Showing posts from November, 2009

Lets Hear It for the Chickens!!

Hip Hip Hooray for all the hard work our hens have done this year... and mine especially, having had a very difficult year with infestations of red mite and near death experiences,... and they are still laying. You may remember my post about eggs being seasonal and how to preserve them... well having read the latest post from the Untidy Farm ; there is a link there to even more information about preserving eggs and a jolly good 'Hurrah' for the chicken which I second whole-heartedly. You may also remember me saying that BillySteve doesn't like our girls getting out into the main garden... but their enclosure is still so very muddy - and it is still raining off and on pretty much every day, so I keep letting them out. Its causing ructions I can tell you.... and it isn't helped by cheeky Eggy and Peggy sitting on top of the garden chairs and peering in the kitchen window when I am cooking dinner! Eggy and Peggy are evacuees from my friend over at Marmalade Kiss w

Whoah Noah!!

Will it NEVER stop? I swear I can hear the sound of Noah and his clan hammering away in the distance - I am beginning to feel like we really will need that ark after all.... "Come back Noah!! I am sorry I said all that stuff about hell freezing over etc....!" Look at my hennie enclosure - it's all MUD and the Oxfordshire soil is all clay so it wont drain away, and just as I think the sun is out a huge dirty black cloud comes looming over, yesterday I had the weird experience of pelting rain in the back garden and brilliant sunshine out the front! WTF is going on? I have had to let the hens out of the enclosure to forage a bit in the garden so that they can at least dry their feet off a bit. BillySteve hates them being let loose because they scratch and scratch at everything... but... all the veggies are gone and they do eat the slugs and snails that hide at the edges of the raised beds... and anyway, he's out at work and I'm just going to set them free!!

Trip to Town

I have had such a busy time of late... Yule tide approaching and because so many members of our clan are abroad I have to plan ahead and get parcels posted in plenty of time... aged parent in and out of hospital and then nursing home - that's a month worth of blogs in itself... but probably not the most interesting... soap and toiletry students coming to the house - must tidy up, it looks like Armageddon in here at the moment... a costly visit to the dentist with a prescription for anti-biotics and a further appointment that is likely to cost me another arm and a leg (fast running out of limbs here!)........ and a couple of treats this month that I just have to tell you about........ The first one is this place We went to London yesterday for a concert - more about that later - and I wanted to take the opportunity to visit this wool shop. Unfortunately our visit was not on one of the days that they stay open late... I would have loved that... and we arrived not long before th

So that's what that is for!!

Decided to make muffins today as a gift for BillyJon tomorrow when we go to visit him - he's managed to break the cat flap on his door and needs a hand to fix a new one - firstly, I ran out of muffin cases and the only one's available in the whole of the village were enormous. So not daunted, I squashed the enormous ones a bit so that they fit nicely into the tins and proceeded anyway. Made the first batch - blueberry ones... yum...... started the second batch only to discover that I had run out of baking powder. I had plenty bicarbonate of soda but no baking powder... are they the same thing I have often wondered? A little investigation on the internet (marvellous thing, couldn't live without it!) and I discovered that they are not interchangeable. Bicarbonate of soda is a rising agent that needs liquid and something acidic to make it work - you often find it called for in recipes containing buttermilk or sour cream or something like that. Baking powder is a rising

Japan - with extra sparkles!

Those who have been following my blog will remember that BillyChristina is in Japan studying at Kansai university until next June. She drops us an occasional email and believe me I have asked for photo's until I am blue in the face!! But for now... only the words paint the pictures. 'I was away over the weekend and it's taken me a couple of days to get back up to speed. It's finally got cold here (And it's got COLD - it dropped from 26 degrees at the weekend to 11 degrees today) which we timed very badly to coincide with going up a mountain (Visited Japan's only original surviving castle today - I will try and get all my photos sorted this week so I can send you some finally!) and going to Kyoto in full kimono. Actually managed to assemble myself a full ensemble mostly from flea markets and second hand fair - currently I have a black under-robe (Self striped solid and semi-sheer) and the over kimono is rust red with black and silver baroque embroidery

