Tuesday 28 October 2014

No Chickens?

Looking at this picture you'd think we had no chickens, indeed some days I do a double take as I look over to Chicken World and don't see a single chicken.  

They aren't daft my girls,  they are spending the majority of their time in the small wooded area behind Chicken World that actually belongs to our neighbour.  Here they can shelter from the worst of the weather and when it gets even wetter or wilder they make for the hen-house, some of them inside and some of them underneath.

Far cosier than being out and about in the wind and rain we have been having recently.

And with being cosy in mind, we are spending this week filling the log store and stacking piles of cut and split logs behind the wood burner in the living room.  The now dark and long nights, which see the chickens locked up for the night by 5.30pm, means that there is nothing better than curling up with the lamps lit and the log burner blasting out heat as we catch up with our television viewing and book reading.

Sue xx

Monday 27 October 2014

Filling in the Holes

The view is looking decidedly wet and misty around the house, and the wind is blowing a gale at the moment.  

We have just got back from a long doggy walk on the prom at Llandudno, where quite unbelievably as it's only a fifteen minute drive away, the sun is out and the mild wind is warm and refreshing.  I was contemplating stripping the guest bed and getting all the sheets on the line until we were half way home ... now I think I'll leave that for another day.

I grabbed the camera when I was called outside to help Lovely Hubby with the tape measure as soon as we got back.  We needed to check the measurements for the steel beams that are being manufactured to hold up the new conservatory roof.  The holes in each corner have been filled in with concrete now and are ready to take the steels, which in turn will take the weight of the conservatory roof.  I guess once this is all done we should change it's name, really a conservatory has the type of roof that this has at the moment, perhaps we will go all posh and call it the Garden Room.  

It will be used for our dining table and a small comfy sofa for doggy use once the large chest freezer relocates to the workshop next year.  So I guess it could equally be called the Dining Room or the Dogs Room, but with the doors flung open in Summer leading directly onto what will be a tarmac-ed and plant filled patio area, for me at the moment the name Garden Room is winning ...

.... any other suggestions?  

It's still a mess outside at the moment and you really don't need to see photos of the conservatory floor to know what mess four dogs, one cat and two humans make with their mucky feet each time they step back inside after being outside.

Once the measurements were taken the boards went back over the filled in holes and we retired to the warmth of the house and the kettle went on.  So that's us inside for the rest of the day, we will be venturing out later this evening when we go to the October meeting of the Maenan Gardening Club.  The talk tonight is Welsh Historic Gardens, I'll let you know if Lovely Hubby manages to stay awake through that one  ;-)

Sue xx

Saturday 25 October 2014


It's been a strange week here, getting back from time away, Mavis' vets appointments, visiting Mum, family staying with us, not much time to post on here or do the smaller things I usually manage to fit in for myself.  But I simply couldn't resist grabbing ten minutes on the computer to show you this magnificent sky.

The sky is so vast here, framed nicely by the hills across the road giving edges to the shots I take with my little 'point it and shoot' digital camera.  The panoramic shot dims and mutes the colours but shows the variance wonderfully. 

 The doggies were all snoozing on the sofa and we were battening down for the evening, as I went to close the roller blinds this was the view that faced me.  I simply had to grab the camera and step onto the front porch and capture it for posterity.

The colours gradually dimmed as the skies went dark, but I had spied the magic and captured it for myself.

Sue xx

Thursday 23 October 2014

Faithful and True

This picture graphic (from Google Images) is so true, only in my case all the 'he's' and 'hims' need to be 'she's' and 'hers'.  I hope I am worthy.

Mavis is doing wonderfully well, she looks at me with those adoring, trusting eyes as if I can do no wrong and I have put her through all this pain and discomfort during the last couple of days. It's all in her best interests long term but she doesn't know that does she!!

 Going back to the vets today for her second antibiotic shot and a check up post-surgery, there was none of the reluctance our other dogs have shown following previous more painful visits.  In fact she bounded in, tail wagging eager to see the nurse.  Although she did flinch and cower down as the ice cold injection went into the skin between her shoulder blades that happy, happy tail did not  miss a beat ..... the wagging continued. 

