1 September 2014

Holly Berries in August!

When I went to the train station yesterday, to pick up one of my daughters who has come to stay for the weekend, I was stood waiting for the train to arrive when I saw this.

A holly bush with berries already appearing! Now, this morning, I did a little bit of research on the internet and found that a holy bush normally gets it's berries in mid autumn, not late summer as we are supposed to be now. I was amazed. You can even see that some of them are starting to turn red, this isn't supposed to happen for ages yet. I know that autumn is coming early this year because the blackberries that we usually pick at the market have been out and ripe for at least 3 weeks now but I had no idea just how weird the weather is actually being. It's as if Mother Nature is totally confused and I get the feeling that it's this odd weather that is responsible for my nesting and hibernating instincts kicking in. Having said that, the weather down here in Cornwall is turning nice again. So confusing :-)

Time for a walk on the beach I think :-)

I found this awesome piece of driftwood but sadly had to leave it behind as it was impossible to lift and it wouldn't have fitted into the car. I really wanted it though :-)

And I love the colour of the bright green seaweed against the rocks

My daughter discovering why I don't wear my Joules wellies ....... they have holes in them and have done since the week after I got them. Beautiful but useless ...... the wellies not my lovely daughter!!

My gorgeous hanging basket is still going strong.

29 August 2014

Three Dogs and a Hedgehog

As you will know, if you read my blog, I have lots of animals, including 3 dogs. Metro is a 10 year old collie who I re-homed from a rescue centre 8 years ago. He is the loveliest, sweetest, gentlest dog you could ever imagine, who prefers sleeping on the sofa to running around in the field, hates getting wet, hates being muddy even more and he sleeps with me on my bed at night. 

Then there is Levi. He's a 7 year old Dalmation who we got as a cute little teeny puppy. He's mad and boisterous and his tail never stops wagging. He's an incredibly sweet natured dog who loves to play fetch although it's somewhat hit and miss as to whether or not he will actually bring the ball back to you, he will chase after it for hours. He has only 2 speeds, 8,000 miles an hour or fast asleep and has the attention span of a gnat!!

Photos with Levi in them are always a blur I can never get him to sit still long enough to get a decent picture 

Indie and his bestest buddy Levi .... another blur :-)

Lastly, there is Indie. A 4 year old Alaskan Malamute. He is cuddly and affectionate, doesn't know his own strength, regularly falls over his big, hairy feet and for such a big dog with a massive bark he's a big old scaredy cat, scared of his own shadow.

Indie loves water ..... especially bubbly bath water 

Now, last night, as I took the dogs out for their final trot around the garden before bed, I discovered the cutest little hedgehog sitting on the patio. Amazingly, the dogs all reacted differently to the little hedgehog but all acted true to their nature. Metro wandered over and gently licked the startled hedgehog on the end of it's nose just as it curled up into a tight little ball, Levi charged past it, ran round in circles for a couple of minutes and then charged off having been distracted by a bat flying overhead and Indie took one look at it, tucked his tail under his bum and ran back inside, refusing to come out until I had relocated the big, scary, spikey thing to the top of the garden.

Cute, isn't he :-)

27 August 2014

A Room Full of Smoke!!

Well, in order to try and appease the hibernation yearning, I had a good look in my food cupboards and began to compile a list of all the things I needed to stock up on. I then took my list off to the shops and started the mammoth task of filling the cupboards. As a rule I try and buy local as much as possible which, to be honest, is really easy for me because I just buy it at the market where I have my stall but, there are things like pasta and rice that I can't get from there that I have to go to the local supermarkets to get. I'm quite fortunate in that I live quite close to a couple of big shops and so I visit both in order to get the best bargains on offer because, lets face it, there is no point in paying more than necessary for things if you don't have to. Anyway, shopping done and stored away I then made a list of the things I wanted to make to fill up the freezer.

