Saturday, 26 November 2011

St Mayeux Craft Fair

We have been soooo busy this month.  Next Saturday and Sunday (3rd & 4th December) we have a table at a craft fair being held at the Cafe du Centre in our nearby village of St Mayeux and we have been working really hard making things to sell.  We have made jars of cider apple jelly, one batch with ginger and one with chilli, the cider was donated by our neighbour John who has an orchard of cider apple trees and a really old cider press in one of his outbuildings (he is doing up an old farmhouse up the road).  We've made a batch of marmalade laced with whisky and tomorrow we are going to make another batch of orange jelly with ginger (oranges are really cheap in the shops at the moment).  Nigel has also made a batch of individual Delia Smith recipe Christmas puddings which we wrapped in pretty Christmas wrapping tied with ribbons.  I've been making loads of Christmas cards (English & French), notecard sets, stationery sets, fridge magnets, Christmas gift bags and gift envelope cards, purse calendars and bookmarks.  So fingers crossed our stuff will sell, this is our first time at one of these things so we dont really know what to expect, it will be an experience anyway!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Kindle

Nigel and I have got our christmas presents to each other early this year (well I've got mine and Nigel's is on order), Kindles.  They are the best thing since sliced bread for anyone who reads a lot (which we do), brilliant for reading in bed they are so light.  There are numerous websites where you can download free ebooks which you can read on a Kindle and on ebay you can buy dvd's full of books by specific authors, I got a disc with all Clive Cussler's books on and it was only £3.99!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Honey & tea eye inflammation tip

Yesterday I developed a really sore eye, in the morning it felt like it was full of dust or sand and it gradually got worse.  I washed the eye out several times (with Nigel's help) with eyewash in case there was something in there but it still got worse and was starting to look like a proper "pinkeye".  I was scanning the internet for remedies and came across the tip of melting some honey in a bit of warm water and dipping a teabag in the mixture and then putting this on the eye and gently squeezing the liquid into the eye.  It warned that it may sting a bit to start with but would soon give relief and voila! it did.  It did sting a little but not much and after about 5 minutes the relief was amazing.  I repeated the process once more before going to bed and this morning I had a bit of a crusty eye but all the redness had gone.  Brilliant, I'm not going to be spending out on expensive eye-washes in future when a good old tea-bag will do the job!

Christmas Puddings

Nigel is making the Christmas puddings today.  He made the mixture yesterday and is doing the steaming today, 8 hours!  He made the same puds last year, the recipe is the Traditional Christmas Pudding from Delia Smith's Christmas recipe book, and all agreed they were absolutely delicious so he decided to stick to the same recipe this year.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Goats!

Here are the two new additions to our family of animals here in France!  We went to pick up a Nanny goat for our friend Jan to keep her little goat Martha company and came away with to castrated boys for ourselves!  They are just gorgeous!  The black one with horns is called Guppy, I think he is going to need lots of loves, he sticks to you like glue when you go in the pen.  The other one, the white one without horns, is called Dylan, Dylan seems a bit braver and looks like he will be the leader.  They are about 3 or 4 years old and we love them to bits already!

More Pictures of Izzy

Just look at Ben gazing down at his little daughter, you can see who is going to be a Daddy's girl can't you!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

She's Here At Last!

Here is the first official picture of Isabelle Ashleigh Hallas, Nigel's first grandchild and my first stepgrandchild.  Will post more info as I get it!  All we know at the moment are that Emma and the baby are doing fine and that's what matters.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Comments

I've been concerned that I havent been getting the comments when people have sent them and I have just realised that is because I go straight into the blog and not through the dashboard where the comments are awaiting moderation before going onto the blog.  So from now on I will be checking out for comments!  Its lovely to receive a comments by the way, thankyou.

