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Jo 3, crate 0

♥Jun. 4th, 2017 // 11:30 am
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Yesterday, we took Jo to the vet to check that there wasn't anything physically wrong with her. She's now got a clean bill of health and a pack of over-priced woo-woo pills, made from milk protein and designed to mimic the way that babies get stoned on breastmilk.

Needless to say, they made absolutely no difference last night when we moved the crate back downstairs and put her in it at bedtime. Mike, who is apparently softer-hearted than I am, gave in after fifteen minutes of banging and crashing. I needn't have bothered going downstairs to get her, though, because fifteen minutes was apparently all that the crate could stand as well:



I've ordered her a new dog bed for in our bedroom, and I guess the crate will be off to the tip on our next trip.

In better news, I did an hour's weeding yesterday with no ill effects, and the drive is now looking neater. Somewhat to my surprise, the spare sweetpeas that I put out there a couple of months ago are doing pretty well even though they got swallowed up by nettles and grass coming through the fence very soon after planting. Hopefully now that I've been able to give them some breathing space they'll bulk up a bit, because I think they would look nice growing over the fence.
Link8 kisses // Who loves you?

Garden serendipities

♥Jun. 3rd, 2017 // 09:41 am
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I've been philosophical about the fact that the fancy yellow columbines I planted in the garden are gradually being out-competed by the simpler pink/purple/blue ones that grow wild around here, but I was quite impressed today when I spotted a few fun hybrids as well:



I doubt that it's worth saving seed, as they'll be different again next year, but it is quite fun to watch!
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Bah

♥May. 22nd, 2017 // 06:41 pm
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So I may have got the garden weeded but I did it at the expense of my wrists, which have been very sore for the past few days. I've been trying to rest them, which is frustrating as I have things that I want to be doing!

It's also a pain for Mike, who keeps having to do things like follow me around the garden while I point at places where he needs to dig up weeds or plant out seedlings. Still, "we"'ve got most of the veg bed planted out now, so hopefully it will all get on with growing and making tasty food. About the only useful gardening that I can do at the moment is watering things and pulling up nettles, which means I'm covered in stings!

On the assumption that it was actually a combination of gardening and cutting out pieces for quilts wot done it, I've put aside the quilt I started last week until I'm doing a bit better. I did, this afternoon, have a go at making a block for a different quilt on the grounds that it's paper pieced and so involves less repetitive/precise cutting of fabric. I'm quite pleased with the results, but my wrists aren't. Sigh.



The whole quilt will have the dark blue and cream fabrics in the background, and then I've got a range of different blue and cream fabrics for the stars.

The Up-The-Hill's came for dinner at weekend, which was nice and (we think) went well. Various amusing but not unexpected things about TWWOTV, including the fact that she's already not speaking to them although they're not sure why!
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Things we have done

♥May. 17th, 2017 // 08:11 pm
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The swallows have come back: we've seen lots of activity in the last few days, including plenty of flying in and out of the stable, so we didn't scare them off. Phew!

The bird 'flu restrictions are, finally, over, which is also a big phew. The ducks are very happy to be back in the garden, and it's meant that we could put the boys in the stableyard, which was getting rather overgrown, so that the field could have a rest. It's currently raining steadily, and set to keep doing so for a few more hours (another phew!), so hopefully the grass will be able to get a bit of growing done tomorrow without being instantly munched back to nothing.

It's been quite hot for the last couple of days, so the Jug Of Minty Water has reappeared in the fridge:


It was much appreciated this afternoon when I came in from weeding the jungle front bed, which is always a sod and got away from me rather this winter, not helped by the lack of ducks disturbing the weeds. It's taken me a week, but at least it's not quite a Forth Bridge job.

I finished off the quilt from my workshop:



("How did you get it done so quickly?" someone asked me at a fabric sale last weekend. "I've had my mother-in-law staying..." I replied. Then she mocked me because I was carrying bolts of fabrics in two solid greys and three beige patterns, so I picked up a plain teal as well and bought some just to show her!)

Does anyone fancy having a go at some orchid identification? I'm stumped by this one, which is potentially more troubling than it would otherwise be as it's in the field we borrow in the summer and I don't want to let the boys near it if it's rare!


It's probably just an odd common spotted, but.... It's not monkey or military, or an insect one. The pink buds make it look like a burnt, which I don't think we get around here and the petals aren't right for anyway. The petal colours look a bit like a chalk fragrant, which is local, but the shape is wrong. That pink border, and the lobe shape, have me quite stumped. It *might* be a lady, but I can't see any 'arms'. They do have the pink buds, and the two-lobes on the petals, though. Hmm. I might go and have another look at it tomorrow....
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Sewing

♥May. 10th, 2017 // 06:02 pm
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I think it's pretty much done other than stitching it all together....

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All change

♥May. 10th, 2017 // 03:19 pm
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I've just got around to taking the LJ links out of my style sheet. I guess I've really given up on it, now! One of these days, I suppose I should switch to using a modern style: I'm still on a legacy LJ S2 style....

I had Quilt Club at weekend, including a class on Sunday (fortunately, it turned out that the speaker / tutor was far better at the latter than at the former) where we did a modern take on log cabin blocks.

This is what the class produced:

(Mine are the six entirely beige/grey ones about just over half way up the left hand side of the table. "That fabric's very... grey," said Teddy in disapproval when I showed it to him.)

I've done a bit more on it since, and am probably going to do a bit more again shortly. It's been quite interesting, and I'm enjoying it far more than 'proper' log cabin blocks on account of not having to be super careful about cutting the fabric to exactly the right size.

Mostly today I've been gardening. I've potted on almost all the tomatillos and most of the small chillis, and I've planted out the tomatoes, aubergines and peppers in the polytunnel:


(We did have a frost last night, but the thermometer in there recorded a low of 0.0C with the doors open, so they should be safe.)

Unfortunately, I did it a bit on autopilot and forgot that The Plan was to put one of each tomato variety outside thus leaving a grow bag spare for the big chillis, so they'll have to go in the conservatory instead. Which means that it's a good job that I didn't have enough compost to pot on all the tomatillos, as I'll need pots to do that!

Now that I've watered them all in, the polytunnel smells even more of wet dog than it did before (from the old carpet underneath): lovely! Hopefully the bits of the irrigation system that are on back order will arrive soon, so that I don't have to do too much hose-pipe watering.

(Jo was very helpful: after coming in the polytunnel once and knocking half a dozen plants over she decided that it wasn't a good place to be and scampered around the garden instead, where she's probably dug up something that she shouldn't have. On the plus side, she did hear a delivery driver that I didn't, so I was able to dash out and get the package. It's amazing how quickly the driver ran back down the path and through the gate when she bounded into the front garden barking.)

Jo and I are on our own today, as Mike's taken his mother to Belgium for an overnight stay. My grandad's had a partial hip replacement, the op seems to have gone well but he's quite confused and groggy. He should be ok as long as he doesn't pull any of his usual hospital tricks (eg, pulling his drip out, ordering taxis to collect him, attacking the nurses), but the chances of that aren't great given his past form.
Link7 kisses // Who loves you?

