Friday 31 August 2012

Love Can Move Mountains

When we first moved into this house it was fronted by two wildly overgrown flowers beds and a mud filled area in front of them for parking on.  With dogs running in and out it was blatantly obvious we had to get something more substantial there so we bought a ton or 4 of road planings.  This was the immediate problem sorted out. 
Once we had done everything deemed more urgent lovely Hubby decided that now, before next Winter sets in, was the time to finish off around the house.  So with that in mind after he had finished his tractor renovations last weekend he began to work on the front.

Of course he had already laboured long and hard to get the right hand bed done so I could plant my Rocket Garden, it's doing brilliantly well by the way and we are eating lots of lovely salad leaves from it already.  So this time he turned his attention to the left hand bed that also leads around the side of the house. 
Edging around the whole area with wood left over from other jobs, digging up weeds, laying lots of cardboard as a natural biodegradable weed suppressant and then filling in with our homemade compost and a layer of top soil, he toiled for hours.
But it was worth it.
We are both really pleased with the results, it's looking much neater now and the oil tank is easier to get to ready for our Winter delivery of oil.
Of course now he just has a couple more mountains of road planings to spread around to finish off the parking areas around the house.
I always knew that man of mine would move mountains for me.
Sue xx

Thursday 30 August 2012

Delights to Come.......

The apple tree is literally dripping with apples.  I'm not sure what type they are, they taste like a mix between cookers and eaters.   Lovely Hubby delights in picking them off the tree and chomping away while he is about various chores on our patch.  Me, I find the faces they make me pull only signifies they are a little to tart for my liking at the moment. 
They will be brilliant in crumbles and pies and cooked down to make jars of apple sauce to go on LH's pork chops.  I have lots of plans for appley delights, but there are other delights to come too and I will have to satisfy myself with the few I can grab and squirrel away before LH snaffles the lot.
He has plans afoot to make use of his birthday present from me (so it my own fault I am to be soon without apples), I bought him a fruit press and he has visions of gallons of cider brewing away nicely ready to strip paint be drunk at Christmas (if we can wait that long).
It's good this self sufficiency lark - you just have to be quick if you have different ideas for a specific crop!!
Another photo with the old apple tree in the background, this one is to show you my canny deer proof fences, erected around most of the raised beds.  Made by simply reusing the netting that used to cover the raised beds at our last Farm and the electric fencing posts we used to have around the pigs there, they fit together perfectly.  They have proved impenetrable up to now, fingers crossed we will soon be actually eating some of our courgettes instead of feeding the Berkshire wildlife.
I'm off to continue my sorting marathon in the spare room, I keep getting distracted, I think I need blinkers, or for the power to go off so I have no internet and no lovely Blogs to travel around reading while I drink my coffee.
Sue xx

Wednesday 29 August 2012

My Weekend in Chairs

As quite a few of you have left comments and sent me emails asking how I was going to revamp the chairs I thought I would dedicate a whole post of pictures to my method.
  We were lucky we inherited these good solid chairs from Lovely Hubby's Mum, Jessie, so they are filled with memories for him of growing up in the family home in Peebles.  Jessie came from a generation that kept it's furniture, didn't chop and change with fashion, simply bought what they needed after saving long and hard for it and then it stayed in the family and we are now lucky enough to have these as our 'forever dining chairs'.  As they were they didn't fit in with our style or taste, but that can so easily be altered.  The chairs may have changed but the memories are still there.
If you don't already have a  set of chairs to revamp this style of chair can be bought so cheaply in secondhand shops, I've even seen them being sold off for as little as £2 each at the end of car boot sales.  I got my material from Dunelm Mill from the reduced section, it cost me £28.50, but you could use any fabric that you have spare in the house.  Old jeans are brilliant for upholstering seat pads and they look fantastic and wear really well.
The top pictures shows the tools you need, I also used 1/4 of a tin of satin paint and 1/4 tin of grey undercoat, 2 paintbrushes, 1 large sheet of sandpaper, a damp cloth, thin pieces of foam and new fabric - nothing else required.
Take your chair.
Pop out the seat pad, a good thump from underneath is usually all you need.
Rub down with sandpaper then wipe with a damp cloth to get rid of all the dust.  Undercoat each chair, leave them overnight to dry, then lightly sand and wipe with a damp cloth again, this gives you a nice smooth surface for your top coat.  Paint with your chosen colour.  Leave overnight again to dry.
If you are happy with the coverage that's it, (I  was), if it looks a little patchy simply sand, wipe and give them all another coat of paint.
While the paint is drying you can now get on with the re upholstery of the seat pads.
Carefully remove the leather or old fabric, trying to get at least one of them off in one piece.  Use the wooden seat as a guide to cut out your foam.
 Use the old seat cover to cut out your new piece of fabric.

Make sure your fabric is good side down, place the foam and then the wooden seat on top if it.

