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Showing posts from September, 2009

Wednesday morning and pitch dark

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Well I knew yesterday was going to be a busy one but it turned into a marathon. I disappeared off to the hairdressers at 9 and was back by 10 having had a wash cut and blow dry and purchased a pair of thinning scissors for the dogs coat. Jane was busy with the hoover and John had made a start on the garden. We had asked him to clear one of the veg beds and mow the grass. Hopefully this will be the last mow of the year so I will now have a good go at cleaning and servicing the mower before putting it to bed for the winter. At 11 Terry arrived and we made a start on the bees. To my horror there was a whole load more honey!!!! This means that another extraction session is in order but first we have to go and collect the equipment. Mike went off to get the uncapping tray and spinner while I cleared space in the garage. It was full of the pinned out pelts that I was working on and had just brushed with finishing oil. At 2.30 we realised that we hadn't had any lunch so we ate a plate of…

Tuesday and a busy one

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It has been a good year for plums and the sloes are looking just as good. Today is going to be hell on wheels - I have a hair appointment at 9 am just a cut and blow dry. Jane is due as is John the gardener so Mike will have to deal with them and when I get back from the hairdresser Terry is coming to look over my bees. The pelts that I pinned out are almost dry so now they need doing over with the finishing oil and then working until soft. The board that I use for pinning them can only accommodate 4 at a time so it is going to be a slow process to get them all done. Yesterday was a pleasant day we took the dogs for a walk in the woods and then made our way to a pub for lunch. This was all a bit traumatic as they had not cleared the specials board so our first order had to be abandoned. We then ordered from the menu which was also wrong and eventually my friends settled on steak and ale pie but when it arrived it turned out to be chicken pie. Apparently they had run out of steak and al…

Monday morning and still dark

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Yesterdays grooming workshop was a bit of a disappointment for me but Basso thoroughly enjoyed himself. There must have been a least a dozen GIRLS there so he was in his element and much to my surprise he sat peaceably on a table while we attacked his coat with various implements. We had set off from home at 9.30 allowing an hour and a half for the journey and getting lost! We arrived well on time but though it was booked to start at 11am nothing happened until after 12pm then instead of the usual format of a demonstration followed by supervised practice it was just a free for all. We, as non members, were largely left to our own devices as it was obvious that everyone else knew each other. Lunch was then served at about 1.30 and I must admit it was a sumptuous spread. As the weather was so lovely we all took our plates outside to eat but again we were left out of the group. I had put my name down for the training session in the afternoon which was just basic obedience but after…

Sunday and a day of rest

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The photo shows the anti-pigeon arrangements we have constructed to try and save the brassicas. I was hoping that yesterday Terry would come and have a look at the bees but he must have been busy or forgotten as I didn't hear from him. So that is a job I will have to put off until next week. I did however get four pelts out of the tanning solution and rinse them of and pin them out to dry. I think this might take quite a while as they are showing no signs of drying yet. The borlotti beans made a super lunch and I have saved half of them in the freezer for another occasion. I also got rid of the courgettes and a few eggs by making pancakes with them and hiding them in the freezer also. For supper we had a portion of the ox cheek stew that I made with some Yorkshire pudding and cavolo nero which was all rather nice. Today I have nothing planned in the food department as we are off down to Surrey on a grooming seminar/workshop. I hasten to add that this is not personal grooming but do…

Saturday

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Basso and Tuc peeping over the caravan door. Yesterday was a brilliant day weather wise so I was very pleased to at last get my brassicas out into the garden. We cobbled together bits of netting to try and keep the pigeons off the plants and as yet I haven't taken a stroll up the garden so I don't know if I have managed to keep the plants safe. I have planted white sprouting broccoli, red kale, stone head cabbage and cavalo nero. If they succeed we should have plenty of greens come the spring. My friend Elly came round to pick some runner beans for her family of 5 and we managed to pick enough for two meals for her family and a huge portion for Mike and I not to mention all the rather large beans going to the chickens. She brought me some egg boxes so I gave her a dozen eggs and still have a couple of dozen left. We split the courgettes between us and I will be making some courgette pancakes today as they freeze very well and make a good snack or light lunch. We also pic…

Friday and back in the traces

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Are dogs allowed to sleep on the sofa? Certainly not!!!!!!
I hope you appreciate the inspired colour combination not everyone has a dog that matches the decor in their caravan!!!!Well it was back down to earth with a bump yesterday I managed to get 6 machine loads dried and ironed and put away. I picked the tomatoes so a tomato sauce making session is on for today and as I got some lovely leeks in my veg box I am going to make a leek and potato soup for lunch today. I have found a home for the glut of runner beans, my friend who I dog walk with has three kids who all love runners so she is coming over to have a picking session. She will no doubt also take a few eggs off me which will relieve some of the pressure. The nights are really drawing in now and it was pitch dark when I went to put the hens to bed, not an easy task in the dark so today Mike is going to plug my security light back in so that at least I stand some chance of seeing what I am doing. Looking in the freezer I no…

