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Take your chance before the ducks arrive!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

A Quote For Life.

(You may see a change here. Thanks for the inspiration Dawn)

Pinterest is not for all as time looking at baby Pandas can run away with you!! But I enjoy it for lots of reasons and looking for some words of wisdom a while ago I came across this.


imgfave - amazing and inspiring images:

I am excited about the upcoming holiday we have, but I have to be honest; if it were not for the boys we would be going NOWHERE! 

I have no real inclination to go anywhere now we are where we are. Is that us, as Jon feels the same, having an insular point of view - I think not.

We are where we are meant to be and enjoying our life beyond words so going on from this I have decided to change the name of my blog. I figure our dreams have properly turned into the reality of life, the pace of life we love, and we are now on a wonderful journey to live that life.

Therefore I decided on the new name. 

By for now.

Lou.xx



Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Yay! Go Me!

This is a quick, more than a little smug, post. Last night was my Slimming World meeting.

I had hoped for a half lb loss and I got two and a half!
More importantly I have now lost 1 stone 9 and a half lb.

By losing this weight I have reduced my BMI from the original number of 31.3 to 27.4

With this change I am continually increasing my general well-being and health. I know I can get up the kitchen stairs almost at a run now, I don't have so much trouble getting out of bed, people have noticed I've lost weight without knowing I am on the plan, I need new clothes for the holiday and I am chuffed.

This week I was awarded joint slimmer of the week and joint slimmer of the month. Eeeek!

I have about nine more lbs to lose and then see how I feel.

Thank you for listening to my personal boast of smugness!

Bye for now.

Lou.x

Monday, 24 April 2017

What A Weekend!

Hello!

We had a great family weekend. On Friday evening we travelled to the Gramps and came home with the boys on Saturday morning. We stopped in Aber for layers pellets - bought with proceeds from the eggs sales - and more importantly to book the flights for our summer holiday. We didn't manage the latter but came home and did it online instead at a better deal so we are now good to go. Yay! We have arranged for both sets of kindly neighbours to take care of the chickens, the egg collecting and the watering of the Poly House as it will be a bit of a crucial time, hopefully, with things really coming on.

When home Jon and I went outside and got a good lot of jobs done. 

I planted out more broccoli but have a couple more I have to wait on for a bit more growth.

I have almost completed my potato campaign! ending with the Maris Pipers.


I set to putting five seed spuds in each of the three remaining tyres plus four in an old compost bag in the Poly House as a bit of an experiment. Jon is hopefully to get me the last tyre I need for the final five tubers next week then I AM DONE! until the ones for Christmas!

I started to weed and de-stone around the fruit trees, slowly slowly catchy monkey!

I planted out another few climbing peas and sowed some more inside.

I put the sunflowers outside for a little while but put them back in later.

On Sunday we had to go food shopping but later in the afternoon we had great weather so were able to get a good few hours outside.

I planted my gherkins in the Poly House raised bed; I have three of them and then should be room in the bed for the aubergines, too.


I now have three Gardener's Delight plants in their final growing spot so will have to look out for pinching out now and get some support sorted out in a few weeks.


The boys, Jon and then me all helped with each stage of putting mushroom dowels in three tree logs outside; these are how the dowells came when delivered. 


Alfie went to the field with Jon, chainsaw in hand, to get the wood then both the boys helped to put the logs in the best spot near the second veg patch. The one on the right is the Shitake and the other two are for the Chicken of the woods; the latter apparently have a texture like cooked chicken!


Jon drilled the holes in the logs....


then between the four of us we hammered in the dowells.


We gave them a good watering and now need to keep an eye on the level of moisture. It is a long term thing as our first harvest won't be for 15 to 18 months but very exciting to have projects like this in place for the future.


For Sunday tea we have pork chops, new potatoes and our salad leaves (not that many yet but soon) plus my pickled beetroot. Jon and I both thought it will be fab when we can have all of those things when we have grown and raised them ourselves.

