Mother’s Day – Great Start . . . Crap Finish!

 

It would have been too much to ask for a perfect day, wouldn’t it?

It started well.

I’d requested a Cornus plant/shrub thingy from my son, Matt, and went into great detail re colour and size. Yes, I would have loved a tree-size one BUT I’d visited the plant centre a week earlier and saw the price of the tree-size ones, and to be frank I didn’t think I was worth that much. That’s a bit sad isn’t it? But you know me – the original shrinking violet. Shut up it’s true!

So, knowing Matt obeys my every fancy and whim (mostly) I was pretty confident that a lovely little Cornus would produce itself from Matt’s car boot come Mothering Sunday.

10.00 a.m. arrived and right on time (another quality he gets from me – always being on time) his work truck chugged to a halt outside the house and there, swaying, slightly seasick was my pressie – a small tree-size Cornus.

Obviously I was overjoyed that, A. I’d got a super-duper big plant and B. that apparently I WAS worth that much.

The grand kiddies piled in followed shortly by a plant and Matt somewhere behind it. I showered him with thanks before scolding him for spending that much on me when I would have been perfectly happy with a titchy one – well, maybe not a titchy but it is the thought that counts, you know.

The plant was placed in the garden awaiting planting. I already had the area mapped out and I told Matt that I’d be planting it when they left. At this point he said, ‘You might like to water it first?’

Good point I thought.

‘It’s been in the garage for two days,’ he added.

‘WHAT!’ I exclaimed. ‘So it’s been in the dark for two days with no water and then rattled up the motorway in an open truck?’

He grinned.

‘You lazy git,’ I said, ‘you just couldn’t be bothered to carry it round to the back of your house, could you?’

He opened his mouth to deny it but then changed his mind and continued to grin.

‘And YOU call yourself a gardener? I said.

He laughed.

This information set me back a bit, so when they had gone I watered it in its pot and then this morning I planted it. It looks OK . . . well, brilliant it fact. I think if it could talk it would breathe a sigh of relief. I don’t think it enjoyed the M1 that much?

As I said . . . Great Start, Crap Finish, because . . .

Later that day I toggled up the garden to tuck-in the greenhouse plants. A frost was forecast so they had to have their little duvets pulled-up round their delicate stems. As I was saying goodnight to the baby cosmos (Prince Charles talks to HIS plants so don’t go thinking I’m mad and alone in this), through the greenhouse glass I caught sight of a bird, on the floor, in front of Richard’s shed. It looked perfect, not cat struck at all. I couldn’t bear investigating so I shrugged down to the house and asked Richard to go and see if it was dead. He did so.

It was dead. I believe it had flown into the shed window. He described it to me (he’s no ornithologist) and I realised in was a bullfinch. Last year there had been a pair visiting the garden and only yesterday I was thinking that I hadn’t seen them this year. I was devastated really. I don’t do ‘dead’ animals very well, but then who does. I kept thinking that its mate would also be devastated. I tried telling myself that it would be fickle and find another mate, a prettier, better-at-finding-food-for-the-chicks mate. Then I told myself perhaps it would be happy knowing that its true love hadn’t had a horrible ending in the jaws of some rotten kitty . . . but none of that helped. The vision of the little thing stayed with me for the rest of the day . . . and has carried over to this morning. Yes, I’m a dick. What more can I say?

Whenever I see roadkill in the distance I have to close my eyes until we have passed it. Last year a muntjac had been hit on the busy road at the side of the wood and it had managed to make it to the gate of the wood. It had two broken legs. I still have nightmares now. It looked perfect, except for the two broken legs – and the fact that it was bloody dead. How long had it been there until shock had claimed it? How much pain did it suffer dragging itself from the road and along the grass verge to the gate? Yes, I think too much!

Last week, as we arrived at the wood, we noticed what looked like snow around the shed. On closer inspection (I sent Richard ahead to investigate) it was, or had been, a wood-pigeon. Feathers were everywhere. I never knew they had so many feathers!

Two days ago I raked the feathers together and burnt them.

So, there you go. A lovely Mother’s Day in many respects . . . I spent time with my son and grand kiddies and received exactly what I wanted but how much nicer it would have been if Mr Bullfinch hadn’t committed suicide?

This I guess is the balance of life, hey?

