Saturday, 30 October 2010

From the Past

Here's a photo of Nigel in his younger days showing off his legs.  That's Gibralter break water in the background.


This year we have decided to try and make all the usual things that you have at Christmas ourselves.  So early this month, October,  we baked our Christmas cake following a Delia Smith recipe and have been feeding it with brandy each week.  We now have to decide how to decorate it and will upload a photo of the finished item later.  Also had fun making Chritmas puddings, they took a long time to cook and will need another 2 hours of steaming to re-heat on the day.  Just looking for recipes for sweets and other chocolatey type things.

Wood for the burner

Nigel has been very busy over the last two or three weeks cutting wood for the burner.  We now have plenty of wood ready should it be as cold as it was last winter.  A lot of the wood came from our own property.

Update on the French White Marans

Sad news, unfortunately another one of the marans has died leaving 2 cocks and 2 hens.  Hopefully the hens will start laying eggs early next year so we can incubate them and increase our flock.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The "Morons" In Their New Pen

Here are the remaining French Maran chickens in their new pen.  Sadly last week we had an outbreak of coccidiosis and lost 4 of them (plus the white cockerel from Marlon's group).  Luckily the medecine we got from the vet seems to have done its job and the remaining 5 seem healthy and strong.  We are pretty sure now we have two cockerels and 3 hens which is what we were planning on keeping anyway, so fingers crossed these survive.  They seem happy in their new surroundings, they have plenty of room and a pallet to roost on so they should be fine in there for the winter.  They seem to be developing well, they are just over 9 weeks old now and the cockerels are starting to find their voices, its not a proper cockadoodledoo yet, just a sort of cough.  Will be interesting to see how Marlon reacts to two strange cockerels crowing in his barn!

Another CUP Card

I just love what Ann Fellows has done with this card featuring our darling little Pataud.  This is his classic pose, stood up on the wall outside the house door.  Whenever he is in the garden and you go out he comes running up for a bit of fuss.  To see the CUP sheet for this card press this link: Scruffy Little Dog

Mopsy's Babies Growing

Mopsy's babies are gorgeous!  They are just sooo cute when they climb up at the front of their cage waiting for their food!  Funny, their ears aren't half as big as the others, hope this doesn't mean they aren't going to grow very big.

CUP Card

Another lovely card, made by Kristina Norbat.  I photographed the Peepil Leaf pictures Mother and Jacqueline have on their living room wall and think they have come out really well.  To see the CUP sheet for this card press this link: Peepil Leaf Paintings

Young Bunnies New Home

Brindy, Bluebell and Blossom's babies are all growing really well and have now moved into the new pens Nigel has built for them.  As you can see from these pictures they are no longer babies but young rabbits now and have lost that really cute look they had as babies.  We cant get over how big their ears are - huge! - hope they grow to fit them so we get plenty of meat!

Nigel has worked really hard and only has one more section left to concrete along this side of the barn (at the other end in the chicken pen).  I have to say it is so much easier feeding the bunnies in these new pens.  We just need to fix up a light fitting on a timer over their area as it is a little dark in this corner of the barn and as it is getting cooler now we dont open the shutters (on the wall above the pens) which did let a bit of light in.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Another CUP Card

Fishing On The Lake
This card was made by Joan Prince and I think it has made up really well.  I took the photos up at the lake at Corlay where we walk the dogs.  It is a very popular spot for fishing.  It was really amusing because when I asked the chap if I could take his picture he said yes and carried on fishing but the two young lads promptly turned round and posed for the photo with big grins on their faces.  I didnt have the heart to tell them I wanted a photo of them fishing!
To see the sheet for this card press here: FISHING ON THE LAKE

Today's CUP card

Smallholder Animals - Chickens
Here is a card made by Lynda Jones which I particularly like.  Pictured are Red and Girty, two of our original chickens.  Red died ages ago but Girty is still going strong, she doesnt lay any eggs any more but is a bit of a matriarch figure with Marlon's younger girls.
To see the sheet for this card press this link:

Mopsy's New Babies

Havent got a photo yet as they havent come out of the nest box yet but Mopsy has given birth to 5 babies, all the same colouring as her, fingers crossed they all survive this time.  Unfortunately Bluebell's poorly baby which was in Emergency Ward 10 died yesterday so with Mopsy's new litter that makes 19 baby rabbits to feed up.  That will keep us going nicely till next year when we start over again early in the spring.

The "Morons" are growing!

