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Homemaker and Mama to 4 beautiful children. My daily journey through life on our farm.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Bits n pieces....

A few little things making me happy to share with you today. Just very simple things, like Poppy, a week or so ago, we took Mr P a coffee cake on his lunch break in the fields and parked up near a little run off stream to eat our coffee and cake. In the woods in amongst the primroses and emerging bluebells were lots of pieces of corrugated tin, used for building pheasant feeding stations but discarded over the years, i remarked to Mr P that id love to find a slow worm to show to poppy as i haven't seen one since i was young.....he said no way its too cold yet, but i was determined for some of my nature enthusiasm to rub off onto pops so we hopped out and had a look around, and under the first piece of tin we lifted we found this little chap, a young common toad. She was amazed we'd found him and really didn't want to put him back. But that we did, after taking a few photos!

So, when ive not been planting, sorting, hanging washing etc ive been catching up with a few things sat right here in the sun on the back patio. Since this photo ive added lots of pretty pots full of violas and some other things which i'll photograph when i get a chance, i digress.
These bits and pieces all made me very happy last week.

I applied online, to join in with the bbc gardening campaign 'dig in', and was very excited to receive through the post my five free seed packets of veg and herbs. There was even a little sheet of very cute stickers! Did any of you apply for some?
This beautiful notebook was given to me by my mum..possibly for xmas(how spoilt-cant even remember when i received it!) and now i use it for my garden notes, i date every page that i write in as i see it as a dairy of my first few years of having a real garden and growing my own produce(fingers crossed). Jamie was there too as you can see, ive got lots of cookbooks but i keep going back to this one lately as its great for growing tips-perfectly shot old fashionedy styled photos and recipes for each season and british grown fruit and veg.

And look-making me squeal with excitement, the yard veg patch is yielding the most fab rhubarb-love love it!!!!!
Since this photo, ive picked two more lots, and make two amazingly tasty crumbles.Diet? Hmmm, double cream, ice cream, custard...you name it, ive had it. Oh well.
I also took a little inspiration from the Aspace catalogue. The garden playhouses are stunning, expensive, but very pretty indeed. I think i could live in one-actually i know i could! Why is it as grown women, with our own little homes and empires do we dream of having a tiny space such as this all of our own? madness.

OOh and this months country living was lovely, i haven't been enjoying it all that much recently if im honest so i was pleasantly surprised this time...oh, and i may have drooled slightly over the summer boden catalogue(*must.save.cash*)!!!
I bought these sweet little jars from my friend Debbie's shop in my local town of Romsey called kit & caboodle as i just could not resist them, what is it about jars and jugs that gets me going?!
And yet again my fave shop(tk maxx) came up trumps with this pink bulb planter for 2.99. Ive wanted one for ages but didn't want to play garden centre prices. I'll put it to good use in the winter!
Why is it that every time i go to get some more crumble there's only this much left?! I swear i didn't have that much!
Now, along with veg planting, ive been turning my attentions to the store cupboard stashings of the year ahead. I want to make as much as possible from what's free from the fields and trees and offerings from others this year.
Firstly, Ive decided to try making rhubard chutney next week-and have had three people order jars already! My boxing day chutney was a massive success(if i do say so myself) so, fingers crossed i can perform again!!
Ive decided i definitely want to make Elderflower cordial this year, and we even have our own elder tree in the hedge in the garden, but, what do i contain it in? The following photos are from the lakeland catalogue, but although reasonably priced, they don't have great reviews so this is where you come in. What i need to know is-can i used old wine(etc)bottles with the metal screw top lids? I know that whatever i use has to be sterilised obviously, but what are my options when it comes to bottling....any good ideas??

Anyway, even though i have about a zillion ideas whizzing around my head i think id struggle to put it all into words this evening as ive been at work all day and i have to have an early night tonight as tomorrow is one of the highlights of my year, the annual downton cockoo fair-woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The beauty of spring.

I forgot to show you the stunning scene i captured over the easter holidays whilst at the local park with the girls. I know that its not clear when looking at this initial photo
Im stood on one side of the river bank, behind the railings of the park , and over there on the other side, among the daffs and bluebells is the most beautiful swan, sat on a huge nest.

Isnt she(he?) just simply stunning? I just stood there in awe, snapping away, im sure the other mums thought i was mental but how often do you get to photograph such a sight?

