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Monday, 12 June 2017

Another mouse!

It's late. I really want to be in bed, but once again we have a mouse causing havoc in the house. This time the dog is joining in with gusto. Furniture is actually being moved and there's just no respect for my knitting bag!
The problem is, I had the mouse within grasp several times and the slippery sucker leapt almost into the jaws of death on so many occassions. I could give up and go to bed, but I know that come 4am, I'll be up and trying to save it or scraping it off the carpet!
Only a week ago I was in a similar postion and saved the mouse, only to find it or another, squashed flat and decomposing under my bed! The smell was memorable!!!
If only I hadn't drunk all the gin!!!

Eeek!

I've had several quotes for moving the inside of my house and the prices are scary! We're almost tempted to hire a van and do it ourselves, however I feel that's a quick route to a big old row, so I'm gathering as many quotes as I can.

Today, I'll be mostly visiting the charity shops and tip to clear out what we really don't need with us.

 Gigi and I did a little pottering in the garden.

Not much walking took place this weekend as we lost our oldest dog, and we all dealt with it in our way, mostly quietly reflecting.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Helloooo :D

A big hello to you lovely new blogging friends :D  It's good to get messages from new people and read about our similar journeys through an often turbulent world.

The need to get away and grow a few herbs or veggies is very strong in many people these days. I think it has a lot to do with taking control of a small part of your life. Growing herbs for health, vegetables and flowers for well-being. It's not a new trend, it comes in and out of fashion on TV, but here in blogland it's possible to see that it means a great deal to so many people that it can encourage huge lifestyle changes.

It's been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember and when I was at school I dearly wanted to go to Agricultural college, but wasn't allowed, for various reasons! The ambition never left me though and after collecting an Ark of animals over the years, I realised that I needed a much bigger place to live with them.  Now I have my dear BF beside me, our dreams have merged and so off we go to France. Yes, it's scary and nerve-wracking, but it's more scary to sit still and simply talk about it.

Finn is back from the vet and I've been told to stop worrying! He's most likely stressed by all the people in and out of  the house and the frequent visits from the new Tomcat in the village (AKA Spicy nuts!!!). I mainly wanted Finn's thyroid checked as my old cat had hyperthyroidism and became very thin over a short space of time. However, all seems to be well but we'll be popping back in a few weeks for a follow up.

ps. Spicy nuts got his name as I was watching him lurking in the garden while Moomin read out a recipe title. We got our wires a little crossed but the name has stuck :D

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Oh!

The clearout at BF's went well until I stepped backwards, heavily laden with old and torn horse rugs and stepped into a stand of stinging nettles! Lets just say I've been stung where no womand should be!!!  Thank goodness for dock leaves!

Finn with Bambam

My darling Finn is off to the vet's tomorrow. He's been losing weight despite me feeding him every tasty morsel I can think of. I've wormed him and cooked food especially for him. He seems happy in himself, but is getting sooo thin. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Moving date.

The days are speeding up towards our end goal and I'm still struggling with clearing out the garage. My sweet BF has helped me with some house repairs and so tomorrow I'll help him clear out his horse equipment. Apparently there are lots of saddles and rugs, that sounds like heaven to me, but the reality will probably involve a lot of spiders and a few mice!

Talking of mice, I'm wide awake at silly oclock because the rain drove another mouse inside (or did Bambam bring it?)! However it got there, I woke to sounds of a burglery in progress! The dog didn't react, so I knew it wasn't the postman crashing around inside so my second guess was cats!
I was nearly swept off my feet as I crept out of my bedroom fumbling for a light! The upstairs hall light died a couple of nights ago, so I nearly stepped on the furry bodies gathering for a slaughter! A little squeek let me know the mouse was fighting back and I managed to trap it in the bathroom inside a toilet roll and a t-shirt! I carried him to safety while the cats thoroughly checked out the bathroom.

So now I'm wide awake having cleaned the kitchen and disposed of last nights disastrous supper. I'm clearing out the freezer, but somehow it just never gets empty! All those containers of left overs are heartily rejected by Moomin and her brother and BF has made his opinion clear on frozen food other than basic ingredients like chicken or fish (or sometimes chips!).  So the supper started out bad and I should have just given it to the chickens (veg stew of some kind) but no, I had a curry in mind. But there comes a time when you have to stop throwing good food at bad and hoping for an average result. It wasn't even that! I now have heartburn which is better than feeling very sick which I did before the mouse adventure!

I have to be up in three hours, but as I already am I'm left with a conundrum!!!

The fleece is nearly dry and Fae is doing her best job as quality control expert. She confirms that it's warm and fluffy <3

Not the Golden Fleece!

