Monday 5 December 2016

Anniversary, Christmas ... and The End of an Era

It was our ninth wedding anniversary yesterday and we made the celebrations last the entire weekend.

On Friday we took Suky and Mavis to the groomers and whilst they were washed, dried, snipped and titivated and made to look even prettier than they normally are, we treated ourselves to a coffee.  Later on in the evening we went to the cinema to see Allied, a surprisingly good film, even better than the trailer had led us to expect..

On Saturday morning we opened our Sealed Pot and after years of using the money to do various Challenges this year we decided that the money was ours to do with as we wanted.  So we went to the bank to pay the bags and bags of loose change into our account and then hit the shops.  I bought myself a new dress and two pairs of shoes, and Lovely Hubby bought himself a power tool and it's accessories.

We ended Saturday with a meal out, something we have not done that often this year, so it was a treat to put on my new dress and dine at our leisure ...slightly too much wine may have been consumed  ;-)

On Sunday morning after a much more leisurely breakfast than usual we gave the house a good clean  and then put up the Christmas decorations.  We don't go mad, indeed each year we seem to streamline the decorations a little bit more. The ones we didn't use have been bagged up and will be dropped off at the charity shop later today while they still have time to sell them this year.

As you can see from these photos, the little black piggies on the gateposts have got their Christmas finery on too :-)

And this is where I have decided to share our lives for the last time.

Since January 2009 you have journeyed along with us as we moved from town to country.  You've been with us through the trials and tribulations of learning to look after chickens and pigs and as I learnt to grow enough vegetables to feed us and to preserve them in lots of ways to see us through the leaner months of Winter.  You have laughed along with our messy adventures and cried along with our losses ... feathered, furry and family .... you've been true friends in every sense of the word.  But, after much deliberation I think that now is the right time to claim back privacy for ourselves, and to close the gates on our lives in this public domain for the last time.

Thank you for being there, for being you, for the comments, the emails and the visits.  Thank you for following along throughout the last almost eight years.  I will still be around in blogland, and will leave this blog as it stands now for those of you who use it to link to the other blogs on my sidebar, although I will change the photo after this post has been live for a week.  This is not totally the end of my involvement with blogland as I will still drop by and comment on those blogs that I read regularly and follow, and hopefully keep in touch in a more low key way with my blogging buddies.   I hope you all have a wonderfully happy and peaceful Christmas and a calm and happy New Year.

We all have so much to look forward to.

With much love from
Sue and Lovely Hubby xx
Rosy, Suky, Mavis, Ginger
and The Feathered Flock

Thursday 1 December 2016

Keeping Things Going

I've been a bit of an intermittent blogger this week, sorry but I've been busy just keeping things going. 

Busy with just the day to day of living,  of visiting family, of family visiting me ... but mostly trying to keep things thawed out so that the things that have to live outdoors on our property have water to drink.  By things I mean our chickens, the resident sheep and the wild birds ... thank goodness that for now we have no other animal demands.

It's been so cold that I have needed to go over to the drinkers during the course of the day to refill them with warm water as once again they have iced up after the mornings defrosting.  I  keep a watering can near the house and fill it from the hot tap so that each time I let the dogs out for a toilet break I can check that everyone has thawed water available to drink.

They appreciate it, and drink their fill while the water is still warm.

Someone asked me the other day if chickens drink a lot of water, and the answer is yes.  Eggs are composed of lots of water and the laying girls especially need to drink even more than they need to eat, but all of them appreciate some warming water on these cold and frosty days.

Yesterday when we got back from Mum's with my younger son Jason, everything was green again.  All nicely thawed out,  the sheep were making the most of having lots of grass to nibble at and I went to bed thinking that I would have a morning off from the hot water rounds,  but this morning the hard white frost was back and once again it was -3 inside the polytunnel and no doubt a degree or so colder outside, so I donned scarves, extra socks and gloves and did the rounds.

Now it's time to do the rounds again before me and Jason head for an afternoon at the cinema, not a bad way to spend a frosty December day, it's a good way to keep me going   :-)

Sue xx

Monday 28 November 2016

Cold Crisp Weekend

Oooh ... it was a bit nippy over the weekend. 

But we got some jobs done around the old homestead, both outside and inside.  Lovely Hubby wanted to get his trailer unloaded  ready for a manure pick up in the next couple of weeks, so he set to and shovelled out all the stones that were left in there, adding them to the narrow path way that runs down the side of the wall.  It soon warmed him up.

