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Showing posts from September, 2008

Tuesday and raining

It seems that sod's law is operational again, today I am supposed to go riding as I moved my day from Monday to Tuesday and yes it it raining. We are also expecting our builder/handyman to come this morning and lay some concrete slabs in the chicken run. This means that I will have to catch the hens and put them in the glasshouse so that they are out of the way while the work is in progress. To make my life easier I had better go and lock them in before it gets light or I will have to chase them all over the place to try and catch them. OK job done!!! Now my next job is to do some ironing I changed all the beds yesterday so I have plenty of sheets and duvet covers to do which will keep me out of mischief. Still I mustn't complain as I did get everything dry in the lovely sunshine yesterday.

I got stuck into the gardening and managed to get the window boxes planted up and replaced and also got some work done in the vegetable plot and yes I did water the beans so now I know …

Basso is getting bigger

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If only he realised he could jump this baby gate would no longer be a barrier!

Yesterday, was another successful day I made the lamb shoulder in the slow cooker and we decided to have it for dinner as we had had a burger at the shooting place for lunch. The shooting was what they call "sport" shooting which meant that you are deep in woodland and the birds[clays] are fired out among the trees which means you get very little time to see them before they disappear amongst the tree canopy. As I was a complete novice they were very nice to me and didn't bother charging me for my shooting. I also had a nice guy who I had met at the gun shop to help me and explain what to do. I can't get over how nice everyone is. Anyway, I managed to get 25/50 which pleased me and after sitting in the car eating a cheese burger with Mike we made our way home. Basso and the boys had had a good long walk before we set off so they were happy to sleep while I shot and happier still to…

Plough horses

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Don't they look fabulous, the hours that must have been spent on polishing up the brasses. The photo doesn't do them justice, they were immaculate. There was also a gymkhana and lots of little girls all in their best bib and tucker with polished ponies and cheering parents.

The local butcher had a stand and they were frying bacon which was more than flesh and blood could stand so a bacon sandwich had to be purchased and consumed almost as soon as we arrived. There was a stand run by the local beekeepers [which is how I came to know about the day] There were also birds of prey and the local beagle pack were also on display as well as many other stalls and stand with handy crafts and the inevitable beer tent. When we arrived Mike sent me on a mission to reconnoiter the site first and report back to him so that he wouldn't have to walk too far. The beer tent was very close to the car park so we made that our base and bagged a table with a view of the horse ploughing. …

Saturday and very autumnal

It is a chilly, misty morning here but the promise is of another sunny and warm day. Yesterdays shooting went well and Mike actually had 2 shots both of which were kills so he has a 100% record but at least it is a start. I was pleased with my 50% score as I managed to hit some of the more difficult targets including a simultaneous pair which were being missed by almost everyone. I think Mike is gradually coming round to the idea that he could do this and that he is able to walk around the site as there are benches where he can sit and rest when he is out of breath or his legs are complaining. He saw a man with a nice shooting stick which he used to prop his bottom on when he was tired and I suggested that this might be a good idea for him too. Perhaps a good Christmas present? There is a shooting competition tommorow at a differednt place but I think I might be pushing my luck to ask to go to that, though the practice would be great.

Basso was taken for a walk before shooting an…

New ladies arrive

What a lovely day we had yesterday the weather was glorious and sunny. I got the dogs walked early and then made some inroads into the gardening. I started by clearing the area around the bee hive and getting rid of the leaf litter which as it turned out was a good idea as the new bees arrived last night. They have been ensconced at the far end of the garden and will be left in peace for a while to get used to the new surroundings. I also picked tons of runner beans and have put them in the desiccator and dried them now all we need to do is reconstitute them and see if they are edible. Watch this space and I will let you know if the experiment works.

My box of vegetables arrived from Riverford yesterday, so I had a go at a couple of the recipes from the Ottolenghi book. I did a beetroot dish which is very nice and I adapted the recipe to suit myself but essentially I boiled the beets instead of roasting, peeled and then mixed with the dressing ingredients which are:- toasted sun…

Good day off

The weather was pretty miserable yesterday so we changed our plans and went off to collect our friends and then on to Dartford to collect my trophy. We then headed for "riverside country park" where we managed to get a nice run for the dogs between some pretty heavy showers. Basso managed to get a whole load of burrs caught in his coat which were great fun to remove. Especially the one in his lip which he was determined to keep....

