the last of it for me), I will have no processed foods and eat simply and only when I'm hungry, and lets see what weight I end up at the end of the month by doing just this.  

And as for calories ... nope, I still don't believe in them, counting them that is!!

Sue xx

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Scotch Eggs and Plants .... and No Underpants in Sight

We took a ride out to Trelawnyd yesterday, dropping off emergency supplies to Blogging Buddy John Gray, nothing to do with our shared love of poultry or dogs ....

... just some much needed nourishment in the form of Scotch Eggs.  

John's are the ones wrapped in clingfilm ready to be popped into the little cool bag that I left dangling on his door knob,  (I could have made that sound soooo much ruder .... but I didn't, why compete with the master!!)   Lovely Hubby's are the other three little ones, he sampled one straight out of the oven to 'check' they were alright, mine are the big ones made with vegetarian sausages which made them much bigger, which was very handy for identification purposes.

Knowing that John was on night shifts this weekend we timed the visit so as not to wake him unnecessarily, and so that if we did it would be around waking up time anyway.  It worked, as we pulled up Albert was sat on the window side of  the closed curtains upstairs watching us intently and the house was drowsily silent, the sounds of geese and chickens chunnering over the wall was the only noise to be heard.  We left the emergency supplies and quietly drove off.

We had decided to head for the garden centre that John had mentioned in an earlier post just outside the village, the plan was to have a coffee and a browse but we missed the cafe as it was obviously a bit late in the afternoon, so what was a girl to do?   Extra browsing of course, which resulted in three gorgeous plants for the new flower bed that we will have once the front wall has been completed.  We have decided on a white theme and so to start it off we purchased two Hydrangeas and the beautiful Cosmos on the right of the picture.

Image result for three plates for breadcrumbing
Picture courtesy of Google Images.

Oh and the recipe for Scotch Eggs which I have been inundated with requests for ... it's very simple.

Lightly hard boil your eggs.  (I used Pekin Bantam eggs, which explains the diminutive size of the finished article, and which kept the overall calories down for John).  Once cooked and cooled slightly peel the shell off.

Take some sausage meat, or do as I did and skin some sausages, I guess a full sized egg would need the meat from two sausages, mine took one and a half. Flatten out the sausage meat into a disc shape and wrap it around the egg.

Roll the now covered egg in seasoned flour (salt, pepper and some dried herbs stirred  into 2 tbs flour).

Roll this in some beaten egg and then roll in breadcrumbs.

You can then deep fry them, or do as I did and pop them into the oven for around 30 minutes, turning over at the halfway point.  

You can eat them hot straight out of the oven or allow them to cool and have them whenever you fancy a healthy and tasty snack .... or alternatively deliver them to a very appreciative, half asleep shift worker who will sit in his garden and eat them in his underpants.

Sue xx

Friday, 29 May 2015

Almost a Meal

We raided the polytunnel the other lunchtime and had 'almost a meal' made out of homegrown salady things.  

Radishes, spring onion thinnings, mixed leaves, pea shoots and micro leaves, broccoli in this instance.  You pay a fortune for a salad made with micro leaves in a posh restaurant, ours are free merely veggie thinnings.  Tasty, tiny little samples of what is to come later in the season.

With two buns, ham for Lovely Hubby and grated cheese for me it made a tasty and very satisfying first meal from the tunnel  :-)

The place is a mess outside a proper builders yard full of of building supplies and pallets ...

... but there are starting to be little hints of what is to come.

Arthur, pictured on the last post, is a man of many talents, walling being just one of his finer accomplishments.

At the moment we are living with the constant sound of the cement mixer as the wall grows in height yet again, ready for more concrete to be poured between the two layers on Monday.  Tomorrow is to be a day of fencing, aided by a neighbour with his fence post knocker-in attachment, as we put a fence around the nut trees so our friendly local sheep farmer can get his sheep back into the paddocks to keep the grass down without causing any damage to the newest trees.  We have decided this is to be our wildlife haven, with rocks already piled up as shady nooks and part of the old tree will be lifted into there by Arthur when he has a spare minute and his digger to lift it with handy.

