Saturday, November 04, 2006

Busy little bee today!

First we got up to a fantastic frost, even though we didn't have such a good night.... had to get up to run off some hot water as the Rayburn had gone stupid. Anyway, then Mark and I went out to the do some shopping, came back and went and cleaned out the chickens... they do make me laugh, Lotties quite right when she says its a shame we can't train them to scratch back onto the flower bed instead of off it!!!!!
Mark then decided to take his bike for a ride as it hadn't been used all week, so he went out and whilst he was gone I decided to sort a few cupboards...... now I know you all know my most hated chore is housework, but this had been driving me a bit potty for a while. I have six cupboards under the work tops, and to be honest I haven't sorted them for years. Three of these needed tidying, 1, being my pan cupboard, 2, holds all the animal stuff, 3, jam jars, light bulbs, foil, cling film, etc. So the jam jars are now under the stairs, the animal stuff, lightbulbs and foil stuff are all in one cupboard. My pans I can now get out of the cupboard without everything else falling out too and there is even room for my new soap pan!!! The last cupboard now holds my big mixer, toastie machine and cake tins. What surprised me was how many lightbulbs I had for lamps I no longer own, so they are all in a carrier bag. What on earth am I going to do with them??????
I then cleaned out the fish tank, made some dough for pizza bases, made a cuppa then did ALL the ironing, another much hated, hated chore! So tomorrow apart from cooking the Sunday lunch and seeing Kathryn off, as Mark is taking her back to Worcester I will have time to.............................................................. do what ever I like mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Frosty November Morning!

This was the view outside my front door as I waved Mark off this morning!

Kathryn and I went out to lunch at our favourite garden centre and I bought these beautiful pots of flowers...



so 2 brilliant pots for just £1.98 not bad hey! Even Mark can't complain at that!

When I got back home I went down the garden to protect the Gunnera, which as you can see has been hit by the frost

so I chopped off the leaves and took it back to its corm, which has really grown this year

so I have covered it with lots of straw, then a fleece then a plastic cover, should be alright till the spring! As each frost the greenhouse has got colder so I spent the next hour wrapping my tropical plant pots in bubble wrap and drapping fleece over the tree fern fronds, banana and brugmansia. The temp in the Greenhouse last night ,even with one heater on was 3C. Which is fine so far! I just hope we don't have the bad winter that everyone says we will have. The coldest period is usually February, so we will have to wait and see!

The chickens are rearranging the flower beds at the moment

can you see where the flower bed ends and the lawn begins?

and somehow or other they have got round, through, under or over a fence and done this...

this is right next to the pond where we sit in the summer and as you can see its on gravel so it will be a devil of a job to clear up!! Good job they keep producing eggs, otherwise....................

Here is the pond in its winter state, theres a banana wrapped up on the left, I will be very surprised if this survives because it is quite damp there anyway we shall see, behind that on the left you can see where the Gunnera is now covered up, and in the right hand corner where the chickens had got in and scratched about!!!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Busy, but nothing gets done!!!!

I seem to have been really busy the last 2 days but nothing seems to have got done!!!! Apart from boring house work, blah! I had a go at drying apples in the bottom oven but I don't think they came out right, so I chucked them, I will have to ask Lottie... should they come out lightly browned, slightly leathery on the outside but soft in the middle????????????????????? Then what would I do with them????
But today well I have to get organised because I am going to have a go at making my own soap!!! I have had to buy one or ten things! Its all those ladies on the Potting shed forums fault, they made me buy ' the handmade soap book' by melinda coss. Which I picked up on ebay! My goodness does it have some beautiful ideas aaahhhh! So if you know me, guess what your getting for Christmas, haha joking!
Also in the post I recieved my wool from the yarnyard, which I am really thrilled about the colours are gorgeous, so I need to get started on that as well.
I have been faffing around the rest of the day, so now I need to shift up a gear cos I still have to put the chickens to bed, switch on the heater in the greenhouse, iron some shirts for Mark, cook tea for Tori as she has yoga at 7.30pm, cook tea for Mark when he gets in, take a parcel to my neighbour that was delivered here, do rayburn plus all the other bits I haven't done!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We have lit the Rayburn!

My friend Mrs Nesbitt has done what I had planned to do. Now I don't want people to think I am copying her.