Stretch the fabric round the wooden seat.  Secure with drawing pins at each side.
When you are happy with the tension, go round adding as many more pins as you need to hold the fabric securely.
Take time to do your corners, pulling the fabric neatly and pinning securely.

Ta Da.   Finished chair.
Our Summer look.
And I bought enough fabric for our Winter look. 
I thought it would make the kitchen nice and cosy, I also thought the fabric tied in nicely with our colour scheme and has a nod of tartan about it to remind the chairs that they are from Scotland.
Lovely Hubby said I had done such a good job he would go and buy some chairs from a car boot sale for me to renovate and sell ....... my words to him were completely unprintable on here!! 
 I won't lie it was a long and fiddly job, the painting of chairs is even worse for me than painting  window frames, you seem to have so many sides and awkward bits, but the finished article is well worth the effort.  I'm really pleased with these and they should last us a lifetime.
Now I'm off for a final sort through of all my clothes and the spare room, we are doing our final car boot of the season on Sunday and I want to be as clear as possible in the house.
Sue xx

Sunday 26 August 2012

It really is.......

It really is..... a weekend of tractors ........
... and chairs.

Archie inspected Lovely Hubby's handiwork and found it was all looking good, he allowed him to move onto sorting out the front of the house.   He's putting a new flower bed under the living room window and laying some more of the driveway, so we don't have mud trailed into the house all  Winter..
Me ........I'm still painting chairs ......!!
Sue xx

Saturday 25 August 2012

Our Own Sunshine

There's not that much sunshine in evidence this Bank Holiday Weekend, but here in our little corner of the world we have our very own spot of sunshine.  A wonderful bank of sunny flowers that I walk past each time I go to tend to the chickens.
I'm not sure what sort of flowers these actually are but they sprung up en masse and are brightening our days no end.
A spot of sunshine for Sophie. 
A jug full of these gorgeous flowers are decorating Sophie's final resting place over looking Chicken World.
Hope you have some sunshine in your lives this Bank Holiday Weekend.
Sue xx

Friday 24 August 2012

Tractors and Chairs Weekend

The Bank Holiday weekend is all about tractors and chairs for us, oh and a bit of tidying and sorting out around the place. 
Lovely Hubby replaced the windscreen on the second love of his life yesterday, it had shattered into a hundred pieces, a mixture of age and the heat, so now it is resplendent with a brand new windscreen.
He also put new decals in place after it's paint job and it looks all smart and fully dressed again.  For those tractors enthusiasts out there (Jane!!) it is a John Deere 3130 with a 'designed by LH' hydraulic system now in place, a very useful big boys toy!!
While he was tinkering with his toy I was beginning the renovation of Jessie's chairs.  They are sturdy dining chairs that we inherited from my lovely Mum in laws house and although are in good condition do not fit in with our style at all, so I am going to help them to fit in just a little bit better.
First job pop out all the seat pads, then sand down the frames and undercoat.  Then they will be painted with two coats of our favourite colour.   I'll post the 'after' pictures when they are done, I am concentrating on two at a time, as LH was actually using one all day yesterday to give him a leg up to climb on the tractor., our jobs usually overlap nicely when we work together.

I was out taking the photos first thing this morning after getting the chickens up and look who ran over to greet me, the dogs were still snoozing in bed (they are not morning dogs!!).

Take my picture Mum he seemed to be saying..... so I did!!
Hope your weekend is everything you want it to be, whether that be a lazy time off work weekend or a busy, get jobs done kind of a weekend.  I do so hope we have just a little bit of sunshine....fingers crossed, nope better not do that........  I won't be able to hold my brush!
Sue xx

Thursday 23 August 2012

For Froogs......

Happy Days.
For Froogs and DB
with love from
Sue xx

Wednesday 22 August 2012


Rescuing the flowers whose stems had gone all mouldy and yuk, I simply snipped them down and put them in my little jug.  (I'm sure that 'plant food' they give you at the florist slowly kills your flowers instead of actually feeding them, just so you'll go back and buy some more.)

I had used up all my pot of Parsley and left the little plant pot outside ready to take to the compost bin, obviously I kept forgetting it, well you do don't you, so it was still there a week later and guess what .... it's started growing again.  So I rescued it, and now it's in recovery and I'll have a free pot of Parsley.

Next time you use up a pot of herbs, wait and see if yours come back to life.

Sue xx

Tuesday 21 August 2012

New Blogs, Blogging Buddies

Remember way back when you wrote your first ever Blog entry, I do.  I didn't know what I was doing really and have simply learnt and am learning, as I go along.  Yes, I had done a computer course (I hold the ECDL in computer studies dontcha know), but it didn't teach me the mysteries and delights of Blogging the wild and wacky ramblings that whirl round in my head or how to chart the highs and lows of living the life we lead, so different from our last one!

Taking those first tentative steps in Blog Land is exciting, we have all done it once  and when you discover a brand new Blog, that captures your imagination with it's title alone and then find that the writer is a like-minded soul, it's like making a new friend.

