Tuesday 31 December 2013

Archie the Cat

Our year has ended in the worst possible way.
Our beloved cat Archie was hit and killed by a car early this morning.  I have not the words to express how sad we are both feeling at the moment.  He was our world, the first pet we bought home together just one week after our marriage.  We chose him as a tiny nine week old  kitten at an RSPCA rescue centre, having to make the difficult choice between him and his identical brother, but when Archie hopped down from the climbing frame onto Lovely Hubby's shoulder and rubbed his beard with his gorgeous little face the decision was made.

He was the cat that curled up in the smallest of baskets ...

.. jumped into boxes large and small ...

... draped himself over any warm lap for an evening of snoozing.
He basked in the sunshine on all our farms ...
... and was always happy to pose for a photograph.
He curled up with his friends the dogs, shared their food and their water, if they got grumpy with him he would brush against them and make them love him again.
He will be walking for ever in the sunshine with his best doggie friend Sophie.
RIP Archie
11th October 2007 - 31st December 2013
Thank you for all your lovely words yesterday - they help.
Sue xx

Monday 30 December 2013

Pugs Might Fly .....

I'm a lucky girl, I got a lovely Christmas pressie off my Lovely Hubby ....
 ....  a trio of Flying Pugs!!
We also got a wonderful house warming present off Mum .....

... lots of homemade Costa coffees to go with our homemade cakes.
I should feel so good, so blessed, I should ... but at the moment I am in a black hole.  Hence the sporadic Blogging.  If I have nothing nice to say I say nothing, usually I just keep quiet but in this 'picture perfect'  'everything's hunky dory' world of Blogging I think sometimes a little bit of honesty is good for the soul.
Back tomorrow when hopefully some of this black cloud above my head will have drifted away and joined all the others that have been deluging us with rain over the Christmas period, I've too much to do to feel this down.
Pugs might fly :-(
Sue xx

Thursday 26 December 2013

Boxing Day Dippers

We joined hundred of people on the beach at Llandudno today to watch the annual charity Boxing Day dip in the sea.  Folks of all ages making a mad dash from the prom to the sea and swimming around for a few minutes in water that was said to be minus nine degrees ..... brrrrr, rather them than me !!
See this local newspaper report for more information, (my picture is from the paper).
It was also a brilliant doggy day out with dogs of every size and breed walking the promenade with their owners.   Ours were totally overwhelmed meeting so many other dogs in one day.  They are both fast asleep now tucked up in front of the woodburner basking in the heat. and no doubt dreaming doggy dreams of a trio of enormous Huskies and the strange little bad tempered Pug-a-poo,  a Pug cross Poodle, who looked like an ugly poodle but with a Pug's tail (the only cute thing about it, poor little thing).
Once back home we got cracking to slightly adapting our new henhouse which in our opinion has a couple of design faults, so we've corrected some of them to suit our birds better and also added an indoor water drinker and food dispenser so the hens that want to stay indoors in the worst of the weather can do and still be able to eat and drink.
So one way and another it's been another busy day, and now it's time to crack open a bottle of wine and that box of Maltesers I spy lurking in the fridge.
I hope your Boxing Day was just what you wanted it to be.
Sue xx

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

I would like to wish all the my Blogging Buddies, Followers and readers of the Blog a very Merry Christmas.
After finishing the unpacking late last night and bringing in the little Christmas tree from last year, we managed to find some decorations and get the house looking suitably festive, and we have just had the most wonderful relaxing day with my Mum and brother.
Presents were exchanged from under the tree ......
... and the contents of the hamper were laid out for all to see.
I hope each and everyone of you has had a lovely Christmas doing exactly what you wanted to do.  Tomorrow it's Boxing Day and a chance for us to potter about our new home, finishing off some little bits and pieces and taking the dogs for a long run on Llandudno beach.
I'll leave you with photos of a couple of suitably festive little doggies .... 
... Jingle Bells Rosy ....
.... and Jingle Bells Suky
 (who had to be blackmailed with a piece of popcorn to hold her head up).
Happy Christmas everyone :-)

Sue xx

Saturday 21 December 2013

Closing the Door for the Last Time

Closing the door for the last time on our lovely little bungalow is a strange feeling. 
We done so much in the two years we've been here.  We've lost family members and pets during our time here, we've held each other close and weathered every storm and we've come out stronger on the other side.  We've also had fun, lots of fun and lots of laughter, we 've had the delight of making new friends, both here in the neighbourhood and through the Blog.  It's been a good home.
But now the cupboards are bare ...