Jon was back to work today and my boys are back to school tomorrow so I have been baking for snacks and packed lunches - fruit cake, lemon muffins - half in the freezer - and bread rolls (still proving but will be the same as these with mixed seeds on top). 



The last of the washing from their trip to the Gramps has been done so of course there is a little ironing to do.

We went to the dentist this morning and, after checks and x-rays, their next appointment is in a year; maybe all my nagging for them to clean their teeth, not letting them drink endless glasses of fizzy drinks and making sure they eat a sensible amount of fruit seems to have worked. Go me!

I'm looking forward to a bit of a me day tomorrow as I am properly Spring cleaning our room on Wednesday, TOP TO BOTTOM, and need to prepare myself for that! there may be one little thing I share with you but won't know until later. 

Right, going to catch up on what everybody else has been up to over the weekend.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx

Friday, 21 April 2017

Run Up To The Weekend.

This a catch up of this week in the run up to the weekend when my boys will be home for the last few days of their Easter hols. Yay!

Our Airbnb guest was still out in the early evening yesterday so Jon and I had one of our leisurely walks around the garden checking on things, talking and planning as usual.

The first thing we looked at was the Wild Garlic I was given, thanks Dawn, and it is looking really good; hope to use it in something soon.



As we walked down the garden I had to take a picture of these lovely forget me nots; as now we have lost most of the daffs and all of the snowdrops we have these lovely things instead.



The sowing and growing is definitely my thing but I always like to show Jon where I am up to. Here is the spinach; more seeds growing, too, so looking forward to trying some of that. 



I have been having my usual quality-of-soil anxiety attacks just recently and how this will affect EVERYTHING!

Here are the beginnings of my Arran Pilot spuds and appear to be coming on ok. Big phew!


These are the Gardener's Delight toms that are coming along bee-utifully. A couple more inches and they will be ready for their permanent spot.


The edge of the raised bed gives me a bit more space to put things, as well as the wooden stools I'm making use of. Dwarf beans at the end, sunflowers at this end, climbing beans at the wall side and the next lot of climbing peas on the left almost ready to go outside.


These are the Golden Acre summer cabbages, looking very sturdy just now but somebody mentioned an Arctic snap so have cloches at the ready!



Talking of potatoes, but not in a proper sense, I checked and my sweet spud slips are to be delivered; I have growing bags all ready for them to get going ASAP.

This week I have been busy sown turnip seeds, planted some freesia bulbs, put some sweet peas at the front door to replace the daffs, sowed more beetroot and beef tomatoes amongst other jobs. 

We have ordered some mushroom plugs to grow outside on logs - Shitake and Chicken of the Woods varieties; Jon is going to get the wood from the sawmill.

This morning I went out to do the watering in the hope of catching my guest before he left. I also picked some sage and oregano to dry for use in the kitchen; I dried some last year and it came out very well - the conservatory is the best place to do this.



What I want to do is make separate jars but also a jar of mixed herbs but need to wait for the thyme to come on a little bit first.

I popped out for a quick coffee at a friend's house earlier and took the opportunity to go to the bottle bank and also put some money on mine and Jon's mobile phones - a tenner for each of should last until about August, if not beyond!

Jon hopes to get the first veranda finished at the weekend so we need a trip to get sand, cement and also chicken pellets on Saturday when we have collected the boys. Also we are going to the travel agent to hopefully book our flight tickets for our trip to Menorca in July. We are taking one last holiday to stay at Jon's mum's before we dive head first into running the Bed and Breakfast next year. We owe it to the boys we feel, but they are excited, too, at the prospect of a bigger pocket-money payday when helping out more around the place, along with the money they get from the eggs - win win I think.

Right, need to finish my coffee then go and pack the overnight bag and do a bit of ironing, or I could watch a cookery programme?!

Bye for now.

Lou.xx








Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The Things I Love About Our Pace Of Life.