Sue xx

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Saving Lives

Image result for baby wild rabbits

I saved another one of these this morning, a lovely little baby wild rabbit, old enough to be away from it's Mum but obviously not old enough to know the dangers of a stalking big ginger puss.

Ginger brings them alive and kicking back to the house.  I think usually he finishes them off close by and sits enjoying his warm breakfast not far from the conservatory door.  But once last week and then again this morning his little 'takeaway breakfast' escaped from his grasp and had the sense to hide in a small place.

And for the second time I have been in the right place at the right time.  Last time I was going round the back of the house to the tap and saw he had one trapped behind the waste pipe, it was squeezed into the smallest of places and would have been mercilessly tormented until Ginger had lost patience, or dragged it out. I picked Ginger up and unceremoniously dumped him in the house with the cat flap locked and come back to wheedle little Mr Bunny from his hiding place.

That one froze and lay perfectly still in my hands so I examined him all over and once satisfied that he was intact and not injured in any way I took him to the edge of the woodland and let him go , the shocked little bunny just sat there frozen after the shock of his ordeal and the thorough examination, so I picked him up again gave him a quick warming cuddle and gently threw him into the undergrowth, this brought him to his senses and he hopped away.

This mornings little bunny had squeezed himself behind the planters on the patio and would have been yanked out pretty soon if fate and Mavis' weak bladder had not sent me out to let Mavis have a wee.  I left both dog and cat fascinated by the planters and picked up the little furry fluff ball from right under their noses, trying in vain to check his wriggling body over, but he was obviously as fit as a frightened fiddle and once on the edge of the woods he hopped away to safety.  

Image result for puzzled dogs

I came back to find a very puzzled trio of dogs and one very cross cat examining every inch of the patio pots for the obviously now completely invisible bunny.

Saving lives, especially first thing in the morning is a pretty good start to the day.

Sue xx

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Philosophy ..... and Posing Builders

I love this.

 I picked it up off Facebook yesterday, it's just so true ... and it's exactly how I try to live my life.  Living in the present, the now, is the only way to live, in my opinion anyway .... otherwise you are dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.  Concentrate on the here and now and you will get the most you possibly can out of life.  

We only get the one after all .... and as far as I know it's not a dress rehearsal, if it has been I've been wrongly dressed for years ;-)

Anyway back to more in the 'now' things.

This is the state of play first thing this morning.

Thirteen (yes 13 again), more stacks of blocks were delivered at 7.30 this morning, then our trusty duo of of builders arrived to start covering the back of the wall with heavy duty polythene, this will protect it from the damp of the hillside.

Tucked away in the bottom under this layer of gravel is a perforated pipe, you can see it in the first pictre and then see it with some gravel on in this one.  This is to drain any water away that runs off the hillside and take it to the huge soakaway drains that we installed next to the polytunnel.

Rainwater that lands on the garage and workshop roofs will drain into a large water storage tank ready to water the polytunnel crops and the things in the veggie patch when we have a dry spell.

Our happy builders, and yes the dogs LOVE them.  They have only assumed this 'posing' posture the once ......

... but they do this one three times a day ;-)

Ginger spotted me on the hillside taking the photos and squeezed under the fence to join me.  I hadn't even spotted him in the trees.

And remember .....

... because it will you know :-)

Oh and finally,  a shout out for one of my long time Blogging Buddies who has a lovely new blog that I think will interest lots of you.  Sara over at Frugal in Lincolnshire is writing all about family life and lots of the brilliant day to day frugal things that she does with her lovely family.  I love what she did with the Sylvanian houses in her little girls room.  Pop over and pay her a visit and say Sue sent me.

