Sunday, 30 October 2016

Just because .....

Just a photo I took with my phone while drinking coffee in Tebay services a couple of weeks ago.  Just because I wanted to see the photo somewhere other than on my phone ... and just because I don't need to put on my reading glasses to see it on here.

Age huh!!  Bits stop working properly, bits fall off and sometimes bits fall out.  Can't wait to see what stops working properly next  ;-)

Sue xx

Saturday, 29 October 2016

A Little Splash of Colour

Over in Nut Wood, our little wildlife haven, at first glance it seems messy, almost derelict looking and nothing special.  But to the little creatures that live there it's home and a refuge. 

There are a few rabbits that see it as a sanctuary from the dogs in the morning , as long as Rosy doesn't spot them and they sit still they are safe in there, if they lose their nerve and make a dash across the paddock to the perceived safety of the big woodland it really is a run for their lives.

There are lots of insects that we can see, and no doubt many more that we never lay eyes on, but that go about their business day to day in amongst the wood chippings, trees, boulders, logs and tree stumps.

But I'm most pleased about the greenery that is starting to spring to life in the 'wildflower corner'.  Yes, to most of us they are seen as weeds, but what is a weed if not a wildflower growing in the wrong place .... only these are growing in the right place :-)

A few little Buttercups  ...

... and now at last the Poppies have decided to come to life.

Glorious red poppies ....

... and lovely deep pink poppies.

A splash of colour on a dreary autumnal day.

Have a good weekend.

Sue xx

Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Squirrels

The squirrels are abundant on and around our bit of Welsh hillside, well with so much woodland you would expect it wouldn't you.  Unfortunately all ours are grey but if you venture forty minutes up the road and over the bridge onto the Isle of Anglesey they would all be Red, and thankfully thriving.

They spend this time of year planting and replanting their nuts in the ground, then come the colder, hungrier weather they spend all their time trying to remember where they planted their nuts in the ground ... and lots of little holes appear. 

They don't have brilliant memories because every year we find lots of baby trees coming up in the grass, handy for transplanting into the woodland but each one representing a meal missed and a hole dug in the wrong place.

"Stop eyeing up my rhubarb patch ... go back to your nut gathering!!"

I took this delightful photo back in July, when this particular squirrel ... and no doubt at least a dozen of his mates ... visited the Chicken World on the hillside to help himself to layers pellets for breakfast every morning.

These photos were not taken with a zoom lens ...

... I really was this close to the cheeky little monkey squirrel.

Sue xx

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Just a Day

The mornings are so much darker now, we should get a bit of a reprieve when the clocks go back at the weekend, but it won't last for long.  It's not a bad thing for me I don't have to travel for work, so I find the dark mornings quite soothing.

I get up while it's pitch black, let the dogs out for a toilet break ... not all take me up on the offer, Suky has the bladder of a hippopotamus.  Then the kettle goes on, and while I wash my hair it comes to the boil ready for that first reviving cuppa of the day.  I feel no guilt sitting over a leisurely coffee (or two) on these dark mornings.  No jobs can be done outside, and with the dogs back in their beds and snoozing it would be so wrong to do any inside and disturb them wouldn't it ;-)

At the first glimmer of light I go over and open up the henhouse, sometimes they complain as they consider me late, other mornings all I get is the odd one coming down the ramp with much stretching of legs and wings, glad to be off the perch and back in action. 

To see a chicken having a good stretch and eager to get out and about to catch the early morning worms and bugs is good for the soul, how much different are their lives to those of caged birds and even commercial free range birds who's doors are not opened until much later when eggs have been laid on the conveyor belts to make it easier for the farmer.

After a doggy (and pussycat) breakfast we roam the paddock checking all is still well with our little slice of the world.  The dogs dashing here, there and everywhere.  Rosy caught another rabbit yesterday, her third in three days, she despatched it quickly but left the body where it had fallen, so soon after breakfast no doubt there was no room for a rabbity feast (phew).  As we left the house this morning I spied the buzzard taking flight with a section of bunny, and by the time we walked over all that was left were picked clean bones and a flurry of fur.  The wild birds ate well yesterday thanks to our over zealous Jack Russell.

It's blogging about these little aspects of our days that fixes them into our memories ... vital for Lovely Hubby who has the memory span of a gnat with amnesia ... but also lovely for me when so much is whizzing through my head on a daily basis, to have things in black and white, and the minutiae of our days recorded for posterity, with pictures.