After cleaning out the henhouse and adding more hot water to all the drinkers I grabbed the camera and got a few shots of our lovely frosty land.

This bit is on the very edge of the woodland at the back of the house, and don't worry I think it's my camera angle that is leaning so badly to the left not the telegraph pole  ;-)

It took a while to thaw out each day but once it did we had glorious sunshine, it was so lovely to see but it was still bitterly cold and you had to keep busy to keep warm.

Sue xx

Saturday 26 November 2016

Mother ...and a Frosty Morning

Mother is the name we gave our Christmas Cacti when it came to live with us after living previously with Lovely Hubby's Mum and before her, her Mum ... it just had to be 'Mother' didn't it ... it couldn't simply be the Christmas Cacti   :-)

After a break of about three months she is back in glorious flower and bringing a shot of the most beautiful colour to the room off the kitchen.

Yes, that's a Marrow in the background, the last one that was harvested before the frosts struck.

And talking of frost, we woke up this morning to a magical white wonderland of thick, thick frost.

The chickens water had to be thawed, not once but twice.

And with a big snack of corn in their tummies and warmed water to drink they were happy to mooch around in the chilly November sunshine.

Keep cosy and warm this weekend, and thank you for all the lovely comments yesterday. 
I am off out now to try and hunt Chris down, it's going to be another freezing night tonight.

Edit:  I went to Llandudno and immediately found Chris who was thrilled with his early Christmas presents, while we were chatting another guy came up, gave him a pound and said he had a nice warm jacket that was about Chris's size that he would drop off off next time he was passing if Chris wanted it ... he did .  Nice things happening to a nice guy for once   :-)

Sue xx

Friday 25 November 2016

Black Friday 2016

Well it's  Black Friday and all morning emails were pinging into my inbox advising me of all the fantastic unmissable deals available to buy on this day of supposedly mass consumerism.

Well we've just been into Llandudno, the biggest shopping town of our area and there was no manic buying in evidence ... thank goodness.  May be we didn't look hard enough but then we didn't want to.  We walked the dogs along the prom in the bright November sunshine, chatting to each other and planning something we had had in mind since my chat earlier in the week to our regular Big Issue seller, who I found out is now, through no fault of his own, living in a shed.

We went into the local camping shop and bought a waterproof rucksack and then we bought some things to put into it.  A warm hat, a couple of pairs of good quality thermal socks, a pair of thick gloves, a set of thermal base layers (long sleeved t shirt and leggings) a waterproof bag that fits inside the rucksack to guarantee everything stays dry, and finally a thin insulated roll up sleeping mat. 

Then we went outside to look for Chris.  He had been in his normal place but was no longer there, so we went into Waterstones and had a coffee while we waited to see if he would reappear, and took the opportunity to take the labels off all our purchases and pack them neatly into the rucksack.  When he was still not in sight as we left the shop, we slowly walked along the road looking in all his usual haunts, and checked in at the newsagents where he picks up his copies of The Big Issue, but he was nowhere to be found.

Oh well, that was our foray into shopping on this Black Friday, it's the only shopping we did.  And as the messages and emails keep pinging into my inbox still, I just keep on deleting them without reading ... there's nothing either of us want and nothing either of us need.  And I'm glad that our favourite town appeared peaceful and untroubled by mass buying expeditions.

Chris's early Christmas gifts are in the boot of my car and we will check to see if we can find him at every opportunity.

Have you been tempted by any Black Friday deals or are you, like us, happy to go about your normal business and not shop when you are told to shop?

Sue xx

Thursday 24 November 2016

Just a Day in the Kitchen

It was quite a nice day today, although it was cold and damp after days and days of heavy rain, the sun was shining and the view from the window was of the cottages on the hillside opposite bathed in sunlight.

On our side of the valley it was a bit duller and it wasn't quite as tempting to go out, so I stayed in the kitchen pottering around with the cupboards.  Pulling things out and wiping down the empty cupboards, before putting things back in and trying to make the contents of the various food cupboards more logical.  There will be pictures over on the other blog for the next couple of days.

While I worked away the dogs snoozed in their beds, they like it when they know what I'm up to and when I stay in the same place for more than an hour.  Mavis was curled up on the sofa with Ginger  :-)

After snapping the photo of them sleeping I carried on taking pictures around the room.

