Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Recycled Bug Hotel building and gardening work

Hi Everyone,

Its been a few days since I was here last its been a busy couple of weeks and I have had a much needed computer break to. Losing my friend hit me hard my husband drove me up country for her funeral and it was a really heart breaking day I met up with some old friends that I haven't seen since leaving school to. I came home and switched everything off including myself for a while I just let the tears flow and kept busy outside. She was only 44 years old the same age as myself and to young to go she had her whole life ahead of her and I have had some quite times of reflection and re-evaluation of my own life. I never take things for granted, appreciate everything I have but its made me think hard about life and what we have and what we still dream of doing made us think about planning ahead for when our journey here at the cottage has to come to an end and although we are going to enjoy every day here while we can I think its also important for us to think and plan ahead to, to keep on keeping those dreams alive. I have been busy in the garden clearing, digging, painting and building whilst enjoying being out in nature listening to the birds feeding and watching the huge variety that graces us with their presence, from the Nut Hatch, Green finch , Gold finch, Bull finch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long tailed Tit, house sparrow and the Robin each one so beautiful and our regular Pheasant to who comes every morning or evening to feed also. We have explored our surroundings to and found some gorgeous lakes and woods close by, bluebells cover the landscape around here I have never seen so many and cant wait for them to come into flower.

My first job was to paint the fencing that now makes our back garden which we sectioned off from the rest of the land. We  re used all my decking panels from my allotment which built my raised beds and I spent 2 afternoons painting them a lovely shade of blue.  I am really pleased with the way they look now and how it actually blends into the landscape.

If you click on the photo's they will appear larger for you.

I took this photo this morning it just gives you an idea of the space and size of the garden now, you can see the chicken house area at the bottom right. This area we are going to be working on to give us a private space and not worry about the field side so much.

I have also been making a little area by the chicken enclosure  after I painted the fence panel a shade of purple I hung up some metal bunting and a metal flower planter that I had in my old garden put the old lawn mower there that was being thrown out that I rescued along with some of my old pots. I have decided now though that I am going to dig that area out and make a flower boarder so that is one of my jobs this week. When I look out of the kitchen window I wanted something nice to look at from a distance.

I have also been clearing out the old coal shed of all its wood and rubbish. The photo on the left shows it full the photo on the right shows it empty apart from the coal and some planks of wood I wanted to keep for flower boarding edging.

I mentioned to my mum on the morning that they were leaving that I was going to clear out the coal shed that day and she poked her head inside and saw a black plastic bag and couldn't resist looking inside and pulled out all these Vintage magazines all from the 60's gardening ones and stamp collecting ones to what a magical find and to think these were going to be burnt they are currently waiting to be read :-)

As I mentioned in my last post my husband built a new log store which is just outside the back of the house now attached to the side of the shed. It was built using fence panels that were being thrown away as well as posts. He lined it all with plastic sheeting that we already had and then we did have to buy 3 clear plastic pieces of sheeting which cost us £18. We took the metal sheeting off one of the log sheds for the roof but sadly in the terrible wind and rain storms we have had its leaked so we need to replace the roof we are very exposed to the weather up here and its been a steep learning curve as we have had to rescue the chicken run roof to.

My son and myself started clearing the 3 log sheds so we can knock them down we hadn't got far and then my lovely parents came to stay for 4 days it was a real joy to have them here. They last saw the cottage in its original state after being locked up for 3 years they were amazed by the transformation we had made. Mum loves the countryside ( well they do live there themselves ) and gardening to in fact we are more like twins with our love for the same things and hobbies. Dad helped us to clear one of the sheds he climbed inside and was throwing the logs out to me and then my son was putting them into the wheelbarrow and then I was filling up our new log store. We cleared that shed but just left some long planks that we could re use. It was terrible inside and so dusty it hadn't been cleared for years.

Believe me when I say this shed was floor to ceiling full of year old logs, dust and dirt.  Now all that is left are a few long planks I want to use to build flower beds and those bits on the floor we will burn on the garden fire.

While Mum was here she cleared an area and made a little garden by the side of the house and I wish I had taken a before photo. Its where the hedge is and the roots had grown onto and over the path but snowdrops were growing here and it was crying out for a makeover.

Now if you look towards the gate at the bottom and to the left you can just make out the area there see the roots growing over the path.  While Mum was digging it over and splitting the snow drops and also walking around the grounds digging up other little bits of plants I was thinking Bug Hotel this little area is so natural looking I thought a bug hotel would look great. So with my wheelbarrow I went on the hunt for materials.