Right, dashing off to sand some wood. A craft fair looms and I must focus on making stock.

Stay Happy xxx

 

Busy, Busy, Busy . . . Not Expired!

O.K. first things first . . . I’m not dead. This news will either be met with whoops of joy or total indifference, I suspect the later.

So, where have I been? Nowhere really. Just around and about doing my own thing.

To be honest that probably isn’t honest, you see, I think my ‘hermit’ tendencies are now running parallel with my ‘can’t-really-be-bothered-to-do-anything-that-I-don’t-want-to-do-just-to-please-people-that-don’t-warrant-it.’ So I’ve been doing anything and everything that I WANT to do, and although there were quite a few odd moments when I thought about bashing out another blog something else always got in the way.

Health issues have been at the top of my agenda – well, they are aren’t they, once you step over the line into ‘a certain age?’

I don’t think it helps that I won’t give in to them (health issues) or accept that I’ve crossed over that line into a ‘certain age?’

I’d list my health issues but I’m trying to keep this blog under 20,000 words!

I’ll move on.

So what do I do all day . . . besides Netflix? That’s a joke by the way . . . kinda! Well, I don’t write novels anymore . . . the retinal migraines put paid to that, (see how a ‘health issue sneaked in under the radar there?) but I do other things.

Remember I told you about the small woodland we bought two years ago this May, well that takes up a considerable amount of my time, and rightly so. We have titivated and tidied, erected insect hides, bird nesting boxes, bird feeders (18 to date) and loads of other stuff too numerous to mention, and it has been great. Wildlife has returned. We now have woodpeckers, tits of all kinds, squirrels, muntjac, squirrels, nuthatches, squirrels, foxes, pheasants, wrens, robins, a rabbit (only ever seen one) hares and did I mention the bloody squirrels!!! Such little sods. They carry screw drivers and wire cutters and take down the bird feeders, most of them never to be seen again. It’s an ongoing war with them. I’ve made it my life’s work to outsmart them – the jury’s still out on who’s ahead to date! If I had to hazard a guess I’d say 70/30 . . . in their favour. I do know one thing – after all the food they’ve scoffed over the winter their dreys will be bursting with squirrel babies this year and I’ll need even more bird-feeding stations!

Then there are the craft fairs.

I make all things rustic from the fallen, and trimmed wood – fairy houses, fat ball feeders, other very clever things (?) and toddle off to craft fairs with them. The money I make goes back into supporting the wildlife. Can you imagine how much it costs to fill 14 bird feeders and 4 bird tables? So if anyone wishes to make a donation into my PayPal account go right ahead? Actually, I’ve had a break from the fairs since Christmas but they are starting up again now and in fact I did my first one of the year last weekend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also . . . my first love – the garden.

Spring has almost sprung and I’ve already got the garden and greenhouse in good order. Green things are springing up everywhere and today I actually SAT in the garden for one whole hour! A bloody miracle for me. You see, I love it but I always find something to do and can never sit still for a minute. I watched the birds coming and going. We have a wren nesting in the recently trimmed conifer. She makes one hell of a noise when Chea (kitty) is around. She really needs to be a bit more discreet – the wren not Chea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there you go. The wood, the garden, making the wooden things and the craft fairs. Oh! And I’ve just dug out my sewing machine and I’m having a bash at dressmaking – though they aren’t dresses that I’m making, they are tops. That’s going O.K. except for the first top looking like it would fit an elephant. I cast it to the back of the wardrobe telling myself I could wear it in the garden but then, being O.C.D and knowing it was stuck there, imperfect and as a constant reminder that it was wrong, I retrieved it and altered it. Now it would fit a hippo, so job well done, hey?

I’ll toddle off now . . .  you can probably only digest so much crap in one sitting?

I’ll catch you soon – I’ll add blogging to my nice list of things to do . . . possibly.

Take care lovelies x

If you’d like to take a look at my Woodland Crafts Page over on Facebook, and possible give it a like, a share or whatever, it would please the squirrels no end! (and me) xx

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The Cat Crept In The Crypt – Crapped And Crept Out Again!