Good luck swan...we'll be back to take a peek at your signets soon...fingers crossed x

I want s'more!

OMG, girls i have to introduce you to a little slice of heaven. I had a lovely bbq this weekend at ours, with 5 fab friends, one of whom has just returned from an easter break in canada. Whilst there she was introduced to the scrumminess photographed below. Basically they're called s'mores, or some mores. All you do is put a couple of big marshmallows onto a skewer and hold it over your campfire, or gas bbq as in our demo! Then you put the gooey marshmallow between two dessert crackers(we used highland oatcakes-i highly recommend them) and either a chunk of chocolate or a slick of nutella. They taste so amazing, i cant believe ive got to the age of 26 and not been introduced to them before. They're really filling too, i could hardly finish my strawberries and double cream after just one of these little babies! Pure indulgence !!!!!!!!!!!

Here's Lou, Nat and Poppy giving you a little demo!

And Jade and Em showing you how to enjoy them!

Good memories...happy times!

They're arrived!

Can you see a tiny foot in this photo?
Have you guessed whom it belongs to? Yes Hermione has given birth to four beautiful kittens. They are a week old now and are irresistably cute...enjoy.......x

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Alice in her garden wonderland.

Good morning, hope all is well in your patch.
This beautiful weather has had me inspired to get stuck in with my garden, and, If like me you love gardening, you wont fail to be captivated by the lovely Alys Fowler (of gardeners world), presenting her own new show 'The edible garden' on BBC2 @ 8pm every wednesday.

Like me Alys, 30, grew up in Hampshire, but thats the only real similarity! She has been gardening since her early teens, and began her training at the Royal Horticultural Society and spent a year as an intern at the New York Botanical Garden.WOW! If only i had my time again(!)

I wont bore you with the ins and outs of the programme,but Alys' garden is pretty, cottagey, simple.

Her 60ft by 20ft plot sits behind a Victorian terrace house in Kings Heath, a leafy suburb three miles south of Birmingham city centre, No mansion and team of gardeners here to keep things spic and span.

I think they way she comes accross is really lovely -id love to have her as my neighbour and natter over the garden fence, maybe swap a cucumber for some strawberries?

Isabelle the jack russell is so sweet and trots about the garden watching her and her two hens. She doesnt have a huge patch, but crams in allsorts of different things....she may even inspire you to create a pea martini!(i kid you not).
Gardening, she says, should be done slowly. 'Build a little, dig a bit, plant a little, and harvest often,' she advises. 'Make your world around you, rather than buying someone else's bland version. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to say, "I did that"
-Well, personally, i could not agree more.

(If you get time to watch it-do, you can catch the first two episodes of this 6 part series on iplayer now!)

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Gardening is taking over my life!

Hello, hello, hope youre all well. As the title of this post suggests, im going to share more garden stuff with you! I dont think there will be any indoor posts for a while as its just been sooo beautiful weather-wise lately. It must have been at least two weeks since it rained here, maybe more? Downside of all that sun is ive become a slave to my evening watering routine. Kids in bed, chickens shut away, dishwasher stacked, and im off out in the garden tending to my seedlings and new shoots with hose and can in hand. Ive said before, its really really windy where we are, so some of you might be thinking ive gone mad-watering in mid april, but really, i have to as everything has dried out. Im not enjoying the watering, my hand gets freezing from the stupid leaky hose gun thing spraying water everywhere, my pj's and fluffy mammoth crocs get soaked too. Plus-i miss eastenders!!! But i guess its worth it to keep everything happy.
Firstly onto the photo below, Mr P, slaving away....laying concrete as the base to my new greenhouse!!! yes a greenhouse, ooh i tell you im so hoppity skippity excited about this, it makes the possibilities for growing almost endless!!!
Lots of things are waiting patiently to find their homes...Love these particular poppies..

Ok so we have a few(10) panels which need to be replaced, but it was free so when a few were broken in transit/the cleaning process, i didnt worry too much. Plus we have a kind friend who has promised to bring over some spare ones he has lying around.

Ive had so much fun putting all my bits and pieces in it, sorting my seed packs and selecting terracotta pots for all my geraniums...and those huge plastic tubs underneath the shelf were collected from all over the garden and look so bright all lined up like that.

