30 June 2013

Mowing the Lawn .... Cornish Style

Recently, some friends of mine from the market mentioned that they were having trouble keeping the grass down in their garden. It's a fairly large garden, about two acres and the grass was getting rather long, in fact too long for them to manage really so another friend from the market offered to lend them a lawnmower. Well three of them actually. 

Cute aren't they. Mummy, daddy and baby. I nipped up to pay them a visit this morning and to take them a bag of apples which they absolutely loved, although, they were also very keen to sample the chocolate cake that went with my coffee and seemed rather put out when they weren't allowed any. In addition to getting the lawn mowed, there is also the added bonus of piles of horse poo which, once it's rotted down, will be perfect for them to put on their veggie patch. 

A little update on the chicken front. This week, I have been getting an egg a day from my lovely girls. I don't know which of them is laying the eggs but they are delicious, despite being tiny and I had three eggs scrambled for brekkie this morning after I got back from the car boot sale ..... I can't face breakfast at 6.30am so I usually have a bacon butty when I get there and then breakfast at about 10.30ish when I get back. The car boot sale was great, I got a couple of lovely things. A cute little pale blue enamel bucket with the word "eggs" on the front and a really sweet quilted throw. I will post some pictures tomorrow after my camera battery is charged. 

27 June 2013

Craft Room Envy

I am very fortunate in that I have a whole room to myself for all my craft stuff. This is actually a good thing because I have to confess to being the worlds messiest crafter. My craft room, which is actually nothing grand, just a spare bedroom, is an absolute disgrace.  It's totally chaotic, very messy and littered with scraps of fabric, bit's of cotton and a whole host of crafty mess. I used to do my sewing and crafting in the living room so I could listen to the TV in the background while I worked but a few months ago, there was an incident where one of my cats, Luna, swallowed a huge piece of cotton, which proceeded to get wrapped around her tongue and then stuck in her intestines, requiring a £200 operation to untangle it all.  After almost losing poor Luna, I decided that I couldn't afford any more mishaps like that and I relocated all my chaos to the spare bedroom (along with the spare TV and dvd player!). Now, I read lots of fabulous crafting blogs and some of them show pictures of beautiful, fabulously coordinated, Cath Kidson-esque craft spaces that put mine totally to shame. Mostly, I would just love an organised, craft specific room but so far, even this has totally eluded me. As a spare bedroom goes, it's a nice, bright and comfortable room (when it's not covered in the above mentioned detritus!) but as a designated craft space it leaves a lot to be desired. So, next week, I will be attempting to re-organise my craft room from this .........

Into something much more like this. Quite frankly I'm not sure which one I like the best.






26 June 2013

That Time of Year Again

Well, it's my favourite two weeks of the year ....... Wimbledon. I love Wimbledon. During the next two weeks, nothing will be done in the house, not much tidying except the bare minimum, quick and easy meals and lots of sitting watching the lovely tennis. I will have to fit in some card making and some sewing for the market stall somewhere along the line but other than that, it will be two weeks of blissful laziness. 
Picture Courtesy of the Official Wimbledon Website
Sadly, I've never actually been to Wimbledon. Each year, as I sit and watch it, I say to myself that next year, I will go but I never seem to manage it. Hopefully one day I will finally make it. This year, I have high hopes for Andy Murray. He was on great form at Queens and I'm thinking that this year might indeed be the year. Fingers Crossed. So strawberries and cream at the ready, Leyton Hewitt is currently playing on Court 2 and Andy Murray on Court 1 at 1.30pm and that's my day sorted. 

24 June 2013

Finally ........

Just a quick post. 

I'm so thrilled.

On June 4th, I got my two lovely chickens and yesterday ......

this :-)

And this morning .........

