Friday, 22 October 2010

We're getting more pigs!!   We're getting more pigs!!    Powers of persuation are up to Warp Factor 15 and Olly has said yes!    Just got to wait for confirmation from our friend Anthony who supplies them that he still has them and if he does, they'll be ours next week!  We are not going for the 8 - 10 we were hoping to get, but are starting with 4.  Two boars and two gilts.   This is mainly because it will be over winter and we'll wait to get the numbers up in Spring when the weather is a little more forgiving.

For now the 4 will live in the back orchard and help clear the grass down and polish off all the windfall apples.   Come March we'll then move them to Sunset field and sow wild grasses and flowers in the back orchard to make it look even more beautiful than it has done in previous years.    I really want to make that an idyllic place to be for parties and gatherings - it could be lovely!

Very excited that we are getting more livestock - it's what this place needs and from here we can build a plan for 2011 that encompasses many more.   

So this weekend will be spent getting ready for them and trying to get some free food sources like the local fruit and veg shops.    If we can polish off any of their waste then so much the better.

Just in case you'd forgotten how gorgeous the last lot were, here are some reminders!!

Monday, 18 October 2010

I know.    There is no excuse – I’ve just been absolutely rubbish.    It’s been over a month and I have no doubt you’ve been climbing the walls wondering what I’ve been up to!!       Hopefully, this will quell your inquisitiveness although I have to admit, whilst typing this sentence I have also been thinking “What have we been doing??”

Ok.   Beginning of September, let me think…   Stables is probably the most prolific in our movements of late.    Windows have been VERY slow in getting in but they are highly crafted so I am prepared to wait for perfection – Olly on the other hand has been a little less patient and now refuses to come out of his office whenever the window man is here!    That is not to say that I haven’t had a few words with the window man myself – they were, after all, due to be in by mid July and here we are in mid October and they are still not finished.    The funny thing was that I had these ‘words’ with him on a Tuesday morning – now for those of you who don’t know me – I am the most unconfrontational person ever!   It takes a great deal of courage to even ask the cost of things in a store sometimes for fear of being bullish about the price, however, it had been a stormy night on the Monday and the window man had taken out the ‘temporary’ casements and told me it wasn’t going to rain.   Needless to say, Olly was away on business and I woke at 1.00am on the Monday morning to the sound of rain pounding against the bedroom window.    I went out to the Stables in my dressing gown, and did I mention, the pissing rain, to see if there was anything I could do to stop the horizontal torrent going into the newly plastered Stables, but alas, no.    I was powerless to do anything so instead, did as any woman would do in that situation, lay awake all night worrying about it!   Needless to say, when the window man arrived at 9.00am the next morning, any inhabitions I had about being non confrontational went right out the window, or should I say, unprotected opening.    

Having said that, I was very controlled.    We had another chap on site building the retaining wall around the Stables and I didn’t want to make a scene in front of him so purely had a ‘conversation’ with the window man about just how long they were bloody taking and how, if I had known they weren’t going to be in until mid October (looking more like end of October), I would have gone somewhere else.     It is at this stage in the proceedings that I refer you all to my entry of 17th June where I mention that our window man is ‘by far the most expensive’!!     Anyhoo, I felt very controlled, very clear in my communication and very satisified that the window man was in no uncertain terms about my dissatisfaction.  

As I mentioned, that was Tuesday morning.    On Wednesday our plumber turned up.     ‘Morning Kev.’   I said.     ‘ Heard you gave the window man a right rollocking yesterday!’ was his reply!     Village life!!!  

Other than that, the Stables are coming on great guns.    Woodburner is in thanks to a fantastic guy called Alan Barbone from near where we used to live.    I highly recommend him to anyone putting in a woodburner.   We had loads of companies come round to quote and all of them told me how difficult it was for them (think I might have covered this in other entries so won’t dwell!)    However, Alan was informative, knowledgeable and helpful – and very competitive.    Our woodburner looks great and packs out the heat!

Am really started to get excited about moving into the Stables over winter.    Olly and I have been decorating for the last week along with help from my Mum and Dad and we’ve probably got another week to go before we are all done, but after that it’s just kitchen and flooring to go in and we are done!    I can then start taking photos for the marketing of it for holiday lets.    Olly and I were in there this evening painting when suddenly Olly said ‘Look outside..’     The Stables is South West facing and there was the most beautiful sunset.    Pinks, purples, oranges and blues with this massive ball of fire slowly sinking.    In the mornings the sun glissens off the brook and makes rippling patterns on the ceiling of the bedroom.   It really is going to be the most idyllic place to be.

We have also been making the most of the orchards.   Our friend Tom who is a brilliant joiner has made a beautiful cider press in his garage and he very kindly agreed for us to press our apples there.   The only problem being that Olly was far too busy with the Stables to pick or press so the task was left to me.   I have to say that I only skimmed the surface of the amount of apples we had and picked a very small quantity.   Next year I will definitely get a working party to pick and press with me!    However, we have about 100 pints fermenting away as we speak which can't be bad!!

In village life, I have taken up a pottery course.    It’s very cool and I am making loads of things although I don’t feel quite as skilled at it as I did the furniture making.     On the first week we made a jug and I really thought I was doing really really well.    I’d made the cylindircal bit of the jug and had somehow got into a theme of sweets so thought I’d put a whole load of ‘Refreshers’ on the outside.    I don’t know whether you can still get Refreshers now.   They used to be a bit like Love Hearts but were thicker with no silly writing on them and had a very shallow hollow in them like someone had stuck their finger in the middle very gently.    Anyway, I have no idea what made me think of them but I did and proceeded to cover the whole jug in little Refresher type buttons.    I was very pleased with my creation too, until I looked over at another girls who had gone for the very simple approach and made the most gorgeous jug with no decorations – just simple.    I looked back at mine and saw the Zsa Zsa Gabor of the jug world next to the Keirah Knightly of the other girls.    At least it will beat the ash tray that my husband is convinced I’m going to come back with at the end of the course.   That’s apparently what everyone makes when they go on a pottery course!

Beginning of October saw the Kingswood Annual Beer Festival which is great fun.   Basically, you go to the Village Hall, the local brewery puts on everything they’ve got, a local band plays REALLY loud and you queue up to get some grub.   Everyone gets a little drunk, does a bit of a body throw in time (or out of in a lot of cases) to the music and we all go home very happy.    It is totally what villages are good at and why we love being part of one.   I did my usual mind illusion of thinking that I’m a really good dancer when in actual fact I’ve just had a bit too much to drink – but then if nothing else, at least I’m consistent!

So, here we are on 18th October, 2010.   Moving into the Stables is imminent and hopefully, with a bit of arm twisting of me to Olly, pigs are on there way.   The man we brought them from last time is coming down this way and has a whole load more weaners if we want them, with the added bonus of free delivery.    Olly would rather wait ‘til Spring but I would love to get some now.    We will just have to see how good my powers of persuasion are!

Lastly, I’ll leave you with tales of Gloria.   Our beautiful tranny cockeral is getting more and more cocky by the day.   She has had a go at my shins once and follows my mother around with an errie stare whenever she comes to visit.   Even Millie, our black lab is scared of her.   However, we continue to talk to each other and are still great friends and although she is now too big to sit on my shoulder she continues to love to be wherever we are and follows me around the farm.    Bless her!!

Gloria in the flowerbed!
And lastly, I leave you with the Competition of the Week - How Many Chickens can you Count on the Digger?!!