Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Cabin fever

DH has started building the summerhouse/log cabin.

There are piles of slats and bits everywhere.  Fortunately, each pile relates to a particular part of the build.  DH was very careful to ensure we did this when we brought the stuff round the back of the house after it had been offloaded kerbside.

None of the people we had hoped would be able to help are ohterwise engaged or are unwell.  I am working, and can only offer limited help.  So, he's doing it all himself.

And he's amazing.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Times up

I was with the allotment chickens for a long time today.

As well as the usual feeding, waterer cleaning, watering etc, I also cleaned out all the coops.  I discovered the oldest coop has a leaky nestbox. The Aubiose did its job, staying dry on top... but it all needed to come out.

When I went into the shed, I discovered we had no Aubiose.

Normally this would be a bit of an irritation, requiring me to shut everything up, walk the long walk back to my car, a drive to the horsey supplies place, a drive back, and then lugging the Aubiose into the chooks.

Today it was a majot issue.   I didn't have any money or plastic.

I'd only taken my phone and keys when I left home - I hadn't even expected to muck out. .  Thank goodness I had my phone. DH had to bring a bale of Aubiose from home, it was quicker for him to come over than for me to drive home and then drive back again.

While I was waiting, I had let the "chicks" out into the grassy paddock for a graze.  One of the main flock hens managed to get in as well,  and  one of the young boys jumped on her.  He then started strutting around, and had a little go at one of the other boys.  Then another young boy started crowing.

Then Henry started crowing, and shuffled up to the grassy paddock fence and started displaying.

Time's up for the boys.

Wood weary

The summerhouse arrived today.

Or, to be precise, the constituent parts of the summerhouse arrived today.

It was offloaded to kerbside by DH and the driver.  And then DH and I had to transport it plank by plank round to the garden.

As we've bought a double walled summerhouse, plus a different front, we effectively had two summerhouses to unload.

There are piles everywhere.

It took several hours.

And then we had to clear the loading stuff from the pavement - pallet, bits of ply, lots of odd bits of wood that had been used to protect the logs from the load straps. I've saved all of this as it makes good, free, kindling.

I'm cream crackered.

At least we were lucky with the weather.   We even managed to get it all covered up before the heavens opened.

We'd already covered it all up before I thought about taking pics.


Monday, 13 October 2014

Bye Guy

The partially closed curtain on an old part o fmy life was lifted today, before settling more permanently.

My best friend, Yvonne, phoned to say that Guy, her horse, had been put down this morning.

We got our horses together. They came from a trekking centre, for the winter, many years ago. Of course we couldn't send them back, so we bought them.  They were a huge part of our lives.  Many years, and several stables, later,  my horse, Pal, became ill and had to be put down.

To my surprise, I got a new horse, Peter.  And then a second horse, June.

Horses were a big part of our lives for a long time.  I've been horseless for many years now,  and it's always seemed like a distant memory, something which happened to someone else.

Guy had been out on retirement loan for more than 8 years.  He was 30, and full of life up to the last moment.  Silly sod gave himself a heart attack,   getting overly excited about getting into a new field and bucking around like a 6 year old.

Typical Guy.  I can absolutely picture him doing it, and it makes me smile to think that he died with a smile on his face.

It really is the end of an era.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Fence hopping, at my age.

Now the old shed has been re-mantled, we needed to get all the shelving back in. This necessitated unlocking the back gate,  and locking the backdoor while we were out.

Severa trips round the corner to our garage, and we had all the shelving in the driveway. We then moved it into the garden and into the shed.  As I came through with the final shelf unit, I padlocked the gate behind me.

Then I realised I didn't have a key to get in the back door.

And I didn't have the padlock key to get out of the gate.

DH was blissfully ignorant of the dilemma as he was busy Arranging Shelving.  I knew he had the front door key, but nothing else.  

I stood for a moment, playing the inevitable argument in my mind. I knew what I was going to have to do,  and I decided it'd be better for our marriage if I did it without DH watching (and moaning).

I got the green wheelie bin and lined it up with the fence. 

