The Blues are Banished and Blue Skies are here!

As I write this it is raining, but the previous week was definitely glorious sunshine and slowly my 'blue' mood lifted and I am raring to go again.  The rain is actually very welcome as the ground was beginning to get very dry and I thought I might have to start watering plants.

We were given some money as a Christmas gift and put it towards this table cum blanket box cum footstool... we like that it multi tasks!

Everyone around about has been struck down by the usual winter flu bugs and I did not escape though Steve has so far managed to stay bug free.  My flu was eased by being able to spend the afternoons getting some sun on the veranda.  Just looking at blue sky is a tonic at this time of year.

The 'estuffa' problem took a while to sort out, mostly it needed cleaning and a new chimney piece that enables us to empty out creosote deposits easily has been installed.

This is just some of the crud that came out of the chimney pipe... the funniest thing that happened, and sadly we did not get a photo of it, was that once we finished cleaning the chimney and before we could install some wire over the top of the chimney pipe, a little bird flew down and swept the last traces of soot out for us... we found it pecking at the glass asking to be let out.  We were so astonished to see it that we just opened the door and let it fly without thinking to take a photograph.  It headed straight out a window so didn't make any mess either.  Thank you little bird.

The wood pile has been re-stacked to help the wood dry out further.  Altogether a success story that now means we are cosy, warm and above all spending our evenings in a smoke free environment.

The hens taking advantage of the afternoon sun.

We met a local lady who has a small market garden selling organic veg.  Amazing find around here, where most people still use huge quantities of chemical fertilizer.  And she agreed with us that our soil definitely needs improving and is the reason why our winter veg has virtually come to naught.  The summer veg was a success story of the goose water... our daily emptying of the goose buckets being the only reason we had any veg at all.  It may take a good year or two of adding manure before we get any returns.  Hey ho.

Steve communes with the wood elves about our wood management techniques!

We pot roasted one of the black Castillian cockerels and OMG I had no idea happy meat could taste so good.

Even organic chicken from Waitrose did not taste like this!  As much as we do not like the actual dispatching of the hens it is making us think again about keeping chickens for meat.  We still have a freezer full of goose which I am going off... you can have too much of a good thing, especially when it is such strong tasting meat.

The shoulder of lamb we swapped for a goose is waiting in a friends freezer until we clear some room in our own... that means eating some more goose... sigh.  In the spirit of waste not want not we should be eating a lot of the same stuff over and over and over.  So I guess this is a good thing.  A goose does several meals for us... in fact we can stretch it out for about five days... and we still have three left to get through.  I think a few veggie meals in between goose feasts are the order of the day.


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