Our French White Maran chicks (the Morons as Nigel calls them) are growing really quickly.  They are going on 6 weeks and are looking a bit scruffy at the moment because they are getting their adult feathers but are still a bit patchy yet.  From the size of their combs we reckon we have 5 females and 4 males which is quite a good result.  I think they are going to be beautiful birds with their fluffy trousers and pure white colouring.  Their due date for starting to lay eggs is mid December but because of shorter daylight hours its possible they may not start till early spring, so by next summer we will be into full production of French White Marans for the freezer - yummy!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Another CUP Card

Ducks on the Pond
I love this card, it was made by Audrey Clifford.  She has just made it up straight from the sheet and it looks so pretty.  Its a picture of Fred and Wilma our two Rouen Clair ducks sitting on their pond.
To see the sheet for this card press here: DUCKS ON THE POND

Billie - "One of the Boys"

Since Billie has been sleeping out in the lounge with the dogs Nigel says she thinks she is one of the boys, seems he is probably right, here she is having a dip into Joli's food bowl.  When I cook the dogs their "special" twice weekly breakfast of ham, toast and eggs, she sits waiting for her share of the ham.  Nigel said if she wanted to be one of the boys she had to eat toast and eggs too!
For her first couple of years here she was such a timid cat spending most of her time in the bedroom.  Now she doesnt spend any time in there (we keep the door shut now) and she goes out into the garden regularly and has finally become the queen of the house.  If she decides to sit in the doorway enjoying a bit of sun the dogs wont go by her, they just sit and whine at us (even Pataud who normally isnt frightened of anything), makes you wonder if they have felt a claw or two!  Its about time I say!

CraftsUprint Designs

I have decided to start posting pictures of the cards people have made of my Craftsuprint sheets.  This is my best selling sheet so far.  The card was made by Dianne Jackson, I think she has done a really lovely job of this one.  The picture was taken at Plymbridge Woods where Nigel and I used to walk Bugle, bless his heart, he used to love swimming in the river.
To see my sheet for this card press this link: WOODLAND RIVER SCENE
Woodland River Scene

Monday, 30 August 2010

X-Factor Again

Well it seems it took a week for Simon to turn back to his old self, he was a right grumps on Saturday night. Its a shame because I think he is really tasty when he grins and smiles! This week I really liked the older woman from Scotland, I thought she had a really good voice. I also liked the lad at the end who couldnt really sing but he was really "likeable" as Louis puts it, I've had that song he tried to sing on my brain ever since and cant remember who recorded it - "Dont stop believin"! It will come to me no doubt. I really didnt think much to the girl who was chucked out the other year who they were raving about. Oh well roll on boot camp and the live shows.

Sunday, 22 August 2010


Yay, X-Factor has started again! Nigel is not impressed as he thinks it is rubbish but I dont care, I like it and I'm going to watch it! Last night I really liked the girl with the red flower in her hair, I thought she had a really good voice. I thought Simon Cowell seemed a lot nicer last night, it will be interesting to see how long it lasts before he starts getting nasty again.

Willow Trees

Back in March/April 2008 we bought and planted a whole load of willow cuttings. They were about a foot tall and were pushed into the ground till only a couple of inches remained above the surface. These pictures aren't very clear but you can just about see some of the willows now, they have grown really tall and are starting to fill out nicely.

Bluebell & Babies

The picture on the top is Bluebell and three of her babies, all doing well and thriving. The one below is the fourth of Bluebell's surviving babies (3 didnt survive unfortunately), we have taken it out and put it in its own little cage (Emergency Ward 10 as Nigel calls it) as it doesnt seem to be doing so well, it is very floppy and has a bad back leg and is much smaller than the other three. We were worried Bluebell might kill it if we left it in with her, we think she may have killed the others. Apparently although rabbits dont usually kill and eat their young it has been known to happen if they are weak and sickly.

Blossom's babies

Here are Blossom's 8 babies, all thriving and eating everything you put in front of them. They really are so cute at this age. They are just over 5 weeks old now. The darker beige one at the front is Nigel's favourite so I think we may be keeping that one if it is a girl.

Brindy and babies

Brindy's babies are now just over 6 weeks old and are growing big and strong. Aren't they gorgeous, all three dark like their mum. They are due to leave mum's cage very soon.

Fred & Wilma

As you can see Fred and Wilma, our Rouen Clair ducks are growing like mad and are turning into big beautiful ducks. They seem very happy indeed and spend all their days in the pond.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Craftsuprint July Competition

This is my entry into the July cardmaking competition at Craftsuprint. Anyone reading this please please please vote for me by clicking on my craftsuprint button (over on the right) and going to the home page, the link for voting is in the box at the top left - July Competition Voting.

Blossom & Bluebell's Babies

These are Bluebell's babies, she had 7 which is a good size litter. Aren't they gorgeous!