So I would like to introduce you to my newest friend, she doesn't even know it yet, I must dash round to hers and warn her she's about to have lots of visitors.  Then she'll have time to put the kettle on and be ready with tea and scones.  Or maybe in her case she will settle for lashing of ginger beer and a red rosy apple each with hunks of bread and slice of cheese or two........what are you going on about I hear you ask.

Well I've just found a Blog called 'I Blame Enid Blyton' nip over and say hello, say Sue sent you and maybe you'll get some of that ginger beer!

Have you got a new Blog ......... or have you been tempted to start one of your very own, why not just bite the bullet and go for it.

Sue xx

Monday 20 August 2012

Lush and Green

Everything's lush and green here on the old homestead at the moment.  Sometimes too lush for my liking.  I start to feel swamped at this of year when everything is going over into full blown greenness.

The weeds win the battle when you have so much land, you have to learn  to almost turn a blind eye to some of them or you'd be super stressed with that awful feeling of not being able to cope.

I admit I get on the verge of that sometimes even now, but nowhere near as bad as I used to be.  I know now that if chunks of land don't get weeded and even if the weeds look like triffids about to take over the place entirely, come that first frost of Winter they will be well and truly zapped and my worry and stress will have all been in vain.

So this year I am relaxed about it, more relaxed than ever.

My herbs are flowering, but I don't mind I enjoy eating the flowers too, sprinkled over salads and sandwiches, nibbled while out and about.

The herb sink is looking good .... and tasting even better.  We add them to so many dishes, nothing is roasted without a few springs of herbs, they add their deliciousness to all our foods.  Even a simple tray of homemade potato wedges reaches new heights of flavour when roasted with a sprig of Rosemary or a scattering of Thyme.

Gorgeous flowing Thyme.

The cucumber at the top?  ...... my pride and joy, the biggest straightest of the season and totally yummy it was too, I have a little piece left of it to add to my lunch today.

I'm off now to feed the windfall apples to the hens and geese, they are loving them and are getting at least half a dozen a day, chopped into pieces so they can share slightly more fairly.   We have a tree that is drooping under the weight of it's bountiful crop so every windfall that drops off is a lightening of a very heavy load for this lovely old tree.

Sue xx

Saturday 18 August 2012

People will.......

Make someone you know feel special today!!

Have a lovely weekend, back on Monday.

Sue xx

Friday 17 August 2012

Ginger the Cat

Meet Ginger, he's our adopted cat, ours for a while.

He belongs to our landlords little girls and while they are all living abroad Ginger had to stay behind so we offered to have him stay with us. A perfect scenario for everyone. Our landlord gets peace of mind and Ginger didn't have to go to a new home or be uprooted at all from his own and we get an extra furry friend to join our happy little bunch of misfits.

He is a lovely placid two year old Tom cat. We wondered how he would react when we moved in with our two cats and three tearaway dogs, but the first time they all met and they rushed towards him backing and hissing, he lay on his back showed his tummy to the world and meowed ..... and they all stopped dead in their tracks.

He is like a Buddhist cat. He is calm and collected, walks slowly to where he wants to go, leaps up stealthily and settles within minutes. You pick him up from the chair you want to sit on and he lays limply in your arms until you place him where you want him to be, and he sighs quietly and goes straight back to sleep.

He has his moments, and likes nothing better than a game of hunt with Archie, but not for him the mad chase and the swift despatch of a tiny being...... he is content to play the game and leave Archie to the kill.

And then when energy has been expended and manly cat duties accomplished, they curl up together on the office chair (and yes, in this case on top of Lovely Hubby's hat) and fall into serene pussycat sleeps.

Sue xx

Thursday 16 August 2012

Around the House Today

There are lots of things around the house today to make me smile.  The happy sign above that hangs in the doorway to the office/utility room.

The herbs on the kitchen windowsill, lush vibrant green and just asking to be added to all sorts of food.

A beautiful posy of flowers on the kitchen table bought for me by my Lovely Hubby.

Progress with the sorting out for the final car boot sale of the season at our favourite venue at the very beginning of September.  We are having the Bank Holiday weekend off from car boots as we are having a good sort out and tidy up here instead.

The barometer moved to 'Fair' when I tapped it this morning, this always makes me happy.

The sound of the chickens going about their business is drifting over the farm, the washing is blowing in the sunshine, bringing the promise of crisp, clean fresh sheets on the bed tonight and the good nights sleep they always seem to help with.   The showers of earlier have all dried up and the dogs are out,  busy chasing flies, the cats are curled up in their little beds snoozing the day away, ready for another summer night on the prowl.

The chores are all done and I have a cup of coffee and an hour to myself to nip around Blog world and catch up with all my lovely friends.  Sometimes it's the little things that make your day special.

 I hope your day is turning out as special as mine.

Sue xx