‘The cat crept in the crypt, crapped and crept out again,’ is something that a friend and I used to say back in the dark ages – when I was married. My husband was a vet and therefore we lived in a house provided by the practice. It was a rambling old thing, no heating to talk of, damp mites living in the cupboards (but that’s another story) and a mish-mash of old furniture. Did any of that matter? Not really. Except the damp mites of course –  but as I said that’s another story

I was a vet’s wife. I loved animals. I loved him – at the time. And life was hunky dory, I guess.

In this ‘rambling old thing,’ there was a pantry. It lead off the hallway and you had to take a step down to a quarry-tiled floor. It had a cold slab with wooden shelves above it. Having three cats and an English Setter – that wasn’t beyond golloping down cat faeces given less than half a chance, it seemed like a good idea, and the obvious answer, to put the litter trays in there. I will state at this point that NO food was kept in there!

It worked quite well and provided hours of silly tittering. My friend and I would be having coffee or whatever and the sound of the cat-flap swinging, as one of the cats entered to do their stuff or excited having done their stuff, echoed around the house. You see, it was a very large cat flap and swung manically against a metal frame. At this sound my friend and I would look at each other and roar, ‘the cat’s crept in the crypt – crapped and crept out again!’

Little things please little minds.

This isn’t something that I think about on a regular basis – just very occasionally – when something reminds me. And something reminded me on Sunday morning.

Toddling up the garden, on the way to the greenhouse and the uncovering of the tender plants and the turning off of the propagators, I was perplexed to see the far door of the second greenhouse slightly open – about eight inches. Perplexed because I knew for a fact that I’d secured it the previous day. On closer examination I noticed a heap of compost scratched out of the border and deposited on the central concrete pathway. THEN I noticed that the fifth baby tomato plant, only planted the previous day, had disappeared. Yes, I’d done my usually impatient thing of planting them into the ground as soon as they had true leaves but they were not THAT small that they should have disappeared.

I can’t believe that Chea pushed her way in there and scratched it out because she won’t even push through a door that’s off the catch. Oh, no. We have to jump up and down three million times a day to let her out . . . in . . . out . . . in. You get the picture?

So, after applying a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ type of logic I can only assume that a neighbour’s cat pushed its way in, ‘crept in the greenhouse, crapped and crept out again?’ But just why the little bugger had to have it away with my baby tomato plant will have to remain a mystery!20170403_095828

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Take care all – and batten down those baby plants!

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Pretty Average – But Apparently Good At One Thing!

As most of you know I’m not the kind of person to blow my own trumpet. Never have been. Never will be. And why should I? What’s so great about me? Nothing. I’m pretty average at most things, slightly better at some than others, and before you go thinking that I’m expecting you to rush in with, ‘Of course you are special’ and ‘look at all the things you’ve achieved in your long time on the planet,’ that is NOT where this is leading. This is leading to actually being surprised at learning, straight from the horse’s mouth, Richard, that I AM really good at something.

So, this is how it went – I was in the garden busily minding my own business and watching the garden coming to life before my eyes when, he stomped up the garden and shattered the moment.

‘Can you come and look at this?’ he shouted over the bud-bursting gooseberry bushes.

‘Look at what?’ I said, a tad irritably. You see, he always has something that has to be done NOW and it will never wait, though in reality most ‘urgent’ things could have waited.

‘Just come and look will you?’

‘What AT?’ I said, even more irritably. ‘Can’t you just cut the suspense and TELL me?’

He dithered on the spot a bit before saying, ‘No. I need you down at the garage.’

‘Why?’

‘Because I’ve got something living in there and I don’t know what it is?’

I rolled my eyes a bit and held up my palms to Him above. ‘What do you mean you’ve got something living in there? Give me a clue. If you don’t know what it is how am I supposed to know?’

‘Because you’re really good at this kind of thing,’ he said.

‘What kind of thing?’

‘Shit.’

‘Shit?’

‘Yes,’ he said, as I now caught up with him and started to head towards the house and the garage. ‘I need you to look and tell me what kind of shit it is.’

Eh?

‘What it’s come out of,’ he elaborated.

‘Who am I?’ I stage whispered as we passed the neighbour on the other side of the fence, ‘a crap expert?’ (Or should that be an expert on crap? Yes, I think so)

‘Shush,’ he stage whispered back.

As we reached the garage he pointed to a shelf. ‘Look!’

I looked.

‘What shit is that?’