This is what I found the pile of rubbish is actually outside the front of the cottage. I found bricks, broken pots, a large brick with holes in it and a lovely metal piece which I assume came from one of the fires. I also found wood and boxes from the falling down log sheds.

Please click on the photos to view them.
I also collected some moss from the lawn, bits of twigs and branches and soil and crushed up rotten wood which had rotted into the soil by the garage.

And here is my little finished re cycled Bug Hotel :-) And I have to say I love it and its rustic appearance. It cost me nothing but my time, but I loved every minute of designing it on the spur of the moment and gathering and hunting the materials. And it gives this little space a much needed little focal point. I also added some broken pots to the area and logs to.

 Not the best photo but hope you can get the idea of the little rustic and natural little garden area. Not much will grow here as the ground is so hard and riddled with roots so a few terracotta pots added here amongst the snowdrops and the trailing geranium looks lovely I am also going to scatter some mixed wild flower seeds here tomorrow and see if they grow. The area by the wall that has the drain we are going to cover it with stones when we an afford to.

The Belfast sink was already there and did actually come from the cottage a few years ago. I found a bag of bark so scattered it around it to tidy up the area and give it a bit of depth.

This gorgeous log was in one of the sheds waiting to be burnt I rescued it and put it next to the Bug Hotel I love the fungus on it and I am sure the insects will love it to.

I made up this little planter in the same area again I got the bricks from the front garden, the crate was waiting to be burnt and the pots from the greenhouse I have some flower seeds in the green house growing that I will add to the pots in a few weeks time :-)

You can just see the little wooden crate potting area to the left of this photo. I love this little area now and I know its going to be added to. So when I come out of my back door now and walk towards my greenhouse I have a lovely little garden to look at thanks to my Mum and myself.

My chickens continue to thrive and are now nearly covered in feathers and i adore them and you will be amazed at their fast recovery as much as I am. I will share them next time as I have decided to do something extra for the charity to but I think that's enough for today.

Thank you for reading my little space here and for your lovely comments I am sorry I haven't been over to your own blogs for a while but I will be popping over later in the week.

Take lots of care

Until next time

Bye for now dee xx

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Dee Dees Vegetable Patch plans for 2016 and the Girls

Hi everyone,

what a gorgeous morning Sun is shining again although its a bit nippy yet still. Its been a wonderful weekend of warm sunshine that enabled us to be out working in the garden all weekend. I have managed to dig over and weed my whole vegetable patch and its all ready now to start sowing and planting of which I have started. My husband decided as the sun was shinning to start building our log store so we can knock down the 3 falling down sheds he used posts and fence panels which were being thrown away by a friend of his will show it next time though as I need to give it a coat of paint. Talking of paint yesterday armed with a tin of blue paint I managed to get the whole fence's painted that are the boundary to our back garden back and front it took me 4.5 hours and it looks great only trouble is I have to paint it all again today as it needs a second coat but boy do I ache everywhere I have a condition called fibromyalgia but I cant give in to it but I have been pushing myself to my limits the past few days trying to get things done. Come the evening I cant move and my body is on fire and feel like I am encased in cement.  But I wake up see the sun shining and I push myself hard to get going as I don't want to waste a minute. I do rest to when im pushing my mind and my body wont do as its told but i appreciate everything i manage to do :-) But anyway that's enough of that.

Here is my plan for planting, ( click in the photo it will appear larger ) my first whole year of being able to plan from the start. Last year if you remember I managed to get my vegetable patch started half way through the year and I also took on an allotment space I have given this space back now as I cant manage two areas. So I am very excited to be able to sow everything from seed to and with my mended greenhouse ( I now have glass in every space and no holes :-) I have been able to plan and sow using this to.

This is the bottom of my patch as you come through the gate. I  am really excited to be able to grow potatoes this time I tried on a tiny scale last year. I currently have chitting First Early Casablanca and Main crop Desiree.

I will be growing 2 sorts of carrots Rainbow mix for a bit of fun and then Autumn King Carrots. First time for me this year will be growing Cauliflowers and I have decided to try snowball. And also Leeks giant winter variety.

Then at the top of my patch Pea's are now in 2 rows I have chosen and already sowed direct into the ground Pea's Meteor and also a box of marrowfat super market pea's which is going to be an experiment to see which grow and taste the better after a man down the allotment says he always grows these marrowfat peas and never buys the seed ones.