She sat in the car yesterday, looking up at me from the passenger foot-well where her travelling bed is ..... smiling.  She has never smiled before, true she had that lopsided grin caused by her strangely angled tooth, but this was a real doggy grin, it lasted and lasted.  It was all I could do to try and keep my eyes on the road as she looked up at me showing all her teeth with her eyes sparkling.

Of course it could have been the painkillers she's on, but I like to think that for the first time in a long while she realised that her mouth felt comfortable and the crooked overcrowded teeth that gave her such bad breath were gone for good.

This could well be Mavis' motto.

She seeks out happiness so well .... and shares it with all those she meets.  Something we should all try to do.

Sue xx

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Poor Little Mavis

Here's Mavis cuddled up to me on the sofa last night with Charley and Suky keeping her company.

It was an afternoon and evening of television watching for all of us.

At first she was curled up in a most awkward way, the vet said her pain killing injection would last for 24 hours, but I don't think it was that effective.  After a couple of hours she was whimpering when she moved, although once she managed to get to sleep she was nice and peaceful.

As well as being spayed the vet managed to sort out her tooth problems.  The large fang that has grown at a strange angle due to her perhaps being hit in the face with something when she was a pup, has been left in place as the vet says it was a strong and healthy tooth and it would have been a shame to lose it.  Instead she took away the little teeth that were around it that had been trapping food and making Mavis' mouth uncomfortable, and her breath almost unbearable.  After all this and a scale and polish it's no wonder she's sore all over.

I had to put her plastic cone on for the night as she is a fit and nimble dog and was managing to lick her wound and nibble at the stitches.  The vet says it can come off when she is being watched, but better safe than sorry over night or while she is on her own.  At least she likes wearing her little jumper, which keeps her cosy and protects her wound.

It's like having a poorly baby in the house, but I guess that's what she is .... one of my furry babies.

Sue xx

Monday 20 October 2014

And it Grinds to a Halt ......

Stoptober has ground to a halt for us in many ways.  Spending the weekend down in Berkshire with Lovely Hubby at his midweek digs we ate out, we drank out (coffees and booze) and generally relaxed completely.

Stoptober was the last thing on our minds!!

With two of the dogs in kennels and two of them travelling down with me, the first thing I have to do today is go and bale out the Jacks.  It feels like I'm paying a ransom when I walk into the kennels office and hand over our hard earned cash to get our pooches back.  But I don't mind too much, we like the kennels we use for the dogs and more importantly they like it too, so much so that when Rosy's collar slipped off as the guy was leading her round the corner she carried on walking beside him with her tail wagging rather than coming back to me.

But it starts this week off badly handing over cash.

I am still frugalling away in other more day to day ways, but only in the ways I normally do, nothing specially thought out or extra.  Cleaning my shoes the other day for instance.  The shoes are only two years old so I think I will easily get this Winter out of them if I keep them polished and cared for, I do hope so they are so comfortable.  The boots are ancient now, they have done so many rounds of Project 333 they are like a permanent Winter fixture.  I have just bought them some new inner soles to make them a bit more comfy and snug.  With age the soles are thin and the leather has stretched, no bad thing further into Winter when I will be able to wear two pairs of socks but they are a bit roomy with just one pair!!  I was trying to work out how old they are, I bought them off Ebay when our country lifestyle was just an idea ...... which means I have had them just over six years, they were used when I bought them but not excessively so.  They definitely deserve a little bit of care over this Winter.  I hope I can make them last.

I didn't take an 'After' picture unfortunately, I just put the boots on and went out with the dogs, which of course means that now they look just like the 'Before' picture again, oh well at least they have a coat of polish to protect them.  I must get in a weekly habit of keeping both pairs nice and looked after.

And speaking of Project 333 today I must finalise this Autumn's clothes.  I had a bit of a sort out last week and took some things to the charity shop and sorted through my shirts and jeans, now I need to pull out the jumpers I stored away at the end of last Winter and see what I have that will do for this next round.

Are there any of you who still do Project 333?

(If you want to read some of my old Project 333 posts, just type those words into the Search box at the top left of the Blog.)

