Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Forensics workshop

Crime scene.

Fingerprint work included finding prints on the case using ultraviolet light, taking prints, including their own to be eliminated from the process.

Analyzing soil samples collected from footprints left at the scene. Connecting various types of soils found with soils found in the areas where prime suspects live.

Dropping 'blood' samples from various heights and recording how the splatter patterns changed with height of drop.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Perhaps I ought to get out more?

I met a friend in town for dinner this evening. I parked in a multistory and once I switched the engine off I could hear such a commotion I was tempted to quickly drive off. Transpired there was a boot camp taking place on the floor above, which was closed to traffic. Goodness, I couldn't fancy airing my sweat pants in a multistory - could you?

On to the restaurant and I ordered an apple and orange juice which was called a Chilly Billy. As well as Rum Bah Bahs the menu also featured Whitby Woofer with Spicy Sausage. We had to ask the waitress if a Whitby Woofer was fish or a vegetable. It's a fish.

Goodness, I had a great time and certainly do need to get out more - even if only to keep track of what's going on out there.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Snapshots of the week

Miles, shaking his booty and doing the funky chicken at the same time.

Pancakes with lashings of maple syrup.

Putting on the tunes.

We planted some seeds.

Craig and Miles made a robotic turtle.

Coffee and cake on a Sunday morning....mmm mmmmm ....

When it comes to play value I think Etch A Sketches are hard to beat.

Admiring tulips in teacups.

Other highlights which I sadly have no pictures of are; cooking pancakes in the woods with friends, time spent chatting with wonderful mamas, watching the children compete in sack races, the first duck egg of the year and so much more.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

View from our window

The Moon and Venus.

I have been very interested in all a friend has been telling me about her star and planet gazing with the help of an app on her phone. I have to say, I felt I was missing out. Tonight a friend posted a message up to say the Moon and Venus are really clear tonight. Goodness, they sure are! I'm amazed.

Somehow just stumbled across this site too which will hopefully help me identify what's going on up there on other evenings.


Monday, 20 February 2012

Headbands come Neck Warmers

Hermione chose a rather electrifying green yarn while out on a shopping excursion with Nana the other day. Apparently I'm to transform it into a knitted headband. Knowing what a novice knitter I am, I can only hope she's pitched her expectations accordingly.

Anyway, browsing through Pinterest for inspiration, as one does, I came across this really functional and versatile garment which I'm hopeful Nana may knit for me. Not as yet come across anything I think I could actually knit. Ho hum, I'll keep on looking for patterns for those of limited abilities.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Making me smile

Yay! We're all set, dates agreed upon, deposit paid - we're going on a podding holiday with four other families in the Lake District later this year. For the uninitiated below is a picture of a pod. They're just like a wooden hut really, but I like them as you don't have the whole stress of erecting them, or taking it down in your nightie whilst a gale force wind whips your nether regions. Oh, how I remember one such trip!

A very special breakfast of rolled oats, sweetcorn and raisins for a birthday bird and her chosen chums this week. Not that I'd like anyone to think our chooks are spoiled rotten mind you *sigh*.

Beautiful flowers from my beautiful husband to commemorate the day I agreed to be his wife. It wasn't the fourteenth. We don't do Valentine's Day on the 14th as the first year I knew Craig he had a full diary that day and asked if we could do it another day when chances are restaurants would be less busy and flowers cheaper. Goodness, and some say romance is dead! The alternative date stuck as the reality is restaurants are quieter and flowers cheaper if you wait till later in the week.

Reading this book I can't help but look around and smile at all that I take for granted. In comparison to so many I am truly blessed.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Spring jobs in the patch

I've not had our windows cleaned for a couple of months now. I guess if I leave it long enough I may not be able to see out into the back garden which is rapidly degenerating into some sort of ram shackled quagmire.

Hey ho, with spring tapping at the door I figured this weekend was to be the time we would set to picking up the empty feed sacks, disintegrating trampoline cover and other random bits which seem to have become airborne at some point and subsequently lodged in amongst bushes and garden furniture. Oh, garden furniture, it seems comical to think right now that anyone would relish sitting out there.

It soon became apparent that much more than a rubbish round up (aka known as Fling Boogie for those of the Flay Lady persuasion) was required. Not only has copious amount of rubbish appeared - copious amount of grass has disappeared! I knew the situation was bad; I'd just not realized how bad! A combination of excess rain, pecking and general footfall has turned a vast part of the lawn (I use the term lawn very loosely) into mud.

Having picked up lots of debris we started adding further fencing to the patch. Currently the lighter breeds can fly out of the patch onto the lawn. Their freedom is going to have to be curtailed for a wee while till we get the lawn sorted, or their greens may end up being gone forever! Providing it's not tipping it down tomorrow we'll finish the fencing and sew grass seed on all the affected areas. Hopefully, give it a month or so, and all will be well.

I'm saying that spring has been knocking at the door and that all will be well with the seeding, however, whilst out there today there were two short but intense snow flurries! According to the BBC the weather is to become mild again within the next two days, so I'm going to seed tomorrow anyway and take a chance on it being warm enough to germinate. I want it sorted and my chooks back out on grass as soon as possible.

I'm pleased to say that all three of our batty girls have survived the winter and are doing remarkably well. You can see one of them (the brown one) above, in between a couple of blond ladies. All three are virtually fully feathered now - something I was beginning to fear may never happen. They peck and scratch around now as if they had always done so. Hopefully the days of being unable to turn round in a tiny cage, starved of natural light and dark, will have well and truly faded from their conscious.