Keith - we are in Central Brittany, half way between Corlay and Mur de Bretagne and no, other than Throwback, we havent named any of the turkeys.  We are waiting until we know what we have got (sex) and which ones we are keeping.  If possible we would like to keep a male and two females, we will be keeping Throwback whichever sex he/she turns out to be.  You can still tell which one he/she is even though he/she has lost most of his/her colouring and is mostly black now.  The others will be fattened up and eventually end up in the freezer.  Don't reckon they will be ready for this Christmas so we'll be having one of the ducks for Christmas dinner.  I'll take some new photos and update on the ducks later.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Turkey Video

video
Here is the long awaited video of the turklets, now 12 weeks old.  They are growing at such a rate now, when they first went into this pen they had plenty of room but as you can see they have outgrown it and we plan to move them out into a larger area of the barn so they can stretch their legs.  Unfortunately we still can't tell which sex they are yet but hopefully that information should emerge very soon.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

OWL RESCUE

  
Who needs Mrs Tiggywinkles - we've got Mr Niggywinkle!  Today we saved this gorgeous owl, well Nigel, aka Mr Niggywinkle, did all the work with me offering moral support!  For a couple of days we have been hearing scratching noises coming from behind the woodburner, we thought it was in the wall and that it was probably rodents, we often hear scurryings up in the loft (its what comes with living in the countryside).  First thing this morning I heard it again and was convinced it was actually in the flue going up the chimney and then a short while later we heard a plaintive little hoot from behind the fire.  Nigel moved the woodburner (he's a strong chap my Nigel) and disconnected the pipework.  We put a black bag in place to catch the soot and lo and behold there was this owl sat in the bend where the flue comes down the chimney to meet the woodburner.  Nigel put his hand in and grabbed it and thank goodness it didnt struggle (would have made a real mess) and pulled it out.  We took it outside and took these pictures then let it free and up it soared and away over the trees.  We've just got to hope and pray now that it survives, it must have been quite weak.  
What a wonderful feeling to know you've saved such a gorgeous creature!  It did us a favour as well, we reckon it must have cleared the flue of a lot of soot, the amount that came out when Nigel disconnected the piping.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

BILLY

Well here's one very spoilt little cat!  Nigel had just finished cooking a rabbit for the dogs and Billy obviously got a whiff of something good and woke up and miaowed "Feed Me!" and of course Nigel chopped up some rabbit and put it in front of her.  She is such a daddy's girl at the moment, as soon as Nigel sits down she's straight there to get up on his lap, of course jealous Joli has to be on the other side!

CURING BACON

Cured belly pork
 Finding really good English-style bacon is not that easy in Brittany.  You can get it but you've got to search around and the result is usually really thinly sliced and very expensive.  So our latest endeavour at saving money and being a little self-sufficient is to cure our own pork for bacon.

 We bought some pieces of belly pork on promo, placed it in a tupperware box and covered it with a solution of salt water and sugar.  To one gallon of water we added a cup (American measure) of salt and a third of a cup of sugar.  You have to make sure the meat is totally covered and not allowed to float.  We put the box in the bottom of the
Nigel getting to grips with the slicer
Home cured bacon slices

 fridge and left for three days, turning the meat in the water on the second day and removing from the fridge on the third.  We cut a little bit of meat off and fried it to check it was done to our liking - it was lovely!  We could have put it back in the water to cure some more if we had wished.  We then completely dried the meat with kitchen towel and put back in the bottom of the fridge on a plate for 2 days to dry off.  After the two days drying period the meat was ready for slicing.  We saved some slices for that evening's dinner and put the rest in meal-sized portions in the freezer.  We even got a couple of bags of lardons from cutting up the uneven slices of meat (lovely for making pasta sauce).

We were really pleased with the result of our efforts, the bacon was delicious and not too salty (neither of us are keen on too salty bacon).  So there we are, we will definitely do it again when our bacon supplies start to run down and belly pork is on promo!


lardons! 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Faverolles

 Just thought I would post some pictures of Fav (above) and Favette (left) our two Faverolle chickens.  Fav is the cockerel and little Favette a hen (we think she is actually crossed with a white sussex because she came in a batch of white sussex eggs we hatched).  When we first got Fav he was a right little devil, very aggressive pecking anyone who put their hand in the brooder with food or water.  I wouldn't go so far as to say he's friendly now but he lets you pick him up and instead of running away like the others he comes up to you when you go into the pen.  Favette is such a little darling, she is just so cute with her fluffy cheeks and legs.  So we have decided to keep the both of them and they will be kept separately from Claude and his girls so Fav doesn't interfere with the girls.  Hopefully they will both survive and next year Favette will start laying and we will be able to hatch some more Faverolles!  A Faverolle family!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