I was going to do some more weeding...

♥May. 5th, 2017 // 06:59 pm
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... but it was drizzling when I got back from walking pooch, so I hit the sewing machine instead.

This is going to be a cushion cover for Sue's Mum's boyfriend, who used to have a tame pheasant in the garden.



Note to self: remember to do the eye!

(It stopped drizzling shortly afterwards, but ah well, the garden will still be there next week.)

While walking the pooch, I saw Mrs Farmer, who had a genius idea: ducks are filter feeders, so I can make their pellets into soup and leave it out all day without the wild birds being able to get much of it. Worth a try to get a bit more food into them, especially as I'm worried that the case that was reported overnight might mean another extension of the bird 'flu restrictions.
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Garden bah

♥Apr. 20th, 2017 // 04:14 pm
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I'm not sure what wisteria blossom is hardy to, but last night's temperature (which also froze the surface of the duck pond) was evidently below it.

(The weather station, annoyingly, is broken. We must get that sorted out.)

We were looking forward to a lovely display this year, as there were masses of buds just breaking. There are two left now, both ones that were tucked up against the wall.



One of the grape vines has also lost a few leaves, and I'm a bit worried by my new, native to Siberia and hardy to -34C, kiwi plant, which is looking rather droopy and a bit blackened in places. Even the budlia is looking a bit sad and droopy, but I'm sure that will perk up later.
Link6 kisses // Who loves you?

Post-con...

♥Apr. 19th, 2017 // 08:53 pm
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We had a nice time at Innominate, which seems to have gone very well indeed (I only heard about three or four proper problems, and most of them were very quickly resolved). Sadly, I woke up yesterday rather off-colour, and spent most of the day feeling (and occasionally being) sick.

Fortunately, given Mike had to be in London, I'm feeling much better today (which makes me think it was a food thing, not an infections one).

It did mean that we couldn't plant the tomatoes out in the polytunnel as planned, but then again that was probably for the best as we had a frost last night!

In the interests of experimentation, can anyone not see two photos in this post? Some people seem to be having problems with access-locked images not being visible to anyone, and as I didn't even realise that DW had image hosting (I'm sure it didn't last time I checked, or I'd have used that rather than my faffy work-around via LJ) it's not something I've ever played with before.


Link13 kisses // Who loves you?

LJ/DW

♥Apr. 8th, 2017 // 10:08 am
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I've been crossposting from DW to LJ for a while, but mostly reading people on LJ for the comments. I'll be changing that to mostly reading on DW.

At present, I'm feeling unable to bring myself to hit the button to accept the LJ ToS change, which means that I've been skim reading the non-crossposted posts in the background, but haven't been able to click on links / read comments / look behind cut tags: I expect that to continue until I get sick of it, at which point I'll either stop reading LJ or give in and click the button.

So: if you're on DW but think that I don't know, please let me know / add me on DW.

This does, unfortunately, break my photo-posting workflow. Does anyone have any suggestions for other easy ways to get photos from my iPhone to A Free Hosting Site? (I know Ang posted the same question t'other day, but see above re: not being able to click on links to see comments!)

In other news, this afternoon we've put up the frame on our new polytunnel but decided we'd done for one day: anchoring it to the ground and adding the cover will be a job for tomorrow, probably. I doubt it's going to blow away in the night.

I've had to move the tomato seedlings to the tops of the shelving units, as they're too big for the middle shelves! Must start some courgettes and beans tomorrow, as well.
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Living room!

♥Mar. 30th, 2017 // 08:46 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1207414.html]

After a hard afternoon and evening of furniture rearranging and assembling, it's all done other than putting the pictures back up on the walls!



(I very much hope that that rug will start behaving. It's currently got a Wii balance board and a side table holding it flat in an attempt to give it the idea.)



(Jo seems to like the new rug. It's already showing signs of her presence....)



(Sinister Ducks.)



(Aaaand I've just realised that the new sofas aren't really visible in any of those pictures. The blue bit in the front of the last one is the pouffe (it's got a storage space inside!), the sofas are the same colour.)
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That was quick!

♥Mar. 29th, 2017 // 06:56 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1206929.html]

Quicker than expected, in fact: the new floor's all done, when we were expecting it to take until tomorrow. Unfortunately, we'd ordered things like new shelves, rugs and little felt pads to go under the furniture to stop it from making scratches for delivery tomorrow to tie in with it, so we're still a little short of furniture in here. Hopefully, we'll be all sorted by tomorrow evening. Hopefully.

Jo is pleased that she has her sofa back. The sofa bed was just not a suitable substitute, her legs were always hanging off the edges.

Both the anemones and the horses have been making the most of the sunny weather we've been having recently:


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Springlike

♥Mar. 27th, 2017 // 09:47 am
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1206204.html]

(Only not today, when it's currently rather foggy. Does seem to be clearing, though, and at least the fog is a sign that the wind has died down!)

We've been seeing lots of little flowers appearing in the woods, including wild strawberries and cuckoo flower/ lady's smock. There's a fine patch of violets up a tree, as well:


After the usual sense of weeks with little progress (sewing together piles of small bits of fabric to make piles of slightly larger bits of fabric), I got to the stage of sewing together the blocks for my Storm At Sea quilt (started on a workshop a few months ago) so all of a sudden I've got a quilt top ready to start the actual quilting:

I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out, although Mike says that he can't look at it for too long without his eyes going funny. (Also pleased that, in the end, it turned out that I didn't need to get more of the fabric shipped over from the US!)

Today, we're having the new garage door fitted, as well as having the old living room and hall carpets removed and the floor levelled. The floor guy just said "You might want to look at this..." and showed us a drain cover in the hall. We're guessing that it's at the point that was once the back door to the house, and that it isn't actually connected to anything any more, but we're really not sure. Fingers crossed that it never needs to be opened up!
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Note to self

♥Feb. 15th, 2017 // 07:40 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1199703.html]

Defrost the ice box in the old fridge more frequently in future.

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The fridge man cometh!

♥Feb. 14th, 2017 // 03:52 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1199288.html]

After a saga of epic proportions, six months of varying degrees of faffing, and six weeks of putting up with the fact that the fridge wasn't in the kitchen, I finally have my shiny new fridge:



Not only is it significantly bigger than the old one (and we've kept the old one), so that fridge tetris will be less of a common game, but it's also actually attached to the cupboard door, so that you only have to open one door!

I am probably more excited than I should be by this.

One of the things we'll be replacing when we have the living room redecorated is the side tables: if anyone would like a nest of three pale wood side tables from John Lewis, please say. Also up for grabs: a hand blender/whisk and a rolling pin with a set of interchangable thickness guides. We can bring them to Eastercon. (There is also our coffee table, but it's pretty battered and would need a good sanding and re-varnishing, as well as being a bit big to conveniently bring to Eastercon. Say if you've a particular desire for it. Again, pale wood from JL.)
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I don't think we're going to be generating much power today....