Well, it didn’t take Poirot to decipher this little mystery, the entire shelf was littered with large rice-shaped droppings and chewed-up insulation foam where the ‘mystery’ creature had obviously entered. ‘A rat,’ I said. ‘Rat poo.’

‘Are you sure?’

You see – he asks my opinion and then questions it. Was my answer a disappointment? Had he wanted it to belong to some creature previously assumed extinct? ‘It’s rat poo,’ I repeated.

‘I mean – it isn’t mouse droppings, then?’

‘Well, it would be a bloody big mouse – or a normal size mouse with a bloody big bum, in that case, don’t you think?’

With that I toddled back up the garden and continued watching the gooseberry buds open.

After I’d finished mumbling to myself I realised that Richard was probably asking the right person. After all, I’ve been dealing with one kind of shit after another, all my life.

Even Chea delights in scratching huge holes in my greenhouse borders and sits doing her business, right under my nose, like it’s the most natural thing in the world and she expects me to applaud at the final squeeze.

I even have bags of the stuff, farmyard manure and horse manure, stacked-up by the side of the greenhouse ready to use if I should deem it necessary. And this doesn’t even take into consideration the crap of life!

So, maybe Richard was right and I am actually good at something? But keep it quiet. I’m not sure I want that little fact as my epitaph!images (3)

Take care all xx

 

Those Weeds Fight Back . . . And How!

There was I – full of the joys of spring and, fuelled by my over enthusiasm, I declared to my newly formed gardening group, ‘I’m off to weed a border!’ No harm there. Nothing at all ominous about that. Just off to weed a border at the side of the path.

Two hours later and after tugging, pulling, swearing and sweating I stood up, stood back, and admired my work. Brilliant! Nothing short of brilliant. Gone was the awful couch grass invading from my neighbour’s garden and tangling itself around willow roots and under the path. Gone were the thick, stubbornly rooted spring-flowering creeper thingy’s. Just lovely rich soil smiled back at me. Happy with my work I toddled back into the house. This was Saturday.

At 3 a.m. Sunday I woke thinking someone had dropped a house brick on my head. The pain was excruciating – I kid you not – I couldn’t raise my head at all without searing pain. Pain so bad that all I could do was lie there – and as we all know pain in the early hours is always far worse.

By sliding my flattened hand under the side of my face and supporting my head I eventually managed to sit up and make it downstairs where I suffered a Weetabix followed by two paracetamol and an ice pack to my neck bones. This went down well in the freezing cold kitchen! By 5 a.m. I struggled back to bed.

Sunday had been prearranged. It was Richard’s birthday and I’d organised a family meal out. When he caught a glimpse of me, shuffling along, imitating the Hunch Back of Notre Dame, he said, ‘You need to go back to bed.’ Yeah. Cheers for that. Back to bed where he could ignore my pain until I died a slow and lingering death because he’d forgotten all about me!’ At this point I had to tell him I couldn’t go back to bed because being the lovely, wonderful person that I am I’d arranged a fricking surprise meal for him. This was met with scepticism, a narrowing of the eyes and a slight nod of the head. You see, he’s a simple soul, enjoying the simple pleasures in life and never really celebrates his birthday. Unfortunately, my mum died on his birthday, some eighteen years ago now and, originally, it did rather take the shine off the celebrations. The twelth of March became the day  mum died, not the day Richard was born. Nowadays, I put him first – after taking flowers to the church.

So, off we went. I looked like the walking dead. I felt worse. I sat at the end of the table so that I could, by staring straight ahead, see everyone without moving a muscle – literally.

Somehow I made it home alive. Richard had a lovely time – and he even liked my gift to him – a new Samsung tablet. However, when, later, he came up to bed he found me sobbing. Yeah, OK, so I’m a wimp. I couldn’t help it. The pain level that had, I suppose, been around eight had soared to ten. The slight window of least pain, if I held my head just right, had slammed shut. Everything hurt. At this point he said, ‘Right, we’re going to the hospital!’

Earlier I’d said, ‘I think I need to go to the hospital’.

My son had said, ‘They won’t do anything Mum.’

Richard had said, ‘Do you really want to sit in A and E for twelve hours?’

I knew they wouldn’t ‘do’ anything and no I did not want to ‘sit in A and E for twelve hours,’ but don’t they have things like heroin, morphine and stuff?