A few people have mentioned to me in recent months about how it's now much better for poultry in England, battery cages having been outlawed. If only I could agree. The new cages are only marginally better. I'd still cry buckets at the thought of any of my girlies being placed in one. Also, I have read that in order to maintain low prices, many supermarkets are increasingly importing intensively farmed battery eggs from abroad, rather than pass on the slight increase in cost of English eggs to the consumer. So, as I understand it, the net effect is that most hens are now being kept in marginally less substandard conditions and our farmers are being passed over in preference to cheap imports. Certainly nothing to celebrate in my view.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Dodging missiles and knitting socks

Ah, I figure the downside of growing older and more confident in your choices is that you're less likely to toe the line. Sadly, it seems to follow, that some people will feel the need to condemn, throw insults - or possibly worse. Time to remember Winston's wise words,

“You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

Winston Churchill

So, what have we been up to when not dodging proverbial missiles?

We've grown some cool crystals.

Planted some herb cuttings. I'm not certain it's the right time of year but the urge came and I answered that call! Hopefully they will root.

Strolled by the river bank.

Knitted my first ever pair of socks - yay!! They don't stand up to scrutiny but Hermione thinks the are really cosy. I didn't do it all. Nana did the heel and toe for me - it was enough for me to master knitting in a round! May attempt heel or toe next time.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Au revoir

Yesterday Hermione and I made a luggage label for a friend who is heading off for Australia and India in a few days time.

We got the idea form this book.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Happy Days

What fun we had on the slopes this morning!

Back at home we made some snowballs, Kirstie Allsopp style. We made ice cream balls with a melon baller, then returned them to the freezer till firm again. We then rolled them in/dolloped them with melted chocolate, decorated and re-chilled. Delish! I think the dairy free with dark chocolate were my favourite although the vanilla with Dairy Milk was quite scrumptious too.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Snow, acorn caps and books about beliefs

Now, before I forget, I wanted to let you know about a book I picked up from one of the online bargain book places. It's aimed at children (although I've learned a thing or two from it!) and it's called What Do You Believe? It's part of a series and I'm sorely tempted to invest in some of the others too now. Perhaps I ought to wait for them to turn up at The Book People or similar.

The felt toadstools are multiplying and I suspect there will be more springing up soon.

Also, we've made jeweled acorn caps following this tutorial. Ours aren't at all shiny like the ones in the tutorial. I can't help but wonder if they would benefit from a lick of clear nail varnish? Maybe, maybe not!

A cautionary note if you decide to bejewel your own acorn cap stash - they hurt, a lot, if you stand on them. I'm talking more painful than Lego and whats more they can leave splinters of sharp organic matter in your foot!

The snow finally arrived this afternoon. Poor Sammy duck, her beautiful beetle green feathers all sprinkled with snow.

Snowy snuggles for Saffy.

Snow bunny.

Oh, that darned bunny has jumped into the grain trough again!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Calling on angels

It's been forecast every weekend for over a month. Here's hoping the snow actually arrives this weekend! Off to bed with my 'ever so hopeful' head on.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Snuggle down

With temperatures predicted to drop way below zero tonight, I think a pinot grigio, basket of logs and slab of dark chocolate could be just the thing!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Candles and Snowdrops

We met with friends for fun, frolics and stories of snowdrops today. They're here; the snowdrops are out! Their delicate white heads all full and drooped.

Sperlosh! Ripples at the shore.

A couple of waders!

I know I'm forever saying it, but one thing I love almost as much as having so many different hens, is having so many different eggs. White ones, cream ones, blue ones, green ones, speckled ones, brown ones and more. It may sound mad, but I feel a real sense of delight every day when I collect the eggs from their various cosy hide a ways.

We made our candles for Candlemass this evening. We decided to go ahead with the egg shell idea. We painted the shells with watercolours and placed a pre made tea light wick in the bottom of each. I bought a big pack of these a few years ago from an online store. They're really handy for dinky little candles.

Having melted the wax from an old partially burnt candle, in a double boiler, (don't use a microwave, it's dangerous), we poured it into the shell.

Out for coffee and scones with friends some time ago, they shared with us an idea they had heard about making candles in glass jars using a birthday candle as an easy wick. Hermione had a tiny pot of jam with her scone that day and we took it home to transform it at some point.

We washed it out and cut down a thin birthday candle to what we thought was the right size.

We poured the wax which was left from our egg shell project into the glass jar. At first the birthday candle wouldn't stand straight so we waited a moment by which time the wax was cooling and thickening. I think this resulted in the wick not being completely on the bottom of the jar, so it's poking out of the top as opposed to blending in seamlessly!

We added some solid wax chips to the top to detract from the tall wick, and a picture of a young hen to the side of the jar to detract from some stubborn glue where the label had been. Voila!

It's a funny old time of year I feel. I know that for many autumn/winter is the time to mark the loss of loved ones, however, its always this time of year that reminds me of the frailty of life.

I think of my own little snowdrops who were so beautiful, yet too fragile, to walk by my side. I think of those who I would have loved to have shared my children with, but who are not here to see the wonder of them growing and flourishing.

It's the yin and yang, the paradox that is life/death, start/finish and so much more.

The sea soothes me at times like this. I'm fascinated by it, in awe of it and seriously respectful of it. Much of the respect came following a silly teenage frolic with an airbed in Spain. Goodness, how close I came to being totally devoured! I still recall regaining consciousness on the beach amidst a swarm of foreign faces; regurgitating salt water for days!

Standing by the sea I feel connected to everything and everyone. It's so universal and fundamental. Having explained my passion for the sea, a couple of people over the years have suggested that it's because life originally came from the sea. I'm not sure that is the reason why I'm so drawn to it, if so it's on a very subconscious level. Whatever the reason, I'll continue to seek solace and perspective there.