PICKLES, JAMS & JELLIES

Its that time of year again when fruit and veg needs picking in the garden and preserving.  This picture shows a batch of blackberry and apple jelly we made using our own blackberries and apples.  We have also made numerous chutneys including plum (using greengages from our tree) and spicy apple and  courgette, batches of loganberry jam, redcurrant jelly and rhubarb, pear and ginger jam.  We have pickled plenty of jars of beetroot (Nigel's favourite) and this year we have tried pickling mixed vegetables (cauli, green beans, courgette, red & yellow peppers & onions) and making a sweetcorn, redpepper and beetroot relish.  I can't wait for the requisite month's wait to be over to give them a try!

Poodles making themselves at home

Pixie and Liqua, Mothers and Jacqueline's two little poodles, have been having a lovely holiday as well, they settled right in and have been getting on so well with our animals, even Billie as can be seen here in this photo.  They love going out for walks up the lane in the morning and spending time in the garden is a real treat as they dont have a garden at home.

Lac de Guerledan Visit


Here's Mother sitting at one of the picnic tables overlooking the Lac de Guerledan.  We took a picnic down and sat in the sun for a couple of hours, the holiday season having finished now there weren't many people about and it was so peaceful. 

Garden photos

Jacqueline and Nigel have worked so hard whilst Mother and Jacqueline have been here, they have taken advantage of the lovely weather we have had and taken care of lots of little jobs that needed doing as well as making the garden and top and bottom fields look lovely again!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Mother & Jacqueline Arrive!

My mum and sister Jacqueline have arrived (along with their two poodles Pixie & Liqua) to stay for a whole month.  Jacqueline's little car, a Nissan Micra, was laden down with bags of goodies (things we cant get here in France).  They have also brought a small suitcase which contains all of Mother's photographs so we will sit and look through them and reminisce.  Its nice because I can spend time with Mother and Jacqueline helps Nigel with all the jobs that need doing around the place.    I will start taking some photos and uploading them soon.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Turkeys - 3 weeks on

 Here's the new brooder Nigel has made up in the barn, it was once the goat milking table he made from a coffee table and he has adapted it.



And here are the 3-week old turkey poults (or turklets as we call them) up in their new home in the barn.  To be honest we dont think they will be in there that long at the rate they are growing, they will probably go over into one of the rabbit pens for safety when they outgrow this brooder.  We took them up yesterday evening and I was really quite worried about leaving them but having been up again today, I am quite happy as they seem fine, they had eaten all their food and drank all their water and seemed alert and active.  I have grown really attached to them, more so than I have for chickens, ducks or geese we have hatched.  "Throwback", the speckled one in the front (named so because the speckled colour must be a throwback to the grandparents as both parents were black) is both our favourite and we will definitely be keeping him/her for breeding purposes.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Turkeys

Here they are, they are such lovely little critters and so busy!  They run around their little brooder at such a speed and then flop and have a kip and then up again running around, cheep,cheep,cheeping all the time.  They love being picked up as well and will nod off to sleep if you put them on their backs and tickle their tummies.  I think probably because we've been told and have read that you have to wrap them in cotton wool a bit until they are older and stronger because they tend to die from the slightest draft, we are being quite protective of them, we dont want to lose these like we did the goslings.  I cant wait to find out what sexes they are but apparently you cant tell till they are a few months old.  We took the Light Sussex chicks up the the barn yesterday so the big brooder on the windowsill is now empty so these little guys will be moving into new quarters today, more room to run around in!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Nursery

Here is the nursery in the spare bedroom.  On the right is the guinea-pig cage with the five Light Sussex and on the left is our original brooder which has 4 baby turkey poults in it!  They only hatched today and they are soooo sweet, huge eyes!  There are two more pipping in the incubator which hopefully should come out tomorrow and then its just waiting to see if any of the rest hatch.  I will take some pictures tomorrow when these four are up and about.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Turkeys pipping

Its that exciting time again.  We have 12 turkey eggs in the incubator and they have started pipping so soon we should have baby turkeys in the spare bedroom as well as the Light Sussex chicks.  We are keeping everything crossed we get a good hatch rate and that we get males and females so we can keep some for breeding and fatten up the rest for Christmas!