Anyway, I wouldn’t have been able to get my clothes back on so he held me till I stopped sobbing, rubbed my neck (it didn’t help but he was trying bless him) and then fetched me some yogurt and honey so that I could take some painkillers.See how I always try to eat something before taking painkillers? This way I figure I won’t be adding stomach ulcers to my fast-growing list of complaints?

Monday and Tuesday were spent in bed, unable to move. Wednesday and Thursday I got up in the morning and went back to bed in the afternoon. Friday I made it through most of the day and so on and so on. . .

It still isn’t right but I can now live with it without turning into a pathetic, sobbing female. That’s not me, you see.

I know how it happened. Having three degenerative neck discs, whose soft protective padding is fast disappearing, stretching over the borders and applying all that pressure on my discs just didn’t work. They couldn’t support the weight of my head.

But, positives from negatives – I read three novels (I’d hardly read anything at all till then) and I had some rest – although enforced – but rest all the same.

I’ve started pottering in the garden again. Managed to toddle round a couple of garden centres and purchase a few bits . . .  so there you go.

I have found that the hardest thing about growing older is accepting it. I expect my body to keep up with my mind. It can’t. I have things to do popping into it constantly. I remember my darling father, it his last years, getting very frustrated and angry with himself because, due to his ever-increasing health problems he felt useless. He couldn’t do this and he couldn’t do that. I, of course, being the sensible and logical person that I am told him, ‘No, of course you can’t do those things. BUT instead of focusing what you can’t do focus on what you can do.’ At the time it made perfect sense to me – but that was before I was reaching the point of realising that I can’t do some of the things that I used to do.

No more throwing paving slabs around. No more climbing the apple tree to prune the odd branch. No more throwing bags of compost around. And . . . it appears, no more digging borders! I’m sorry, Daddy, I was an insensitive idiot.

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You’re My Precious -And My Favourite!

Are you like me? You have 12 kitchen knives and only ever use 2? You have 3 sets of crockery and only ever use 1? You have 15 pairs of trousers – albeit various types – leggings, jeans etc. and only ever wear 2 or 3? I have a drawer full of kitchen utensils and frankly I tend to use a grotty plastic fork, purchased from Ikea for 50p, a skewer and a pallet knife. These three items serve me well. The rest remain in the drawer, used on blue moons and days that don’t end in Y.

So, bearing this in mind, it will come as little surprise to hear that I have just the one favourite coat that I wear in the garden. This item was purchased 5 years ago from Next in their winter sale. Originally, some £65, but I think I paid £20. Obviously, the coat didn’t start out its little life as a gardening coat, for years it spent summer after summer, pride of place in the wardrobe, re-emerging every winter. It went to all the posh places – Morrison’s, Tesco, Lidl etc.  I must admit, that being padded, it was a tad warm on ice-free days. Anyway, moving on 5 years . . .

Favourite shiny-black padded coat started to look a little ‘tired.’ No longer able to cut the mustard in our supermarket dashes so I decided to put him out to grass – well, out to garden, actually.

For several years favourite shiny-black padded coat served me well, never minding the odd smearing of chicken poo, or being splashed with fence paint, in a rather attractive shade of green. Then, one day, disaster – a large hole was ripped in the pocket area when I didn’t quite navigate a sticking-out nail correctly. White stuffing hung from the gash, so I pushed in back in and tried to ignore it.

A week or so later, chicken wire took out the top of the arm.

Somehow it didn’t seem to matter. The coat was still functional, warm, familiar and very obviously a gardening coat, if anyone should see me in it.

Last week I looked at the poor thing. The pocket hung in tatters, no stuffing left. The arm was no better and horror upon horror, favourite shiny-black coat was rather pongy!

The time had come. The bin beckoned. I slipped him on and off . . . on and off. Perhaps I could wash him? Probably not because more stuffing would weep out and block-up the washing machine. But . . . this was my favourite coat. We had travelled miles together. An old friend. How do you bin an old friend? No, forget that . . . binning old friends is pretty easy. Then a light bulb moment . . .

I could repair him. I had the technology. Well, I had the sewing machine! Yes, that was the answer. I’d repair favourite shiny-black coat.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy. I couldn’t find anything to match his shiny texture, let alone find anything black. Perhaps I’d have to let him go after all?