♥Feb. 11th, 2017 // 01:31 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1198257.html]



Snow Jo!
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1 dpi

♥Feb. 8th, 2017 // 05:02 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1197614.html]

Can you tell who it is, yet?



The little old ladies at Little Quilt Club were utterly bemused when, having spent a while making perfectly normal square-in-a-square blocks for the storm at sea quilt, I whipped out my EPP box and started sewing together lots of brightly coloured squares. They were none the wiser when I showed them the printout I was using to remind me of the layout!
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Quilty

♥Jan. 31st, 2017 // 10:21 am
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1197186.html]

(LJ app still letting me post to my LJ even though it won't log me in. V mysterious!)

It has stopped being quite so cold, for which I am very grateful. It is rather misty, but I suppose you can't have everything.

I seem to have been quite busy, with living room redecoration arranging, pooch wrangling, failing to find a new horse, and several quilt-related things.

...living room redecoration... )

...pooch-wrangling, failing to find a new horse... )

...several... )...quilt-related... )...things... )

The down side of my being out at weekend was that Mike had to horse wrangle by himself when they were coming in to bed. They behaved on Saturday but on Sunday went charging off, spraining a couple of Mike's fingers in the process. They were also behaving like idiots list night, trying to get to the new mares (even GB!): possibly they've come into season. To be on the safe side, even though it's going to be a bit slippery I'm going to just let them run down the hill on their own tonight rather than try and lead both of them in along the road.
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Fine weather for quilting

♥Jan. 22nd, 2017 // 05:58 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1196608.html]

Weather and Mike playing Skyrim mean I've been making great progress with a hand quilting project: it just seems like the right sort of weather to be sitting with a quilt on my lap. And a blanket underneath it.

The boys didn't get any carrots today:


They nearly didn't get any water, but fortunately we decided that we didn't quite believe the Met Office's assurances that the freezing fog would clear Real Soon Now and saved the left-over water from yesterday. That meant that, when the garage tap failed to thaw out in the non-existent sunshine, we only had to carry a couple of buckets over from the house to top things up.

(As I usually do, I posted the picture into a private LJ post using the LJ app and then edited the post to copy the html to a DW post, before deleting the LJ post. (Shh, this is actually the easiest workflow I've managed to find). Oddly, today when I opened the LJ app it gave me a message about authentication and demanded that I log back in, but repeatedly failed to let me do so. On a whim, I tried posting anyway and it worked. Suspect that this is not the intended behaviour.)
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Still chilly

♥Jan. 20th, 2017 // 06:06 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1196258.html]

Part of the reason it's so chilly down here is because this is what it looks like at 9:30 in the morning:



We have one of the horses' water buckets by the school, for when they're turned out nearby. This afternoon, we were intrigued to see how frozen it was, so we tipped it out to have a look:



(I managed to ride GB a little this afternoon, for the first time in a while. I was going to try yesterday but the school was still like concrete when they were due to come in. He was doing ok other than occasional stumbles when he stepped on a lump of sand and it confused him by not squooshing down like it normally does.)

Still, the good news is that "temperatures are set to plummet to -7C in rural areas" tonight, so at least it'll be warmer than it has been. Um. Right?
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Brr

♥Jan. 18th, 2017 // 06:47 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1195675.html]

It's been quite chilly here (yesterday, on the evening weather forecast, they mentioned that the afternoon had been sunny with a high of 13 in Scotland, and sunny with a high of 1 in Kent...), and we think that last night may have been the coldest since we moved here: the ducks' water bucket, inside the duck house inside the stable, was frozen over this morning, and when Mike did the animals' water this afternoon the garage tap (which gets the sun, unlike the stableyard one, which he didn't even try) took a while to run: both pretty much unheard of. (The weather station seems to be broken, so I don't have an exact figure. At least -10, maybe -12?)

Mike bought new carrots for the horses a couple of days ago, and yesterday I forgot to put some water in the bucket to store them (carrots keep better under water if it's -- ha ha -- warm weather). This morning, they were rather frosty looking, and the bucket of water from GB's stable that I poured over them had ice floating on the surface, with the end result that the carrots in the boys' dinners looked rather... chilly.



It turns out that the new people in the flat, who we've still not spoken more than a few words to for largely weather-related reasons, actually have three horses, all mares. Bugs was very interested in going to say hello when I brought the boys in past their field yesterday.

Jo had her first (this time around) swimming lesson today, a very easy session to get her back into it but she seemed happy enough and the physio was happy with how she looked in the water.
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Ponies in the snow

♥Jan. 13th, 2017 // 02:59 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1194653.html]



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Flowers

♥Dec. 24th, 2016 // 04:31 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1191985.html]

My flowers, a week and a bit ago, were half a dozen amaryllis stems. My mother told me I had to put canes up the middle of the (hollow) stems, or the weight of the flowers would make them flop over in the middle, which I dutifully did.

This morning, I cam downstairs to find that one of them had flopped over anyway, right behind the flowerhead where the cane didn't reach. I threw it away and put it down to bad luck, but then another one went while we were walking the pooch and I decided I'd better do something. I put some florist's wire around the weak spot on all of them, but it wasn't keeping the floppy one entirely upright, so in the end I poked a cocktail stick into each stem, just behind the flower, and have crossed my fingers.

Then I went and got some greenery from the garden, to confuse the eye and make the supports less obvious. We'll see how they do, and I'll know for next time!



(I also, today, got an arrangement of roses from my sister via M&S. I suspect my recent experiences will have me going 'tsk' when they don't last as long as I think that they should.
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Bow ties

♥Dec. 22nd, 2016 // 06:16 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1191248.html]

On and (mostly) off, I've spent the last six months folding linen squares into little bow tie shapes.

I've finally finished doing them:



And today I started sewing them together, which is looking like taking *far* less time:



(The fabric isn't actually beige, it's pale purple!)

Also today, the Aga Man failed to fix our Aga (someone with the right part will come back tomorrow), and we took Jo for a run on the beach, where we met an 18 month old Bernese bitch, who was very friendly. We really should have taken a picture for those times when people give us funny looks for saying that Jo's a midget, though.
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How not to ship things

♥Dec. 20th, 2016 // 10:31 am
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1190382.html]

If you're a fancy hamper company, that goes to the trouble of having your own branded cardboard boxes to protect your fancy hamper boxes while in transit, and you only make hampers that come in three sizes of fancy boxes, I'd have thought it wasn't beyond the realms of sensibleness to have three different sizes of branded cardboard box, rather than shipping things in a box three times bigger than is needed.

And if you must send things in an enormous box, at least get those cellulose packing chips that dissolve in water, rather than the plastic kind that will just end up taking up half the volume of my landfill bin at a time of year when it's likely to get far more full than usual, hey?



(It is possible that they'd just run out of the right size box but, if so, the same thing happened last year which might also be a hint about stock control....)
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Mid-winter things

♥Dec. 19th, 2016 // 09:46 am
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1189664.html]

We have both been poorly. Mike is still poorly, I ache horribly but think it's more horse- than virus-related.