Anyone remember those lovely adventure films like Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts? I loved them to bits especially the way the dull old fleece suddenly bloomed golden and lustrous. I've had real fleeces that have behaved in much the same way, started out dowdy and dull and then after one wash become a thing of beauty. Not so with the hecking Polwarth! Yes I could swear I'm that fed up with it!  I think that leaving it in the grease in it's bag for a year hasn't helped as some of it has started to mat and felt all by itself! I cleaned and processed so much last year though that I thought I'd give it one last chance.
 Two washes in the Unicorn Power Scour and some of it is still soft and pliable.
 Some I have hope for and some will just make lovely soft (and expensive) shoe insoles!
It looks like some kind of art installation in my garden! I wonder what the neighbours are thinking? They should be used to me by now ;)

It's funny, I've been packing and clearing out for the move and one of the first things packed and ready are my bags of clean fleeces!!!  I guess that tells the whole story right there :D

Sunday, 4 June 2017

A bit of a geek!

If you haven't already guessed it, I'll admit to being a bit of a geek! I suppose I'm infulenced a lot by my children and the programs they love, but I've always had a love/hate relationship with Zombies!!!  So of course, the Walking Dead has always been a huge favourite with us all.
After the tragic episodes of season 7, Moomin and I decided to go back to the beginning and start all over again. We're now on season 4 and what am I obsessing with? Sasha's gorgeous jumper. I've scoured the internet and various knitting sites and cannot find anything close to this fairisle pattern. The colours match a lot of wool I just happen to have (!!!) and I really want to have a go, so if anyone can suggest something suitable please, please leave a comment or better still a link :D
Back in the real world, my beans are now planted and protected from slugs by little circles cut from lemonade bottles! I won't use slug pellets ever again after watching a vet program in which a little puppy nearly died from ingesting the pellets :(
In my lovely galvanised buckets, the salads are shooting up, yay :D
I can't finish this post without a picture of our comfort supper of fish pie with petite pois and asparagus, yum!
And finally, Cotton looking funny :D She's always laid out like this since a kitten. She copies the dog, haha :D
Edited to add: I've just been informed by my lovely children that I'm actually a nerd, not technically a geek!!! Well, glad that's cleared up then ;)

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Hairy dogs and suppers.

Walley really suffers in the summer with his long and luxuriously thick coat. I've seriously considered it for spinning, but I've heard that it's hard to get rid of the doggy smell!
We treated him to a set of clippers and after a good deal of dog wrangling in the kitchen, he was mostly clipped.
I took so much off, but it doesn't look too drastic, although his ears look a bit girly!
It's so hard to get a decent picture of him, especially in my garden as they both love to run around like crazies :D
There's always so much to sniff at in my garden and Walley is always on the look out for cats. He's fascinated and scared in equal measures!
I made dough for a Lebanese spiced flatbread but unfortunately dropped two sachets of yeast into the mix and had to double up on everything else! The small dough ball is for the flatbreads and the big piece was just bread. I used half chapati flour and half plain and it made a perfect flatbread but a really heavy loaf. It was excellect with bacon and eggs though!
Sorry for the blurry picture, I was in a hurry to eat it ;) Spicey meat topped with yogurt and rocket.
This was lunch the following day and it was just as good cold.
Monday the weather was wet and stormy, so I decided to go for comfort food. I've been making a sort of mediterranean fish stew for years but decided to use a recipe from the Rick Stein cookbook my lovely BF got for my birthday. It was a surprise to find how similar it was to my usual one, only Rick's is made in a big old stewpot and mine goes in the oven.
Lots of chopped veg go into the pan for 10 minutes or so, then followed by tomatoes and garlic.
When it's all beginning to soften add a big glug of pastis (I'll use it up eventually!) and a mug of stock.
Now this is where my version takes over. I layer potatoes on the top, dot with butter and bake in the oven for an hour or so, until the potatoes are soft. Then I sprinkle handfuls of cheese over and leave to brown and bubble. This version gives me time to clear up the kitchen or take the dogs out while dinner cooks itself. I don't like standing guard over a stove, waiting for something to cook, unless I'm in the mood for rissotto when I use the time for mindful contemplation, so not very often!
Served with more rocket, as it's my favourite leaf at the moment, and relax in front of a good movie, or in our case, a slightly mediocre movie!
You may have noticed all of my mismatched plates. We only have a few decent plates left after the dishwater took bites out of all of them and I'm not buying any new ones until after we move. That's one less thing to pack :D

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Ouch!

 My little bantams, Nutmeg and Coir having a scratch in the dirt.
 
My back is terrible today, so I'm just visiting you all. Some days words are harder to find than others but I am enjoying reading about your busy days and weekends.
Later I hope I'll feel up to sharing a couple of recipes from our weekend. Until then, another cuppa and then feed the ponies.

Friday, 26 May 2017

OMG!!!

