Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A rainy day

At last we've got a rainy day, drizzly and dreich.

So much time has been spent in the garden lately, yet there is still so much to be done, but we're getting there, slowly but surely. It's nice when people comment on how much we've changed the place, I met more friends of neighbours at the weekend and the first thing they commented on was how much we had improved our little corner and tidied it up, all the hard work is at last starting to pay off.

We at last relaxed for a bit on Sunday afternoon, a walk in the bluebell woods and then a pub tea in the Taybank in Dunkeld, my favourite (reasonably local) pub. Friends visited yesterday so the house got a quick tidy and much coffee, tea, scones and cake were eaten!

Here's a picture of my favourite tool at the moment, my riddle, I've been using it loads lately, great for getting nicely toned arms!

Sewing today, and then a visit up to Glenshee Pottery to collect some more stock this afternoon. If the rain stays on we'll hopefully get a bit more work done on the website, which desperately needs updating, when will there ever be enough hours in the day?!!

L xx

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Busy, busy, busy............

Well, as you can probably tell from the lack of posts we've been a tad busy here at Primrose Hill. What with those cute little chicks to drool over daily, we've not been handling them much, but there has been the odd little cuddle! It's been a tad busy with the business and the garden has been keeping us both out of mischief in all of our spare minutes!
Do you remember this post? Well here's where we are with this little project, looking a lot smarter, wouldn't you agree? Still a bit of fencing to be done and the wild flower seeds to be sown, but I am rather loving my new gate!
Lots going on in the garden and the greenhouse, these arrived in the garden this weekend....

........what do you think? they'll make great sweetpea and cornflower supports. They were hay stooks in a previous life, nothing better than a bit of recycling in the garden.

In my last post I showed you some of our pruchases at the market, well one of the buckets is planted up at the front door with marguerites, very welcoming with all those friendly little daisy heads bobbing around! And yes, that is a little pot of violas hiding beside it from way back in March when I potted them up for the Country Living Fair, still flowering away, healthy as ever!

Well, I'm off to the post office with another order and I really must catch up on all those e-mails that I owe you all, especially this lady, your parcel will be in the post this week, I promise!

L x

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The chicks!

As promised more photos of the chicks! They ventured outside for the first time yesterday and are getting quite confident on their feet, they seem to be able to fly from one end of the run to the other in a flash! I've been spending far too much time just watching them tottering around and jumping on their mums back, so very cute! Two of the chicks are black with little tufts of yellow, they are Maran cross Welsummers and the other seven are pure Welsummers. Hopefully not too many of them will be cockerels!

It's raining today so I'm getting on with work and watching them from my workroom window and the study window.I told a little fib the other day when I wrote I'd come back empty handed from the market, I didn't bring back anything of the feathered variety, but I did manage to spend some pennies in the "Bygone Era" auction. I was amazed at the amount of really interesting bits and bobs that were for sale, I could have spent a small fortune but I didn't! Everything from old glass butter churns to ploughs! Even a rusty old post box! There were a few things that I lost out on but I did manage to get some really nice galvanised buckets and baths for planting up in the garden and some old tattie baskets. I managed to get something in the sewing line too, a really special find at an absolute steal of a price, but I'll save that for another day!

I just have to decide whether I'm going to plant them up with flowers or veg now!

Monday, May 07, 2007

The wonders of nature

Don't you just think that nature is a wonderful thing? Yesterday was the big day, 21 days ago we'd sat our broody maran on a selection of 10 eggs in the hope that they would hatch in to little chicks. She has sat on those eggs religiously turning them and keeping them warm.
Gregg had popped out first thing to check but could hear no cheeps, I went out at 11am, lifted the chicken up and there facing me, cheep, cheeping away was a pile of fluffy chicks! 9 out of the 10 eggs hatched, the 10th chick had made it half way out of the shell but unfortunately had been squashed, survival of the fittest as they say. Today they are running around inside the little hen house, they've been shown by their mother to eat the chick crumbs and drink water so fingers crossed they will all grow into healthy chickens ( or possibly cockerels!). Maybe tomorrow they will venture out on the grass, lots of photos to follow I think!!!
Our day at the Rare Breeds sale on Saturday was enjoyable although the chickens were going for ridiculous amounts of money, I was outbid on everything so came home empty handed. Chicken keeping seems to be quite fashionable at the moment, certain breeds were reaching £45 per chicken?!!! One breed in particular, the cream legbar, was proving to be very popular, all because they lay a blue egg! They were actually the chickens that I was after, but luckily my uncle keeps them so we'll be trying to hatch some of our own this summer.
We also watched the livestock auction, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats. Seeing the piglets was interesting, there were Gloucestershire Old Spots, Great Blacks and Tamworths, all tiny little things squealing away. Gregg did pose the question " so if we do get a couple of weaners are you going to be able to take them to the slaughter house then?", there was a slight hesitation in my answer, but I'm pretty sure I could.
I came away feeling quite sad as some of the sheep weren't even getting as good a price as the chickens, one going for as little as 4 gn (4 guineas = £4.20). An animal that could provide the wool to put clothes on your back and feed a family for at least a couple of weeks was being sold for less than a bird that provides approx. 200 eggs in a year and probably wouldn't feed a family for one night, where is the sense in that?
Anyway, I shall leave you with photos of our proud mum and her chicks and some photos from the market. I really should be getting on with work but I just know I'll have to go and check on the chicks again!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Feathered friends

This stretch of superb weather has brought the garden and local wildlife on in leaps and bounds, lets just hope that our summer hasn't arrived early and this is it for the next few weeks. Ever the optimist, I'm hopeful that we'll have a long, balmy summer, stretching through to September, how fabulous would that be.......

