Monday, 24 October 2016

Oven ready

The Girls are moulting.

Sasha, the Appenzeller, has been moulting a little bit at a time, for some weeks.
Fay, the Fayoumi, started dropping the odd feather yesterday.
Gloria has given up being broody, and left a pile of feathers in the nestbox.  Poppy has clumps of missing feathers.

Poor Fleur, the Marans, is in a terrible state.  She's lost lots of feathers at once, and is very uncomfortable.

Poor baby, she looks like an oven ready bird.

Monday, 17 October 2016


We have a Quince tree, which produces fruit from time to time.  Last year, I seem to remember, we didn't have any quinces.  This year I wasn't expecting any either. We had had good blossom, but I hadn't seen any quinces on the tree.

Yesterday I went out to pick a couple of cooking apples. There were only two apples left on the tree, the rest (apart from some I had used last week in the Christmas Puddings) were on the ground in various stages of being eaten.

I needed the steps to reach the apples. While I was up there, I spotted a quince on the quince tree.   DH came out to watch, and spotted another one.  Andthen a thrid. The thrid one wasn't ready to be picled.  When I folded the steps up, I saw another Quince on the ground.

Regrettably, the fourth quince is damaged, so it's no good.  The other 2 will be put somewhere cool for 6 weeks to ripen, and I'll pick the one that's on the tree as soon as it's ready.

They always smell lovely when they are ripening.

Piccadilly Circus

I'm working from home.

10 minutes ago, DH popped out to get his hair cut.

I've had to get up three time since he went (the first time a second after he pulled out of the drive) to answer the door.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

O! S. V F X

Fay, who is bottom chook, has been unable to lay in the normal nestbox, because of Gloria being broody. 
I've found 2 of her eggs elsewhere in the run - along with 2 from Fleur.

Eggs for breakfast tomorrow.


No eggs for breakfast today!
First time in...a long time.  This time last year, the babies were only just coming in to lay and laid all through the winter.

This year, all but one Girl seems to have stopped laying. Moulting has started.

And Gloria has decided that it's the ideal time to go broody. There are no eggs for her to sit on, but she can't help herself.

I forgot to say. The title is from a clever Two Ronnies sketch.  Swedish made simple.For example:
C  T = City
L O = 'Ello

(You have to say it out loud really)

"F U N E X?".
"S, V F X"
"F U N E M?"
"V F N T  N E M"
"S V F M!"
"M N X"

Monday, 10 October 2016


A little while ago I saw a Big Mouse in the chicken run.  

We investigated and found that they had a rat run under one of the Cubes, but weren't actually tunnelling into the run itself.  We moved the Cube, and DH embedded  honeycomb driveway stuff to make it impossible for the rats to tunnel into the run through the Cube.  It's been fantastic, and has had the added benefit that the Girls haven't been able to wear the flooring level down.

We also put down baited traps. Horrible, I know.

All was well for some time, and then suddenly there was earth at the edge of the walk in run.  We stopped using the euphemism of Big Mouse, and started calling them by their real name. The rats were tunnelling again, and had breached the edge of the walk in run.  There's a gap round the edge, and the rats were tunnelling.  More bait.  More earth. More bait.

It had been quiet for a few days, so we were hopeful that the bait had done its job.


On Saturday I was working in the kitchen.  Poppy, as usual, had escaped the confines of the netted area.  I could see that she had found something interesting to eat.She was picking it up and dropping it.  I looked at it and felt sorry for the poor mouse or frog, or whatever it was.

And then I realised that it was quite large for a mouse.  And then I realised.

I rushed out, grabbing hardening gloves from the side as I went out of the door.  It was indeed a rat.

I normally try not to get too squeamish about the hens' omnivorous diet, but I couldn't let her eat this. I didn't know how it had died, but I doubted very much that she'd caught it herself.  It was possible that Wash had been out hunting, but I couldn't take the risk.

Poor chook. Poor rat.

More memory fun

I know my memory is a little erratic, so I've learned to IGNORE the false voice that tells me "you'll remember that". Instead, I bookmark webpages (my bookmarks are very organised), I make notes of things, I mark things on my calendar.

(I've just scurried off to note on my calendar that I put the Creole Cake fruit in to soak on Saturday, and a reminder for 3 weeks time that it will be ready to use. I didn't think I'd forget that, butwriting the paragraph above made me do it  just in case... )

Tpday my Facebook feed showed me an interesting recipe for cheese crackers. It was remarkably simple, and I thought I'd definitely give it a go.   I know I wouldn't be able to find it easily again,  so I bookmarked it.

It was already there.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Middle Age memory lapses

It is getting chilly.  Yesterday I was a little cold.  It's too early in the year to have the heating on,  but it might, I reasoned, be time to consider lighting the fire some evenings.

I needed to get the log basket from the loft.   Eventually, in the afternoon, I finally got round to doing it.  I opened the loft up, and decided I'd put up some other stuff while I was at it. Stuff that's been sitting in a neat stack on the landing for some weeks now.

The items were shoved one by one, through the loft hatch, and then  I followed.

First item, a  travelling bag for Thermy, never used.  That can go down the end of the loft, where we keep all the appliance boxes.    A but of limboing (we have low beams), and it was neatly in place.  A box of lids for the ReallyUsefulBoxes.   Packed into a corner.  A crate of bottles and jars,  stacked with the others.   The runners for an Ikea drawer (which was put in the loft a while ago),  reunited.