Back from Sunny Suffolk

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Well what a start to our holiday! Mike drew the van in a bit close to the wall in the picture and punched a nice hole in the caravan side. The wall has been repaired temporarily with a couple of shelf brackets - so what did I do on my holiday? I rang insurance companies and caravan repairers and waited for both to come and look at the damage. Telephoning is difficult as the site has very poor signal strength so it is all rather exciting. Anyway to cut a long story short all is now well the caravan is with a repairer who came and collected it at 10 am yesterday morning and took it back to their yard for repair. Who knows how long it will take as it is all in the lap of the insurance company. The dogs had a wonderful time in the forest and got the regulation three walks a day which kept me pretty fit. Nip the little white terrier refused to do the evening walk and just emptied his tank and then ran back to the caravan which was a bit of a bind. We had our regulation feed of oyste…

Wednesday and off we go

Just a quickie this morning as I have shed loads to do before we leave at 10 am.

We managed to get a training session in with Basso yesterday in the only only hour gap in the rain. It rained solidly all day which the garden needed so badly. I am hoping that by the time I return from Suffolk the grass should once again have turned green. John the gardener was put off as it was ridiculous for him to try working under the wet conditions. Jane worked her magic and spruced up the house and I accumulated piles of washing which I am leaving for my return.

The weather today looks somewhat better so at least we should get the van set up and us installed in the dry - always a bonus. As soon as it is light I will go and clean out the hens which means they will be fine for the week we are away and will just need to be let in and out and fed. Packing our clothes takes all of 5 minutes but gathering all the dogs stuff take a bit longer and then there are things like i pods, mobile phones, cam…

Tuesday just getting light

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Cherry tomatoes escaping from the glass house window.Yesterdays swimming got knocked on the head as my friend was not able to come. So I rearranged the day and instead I went to M&S and bought 2 pairs of jog bottoms and 2 long sleeved T shirts and a pair of jeans for Mike total cost £50 not bad for 5 items. We also had a wonder around the food section as I wanted some prawns for lunch today. When we got outside it had rained and was still just spitting but we drove to the rugby field where the dogs got a walk and Basso had some training. Mike deposited a big bag of old clothes that no longer fit him into the recycle bin which some how makes me feel a bit better about throwing thing away. Hopefully they will be moved on to a better home.I have made a potato and onion tortilla which I will serve with lemon mayo, prawns and some cucumber and tomato salad. Tonight we will have a take away as I am refusing to cook and wash up. Today the wonderful Jane is coming and John the gard…

Monday morning still dull and windy

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Will they every ripen or am I going to have to make tons of green tomato chutney? I had a very nice morning down in Dover shooting and shot no better or worse than usual. In fact I ended up with the same score as the last time. Anyway I am not a competitive type so I was very happy just to have a good mornings shooting. The prize for me was the bacon and egg baguette, with a lovely soft yolked egg that squirted out all over the place!!! On the way back we stopped off at a farm shop where Mike stocked up on fudge which is his favorite and I bought some mushrooms and a couple of onions to keep us going until Wednesday. The lady behind the counter obviously had very good taste as she admired my new boots and asked lots of questions about price and availability. Once we arrived home I lazily cleaned my gun by running the bore snake through it a couple of times before putting it back in the gun cabinet. By rights I should have taken it to bits and cleaned it properly but it did have a …
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A nice rainbow photo of the camp site after a big down pour. Yesterday morning just after I had finished typing this blog I saw a big fluffy tail pass by the window. At first I thought it must be a cat but the tail was to large so I went out to investigate and there on the patio was a fox cub - well, the dogs gave chase and went crashing through my flower beds in hot pursuit. The fox managed to escape back to the golf course from where it had come and I don't suppose it will make any further forays into this garden. I spent most of the day watering the garden, it is in such a sad state of dryness. The lawn is just a dust bowl and all the plants are looking very sad. Having done this it will probably rain for the whole of next week. I noticed that the pond was really overgrown with weed so I pulled a wheelbarrow full out of it only to find that there are hundreds of small fish which have been bred over the summer. This is a problem as the pond can only support a certain numb…

Saturday and a day of rest

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This is an aerial photo of the camp site where we are staying for our weeks holiday. We will be pitched in the top left hand corner. What you can't see is the whole site is surrounded by miles and miles of forest which is absolute paradise for the dogs. It also means it is easy walking for me as they don't have to be on leads. The other advantage of this site is that it has no club/pub so there are no noisy hooligans etc. and if it rains the water drains straight away as it is almost pure sand. I will leave you to imagine 3 muddy dogs in a caravan!!!!!
I promised myself that I would have a couple of quiet days before we set off to get my head together but it is looking like that is not to be. Sunday shooting in Dover with Roger, Monday swimming with Elly, Tuesday dog training with Sandi. So today is my last completely clear day and I will have to have a go at the various things that need doing before we set off. I would like to have a look at the bees this evening and make sure…