Plucker

We have invested in an electric chicken plucker and used it for the first time this weekend to pluck one of the cockerels we have been feeding up.  It was amazing!  It was so simple to use and the bird came out lovely and clean apart from a few feathers on the wings.  We had roast chicken for dinner last night, the brown meat was a bit tough but the breast meat was lovely.   Nigel said he wished we had got a plucker sooner, definitely a good buy!  We bought it from Ascott Supplies in England, I googled it and even with the delivery charges it was cheaper than buying it in France, it came within a week of ordering as well so we were very pleased.

Light Sussex Chicks

Last week we acquired a batch of Light Sussex chicks.  We started off with 8, unfortunately 3 didnt survive so now we have 5 doing well and growing by the day.  I was taken up to St Brieuc by a friend to the big Emmaus centre up there.  I could have spent loads in there, there was so much stuff and so cheap, but I restrained myself and got a few large frying pans, the deep kind, which are great for feeding animals up in the barn and the best bargain of all, this guinea-pig cage.  They are so expensive here in France and I got this cage plus all the pans for 10 euros the lot.  I was really pleased!  Its perfect as a brooder and fits lovely on the spare bedroom windowsill!  Unfortunately the weather hasnt been at all good lately so we are keeping these chicks down here with the heat lamp until they have got their feathers, we dont want to risk losing them up in the barn.  At the same time as these chicks we got two Faverolle cock chicks, they were a bit older and have their feathers so they are up in the small brooder in the barn but they still seem to be cold and are huddled together under the lamp.  One of them was sneezing to start with, it was so funny it sounded just like some of the female tennis players at Wimbledon when they serve.  It seems to have stopped that now thank goodness.  Although they seem to be huddled together a lot they are still eating well and are growing by the day, I think they will be big birds - we got them for feeding up for the table.

The Geese Have Gone!

Yes, I'm not at all sorry to report that we have sold the geese!  Those lovely little goslings in the video below got too big for the cage so we put them out with the big geese.  As soon as we let them out one of the big females started attacking one of them but the bigger of the two males saw her off and seemed to be protecting them.  The next morning one of the goslings was dead.  The other seemed to be doing well, it was inseperable from the big male and seemed really strong but unfortunately after about 3 or 4 days it too hit the dust.  We were both very upset and decided enough was enough.  This is the second year now they havent produced anything for the freezer, ok they are good guard geese but to my mind they were more trouble than they were worth.  They absolutely scared me to death, they were so aggressive, I admit I probably showed my fear and that made them worse with me.  So I put them on leboncoin and they sold almost straight away.  This morning I went up to see to the animals giving Nigel a lie-in for the first time in I dont know how long ( I was too scared to go into the main pen to open the barn doors before because of the geese) and it was so lovely to go through the barn into the field without fear, it was so quiet as well (well apart from the ducks!)

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Lovely Cauliflowers & Bumper Fruit Crops



We are really pleased this year because we have finally been able to produce some nice cauliflowers, they are absolutely beautiful and the leaves were really huge and made brilliant meals for the bunnies!  They are all picked now and have been blanched and are in the freezer.

We have also had bumper crops of fruit - the redcurrants and loganberries are all picked now and the first crop of raspberries has finished.  We have enjoyed some lovely raspberry and loganberry trifles and there are plenty more in the freezer.  I've made one batch of spicy redcurrant sauce which has gone in the freezer and will go lovely with most meats.  It was really easy to do, I just cooked them down with a little water and red wine vinegar, a bit of "lite" sugar, some powdered ginger, a couple of cloves of garlic, some chilli flakes and a load of onions.  It tasted gorgeous and had a real kick from the chilli!  I think I am going to make redcurrant jelly with the rest because that can go in jars and can be used to make sauces.  I've still got a box of loganberries left over from last year and as my loganberry jam went down so well I think I'll make more of that.