These cost about 50p and you get loads so it will be fun seeing them grow.

I will  be growing in my vegetable patch

 French climbing beans,
Perpetual Spinach,
 Spring onions
Italian Lettuce
Red Hearted Gem Lettuce
Greyhound Cabbage
Golden Acre Cabbage

In the greenhouse growing this year I will have

Peppers sweet pointed
4 different sorts of tomatoes
Water melon
Melba Melon

I am excited about growing sweetcorn or corn on the cob its a stunning looking plant and tasty to.

I have already sown direct into the ground  Leeks, lettuces, cabbage golden acre, and peas.

In the green house last month I sowed Cucumbers, Tomatoes, cauliflowers, spinach and greyhound Cabbage. These are coming on slowly.

I have sown everything on my list apart from the carrots, sweetcorn , water melon and lentils will be doing those in the coming weeks although the sweetcorn has to be done in April.

I am really excited about having a full year and having the greenhouse this time to has enabled me to grow and sow more and im hoping that the plants I will be leaving in there ie tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and melon will give me a good harvest this time. I am excited about trying to grow Melons to :-)

Looking lovely and tidy and ready for the year ahead :-) My little gate will be getting a lick of paint later today and then I have to sort out the path but think I may just leave it and let the grass come back.

As promised in last weeks post i wanted to show you the progress of my battery hen girls they are doing well my poor 2 that looked almost oven ready when i collected them 3 weeks ago. Rosie and Bluebell have come on so far and i cant believe it to be honest. That first week was so hard and i was with them all the time. But just look at what love, light, warmth and good food can do :-)

Bluebell is now looking amazing and has had the fastest growth and she seems to have grown in height and size to. She is a frightened little girl though everything seems to make her jump bless her.

My little Rosie my first ever Hen and the first one they put into my arms on homing day and my little favourite girl well her and Poppy.

If you click on the photo's they will appear larger for you. My little Rosie the last 2 photo's were taken this morning she is a little sweetheart with the sweetest nature. She now eats from my hand well her and Poppy do and this morning she came and sat next to me :-) I love her and the others so much who ever thought chickens could creep into your heart so quickly. I have been given them a few black sunflower seeds every afternoon as i was told it was good to encourage feather growth well something has certainly been working.

Leave you all with a little selfie of Rosie and myself soaking up the sunshine this morning and my new best friend :-)

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post i have a bit of catching up to do this week with other peoples posts but for know the sun is calling me and so is that paint brush.

Take lots of care

Until next time by for now

Hugs dee xx

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Vintage Prints and a homely week.

Hi everyone,

thank you for all your lovely kind comments on my last post I really do appreciate them all. I am pleased to say that Marigold, Poppy, Rosie and Bluebell are all doing well and have started to grow new feathers already and both Rosie and Bluebell are covered in black spikes which is amazing considering they were bold just 2 weeks ago I will try and get some photo's this week and share them with you next week. Marigold has given us her first ever 2 free range eggs the past 2 days she was so funny on Sunday. I walked down to them and I could hear the neighbours cockerel way across the fields in the distance and the girls were making such a racket Marigold especially I went up to her and looked at her bottom and thought your going to lay an egg, she stuck her beak in the air and walked straight past me into the house and when I checked later in the plastic boxes outside was an Egg :-) Love these girls so much already with their quirky characters.

Clever Girl
This past week I have been busy sorting out the vegetable patch. I have now dug up all my carrots and couldn't believe how many I still had tucked down in the ground and also the rest of my leeks.
One thing I do know is that I can grow carrots in this little vegetable patch and leeks :-) Hopefully this years growth will be just as promising once I get sowing and  planting this month.

Clean and a monster pile of carrots. They have now been peeled, chopped and blanched and are currently in the freezer for when I need them. The smaller ones I roast whole which are so tasty. Although my leeks are small  I am really pleased with the amount of white on them. Not bad for my first half year of growing :-)
Some of the carrots and leeks also went into a batch of vegetable soup for my lunch for the week
This past week also saw me making some blackberry jam from my own fruit plant that I grow in my old garden last year the berries were huge and I couldn't keep up with the amount of fruit it produced I made crumbles and the rest went into the freezer. But this week I managed to make a few much needed jars of Jam.

Which is now in the pantry and really I need to start clearing the freezer as will need it for this years fruit.