We had lunch at a pub called "The three mariners". Its claim to fame is that Francis Drake and a couple of other note worthies stayed there after their success with the Spanish armada, anyway, the food was very acceptable and also very reasonable at £15 per head including drinks. I had a mixed grill something you don't see on menus these days and as it included some chips I didn't think it wise to have a sweet as well, but the others tucked variously into, spotted dick and custard, syrup sponge and custard and chocolate puddi…

Bee free at last

Last night as soon as it was dark Terry and another chap [Godfrey] arrived to collect my bees. They were both fully suited and looked like a bio hazard team, they were taking no chances, the hive was sealed with some foam rubber which was pushed firmly into the entrance and then several big straps were placed around the hive to make sure the component parts did not become dislodged. They then lifted the hive, which is very heavy, with an intriguing device and carefully negotiated the length of the garden, through the garage and into the back of Terry's van. I waved bye bye to the hooligans with a great sense of relief. Terry will be bringing me another colony of bees either tonight or tomorrow then he will return my hive and we will make the swap so hopefully by the end of the week I will be back up and running. In the interim I will be making lots of runs up to the compost heap while the going is good.

Last night I picked about 4lbs of runner beans in under 10 minutes half …

Hoping for a better day

What a rubbish day I had yesterday I was so tired that I did next to nothing and after eating lunch at 11.45 I crawled back into bed and slept for most of the afternoon. All that I managed to accomplish was to get the new phone stocked with all the required numbers. At least this new phone has a USB lead so that you can type the details in instead of using the phone keys which are so much smaller and more difficult to use. I also made a few phone calls and did some of the paperwork which was outstanding. I checked with Eurotunnel to see if they are back up and running as we are due to travel with them on the 1/10/08 but as yet they don't have the new timetables so I will have to check again at the end of the week.

This morning I am up at a more reasonable time of 5am and feeling a bit more like a human being!!! We had some rain overnight which the garden will have welcomed and I am now waiting for a call from Terry to let me know if he will be coming tonight or Thursday night …

Yesterday a day of highs and lows

I started the day well and was gardening in my dressing gown as it got light and before the killer bees were out of bed. I had the lunch all sorted the pork was in the tin, beans sliced and potatoes peeled, breakfast of bacon and mushrooms was ready to roll. As soon as it was light I went and got dressed leaving Basso alone downstairs. Not a smart move as when I returned I found that he had been trying to make a phone call with my mobile which was lying on the floor. There were just 2 teeth marks but they had punctured vital organs and the phone was dead. How did he know that I had just that minute updated the information on the phone a job I do once a year if that. Anyway no time to grieve I had to get the dogs walked if I was to go shooting.

10 am saw me at the shooting ground, I paid my money and entered the novice ladies competition. What a naive fool I am I thought that we would be given somewhat easier targets than the more experienced shots but no I was to follow round t…

Another good day forecast

Yesterday was a nice productive day, I got to grips with several of the garden chores. The pond is now completely covered with netting so it should stay leaf free when the autumn really arrives. I cleared out the glass house and disposed of all the tomato plants and the cucumber which had reached the end of its production. Some of the courgette plants have also been lifted but then I got caught by the nasty bees and one stung me on the back of my head so I decided that until they are taken away I will not attempt a run to the compost heap unless it is either dawn or dusk when the bees are in bed. The garden is looking scruffy at the moment as things are gradually dying back and if it were not for the Japanese anemones there would be little colour other than green. I think I must get some Michaelmas daisies and plant them so that I have a bit more colour at this time of the year.

I picked another couple of pounds of runner beans which we will have with a piece of roast pork for lun…

The weekend and good weather forecast

I got all togged up and off I went for my ride, as usual the beloved Mork was miles away so I climbed the hill to the very top and there he was at the very back of the field. I called him but as usual he just looked at me with that look of "if you want me come and get me" not even the apple I had in my hand was enough to make him move. Anyway at least he doesn't run off and make me chase him that would be too much. Once I got him back to the yard I noticed he had a swollen rear leg so I called upon the other more experienced people to have a look and it was generally agreed that there was heat in his joint so I ran him around the menage at a trot and the others watched to see if he was lame. I thought of Anne and her Latin rubor, tumor, calor, and dolor the cardinal signs of inflammation. Anyway that put pay to riding Mork was confined to barracks for the day much to his disgust.

I finally got home just before 12 and set to to make the lunch which was lovely and easy…

3 am what a stupid time to be up

This is the third time I have started this blog and each time I get an error message so even the machine objects to working this early. What a pain another error message anyway this time I will keep typing and hope that the error rectifies itself.