The blackberry bushes are full, although they are far from ripe yet, plus our one apple tree down in the orchard is full of apples,hopefully they will all be ready around the same time and then I will stew them all down together and put in the freezer ready for pies and crumbles - yummy!  We had a blackberry and apple pie from the freezer last night after dinner and it was lovely!  We also have two trees full of pears, one William and one Conference, they are still very small so fingers crossed they plump up and ripen nicely.  Dismal failure on the cherries and blueberries this year, oh well there's always next year.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Gosling & Duckling Video

video 
Today we moved the two goslings and four ducklings out of the brooders into their new pen.  We moved the three cockerels we are feeding up over to Bucks cabin to make room, they will stay there till they are due for despatch which will be in a couple of weeks hopefully, then the goslings and ducklings will move over there.  

Pictures From Our Morning Walks

I


Since I've started going out walking with Nigel and the dogs again, its made me realise what a lovely area we live in, especially at this time of year.  The countryside around us is so pretty I thought I just had to post some photos from our morning walks.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

On The Move Again!

I went to the clinic in St Brieuc last week and had a steroid injection into my spine, it didn't hurt a bit and the results are amazing!  I can move again!  I've been out walking with Nigel and the dogs every day since, I am aching a bit but that is just the muscles I haven't used for so long.  This morning it was quite damp and I did notice my hips hurting a bit but I'm going back to the clinic again on Tuesday for a CT scan on my hips and then back to the consultant in a couple of weeks time to discuss the results.  I'm feeling really positive about it all, it is just so wonderful not to be in such constant pain and to be able to move about fairly freely.

Goslings

Here are what looks like to be "This year's goslings".  The female is still sitting on the nest but nothing has hatched so it seems it will be the same as last year in that she will sit and sit until all the eggs under her are broken or gone bad and then she will just get up and leave them, so next year we will definitely incubate all our goose eggs ourselves and not leave them for the geese to sit on.  You definitely learn from experience.  These two are gorgeous though and we are going to rear them ourselves and not give them to the adult geese to look after.  Difficult to tell at the moment but they both look as if they might have grey feathers, which could mean they are females, we are hoping for males though as they are for the table and need to be bigger.

Other Duck News


On a brighter note, after losing the ducks on Friday, we do have 4 ducklings in the brooders in the barn.  This chappy on the left is the little one I fell in love with before, he/she is no longer little, in fact he/she has grown huge and is almost as big as a gosling so it is obviously more Rouen Clair than Appleyard Saxony, lets hope it turns out to be a female!   He/she is in the big brooder along with another little duckling which is about half its size and our two new goslings. 

In the small brooder are the two little ducklings below, they are very small so they are obviously Appleyard Saxonys, they are also very nervous for some reason and on the journey up to the barn they tried to jump out of the bag I was carrying them in. 
 
We also have 20 duck eggs in the incubator so we are keeping
everything crossed we get a good hatch rate out of them, we need a new male duck to replace Fred.

SAD NEWS

This Friday just gone was definitely not a good Friday, it was a very sad, bad Friday, we got FOXED!  That is to say we had a fox attack and lost a chicken, Fred the big male duck and two of the female ducks and one of the other ducks is injured and we are not sure if it will make it.  That leaves us with just three female ducks (thankfully Wilma the big Rouen Clair is safe).  Its just heartbreaking to lose so many birds in one swoop.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

New Little Duckling

Here's our newest hatchling, it hatched a couple of days early so its been all on its own.  We have another duckling and a gosling hatching at the moment in the incubator so it shouldn't be alone for too much longer.  This one is such a cutey though, Nigel keeps telling me not to get too attached but you can't help it, it's the eyes, they seem to look right into you.  I haven't given it a name though and once it goes up to the brooder in the barn it will just be another duck to be fattened up.  It will be interesting to see how big it grows, its father is obviously Fred who is a huge Rouen Clair duck and from its colouring it looks as if its mother was Sylvie, one of the Appleyard Saxony ducks.