Friday and the end of another week

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Nip checking the size of a flowerpot! Yesterday was a pleasant enough day but the prevailing wind was rather chilly and had a very autumnal feel to it. Sandi arrived at 10 am and we set off for our training session on the rugby pitch which I am pleased to say turned out very well. Basso is definitely improving so all I need to do now is keep up the work with him. He seems to have come to the conclusion that when I ask him to do something I actually mean it. By the time we got back it was time for lunch so I put a packet of fish-cakes under the grill and quickly ran up a bowl of tartar sauce - a handful of tomatoes from the garden finished off the meal. We then sat and chatted for a while before Sandi had to leave but not before making another appointment to have a training session on Tuesday. For dinner I disinterred some Navarin of lamb from the freezer which we had with a cabbage which was on it way to its maker and needed using up. I am now at the stage of using up bits and pi…

Thursday morning and bright but windy

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Shooting went well yesterday and we all shot better for our practice sessions on the skeet range. The hunters pie went down very well and the plates were cleared in double quick time. Shiona went home with 10 rabbits and Jeff went with half a dozen eggs. The picture shows the daily allowance from the hens who are laying very well.
I was delighted to get rid of the rubbish yesterday and put an air freshener in the garage to get rid of some of the hussle. Today I have a training session arranged with Sandi and the weather looks perfect for it. On the rugby field there is an area which is ideal for training retrieving as there is a fairly narrow alley way between the hockey pitch and a tall hedge which limits the running away opportunities for the dogs. I have also discovered that Sandi loves courgettes so I can off load some of them in her direction. I am also going to mix up the solution for tanning the rabbit skins as I intend to leave them in the solution while I am on holiday. Th…

Wenesday morning and Bin Day

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Who would have believed it but the thermometer which has its sensor on an outside wall was reading 40 degrees in the sun shine yesterday afternoon. It was 30 degrees in the dining room - too hot for comfort. Anyway the washing dried in seconds so that was one benefit. I will get the ironing done good and early before it starts to get warm again though I do believe we are in for a cloudy day today. I am grateful that it is not going to be to be too sunny as we are off shooting this morning. Jeff will be driving up from Bagshot and Shiona from Goudhurst, she is happy to leave Mary and the puppies at home. Mary is proving to be a good mother and is taking care of the puppies well. I am so glad it is bin day today as the remains of all those rabbits are getting a bit much in the garage what with all the heat we are having. We have had to keep the door closed as the dogs are very interested in the black bags and I don't think I could face clearing up the mess if they were to have…

Tuesday morning and another good day is forecast

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An almost cloudless sky over the river Medway. This is the pub where we had our lunch while watching the boats. The guy turned up to clean the carpet at 8.30 as arranged - what a difference it has made you don't realise how filthy things are until you clean them.
While he was doing that we went and had a picking session up the garden and I realised that I must cancel my Riverford box of vegetables as we are getting plenty from the garden. Once the carpet was done we abandoned the house to give it time to dry properly and set off to pick up our friends. Then made our way to the park where the dogs got a good run. Then on to the gunsmith to buy some more cartridges and who should I see in the shop but the chap I shoot with at Dover. He was there buying a new gun. Finally we made our way down to the river and had lunch sitting by the river. It was a lovely sunny and warm day so it was quite idyllic. We returned home about 4pm and started to put the dining room back together but…

Monday morning

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Three boys and a girl for Mary. Puppies are quite irresistible but I already have a house full so I can resist the temptation. Yesterday was a busy one as I had to finish off the rabbits I cooked my 7 and stripped off the meat. I made a pie in the style of a shepherds pie with one portion and I guess it should be called hunters pie. Anyway it will see us fed on Wednesday after shooting. I then made a tomato sauce with the excess tomatoes and tossed a portion into that which we had for supper with some pasta. This morning I need to get a move on and get the remaining furniture out of the dinning room so that the guy can clean the carpet. It is in a pretty parlous state as it hasn't been cleaned since Basso arrived as it seemed silly to clean a carpet with a puppy in the house. We are then destined to go out to visit some friends and will be taking the dogs with us so the carpet will have plenty of time to dry thoroughly before we come home. I also need to clean out the chicken…

Sunday a day of rest!!!!