The weather has been almost tropical here this week. Moomin and I took Manchee for a very long walk along a beautiful beach on an island near us. Normally in high season, the road is blocked for miles as people flock to enjoy the hot sands and cool waters. Luckily for us, everyone was at work or school! We hardly saw a soul. Manchee had a swim, dug up dead crabs and played chase with seaweed :D
 It was so peaceful and the sound of the waves, mesmerising. I needed the break before heading back to the hard work of clearing out the house.
 Here is where I'm sat this morning. My new favourite spot. In the early morning it's cool and shady with just the sound of the birds and my wooden wind chimes. Yesterday I collected some shells to make a windchime for France. I also have some paintings to finish in between packing up and there is almost a kiln full of dragons and faeries to be fired. They won't survive the journey as they are!

Manchee likes to be out here when it's cool and likes the freedom to come and go now that the fence is thoroughly escape-proof, thanks to my lovely BF :D
I have sooo many herbs for the kitchen and I bought some tomato plants and two courgettes. I normally grow them from seed and wasn't going to bother with veggies this year, but I just couldn't resist them (or the lovely green tin they're sat in below!)
I started taking cuttings as soon as I knew we were moving and everything has grown and is thriving. The yellow pots are full of lavender, rosemary, tarragon, oregano and Stevia. The tarragon has been hit by the slugs, but it recovering and the Stevia I bought on ebay as it's good as a sugar substitute in cakes. I'll give it a go ;) I've also potted up most of my raspberry plants and they're all thriving too! However will I take it all with me???
I suppose that's when the OMG moment hit me, when I realised that I really am moving away. I've lived here for 20 years and despite a few rocky times, it's been my home and my haven. If I wasn't going somewhere so wonderful, I think I'd be a wreck by now!

A way that I've been coping is by throwing myself into projects. Here is the latest. I can't post anymore pictures as it's a gift, but I doubt the person recieving it reads my blog, so I can risk a sneaky peak. I'm almost finished and it's taken just over a week. I can't wait to see it all together :D The socks are almost done, but have been put on hold!
I also have some painting projects to get on with, the garage to empty and a million books to pack. Busy days :D

Thursday, 18 May 2017

shhh, don't tell....

This is my yarn cupboard! It's beginning to get a little out of control and I need to hurry and finish off some of these balls! I'm trying hard to knit through the stash but I also have a wooden chest in the lounge that somehow became filled with new balls!
At least when I shut the doors, no one is any the wiser as to the depths of my obsession. Well, Moomin knows because she's almost as bad!!! This isn't even counting the wool to be spun. My head is beginning to spin at the thought of it all.
When I packed up my fabric stash, it filled three very large zip up shopping bags, the kind you use to store clothes in. If I have to leave a piece of furniture behind when I go, I will, but not my stashed goods - oh dear ;)

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Have I become boring?

Going into the bed and breakfast business as we are, it's become clear to me that my mild OCD for all things clean has begun to resurface! A few years ago I found myself in financial straits and took my strong point, mainly an obsession for cleaning, and turned it into a business.
During that time I cleaned a lot of houses and reshaped a lot of gardens. I learned from one lady who kept house for some stately homes how to organise a linen cupboard and how to fold a fitted sheet to avoid creases! I was very happy. Sadly, during the cold, wet months the Fibro began to take a hold and I needed to change to a less physically demanding career.
Now that we're looking at running a Gite through the Summer months I've began to obsess with methods of keeping up a standard of hygiene that I would expect if I were to go away for a relaxing week or two. 
Here comes the boring part! I've discovered that my favourite pillows can go in the washing machine!!! Is it worrying that this makes me immensely happy?  The pillows are big and fluffy and come from Ikea, so well priced and best of all not filled with down or foam but fiber filled, which is great for allergy sufferers such as myself. I'm going to be testing them in the machine this weekend as I spend weekends with BF and that will give the pillows plenty of time to dry and air.

Talking of allergies, our wonderful New Forest pony, Toffee has begun his yearly round of dramatic scares! He usually has two or three bouts of  health 'issues' which are frightening and often costly in terms of vet fees! Now we're into year three of these issues, we can see a pattern and so treat the problems without always panicking and calling the vet. Last month he couldn't breathe due to dust or pollen in his hay. A tub of Ventipulmen (much like Ventolin for humans) costs around £80 and we had no choice but to buy it!!! However, a blogging friend (thank you Danielle) has since recommended Spirulina for respitory problems and at £10 a bag, I'll give it a go!
In France we'll be relying mostly on our wits and knowledge of alternative medicines to get by until we settle and find a reasonable vet, but of course, it's always better to have a go at treating things naturally before taking chemical medicines. At the moment Toffee is having Golden Paste, a remedy made from organic Turmeric and organic coconut oil, for, lets call it circulation problems to his boy bits. He needs regular exercise and a limited diet which will also do me some good to get out and walk him and stop thinking about house issues.
We've had a couple of offers on the house and they're getting closer to the asking price, so it's all positive, but stressful all the same!