Monday, 9 May 2011

NEW BLOG

I've started a new blog called www.totalhilaritycrafting.blogspot.com which as the title suggests is going to be about crafting.  It will mainly be about my designing and cardmaking for Craftsuprint.com but I will also post about my other craft hobbies on their as well which will leave this blog for posts about our day to day lives (Nigel's, mine and the animals') in Brittany.  Please don't forget I still need your clicks on my Craftsuprint button!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Ducks Move Up To Barn

  The ducks have moved up to live in the barn, albeit temporarily until we get the bottom field fenced in so they can roam the whole field (they had eaten everything in their fenced off pen down there).  They seem to be so happy and dont seem to be missing the pond at all (they have these two kiddies pools to bathe in anyway).  They have so much greenery to eat, so much space to roam around in and a lovely big pen to go into at night (they go in on their own good as gold).  They must be happy as all the females are now laying eggs regularly.  We have 10 duck eggs in the incubator which are due to start hatching towards the end of this week (fingers crossed!) and I've been using them to make cakes.  If we get a        decent hatch rate we could even start advertising fertile duck eggs for sale.

Its really amusing to see their little "runs" up in the top field where they move about and flatten the grass down.  They have even ventured out of the field, down the bank and steps into the bottom field.  It was so funny the other day, Pataud was out in the garden barking his head off, he was so insistent as if there was someone there that I went out to see and he was just letting us know the ducks were down.  They go back up into the field on their own good as gold when given a little shoo.  I think they know where they are well off and wont go far but it does go to show we need to fence the bottom field in properly or they could go venturing off onto the road.

Very Sad News About Goslings

Sadly the three little goslings didn't survive being looked after by the adult geese, nature can be very cruel sometimes.  We have decided to move the brooder out of the geese's compound and we are going to raise the next batch of goslings (which hopefully should start hatching in the incubator later this week) until they are old enough and strong enough to fend for themselves.  There seems to be increased activity around the goose's nest at the moment and this morning both female geese seemed to be sitting together (they normally take it in turns), we dont know if this was just a "handover" session or if they have eggs about to hatch, the timing would indeed be right if that was the case.  Nigel is getting ready to slip his hand in through the fence (risky, very risky!) and pinch any goslings that hatch out from under them.  This of course will depend on the hatch rate from the eggs in the incubator, if we get a good batch of gozzies out of the incubator the adult geese can keep their hatchlings to try and raise themselves, but if we dont get many we dont feel we can take this risk again.  So hopefully before long we should have some more photos of goslings.  Got to keep trying, these goslings are going to be raised and fattened up for Christmas Goose!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Gosling Update

 The male geese had not left the goslings' brooder since we took them up last week so this morning Nigel shut the geese out whilst he cleaned out their pen and then lifted the gozzies out of the brooder and onto the floor just as the geese came back in.  Both male geese rounded the goslings up and then started what looked like preening and cleaning them.  The picture below was taken this afternoon when we went back up, they are very efficient guardsmen, back to back, one watching the goslings and the other us!  It is so cute, they are so protective of them.  Meanwhile Cheekie, one of the females, is on her third day of sitting on the nest with at least 6 eggs under her.  The chickens keep going and laying their eggs in there as well so Nigel has to turf her out once a day to pick them up.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Wonderful News!

Ben and Em have now announced that Emma is pregnant with their first child (and Nigel's first grandchild!) and that the due date is around October 24th.  We are all so excited and very happy for Ben and Em.  Nigel has started looking at knitting patterns and baby clothes in shops - I just know there is going to be no containing him nearer the time!  Imagine, Nigel and Grandad and me a StepGrandma!!!

Goslings Move Up To Barn


Yesterday evening, the goslings, now just over a week old, moved up to the barn to the small brooder.  What a carry on!  They went up good as gold in a carrier bag and went into their new home but when the adult geese came in all hell broke loose!   They went mad careering around the barn and squawking at the babies.   This morning when Nigel went up to let the animals out Two Toes (one of the males) attacked him (total off the ground attack) twice leaving Nigel with a bruise on his right shoulder (thank goodness it didnt put his other shoulder out again (the one dislocated in the cockerel attack).  Nigel is going to be asking for danger money soon!  The geese are now not going far from he barn and one is in attendance on the babies at all times - bless! they must know they are their babies!  I know one thing - I will definitely not be going in that pen again for a while!!!
Meanwhile back at the house, the incubator is on the go again with 6 more goose eggs and 4 duck eggs.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Lovely Weather