... barer than they've ever been.
The tools of day to day living have been shrinking away to nothing over the last few weeks, until now we are left with just one trailer load to take with us.
Tomorrow after the chickens have had an hour to stretch their legs at first light, have eaten their last breakfast of Layers Pellets and drank their last drink of Berkshire water they will be loaded into their crates and settled in the back of the Mitsu ready for their journey up the motorways of Britain.  The dogs will eagerly take their positions on the seat behind Lovely Hubby as he pulls away in the truck with me following closely behind in the Corsa, with the cats nestled in their travel baskets on my back seat.
We will close the door on this little 1930's bungalow, and begin our new life in a new country.
North Wales here we come ..... you have been warned!!
Sue xx
And in the great tradition of all good movies ..... here  is the Blooper Reel .....
Trying to do a 'staged' shot of the closed front door I left it on the catch so I wouldn't lock myself out, Archie the cat heard the door not shut properly so decided to make his way in ....

... the dogs heard Archie coming in and decided to make their way out ......
 ... take two  :-)

Friday 20 December 2013

Free Ranging

After the rains of the last few days Chicken World is a mud bath and as there is no time to move it along the paddock before the move, each morning that I am at home to keep a general eye on them the girls (and boys) are free ranging over the whole of our 4.5 acres.
I say that but in reality all though they could free range over all of the land they don't go far, they loiter just outside Chicken World, near to their feeders and water drinkers.  They sit under the trampoline if the rain starts and if they fancy stretching their legs, or they hear me or the dogs out and about they visit the house.

It's nice to have chickens on the patio, it's how we started off in the first few days, weeks and months of chicken keeping when we had only 10 rescued White Stars.  They mooched about around and on occasion in the house very soon becoming part of the family.  It's amazing how quickly you can lose your heart to a chicken.
Sue xx

Thursday 19 December 2013

My Sealed Pot is No More

Ooops, the first casualty of the move!!
My lovely Sealed Pot slipped through my fingers yesterday when I went to pick it up to pack it safely away ready for the move.
Suky the Pug was first on the scene to inspect the damage.
Luckily because it has just been emptied there was only a little bit of money inside the pot, imagine if I had lifted it the other week with all that change in it.  One less thing to pack!!  Poor Sealed Pot, it was brilliant while it lasted, luckily I have a suitable tin at the other house that I can seal up and continue our saving in.
The final push packing away all the bits and pieces of normal living is on now, to say we are living minimally would be an understatement.  We sleep on a mattress on the floor, we have the sofa and the small TV, the biggest luxury is in the kitchen where we still have the table and chairs, so at least Blogging and eating our evening meal is done in comfort.
Sue xx

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Farewell to the Woolly Ones

Farmer Will's van drew up at the gate while we were busy working in the house on Saturday, and he and his son starting loading the sheep into the trailer, he vanished down the road with the first half and then returned for the rest. 
 Lovely Hubby strolled over to have a chat and now it seems is the time the sheep are going to a small field with shelters ready to face the worst of the Winter weather with a bit more protection.  Hopefully the Ram will have earned his keep and there should be lots of little lambs in the next few months.  Will thanked us for alerting him to the sheep that were coughing, as thanks to our noticing he managed to dose up the Ram and save him from dying of Pneumonia, like one of the flock did.
Suky is going to miss her little woolly friends, she already looks to the empty field with a forlorn look on her face.
And when a Pug looks sad .... they really look sad!!
Sue xx

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Another New House

Lovely Hubby chose the windiest of windy days to erect the new hen house last weekend.  Gales blew all around our area and indeed over lots of the country on Friday and Saturday, whole trees were blown across the road near us stopping all traffic during the night while they were cut through and moved.
But a little matter of gale force winds didn't stop my man!!
With the base all in place and the wheels on there was enough weight in the bottom to keep it firmly on our hillside, but that wasn't enough to keep the roof on.
Twice he chased it across the grass before he finally got enough screws in to hold it in place. 
 It's a lovely house, really well made and obviously well planned out.  After having our other henhouses, some bought and some designed and built ourselves, we knew exactly what to look for in the chickens new house and this one fitted the bill perfectly.
It's large enough to hold up to 35 birds so our 29 with a percentage of them being Bantams will fit in easily with a bit of space left over for the potential patter of tiny little feet next Spring.
We bought it from HERE, and I'm adding a link to them in the sidebar as I've decided that any products we use and are pleased with, will be listed on my sidebar to save answering so many emails about where do we get this or that, not that I mind but sometimes it's nice for you just to be able to see the suppliers of things we use rather than have to wait for my answer.  Here's a link to their Facebook Page too
I must re-iterate that I do not use products that I am asked to endorse, I only advertise for companies that I want to advertise for.  (I am currently being swamped with offers of goods and services and spending some time each day batting the emails back, this is not a blog for advertising on.)