Sue xx

Saturday 18 October 2014

Treats for the Doggies .... and For Us

Every time a parcel is delivered to our house the dogs rush eagerly into the kitchen to supervise it's opening.  

It all started when Rosy was a puppy, we lived at Jointers Farm and our track to the village was almost two miles long, she had a thing for chasing cars off our property and I quickly had to find a way of making her more interested in the parcel than she was in the delivery van.

And so was born .....  "Oooh what have we got, what have we got?"

It caught her attention immediately and she followed me into the house to see what treat for her the delivery man had brought.  All I had to do was surreptitiously sneak a doggy chew into the parcel and let her discover it lying on top of the things for Mum.

The other dogs quickly picked up on this surprise tasty snack, so I do it to this day, we all need a tasty little surprise in our lives from time to time.

This time it was my parcel from Approved Foods.  I had placed the order to take advantage of the low priced tins of tomatoes, six tins for just £1 and the catering sized bags of Crumble Mix, although they made a mistake and sent me just one instead of the four bags that I ordered.  They have refunded my money as they have now ran out of it .... I would rather have had the other three bags  :-(

I don't order from Approved Foods as much as I used to, but sometimes when the email drops into my Inbox and it's something that we need and is a real bargain I will succumb.  This was bought and paid for before the start of Stoptober so I have no guilt to feel either!!

I added some Gingerbread Mix to my order as it was on offer at three boxes for a pound.  I was very pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually an M&S packet mix .... ooh err proper posh!!  There is even a proper little man shaped cutter in every box.  I think I'll tie them all together on a length of tinsel and turn them into a Christmas garland.

Oh no ..... I said the 'C' word.

Sue xx

Thursday 16 October 2014

Woolly Pullies and Dirty Doggies

Here's Mavis modelling the latest in woolly pullies for pooches. 

Shhhh.... don't tell her but next Tuesday she's off to the vets for a little op.  We are getting her spayed, as we get all our dogs and cats done, it's the sensible way forward for all pets in my opinion. No unwanted litters of puppies or kittens to find homes for, and even more importantly better health for them in their later years.

Mavis was due to get spayed way back in April of this year just after she went missing, but now she's back and almost back to full health and her natural weight, it's time to carry on as though she's never been away.

As I don't like dogs coming home from the vets with 'buckets' on their heads, Rosy was SO terrified and wouldn't sleep until it was removed,  I now always buy them a little t shirt to cover their wound and stop them pulling out the stitches, in Mavis' case with it being almost Winter and her being such a Skinny Minnie I decided on a jumper.

I think she looks very fetching in it and she modeled it and took to wearing it very well.

Although she wasn't too pleased at having to pose for the pictures!!

And the dirty doggies bit of the title of this post ..... well the final hole was dug yesterday while I was away for the day at Mum's, and the soil removed from the hole was heaped up on the path next to it.  So after always making the dogs walk on the path to the back door rather than the grass which gave them wet feet, we are now having to reverse it and try to make them walk on the grass rather than the path as their way is blocked by a mini muddy mountain and they will insist on climbing over it!!

Yes we do use towels on the floors to catch as much of the mess as we can, we can't use newspapers as a certain little puppy girl would shred it all over the place.  Mopping is the way forward and after watching Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners on TV last night .... I think I may be joining them  ;-)

Sue xx

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Holes, Holes and More Holes

Once again we are visited by the little digger, but this time it's digging holes right outside the house.  Really convenient ..... and lovely and muddy.

It looks so innocent sat there in the sunshine, but every night we have had torrential rain and apart from filling the holes with water this makes the soil that this lovely little orange machine has dug up turn into a sea of mud that is slowly and determinedly covering our layer of slate chippings around the house. 

Which means that four human feet, sixteen little doggy feet, oh and not forgetting the four dainty little pussy cat feet are all walking it into the house.

Who was it that commented the other week that my kitchen floor looked amazingly white ..... yeah right ... not any more!!

Hopefully, once they have been inspected by Building Control, the holes will be filled in with concrete, which will act as the base for the steel supports that are going in to support the new conservatory roof.  As the conservatory has minimal roof support on two of it's sides, it needs something substantial to hold up the proper slate roof that will match the house.