Another light bulb moment. He was, after all, only a gardening coat, it didn’t matter what I patched him with. I had something black, surely. Yes! I did!

I scurried upstairs, threw open the knickers drawer and grabbed a black pair.

Favourite shiny-black coat has been repaired! He now has black stretchy patches over his left pocket and on his right sleeve. Result.

Some people might wear their hearts on their sleeve – I wear my knickers.

Here’s to the next five years . . .

And, in conclusion . . . I’ve just started a new group – “The Friendly Gardeners Group.” I can’t promise to ever post a photo of favourite shiny-black coat (I don’t show my knickers to just anyone – not that you are just anyone) but I can promise a lot of chat (that will stay on the group – we are a ‘closed’ group) a fair bit of swapped information, banter and friendship so click on the link and come and join us?

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And Then I Broke My Own Heart.

Hi

It’s been a while – again. I honestly do not know where the time and days go to. This year has flown by on even faster wings.

I blame it, in part, to Richard still being here. Not, you understand, ‘still being here’ as in I haven’t murdered him yet but as in he still hasn’t joined the great British work force and therefore drifts around the place cluttering up my day. He tells me there is ‘nothing out there.’ This I know is a lie. I think I told you I saw an opening, albeit seasonal, for a Father Christmas at a local store. He has the portly build and the rustic beard, though, to be honest, I do openly admit that he’d be hard pressed uttering the words “Ho Ho Ho” every 5 seconds. “Ho Ho Ho” on a regular basis he is not!

Not to worry, I’m finding him lots of lovely little jobs around the house. The latest was to take up the stair carpet, repaint all the woodwork, and supervise a new carpet being laid. We had an argument, of course, as to whether or not the radiators needed painting. I said, ‘Don’t be an idiot of course they do!’ He said, ‘Well, I don’t think they do.’ Now riddle me this . . . who do you think won this argument?

He tells me that he likes being here with me all day – every day. And what’s more he says it with a straight face. Perhaps there’s an actor’s job going somewhere?

This period of absence has also been down to the fact that I’ve had some sad news and a hard decision to make.

Rita Raptor, the chuck, became poorly, showing symptoms that I’ve seen before in the chucks that I’ve lost. Some days she was up and some days she was down. Then the down days extended until, finally, there were no up days and she stopped eating, drooped her little wings and closed her tired eyes. I’ve been struggling with the health of my hens for the last few years and I have now come to the conclusion that they must be finding something out in the garden that doesn’t agree with them. I have no idea what it could be. It certainly isn’t the conditions in which they are living under. My chuck cage and outside run is cleaner than a hospital operating theatre!

I knew from past, sad experience, that Rita wasn’t going to pull through so we took her to the vet who confirmed my fears and she was put to sleep. Richard and I didn’t speak coming home in the car. It’s hard to trust your voice when you have an emotional lump wedged in your throat.

This left Mabel.

We had been in this situation three times now – left with just one chicken – and each time we had rushed to the farm and brought another chuck home as company to the remaining hen. I wasn’t going to do that this time. The time had come to end all of this. Whatever was killing my chucks could not kill another. Mabel was the sweetest, tamest, loveliest hen you could ever find. She followed me around the garden like a doe-eyed puppy, coming instantly when I called her, always on the lookout for a little treat. For the next week we only shut Mabel in her summer-house at night to roost. During the day she spent time down at the house, having a few treats and being allowed to scratch in the ‘forbidden’ part of the garden.

After a week I did something that broke my own heart. I took her to the local animal sanctuary, two miles from here. I couldn’t keep her on her own, I couldn’t risk getting another, and I couldn’t accept her going the same way as the others.

She didn’t utter a chirrup all the way there, just sat patiently in Chea’s cat basket watching the world go by the car window. When we got to the sanctuary the girl let her out of the basket and they gave her a quick health check. They remarked that she was in excellent condition and in return she clucked and blinked and then started to ‘talk’ to me – ‘chicken’ people will know exactly what I mean. I imagined the dear soul saying, ‘I’ve enjoyed my little trip out . . . can we go home now?’

They asked if we wanted to see where she was going . . . with three other chucks and a cockerel. We didn’t. I couldn’t. She would have to battle while she found her place within the pecking order and I would be tempted to scoop her up into my arms and bring her home and treat her with a bit of cooked pasta that I had in the fridge.And besides, they would witness two grown adults crying over a chicken.