While all the henhouse erecting was going on outside and I was busy painting inside Rosy took to her bed by the Aga ...

... and Suky watched proceedings from the conservatory door.
 (Note the brand new cat flap!!  Gosh our moggies are spoilt, we had to have a whole new double glazed unit installed in the door to be able to fit it, I am telling LH that to make it more financially viable we really do need a couple of extra cats, that way there will be much more usage and therefore it will be better value for money!!   :-)

But after a while even watching your Dad run round the field chasing roof panels gets a little bit boring.

Especially when he eventually decides to hide inside the house fitting the perches!!
I'll take some more photos of the henhouse next week when the girls themselves are in residence and we have the temporary fence around it.  We intend to have an outside covered area, a dust bathing area under the house and access to two different halves of the grass so that one can recover while the girls run on the other.
We've learnt a lot of lessons in the five or so years we've kept chickens and it's nice that we can finally put them all into action on our very own bit of land.
 Sue xx

Monday 16 December 2013

Lovely Blogging Friends

I'm so lucky in this lovely Blogging world I inhabit. 
 I have met, both online and in person, so many lovely people.   You all know who you are so I don't have to list names, some of you have Blogs and some of you don't.    We've just received a lovely Christmas card and message from Philadelphia because my address was inadvertently left public on someone's Blog for a while, and then this week while we sat down to breakfast before the final push in the decorating there was a knock at the door, it was our friendly postman Geraint, yes his nickname is Geraint the Post, everyone seems to have names that either hold their profession or their house name it is very good as straight away you can place the person being spoken about.
He took a signature and swapped it for a very interesting package.
Inside the package, a beautifully handmade card, which now stands in pride of place on our mantelpiece ...

... a pair of lovely (and perfectly coloured) placemats, our breakfast suddenly got a lot smarter :-)

There were also two drinks coasters and a pot holder.
What can I say ..... I love them, we love them and we love even more that Anne took the time to make them for us, this is so special and we really cannot thank you enough.  Hence this blog post to put down in the history of our move that a very special Blogging Buddy made something so special just for us.

Thank you Anne,  Sweet Blondie Blue Eyes, who was formerly know to us all as SilverSewer,  visit her lovely Blog HERE and see what a lovely lady she really is.
I'll be back tomorrow with more news and updates on the final days of decoration at the new place.  It's all systems go ... thank goodness.
Sue xx

Sunday 15 December 2013

Caption Competition

Lovely Hubby took this none too flattering photo of me the other night while I was Blogging happily away on the computer. 
He's dreadful, he gives me no time to fluff up my hair, to sit up straight, to breath in or to compose a suitably intelligent and literary expression, just me looking weird (like I usually do).
He dared me to publish it and then came up with the idea of a caption competition .... so if you're game ...
What do you think I'm thinking, reading or about to say?
And nothing too rude please John, you've been known to shock those that don't know you!!
Sue xx

Thursday 12 December 2013

Lots of Lovely Freebies

I nipped out yesterday to pick up some milk and a couple of other bits and pieces and because I hadn't visited our local Waitrose for a while, they've being having a re-fit and it's been absolute chaos so I stayed away, I decided that would be my supermarket of choice.
I spent just enough to qualify for the free newspaper, Lovely Hubby's not really a Guardian type of man but it was the only one left of the free choices available so he is for today!!  I got the weekly 'weekend' magazine and sat in the newly re-furbed Waitrose CafĂ© to drink my free coffee and have a read.  At the checkout I picked up my free copy of the Waitrose Kitchen magazine, it's one of the better supermarket magazines and I really like it, even more so now that I get it for free.
I totted up what I had just got for free -
Newspaper £1.40
Weekend paper - free anyway
Waitrose Kitchen magazine £1.20
Regular Latte - £2.10
Total - £4.70
I was very happy :-)
And then I came home ...
... to find the biggest and bestest freebie of the day!!
And I was even happier :-)

Just sat there waiting for me on the doorstep .....
... posh Christmas in a box (and in a posh box at that).
As Margo would say "Christmas has been delivered".
We've decided to leave it safely packed in it's box for now, take it with us as it is and unpack it on Christmas Eve, it'll make it all feel really Christmassy.  We are really lucky as we get one of these every year from the agency that LH works through, we have quite a collection of baskets now all put to very good use, but I think this one, once empty is going to a very good home.
The contents should also help me slightly in my new Challenge for the New Year.   I've almost thrashed out the details now and have decided it will have a Blog all of it's own linked to from this Blog, I 'm thinking there's no way it would have fitted into the day to day running of a smallholding, it needs more accountability and a separate presence.  So a new Blog has been born .... should I let you in on it soon or would you prefer to wait for a grand unveiling in the New Year?
Decisions, decisions .......
Sue xx