I'm always waiting in anticipation at this time of year for the arrival of the swallows. The house and sand martins have been here for a good few weeks, darting around in the sky. I checked the diary from last year, they had arrived on 2nd of May, a year ago today. We were getting ready to go to the local farmers market on Saturday when I spotted the arrival of the our first swallow, sat on the telephone line chattering away. Such a fantastic sight, and a feeling that summer is just around the corner. We have the remains of a few nests in the eves of the stables but since we've lived here none have ever nested there. Maybe this year we'll be lucky enough to have them as guests over the summer.

The warm weather has been kind to all the young birds that we have too, the feeders are constantly covered in tits and finches, we even get regular visits from the woodpecker. We have a couple of blackbirds and a thrush constantly bobbing around on the lawn hunting for worms so they must have nests close by in the hedgerows.
While in the workshop yesterday morning fishing out some screws to go with a pinboard order, I could hear the constant tweeting of what sounded like a young bird, I assumed it had maybe fallen out of it's nest, so I went to investigate. To my delight, I found a mother dipper flying back and forth to her young fledgling perched on a stone in the middle of our burn. It slowly followed her down the burn, carefully flying from one stone to the next. She kept returning with beakfulls of food for it. Our ducks were quite intrigued and followed them all the way down the burn! I heard it again in the afternoon and amazingly managed to get some really close up pictures of the baby, looking very fat and fluffy!
On the domestic fowl front we are getting very close to hatching day with our french cuckoo maran, hopefully this Sunday or Monday we'll be hearing little cheeps of chicks from underneath her, I'm so excited. A hen takes around 21 days to incubate fertile eggs, believe me it's been the longest 3 weeks ever!
After our disastrous attempt at moving our little duck and her nest, we managed to find the other nest with 11 eggs in it, tucked underneath a tuft of grass in our neighbours garden! I took advice and moved the eggs into a little coop and have sat one of our broody bantams on them. Duck eggs takes around 28 days to incubate, so we'll be at the halfway mark this Friday. Fingers and toes crossed that they hatch, I'm so looking forward to playing surrogate mummy this summer.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Catching up

Well it's the 1st of May already, where did April go? I forgot to get up and wash my face in the dew this morning, although to be honest it was more frosty here than dewy.

So, as I said in my last post, the inspiring Tash over at Vintage Pretty has nominated me for a "thinking Blogger" award. I'm pretty stunned as I see my blog as a bit of a rambling thing, me blethering on about life in the sticks and running my wee business from home, but hey, I'm not going to complain, it's lovely to know that there are some people out there that seem to enjoy it.

The hardest part is having to choose my 5 favourite blogs, there are so many out there, people who do truly inspire and make me think, compared to others who just moan and have a jibe at others, they tend to be the blogs that make you roll your eyes, move on to the next one and put you off blogging........! But don't worry I'm not put off that easily ;O)

The first blog that I love to read every day is Tash over at Vintage Pretty, I know that seems mad as she put me up to this, but I just have to return the favour. From the stunning photography to her heartwarming posts, it just all makes fantastic reading and I can tell we would be great friends if we lived close by.

Secondly it has to be my cyber twin, Rach over at Oh, the glamour, her blog is a hilarious read about the daily goings on in her life and has lately included some of her amazing patchwork, now there's a talented girl. I'm lucky enough to have met Rach and I think we'll end up being pretty good buddies.

Thirdly, one of the first blogs I started reading is The Accidental Smallholder, it's been inspiring to read up on Rosemary and Dans' progress with their small holding, in fact I'm hoping to chat pig keeping with Rosemary this weekend at the Rare Breeds Sale in Inverurie.

Another one of my daily reads is Cherry over at Tales from Pixie Wood, Cherry has proved to be a real star in more ways than one, many an e-mail has gone flying through cyberspace between us! She is such an inspiration to me, I adore the fact that she is just so organised in every aspect of her life and is a real home maker at heart. If I could have just an ounce of those organisational skills I know my life would be a lot easier!

And lastly, a blog I've just recently started reading is Kelly over at Nesty. Her blog is beautifully put together, always has fantastic photography and I love being a part of all her crafty projects.

There are loads more that I could mention but I'd end up boring you all to tears!

I shall be back tomorrow with more news, I'll leave you with a picture from the garden.

Nite nite,

L x