Now im waiting(patiently?!!!!) for Mr P to bring home all my old feed troughs from the yard which i intend to plant my veg and cut flowers in...so far we have the grand total of 1, which is stood on the drive.

Hmpph, this lovely weather has banished him to the fields so my nagging has been via daily texts and phonecalls and im sure he's passed listening to me rant 'but my seed potatoes need to be in by this weekend !!!'

I shall keep you posted on their arrival!

So far this spring, these flowers have been my hands down absolute favourite, the stunning puffball of flowers formed by the primula denticulata (drumstick primula) have me captivated everytime i catch sight of them. The white one was from morrisons supermarket last year for a pound, and the pink one was from this year. The white has at least 8 stems on it so i hope the pink one comes back bigger and better next year!

I very naughtily found a whole bag of tulip bulbs which i should have planted last november but didnt put in until the first week in april, nearly all of them have still come up in a rainbow of colours and i abore them, just look at that yellow!

A huge fluffy Lupin wating to shoot up, again a returning friend from last year, ive bought lots more this month as i was so surprised that it came back with such vigour-and was only planted in an old ikea umbrella tin bucket!
And lastly a lovely primula veris(cowslip) these captivate me, so delicate but simple...id like to have more of these in a naturalised way around the playhouse/wildflower meadow(...but thats a post for another day!)

Thats all from me for now, enjoy your gardens in the sunshine folks !! xxx

Chicks chicks chicks!

Well, someone is strutting around as proud as punch!......We kept our fingers crossed as tight as possible and on tuesday......

Look look, its a chick peeping through!!!!!! The cheeping was so loud, even before it had broken the shell you could hear it!

And here he is...our first ever chick at Woodington Farm.

We've named him/her Willy, after the friend who gave the chickens to us in the first place.

Sadly on Wednesday another chick hatched but died soon after, i was quite sad about it as pure breeds are notoriously hard to breed, but yesterday, imagine my excitement when i checked the other eggs and found another chick chipping through!

They spent up until yesterday in the coop, but today when i came home from work Daisy and her two babies were up and about running around.

Daisy is a lavender Cochin, isn't she pretty? Fingers crossed the babies will be hens and they'll be as stunning as her.
Tried my best to get good photos for you but they were so fast!

I dont know if you can tell but one is kind of black with yellow/white on his face and the other is a pale brown all over. Sorry about Willy's fuzzy beak he would not keep still. And the name of the other one...we left it to Ruby, and declared her name is 'Milly'!

So daisy has 7 eggs still under her....we're hopeful that they'll hatch but ive been advised by Mr P's chicken man; Dan, that its unlikely they'll hatch. He was really surprised that these had hatched so early in the season so im hoping he'll be proven wrong, we shall see. He also told me that they're worth quite a bit of money at market, not that these little chick a dees will be for sale!!!!!

Im in Love...

....With a table!
I absolutely love this table, its exactly what im looking for to go in my hallway. The colour is beautiful and its the perfect size to sit in the space under the stairs...now i just need to find one!(no idea where i nabbed this photo from!)

The same style of lovely hand painted furniture as this is available here if you'd like some inspiration!

Speaking of my hallway-not the most exciting space in the house but i think even a small space should make you smile when you walk through it.

With that in mind ive now finally selected some wallpaper after months of having samples hanging up.
My inspiration has has partly come from the photo on the right, its Cath Kidston Mono Rose and ive chosen it in the blue. The hall is quite dingy so i hope it'll brighten it up. I found it really hard locating any images of her wallpapers actually 'up' so to speak. This one, along with a range of beautiful furniture can be found here.
(And if anyone else knows of any more images apart from Yvestown blog id be grateful!)
Im hoping our carpenter will soon be in as well, as part of the hall 'transformation' we are having the hideous bannister replaced with spindles.Which should make it feel bigger and more open.
I'll also make a new door curtain and try to get Mr P to knock me up a radiator cover at some point this year!
Thats all for now folks, hope you're not reading this and are actually out enjoying the sunshine!!!
.....I'll be back tonight with a hint of 'fluffiness'...ha, exciting stuff!.....

Sunday, 4 April 2010

To make you chuckle...

My bedroom......
New Cath Kidston roomset!.....

Kirsty x