Hens and Chickens

Hens and Chickens

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Catching up!

It has been such a long time since I wrote anything on here.  So much to do, so little time to do it all in!  

Not that I hadn't been busy.  Life had decided to deal some heavy blows.  In May we were devastated to learn that our eight year old Doberman, Ozzy, had an untreatable heart condition.  

Reading up on his condition (DCM), we were somewhat comforted that it was possible for us to have around six months together.  Sadly this was not to be, and our beautiful dark muzzled boy deteriorated so quickly that he had to be put to sleep just one week later.  Our remaining Dobe, Xena, has shown no signs of missing him at all, and has quite simply become another dog.  No longer does she feel the need to assert herself constantly as top dog.  She is now just content to simply be. 

We were lucky to find a wonderful cremation service locally, where Ozzy was  dealt with in such a kind and courteous way.  It was without doubt one of the saddest days of our lives when we went to collect his casket, but he now has pride of place on the dresser, just behind where his bed was, and we are happier knowing that he will always be with us in one form or another.  The thought of him still reduces me to tears, but we can now laugh about the silly things he did.  How he tried to move home when we put the insectocuter in the kitchen.  He didn't mind the blue light, but was absolutely terrified everytime a fly was zapped.  We found him in the farthest corner of the garden, quivering under a bush.  How he would sit and guard his chewie all day, then inevitably, after a brief session of tossing it in the air, he would relinquish it to Xena, and then come begging for another one.  He rarely ate them, just played with them.  How he would stand back and let Xena eat his food, and how he never minded sharing his food bowl with the cats or the kittens.  Xena still leaves a space for him on the rug at night, and I like to think he is there, exactly where he always wanted to be, with us.

Progress on my Blue Ribbon Sampler has been nil, I'm afraid.  I am on the last third of it, but due to kittens, and now building work, I have packed it away until things return to normal.  I have found it hard to sit at night without actually doing anything, so I pulled out some wool from my stash and started crocheting - first a couple of wraps and then onto a shawl in Cashmerino wool. 

First wrap in shades of blue and grey

Second wrap in purple and red

Shawl in Debbie Bliss' Cashmerino in Lilac

We also have some new arrivals here.  After losing our chickens at Xmas, thanks to Mr Fox, we decided to wait a while, and bring their living quarters a bit closer to the house to hopefully deter predators.  We needed a new coop, so we decided for ease of cleaning and maintenance to buy an Eglu Cube.

Delivered and installed in around an hour by the Omlet people, it should hopefully be nice and warm and snug for the chooks in winter.  We decided to opt for bantams this time around, as I had heard that they could free range without causing damage to flower beds - the rabbits and slugs cause quite enough damage!  Hopefully they will also deal with the massive slug population too.

Our Pekin Bantams at around eight weeks old.

I collected a gold laced frizzle Pekin cockerel and one buff and two cuckoo Pekin hens locally, and they were duly installed into their new home, where they were quite freaked by their first experience of the outdoors and grass.  A couple of weeks later, they were joined by three Polish Bantams, sex to be determined.  I hope they aren't all cockerels!  The Pekins were pretty awful to the Polish for about a week, but finally they all settled down together.  Plans to free range them have been put on hold, thanks to the unhealthy interest my two cats have taken in them.  Perhaps when they have grown a bit more?

Having a root around in old storage boxes, I found this rust coloured chenille yarn, which I must have bought around twenty five years ago and never used.  I am now using it to crochet another shawl.  The texture is different, and it is not particularly easy to work with, but I think all will be OK.  

I also found some lovely yarn on eBay, 75% lambswool, 25% silk - unfortunately I didn't notice that it was also chenille - but at £1 per 50g ball, I can't complain.

I love the deep aubergine colour, and it has slight flecks in it.  I think it will be easier to work with than the cotton chenille.  At least I hope so!

We have also been busy with the garden, and have had some super new potatoes, cucumbers, onions, lettuce and garlic so far.  The peas and beans have just started cropping, which is a miracle considering how the rabbits damaged them after I planted them.  We have also just had our first tomatoes.  This year, for the first time ever, I made strawberry jam, and now the blackcurrants are ready, I will be making blackcurrant jam too.  The hot weather kept us busy watering the vegetable beds and all the pots and hanging baskets, but we now seem to be in the midst of a wet patch, so only need to water the greenhouse.

In the house, we have finally managed to pin our carpenter down, and our long awaited media centre/shelving is finally going in.

 Martha inspecting the new shelving.

We are very pleased with them, although we still need to paint them.  They are not at all intrusive in the room, and finally I have somewhere to put my burgeoning collection of DVD's, Blu-Rays and books.  Thanks to my new Kindle, my book collection will not be growing much in future.

With the doors on.

We bought a TV bracket to wall mount the TV, and inspite of being assured it was only a ten minute job, it took us three and a quarter hours.  Never ever trust a built in spirit level, that's all I am going to say!

We have still to decide on the new sofa and chair.  We would ideally like a sofa bed, so that our daughter and her family can come and stay, but so far we have been disappointed in the quality of the ones we have seen.  Hopefully the redecorating will be done soon, and then I can finally get back to my Blue Ribbon Sampler, with a new sewing chair to sit in.  

Outdoors, we decided on a weave three piece suite and a coffee table and parasol, which is just perfect for lounging in on a summer evening.  We also decided on a chiminea, which we really like, as it just takes the chill of the night air and is handy to dry off by after coming out of the hot tub.

Things finally seem to be coming together here after six years.  The top garden should hopefully be finished this year when the seating area is completed, just leaving the bottom garden to be redesigned and landscaped.  That is then officially the end....or is it?!!

Ms Divers x