We left her there, still ‘talking’ to me, and we walked away.

Richard dismantled the nest boxes, perches, dividing partition and stored away the feed and water containers. I won’t have any more chucks here.

The garden is like a tomb . . . as quiet as the grave. I miss them terribly. I stand and watch the sunlight spearing down through the shrubs into the undergrowth and I can see them. I am stupid. I know that. They were only chickens. Nothing THAT important. But I can’t convince myself of that . . . not yet . . . and knowing me, not ever. So, you see, I chose to break my own heart. Yep, stupid. Really stupid.

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Take care all x

Not So Much A Lonely Little Petunia In An Onion Patch!

As many of you know, I am a creature of simple pleasures. My days, other than those of late (which sadly have been filled with semi blindness and constant migraines) are filled with poo-picking chickens, chatting to myself in the garden and writing – albeit, most days, mainly nonsense.

These simple things please, entertain, and basically keep me happy and grounded. However, I do have to admit that I have recently found these pleasures challenging. All of them . . .

Chea has decided to use the onion bed (beautifully raked and as fine as sand) for a giant litter tray. This doesn’t worry me too much as I don’t really eat onions. I grow them for Richard.

The first morning after planting I wandered out to find two onions dug up, four little saucer-shaped indents and a heap of soil. At least she had the good grace to cover it up. The second morning I wandered out to find three onions dug up, five little saucer-shaped indents and two heaps of soil. On both occasions I swore, threatened to send her back to the RSPCA and re planted the onions.

I took great delight in finding a lovely variety of runner bean in the week. I rushed them home and planted them up into larger pots immediately. Two nights later a frost settled over the garden, crept into the greenhouse and killed them stone dead. It also took out the tomato plants. I was not happy and even breathed warm breath on their little shrivelled leaves in the hope that I could resurrect them. No good. I think they are goners.

Aww!
Aww!
Again - aww!
Again – Aww!

And re the writing? Well, I haven’t done any. I’ve been waiting for the Bucket Head paperback to show up. There was a technical hitch –  and you all know how I am with technology, let alone hitches. It’s available in my shop.  http://readaloudstorybooks.com/books/ I mentioned last time that I was going to tell you how Bucket Head came about.

One Saturday, when the grandchildren were here we decided to make a scarecrow. It all went swimmingly well until we came to his head. We turned the potting shed upside down but we couldn’t find anything suitable . . .and then we found a bucket. So we used that. And Bucket Head the scarecrow was born.

The real Bucket Head
The real Bucket Head

He still stands in the garden now. He’s a tough little guy. The frost didn’t upset him one little bit. I DO mean Bucket Head still stands in the garden now and not my super-duper grandson Jake – just how cruel do you think I am?

Take care x

Doing Something Very Naughty?

Hi

I’m doing something very naughty right now.

I’m looking for two more chucks to add to my existing flock of two.

Little has decided never to lay another egg again and Flight, easily led, and frankly a bit feather-brained, has come out in sympathy and decided much the same thing.

We have been void of eggs for some months. First they moulted, then Little had the trots, and now she is casting off feathers fasting than poo off a shovel. And, as I say, they have decided that they are now pretty pets and not prepared to push another egg from their little feathered bums.

Not to worry. I can happily live with that. However, I am using it as an excuse to pop out and bring in a couple more. You see, I love the things. I think they are beautiful AND they give me good reason to get off my backside and go into the garden with them while they have a session free-ranging and murdering small critters.

I’d never wrap up against the storms and cold and venture out if it wasn’t for them. Because of them my garden is tidy and shipshape beyond words because each day, when I am out there with them, I find something to do for an hour or two – even in the winter months.

And I hardly need to mention the pleasure of summertime chuck watching. Scratching around under the blackcurrant bushes, releasing the wonderful smell of sunshine-warmed fruits. Rolling upside down in the dry, dusty areas beneath the shrubs. Chasing Chea through the undergrowth. (I’m talking about the chucks, by the way, not me) I gave up chasing Chea through the undergrowth some time ago.

