27 November 2015

A Sad Day

Yesterday morning, sadly, I had to take one of my chickens, Pepper Potts, to the vet. She went downhill very quickly and the vet said that she had an abdominal mass and that sadly, there was nothing he could do. It was evident that the kindest thing was to put her to sleep and obviously, I was rather upset. I know she was only a chicken but they all have their own little personalities and I still always get quite emotional when they die. I would be a terrible farmer. All the animals that were supposed to be sent to be slaughtered would end up as pets! 

Pepper Potts after diving head first into a plate of yoghurt :-)

Anyway, when I got back home, Amelia Pond, my one remaining chicken was looking bewildered and sad and was clearly looking for her friend .... cue more blubbing. Anyway, I decided that I didn't want her to get lonely and that I needed to get her a new friend. Hey presto, through the incredible power of social media, within seconds, and I mean literally seconds, of putting out a request on a well known social networking site and I had offers of chickens from people all over Cornwall. 

I decided to go with a lovely lady, who lives very close to me who offered me one of her flock and this morning, I went to pick her up. She's point of lay, so younger than Amelia Pond by about 2 and a half years and I was quite nervous because I had no idea how to introduce them. The lady told me to just put them in the run together so, that's exactly what I did! There was a bit of clucking and chasing around and a few ruffled feathers for about 2 minutes but after that, although they were a bit wary of each other for about 10 minutes, they are now scratching around happily as if they have always known each other. Amazing!

She's apparently a Buff Orpington cross but she's a feisty little thing and judging by the speed she was tearing around the chicken run while the nice farmers wife was trying to catch her for me, I wouldn't be at all surprised if she was part vulture/part Road Runner! 

Anyway, meet Katniss Everdeen

25 November 2015

A Walk Down The Lane.

I always try to get out of the house if I can and go off for a walk, even if the weather isn't very good, it's nice to get out for a bit by myself, without the hounds. When I take out the dogs, we generally go for a run in the field because it's fenced in all round and I can let them off the lead and they can run around like mad things while I sit on my bench and have a cup of tea. Lazy I know but they need to run off some energy and there is no way I can keep up with 3 energetic, lunatic dogs if I take them all out on the lead so, after their run in the field, I love to go for a walk down the lane. It's amazing to see how the countryside changes throughout the year and how the hedgerows still have beautiful plants and flowers hidden amongst the bare branches, even in the depths of winter. 

Early morning down the lane where I live.

The pond in my field

An amazing eucalyptus tree that I found on my walk today. 
The bark peeling away from the trunk.

Huge fungus things that I found by the road, no idea what they are but probably quite poisonous. About the size of a saucer.

The river that runs through my field.

The cutest little mushrooms on a pile of logs.

24 November 2015

My New Friend

I have a new friend. 

She's very cute. 

She's going to come and help me in my garden.

Her name is Gem.

She's so small I think I'm going to call her Little Gem.

She's my new lawn mower :-)

23 November 2015

First Frost

Wow, it's cold outside. I know that I shouldn't be surprised because after all, it's almost December but it's been so mild here in Cornwall that it makes it all the more of a shock to the system when the cold weather finally hits! This morning when I got up, there was a hard frost. Everything sprinkled with a generous coating of sparkle turning the whole place into a glittery, albeit totally freezing, magical place. I love cold frosty winter mornings. Despite the numb fingers from having to break the ice on the llama troughs and the chicken feeders and the permanently red cheeks and windswept messy hair I seem to have between November and March, I still prefer cold and frosty to mild and wet. 

This morning, after I fed the chickens and the llamas, stuffed the field shelter full of hay and filled up the hay nets, I grabbed my camera and set off in search of some frosty pictures. I know all my neighbours already think I'm nuts and I can only imagine what they think when they see me flitting around all over the place snapping frosty foliage with merry abandon. I always find it very difficult to capture the sparkle of the sun on the frost but nevertheless, I will keep trying and hopefully one day I will snap the perfect sunny, frosty, glittery winter photo. 

Luckily, just before the weather turned cold, I finally got around to having my chimney swept. Something I had neglected to do last year and after a hair-raising episode with some burning soot falling down the chimney last march, the open fire was abandoned until I could get it swept. Obviously, being the super-organised person that I am, (NOT) I again forgot to get it sorted throughout the summer and it was only when I realised that I was going to need the fire as soon as the weather turned cold that I finally got around to booking the chimney sweep. A very nice, very efficient young man arrived and managed to sweep the chimney in under an hour making less mess than I do when I clean out the ashes! I can highly recommend him if you need your chimney sweeping in the Plymouth/Cornwall area. They are called Vivid Clean Sweep and you can click on the name to go to their website. 