In contrast to the last couple of years, when riding schedules have been messed up by rain, this year it's been mist that's the problem (as well as being ill. And sore). I had a go on GB last week but had to stop because a) it was painful and b) GB kept stopping and going 'I don't like this' because he could tell I wasn't right, and Mike hopped on GB yesterday while I lunged Bugs braced myself and clung onto the end of the rope while Bugs charged around the school in circles making occasional contact with the ground, but that's been the extent of it lately.

Ponies in the mist: like gorillas, but less endangered.


Our field is is comparatively fabulous condition, because it's been fairly dry: we're not only still using the steep gate, but we're also still letting the horses run down the hill on their own rather than leading them the long way around. Long may it last!

Still, we have managed to get the Christmas tree up:


I did initially think that this year's brown Amazon wrapping materials were a bit dull, but they go quite well with the decorations I've put on the tree this year, so that's nice.

In bad news for upcoming visitors, Mario Run keeps suggesting that I move to a location with a better mobile signal. On the other hand, thanks to a saga involving the new neighbours finding a water pipe in the way while widening their drive that would have been moderately entertaining had I posted about it while it was happening, our water pressure is now better than it's ever been, so that's a win for people trying to shower while we're filling the horses' water buckets.
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Bird 'flu

♥Dec. 7th, 2016 // 01:25 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1188777.html]

It seems there's a bird 'flu outbreak in Europe, and Just In Case there are now restrictions on birds in England.

We can't practically keep the ducks indoors (the stable where they sleep is small and dark), so after a bit of a ponder we decided that they definitely have to stay out of the front garden, where there are far more wild birds. As (bad) luck would have it, this morning the horses had their annual dental check, so they were also in the stableyard for a while. As (good) luck would have it, we've been meaning to have a bonfire for a couple of weeks, so we rearranged the bonfire pile to make a barrier around the door to the duck's stable and just let them in the little patch of outside that resulted, with their food and water inside.

Magrat, in particular, complained loudly for the first couple of hours, but since then they seem to have just gone back to bed. They ate *most* of their breakfast, but it took them several hours to do so (they're not laying at the moment, so they're not so interested in food), which we can't really do: it won't be long before Stableyard Robin realises and starts popping over to finish it off.

After a couple of chats with Old Mother Farmer in the woods (she didn't have time for a long walk, so took a shorter route home, and then we met her again ten minutes later), I've decided that, although the guidance says that ducks should be treated as chickens and kept in, our ducks are so free range / wild that really more like geese / fancy wildfowl, which can't be kept indoors: I'm going to keep them out of the front garden but let them have the run of the stableyard, and I'm going to switch both of their meals to corn-in-the-stable in the hope that they'll eat more quickly.

I can't decide what to do about their pond, though. At the moment, it's in the stable and it's not been used all morning. I'd like to put it outside, but I know that if I do and (especially) if we have another cold snap then the birds will be drinking from it. Hmm.

Speaking of cold snaps, we had one: a week or so of frozen taps, riding arenas, and pretty much everything else. On the other hand, lovely sunny days and, best of all, hardly any mud!



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More free stuff

♥Nov. 20th, 2016 // 03:03 pm
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[xpost |http://flick.livejournal.com/1187425.html]

I have, I think, now finished tidying and rearranging, although I'm not sure what I'm going to go with the masses of stuff to go in the landfill and paper recycling bins, which were already full after yesterday's efforts. (Bizarre as it may seem from the stuff I'm trying to re-home, I've thrown away a huge amount of actual junk. I have no idea where some of these things came from.)

(Actually, I haven't finished: I started this because I wanted to get my fabric stash out of plastic boxes and onto a set of Expedit shelves. That part has happened, but not yet the part where I go through and neatly sort the fabrics by type and colour and so on. Maybe tomorrow.)

So, if anyone wants it...
Various crafty bits:

- silver and gold plastic stars
- various colours of star-shaped stickers
- stick-on diamante thingies
- stickers of fancy party frocks
- blue / purple die-cut flowers
- what the package says are 'fabric luggage tags'
- various colours of leaf skeletons
- blue paper tags
- lots of pairs of small hinges
- little glass test tubes with stoppers that have loops so you can put things in them and hang them on a piece of jewellery

Ditto:

- beige-ish pipe cleaners
- blue paper tags (again. oops)
- microscope slides and cardboard holders for them (some for one slide, some for two)

And less crafty stuff:

- three packs of raunchy wrapping paper (I have no idea who this was intended for...)
- red and gold beaded gift bag
- two white and silver angel gift decorations
- white and silver gift decoration stickers
- red and gold gift decoration stickers
- differently shaped gift decoration stickers

Hmm. In retrospect I should probably checked to see if anyone wanted an entire Really Useful Box full of those little shiny rosette things that you always get in packs of Christmas ribbons and that I hardly ever use because I don't like them. Oh well.
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Having a clear out

♥Nov. 19th, 2016 // 06:38 pm
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I'm rearranging and tidying my bits of the study, so here's some stuff that's free to a good home provided it can be hand delivered (I'll stick the small stuff in the post, as well, but not the bigger things).

Heart and star shaped brads, also some mini-rivets:


A load of beads, first dibs to Giulia:


Random stuff:

- clear plastic food-grade bags with snowflakes on them
- four tubes of metallic acrylic, almost entirely unused
- five small fake birds
- Jessica fusion base and 2x brilliance top coats
- some googly eyes
- most of a block of modelling clay (this is several years old but it has been in a sealed bag and is still squidgy when you poke it; I've no idea if it's still usable)
- a pack of sequins
- an egg dying kit

Various blank books:

(The pink one is about A4, for scale.)

Also half a dozen poster tubes, big and small.

Probably more in the next few days, when I start looking to see what's inside the boxes currently stacked up on the study sofa....
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Things

♥Nov. 18th, 2016 // 06:36 pm
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Novacon was mostly nice, and fairly quiet, but involved late nights (as ever).

I decided that I wasn't enjoying my pilates class enough to make up for the driving there and back in the dark part of the experience, so I've swapped to a different class (daytime), with a different instructor but at the same place. I had the first session yesterday and, even though the people in the class were generally creakier and less good, it was a much better workout. Fingers crossed.

TWWOTV is having various building work done. GB is unimpressed: he can hear it but not see it, so he's a bit stressed by it all, poor lad.

The house Up The Hill has finally completed on the sale, so we now have new Mr and Mrs Up The Hill, and two small girl children ditto. I'd better put together a little welcome hamper, though it's a shame the ducks are off lay.

I continue to be impressed with Freddie's Flowers. I've still got about half of the bunch from two weeks ago, and this is today's selection:


I've finished the little table runner I was making using English Paper Piecing. I enjoyed the actual EPP part of it but found hand quilting to be very tedious, fiddly, and hard on my hands; it is very lightly quilted as a result. Still, I'm quite pleased with it even if I did realise about three days ago that I'd cocked it up right at the beginning and have bought another pattern that I'd been vaguely admiring for some time.