These are Blossom's babies, she had 8, one more than Bluebell and although they were all born on the same day, Blossom's babies seem more lively than Bluebell's. They are all gorgeous though at this age.

Friday, 30 July 2010

CraftsUprint Designs

I started uploading craft sheet designs onto the CraftsUprint website on 15th June. I had to sell 100 sheets as a New Designer before I became a Bronze Designer. I reached my target and became a Bronze Designer on Tuesday 27th July. I now have to sell 900 sheets to be made up to a Silver Designer, I'm on 889 at the moment so I need to get cracking designing sheets! If you are reading this please click on the Craftsuprint button at the top of the blog to have a look at my designs (and earn me 2p a click!).

New Arrivals - Rouen Clair Ducks

This is Fred and Wilma our two new Rouen Clair ducks (Fred is the one in the front with the dark ring around his bill and eyes). They are such beautiful ducks and are so big! They are the same age as our Appleyard Saxony crosses but they are so much bigger already. They have gone straight into the duck compound with the pond and as you can see they love the pond, this is the first time they have been on water and they took to it straight away - like ducks to water! We are humming and hahing over whether to transfer the Appleyard Saxonys we are going to keep down to this compound to join them as the male will be so much bigger and could damage the A/S females if he tries to get on them. It would be ok on water because of the buoyancy but on land he would be very heavy. We will wait and see how big the A/S's get and indeed if the Rouens get any bigger. All good fun!

New Arrivals - French White Maran Chicks

Here are 7 of the 9 chicks that hatched on Monday and Tuesday 26th/27th July. 9 out of 15 hatch - not too bad. These are in the small brooder up in the barn. The other 2 are still down in the nursery brooder in the house, in hospital, because they had splay legs (their legs weren't strong enough to hold them up and they splayed out). They have a sticking plaster holding the legs in the correct position and they are able to stand up. The plaster will stay on for about a week until their legs are strong enough to hold them up naturally and then they will go up to the barn to join the others. They are so cute, they have feathers on their legs so when they are grown up they will have full length trousers on! These are our first pure breed chickens so we will be keeping them separate from the other chickens.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Breeding Like Rabbits!

Havent got many photos yet as they are still a bit young but we have quite a few new baby rabbits. Brindy gave birth to 3 babies (all black) on 9th July (2 weeks old) and both Blossom and Bluebell gave birth on 16th July. We dont know exactly how many they have yet as they are kept hidden most of the time but we think they had 6 or 7 apiece. All doing well so far. Unfortunately Mopsey's last baby didnt make it so she has had a bit of a rest and is going back in with Newby shortly.

Duck Update

The ducks (you can't really call them ducklings any more!) are all growing so well. The two from the original batch, seen here in the picture on the right, are about 12 weeks old. One is a definite Indian Runner duck and the other is probably an Aylesbury/Runner cross. The big Runner stands head and shoulders above the rest and is always at the front of the group as it is running along.
The Saxony Appleyards are now 9 weeks old and are starting to look really beautiful with their colours. We have a cuckoo in the nest so to speak with one of them turning out to be an Aylesbury. So far we are thinking we have 4 males and the rest of them are females so if this turns out for definite it is a good result. Next week we will hopefully be bringing home a couple of Jan's Rouen Claire ducks which are a big breed meat bird, they are about the same age as ours and are so much bigger already. They will go down in the duck compound around the pond and we will then have to decide which of the
saxony/appleyards we are going to keep for breeding to put down with them. All good fun!

Liz and James's Holiday

I cant believe we didnt take a single picture of Liz and James whilst they were over here for their holiday. Still here is one of them at the wedding.
They were really lucky for the first week of their stay as the weather was dry and really hot. James worked hard in the garden cutting down the bracken and trimming the hedges and got a lovely rash for his efforts. We are not sure if it was from the bracken or hedges or just a heat rash, he did work up quite a sweat! The latter half of their stay it rained quite a bit but I think they were grateful for the cool at least. Poor Liz was suffering a great deal with her hip, it was awful to see her in so much pain, lets hope they are able to get her sorted out when she eventually gets to see the consultant.


On the Saturday after the wedding we went and did some shopping in Morrisons in Paignton (it was lovely! the big supermarkets here are brilliant but I do miss Morrisons sometimes) then Liz and James took us on a tour of Torquay (in the car of course). We stopped at a really nice park area overlooking Thatchers Island where we had a sandwich and a drink. Then we went back to L & J's flat where Charlotte was waiting and we chilled for the rest of the afternoon. We were going to be going out for a meal in the evening and we had decided on an Indian but we had left it too late to book and we were all feeling shattered anyway so we ordered a takeaway - it was delicious, our first Indian takeaway since leaving England. Mind you Nigel does a lovely curry so we dont go without!