Recently I mentioned in a post that, as I walked back from collecting eggs, I was sooo happy where I am. Doing the same thing the other day I thought about lots of things I love about living where we are and doing what we do.



Image result for happiness

I love hearing the chooks chattering whilst I hang out the washing.

I love that somebody said our eggs are the FRESHEST they have tasted.

I love that there is so much to forage for in the hedgerows near the house in the Summer.

I love the sun comes up at the front of the house and goes down at the back, all day view.

I love that I would rather be doing something outside rather than cleaning the house!

I love the view across my veg patch and growing area.

I love that our guests have said we have a very special place here and that it is a jewel.

I love to see the Poly House benches groaning with seedlings in the Spring.

I love that I have the time and the inclination to bake my own bread.

I love that the garden is big enough for the boys to play football.

I love Jon for building the garden things we planned to have even before we came here!

I love that the boys are able to go to a small, local school and still do loads of activities.

I love that the boys have taken to the Welsh language SO well.

I love that Jon is home every night to have tea with us as a family.

I love seeing the change of season in the garden when Autumn comes.

I love that I have the kitchen I have dreamed of but never thought I would ever have.

I love that the house will give us a business meaning Jon and I can work together at home.

I love the view from the front kitchen window and ...

I love the view from the top kitchen window!

I love that we have a separate TV room. 

I love that the boys can't wait to go swimming in the river in the Summer.

I love that we enjoy spending evenings by the fire in the living room in the Winter.

I love that, if all goes to plan, I will be able to provide a lot of our fruit n veg from the garden.

**************************

I asked the boys to tell me a couple of things that could go on the list.


Alfie said he liked the garden because it is big and has lots of trees great for hide and seek.

Harry said he likes living here because there is no traffic near the house, and he likes the house because it is halfway between modern and old.

(I'm sure they could think of other things but were too busy playing ball in the conservatory  - that could probably go on the list.)

Forgot about this post until just now but  I still wanted to put it out there.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx


Monday, 17 April 2017

Bank Holiday Bonanza!

Hello. Hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend.

We did and we were also able to get a lot of things done in the garden along with having some guests in our Airbnb room.

On Friday the boys were helping Jon get rid of the bamboo roots we had been keeping in the far left corner of the garden. Now was the time to get them down to the field to be used there as a barrier and to make good the land they had been sitting on. Get ready for some before and after photos.

This is how they had been for what seems ages, on the left of the photo..


 

there are the boys helping Jon make mincemeat of it - axes, saws and chainsaw in hands...


and finally how it looked today when Jon had cleared the last of it and raked it all over. Fab!


This is a really important thing in the garden as the bamboo has been a real labour to get rid of and make the ground usable. There will be some new fencing at some point but for now we are super pleased with the result. I may put some roses in this spot, too, not sure yet.

I made a start on the rabbit proofing as the little blighters had been nibbling my climbing peas.

I also had to top and tail the room as we had guests booked for Friday evening arrival.

On Saturday we gave the boys a day off as they had been very helpful, Jon continued with the bamboo of course. 

got some good jobs done in the Poly House and outside. I planted out some of the broccoli and did some more rabbit proofing. This was finished by Sunday with some help from Jon and it now runs the length of the picket fence and they really should not be able to get in anywhere now.

I also sowed the cucumbers, again; do hope they take this time. Between wanting to be in the garden I had to get the room ready again as we had Saturday evening arrivals! We decided to take a drive out as the weather was sunny if a little windy. We went to Borth and had a walk on the beach followed by ice cream and cake.

On Sunday morning we were expecting Jon's dad and his wife as they were staying over and then taking to boys to theirs the next day for a few days away. I managed to get two rows of the beetroot planted out and weeded a second spot for wild flowers near the new veg patch. 

I also had to top and tail the room, again, for the in-laws and they arrived after lunch then we had a lovely day and evening with some yummy roast pork.