I needed something to get on to, to then get on to the wheelie bin lid.

I eyed up the old black recycling box, but didn't think it would take my weight.  I decided to get one of the garden chairs..but I was lucky enough to see a small stepladder, abandoned on the concrete.

So, I was able to climb the step ladder and get on to the bin,  then lift the stepladder  over the fence (thank goodness it was aluminium), and then heave myself over.  The trailer was in the driveway, and was kind of in the way,  but I managed to get the steps fairly firm albeit at a funny angle.  

I was now in the driveway, and realised I hadn't got the front door key from DH.

I cursed.  I called him.  He didn't hear me.

I thought about bellowing, but I can't abide fishwifery.

The neigbours weren't in. I didn't have my phone.  I leant against DH's car and waited. 

I considered reversing the process, but I really am too old for this sort of thing.

I decided to climb the ladder to and to cal from there...when DH appeared in the garden.


I leant on the trailer, and waited.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Allotment Chooks

Meanwhile, I've been seeing to the chooks on the allotment.

Henry continues to lead his harem of 8 girls all over the place, and they follow him withut fuss or argument.  He's a lovely boy, no aggression.    Not sure what will happen as the baby boys start to mature.  They're sectioned off, so I'm hoping that Henry won't see them as a threat.

The 3 small hens - now our oldest girls - aren't part of the harem.  They still look well, despite moulting. Several of the harem are moulting as well, and we're only getting 2 eggs a day from all 11 girls.  It's at times like this that I regret letting DH keep all 6 females from one year's hatch.   I can see it's going to cause problems down the line.

I've been supplementing their food with some fish flavoured cat food every few days.  The extra protein should help with feather development.

In the Chicks area,  they are all looking wonderful.  They seem a happy bunch.  We've identified 5 of the 10 as males - there may be more, but we can't see any obvious signs yet.   They are 17 weeks old now, and we need to think about despatching the boys soon.   So far we haven't seen any hormone related behaviour - no squabbling or squaring up (apart from the sort they did as babies) and no Henky Panky.    However, I know this can change in the blink of an eye,  so we are being vigilant.   We can separate the boys from the girls if we need to for a few days.

Big Bird, the enormous yellow chook,  is probably female.   Princess, the one that hurt her leg,  is definitely female.   Burt and Ernie are definitely boys.  Charlie and Charlie-ene are both boys - but Charlie has developed orange hackles and now looks like Burt and Ernie whereas Charlie-Ene has stayed black. From a distance I can't tell which is Charlie now, but I can tell when I am in the enclosure with them. He's the one who lets me touch him.  

There is one other black cockerel.   The remaining 3 black chooks are, I think, all female.

It doesn't matter really.  Like last year's hatch, none of them will be staying.

Next year I think we'll have to breed some girls to keep.

We've been discussing whether we'll be brooding in the shed we've just moved or in the new summerhouse. We haven't decided yet. 


So, DH dismanted the old shed. The contents have been dispered - over the garden, into our (rented) garage. Into the greenhouse. Into the house.

I went out to help him move the sides. Hopeless.   I phoned my lovely brother, who came over that afternoon and between them (and some specially made straps) they managed to shift. it. 

DH then dug out the new foundations,  and I dug out two blackcurrant bushes that were in the way.  I felt very sad about it. They were old bushes, but thanks to some careful pruning over the last 2 years, they came back into good production this year.  Their demise was unavoidable.   

A small cherry tree also had to go.

The Kiwi...well, we're trying to see if we can keep the kiwi.  It's going to be a very close thing - we're talking an inch or two.

Lovely Brother also came to help DH do the concreting.  This was much better than me helping because, (a) there is less bickering,  and (b) they both know what they are doing so can get on with it without explanation.

And finally,  the old shed has been repositioned and re-mantled in it's new home DH had to put in a new roof panel, but that was the only casualty. .  It's also been freshly painted, and it hasn't looked this well cared for since it was built the first time, many years ago now.    It is also right in the corner of the garden, in an area previously used for compost bins and piles of carp, so it's not really taking up that much room IYSWIM.