I also made a batch of cheese scones this week which were so tasty and light.
It really has been a lovely homely week. A few weeks ago I met up with my bestie and we popped to town and visited a couple of charity shops which isn't something I do much of anymore, every weekend in the last few years has been taking up traveling to different towns searching for Vintage goodies to keep and sell. How different my life is now :-) But I found a gorgeous1970's  print by an artist who was unknown to me Andres Orpinas.
A little brief History on this artist
Andres Orpinas is a fine art artist who was born in Chile. He started learning art at a very young age out of his passion for art. He studied with some of Chile’s big names in art. Andres later joined Academia de Bellas Arts in Santiago, Chile. In 1962, he moved to the United States. He continued creating art and taking his pieces to different galleries and collectors as a way to market his skills. Andres won the admiration of many and his work began to find their way to different galleries. His mastery of color and brush art has enabled him to capture his subjects through the realist style. He portrays romantic landscapes in a way that’s capable of captivating his viewers and giving them a mental adventure into the peaceful environments away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

I fell in love with the print right there in the shop its not my usual style but there was a simplicity to the picture that captured my heart and soul it kind of reflected where I am in my own life currently and the path we are taking.  I also love the bamboo frame.
If you click on the image it will appear larger for you. I love the shadowed affect to the picture, the little boy with his fishing rod and basket just waiting and looking over at the old barn I wonder what he's waiting for? The sense of peace and quite the day just starting full of hope, and promise. I don't know what the print is called but if you google his name the other pictures he painted are just stunning I love the children illustration's best.  
I am now going to see if I can find some others to buy I was very lucky as this print only cost me £2.50
We took a lovely few hours off on Sunday and went to the beach one of our favourite spots and the dogs love to run around on the soft sand.
Ship wrecks, shells, rippling sand, wooden paths, happy dogs just heaven.
And that's it from me for another week,
Take lots of care until next time
Hugs dee xx

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

This Precious Life

Hi Everyone,

not sure where to start with this post feel I need to write something this week but feeling a little out of sorts. Last Wednesday when I was inside writing my last blog post  my little hen Henrietta took her last breath and was waiting for me by the door. It sounds stupid but I started clapping my hands willing her to open her eyes but sadly she didn't wake up. I rushed up to the house to get a blanket and wrapped her in it and held her in my arms as my tears fell onto her. She seemed fine when I left her to come inside. I spent all my time with them that first week and checked them before coming inside I was an hour later  away from them than I had been and I kept thinking if I hadn't been inside writing my blog she would still be here I might have seen she was struggling. But I know deep in my heart that the stress of the ex battery life and the change to her short life was to much for her and my friend who has kept chickens for over 40 years said she didn't think she would make it as she was so featherless and white. My sweet little girl died not in a tiny cage or without having a name, or un loved. She passed away having known freedom for 3 days she knew she was loved and had a name and she had tears shed over her I take comfort in that knowing I gave her a chance to experience freedom.

Rest in Peace my sweet girl
Wednesday also saw Petunia our bully hen go to live with my friend and she has settled straight into her new life .Peace has now been restored and my little pack of 4 hens is doing well. 
Marigold eating  some bedtime corn from the red tray, Poppy in the background and my 2 little featherless girls Bluebell and Rosy.
Since my friend lent me a heat lamp for the run they are now thriving and I feel less anxious about them. Rosie now has a much redder comb as do they all and they love to spread their wings ( Something they would have never been able to do before ) underneath it and crane their necks its very a cold and windy spot where we live so it really has helped to save to their lives. And we have a lovely routine  especially at bedtime when the lamp goes off and then they allow me to pick them up give them a cuddle, talk nonsense and put them into their house ready for bed.
My Little Rosie warming up.
Yesterday I heard such sad news that my best friend from school Jeanette had passed way suddenly no illness she was taken unwell at home rushed to hospital by air ambulance and very sadly she slipped away. She leaves 3 sons and a family and huge group of friends that loved her dearly. She was a beautiful lady a special sweet soul and she will be missed by everyone that new her.
Life is so precious
And each day a gift
So enjoy every minute
As if it were your last to live

Cherish your loved ones
Hug them tight
Share with them your heart
And your time
Nothing is forever
And life goes so fast
Each minute that passes
Is one you can’t get back
Every morning when you wake,
Decide right from the start,
That “Today will be a good day”
And let it all in with an open heart
Life is indeed a precious gift that we should treasure live your dreams and cherish your loved ones squeeze them tight today and remember to tell them you love them.
Until next time
Hugs dee xx