Friday, 18 August 2017

Green Corners, Work Corners

This is a bit of a post of two halves, firstly this little green corner of our land that I love ...

... it's literally just a tidying up of a corner, to the left of this photo, that we tidied up a couple of weeks ago. 

A few large stones neatening the edge in front of the of the tree, back filled with compost from an old planter and planted with some wild flowers and daffodil bulbs.  We neatened up the archway into the woods and moved the 'little shed' as it's called from it's old position by the oak store to the left of the arched entrance..

I couldn't resist a little curtain at the window after cleaning the glass.  It's only an old tea towel cut almost in half and then drawing pinned into place, but it gives it enough of a cute look to satisfy my occasional girly cravings  ;-)

Another corner we've been tackling is this 'storage corner' in the polytunnel.

Once you start a corner like this it grows under it's own steam and you actually forget what's in the boxes at the back so it was time to do something about it.

Another corner bugging me was the other end of the workbench where I do my seed sowing and potting on.  The plant pots and trays were taking over the space, gradually getting messier and messier.  So I came up with a plan to sort out both corners in one fell swoop with just a bit of saw action required by my lovely hubby.

I'll be back with photos of the finished result once I remember to take my camera over with me next time I visit the tunnel.

Sue xx

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Just Mavis

Just Mavis .... looking very smart standing in the paddock.

She's a much more confident little doggie now and can be trusted to mooch about the place a little bit if we are around.  She comes when she's called, and goes up into our woodlands or into Chicken World rather than towards the road.

Massive improvements for a dog that had such a bad start in life.

We love her to bits.

Just Mavis.

Yes Suky ... we love you too :-)

Sue xx

Friday, 11 August 2017

Chicken Stocktake 2017

I try at least once a year to do a Chicken Stocktake, mostly to fix in my head the numbers and types of our ever changing flock of chickens.  The old girls die, youngsters are born or accidents happen like last weeks and we lose a girl suddenly.

Some good news to share with you all is that we got one of our stolen girls back :-)

She had been chucked over the hedge into a field of sheep and one of our neighbours spotted her fending for herself and let us know.  It took Alan literally two minutes to catch her and bring her home ... where she got stuck into the Layers Pellets like a thing possessed.

So with her return to the flock it seemed like a good time to do this years stocktake.

Heading his harem of lovely ladies is Jack, the Lavender Pekin Bantam cockerel,  who is now a magnificent mature specimen of miniature manhood.

Once again, thank goodness, we have four 'Green Girls'.

We have four 'Blue Girls'. they are named as such from the bands on their legs, so we can remember when we bought them, although in this instance the purchases were only two weeks apart. 

These are all Calder Rangers.

We have one Light Sussex cross.

We have two older Calder Rangers.

Our older girl is Harriet the Light Sussex, she's approximately six years old now.

There is Jack's sister Jill.

We have one remaining Skyline, our blue egg layer.

We have two of last years 'Welsh Girls'.

We also have Poppy, another Lavender Pekin Bantam and one of our original girls, born way back in 2011.

There is one Large Black Maran left from 'The Gang', and she is feeling very sorry for herself with her sister and best friend gone.

And last but not least, there is Ebony, the Black Pekin Bantam, usually to be found in the nesting boxes ... she not particularly broody, but just likes her own company most of the time.

And that completes this years stocktake -

1 cockerel
3 Pekin Bantams
16 large chickens
(of which 12 are regular layers)

And after munching their way through lots of spinach leaves while I got these photos, the chickens all then trooped back off into the woods to carry on with their chickeny business for the day.

Sue xx

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Do I Still Do the Things

I've been asked a couple of times if I still do any of the things I used to post about on my various Challenge blogs and on here ... well the answer is a resounding YES  :-)

As you can see from the top photo I religiously check after I have shopped at Asda to make full use of their Asda Price Guarantee thingy.  They don't advertise this anymore either in store or on the receipts, but it is still very much in operation.  Nine times out of ten I get a voucher after I check my receipt online.  

We still get our Tesco Clubcard vouchers, and make good use of them to buy things that we can't grow or produce ourselves.  Although we have now cancelled our Tesco credit card and use just one credit card to keep things simpler (of course paying it off in full every month).

We went out to buy Alan some new jeans the other day as he has lost weight and was having real trouble keeping his jeans up, at the checkout we were given this voucher along with our receipt ...

... when we got home our latest quarterly Marks and Spencer's vouchers were laying on the doormat. 

So if I put one with the other and I will be able to get £35 worth of food for just £15.  Yes ... a little happy dance was danced :-)

Oh and although I have stopped buying this magazine on subscription, I just couldn't resist this offer when I was in Tesco the other night after the Trelawnyd Flower Show,  I must have had growing things still on my mind.

