Friday 29 May 2009

Happy days.............

Just a lovely picture today of my favourite doorstop. I bought him from a charity shop, brand new and still with his original (extortionate) price ticket on. I much prefer to do my bit for Oxfam. He waves us on our way and sits patiently waiting on the bench at the bottom of the stairs when we leave the house and close his door.

Some things are worth owning just because they make you smile.

Today is going to be a shopping (for groceries) and ironing day, then I can leave the house tomorrow knowing that I have a whole day off and guess where I'm going ... yep, I'm off to the Vintage and Handmade Fair at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall to see all the lovely blogging ladies that brighten my day on a regular basis.

Maybe a few lovelies will be coming home with me, I've just been on Niki's blog and she has some gorgeous goodies that she's taking......oooh I can't wait!! Good luck to all the ladies with stalls, I hope you all have a brilliant day.

Hope to see some of you there, if you spot a mad woman with a glint in her eye darting from stall to stall that will be me, grab me and say hello.

Sue xx

A special message for Mum, hope everything goes well today. Love you lots and see you soon.

Sue xxx

Thursday 28 May 2009

I've got an Award!!

A HUGE, HUGE thank you to Sarah at landcuckoo for giving me my first ever award.

It made my day.

Seemingly I now have to pass it on to three other lovely bloggers. They can then display it on their sidebar. Just click on the picture and then save it and paste it on to your blog. (I actually saved it on my blog photo pages and downloaded it as a photo, worked a treat!) Then all you do is tell people where it came from and nominate three of your favourite blogs. This is the way we can introduce lots of folks to different blogs and spread around the lovely reading.

I have so many favourites, choosing is very difficult, but I have finally decided on

Jane at

Sally at

and Denise at

They are all blogs that make my heart smile, (as the award says)....what more can you ask?

Sue xx

Wednesday 27 May 2009

House Building

Well the Bank Holiday weekend was one of hard work but lots of fun and lots more achieved around the farm.

Hey Dad....this door's too low!!
Lovely Hubby (LH) got stuck in making the chicken house, after a few design flaws that only came to light on building, he did it.  One lovely house almost ready for the chickens we will be getting this Sunday. With lots of help from the animals and a trial run from Archie, the house is now assembled, it just needs the roofing felt and then the wire run built around it.

Activity at 7.30am on Sunday morning.
Sunday saw us busy selling our wares at the local car boot sale, just a hop, skip and a jump away in a field by the M40. It was a brilliant day, sunshine, happy buyers, sellers and LOTS of unbelievable bargains. A few cups of coffee and a couple of hamburgers later it was time to load up our purchases and unsold items and get back to work on the farm.

One Hot Dog!!
We unpacked our new petrol lawnmower and strimmers and got everything working, then we made a start on getting the weeds back under control. Then Archie brought us a present, two lovely little dead birds, turns out they were parents to this handsome little chap. So the rest of the weekend was spent on two hourly feeds for the lovely, friendly little thing, who unfortunately went to the great birdhouse in the sky on Monday afternoon.

As usual lots of work and just enough play to keep it all fun.

Monday night was spent loading the van for the Farmers Market at Aylesbury which we did yesterday. It wasn't a bad day, but it was very windy and chasing doilies around a market is not something I would recommend as a good keep fit exercise. Today brought more wind and rain, so I thought instead of an early morning jog or as a good alternative to doily chasing, I would go for a session at the gym with Jason, so here I am, tired but pleased that I have burned off enough calories to make up for some the alcohol consumed over the weekend.

Inspired to get fit and healthier, I'm off now to dig out my Gillian McKeith book and read up on nutrition and getting to that slimmer and fitter me that I just know is hiding somewhere in here.

Sue xx

Friday 22 May 2009

Lost Puss, Found Puss!!

We lost our Archie!! But now we've found him..........phew!!