For about six weeks now, I've had a plate full of this year's medlar crop sitting on a plate in the hall, bletting. Bletting is a bit like rotting only less so, and you have to let it happen for a couple of weeks in order to make the fruit usable. Today, I decided that they must have had long enough and took them to the kitchen to make jelly from. When I cut the fruit up, about a third of it looked like it was actually rotten, so I stuck that in the compost and put the rest on to simmer. An hour or so later, they were all still rock hard and the liquid was mostly colourless, which rang alarm bells: when I looked online, I discovered that actually my rotten ones were correct and the rest should have had longer to blet. Fortunately, they were only in the indoor compost bin, so I rinsed them off and stuck them in the pan with the rest and stuck them back in the Aga for another hour. The juice is draining off now, we'll see whether the jelly is actually usable tomorrow....

(Many of the recipes call for a mix of bletted and fresh medlars, if in the reverse of the proportions I ended up with, so it's hopefully not too much of a problem!)

It's definitely getting wintery, now, and we very much appreciated the fire this afternoon. On the other hand, my parents had about six inches of snow this morning, so it could be worse!
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It got a bit windy last night

♥Nov. 7th, 2016 // 03:52 pm
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Oops.
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New freezer

♥Oct. 28th, 2016 // 11:59 am
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Once the inch of faintly scary pale brown ice (studded with peas and the odd mini sausage roll) at the bottom has melted and been washed away, we'll be starting to fill it up. Whether we ever then empty it again is in the balance: Mrs Next Door said we should either keep or throw away what was in there, and we went for the latter when we saw the dates on things, as well as the fact that various of them were leftovers from our BBQ and, more worrying, Baby Next Door's christening party. Well, I hope they were from then, as the other alternative was Ex-Mr and Mrs Next Door's wedding reception!

This morning, while she and her dad loaded things into her car, I took down her electric fence because I'm nice like that she asked me to. Apparently, she and TWWOTV have been having full-on shouting matches, the most recent of which started last night after TWWOTV knocked on the door repeatedly, was ignored, and so let herself in anyway to demand to know why the move was happening so quickly, and then escalated from there.

Fortunately, I'd already told Mrs Next Door that we were going to be out last night, so felt safe in not returning the phone call she made just as we were leaving, or I'm sure I'd have had an earful about it.

We went out to see Marcus Brigstock, as part of the Canterbury Festival. The non-political bits were pretty good*, but a lot of the political stuff fell a bit flat and was what I'd class as the worst kind of left-wing nastiness-for-the-sake-of-it (about both left- and right- and neither-wing subjects and people).

* Except for the bit about gluten intolerance, which would have been both very funny and very true-to-life if it had only included the words "except for people who actually have coeliac".

An aside: I read an article a little while back about the differing attitudes of left to right and right to left, which boiled down to "the left are genuinely scarily angry at the right, but the right mostly go 'there there, you'll get over it' back at them", and thought it sounded accurate in my experience (and, indeed, it seems lately to be getting even worse with scary-angry behaviour towards slightly-different-left people). Then they discussed something similar on Thinking Allowed a couple of weeks back, initially in the context of the US (both sides loath each other, feeling worse about the other than they do about illegal immigrants) but then asking how it plays in the UK and the conclusion was pretty much the same: the left loath the right, the right are fairly indifferent to the left. Odd, and interesting.
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Out in the garden

♥Oct. 26th, 2016 // 04:24 pm
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We've not had a picture of the house for a while, so here you go:


You can definitely see where the boys have been grazing! We'll start moving the fence along in a couple of weeks.

This afternoon, we've been out in the garden. Mike managed to mow the front lawn, while I dug over the veg patch in preparation for dumping horse manure on it. I'm knackered, now.

Last summer, I planted a load of saffron crocuses in the herb bed. A couple of them put up the start of a leaf spike and then got nibbled off, and I assumed that the rest had all been eaten. This year, though, they all came up but without a flower to be seen between them:

I'm hoping that they just found last year very stressful and, having taken a year to recuperate, will finally do something useful next year!
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Here are some things

♥Oct. 7th, 2016 // 02:54 pm
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We're back from our holiday, where we climbed belfries, went to museums, bought lots of chocolate and pate and other tasty things, and generally had a nice time (other than Monday afternoon, which was stressful and yuck). We even had pretty good weather, just a little damp at the start and a little chilly at the end. Eurotunnel was pretty horrible going, pretty chilled coming back. We were surprised, in both Bruges and Ghent, by how tricky it was to find some breakfast (we tend not to bother with hotel breakfasts, because we don't eat enough breakfast for it to be good value).

Hotels )There are lots of wind turbines in Belgium, or at least it looked that way from the motorway. Most of them were just sitting there, looking like wind turbines, but there were a few that were cunningly camouflaged so that they blended seamlessly into the surrounding countryside:


I especially like the subtle gradient effect.

When we got back, Jo was very pleased to see us, as ever, and we were very pleased to see her. While we were away, as well as the stuff that she'd told me about by text message, GB smashed into the chain that goes across his stable door and pulled the fixing out of the wall. I'm really quite gobsmacked by this, and the only thing I can think of is that she left him on his own in there and took Bugsy away to be exercised. Because, you know, that wasn't just what I told her to never do. I've complained to the agency, and said that we don't want her back. I'm still not sure if she just didn't pay attention to the instructions (about this and about the riding) or if she decided that she knew better, but I'm leaning towards the latter given that when we got back she kept making 'helpful' suggestions about things we should do differently. Anyway. No harm done, other than to GB's doorframe. Girl Who Rides For NVNDN came and rode him for me in the week, and I jumped on for ten minutes last night: he seems to be ok.

(Oh, reply to my email to the agency: terribly bland "we're very sorry to hear about that, here, have someone different". I wonder if they'll actually say anything to her?)

At the Canterbury Food Festival a couple of weeks ago, I was intrigued enough by the stall for Freddie's Flowers that I signed up to give it a try. Every week, they do up boxes of flowers that will look nice together and send them out to their subscribers (I think in London they deliver them themselves, mine came via DPD), although they're very flexible about how often you have them (you can set it on a week-by-week basis up to six months in advance). The spiel is that their flowers last up to a fortnight, because they buy direct from the farm. Because we were away last week, my first box has just arrived and I'm quite impressed:

I do like having flowers in the house, and there's not much that's pickable in the garden at this time of year.
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Swallow news

♥Sep. 5th, 2016 // 10:52 am
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We were very pleased when we realised that swallows were nesting in one of our spare stables*. We were rather worried when we went to get ready for the hay delivery** and found, as well as a small pile of poo under the nest, half a dozen dead chicks, but the parents were still around, still going in and out of the stable, so we figured they'd had a disaster and started another clutch.

* When I saw some flying around, going in the barn and the duck's house, I opened the door of the stable the previous owner said they sometimes use and the swallows made themselves at home in there.

** We keep some of it in that stable so it's not such a squeeze in the barn. I've put a sheet of plastic on top of the hay that's under their nest!