We went into Betws y Coed the other weekend, Lovely Hubby treated himself to a ridiculously expensive bar of chocolate ..... so I got a pair of jugs from the little vintage stall.  They didn't cost much more than the chocolate ... but as you can see they lasted longer!!

Sue xx

Monday, 24 October 2016

Time to Step Away from the Creosote .....

It's done!!

The workshop is now clad with hardwood on the two sides that get the worst of the weather.

We have two corner strips to go on ... when we buy them ... to protect the joins,  but apart from that my creosote brush has now been abandoned and the clothes I wore while I was doing it have all been added to the bonfire.  I wore my oldest, most torn work jeans and t shirt to do this knowing that I would never be able to get rid of the smell.  Luckily the fleece I had to throw on over the top when the temperatures plummeted has washed up pretty well, and it was only one I wore in the polytunnel anyway.  Another trip through the washing machine and I hopefully will have eradicated the last of the pong!!

The devil is in the detail, and the little strips that Lovely Hubby fitted around three sides of the window have made it all look lovely and neat.

We're both really pleased with it.

One day soon we will have to tackle the inside ..... now there's a job!!

Sue xx

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Eggs and Followers

We got a cute little egg the other day, one of the girls obviously not in the mood for a full sized version.  They are no good for eating as there is usually only white in such little eggs, the hens body simply hasn't released the part that develops into the yolk but usually something goes through her system picking up the white, the shell and the bloom on it's way out .  

It's not really going to be eaten or for sale, but I popped it briefly into a box to compare it to the others  :-)

I'm off out now to pick up my creosote brush and get stuck in with Lovely Hubby to finishing off the workshop cladding.  It needs to be finished this weekend due to the colder, wetter weather and also due to the fact that I'm sick to the back teeth of the smell of the creosote.

A massive thank you to all those of you who joined in with the fun of getting my Follower numbers up, and congratulations to John on getting his to over the magic number of 1000, he's currently standing at 1001.  Sue who's also in the game is now at 419.  It's been a bit of blogging buddy fun.  Thank you.

I was only aiming for 800 so I was really pleased to shoot past that number ..... it's just that now 900 is only 18 away .... so any more of you that haven't joined in please feel free to do so  ;-)

Sue xx

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Alright Time to Start Begging ......

We're begging, as it seems to be the thing to do at the moment .... all started by the shameless hussy that is John Gray of Going Gently fame ...

... and then continued by Sue over at Our Quiet Life in Suffolk, who it had to be said did sooooo much better than John  ;-)

She managed to round her Follower number off to 400 and then it whizzed past by an extra ten.

John meanwhile is still lazing around at the 981 level and continually begging and whining daily ...  nay hourly... to his readers to sign up, sign up, sign up to whiz him up to the dizzying heights of 1000, with a daily drip, drip drip countdown until he gets up to that magical round number.

So I've called in the help of the animals to beg for me ... after all they're so much cuter than me. 

Will you sign up as a Follower if you haven't already ...

... just to get my number up to a nice round and even 800.

Pretty please.

Kiss, kiss.

Or I might just hop in the car with Suky and let her drive us all off into the Welsh sunset.

You'll know if you haven't already signed up by the little box under the images of the current Followers.  If it says 'unfollow' it means you already have signed up (thank you)  ... if it says 'Follow' you haven't ... so click that box .... please  :-)

Sue xx

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

So THAT'S Where the Mint Went .....

I've always been a brilliant Mint grower, it's one thing most people with even mildly green fingers can grow.  It rampages through the beds, borders and generally takes over anywhere that you set it straight into the soil and not in a pot.  The front bed Mint has done it's usually prolific job of taking over the flower bed by the front door.

But I was wondering what was wrong with the mint that I had potted up near the house.  All Summer it has been a bit straggly, a bit sparse and totally non-useable by us for any recipes.  In fact it was only still there in the vain hope that it would somehow miraculously recover and do what mint does best.

Then I spotted a certain Ginger guy nibbling away the other day.

I guess he thinks this one pot of Black Mint is his own personal snack treat ... and has done since the pot appeared in his line of vision.

Once he saw me watching him and taking photos he sloped away licking his lips as if to say 'oops caught out'.

Sue xx

Monday, 17 October 2016

Colour and Progress

I've never had much success with Sweet Peas before, but this year it seems I really have done something right.  If I knew what it was I would replicate it every year, but gardening and growing is sometimes a law unto itself.  I sometimes think that if Mother Nature wants something to grow she will see that it does and it's just a happy coincidence if we want it to grow too.