And did you spot something new lurking near the house too, yes we have had to buy a new oil tank as our current one is sat right where the bank of earth is to be dug out to make more space for the garage ... and it's developed a slight leak and killed all the plants we planted around it.

Three holes done ....

... and the fourth one should be done tomorrow, after the nice boiler man who is here at the moment currently syphoning all the oil from the old tank into the new one, has finished disconnecting the central heating and hot water boiler, which is handily right in the position the final hole needs to be dug.  

So mud, mud and more mud ....... and no hot water!!

It's a good job I haven't had the central heating switched on yet, at least we've not got used to that little luxury before it's temporarily taken away from us.  The boiler will be reattached once the work is done, in the meantime it will be showers for us and the muddy dogs, and water boiled in the kettle for washing the pots.

It's like one step forward and two steps back but at least hopefully in a few weeks time we will have a much cosier conservatory 

Sue xx

Monday 13 October 2014

Stoptober Update

I put ten pounds into my purse on the first day of Stoptober and managed to spend none of it, so come last Wednesday when I added another crisp ten pound note I had a total of twenty pounds.  However, I couldn't go another week without spending anything and I had to shop for the above, well I didn't have to have the Kiwis, but they were such good value I couldn't resist.

I went out armed with the first ten pound note and a 70p off voucher.  Which came in really handy as it meant all the above came to just eight pounds exactly.  (Don't you always think it's weird when that happens ... or is it just me?)

Well that left enough for a bottle of milk at just £1 the next day, so Lovely Hubby could have milk in his tea and on his cereal, and if the truth be known he's a bit of a swigger from the bottle.  Which is no problem really as I don't have milk in anything now,  I do stop him if we have guests coming!!

The eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted something unusual in my shopping and I hear you asking ..... why the eggs?   Surely Sue and Lovely Hubby have a flock of chickens .... yes we do but it would appear they have decided to be ornamental pets birds for a while, although they are the scruffiest ornamental pet birds you would ever have the misfortune of meeting.

It's moult time here on the hillside, and across the road as it happens, we bumped into our neighbours from the campsite while we were out the other day and yes, they too have had to go out and buy some eggs, their birds have decided to go on strike too.

You may have noticed that I've even changed the header picture of the Blog, as seeing that row of bl**dy eggs there was just infuriating when we've not had any of our own to eat for a couple of weeks now!!

Anyway at almost the end of the second week of Stoptober I now have £11 pounds in my purse and there will be another £10 added to it on Wednesday, not that I think I will need much, except maybe some more milk ... it would seem a lot of swigging went on this weekend ;-)

Sue xx

Sunday 12 October 2014

Just Dance

Life is sometimes not all it's cracked up to be, sometimes you strive to hear the music.  But when you do  ..... you should just dance.

Sue xx

Saturday 11 October 2014

Dogs Watching Cats

Mavis and Suky were glued to the television the other night, and I mean really glued.  There were no adverts so nothing to distract them, even the talking humans seemed to hold their attention for a whole hour.

The programme we were watching was all about cats, and two of our dogs were transfixed by it.

What cats got up to was caught on the little cameras around their necks, how far they roamed was monitored,  how they spoke to each other and to their owners was talked about and all their little tell tale signals with their ears, tails and body language.

Ginger ..... you have been warned,  Mavis and Suky now know your every secret!!

Sue xx

Friday 10 October 2014

Throwing Food Away

Throwing food away is something I do not do lightly, especially during Stoptober, but the other morning while drinking my first cup of coffee of the day, the spice shelves caught my eye.  We've lived in this house for almost a year now and in that time I realised that some of the spices on the shelves had not been touched ... at all !!

Time for a sort though I thought to myself.

A couple of them smelt and looked fine, but were spices I had bought for specific recipes a long time ago, things I have never cooked since and doubt I will in the future so they were chucked, a couple smelt musty and as I had no dates written on the labels I decided to bin them too.  I always trust my nose more than I trust a date anyway :-)

It looks a lot sparser and neater for now, but with the re-organisations that we are about to make I think the whole shelf will be coming off the wall soon .... and staying off the wall.  The contents of the shelves will now fit in the cupboards, and that way stay dust free making the kitchen even easier to clean.  The things I have binned will only be replaced if it turns out they were useful, but somehow I doubt it.