It was indeed another clutch, and we've been seeing the whole family flying around the yard recently, as well as occasional heads poking out of the nest. This morning, the no-longer-babies were lined up on a rafter waiting for the drizzle to stop so that they could get some flying practice in:


I dare say they'll be off south soon!

GB has had what looks like a sty on his eye for the last week or so. I've been keeping an eye on it but not being terribly worried, but yesterday it had got bigger and gone an icky shade of yellow. The vet's coming this afternoon, hopefully it won't be a problem.... (He has a fairly poor immune system these days, as a result of age and his pituitary condition, so I'm always a bit nervous about infections, and it being near his eye is even more worrying.)
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Oddments

♥Aug. 9th, 2016 // 01:15 pm
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GB stomped on my foot the other day, when I didn't have my boots on. At first, I just had a scraped patch of skin, but now I have Interesting Bruising as well:

(Fortunately, it's not all that sore, except when I'm putting my boots on or off.)

I was slightly disappointed when the Giant Thistle Of Doom that I had in the garden last year didn't self-seed anywhere. One seedling has finally appeared, but it's not really in an optimal place and I doubt I'll be able to move it:

(I have bought some more of the seeds, though. Must get them started, in fact.)

The Costco gladioli continue to all be pink. Oops. I now have two vases of the min the house, as I've been picking the ones that fall over.

I've read as far as the letter C, now, and yesterday read Clarke's A Fall Of Moondust, which I'd not come across before. As is so often the case with old SF, it's the oddest things that make you go 'yeah, right, as if': all the space ships are insured with Lloyds Of London. Bless!

Jo has her second swimming lesson this afternoon. I'll have to see if I can get a picture!
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Swimming lessons

♥Aug. 4th, 2016 // 08:27 pm
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Jodie had her first swimming lesson yesterday. Much to my relief, it involved her walking into a tank at floor level before the hydrotherapy nurse closed glass doors at either end and then slowly filled it with water: I'd gone dressed on the assumption that I'd have to persuade her to go down a ramp into a pool, probably by going in first! She was a bit bemused by it all, but took to it pretty well, and the nurse was pleased both with how she did and with the progress she's made since her op. (We also popped into the main reception area, to weigh her, and everyone was very pleased to see her and impressed with how neat the scar is. Everyone at the vet likes Jodie!)

I've finished making the rest of the quilt blocks that I started in my last class. I'm vaguely thinking a snake-like table runner....


Oddly, we had no eggs today. On the other hand, yesterday Mike reported that Esk was behaving oddly and, when I went clambering around behind the barn, I found her next to a little scrape in the ground with two of her eggs in it, neither of them just-laid. I've a vague memory that she went through a phase like this this time last year, as well, and the others copied her a bit. Guess I'd better check the front garden as well.
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Harvesting

♥Jul. 31st, 2016 // 10:25 am
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That, with the addition of a veg-box aubergine, a jar of passata, and some pasta looks a lot like dinner. (Sadly, our aubergines aren't yet doing more than flowering and I'm still at the 'look! a ripe tomato!' stage rather than the 'better make another batch of passata' one. There are no plans at all to make pasta any more from scratch than Mike already does!)

We had our first visit from the new farrier today (the old one having retired for the sake of his back). He is approximately twelve but seems to be competent. Bugs didn't have a hissy fit, and GB didn't bite him (although the last of those says more about GB's mood than the farrier!).

Speaking of, GB has (sigh) started growing his winter coat, so here's a picture of him in his three-weeks-of-the-year summer best:

Bit more white every year....

Jo's also growing her coat back, and now looks a lot less silly than she did.

She's doing really well, and has her first swimming lesson on Wednesday. However, I could almost suspect that she's been reading ahead on her aftercare notes, because she's not supposed to do the spinning around in circles on the spot exercise for at least another couple of weeks. She thinks she's better, poor thing. We are up to twenty minute walks, though, which she enjoys except when a squirrel crosses her path and she's unaccountably not allowed to go and chase it.
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Quilt Club

♥Jul. 25th, 2016 // 04:28 pm
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Yesterday, I went to quilt class and (mostly: I did a bit of finishing this afternoon) made these:


It was an interesting class but (unfortunately for me) the first half of it was her teaching people the technique -- foundation paper piecing -- that I use all the time for doing things like animals and birds, so not very informative for me. (Except in the "wow, I'd never have imagined you could make the process seem so tediously rote" sense: the method she was using worked for this specific project but wouldn't help if any of the attendees then tried to apply it to a different design.) The second half was much more useful, though, and at least completely ignoring her instructions in the morning meant I had plenty of time to get stuff done.

It was also incredibly Buy My Stuff: you absolutely must have a special ruler, only £6, to use when you trim the excess fabric (er, or just eyeball it. Or use a normal ruler); you absolutely must have this particular brand of spray starch, only £5, to use when you're ironing your seams (y'know, the ones I did this afternoon worked just fine without it...); you absolutely must have this special glue, only £5, to use when you're sewing the bits together (ok, I did buy that one, although I am trying to figure out how to do without it!); you absolutely must have an open-toed sewing machine foot, only £20 (she really banged on about that one to me: she used my machine a couple of times to demo things, and there was much sighing and 'I think you'd find it much easier' and 'gosh, I can't see a thing I'm doing!'. Maybe I just have much better eyes than she does); you absolutely must have this type of needle, only £6 for five, the other kind are terrible (she'd said this the day before; I have a part-used box of 100 of the 'terrible' kind, I'll *consider* switching when I finish it); and on and on. It was a £20 class, and I would guess that half the women there spent twice that amount on buying stuff from her. I know she has to make a living, and I dare say that *she* finds it useful to use those things, but don't try and insist that they're vital when they clearly aren't!

The day before at quilt club, the same woman gave a talk about needles and threads, which was absolutely fascinating and taught me vast numbers of things that would be very tedious to recount here, but did finally explain to me why my new sewing machine (which has a horizontal thread reel holder, as most do these days) came with a little removable plastic stick to make a temporary vertical one (like they ones I learnt to sew on had), and when I should use it.

The quilt club newsletter mentioned, in passing, that a quarter of the members are now people who've joined in their own right, rather than as part of a smaller local club. It wasn't explicitly stated that this is a cause for concern, but it is on two levels: the local clubs aren't getting the few younger members who come in, and (perhaps more significantly) it makes the tea-and-tidying rota unfair: the local clubs take it in turns, so there are a quarter of the (generally more able to do so) members who never help out. When I Take Over Quilt Club, Which I Am Not Going To Do, I will fix these problems relatively simply: 1) put them on the rota (this will require some wrangling to make sure enough people will be there but is doable: they've been talking about it for a while, just not actually done it) and 2) actually tell them about the local clubs (they are occasionally mentioned in the newsletter, but only in the sense of "Twee Name Club last month donated ten quilts to a hospice"; there is a list of them on the website, but it is literally a series of twee names followed by a landline number you can call for each of them: no indication of where they are located other than dialling code (some of the twee names are geographically based, many are not), no indication of when they meet and what they do, no email address...). I'd vaguely like to join one, but not enough to phone random people and ask them where they live!