This morning the boys had left with the Gramps by about 10.30am so Jon and I headed outside. We did some work then went to Aber to buy more compost - hopefully the last lot - and a couple of other things and also had some lunch and a walk along the sea front before coming back and getting stuck back into a few more jobs.

I managed to scatter the second lot of wild flowers, planted up three pots of freesias,



and the sweet peas to go at the front door.


I re-sowed the pepper bonetas, as the first lot did not take at all, sowed some more beetroot and beef tomatoes (a variety called Marmande). I potted on the gherkins and the Cuor di Bue tomatoes and hoed the main veg patch.

The raised bed in the Poly House is now full and ready for planting.



Jon made this chair for me last week so I can sit and admire all my hard work in the garden.


When we got back from Aber I did my Poly House bits and pieces whilst Jon made a start on the little verandas that will be in front of the rooms. There will be steps up to them with room for a table and chairs. They will just extend the space for each of the rooms.


I'm really pleased we got so much done. I still have a list of things to be done by the end of the month including last lot of spuds to be planted out.But, with Jon going back to work tomorrow and the boys away I am going to try and find a little me time. I am working my way along my craft bench in the cellar cleaning and tidying it up, a lot! I've made a good start and really want to finish that and I may do some baking to put in the freezer, too.

We'll see what I can manage.

Look forward to reading what everybody has been getting up to over the weekend.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx




Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Always Something Going On At Our House!


On Saturday the weather was glorious, again. In the morning I decided to get the carrots into the new veg patch - chuffed about that.

I got changed ready to take Alfie to Stage School when he decided he no longer wanted to attend; I have to admit I am disappointed but you cannot force children. I was due to pay the next term's fees so a decision had to be made and he went away and thought about it. I can understand why he was thinking like this because he has felt in the past he is missing out on family time; when we drop him off and we go into Aber and perhaps have a coffee, do a little shopping etc. he feels a bit badly done to. He is a real homebird, family kind of boy, bless him. I called the Arts Centre and told them, then I have to say Alfie was a very happy boy in the afternoon playing outside with Harry.

As I was then not going anywhere I got some washing done and pottered around. Jon lit the pizza oven to give it a whirl, a couple of hairline cracks appeared but these have since been fixed with a bit of fire cement. I made quick a homemade pizza and the boys helped with the toppings and we just about got it cooked before the fire died down...



but finished it off in the oven before the boys enjoyed eating it outside in the early evening sun, with Alfie declaring it was the best pizza, ever!


On Sunday morning we knew for sure that Jon's mum and brother were visiting so I decided to set to with the other side of the front wall. I appear to have lost my before photo but here at least is how it looks now, and take it from me it is one heck of an improvement as with the other side. Look forward to getting the wood chippings down some time after Easter.


After the morning jobs we headed into Aber as we were meeting Jon's family so after a spot of lunch we bought a few bits and pieces. These included the shallot sets I had been having trouble finding, some yellow courgette seeds called Goldena, yes MORE seeds, and a couple of small closhes to protect the cabbages that are outside from any late frost snaps.
The weather at home had been lovely but by the time we came home with the bbq food it had turned a little chilly...

I put out the shallots at either end of the carrot rows and sowed the courgette seeds then we sat and watched Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them - wonderful film! I took Alfie to his piano lesson, he came back with the next book towards his Grade 1 exam, and Jon had cooked our bbq food inside for when we got back. We had a relaxing evening but I spent a bit of time by the phone and laptop as we received a booking for three nights from last night! The guest was arriving between 5-7pm which I knew was going to be tricky due to my Slimming World meeting at 7.30pm and Harry needing to be at Sea Cadets an hour earlier than usual. However, I managed to meet the guest whilst Jon took Harry with Alfie, I went to my meeting and Harry actually finished a little early so I still got home in time for Broadchurch, despite having to have my car jump started before we left Aber. Aaarrgghh!

Today I took Alfie to Aber for 8am to catch his coach to Swansea for an Urdd trip and I have a bit of an admin to do day but may get a bit done outside later.

Right, better crack on.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx