Saturday, 30 May 2009

Chicken Challenge!

I am very proud of my little greenhouse area. As you may recall, I removed two of my raised beds to fit in the greenhouse. I kept one of them to use as a 'salad' bed. But the chickens had other ideas. Everytime I tried to tidy up the area they made dust baths in the bed and kicked all the soil out again. Drastic measures were called for. I created a lovely little fenced off area complete with gate. A little chicken free spot where my salads could grow and flourish. I even attached that bit of green trellis to the climbing frame to deter them from using the frame as a take off point.

But Sugar the naughty whitestar had other ideas and decided that the boys sunflowers were far better eating than the lush green grass now flourishing on the lawn.

Drastic measures were called for. An extra layer of chicken wire added to the top of the almost invisible green fencing.

Ha! That did it! A fully chicken free zone! Not quite as picturesque, but effective. Today I finally felt confident enough to sow some radish, spring onion and lettuce seeds in it!

And inside the greenhouse - my fabby raised bed! Tomatoes, chillis, peppers, cucumbers and melons!
And finally a gratuitous shot of my baby cuddling Dad. My smallest boy will be starting school in September and it won't be long before cuddles like this are a thing of the past. What a shame that they have to grow up!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Holiday time!

I should really remember to update this more regularly! Now I find I have so much to tell, and you will all get very bored with it LOL

Because of A's shiftwork, he gets 18 days off every 3 months. These days off are fixed and typically very few of them coincide with the childrens school holidays! We were planning on going camping last week, but the weather was miserable, so we cancelled and had a holiday from home instead - lots of decorating done (I'll post pics of my sparkly painted porch in due course!) and just a coupleof days out with the boys.
So now it is half term and I am home alone with the boys and A is back at work.
So today we went to West Lodge Rural Centre. I was able to cuddle some tiny 6 day old goat kids - soooo gorgeous! And there were lots of chicks and some tiny piglets. I didn't take many pics sorry - I was too busy cuddling!

The weather was perishing! Sunny but a biting wind, so we didn't stay too long, but the boys were nicely worn out!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

My Dream House ...

Do you have a dream house? One where you like to imagine yourself living one day? I certainly do! However, as it is my parents house, I am fortunate enough to be able to visit and play at living there sometimes! Sadly, they have taken the hard decision to relocate to somewhere a bit closer to all their grandchildren. So the house is now for sale - and we are in no position to relocate there.
I've just spent a lovely day there, with my husband and children and my parents, enjoying a lovely roast dinner and relaxing in the conservatory while the boys coloured and played trains with grandad. So I took a few pictures of the house and gardens - would you like to have a look around it with me? OK - but bear with me, I took lots of pictures and am likely to ramble a bit!

This is my favourite room, and the place where I spent most of the day. The weather has been wild today - heavy showers interspersed with glorious sunshine, and very windy. But in here it was warm and snug.
I sat and finished knitting my socks, then did a bit more work on my hexagon blanket. The boys got very creative with pens and pencils:
I watched the comings and goings on the birdtable:
There is actually a Great Tit on that feeder, and a shy sparrow making his getaway. Minutes earlier there were 2 pairs of Goldfinches! Beautiful! I also had a good view of part of the garden:
And could still join in the conversation going on in the sitting room (although they were watching football, so not a great deal of conversation was forthcoming!)That is the room to be in in winter. That woodburner throws out an incredible amount of heat!
And the room is open to the kitchen, where Stanley works. Not only does Stanley cook delicious meals (roast potatoes are his speciality) but he also heats the water and runs the central heating. He is no ordinary aga! No heating on in the house today, but with Stanley cooking the roast dinner, everywhere was warm and snug!
The kitchen may only be small, but it is perfectly formed! There is certainly plenty of space for small boys to help!
The kitchen is situated between the sitting room and the dining room, and fully open to both rooms, so it really is the hub of the house. You can be working in the kitchen, and still be chatting to those in the sitting room, or the dining room. No need to be shut away from your guests or family! But it is rather small I hear you say. Where are the appliances? The pot and pans and paraphernalia of a working kitchen? I'll show you!
The dishwasher is just round the corner from Stanley, and opposite the dishwasher is this enormous cupboard. What is so special about that you may ask? Sadly, I didn't think to photograph the inside of the cupboard, but if I had, you would see rows and rows of pull out wire baskets. Every pot, pan, cup, saucer and plate you could ever need is in that cupboard. Emptying the dishwasher is an absolute joy!
And see that door, next to the cupboard? That is the pantry. Yeah, OK. But no, not 'OK', this is an amazing house! This is a pantry and a half! Look at all the cupboards - and you can't see the ones behind me! There is the microwave, and there is a floor to ceiling wine rack. But the best bit? Just to the right, there is space on the worksurface for the food mixer, food processor and more! THEY NEVER NEED PUTTING AWAY! They just sit there quietly, ready and waiting to be used. No need to get them out of the cupboard and tidy them away again afterwards. What bliss!
There is yet another small room off the dining room that houses two tall freezers AND a utility room with washer and dryer, sink, boot space, and a downstairs loo and shower room.
But that brings us to my second favourite room! This room was added to the house after my parents moved here. It was designed by my very clever step mum, and most of the building done by my dad and brother. Originally it was a cluster of outbuildings behind the garage. There is room for a huge dining table - big enough to seat all the family. And room for that beautiful dresser you see at the back.
This beautiful stained glass window was made by Mum (on the other side is the dishwasher and the enormous cupboards). The ceiling is cathedral style, with wooden beams across, and the whole end wall is windowed so you have a lovely view of the gardens while you eat.
This is the dining room from the outside.And this was the view we got today. How amazing!
As if all that space were not enough, there is also the front room. This is the quiet room, seperate from the rest of downstairs, and often used as a guest room (by me!) There is an open fire in here, and the piano (with my mugshot on top!)
And there is another lovely view - you can just see the neighbours house on the far left. Did I mention it is in the middle of nowhere?I'm not going to show you the bedrooms, but rest assured, they are equally as beautiful as the rest of the house. But let me give you a glimpse of the gardens. Yes, that is right, gardens, plural.