Archie has taken to joining in with doggie walking sessions and is bravely expanding his territory further and further. On Wednesday morning he went with Jason and Sophie to fetch the post (our post box is on the gate at the entrance to the farm about a mile from the house). When Jason was passing the big barn Archie decided to explore the tractors and while he was busy one of the farm dogs (extremely friendly by the way) spooked him and he shot for cover.

Now Jason didn't realise that this was the furthest Archie had explored this part of the farm, so he came home without him. And Archie was stuck!!

Now what's a brave explorer cat to do ... that's right he cleverly decided to just sit and wait for someone to come and get him, and what did we do ... that's right sit and wait for him to come home ... stalemate. 

Then last night armed with flashlight (in case of dark emergencies) the rescue party sallied forth, all ready to dig and search.

Within minutes of reaching his last sighted position and after two calls of his name out from the dusty old shed popped a little relieved face, and with a look of reproach for abandoning him he followed us home, ate all of Sophie (the dogs) dinner and fell asleep.

Adventure over.........until next time!!

Sue xx

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Welcome to our world.

A very special welcome to the world to my new baby grandson
Oscar Wright.

Born 19 May 2009, at 4.12pm, weighing in at 7lb 8oz.

Congratulations Simon and Debbie.

A new baby brother for Shelbie and Kyle.

Sue xx

Tuesday 19 May 2009


A little concoction we are preparing to feed our plants. Yummy nettle plant food.

We didn't know which was the best method to use for this, we have heard of steeping the nettles in water and draining off the liquid after a couple of weeks and a couple of other methods but we chose this because we already had a lot of buckets with holes (from when we first planted our baby fruit trees).

All you do is cut lots of nettles (revenge is SO sweet for all the nasty stings they have given me), fill all the buckets, all but the bottom one have to have drainage holes, water whenever the top bucket looks dry and let the water slowly trickle through all the layers. We have put a large stone on top of the nettles in the top bucket to press it all down and a couple of stones in the bottom bucket so there is a couple of inches of clearance for the 'nettle juice' to sit and mature.

And then just wait. I do like these jobs that say 'just wait'.

Just one week later we already have a couple of inches of lovely nettle plant food.  Be careful to dilute it before you water it onto your plants as it is powerful stuff, I've been told about 10 to 1 is a good dilution, so I will experiment.

Much cheaper than buying expensive plant food from the shop and VERY satisfying to find a use for nettles.

Sue xx

Monday 18 May 2009

Home Sweet Home

The view from our patio doors.

We're back, refreshed, revived and raring to go. So what's with the weather, it's supposed to be May and we seem to be having March winds with April showers thrown in for good measure ... and it's SO cold.

I've spent a lovely morning catching up on everybody's Blogs and getting up to date with all the lovely posts, all posted whilst I've been away, and now I feel ready to go. Although today's post is just a quick catch up, as I have to go out between showers and tackle some of the weeds that obviously waited until I went away to grow by at least a foot!!

I missed a brilliant photo opportunity on the beach last week, with Lovely Hubby falling asleep with his latest copy of Farmers Weekly across his face whilst lying on the beach in Alcudia. So here's one of him under a palm tree instead (nowhere near as funny)!

We had a brilliant time, good weather, good company, a brilliant hotel and lots of lovely food, as our hugely expanded waistlines prove. Oh well, back to the diet.

The new chubbier me.........

Sue xx

Friday 8 May 2009

My new cup.......

My new mug.......and oops my secret addiction to peanut M&Ms has been revealed!!

Today the weather is yucky, the wind is rattling everything and the rain is lashing at the window with such ferocity you'd think it was the middle of the winter. But am I despondent......NO, I have my new Cath Kidston mug picked up yesterday at Waitrose (it sang out to me as I passed, I usually miss that aisle to avoid temptation). I will sit and drink my coffee and read the lovely blogs from my list and then I will tootle off upstairs to pack for my summer holidays.

Yes.....I'm soon off to sunny Majorca, leaving the farm for it's last time without animals in the VERY capable hands of my son, he has his list of chores clutched in his sweaty little mitts, he has only 2 cats and a dog to keep alive (and almost a rabbit, but that's a whole other story!!).