While I was washing the jars out ready for re-use in the future the kitchen window sill grabbed my attention.  The egg boxes piled up in the corner when we have been getting no eggs were an annoyance, and it just seemed cluttered and grubby.

An hour later the window had been cleaned inside and out, the egg boxes had been added to the others on top of the kitchen wall cupboards where they will gather less dust, and everything had been washed and put back.  Even though a poor neglected plant has been added, brought in from the conservatory to keep Basil company, the window sill still looks less cluttered.  Basil's about to bite the dust as Pesto making is calling to me .... but shhh don't tell him ;-)

Do you spring into action noticing things that have been around you for ages that suddenly annoy, or is it just another of my foibles?

Sue xx

Wednesday 8 October 2014

An Old Wives Tale ..... or Something that Works

Something I spotted the very first time I visited my lovely Mum in Law Jessie, was that in a corner of every windowsill all around her house was a conker.

Just one little conker, sitting in a corner or tucked behind an ornament.  When I asked her why, she said it was to keep the spiders away.  I didn't know how or why she thought it worked but she did, and do you know what thinking back I very rarely, if ever, saw a spider in her house.

I've tried it for myself over the course of the last couple of weeks, I had hoovered up so many spiders with my little hand held Dyson and relocated them back outside, and no matter how many times a day I did it they were always back, glaring at me from the corner.  Maybe they enjoyed the manic spinning of their Dyson ride and then the cool fresh air before they made their way back inside for another go, or maybe there really were just hundreds of the bloody little things wanting to live in our house.

But since I put a conker in just three of the rooms (I only picked up three during my doggy walk the other week), there have been NO spiders in our house.

I'm a convert.

I thought I'd let you in on this little tip while there are still conkers lying on the ground.  It's worth a go if you don't like sharing your house with spiders, if you don't mind sharing with them you could still pick up a conker or two on your travels and play conkers with bits of string and much swinging.  Something that was banned during my sons last year in school for health and safety reasons ....Huh!!

And of course while photographing the conker for this post my eyes as usual were drawn to the view.  Swirls of mist drifting around the valley and the trees turning all shades of green, amber and brown.  Just magical. 
(My eyes are getting accustomed to ignoring all the works in progress on our little hillside.)

Have a good day.

Sue xx

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Sharing, Destruction and Pizzas

So what do you think these two are up to then?

Suky is sleeping through it all.

To-ing and fro-ing, tugging and sucking ..... yes, they're sharing one doggy chew.  

They each chewed an end until they met in the middle, I didn't see who got the last bit, unless of course it simply snapped in the middle and they each got to eat their own end.

Mavis and Charley are turning into partners in crime.  

Yesterdays naughties included upending the kindling basket and have a good chewing and scattering session all over the living room floor, and demolishing the old dog bed, there was foam and wadding everywhere, and as both dogs were discovered with Father Christmas-like beards the culprits were easy to spot.  But whereas a telling off will send Mavis into her bed a serious look of contrition on her face, Charley with all the confidence of always being with people that love her and treat her fairly and squarely looks at you with those big, dark puppy eyes and defies you to be cross with her for long. 

Mavis has seen too much bad treatment in her poor little life, I can never be cross with her for more than a few minutes.  She's always being cuddled and reminded that now she's home there will be no one to hurt her ...... and only people and animals that will love her.

Suky and Rosy keep themselves to themselves when the madness and mayhem kick off, but looking at Suky's tongue peeking out I think she is dreaming of a tasty snack.

Something I had last night.

After finding two homemade pizza bases in the freezer I decided that the remaining roasted vegetables would make a perfect pizza topping.  Sprinkled with the last of the grated cheese and popped in the Aga for 15 minutes.

One for my tea, and one taken out just over half cooked to go back into the freezer.

It all goes towards helping with Stoptober.

How are you doing now that we're one week in?

Sue xx