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Good morning all - well I am really feeling the effects of a strenuous day yesterday. We were off bright and early and down to Canterbury to collect 22 rabbits and 5 pigeons that had been shot the night before. Once we got home I set to preparing the pigeons which are now in the freezer and then made a start on the rabbits. I don't know if you have ever skinned a rabbit but let me tell you it requires a bit of strength. By the time you have skinned 22 you can hardly use your hands and your shoulders are really aching. Anyway my neighbour was pleased to take 5 from me and Shiona and her neighbour are taking another 5 each, which leaves me with 7 which is a manageable number. Talking of Shiona, you will be pleased to hear that Mary her dog was safely delivered of 4 puppies and as soon as I have some photos I will post them.
Today, I am going to cook my rabbits and remove the meat then freeze that in manageable quantities. I then reduce the stock and freeze that also. The dog…

Saturday morning

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This is an egg skelter and I am waiting for mine to arrive. It will be nice to have my eggs in order of being laid in stead of constantly shuffling them around.


















Yesterdays dog training session started of really well but we were joined by a new black lab bitch at which point Basso completely lost it and I must have spent an hour just making him sit where I wanted him to. Every time I walked away he got up and moved so I had to put him back and leave him. It turned into a battle of wills which it was imperative that I won. It was pretty boring but in the end he worked out that I was not going to give in and he had better do what I asked.
The evening was a much better affair and there were eight of us at the pub for our fish supper. It was really strange to find that the wife of the guy with the black lab had a mother from Italy who was a war bride just like my Mum and Paula the wife of the dog trainer Barry had lived in Nigeria where I spent much of my childhood - what a small world it is…

Friday morning and pretty chilly

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My thermometer is reading only 12.6 degrees and it feels very like autumn.Shooting yesterday was huge fun as the wind made the clays fly in all sorts of unexpected directions. Hitting them was an extra bonus!!!Once we got home, after a bacon sandwich, I quickly made a batch of scones while Shiona and Jeff cleaned the guns. We then sat down to hot scones with bullace jam and double cream. What a treat!!! The jam was so good that we decided that more had to be made as there is still loads of fruit on the tree. Shiona and Jeff picked themselves loads of raspberries to take home and I discovered that I had a courgette crisis. I picked all of them and loaded them into a bag which I delivered to my neighbours who have vegetarian children.Now, as to the rabbits - well I cooked them all and stripped the meat from the bones which left me with 4.5 pounds of meat - not bad for free. Most of the meat has been vacuum packed but we had some for supper with white wine mushrooms and cream and …

Thursday and shooting

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Well so much for a rest day!! I got a phone call at 8am to let me know that Roger had shot 5 rabbits so it was off down to Canterbury to collect them. I swapped him half a dozen eggs and a jar of honey. Then home and on with the task of skinning and brining. They are now on the stove getting the obligatory two and half hours poaching before I strip off the meat ready to make into all sorts of lovely dishes. By now you know that I am marginally crazy so you will not be surprised to see the pelts have been put under salt as the first part of the tanning process [please see photo] I have never done this before so it is all a big experiment. I have sent for a tanning kit which comes with full instructions. If it works I have no idea what I will do with the pelts but I'm sure I will come up with something if only wrapping the the dogs dummy for retrieving. You know me Mrs. waste not want not!!!! Yesterday was pretty miserable with quite a lot of rain but I am very pleased as the g…

Wednesday and a day of rest

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What an industrious day we had yesterday while john got on with the garden Shiona and I gave the house a good going over. 4 machine loads of washing got done including the net curtains - guess what's waiting for me now - ironing !!! We took the dogs for a walk but we didn't go far as Mary did not need too much in her delicate condition. We had a nice lunch of slow roast belly of pork with the obligatory runner beans and new potatoes followed by Kent strawberries and cream. Shiona then made her way home and I crashed out for a snooze before dog training.

When we arrived at dog training we discovered that a test had been organized, Renie had a clipboard and we were each sent to do various exercises - it was all a bit difficult as it was very windy and all the dogs were excited. However, we finished up with the dogs retrieving some cold game. It was their first time using game instead of dummies and I was so proud of Basso. At last he was allowed to do what he was bred for.…

Pinch punch first of the month and no returns

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We started the day off well yesterday with a swim -Sandi and Yoda arrived at about 9.45 and off we went to the sea side, it was dull and overcast but that suited us quite well. The dogs had a splendid time including Mary who also had a swim despite her very pregnant state. She is due on Thursday so it will not be long now. Once we got home it was a hosing down session in the garden just to get the salt out of their coats. Sandi picked herself a load of raspberries to take home and was shocked to see that despite filling 2 containers she had hardly made a dent in the fruit.

For lunch we had pigeon breast with red wine and redcurrant jelly on toast which was rather nice. We then set to and got the bullaces pricked and into kilner jars with the sugar and gin. We have made 4 litres - we worked on the recipe of 1lb fruit to 1lb sugar to 1 bottle of gin. Now all we have to do is wait and give them the occasional shake. The remaining fruit was made into the most gorgeous jam [about 4lbs] the…