Well the summer finally seems to have arrived, we have had some glorious weather, its lovely getting the washing out on the line again instead of having to use the tumble dryer all the time, and Nigel has got out his shorts!  James very kindly cleared all the weeds out of my flower boxes and I have sown them with lots of flower seeds so hopefully they should make a nice show.  Unfortunately my body is letting me down big time and Nigel is having to take over the vegetable patch (under my supervision of course!).  He overdid it the other day bending over the veggie boxes and now is aching almost as much as me!  My GP has finally decided to send me to see a consultant about all my aches and pains so hopefully he (the consultant) will be able to come up with some more effective treatment.

The Geese

The geese (especially the two males) have become very aggressive since the females have started laying their eggs and to be honest they scare me to death, a fact they are obviously aware of because they chase me when I go in the pen and run over to the fence to try to get to me when I walk up the field.  When they chase Nigel they back off when he turns round but not me, they just keep coming!  Horrible creatures!  We have some of their eggs in the incubator at the moment which are due to hatch around now, in fact as I type one egg has started pipping and you can hear a little cheep when you listen closely, its always so exciting when eggs start hatching.

Bobby & Alan's Civil Ceremony



Nigel and I have recently been over to England to attend my brother Bobby's civil ceremony to his partner Alan.  What a lovely day!  Barbara, a neighbour of Mother and Jacqueline's, very kindly let us stay in her converted garage whilst we were over which was an absolute godsend.  We stayed there on the Wednesday night and then next morning drove with Mother and Jacqueline to Ilminster where Bobby and Alan had reserved rooms for us at a Travelodge for that night.  There was a bus laid on to take us all down to Lyme Regis where the ceremony was taking place at the Guild Hall and then on to a lovely hotel in Lyme Regis for a hot buffet reception.  The food was really good and there was plenty to drink, the setting was beautiful and it was just a perfect day which was topped off a treat when we arrived back at the Travelodge that evening to find we had a room with a bath!  I haven't had a bath since leaving England as we only have a shower here and it was absolute heaven to have a long soak!  We went back to Plymouth the next day and spent a couple of days with Mother and Jacqueline (staying at Barbara's again).  We visited Ben and Em on the Saturday, did some shopping and saw Lawry and Sandra when they came for Mothers Day lunch on the Sunday before returning on the Sunday night crossing.  A bit of a flying visit, very tiring but definitely worth it!  It was so good to see Bobby so happy, I have always considered myself blessed and so fortunate to have found Nigel, now I'm really happy Bobby has found someone special to share his life with, especially someone as nice as Alan.

Liz & James' Visit

Liz and James have now gone home after their recent 2-week stay with us.  They came over not only to have a holiday with us but to house/animal-sit whilst we went over to England for Bobby and Alan's civil ceremony.  We were so grateful to them as we could go away knowing everything was being taken good care of, they are both so good with all the animals and the dogs really love them.  As usual it was lovely to see them and I think they had a nice relaxing time, they even had some good weather for a change.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Charlotte's Visit

Nigel's youngest daughter Charlotte has now returned to England after her holiday with us.  I think she had a good time, Nigel turned into a chef again cooking gorgeous meals, clean plates every night so she must have enjoyed them too!   Charlotte works very long unsocial hours in her job in a bar and she arrived here looking very tired and left looking relaxed and refreshed, the break doing absolutely nothing but eat, sleep, make cocktails(!) and the odd walk with the dogs obviously did her the world of good.  I think the highlight of her holiday had to be when she discovered our drinks cupboard, we have a fairly good selection of spirits and liqueurs and her eyes lit up and you could see all cocktails going round in her head!  Anyway it was really lovely to see her again and we both agreed it was a pleasure to have her here and hope its not too long before she comes again.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Goose Update

The geese have started laying again!  This was the first egg laid, about a week ago, and three more have been laid since.  Crossing fingers and toes we get some goslings this year to fatten up for next Christmas.