If he can manage that, next time he will have 8 chickens and 6 pigs as well.

Now all I have to do is whittle down my packing to a carriable amount, how can I survive on one suitcase of clothes, what if the weather follows me....must pack a woolly jumper and a brolly just in case ... haha. 

Sue xx

Thursday 7 May 2009

Lovely Bloggers

Archie, he was on his way in but stopped to watch a fly!

Aren't Bloggers just lovely people. I get so many lovely comments left on my posts, and I promise I do read each and every one. I don't, however, get round to emailing anybody individually, and I hope you'll all forgive me for this. I do have a quick read through the blogs on my Blog list each day and leave a comment when something catches my imagination. Time, as I am sure you all appreciate is always running away with me.

I occasionally leave an answer to a question by posting a comment myself ( I'm sue15cat), that way everyone can see the answer.

A question raised yesterday was whether I intend to paint the lovely car boot goodies I got over the weekend, and the answer is most of the items will stay as they are, the little green chair (£2!!) just HAS to stay that colour as it matches our exterior doors perfectly and the thought of my little Grandson sitting by the back door on it podding my peas in the sunshine is just SO appealing.

The pine shelves with the little drawer are staying just as they are, they match our farmhouse pine table perfectly, maybe I'll attach a little row of hooks for our keys and hang them near the back door.

The dog water dish is for Sophie, so she has her own water supply outside, then maybe then she'll stop paddling into the pond for a drink!!

The glazed cupboard is going to get the full works, I imagine it a lovely creamy colour, with floral wallpaper backing it and a lacey edge to the shelves. It's destined to go in the family bathroom, once we get round to finishing it.  All the decorating has ground to a halt with the glorious planting weather we have had recently.

This morning I have been a busy girl and got my new raised bed planted up with all the lovely plants my Mum gave us on our last visit and lots more vegetables. The wire grills are to stop the dog and the cats digging up the seeds and onion sets. The front little corner has a few plants grown purely for their flowers, because although we need to be as self sufficient in food as possible we do need some prettiness to lift the spirits!!

*Update - the 'pop bottle greenhouses' have worked brilliantly well, everything we planted under them is bigger and stronger than the uncovered things planted at the same time, it has also helped protect them from the wind. An idea I will continue to use.

Sue xx

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Car Boot goodies from the weekend.

Sunday morning found us still talking about pigs, but definitely in the mood for a good browse, and boy what goodies we found. The car boot sale at Warborough was brilliant, we got all of the above for less than £30. It's nice when things go right!!

Monday saw us nipping to the Stadhampton Car Boot for a quick look around before the rain set in. W
This time we got lots of strawberry plants to fill my new birthday pressie of a strawberry tub, and lots of egg cups.

I've been collecting egg cups again since Lovely Hubbys' Mum came to stay and he gave her a boiled egg in a plastic light fitting (!!) unscrewed from the lamp because he couldn't find any egg cups. Now he only has to open any cupboard and he gets showered with the things!!

Hubby said I wouldn't post this picture.....but what the heck!!

(And feet are not really that big, I've borrowed my sons size 12 wellies for treading in purposes!!)

Sue xx

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Just piggy gorgeous........

Middle Whites
We have now decided that 6 pigs would be better than 3, although it means constructing 2 arks with another needed as soon as we have to separate the sows from the weaners. We would ideally like to buy 3 Middle White weaners (2 boys and a girl) and 3 Oxford Sandy and Black weaners (also 2 boys and a girl), with the boys being reared for either pork or bacon and the girls for breeding.

Oxford Sandy and Blacks

Oooh......I can't wait!

I make no excuse.....I've gone piggy mad!!

Sue xx

Pigs, pigs, pigs.........

This is a photo that should have been on yesterdays post.

 I have SO many lovely piggy photos and I have a problem with Blogger, it will not let me drag the pictures between the paragraphs.