Sue xx

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Sleeping and Peeping

We had a glorious afternoon out on Sunday.  
Yes, I took that picture, it's not bad my little point it and click digital camera is it ... and it's not a 'trick' shot of any kind, the garden does really slope down to the central path like that  :-)

We nipped along the A55 to Anglesey and the lovely Plas Cadnant, as mentioned and linked to on the last post.  The weather was with us and although it was a touch chilly in the cold breeze whenever the sun appeared from behind the clouds it was wonderfully warm.

The gardens were beautiful and the woodland walk down to the River Cadnant, although steep and shingly was just lovely.  We stayed long enough to treat ourselves to lunch and coffee and had a thoroughly relaxing few hours.

And we've decided to start ourselves a little photo challenge ... everywhere we go you will get Lovely Hubby sleeping (he does it so well) .....

... and you will get me peeping.

This has been inspired by previous photos.

Of course it all started with this one and my cabbage.

... and then continued here ....a day out at Bodnant Gardens last year, yes, he really is fast asleep on the lawn in this position.

Then there was some sleeping at Maenan House,

closely followed by peeping at Maenan House

So we have decided that when we remember you will be subjected to more of the same ;-)

Plas Cadnant is also called 'the Hidden Gardens' and while we were there we got a Facebook comment and picture from my son Simon ...

Si Wright Haha I think my house has one of them 'hidden gardens' as I've never found it lol. My yard resembles a building site too at the min as next door are having their house re-dashed. Hope you have a nice weekend.x

Meanwhile back at home the brickies were still laying blocks, they laid them until they were all used up.  13 stacks of blocks and 13 bags of cement.

The number thirteen crops up so many times in everything we do.

Now we are awaiting the arrival of the first load of concrete to infill between the two walls of blocks.  This will cover the heavy duty mesh and the wall ties and closely bond the two walls together, giving it all the immense strength it needs to hold the remaining hillside in place.

Another week of wall building, stone laying and upheaval ahead, but slowly and surely things are taking shape.

Sue xx

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Doggy Fat Camp ... and a Non-Peaceful Bank Holiday Weekend

Image result for fat pug

Thank you for all the comments yesterday, you really helped me to think this through.  After lots of reading, including your helpful comments, I do not think I will be taking any of the dogs for their annual boosters next year.  They are all covered until January 2016 which gives me plenty of time to check with the kennels if they can still stay there when we need them too.  I have been informed on good authority that as they were vaccinated and we showed proof of this on their first stays, this will not be a problem.

If by any chance that changes it will not be the end of the world.  Lovely Hubby will be giving up his 'day job' not long after that and if we do go away anywhere there will be so many animals to look after here on our smallholding that farm sitters, either professional, friends or family, will be the only option anyway.

Suky is a bit better this morning, as she ate no breakfast yesterday, refusing to eat at all and then ate her tea and brought it all back up immediately afterwards last night we decided to weigh her this morning.  She had gone from 12.1kgs on Friday evening to 11.6kg this morning.  I thought that while her tummy was so empty this morning I would reduce her ration of dog food and start her on her diet to lose this excess weight.  She ate her breakfast this morning and kept it down and even trotted happily around the field with Lovely Hubby and the other dogs and Ginger, when she got back she didn't even attempt to eat Mavis's leftovers, so I think it has worked with the smaller measure of food filling her up enough.

Her poor little knee is still puffy and swollen where the vet manipulated it, and I am very cross about this .... we knew it was a problem and we have always taken great care not to exacerbate it and then along comes someone who makes it ten times worse just to prove a point.  If at all possible I will not be letting her have an operation.  If it suddenly 'goes' on her or gets worse in any way of course I would get her veterinary help immediately, but I am not prepared to put a dog, especially a Pug  through a general anesthetic and an operation that involves shaving part of her shin bone unless it is absolutely and totally necessary.

Suky updates, including weight loss will be ongoing :-)

Meanwhile, outside on this not peaceful Bank Holiday weekend we have had the constant churning of a cement mixer as the retaining wall has been going up, layer by layer.

Rosy inspecting the work at close of play at 7pm last night.