Just little areas that I love ...

... and that make our house a home.

It's nice to have an indoor day and feel like you've accomplished something. 

Tomorrow Lovely Hubby has decided it's the day we put all the raised beds to bed for the Winter, weeding them, piling on the manure and the homemade compost and then covering them with membrane, so there will be lots more accomplished .... just not in the warmth of the house.

Sue xx

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Weather ... and Anniversary Presents

I'm just in from braving our dreadful weather to have a shopping expedition to Llandudno to organise Lovely Hubby's anniversary present for next month. 

Yesterday we had strong winds and torrential rain buffeting the house all day and all night, but up to now ... touch wood .... we seem to be watertight.  No repeat of last year with every window sill being draped in towels with lines of bowls and jugs along the top to catch all the water ingress ... phew!!

  Surprisingly even though it is so wet and has been for days, the snow that's on the top of the distant hills opposite us, the Carneddau, hasn't melted so it's obviously even colder up there.

Anyway back to Lovely Hubby's present, he's going to know what it is as soon as it's delivered on Sunday, it's huge, it's being delivered by two guys ... and he'll need to be here to help them unload it and find space for it in his workshop ... so there'll be no surprise that I can pull out of my sock drawer for him this year unfortunately.  I just hope he really did want it when he said he did!!

And just to let him know if he's reading this .... that while doing a spot of research for his present I have discovered what the mystery package, hidden in plain sight beside the sofa is!!

Well that's our presents to each other sorted out for this year then  ;-)

Sue xx

Saturday 19 November 2016

The Log Store

Lovely Hubby's latest little build has been a stone pathway leading across the front of and down from the log store. 

It matches the one that runs along side the shed in Chicken World, the two are connected by the gate and a paving stone ... not that the chickens use many of our logs and actually need a connecting path 😉 

It all ties in neatly with the new permanent fencing that we have separating Chicken World from our garden area.

It got really slippery at the front of the log store last Winter with all the rain we had, and the slope down to the house when you were carrying a basket full of logs was quite precarious.

Now we can approach the log store and stand in relative safety while we fill the basket and then either step off in front when the ground is not to slippery, or walk down the pathway and turn back to the house if it is.  I just need some thicker soled wellies or some thicker inserts as I can feel every stone through mine at the moment!!

Did you spot a little doggy waiting by the gate.  She was banished from Chicken World while they ate up some popcorn .... she hoovers it up faster than a Dyson if I let her in when I'm giving them a treat !!

Sue xx

Friday 18 November 2016

You Should Be Eating the Grass ....

The sheep are back in the big paddock. 

When Will, their owner first brought them back they were here in the paddock, then he moved them to the triangular field at the end of our land for a few weeks.  They munched on the grass in there until it was short and neat, and then last weekend he came and moved them back into the paddock where the grass has recovered from their last grazing.

Only they have decided that they will not live on grass alone and are happily grazing away on anything that overhangs the fence.  Brambles, gorse, trees .... you name it and they will eat it, the only thing they wouldn't eat in the end field was all the tasty fresh new shoots of nettles that Will promised us they would see as a treat and that are driving Lovely Hubby to distraction with their manic proliferation.

Oh well, once the sheep stop nibbling around the edges of the paddock they do do a brilliant job of keeping the grass down and fertilising the ground.  It's surprising how much they have grown on this lush grazing, these are all this years lambs.

Sue xx

Thursday 17 November 2016

Little Miss Madam

Every day when I go over to clean out the henhouse this hen comes in to see what I'm up to, to inspect my work and generally give me a little piece of her mind.  She chunners away 'talking' to me in varying degrees of bossiness ....

... inspects what I'm doing and then usually with a bit of a 'huff' noise .... as if I'm not doing things properly ....

... she turns on her heel and struts out to join her friends.

When I was off colour with my cold last week and Lovely Hubby took over henhouse duties for two days she stayed away ..... but the first day I was back in charge she came marching in and gave me a right royal telling off.

Because of this even though we swore we wouldn't be naming any more of the chooks this one's name is Little Miss Madam ... because she is a right little madam.

You've got to love a chicken with sooooo much character.

Sue xx

Tuesday 15 November 2016

The Evening Stroll

I took my camera with me for last night's doggy walk round the paddock, just so I could try to capture the evening sky.  This top photo shows the colours as they were, it was a beautiful sunset.