I shall stop ranting now.
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The pooch returns

♥Jul. 14th, 2016 // 11:56 am
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She looks very silly, with one leg shaved:



She's obviously sore, but was very pleased to see us. The nurse noted that she'd not had a wee this morning, even though she'd had a chance, and indeed that was the first thing she did when she got back in the garden.

She's now restlessly lying down in different parts of the living room, presumably trying to get comfortable. She's failing miserably in this, because she keeps lying down on the bad leg....

(Oh, god, Mike's playing Pokemon Go!)
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At least he managed to get back down the stairs again afterwards

♥Jul. 13th, 2016 // 11:58 am
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This morning, when Mike fed the boys he just left their doors open so that they could occupy themselves until I got back.

As we drove off to take Jo to the vet, he said "And I did remember to close the gate so that they couldn't get into the field." "Did you close the garden gate?" I asked. Umm. Well, the ducks weren't out, and after all it wasn't all that likely that Bugs would walk down a gloomy, narrow corridor and up a few steps just to see what was in the garden, right?

Jo is safely at the vet, they seemed very nice and asked lots of detailed questions (Will she be happy to go to the loo on a lead, or should she be let off it? Does she prefer to go on grass, or will any surface do?). She's probably in surgery now, I should here something mid afternoon. We talked through our particular layout and routine with the vet, and he's happy for Jo to come to the stables tomorrow, as long as she's on a lead / tied up, which is a huge relief, but he says three weeks before she can go up the hill to the field.

After dropping Mike at the station, I came back to at least one very muddy pony (it's hard to tell with GB) safely in the stableyard, and some extremely irate ducks in their house, and then I mucked out, and then, in a fit of keen-ness, I went up the hill and poo-picked the field up there so that it'll be Sunday before we have to leave Jo alone while we do it again: given the trouble I had getting the wheelbarrow through the mud by the gate so that I could put the poo into bags for Mrs Up The Hill's new compost heap, it's a good thing that we decided to leave the boys down here today. It was just starting to dry out, but now not so much.

(We were hopeful that our hay would be cut this weekend, but it now seems less likely. On Monday, the five-day forecast was dry all week. On Tuesday morning, it was for rain every day. On Tuesday evening, it was for rain on Tuesday but then dry. Now, it's back to dry, after this morning's rain clears up. I'm not sure that they know what's going to happen!)

And then, finally finished with all the jobs, I came back to the house and noticed this on the lawn:



Sigh. It can wait until tomorrow.
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Bits and bobs

♥Jul. 8th, 2016 // 08:41 pm
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Duck seems fine.

Bugs had a visit from the 2nd vet, who wants to see him at the surgery. Which will be fun. And expensive. I've been texting around people that the receptionist said might be able to do transport for two horses for the day, because of course GB can't be left on his own....

No word from Jo's vet about a new surgery date, so they're probably still playing phone tag.

In the last week or so, I've had five emails (that is, half of what hits my gmail account's spam folder after going through initial screening on Mike's provider) that purport to be from someone I know, though not from their email address, and that address me in an appropriate way for that person. I suspect that if I emailed the people involved, we could figure out which service has leaked their address books (there are, for example, some yearoftheteledu addresses in the cc's, and an address belonging to someone who used to swap to a new free email address every year or so when he started getting too much crap in his inbox), but I'm not sure it's worth the effort.

We had been planning to go to the Kent County Show but thought we'd have to go tomorrow because of the vet. As it was, he was gone by 2pm, so we thought we'd go for it: it's much quieter on Friday than on Saturday. There were a few things missing: not many heavy horses, and about half the cages in the poultry tent (which is also where the rabbits are) were empty. The horses were apparently all busy haymaking, and based on the fact that all the people working the poultry tent were girls in their early teens I suspect that most of the competitors hadn't been allowed to skip a day of school to attend. On the plus side, the flower arrangements were all lovely and fresh and looking at their best, and the cakes hadn't started to sag in the heat. Plus, fewer people. We had a nice time, wandered the shop, watched bits of a handful of horse classes and saw the pig racing:

(Number five won the Grand National, which means that Teresa May will be the next Prime Minister. Previous predictions included Farrage to be PM after the last election and a Remain vote, so I wouldn't rely too much on their piggy predictive powers.)

We bought very little that wasn't edible, and I several times uttered the words "Oh, I neededn't have bought that on Amazon the other day". In reality, though, the one I bought on Amazon was probably cheaper. This probably has something to do with why the shows are all struggling a bit: once upon a time, they were a serious shopping opportunity.

We also looked at some new garden furniture, but didn't see anything that made us want to rush to buy. We were intrigued by the fact that two different places had almost identical stock. One, in a nice marquee, was more expensive than the other, which boasted of huge show discounts, all display stock must go, delivery this evening after we close. The latter had no proper signage or fliers, which made it look dodgy as hell, but also offered a 12-month payment plan, which was odd. But, I suppose, may well have involved a big bloke coming 'round to check you hadn't forgotten to make your payments....
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Today's haul

♥Jun. 30th, 2016 // 04:36 pm
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Ok, not that impressive yet, but we're working on it!

(The wild strawberries have been very unimpressive this year. They're nearly over and I've hardly picked any. I assume it's because the weather's been so crappy.)
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Road maintenance

♥Jun. 27th, 2016 // 06:39 pm
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We reckon that the council needs to hire a few sheep to keep the road clear:


Today, Jo was at the vet for zapping. She does seem to be getting better, have to see how it goes. She's obviously still sore, though: the only bunny she's tried to chase recently was the one with mixa that I pointed out to her last night by our school.

On the advice of the nurse last week, I bought a ramp so that she doesn't have to jump in and out of the car. In retrospect, we should have had a go with it before today.... We did eventually get her to go up it, mostly with me moving her legs one at a time, but when I got to the vet she just looked at it and plonked herself down at the back of the boot while I made coaxing noises. The vet wandered past and laughed mightily, as did several passers by. Eventually, I gave up and just let her jump. When we left, I again walked her up it one leg at a time but then decided to wait her out when we got home. It took about five minutes, but eventually she -- very gingerly -- edged her way down it, and I brought it through and set it up on the front step of the house. After two or three times up and down it, she seemed a lot happier, so hopefully she's figured it out now!
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Quilt class

♥Jun. 18th, 2016 // 06:07 pm
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Last weekend, I went to a quilt club class. It was about ways to cut fabric so that you get several identical pieces, which you can then make interesting mirror image or kaleidoscope patterns with.

The 'what to bring' instructions for the class were pretty mystifying, specifying that you should bring a fabric with a 24" pattern repeat, but also mentioning that it was possible to use an 8" one without any indication if of it was practical to use something in between. I found one 23" repeat fabric that didn't revolt me, but it was £18 a meter and I needed 4 so bugger that. In the end, I bought a nice duvet cover (with a 24" repeat, no less) in the Dunelm Mill sale. It was only when I took the fabric out at the class (having washed and cut it apart at home) that I realised that the two sides weren't the same: it was a pattern of branches with birds and butterflies, but they'd left the wildlife off on one side. Oops. I'm sure I'll find something I can do with it.