Anyone know the solution?

But in the meantime a picture of Lovely Hubby taking the measurements of the boar, following Carron's instructions to the letter ... how did she keep a straight face for so long?

Sue xx

Monday 4 May 2009

Pig Perfect Weekend

Now who lives in a house like this?
Friday night saw us tootling along the A34 for miles and miles and our destination was Chitterne a lovely little village in Wiltshire and the reason..........pigs!

We stayed overnight in a truly gorgeous B&B, a lovely cottage owned by Amanda and Jeremy (Highly Recommended) with a bathroom to die for and a breakfast fit for a king (or two hungry people about to spend a day learning about pigs).

Then it was a two minute drive to the other side of the village to the village hall, where after coffee and introductions it was time for the main business of the day. To absorb as much information about these lovely creatures as we could.

Tony and Carron trading together as 'Pig Perfect' made this truly a day to remember with information, stories, jokes and above all the true know how of how to keep and raise happy and profitable rare breed pigs.

After a session in the village hall in was time to don wellies and waterproofs and finally go to meet their pigs. Just across the village green and there we were in piggy paradise, lots of sows and gorgeous little piglets and a few big but loveable boars.

We all got to go in with the pigs, hold the babies and ask our question, some silly, but none laughed at. We were all in the same boat, novices but eager to learn and it made for a fascinating morning, then it was back to the hall for a gorgeous homecooked (by Carron) lunch of ... guess what ... yep pork. And yes, those of you who know me know I don't eat red meats but this time I had a go, and although I have nothing to compare it against it was good. Hubby says it's the best pork he's tasted (and he eats meat for England).

You can see from the pictures that this was above all a hands on day, with Lovely Hubby falling 'hook, line and sinker' for how to estimate a pigs weight without picking it up and putting it on a scale.  You take a length of rope measure the length and girth and then divide by 10, NOT as Lovely Hubby was told from the nape of the neck to well under the testicles, but from the nape of the neck to the top of the tail. Still watching him handling the boar (and giving it a good grope) gave us all a good laugh and an excellent photo opportunity ... and he got to keep his measuring rope as a souvenir.

Then it was back to our classroom for the final part of the day, the marketing side, vital if we are to keep the rare breeds of this country going. They have to make money and make a living for the people dealing with them to help keep numbers up and the wondrous array of breeds available for future generations.

Truly a fantastic day and one I would recommend for anyone even considering pigs in any way, as a living, or hobby, to breed or to sell for meat, or even just as a pet. They are trainable, loveable and such intelligent animals I am truly a convert. We have decided to get three pigs at the beginning of summer, as soon as the chickens have settled in and we have fenced the orchard and built a pig ark.

Our pigs of choice, well we think it has to be Oxford Sandy and Blacks ... but we did fall in love with a Berkshire called Betty.

Here's hoping you had as enjoyable Bank Holiday weekend as us. Roll on the next one. (Blogger not playing nice.....more photos to follow.)

Sue xx

Friday 1 May 2009

Happy May Day

Wishing each and every one of my readers a very Happy May Day.  

May the sun shine on you this weekend, and may you achieve everything you set out to do.

Nettles stewing in their bucket stack to make plant food.

I am off on a one day pig keeping course with lovely Hubby in a couple of hours.  We are staying overnight in a little B&B so we will be fresh to take it all in tomorrow morning. We have been looking forward to this for ages, so I'm hoping it's good! Tony the guy who's running it, says he will convert me to pork before the day is out (I'm almost vegetarian and don't usually touch any red meats), I'll let you know how he gets on.

Tomato plants, all grown up in their own little pots.
Before we go we've been having a bit of a tidying up and planting day, very satisfying. I have a makeshift potting table on the old broken fridge and the little cobbled together bench above to put my potted on plants on for watering, then it's back to the kitchen windowsill for them temporarily, while they grow big and strong like their earlier planted brothers.

Have a lovely Bank Holiday Weekend.

Sue xx