No word yet on expected delivery date of the Summerhouse.

Probably just as well, as we have to make some decisions about electrics and stuff.  At the moment we're snapping about lighting.   I can't wait until we start arguing about paint colour. Or location of switches.  Or what's going in it.

I haven't even begun to think about my mobile bar yet.


The new machine is like my othe rmachine, but it has a lot more stitches.

I've sold the original machine, the money which helped fund the new one.

Yet more bunting completed;  several towels, hems shredded by a bored cat,  have been re-hemmed.  I've been practising the embroidery stitches, for a bunting related project.

More sewing feet.  I've learned how to use a piping foot and make my own piping.  If I'd discovered this a few weeks ago, all my bunting would have piping down the side. 

My old stationery cupboard, which was going to hold the contents of the sideboard,  may have to be at least partially requistioned for some of my fabric.

I can see I might be making Christmas Bunting next.

Still shifting

The pair of oak filing cabinets arrived on Thursday.

I emptied the old filing cabinet, making piles of stuff in the guest bedroom.

We packed the old sideboard into DH's car, ready to deliver.  The person who was buying it wasn't able to take delivery until Saturday,   so it lived in DH's car for several days.

The lineup of cabinets now looks lovely, and I'm really pleased.

I've started to put my sewing stuff in the one with  drawers.

I've started to move my vast stationery collection into the other two. I've been busy putting stuff into boxes to take to the charity shop.  I've been selling bits.  I've given bits away.

I have piles of stuff that I need to sort. I can't get to Orla to play.  

The piles of stuff in the guest room are untouched. Goood job we aren't expecting anyone to stay in the forseeable future.

I'm reaching a bit of an impasse.

I'm shutting the doors of the two rooms so I can't see it.

Coo-ee Mrs Shifter

Where has the time gone?!

It's been a bit of an up and down few weeks.

Hmm. How to organise the catch up.  Probably by subject.

Picking u from my last post...

I collected the small cabinet of drawers - and a new (to me, but secondhand) sewing machine - on a rather tortuous journey to North London last week.

Actually, it started off quite well. I'd used Google Streetview to look at the places I would be visiting, to see what the parking situation might be.  I'd been to Tottenham once before, over 30 years ago, and the parking wss horrible then.  I'm sure the Sewing Machine lady would be most affronted to hear me call where she lives "Tottenham",  it was just ouotside Tottenham really.

I left on time and had a clear, jam-free run to "Tottenham".  I managed to park outside the house,  and was in and out within about 3 minutes.   The hourney to the Drawers House was equally clear and easy, and I arrived about three quarters of  an hour ahead of my stated pick up time.

Now, when organising this, the lady said that the earliest I could pick up was 1pm.

 It was about 12.10.  I rang the doorbell on the off-chance, and wasn't surprised that there  was no answer.   It started to rain.    I went back to my car and started to phone the lady...but stopped.  She'd said 1pm.  If I phoned her to say I was outside, she'd probably feel somewhat harrassed.

I listened to the radio.  I checked my emails.  I looked at Facebook.  I played Sudoku.   After an hour -by which I mean 20 minutes  - I went and rang the bell again, at 12.30.  Still no answer.

I got back in the car.

At 12.45, I tried again, just in case the lady had come home while I wasn't looking, or had come in from the back. Or something.

At 1.05 I tried again.

I was a little cross now,  mostly with myself for having been so early in the first place.  I debated whether to phone her, but decided I'd now be harrasssing her for being 5 minutes late.

At 1.15, I tried again.  And then  in frustration really,  I rapped on the door as well.

She opened it.

I was a bit taken aback.  "I didn't see you come in -  I tried earlier".   I explained.

"The bell doesn't work".

I thought : "Oh FFS  What don't you tape it up?!   and 'Why didn't you mention when we made our arrangements" this to me. I coud  have been home by now!"

I said - nothing.

On a positive note, the drawers fitted in my tiny car. 

It took ages to get home. But, it was just heavy trafffic, no disasters.

And the drawers work well.