There is the front garden - your standard, lawn, drive and flower beds, Then there is the garden to the right of the above picture - large drive, large lawn (good for camping on as obscured from the road by a large hedge),

the vegetable garden,

with drying area and raised strawberry bed in the background.
Going back to the front garden, here is the little archway into the best bit of the garden (so my boys think anyway!).
They will really miss this!

In the summer this area is a real suntrap, it is lovely to sit and soak up the rays whilst the boys play trains around you. But why sit in the middle of the railway, when there is an inviting little step, up through the railings, and the lavender and thyme
to the beautiful 'hidden' garden. This is a paved area, surrounded by raised sleeper beds - even more of a suntrap than the railway garden!
It looks amazing when everything is in full flower! All purples and blues.
This a gardens of secrets and surprises. See the water feature? It is an insulator from an electricity pylon! Looks very pretty when switched on and the water is trickling down onto the pebbles below.
And there is the decking behind it - we have come full circle to the outside of the conservatory.
See the little details that make this house and garden so special. These glass lights are reclaimed paving lights, they have rope lights underneath them, so they light up the garden at night. It is so pretty!
I love this house, just as it is, I wouldn't change a thing if I lived here. Ah, except for this bit. This patch is across the road (track) from the house and it is a patch of land between the lane and the dyke. It is just scrubland at the moment. But just imagine how many chickens you could keep on there! Or goats even!
Ah well, I can only dream. Thank you for sharing this with me. I love this house, and what my parents have done to it in the last ten years. I really hope that whoever buys it will lavish the same care and attention on it that they have, and that it won't be changed too much.
And in case you get the urge to relocate to Lincolnshire, here is the link to the estate agent details:
Sorry it's such a long link - I don't know how to shorten it!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Shoe Extravaganza!

I don't normally spend much on myself (unless it's wool or fabric and that doesn't count!)
But today I just had too. Crocs £10 a pair (and they are the real thing). I just had to have two pairs. My old pair are worn so thin they are positively dangerous!

Aren't they pretty? Candy coloured crocs! Although I think I should've bought a third pair in celery - that would've looked wonderful!
Just look at our allotment site now! No more a field, but a patchwork of little plots, every one different!
When I finish on my own plot, I walk away from the car park, towards the hedge you can see at the far side, up the side of the field, and back along the top path. That way I can have a nosy at everyone else's handywork!

We had a cheeky visitor yesterday. We were in the shed when smallest boy said "Mummy there is a mouse". I didn't expect to see said mousey INSIDE the corn bucket, with the lid firmly on! I released him well away from the chicken run. He deserved a head start, for his cheek!
I am now suffering from a mixture of excitement and disappointment. We were planning to go camping tomorrow - lo and behold we get severe weather warnings. I feel as if we are destined not to get a holiday this year - again! Every time we have had time away, the weather has turned bad on us. The excitement is because we decided to give up our plans to camp in Yorkshire in July, and instead head back to France. Although the last time we went there it rained. At least we have a decent tent this time! I don't care what it does - I'm just delighted to be going back!
This is where we are going (again)
It is a wonderful place - in the middle of nowhere! I can't wait!! *big grins*

Sunday, 10 May 2009

First Harvest!

My first harvest from the allotment! Some lovely, crunchy radishes! (I know, I know, very simple to grow, but very rewarding to pull up a couple to munch while I was digging!) These are Mirabeau - a long variety. They don't seem as peppery as the globe variety, which suits me as I've never liked radishes! I'm developing a taste for these little beauties though!

Here are the latest pics. The onion and Broad Bean bed with the as yet unplanted, other big bed in the foreground.
The other end of the broad bean and onion bed. The radishes were sown in between the broad beans. The bed in the foreground with the canes on it has been sown with various carrot and parsnip seeds in the little sections.
Beyond the carrot bed - 2 small beds, one with manure on ready for the courgettes, and one with newly sown peas. I have more pea seedlings in the greenhouse, ready to be planted out here. You can just see my potatoes before the compost bins of my neighbours plot.
It looks quite tidy from this angle. I still need to take the couch grass of my paths and put down more weed suppressing membrane and wood chips. The black bin bags are full of couch roots. Hopefully Dad has a little incinerator for me so I can burn the stuff.
Broad bean and onion bed again, with the row of fruit bushes along the left hand border.

As I was about to leave, I got chatting with my neighbours and subsequently came away with some sprout, broccoli and cabbage seedlings! Bartering at it's best - I will take them some eggs as a thank you.