The sweet peas that were over on the hillside on the Veggie Patch are long since finished but these in the front drive-side bed have just started flowering, and it seems they are all to be this lovely pale lilac colour.  They make me smile every time I pass by on the way to the tunnels or the paddock.

Work this weekend was once again based around measuring, cutting and creosoting.  We do get cleaned up and shower when we have finished each day, but on Saturday night sitting in the cinema I leaned over to Lovely Hubby and whispered "do I smell of creosote" ... "I think we both do" was his reply!!

One more weekend should see this finished .  This week's progress might not look much but the measuring and cutting to get the pieces right for the top of the window frames was time consuming and fiddly, and required some hand sawing.  Also we are now at a level that means we are balancing on ladders to get the boards in place .... not good for me with my wibbly, wobbly ladder balancing  :-(

Another little splash of colour, this time a cheerful yellow from the Genista over by the gates.  It really is nice to see so much colour at this time of year, and the mild temperatures are helping lots of plants flower much later than they should, including the seemingly perpetual pink rose in the bed opposite the front door that has only had two months off in the last three years.

Sue xx

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Rags and Bones

Do any of you remember the old 'Rag and Bone man', I do for sure. 

He used to come round our streets when I was young, with his horse and cart shouting "rag and bone, any old rags".  Occasionally folk would pop out of their houses, catch up with him and hand him a arm full of old clothes (the rags) and household bits and bobs (the bones).  In the days we did it we would get a doff of his cap a gap toothed smile and "many thanks m'dear",  I used to be in awe of the tales the grown ups told of days when he used to handout goldfish and other such child loving treasures in return for your offerings, but sadly we never got to acquire a pet in return for Mum's old curtains.

All this came to mind when Ginger begged for a bone the other day when I was giving the dogs one each as a treat, he licked his for a while and then went back to eating his own food.  Although he loves doggy Gravy bones this chewy one was, seemingly, a step too far.

Just before that I had been sorting out clothes upstairs for the charity shop.  I decided not to store them over Winter for a car boot sale next year but to take them to somewhere they would do the most good, after all there were a lot of nice warm clothes in there and a couple of Winter jackets, and a boot full of bags out of the house is a nice boost to my ongoing decluttering..

So that was my 'rag and bone day'  :-)

Sue xx

Thursday, 13 October 2016

It gave up the ghost ......

Way back in 2010 I was asked by a company to review some of their products, I was given free rein to choose anything I wanted from their website and chose two products that I really needed and one that I wanted.  See HERE for the original post.

Yesterday one of the items, my salad spinner gave up the ghost on me, well a bit of plastic flew out of the lid and it no longer spins ... not good for a salad spinner!!  Until I looked back on the blog I had no idea that this has been in regular use for the last six years.  Definitely a product I would recommend, now I just have to find a replacement that will hopefully last me as long,

I have a plan to use the main body of the spinner and the basket as a planter, maybe for herbs on the kitchen windowsill, but I can't think of anything that I can do with the broken lid, I can't even get it apart.  So I will put it in the recycling box and see if they can take this kind of plastic.

Something else that are still in daily use and going strong are the tea towels that we were sent, five years ago and posted about HERE it seems that some things are made to last.

Sue xx

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Last of the Tomatoes

At last we have reached the end of this years mammoth tomato harvest.  This is it, the end, finito, no more tomatoes to pick.  Half of the stems and stalks have been added to the compost heap and the other half will join them later.

As you can see I got a nice final mix of colours.  The ripe red and yellow tomatoes will be turned into one final big pot of Roasted Tomato Soup and the green ones are destined to become a batch of Green Tomato Chutney, I think we have just one jar left of last years tomato chutney so this has come at the perfect time.

The sad looking plants before the harvest ..... they look even sadder now!!

It's surprising how different it looks inside the polytunnel looks now without the mass of tomatoes on either side of the front door as you step in, I suddenly have lots of space.

Sue xx

Monday, 10 October 2016

Continuing the Cladding

The workshop cladding is coming along nicely ...much slower than either of anticipated, but then we didn't take into account the measuring needed around all six of the windows. 

WHY didn't we have just one enormous picture window on each of the two walls we wondered yesterday as Lovely Hubby measured and re-measured before cutting out all the little strips .... and then handed them over to me the new 'creosote queen of Llanrwst' to do my stuff and slap the evil smelling brown liquid all over both sides of the timber.

But slowly and surely we are getting somewhere, and hopefully next weekend will see even more improvement.

I did manage to get a bit of weeding done in the Net Tunnel yesterday too, it's looking nice and neat on this side now .... you don't want to see the other side do you?

Sue xx