Pleased with my efforts, I came down and packed the ladder away.

Later that evening, I felt chilly.  Maybe I'd light a fire?  I need the.......dammit.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016


I've been binge-watching season 4 of "Once Upon a Time" (OUAT).  I've had the DVDs for about a year, but haven't got round to watching them. Season 5 cane out (and was ordered and received) very recently, so I decided to really indulge.

The other evening  put some potatoes in to bake before going off to Air Rifles.  When I got back, the potatoes were not quite ready.  At this point, I put a bag of smaller potatoes in to bake, so the Allotmenteers could have some baked potato mixed with poultry spice as a bit of a treat.

When my potatoes were cooked, I got them out, filled them with grated cheese,  home made yoghurt, etc, and sat on the sofa to eat my dinner and to start that evening's sneaky OUAT viewing. 

At 11.30, I made the tough decision that I needed to go to bed.  I turned everything off, called the cats and gave them some late supper.  I turned off the lights.....

...and noticed a glow at one end of the kitchen.  The oven was still on.

The potatoes were still in there.

They were rock hard.  No potatoey goodness left.


Saturday, 1 October 2016

Gate expectations!

DH was away.

I had to go out and do the chooks early as I was working that morning and had a conference call.  I needed to get to the chooks and back, and do some preparation.

I carefully packed up some overripe tomatoes (from the greenhouse) for the Allotmenteers,  and left the house to go to the Allotment.   After shutting the front door - and pausing to to through my "Have I...?" checklist - I locked the front door. Except the key wouldn't turn.

I looked at it for a moment, wondering if I'd used the back door key instead.  No. It was definitely the front door key.  But it wouldn't turn.

And then I realised what had happened.

Our front door has one of those "features" where, if there is a key on the one, it's not possible to lock it from the other.  I'm not sure why this is a good design feature, it seems pretty stupid to me.  

Hmm. I didn't want to go out an dleave the house unlocked. Besides, I'd have to find a solution when I got back in.  Luckily, a neighbour has a spare set of keys, so I walked over to her house and borrowed them, and a set of small stes so I could unlatch the gate.

I got back to the gate, stood on the steps, leaned over to unlatch the gate...and then I saw the padlock.

Bother, bother, bother.

My neighbour appeared, wondering if I needed a bigger ladder.   I realised there was nothing for it, I was going to have to climb over.  She went to fetch her ladder,  and I closed my eyes and thought through the process.  I'm fat, inflexible, in my fifties,  so I like to think these things through before I start.

I pulled up the wheelie bin, and stood it next to the steps. The neighbour appeared with an old fashioned stepladder, which required opening and latching in to place.  This meant it had to be opened and latched BEFORE I put it over the fence.

I climbed onto the wheely bin from the small steps, and attempted to lug the step ladder over.  There was limited space, and I had to partially drop the ladder in to place.  It teetered. It tottered.  I cursed, as I watched it lurch over and fall against the side of the house.

From the wheely bin, I leant over the gate to try and reach it to right it.  My lovely neighbour held on to my legs while I did so.  Luckily for me, the steps had a grab rail. I grabbed them, righted them, and stood them up.

I swung one leg over the gate and put my foot on the step.  And paused.  I should have ut the steps sideways, to make it easier for me to put all my weight on the leading foot. Instead I was stranded across gate,  wishbone style, with one leg on the wheelie bin and one leg on the steps.

My neighbour asked what the problem was, and I explained.  She uggested I moved my step-leg back, and I explained that I didn't think that was going to be possible. .I tilted gently first one way, then the other, to see which way felt the least insecure. 

I realised that if I sprung back from the steps,  the force would probably push them over, this time away from the gate and out of reach. So, I took a deep breath, and pushed off from the bin.  The steps stood firm(ish). And I was over! Yay!

My stupidity didn't quite end there.

My neighbour, pleased that I'd got in.  Took the small steps away and went home.   I unlocked the back door, marched to the front foor, and removed the key. Back through the house, I picked up the house keys which had the padkock key on, and opened the gate.  I took the ladder out, put the bin away.
I put the house keys back in the house,  set the alarm, locked the door, and went to go out of the gate.

Then I realised I wouldn't be able to lock the gate behind me.  We always lock the gate because of the Girls.

So.  I opened the back door again,  picked up the house keys, locked the gate. Back in the house. Locked the back door. Unlocked the front door. Set the alarm. Went out. Locked the front door.   I picked up the ladder and returned it and the keys to my neighbour,

I went to see the chickens.

The next day, I got several padlock keys cut including one for my neighbour's set of keys.   I took the key round and asked her to add it to our keys.

A few minutes later, there was a knock at the door.  The neighbour held up the key.  I looked at her, wondering what was wrong.   "There's a key the same as this on the ring already" she explained.   I was really surprised at this.  "I was surprised too, after yesteray, so I went through my papers and dug out the emergency note you left me, and it says that the small key is for the padlock".

That really tickled me.  I am  one of life's Planners. I think thhrough possible outcomes, and plan for as many of them as I can accommodate.

I should have known that I would have planned for just such a situation.