Techno and Billy

It's been a busy weekend at our house... we've been a little bit Techno... and quite a lot Billy!! The Techno came in the shape of this little gadget..... attach this bit to your electricity supply wire like so.... .........and it displays exactly how much electricity you are using at any moment... you can set it to show you how much money you are spending... this is showing that we are spending 9p per hour at the moment.. it ranges from around 2 or 3 pence in the mornings and has gone up to 44 pence when I'm cooking dinner... it has made us think very carefully about what other gadgets we have running... and we can work out exactly which ones are costing us the most simply by turning one off (or on) and watching how the money goes up or down. I know that we could simply run around the house and turn stuff off - and of course we should... but there is nothing quite like seeing the money being spent to focus the mind! The Billy side of the weekend

Cass-Olé !!

Do you know what this is? It's the sky today, from my house. It's grey and dull and dark. It was even worse yesterday because it rained - sort of. That horrid light drizzle that you can barely feel, but that soaks through. It's quite often like this from November through to February with only one or two days of blue sky and weak sunshine. It's soooooo depressing. I wouldn't mind if we had those wonderful cold, crisp sunny days that I remember from my childhood. But no, it's dank, dark and miserable. No wonder lots of people in this country suffer from S.A.D. Well, the only thing I know that helps to cheer me up on a day like this is a one-pot wonder . The traditional French Cassoulet came from Castelnaudary close to where we stayed on holiday this summer. I bought a traditional cassoulet dish and the recipe of how to make it from scratch on a postcard. Alas... I could not find the postcard with the recipe on it. So I made it up. Well apparently

The New Me!

OK. Having decided to embrace my autumn years (which by the way could go on for quite some time... I do not intend to hit winter until at least aged 80!) I think it is time to re-invent myself. All the clothes that I have, or at least a lot of them, are really for another person... It's going to take a little time to do, but i'm thinking colourful, fun flounces, long skirts, drapey shawls, large soft woollens, home knitted socks and clumpy boots, scarfs and turbans... big earings, bright coloured beads and rings with large stones!! This might take some time but as I acquire each new item I will show you. But right now.... My hair. I am waiting for the henna bit to get a little longer and then I shall have it cut off - the actual style will depend upon the hairdresser - I never stick to the same one, I usually go on a whim, just phoning around until I find somewhere that can take me right away! But with the prospect of very grey or white hair looming - the texture of whic

Diving In!

A couple of weeks ago during a very bored moment, I found this blog on blogs of note. I don't often promote other people's blogs , but this one is different. As is, this particular post. You see over the last few weeks I have been reaching a special point in my life. It's not a special birthday, and nothing momentous has happened... it's just like, well autumn has arrived. I tried very hard to hang on to the summer... for the last two years I have been hanging on to the summer, refusing to embrace my autumn and all that it brings. But now I feel ready to move on. Why now? I don't know. Perhaps it was the recent round of celebratory parties that involved numerous photographs - all of which really suprised me, I don't look like I used to. I have a double chin that wasn't there before. Curves and cushion-like bulges where I used to be smooth and taut. I am tired of buying henna for my hair but afraid too of how old I will look without it. Every

So what did I do at the weekend?

OK... so everyone now knows that I don't especially like halloween. So... how did I spend the day? Well... look at these......... I swapped half a dozen eggs for all these grapes. They were left for the birds on a neighbours vine and so I thought I would ask... (well if you don't ask...) and a few hours later they looked like this......... and then an hour of squishing and squashing (alas too cold to get the shoes and socks off so it was hands only!) and they looked like this....... They are now fermenting away with some sugar and next weekend we shall transfer them to demijohns and add a little more sugar... and then... so I am told... they will magically turn in to wine. Now that's the kind of Halloween magic I could go for!