They have their pecking order, I guess, but they are such good friends, and as close as paint on a wall, that I really don’t know who the top chuck is. Little swings between thinking she is Flight’s mother and/or lover. She clucks and goes mental when she spies a treat and brings Flight running to scoff it. She’s a strange creature – but then aren’t we all in our own barmy ways? I fear she is changing gender and will start to crow any day now.

If I go ahead and introduce two more chucks I will have to keep them separate from Little and Flight for a while but that won’t be too difficult. They have a large summer-house and it’s already divided down the centre with a large pop hole in the middle, so it would just be a matter of temporarily netting the hole. That way they could see each other and issue threats and warnings but never be in the position to carry them out. And the radio could still be heard from both sides . . . I kid you not. Well, it gets boring for them when it’s raining and they don’t want to come out. A bit of Radio 2 and Ken Bruce in the morning cheers them up no end. Although, I do have to admit that only the chucks on the left hand side of the divide would see the clock. Those on the right wouldn’t have a clue what time it was!

I’ll think about it a tad more.

12200518_10153638931713808_774235460_nTake care my lovelies x

 

Three Things To Report . . .

Hi

Just a quickie today. It’s hammering down here in good old Leicestershire and I have just got totally drenched loading shopping  – mainly Chea’s food and bottles of still water –  because they were on offer – into the car boot.

I kept the visit as short as possible and tried to avoid the sparkly Christmas tree that stood near the hand baskets waiting to take out an eye or two when some shopper bent to grab a basket. I also, mainly, ignored the golden reindeer floating above the ‘naughty’ aisles, luring kiddies and adults, with no will power, to buy enormous boxes of biscuits/chocolates and such crap.

I did succumb to a couple of large bags of crisps – well you do, don’t you? Besides, if I get a migraine I crave salt so that’s my excuse. Also, we are working our way through the second season of Prison Break so we need something to munch on as we sit glued to the thing. VERY GOOD in my opinion. And here’s a refreshing fact – Prison Break doesn’t rely on explicit sex and the continual use of the F word to make it riveting viewing. Just twists, turns, great mix of  characters, and brilliant acting. Hmm . .  .I digress

I have three things to quickly report.

I. I now have a page for Two Chucks and a Tabby Cat.

https://www.facebook.com/Two-Chucks-and-a-Tabby-Cat-1575253346028522/

2. And a group for Two Chucks and a Tabby Cat.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/TwoChucksandaTabbyCat/

Pop over and take a look? Like the page? Join the group? All self-explanatory when you check it out.

3.The third thing that I have to report is my greatest achievement of the year!

Sold a million books? Won the lottery?

No.

I’ve pruned the apple tree.

Seriously.

I’ve pruned the apple tree.

This may not seem like a huge thing to you –  or, in fact, much of an achievement, but you see I needed the really long ladder to do it and I’m terrified of heights. Also, because of my buggered-up neck joints I can’t look up for more than 30 seconds without being in extreme pain. So, I have to climb as high as possible so that the branch that requires sawing is at waist height. The tree is around thirty years old and canker ridden. Despite this it still produces lovely cooking apples each year so I thought it was time it had a bit of attention. It hasn’t been pruned at all, in all that time, so it was a bit of a task. However, with one hand sawing and one hand white with hanging on to a branch I succeeded. Within the hour the branches lay on the floor and the tree stood looking bare and sorry for itself.

There won’t be any apples next year, of this I am certain, but if I haven’t killed it it will have a lovely flush of growth next year and possible produce apples the following year.

You may ask, ‘Why didn’t Richard prune it?’

Indeed.

If you remember, Richard had a shoulder op’ last New Year and he still struggles with it. He did say he would do it –  but time and tide and all that. Besides, I couldn’t stand the stress of having to hold the ladder while he tottered up in the highest branches and bellowed, ‘Which one?’

Crash!

‘Not that one, Idiot.’

‘Well, that’s the best I can do!’

So, being a Scorpio ‘perfectionist’ I knew I could do better –  and without causing myself undue stress.

He hasn’t been up the garden yet, so he still doesn’t know the tree has been pruned. He will though, when he falls over the branches that I still haven’t finished clearing up!

So, my friends, pruning the apple tree has been my greatest accomplishment this year –  to date. What’s been yours?

Catch you soon.11794231_10153461732253808_5864114962992857932_o (2) - Copy

Take care my lovelies x