Fortunately, someone had brought a huge stack of fabric on the grounds that she couldn't find anything with a 24" repeat and would any of these do, so I bought a piece from her (13" repeat. Guess what? Perfectly fine. In retrospect, while everyone was muttering about how hard it was to find fabric with a 24 inch bloody repeat I should possibly have suggested to the woman running the course that she update her instructions).

It's not entirely revolting*, but it's certainly not a fabric I'd ever have bought myself and I really imagine using the left over length of it. It did, however, work really quite well for this class.

Anyway. The technique turned out to be pretty simple once it had been demonstrated, but it would have been bad form to go home terribly early so I just got on with it and made enough squares for a small quilt. This afternoon, I put it together with some more of the fabric (if I were doing it properly, I would probably have found a matching plain blue and used that in between the squares, but see above re: a use for the left-over fabric!)



I quit like the Moorish-tile effect that some of them have.

I'm in no rush to turn it into a quilt. In fact, unless someone sees it and falls in love I'm vaguely inclined to wait until I've something of the same sort of size as a result of a different class and just stick them back-to-back!

* "That fabric's obviously your colours," one of the women said, pointing out that they were very similar to the colours of the fabric I'd brought and that I was wearing matching trousers and t-shirt.
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Poor little wren

♥Jun. 14th, 2016 // 11:52 am
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Swimming in water buckets not optimal behaviour )

I didn't see any adults this morning, but they're pretty good at staying out of the way when we're in the stable yard (the swallows, on the other hand, are getting used to us and barely bother to swerve around us). T'internet tells me that wrens have two or three broods of five or six eggs, so I suspect that there are still others, hopefully choosing better places to practice their flying.
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Positive things

♥Jun. 5th, 2016 // 05:33 pm
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This morning, Mike rode Bugs for the first time in a couple of months (I've been on him a couple of times in the last week or so). Even though it was windy, and he'd had a hissy fit the last time I lunged him, Bugs was very well behaved. It would be even more of a result if our riding instructor wasn't convinced that he isn't right in the *other* back leg as well / now that the one he had done isn't bothering him. We're currently trying to make him do enough work that it gets sore, so that I can then have the vet come when there's definitely something to see.

(Yesterday, they all went a bit mad: our two and The Horse Next Door spent a good couple of hours running up and down their fields. GB was covered in dried sweat when he came in for dinner. We've no idea what got into them, but hypothesise that it might have had something to do with the deer that have been spotted in the area recently. If it is that, I hope they get used to it.)

This afternoon, I went to the Quilt Club show, where I saw Mrs Up The Hill. I was working around to asking if we could use the field by saying how lovely the grass looked when she asked if we could put the boys in there to keep it looking neat, so that's a result. Must get a new battery for the portable electric fence. ("What do you want me to do with the poo?" I asked, hoping that we wouldn't have to cart it down the hill to our skip. "Oh, if you could make a heap that would be wonderful, I need it for my new garden!" "You must be so annoyed to have to start a new compost heap, after all that manure you carted around last summer!" "Oh, no, I took my old compost heap with us when we moved!")

Then I had a look at the quilts on display. Lots of them weren't my sort of thing, and very few of them were the same style that I do (and, coff, those that were weren't as good [g]), but I have come away with a few ideas. When I got to the display of the on-the-theme-of-30 quilts, I had a nice surprise:

Joint second, because (a note said) while first had been blazingly obvious they struggled with second / third. (First was blazingly obvious: the person who made it seems to specialise in dolls'-house-sized quilts anyway, and she'd done a gorgeous sampler with thirty different quilt blocks in miniature.) And Mrs Up The Hill didn't get a rosette [smug].

Also, points to Hazel for plant identification skills, as my plant-or-weed was indeed a poppy:
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We're going to need more compost....

♥May. 18th, 2016 // 03:33 pm
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Thoughts while walking the dog:
Bah, it's wet.
Sheep are noisy today.
Wonder why the sheep are all at this end of the field?
More sheep. Eating grass.
Bloody rain.
Sheep. Lawn.
I wonder if I'll drown?
Hmm. Sheep. Lawn...?
Are the sheep supposed to be in TWWOTV's garden?

Because I am Nice, I called Bad Farmer ('s wife) to let him know.

The Mighty Hunter nearly completed her set, but the pheasant was facing the wrong way. Poor Jo.
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Done! (I think.)

♥Apr. 13th, 2016 // 07:58 pm
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This afternoon, I Caught Up (what on earth is that solicitor thinking? Presumably soon someone will remember that Carol's daughter is a barrister, yes? I do hope he dies, but I doubt that it will as that would make things too simple) and did some sewing: I think that my 30-themed quilt is now done, and it's turned out to be fairly close to my original sketch, except that I abandoned the idea of needle felting some sheep onto the background. I'd quite like to have something alive in November, but I can't really think what: there's not much space, maybe a crow in the tree?

Anyway:

(Click for much bigger!)

This afternoon, just as one of the afternoon's flash squalls kicked in, I noticed that the ducks were in the field.

The boys were over at the other side, but I feared that there would be trouble later when the boys started hanging around the gate looking for their dinners so I went out to move them. Esk immediately went back to the stableyard: good duck! Maggers and Agnes, however, headed further up the field. Until the boys came over to see if it was time for dinner and getting out of the suddenly heavier rain, at which they tried their best to get into the stableyard but did so by trying to get through the fence, not the gate. The boys got quite interested / excited by this, possibly because they were worried about what was scaring the girls (that would be: the boys, with a small side helping of 'oops, we're not supposed to be in here and the human's come to chase us away').

Agnes did her best to squeeze through the fence, which gave me a chance to grab her and lift her over, but Magrat turned tail and ran up the hill. GB excitedly followed suit, and unfortunately that brought his back leg into contact with my shoulder: ow.

(Magrat did the sensible thing, finally, at this point and dashed under the gate while the boys were distracted by running around.)

Fortunately, it was just a glancing blow, and I think it's just going to be a bruise: I've got full movement in it, it's just A Bit Sore. Even more fortunately, it's not so sore that I couldn't drive to the station to pick Mike up, although I struggled a bit with roundabouts!

Oh, and I got soaked. Lovely.

Tomorrow, we need to do something about the gate. It has got chicken wire under it, but I think something larger than a duck is pushing under it and bending it out of shape. Maybe a bit of wood across that corner?
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Coff

♥Apr. 6th, 2016 // 07:07 pm
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But not quite as much of the rest as previously.

Mike bought me some Night Nurse yesterday. I had some before bed, and commented that I couldn't for the life of me understand how people got addicted to something so revolting. On the other hand, I did sleep through without having to go and cough for half an hour, so that's a result.

Plant or weed:

I suspect weed, but there are three of them in the same general area so I'll keep them if they're going to be pretty!
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