 The teeniest fried eggs for breakfast ever :-)


18 June 2013

Feeling Out of Sorts and Home Made Scotch Eggs

Every Sunday, after checking out what's on offer at my local car boot sale, I spend the afternoon catching up on my blog reading. I love curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea reading about what everyone has been up to. This weekend, however, the car boot sale was cancelled so, after I had caught up on all the bloggy gossip, I was at a bit of a loose end. Usually, reading other people's blog posts spurs me on and gives me ideas for things to do or make but this week I found myself feeling slightly frustrated. Add to that an episode of Escape to the Country on TV featuring million pound houses and I was on the internet looking for a new house!

This is not a new thing for me. Having moved around the country every 2-3 years since I was about 19, I find that living in one place for a long period of time gives me itchy feet and the desire to move to pastures new comes along every 18 months or so. Recently though, it's been getting more and more frequent. I have been living in my house now for about nine and a half years now and as moving house is not really an option at the moment I have to content myself with moving things around and re-painting the rooms. The trouble is, at the moment my get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone and I'm feeling totally out of sorts. I'm finding it hard to motivate myself and even making things for the market is annoying me at the moment and I have no idea what to do about it.

I did, however, force myself to make some scotch eggs. Something I have been promising myself for ages. I used some locally produced pork and leek sausages and as my chickens haven't started laying yet, I bought some free range, organic eggs from the market. I can't believe they were so simple and as a first attempt, I though they were delicious. Although, I think the oil in the pan was too hot because although they were brown on the outside the sausage meat wasn't cooked through when I cut one in half, so I popped them in the oven for about 15 mins to finish them off. I'm wondering actually if it's possible to bake them rather than fry them because I think it would cut down the fat content - any tips would be gratefully received :-)

16 June 2013

Bees and an Unusual Visitor to the Market

I have, in the past, written a couple of posts about the decline in bee numbers and other pollinators and I have also mentioned a couple of times the fact that I leave part of my field wild throughout the year to encourage insects. In addition to my wild field, this year, although not intentionally, I have also left a big part of my front lawn wild. Mostly because the grass got so long that cutting it will now involve a petrol strimmer and a bad back for a week or so! This isn't quite as bad as it sounds. I live in the countryside and whereas an unruly front lawn might be frowned upon on a neatly coiffed, well manicured, suburban estate, here in deepest darkest Cornwall it's not a big deal. It's a good job really because I have no intention of mowing any more than I have to this year. The alarming lack of insects in my garden and field at the moment is very noticeable and so far, there have been hardly any bees around and I have not spotted one single butterfly so far this year.

So, it was with great interest yesterday at the market, when the man who supplies us with local honey brought with him not only several jars but also a white padded envelope. Curious to see what he was about to show us, we crowded around the table and lo and behold, in the white padded envelope were a two white plastic containers with 15 compartments and in each compartment, along with some icing sugar solution for food, were some bees. A Queen bee, identified by the red spot on her back and some drones (I think he said they were drones) to keep her company. It was fascinating. Amazingly, the bees were delivered by next day special delivery via the Royal Mail and even more amazing was the price. £600 for 15 Queen bees! That's quite a chunk of money but I'm guessing well worth every penny if it helps the bee population recover. It will be interesting to find out how the new hives are getting on, hopefully it will go a little way to helping out the declining bee populations.

One of the trays of bees
As for the unusual visitor to the market, he appeared on Thursday. All morning I was sure I could hear a peacock. Not wanting the others to think I was slightly batty, I didn't mention anything at first until I couldn't stand it any longer and went for a look around. This is what I spotted wandering around on the grass near my car. Not so barking mad after all :-)

11 June 2013

Scrappy, Frayed Edged Lovlieness.

Since I started at the market, I'm always on the lookout for new ideas for things to make and put on my market stall and I'm especially keen to find thing that use up all my leftover pieces of fabric. I made some little Suffolk Puffs and made them into little brooches to put on my stall, which took hardly any fabric and were really cute and really popular (although my daughter was disappointed that they weren't cream-filled puff pastries, which is what she thought they were).