This morning, I was busy making more cakes and pies and casseroles ready for the freezer when I thought it might be a good idea to light a fire in the living room so that when I finished cooking, I could go and sit down in the warm and have a nice cup of tea. I lit the fire, popped the fire guard in front of it and went to check on the cakes in the oven. When I came back, the living room was full of black smoke which had blown back down the chimney and into the house. Try as I might I just couldn't clear it without opening all the doors and windows as wide as they would go but, in order to do this, I had to round up all my cats and take them to the spare bedroom because they are indoor cats and the windows have window locks which only allow them to open a certain amount.

So, after herding 7 cats upstairs and wrangling them into the bedroom, I flung open all the doors and widows and finally managed to clear the smoke in about 5 minutes. In the middle of all this, one of my neighbours banged on my door with the electrician, to have a look at their water pump and give a quote for some electrical work that needs doing. The neighbour's pump lives in a pump house in my garden where the borehole is, along with the pump that serves my house so, I pointed out where the pump lived and followed them over to make sure everything was ok. I was slightly miffed and more than a little concerned when he started poking around and tugging on random wires before commenting that the whole thing looked as if it needed replacing and that my cable was looking a bit dodgy as well. He then gave my cable a massive tug and a wiggle and asked if I'd had any trouble with the water pump shorting out. It was obvious that he was angling for more business and if he had caught me on a normal day I would have politely pointed out that I hadn't had any problems with things shorting out and that I'm of the mind that if it's not broken then there is no need to interfere but, as I was mid crisis, with a house-full of smoke and he kept on tugging on my cables I'm afraid he got a snippy reply of "well I'm sorry but I'm not having it done at the moment and could you please be careful and not damage my cable". I wouldn't mind but it wasn't even my pump and cables that he was supposed to be looking at.

He gave me a most unpleasant look, gave the cable another hard tug and put the lid back on. I have to say, I'm hoping that my neighbours don't use that particular electrician because I'm not sure that I trust him around my electrics! As for the chimney, I'm sure it's just the wind blowing down the valley the wrong way but before I light another fire, I think I'm going to get the chimney swept just be sure there aren't any blockages up there so ....... I guess I will be freezing for a while until I can get it sorted.

26 August 2014

Rain Rain Go Away

Well it's Tuesday morning, it's been raining hard for the last 32 hours, it's still raining and I discovered yesterday that I have a leak in my roof which is coming in through the bathroom ceiling. It's so bad I have had to put a bowl underneath it to catch the drips! I have no idea what I'm going to do apart from keeping everything crossed that the rain will stop, but I'm sure that something will come to me.

On a more positive note, I harvested my first apple yesterday. In fact I picked two and made an apple crumble with them, they were delicious :-)

My tomatoes on the other hand are looking very sorry for themselves. Most of them haven't ripened and I'm not sure what I should do with them. I don't know if they will ripen by themselves if I pick them and put them on a windowsill or whether I should be looking up a recipe for green tomato chutney. Any thoughts??

I'm not ready for Autumn, it's caught me completely on the hop. I haven't done my final lawn mowing of the year, I haven't collected any sticks or fallen logs for the fire, which I start doing at the end of August before the weather turns nasty, I haven't bought any coal for the fire and I haven't started filling up the freezer for the Winter in case of snow. I know the last one sounds a bit odd but I live at the bottom of a valley and have been snowed in a couple of times before so I always like to make sure I have enough food for both myself and all the animals to last if it happens again. I feel as if I need to rush and start getting ready for Winter and I seem to have an overwhelming urge to start baking and cooking and stocking up ........ weird!!

Anyway, today I am going to start to rectify the situation, I'm going to bake lots of bread, some pies and casseroles and a couple of cakes and I'm going to start filling up the freezer. I'm also going to go through the cupboards and see what I'm short of and make a shopping list for payday so I can go and stock up. I might even look into something like Approved Food. I have heard good things about the bargains you can get from there and I might see if it's worth placing an order. It would be interesting to hear if any of you have used Approved Food and have any useful tips??