I got some of the chores done in the garden yesterday and at least the grass is mowed, thank goodness for a flymo as no ordinary mower would deal with the long grass as easily. I managed to get half the pond covered with a net but it looks like we will have to buy another piece to cover the other half. We put a net over it in the autumn to keep out the leaves which tend to blow into the pond and then rot in the water making it cloudy. I must admit I was some what hampered but the "killer bees" at the far end of the garden as that is where my compost heap is situated and it is a case of running the gauntlet each time you need to make a deposit.

I picked the last of the bramley apples from my neighbours tree. We have an agreement th…

Thursday and a good day for the garden

Good morning all, I feel so much better today after my day of rest yesterday. I had a shooting lesson at 10.30 am and shot my new gun for the first time. Out of the 50 shells I managed a meagre 30 but I was not unhappy as these were some of the more difficult clays. I tried to get Mike to have a go but he dug his heals in and refused, however, as we drove back we discussed how we could have a mornings shooting together and he seemed more amenable to trying. So, I hope he is getting a bit more interested. I know that he is depressed as he feels he is no longer able to bowl as his hips and knees are giving him such trouble but with any luck he might take to shooting. The club owner suggested I might like to come and join the novice ladies competition on Sunday so we will have to see how I feel and what the weather is like.

I had a nice walk with the dogs in the woods and then home for lunch there was still cold beef left so we demolished that with some crusty fresh bread horse radi…

Who's a happy bunny?

Good morning all, what an exciting day I had yesterday, first the wonderful Jane came to make some order out the the midden I call home while Mike and I went off to the gun dealer to pick up my gun. The dealer went through all the finer points of what I needed to know and how to break the gun down into its component parts and how to clean it. We bought 1000 rounds of ammunition which weight a ton, a cleaning kit and a wallet to keep my licence in so that it doesn't end up like a piece of shredded paper. The gun came with a slip [carrying bag] and some blank cartridges so that I can practice. They suggested that I spend some time just pointing it at birds and following them with the gun so that I get used to the feel of it.

When we arrived home Jane had put on a load of washing so all I had to do was hang it out and it is now ready for ironing. I threw some sausages and bacon in a pan and that was lunch sorted. Shiona and Mary arrived at about 3pm with her friends from Austral…

Take cover

Yes, my shot gun licence has finally arrived, so I can go and fetch my gun this morning. I'm very excited it seems to have been a very long wait.

Yesterday, was a day of drama, my bee mentor came as arranged at 10 am and off we went to the end of the garden to sort out the bees but they went mad and attacked us both but as Terry only had a jacket and veil they managed to get inside it and he was badly stung I took 15 out of his neck. Once we had managed to shut the hive and calm ourselves we then discussed where we go from here. He is of the opinion that they have superseded! that is they have made a new queen who has mated with a ruffian and hence we now have hooligans as a colony. I was somewhat gratified that it is not my mishandling that has caused the problem. Anyway, we have 2 options kill the colony or move them, so it has been decided that in the middle of next week Terry will come and collect them and take them elsewhere and replace them with some more docile bees. I…

Basso wakes me up

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I thought you might like to see this photo of Basso waking me from my afternoon nap

Well it is another Monday morning and I still have my visitors with me but they are off after lunch today. The roast beef and Yorkshire pudding all went down very well and today I am going to do the "full English" as a sort of brunch. In the mean time I have a mountain of ironing to be getting on with, it is amazing how even going away for a couple of days creates so much washing!!! I managed to get three loads through the machine and dried in the lovely sunshine.

Tonight is obedience training but I am not sure if I will go as I am pretty shattered. The beekeeper who came to see my bees yesterday had the same experience that I did and got well and truly stung but it appears that I have some honey that needs taking off so I have gone back to my original mentor who is coming at 10am to sort me out and I must admit that I have much more confidence in him. Perhaps it is the bees I should take …

Sunday and back from my holiday

Good morning all, we had a lovely couple of day away and have eaten and drunk to excess which is what it is all about. The weather was kind to us with the exception of Friday morning and even then I managed to get the dogs out for a walk before the rain started. Basso enjoyed himself enormously and put up several very nice pheasants if only I had my gun and licence and permission to shoot we would be having pheasant casserole. We got back at about 1pm yesterday and I flew round getting things out of the freezer for dinner. Mike got sent on a shopping trip to buy milk etc while I had a good shower and made myself presentable. Just as the friends arrived so did a friendly beekeeper who had come to see my bees. As you can imagine this was a bit of a rush and muddle. Anyway, after a quick look at the ladies he has decided to come and see what the situation is like this afternoon at four thirty but suggested that in the mean time I wash my bee suite in case there is any alarm pherom…

Off we go!!