The dogs rushed along the fence line sniffing and digging, I think the mole that has been living in and around the manure pile (you can see it's palleted sides in the bottom right corner of this picture) has veered off towards the fence line and the Jack Russells were on his trail. 

Suky doesn't join in with this, she can never be bothered to track wildlife, a Pug's sense of smell is not as powerful as a longer snouted dog and anyway she has never been tempted to eat any of little creatures that Rosy kills so she doesn't see this sort of tracking as a potential for a meal. She would rather come home and be handed a carrot to chew on, I think she would make a great little vegetarian dog.   She prefers living things that can play with her and wants to be friends with creatures rather than eat them.   I think she would love to be friends with a rabbit but with Rosy around there will never be a pet rabbit here  😩

(Have you noticed the button for 'special characters' that has now appeared on Bloggers editing page ... very useful 😊 )

Across the valley from us this cottage nestles in the hillside, it really stands out in the evenings, especially at this time of year when the foliage surrounding it is changing colour so rapidly.  I like to look across in the evenings as darkness falls and see all the lights gradually coming on in the buildings and cottages that are dotted all over the hillside, and no doubt they do exactly the same looking over at the houses on our side of the hill.  I think that's one of the advantages of not having street lights, the lights from the houses stand out so much more.

We strolled around the paddock, perhaps out for longer than usual with our eyes adjusting to the creeping darkness, and by the time we got back to the house all the chickens had made their way up the ramp and were tucked up on their perches so I could go over and close their door.  Safe for another night.

Then the log burner was lit, the kettle was put on and as the dogs sat on the rug licking their wet paws, I went round the house closing the blinds and curtains and started thinking about cooking our tea.  It was only five o'clock and we had a whole evening of cosiness ahead.

I love this time of year.

Sue xx

Monday 14 November 2016

Having Fun

We went into Llandudno yesterday morning to go to the Cenotaph at the end of the prom for 11am, along with hundreds and hundreds of other people. 

After the service we went for a coffee and a little mooch along the high street.  Once we'd done all that we started walking back towards the car park,  we had fifteen minutes left on our free parking time so we went into the arcade and there to the background sound of a few games of bingo we played on the 2p 'Tipping Point' machines and added to our collection of little plastic Halloween characters.

We are grown ups ... honest  ;-)

Sue xx

Saturday 12 November 2016

Weekend Pictures

Let's all go this way ....

... or we could go this way!!

" Mum, I think the chickens need feeding. "

" Did someone say feeding? "

There's not a lot happening here at the moment in 'coldsville' ..... can you tell?

Have a good weekend.

Sue xx

Wednesday 9 November 2016

A Trip Back Through Time

I was about to phone the AA and give them a piece of my mind about our exorbitant membership fees for this year (when you compare them to new members deals for both the AA and the RAC) but my phone has no service (this happens a lot in bad weather here in the valley).  So instead I sat at the computer with a cup of coffee and flashed up some of the blog posts that I did each year on or around this date

Way back on 9th November 2009 seemingly we were keeping an eye on our landlords dogs for the weekend, scrumping for apples in his garden (with permission).  We lived in Oxfordshire then, just outside the village of Great Haseley.

And I was in Christmas card production mode for my Farmers Market stall.

On this day one year later in 2010, we were awaiting the arrival of a late brood of chicks ...

... and someone was dissecting his chainsaw on my kitchen table!!

Moving forward another year to November 2011 and we were in the midst of tough times, but animal antics helped pull us through.

Oooh ..... exactly one year later in 2012 and I was apologising for bad language!!  What made me swear .... it was BT of course.  We were now living in Berkshire, just outside Pangbourne.

November 9th 2013 saw me posting all about making up transportable and easily eaten food for our trips here to Wales to decorate this house.  That is a very tasty looking post ... don't travel over if you are feeling peckish!!

In 2014 it was Remembrance Sunday, and this reminds me, we have yet to find a suitable position for Lovely Hubby's Tower Poppy.

And then finally last year 2015, when I posted all about the grey and seemingly never ending wet days of November.

Well there you are a quick trip back through seven years ..... and you only stopped by to see what I was up to today  ;-)

Well my phone still isn't working so I will have to put on the kettle, make another cup of coffee and do a bit of blog hoping myself ... and not one mention of the political news that we all woke up to this morning.  I'll leave that to other more daring bloggers .... 

Sue xx