(Please note, this is not a sponsored post and I paid for the chimney to be swept, it was not done for free but I always believe a good job should be acknowledged so I asked him if I could mention him in my post)

And one final thought, I am definitely going to have to do something about those leaves in my gutters. Not much point just yet though because there are still loads of leaves still on the trees so I shall wait until the last of the leaves are gone and then try and figure out a way to get rid of them ...... so far I have got 

1. A ladder - probably not a good idea because I don't like heights!
2. A net on a long pole so I can stand on the wall next to the road above the house and scoop them out - it's going to have to be a very long pole 
3. And my personal favourite ........ pay someone else to risk life and limb climbing up a bloody great ladder to get the leaves out of my gutter! 

Sorted :-)

18 November 2015

Navigating the World of Work Politics

After two years of working for myself at the Local Produce Market and four years as a student before that, I'm a little out of practice in dealing with the complicated matter of work place politics. Navigating my way through the intricate hierarchy and general bitchiness that occurs when a group of women are forced to work together is, quite frankly, driving me nuts! Now don't get me wrong. The ladies that I work with are very nice people as individuals in their own way but, put them together in the workplace and ask them to work as a team and it's Lord of the Flies all over again. When two strong-willed women have differing ideas on how things should be done, with one focusing on one aspect and the other insisting that the priority should be something else it's the classic immovable object meeting the unstoppable force and can be a right old pain in the ass for the underlings who work with them. I can't say too much though because, believe it or not, I am not allowed to mention who I work for in case the things I say tarnish the name and reputation of the company and no, I do not work for some shadowy government agency, I do not track UFO's and little green men for a living nor am I an assassin or a spy.

I work in a shop! 

I'm sorry, that's all I am allowed to say because, if I told you any more, then I'm afraid 

I would have to kill you!

Some days its just like this but with more boobs!!!

11 November 2015

Bad Habits Creeping back In

Since I started work a couple of months ago, I have a noticed a weird and rather alarming change in my spending habits. Despite the fact that I only have a part-time job and earn a pittance, I have noticed that my first port of call is no longer Aldi but Morrissons. This is possibly because it's a wee bit closer and not as difficult to find a parking space but I also suspect that it's because I have a bit of extra money in my purse and if I decide I would like a bit of a treat, Aldi isn't the place to go. They are fabulous for the basics and I still do my main basic shop at Aldi, which is when I spend most of my food budget but they don't do much in the way of indulgent items like beauty products or tempting nibbles or DVD's. Don't get me wrong, Aldi are excellent for good quality, meal building items like meat and veg and their wine is very nice too, ideal because I always cook from scratch, but, I have noticed that since I have a little bit more money in my purse, I have started getting things like cheese and bread from Morrissons, rather than Aldi, because they have a bigger variety and therefore, more choice. The problem is, they have more choice but they are also more expensive so this is a habit I am going to have to break very quickly because I don't want my hard earned wages boosting the coffers of some big supermarket chain rather than boosting my meagre bank account!

I have also noticed some other alarming issues creeping in. The other day, rather than whipping up a tray of shortbread or some choc-chip-cookies because I had a sudden sweet craving, I nipped to the shop and actually bought a packet of biscuits and a cake, something I never used to do because I could never afford to waste my money. Even worse ..... and I can hardly bring myself to write this ........ but ....... I have actually found myself reaching for a ready meal in the supermarket rather than cooking it myself. I am, quite frankly, horrified at how little time it has taken for me to become sucked into the "convenience" food trap and I need to nip this in the bud right now!

So, I am now making a concious effort NOT to go and splurge on something just for the sake of it when I'm tired or fed up and I am trying to stop myself hopping in the car at 8pm when I'm a bit bored and nipping off to the shops to buy who-knows-what just because I can afford it. I need to start being much more frugal in my everyday life again and not because I have to this time but because I can be. I would really like to have some savings behind me, get rid of my credit cards and put my self sufficiency plan into action ........ I think I'm going to need a cup of tea first though :-)

I know there are lots and lots of amazingly thrifty, frugal people out there, how do you stop yourselves going off on a splurge? I would really love some tips and advice. 

8 November 2015

Relaxing Sunday Pottering

Today, I have a rare Sunday off work. I hate working Sundays, it just feels so wrong somehow. Sundays are for meant to be for relaxing, watching cookery or gardening programmes or putting something nice on tv to listen to while pottering in the kitchen. That's my ideal Sunday. Sadly, since starting my job 10 weeks ago, I have worked pretty much every Sunday since. Not today though. Today, I am pottering in the kitchen making lamb casserole with herby garlic dumplings, listening to Jurassic World in the background and enjoying the fact that I don't have to go outside in this hideous weather again until I need to shut up the chickens, check on the llamas and take the dogs for a quick run in the field later on this afternoon. For now though, the llamas are munching happily, the chickens are scratching around doing chickeny things, the dogs are walked, fed and snoring happily and the cats are dotted around the house having mouse-filled kitty dreams.

And relax .............

 Leo munching happily

Indie bagging the spot closest to the fire,