Good morning all, well the day has finally arrived and we are off to Suffolk in a couple of hours. The chickens had a birthday yesterday and are all pristine and clean all their feed containers scrubbed new nesting material so they should be happy in our absence. The bees were frenetic in the morning so perhaps they knew that it was going to rain all afternoon!!! Mike went up a disturbed them in the evening and got stung for his trouble. This of course was my fault as they are my bees!!!!!

We had a very successful cheese purchasing trip and I bought some very interesting cheeses, a soft goats and medium ewes milk, a traditional cheddar and some very tasty Kent cheese as well as some oxford blue so a fair selection of British cheeses.

I took the dogs for a run but found that as Basso has had all lead walks of late he was somewhat reluctant to come back to me and have his lead put back on so we are going to have to do some recall work with him. The only thing he is really naughty abo…

Last full day before the holiday

Tomorrow morning we set off for our three day break in Suffolk I do hope that the weather is a little kind to us as I am going to be walking the dogs regularly. It is the only drawback to being in the caravan there is no garden for them to go and do the necessary when ever they please. They are all accomplished campers and understand the different rules that apply. The two terriers spent 3 months in Spain in a caravan so they are very comfortable in those surrounding and Basso has been a couple of times and is getting familiar with what is required.

Talking of Basso we went to obedience training last evening and what a different approach it is to the gun dog school. It is all done with treats and the voice rather than brute force which, for me, will be much easier. The class was absolute bedlam as there were so many dogs and people the trainer had to shout at the top of her voice and even then I had difficulty hearing what she was saying. Anyway we came away with our certificate…

Another day another dollar!

Here we go another week is starting and I am hoping to go for a ride this morning as it is still dry!!!! Who knows if I will make it, by the time I am due to go it will probably be bucketing down but at the moment I am hopeful.

Yesterday, was so dull that even the solar lights have given up the ghost and we had showers throughout the day. I pottered around in the kitchen in the morning and made a Bakewell tart which was kind of stupid because it turned out rather well so we ate it. Not very good for the figure!!! We then piled into the car and went to a local garden centre where there was a honey show put on by the local beekeepers association. It was not very well attended so I had loads of time to discuss my beekeeping problems with the more experienced keepers and have organised one of them to come and have a look at my ladies when we come back from our break. I have also got my name on the association mailing list so that I will be able to attend their meetings which happen on…

Another wet Sunday

Well what a day of rain we had yesterday, I dashed out early and did a bit of harvesting to take to my friends. The raspberries are suffering from all this rain but I must admit I don't really mind as I have sufficient and am getting thoroughly bored with picking them. I then bit the bullet and got on with making the sweets I made the apple and blackberry filling for the crumble and put the topping in a separate bag in the freezer. The lemon and yogurt cake turned out well and I have taken 4 doorstep slices off for another sweet to be served with raspberry coulis and cream - we ate the rest - well you do have to make sure it is fit to serve to guests!!!

Mike drove us to my friends house and part way there I inquired which route he was taking at which point he realised he was in fact heading to gun dog training which is some few miles out of our way. Anyway we eventually got there after an interesting ride through the country lanes and assorted villages we had never seen before -…

Saturday has come around again

The weeks just seem to be flying by, yesterday's promised rain was only a matter of frequent showers so I decided that I would try to go riding but no sooner had I put my jodhpurs on than the phone rang it was the builder who is going to put the paving in the chicken run, he was on his way to measure up so that put pay to the riding. In the end he didn't turn up until 11.15 so I would have had time to go, I was more than a little miffed.

Basso is continuing to have his food served in the car and at least he is putting his paws up on the tail gate so that I can shove him in the rest of the way. Today I am going to try giving him a box to stand on and see if that helps him to make the leap into the car.

The swelling in my hands has subsided with the aid of some Piriton but it does leave me feeling very sleepy. I haven't taken any this morning as I am off to my friends house which is an hours drive away where I am going to pick up a quarter of a pig that was slaughtered …

Rain is due

The weather forecast last night showed an absolute deluge for today but as yet it is still dry. I am destined to go riding this morning but who knows if that will be possible I will hold off putting on my jodhpurs until the last minute.

Yesterday, was a bit of a washout for me the swelling in my hands made me miserable and so feeling generally sorry for myself I had a hot bath and retired to my bed and watched hours of rubbish on the TV which far from making me feel better just made me even more fed up. Finally, I took some antihistamine tablets which made the swelling subside and I felt better for that.

Basso is getting the hang of getting in the car and feeding him in it is definitely working. He even attempted to jump in last evening which is a first. He made a botch of it so I helped shove him the rest of the way but I think we are winning.

Aren't people nice? I was taking him for his training walk and passed the pet shop on the way the owner came out and offered assistan…