The Wedding

We had a lovely weekend away in England staying with Liz and James and attending Ben and Emma's wedding. The weather was very kind for the wedding and it was a lovely day, albeit very emotional what with tears at the registry office (it was very touching!) and in the evening when Nigel got a tad drunk and maudling about missing his family. They both looked the business in their wedding clothes, Emma was a picture in her lovely dress and Ben very smart in his suit with fancy waistcoat and tie. All in all it was a lovely day.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The retraining of Billie

Billie has now been successfully retrained! She now sleeps in the living room with the dogs! We got so fed up with her asking to come up on the bed at all times of the night that one night I chucked her out and shut the bedroom door, she howled for a little bit but gave up and slept down in the living room where she has slept every night since. So now we keep the bedroom door shut so she cant come in and disturb us. She wakes us up every morning at around 6.30am for her breakfast which isnt too much of a problem now it is summer (dont know about in the winter though, hopefully her body clock will adjust).

French White Maran Eggs

We have ordered 12 French White Maran eggs for incubation. They will be delivered to Mother and Jacqueline's house and we will bring them back on Sunday. These hopefully should turn out to be really big meat birds and we plan to keep a cockerel and three or four females (provided we get females that is) and house them separately from the other chickens so we can breed from them (they will be purebreed chickens) nice big chickens for the table.

Trip to England

We are going back to England for a visit, leaving here Thursday afternoon and we will be staying in Paignton with Elizabeth and James, Nigel's eldest daughter and her fiance. Friday we are going to the wedding of Nigel's son Benjamin to Emma so we are really looking forward to that. Then we will spend Saturday in Paignton and do some shopping then go out for a meal in the evening. Sunday is going to be spent in Plymouth with Mother and Jacqueline and Bobby and Allan will be there as well as they are in Plymouth for the weekend. Then back down to the ferry port for the night crossing back to France, bringing Liz and James back with us for a couple of weeks. So only a flying visit really but we are both looking forward to it nonetheless, its going to be great to see everyone again.

Teenage Chickens

The teenage chickens have now reached 17 weeks and we thought it was time the female ones we are keeping for egg laying came out to join the adult hens. We took 5 out and it was very interesting the reaction from Marlon our cockerel. We are going to keep another cockerel as well (Nigel likes the big red one) and he put that one out first. Marlon ran straight over and started to beat it up big time so we put it back in again. When the females came out Marlon just had a good look at them but didnt touch them (well he gave one a bit of a peck but thats all). Still being immature and not male they are obviously of no interest to him. We can start feeding the rest left in the pen up in earnest now ready for despatch to the freezer.

The Ducks Have Moved!

Well its been ages again since I last posted so I've got a bit of catching up to do. Nigel has now completed the "Duck Compound" in the top field and the ducks are insitu as can be seen above. They have got lots of room and seem very happy. We are not letting them out into the field for another week or so until we feel they are big enough not to get taken by one of the many hawks or crows that fly around up there. They are starting to develop their quacks or squeaks now, females quack and males squeak and sitting down in the garden you can definitely hear duck quacks from the top field now. We were a bit worried about bringing the two batch 1 ducklings up to join the others but needn't have because they jumped straight in the middle of the bunch and joined in as if they belonged there, the others didnt even turn a hair (or a feather to be more exact).

Thursday, 17 June 2010


These little blighters have well outgrown their brooder, they are no longer chicks but little chickens now! When the ducklings move out of the bigger brooder we will shift these chaps/chapesses over there for a couple of weeks until Nigel has the chance to concrete a new pen in the chicken compound. Then when the teenage chicks (Nigel's name for the 15/16 week old chickens we have) move on (females out with the grown up chickens for egg laying and cockerels into a fattening pen pre-despatch to the freezer) the young chicks will go into the teenage chick compound which has pop-hole out to an outside pen. Then they will start on the cycle the teenage chicks are on now. We should probably be thinking about putting some more eggs in the incubator soon for the next cycle!

Saxony/Appleyard X Ducklings

Just look how big these ducklings have got! They are filling their brooder now and need more space so Nigel is working on the shed we have in a separate pen which was Buck's cabin (Buck was the billy goat we used to have). He will hopefully finish the cabin today and then we will go and get some chicken wire to put round the pen's fencing (mutton fencing - they can fit through the gaps) and then they can move out there. We will also be able to bring the other two ducklings up as well, dont know how they will be accepted by this gang so we will have to keep an eye on them to start with. If they wont accept them we will have to rethink what to do with them. Will post a picture when the cabin is finished.