Recently, I have been researching patchwork quilts and bags, in particular, frayed edge patchwork quilts and bags. I love making patchwork things. I like the idea of using up all the small pieces of fabric that would otherwise go to waste, to make something beautiful and useful but, although I'm ok at putting the patchwork itself together, I have always struggled with the batting, the backing and the quilting of something so large. I can never figure out how to do it without getting myself into a terrible muddle so I was looking for something easier and less massive. And guess what ...... I think I have found it. Frayed edge patchwork. It's lovely. Each quilt is made up of little sandwiches of fabric and batting and each square is individually quilted  so there is no massive quilt wrestling at the end. Having looked online for a tutorial, it looks really simple so today, I am going to give it a go. 
This is hopefully what mine will end up looking like, fingers crossed. If you follow this link, here is the very useful tutorial on how to make it so fingers crossed, mine will look just as nice. 

Picture from bloomandblossom.blogspot.co.uk 

5 June 2013

Veg Planting Frenzy

I always seem to be playing catch-up when it comes to gardening. Whether it's planting veg, sowing seeds or simply sorting out the garden, everyone always seems to be more organised than me and this year, despite all my good intentions, once again I'm way behind everyone else. I start out the year with the best of intentions but for some reason, things just pile up and I start to get into a mild state of panic. This escalates to total meltdown when, on a Friday evening, I watch gardener's World. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE Gardener's World. I love seeing what Monty does in his beautiful garden, I have a note book to jot down any plant names that I like the look of and although I have massive greenhouse envy every time I see his new brick and wood greenhouse, I totally love the program. That is, until it gets to the bit where it tells you what jobs you should be doing in the garden at the weekend. At that point I get slightly hysterical as I try and figure out how on earth I'm going to fit it all in.

Cucumber Plants
Anyway, a few weeks ago I had a bit of a mini meltdown and decided that it was time to get organised. Now, I try to get everything in the house sorted before 8am (the 3 D's......... Dogs, Dishes and Dusting, well hoovering and tidying actually but that doesn't begin with D). This means I have a clear day to either sew and create stuff for the market or, if the weather is nice as it has been for the last few days, I can spend it in the garden. So far it's working well but as I said I'm still playing catch-up so today I was in full planting mode. At a car boot sale on Sunday, in addition to the wood I got to make the chicken run with, I got some massive black plastic pots for £1 each so I have planted leeks, mange tout, curly kale, salad leaves and runner beans into those pots and some cabbages, strawberries, beetroot and lettuce into some wooden veg crates, which my friend at the market who sells veg brings for me. So far, I'm really pleased with how things are going.

Courgette and more cucumber plants
Tomato Plants
The chicken run is almost finished and after I have shut them up for the night tonight, I will move the chicken house so it's in place at the in front of the new run. Still no eggs yet but as I said before, they are point of lay so hopefully any day now and the rest of today is going to be a massive garden tidy so ........ got to go got masses to do :-)
More stuff to plant

4 June 2013

New Additions

On Sunday, my lovely chicken house, a present from some market friends, finally got it's new inhabitants. We now have two lovely chickens. A ginger coloured Lohmann Brown and a cute grey, black and white one which is a Speckeldy Maran and yesterday, we spent the day putting together a chicken run for them. Actually, I say putting together but what I really mean is building from scratch!! It's not quite finished yet but we will get it finished by tonight. I did borrow a run from a neighbour to tide me over until it's done so the chickens are happily clucking around on the lawn. I would love them to be able to free range around the garden but my neighbours have a cat that has already tried to eat one of my neighbours chickens so I figured a nice big spacious run would be the safest option. I know two chickens doesn't seem like many but it's only me and my youngest daughter at home now so actually two chickens is plenty. Here they are. No eggs yet as they are point of lay and obviously have had a bit of upheaval after being moved to their new home but I'm sure it won't be long before they are laying us some lovely fresh eggs.