This morning the guys are all back, two welders and two brickies.  The mesh gets inserted on to the uprights that are inbetween the layers of blocks and welded into place.  Then the front wall will be bricked up a few layers higher and once this has set, concrete will be poured between the blocks. 

 Once this has set another few layers of blocks will go on top and concrete poured into the gap, and this is repeated over and over until the retaining wall is the right height and can be topped off.  The back of the wall will then be infilled with a lot of the earth that was removed before it was built.

So one thing we are not having is a quiet and restful holiday weekend, although we are braving the rain this afternoon, leaving the builders to their own devices and taking ourselves off to look around Plas Cadnant, highly recommended by our neighbour Mary and somewhere we tried to get to when we holidayed on Anglesey earlier in the year, but it was closed on the day we visited.

As it's called the 'Hidden Gardens' we are just hoping they are not too well hidden ;-)

Sue xx

Saturday, 23 May 2015

The Animals Today ... Baffled, Sleeping and Poorly

Rosy was peering into the Eglu watching one of the Hylines busy laying her egg .....

... this shot shows Rosy watching the hen running off at great speed just 30 seconds later :-)

Yin and Yang, or in this case Ginger and Mavis.

And poor Suky is not well at all  :-(

She went to the vets yesterday for her annual booster.  She went in a completely healthy dog and after the vet messing about with her knee repeatedly before she gave her the vaccination (she limps slightly after long walks as she has a loose kneecap, which we do know about and hence we don't overwalk her if at all possible), she came out obviously in pain with her leg and for the rest of the evening she was obviously very off colour and had the runs.  This morning she has refused all food and is fast asleep in her bed.  The vet is talking about an operation on her leg, but I think losing weight will do more to help the situation, and be much less traumatic and invasive for her.  I have signed her up to 'Doggy Fat Club' at the vets, which will no doubt mean I get lectured about her food, but I'll trot off to the first one and see what they have to say., 

After reading various articles about vaccinations (see HERE for one) I think I am coming to the conclusion that we will not continue to vaccinate the dogs.  They will of course continue with other treatments, flea and worm things, but no more yearly vaccinations for the time being.  Seeing Suky so poorly and totally at our doing is not nice.

Sue xx

Friday, 22 May 2015

Battered Pots ..... and Keeping the Postman Busy

The total sum of my purchases at the car boot sale was a plant for £2 and this gloriously battered pot for a whole one pound.  I just couldn't resist it, there's something about things with little fancy feet that I love .....

... and that it's feet go in all directions after obviously being dropped and having a very hard life makes it, in my eyes anyway, even more appealing.  

So I spent £3 and Lovely Hubby spent £3.50 .... oooh what a spender!!  He bought an old wood working plane, and some other rusty bits of metal which he assured me were also tools and well worth his three hundred and fifty pennies.

In other news, the postie has once again been bringing me unusual boxes ....

... this one contained my free Lime Tree and fruit tree fertiliser from my Kitchen Garden Magazine.

It's a lovely little thing, lets see how long it takes me to kill this one like I did my last two lemon trees :-(

The next day two of these arrived.

How neat is that!!

A total of 96 little tiny Lavender, Antirrhinum and Salvia plug plants.

After standing them upright and giving them a little drink, as per the instructions,  I have carried them over to the polytunnel this morning to plant into bigger plug plant trays and they are just enjoying another little drink while I blog..

Getting plants through the post could get seriously addictive, I think will have to put the brakes on this new obsession ..... soon!!   ;-)

My little bargain car boot pot has been called into action this morning to hold yet more Rosemary cuttings, I popped a lidless jam jar inside it to hold the water, so it doesn't suffer anymore.  

I wish this was 'smellovision' as the house is smelling gorgeous at the moment with all these cuttings dotted around everywhere,  I did some Basil cuttings last night, simply because my Basil plant on the kitchen windowsill has gotten SO big.  It was a good supermarket buy at just £1.25, I bet with a couple of pots of cuttings I will more than get my money back.

Off to plant up my little Lavenders now ..... I may be some time :-)

Sue xx