Ducklings Batch #1

These two are the survivors of the original batch of ducklings hatched. They are growing really well and go out on the lawn most days weather permitting. We think they are a male and a female, the big one being the female. Hopefully within the next few days they will be going up top with the other ducklings.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

I'm a Craftsuprint Designer!

Seems absolutely ages since I last posted - 12 days! I've been really busy making up craft sheets. I applied to become a designer for the website I buy my card sheets from and was told I had to get a stockpile prepared so thats what I have been doing and two days ago I got the email to say I had been accepted and I have started uploading my sheets onto the site. I've sold three sheets already so I am really pleased. If you havent already done so please click my "Click Me". You can now have a look at the sheets I've made as well as the cards I've made up of other people's sheets. I'm also in the planning stage of another blog/website to post all my cards up for sale.
Today I'm going to get some photos taken of all the baby critters etc to do some more updating, check back tomorrow!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Retraining of Billie - update

Well last night went quite well, better than I expected anyway! I'd made Billie a lovely bed by putting a pillow in a moses basket and covering it with her blanket so it smelled of her. When we went to bed I put her in the basket and gave her a bit of fuss, she stayed there a short while then jumped out and got up on the bed. This repeated numerous times but I wasnt giving in and the last time I remember looking at the clock was at 1.30. She must have stayed put then because she was still there when I woke this morning at 6.30. Bless her little heart, she got up and had some breakfast and went in her box then promptly jumped back on the bed! Nigel got up and put her back in her bed and she stayed there till I got up at 8.30! She's a good little girl really, just hope it doesnt take so long tonight as I'm feeling a bit bleery eyed today!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Retraining of Billie!

Billie enjoying a bit of sun - outside for a change!
My hayfever has been really bad this year, probably doesnt help living in such a rural area surrounded by so many trees and fields of crops etc. My doctors thinks I may also be allergic to the cat as well as I am waking up each morning with a head full of gunk and streaming eyes and the cat sleeps on the bed. Hence the need for Billie to be retrained not to sleep on the bed. It is going to be hard! very hard! She can wow (and I mean wooooow!) for England, France, she could be world-champion woooower when she doesnt get what she wants when she wants it, ie food, clean dirt box, getting up on the bed! A difficult time ahead!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Mopsy's baby

This is Mopsy's only surviving baby and he (we're pretty sure its a he) is soooo cute. Brindy is due in the next few days, hope she does a bit better!

Another brooder in the barn

Nigel has now built another brooder (the smaller one on the right hand side) into which the chicks have moved and the saxony/appleyard ducklings have now moved up into the big brooder. The chicks are getting a good set of feathers now so will soon be moved out of the brooder, havent got anywhere for them to move to yet so Nigel will be building again! The ducklings are loving having all that room to move about in and they are growing like mad.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

New Barn Brooder in operation

The new brooder in the barn is now up and running housing the 9 chicks. Nigel made it using a dining table, some wood and wire mesh. It is big enough to give the chicks room to grow and they will stay in there until they have a full set of feathers.

New Batch of Ducklings

We have a new batch of ducklings in the bedroom brooder! We had a good hatch rate of the Saxony/Appleyard cross eggs we put in the incubator - 12 out of 15, lets hope they all survive this time! They are all eating and drinking well and none seem to have any problems or deformities that we can see so fingers crossed! The incubator has been cleaned out and is now back on and coming up to temperature in readiness for the eggs under Daisy up in the barn.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Update on ducklings

Sadly there are only 2 ducklings left, but they seem to be doing ok, dont know if its because we have put them onto proprietary starter food or what but we are keeping all fingers and toes crossed! The good news is - the Saxony/Appleyard cross eggs in the incubator have started hatching, there is one duckling out of the egg and numerous others in various stages from pipping to almost out! This is a very exciting stage and every time we pass the incubator we have to have a quick peak to see how its going. The first one is so pretty, dark in colour but with yellow stripes and patches. We can expect a couple of broken nights as the incubator is just outside our bedroom door and they tend to make a din if they hatch out during the night, cheaping "I'm out, I'm out". Nigel is busy finishing off a new brooder in the barn so the chicks can move up there and free up the bedroom brooder for the newborn ducklings. Its all go at the moment! Will post a photo of the new ducklings when they come out of the incubator.

Mopsy's a mum!

Mopsy, one of our rabbits, has given birth. This is all that can be seen in her nesting box at the moment but there is definitely squeaking and movement in there! Brindy, another rabbit, has 2 weeks to go till her due date but she has got really big and is having difficulty moving about, needless to say we are keeping a close eye on her!