The girls where conplaining bitterly about how cold it was! ark and I wnere fine, but we gave in this morning when we found them both shut in the bathroom with an electric heater on, getting changed!!!!!!!!!

Just being lit this morning! Now the main problem we have with our Rayburn is, we had to have a complete flue put in as the previous owners of the cottage had the chimney taken out, what this does is create a 'perfect' chimney which is not really what a Rayburn wants!
and here is the flue!!!! The Rayburn heats 5 radiators and we use it for cooking and we get lashings of hot water, the big disadvantage is we have to run off at least one tank of boiling water a day!!!! When I say boiling, I mean boiling it splutters out of the tap, to be honest it is rather dangerous, but no one appears to be able to come up with a solution to help us!
All the firebricks are in, this should help stop the hot water getting too hot (but it doesn't). The spin wheel is shut tight, the flue chamber damper is also shut, the flue chamber door is open wide (to reduce the draw from the flue) and the boiler thermostat is set to its lowest setting! We have been told we can't shut it down any tighter, most Rayburns would not run set like this, they would just go out!!!! The dial on the right is the top oven temperature, when I took this pic it read 80C and it had only been lit about 2 hours! As it is so windy today, by tonight it will probably be off the scale the highest reading is 350C.
I do love it when its lit, and will often stand in front of it resting my bum against the silver rail and providing its not too hot, will stand and drink my coffee here! Very soothing for back problems too.
I still have quite a few windfall apples so for the first time I am going to try and dry them in the bottom oven. I may have to wait a few days until the Rayburn has calmed down and ashed up, abit!
Ha, ha, ha, I was just having a read through the instructions and No13 states
'Typical Water Temperatures against Thermostat Knob Settings@
a) using the cooker boiler to provide heat for domestic hot water and radiators in the winter, a boiler thermostate setting at No 8 is recommened
B0 Using cooker boiler for the provision of domestic hot water only, in the summer, a boiler setting of No 5 is recommended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is the biggest laugh going I always always always run on No 1 and it still boils!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now Mrs Nesbitt, if your reading this have a word with your husband and ask him if there is anything he thinks we may be able to do to stop us wasting all this water, please.

The banana is now wrapped up for winter, just as Monty Don did on Gardeners World on Friday! I'm not convinced it will work as well as last year but to be honest I don't have an option because the one planted outside is now way too big for the greenhouse....

Here we have cleared the ground around the base and trimmed some of the leaves, before we put the net frame up I covered the ground around the base with gravel, this keeps the straw of the wet ground and stops it rotting.............................. we hope!!!

heres Mark stuffing more straw in the top, what I have done and Monty didn't is protected the crown from water... if any water sits in the crown it will rot and that will be the end of that!

Here it is all wrapped up, the little one on the left is a Sago Palm. I must admit when I did this last year I was really confident it would survive, mainly because I used bubble wrap. But all the info says don't do it that way because it can't breath. It was a bit soggy in places but did survive! this is my pride and joy, when I got it, it was about 3ft tall now it is between 6 and 7ft tall. It has had a number of babies which I have cultivated and donated to the local Plant Sale which raises funds for the church. I might get some wind break stuff, its green plastic and has lots of small holes in it, if I wrapped that around the outside it might give it a bit more protection??????

Sunday, October 29, 2006

When I die I'm coming back as.........

Tango, just look at him, have you ever seen anything like him. He was sound asleep when I took this and didn't budge an inch..........
heres another one.
I think he was like this cos it was so warm in our house last night, we had let the front fire out but it was so mild!!!!

Anyway out in the garden today doing a bit here and there, sun was shining, chickens where wrecking the joint!!

Big Bird struting her stuff, very timid, I think because she is blind in one eye. How I will ever get near her if she needs vasaline on her comb this winter, I will never know!

Babs in the fore ground Bunty behind, these two are so friendly, always under your feet! Hoping for some corn!

This is Bree a barnvelder she is best discribed as 'headless chicken' she gets frantic if anyone approaches and is often seen heading in the opposite direction at about 100 miles an hour! I really hope nothing happens to her because we will have a devil of a job to catch her!

Here they all are together as you can see I have left the lawn (if you could call it that) on the long side..........

The Gunnera, normally would have been wrapped up for winter by now, but as you can see its only just beginning to notice the cooler days and nights.

This is one of my baby banana cuttings I took this spring, doesn't need wrapping just yet but I have everything ready just in case!!!!!