But I just couldn't say no to almost £24 worth of free seeds and a free dvd (which isn't brilliant but I did get a good recipe from it for Cucumber Pickle).

Inside the magazine was this, now the question is  ... can I resist the thought of another £36 worth of seeds and three copies of the magazine for just £5 ?  You just have to be very careful to cancel the subscription before they take the next payment out, something they are relying on you not to do.

So as this all shows I am still a sucker for coupons, vouchers and freebies ... but as hobbies go this isn't so bad  :-)

Sue xx

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Hands Up

Hands up if you walked on the newly painted grey floor in Dad's workshop.

Yes Suky .... we know it was you!!

Sue xx

Sunday, 6 August 2017

A Day Out to the Trelawnyd Flower Show

Saturday started early for us, feeding the animals and sorting out the chickens and making sure everything was loaded into the car safely for the forty minute drive to Trelawnyd.  Once there all my earlier preparation proved very worthwhile and everything was staged within twenty minutes.

It was nice to have a look around the hall at all the other exhibits while it was quiet and chat to some of the other exhibitors as they put their vegetables and bakery in place ready for the judging at 10am. 

There was an excellent turn out for every category.

As you can see the standard is exceptionally high.

The we got back into the car and drove into Prestatyn for a spot of breakfast, a mooch about the shops, a few necessary purchases, a coffee and cake at Marks and Spencer's and then back into the car to return to Trelawnyd, although we didn't go straight back to the show instead we called to Jackson's, the local garden centre first for a look around at all their goodies, after all it's not often we get up to that neck of the woods.

Returning to the Show at two o'clock we were just in time to hear John's introduction of the shows opener and listen to her speech, which is what I'm doing in the top picture, then we had a look round the hall to see how we'd done.  I was really pleased to get a Second for my Blueberries ....

...and another Second for my green Marrow  :-)

Then we decided as the queue for teas, coffees and cakes was so long to have a wander round the village.

We got as far as the village pub, where ciders were purchased and consumed before going back to the show to have our coffees and cake.

It was a lovely day out.  It's always nice when we get to go somewhere for a whole day together and get away from the normal day today of our place.  Highlights of the day were seeing John again, winning two Seconds with my fruit and vegetables and meeting a couple of lovely blog readers. 

Christine and Debbie it was great to meet you both and get to have a little chat with you, I hope you both had as good a day as we did in what is fondly known of in Blogland as 'John's Show'   :-)

Oh, and to round the day off nicely we also won a £10 prize in the raffle ... which is how Debbie deduced who we were  ;-)

The next local show that I'm showing produce at is the Llanrwst Show in two weeks.

Sue xx

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Peas, Mice, Blueberries and Shows

The peas haven't been brilliant in quantity this year but we've enjoyed enough for a few good meals.  This pea pod shows the standard of the peas we got from the ones that were available a week or so ago.  Sadly there are no more to go in the freezer but we do have a few more pods developing on the outdoor plants, the ones in the net tunnel have unfortunately all been eaten by mice, so I've pulled up the dying plants to make more space for the Strawberry runners.

Talking of mice, we've been using two humane mouse traps to catch the mice, releasing them unharmed after a good snack ... which they have now figured out how to get out of.  The last few days when we have checked the traps there are no tasty treats left ... and no mice!!

So now it's a case of them or us and sadly I have had to use poison pellets in the traps instead of the usual tasty treats  :-(

Even though our pea crop is coming to an end with no supplies to see us through the Winter, the Blueberries show no signs of dwindling.  This was one of the first pickings a couple of weeks ago, which unfortunately I didn't weigh ...

...this was a week later.

These were picked when we got back from the Royal Welsh Show last week and yesterdays smaller picking was taken for Mum, as was one other picking a few weeks ago, and of course we've been eating lots ourselves, either when we're out working or a small picking to go in a dessert or smoothie.

This week I have purposely been avoiding picking off the middle Blueberry bush ... the one with the biggest juiciest berries ... as I wanted to enter a bowlful into the Trelawnyd Show on Saturday to support blogging buddy John Gray, now (because I forgot to tell him) I've just found out that my Lovely Hubby has been snacking on them ... naughty boy!!

Talking of the Trelawnyd Flower Show, today I am going to start getting my entries together to save a last minute panic on Saturday morning.  The first year I entered I managed to get two Second places for my tomatoes and potatoes, last year I improved slightly with a First for my Orange Marmalade and a Second for my Green Tomato Chutney.

How will I do this year?  Well I have no idea, the fruit and veg growing has been a bit out of time, the mice have been a pain, but I'm going to put my best foot, and marrow,  forward and do what I can. 

At the very least we are going to get a good day out  :-)

Sue xx