Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Good Friday Grass

I spotted this pretty little grass in our meadow this afternoon and managed to identify it with some help from a wonderful book, A Year in the Life of an English Meadow.  Here's an extract from the web, describing the field wood-rush, or Good Friday Grass. 

"Think of hay meadows and the chances are you will think of ox-eye daisy, orchids or birds-foot trefoil, all glamorous plants, but in Northiam one of the species I am always pleased to see again each spring is the humble, widespread  field wood-rush Luzula campestris. This plant has a creeping rootstock and so grows in dense patches, and at this time of year the grasslands and lawns  are speckled with the bright golden-yellow anthers on the darker background of the florets.  Very attractive in a non-flambuoyant way. This is  the shortest woodrush in our area (<15cm high), with the characteristically sparsely hairy leaves of the Luzula family. It is one of those lucky species that remains widespread and does not seem to be declining."
 Field wood-rush

Sunday, 17 February 2013

This time last year......

In flicking through some photos on my computer this afternoon I discovered these from february last year.  I just can't believe it's only been a year since all this was happening.... kitchen fireplace, balcony, flooring, fencing, patio, compost bins and wall-building.  It seems so much longer ago!  I am so thankful we have finished all the building work in our house now, but look forward to kick-starting the annexe project in the Spring now we have planning permission and a good set of plans.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Latest furniture projects.....

Some of my pre-Christmas acquisitions - the wardrobe from a house clearance shop, the dresser from the auction, and the little cupboard from freecycle.
I can't wait to see how they will turn out!

Edit, April 2013.
Just thought I'd add the 'after' shots to this blog post....don't they look fab?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Snow Goose & a broody hen...

Loving the snow-geese at the moment.  They are such a family - always looking after each other and they seem to feel affection and loyalty - it's beautiful.  Lucy is blind in one eye and finds it hard to see which way to go but they never leave her behind.  On the pond she stands on the bank and watches Jube (the gosling) while he splashes madly.  Juicey (the old gander....30 plus years) leads the way and is the great protector.  I can't wait for them to start laying again, so we can try hatching some more.

With Ian away on a course in Rural Leadership for two weeks, this activity has been an important part of life this week since coming back from France.  The rayburn devours a wheelbarrow of logs a day in the cold weather. 

The biggest delight this week was finding a certain small chicken who I hadn't seen since last Thursday.  She disappeared and I feared she might have become dinner for Mr F.   However ... it seems they have been laying more than we thought...... and not in the normal nesting box.  She has gone broody and is sitting on 17 brown and white eggs! Bless her little chicken socks.

Yes, that is our outside eco-loo - they've been going under the door and hopping in the sawdust bucket to lay their eggs - the perfect spot!

Love painting!!

I'm so excited about painting all the old furniture I've been gathering over the last few months.  I can't stop going to auctions, junk and charity shops and even the tip (in Hampshire) to find bits and pieces that need their lives saving.  In Somerset it's frustrating that a lot of stuff still gets buried in landfill, but perhaps more local authorities will see the light and do what Hampshire does.  They either have a shed on site where anything with any life left in it goes for sale to the public, or it gets donated to charities who sell it in their shops.  Great idea - specially as I can load my car up when I go and visit Cilla in Bishops Waltham.

Despite clearing out the old kitchen to use as a workshop for all this industry, and even putting the old woodburner back in, it is too cold this week to be out there, so I've turned the back room into a paint studio.

And I'm pleased to say I have finally relented and bought some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and wax.  I've been holding out and trying to use up various ends of tins I already had (my goodness paint costs a bomb) but I couldn't resist any longer.  The bookcase below is Paris Grey - a very bad photo in electric light but the paint is FAB.  So easy to use and no primer needed!  Plus it looks old almost as soon as it goes on.  That bookcase by the way was shiny mahogany colour with water damage from being under a leak in the tip shed in Hampshire.  Love it!

I finally finished my old chairs.  They've been hanging around for about 10 years waiting for some tlc.  They had retro chocolate brown plastic seats and sticky varnish on the oak frames.  Offcuts from my kitchen curtains make great cow parsley seats.  Somehow painting them accentuates the lovely shape of the legs and the backs, but I can't decide if I like cream or black.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

It's a beautiful day...

I'd thought the blog had come to a natural end, but the sheer beauty of Autumn got me out with my camera this morning.  This is the most stunning time of year when the leaves are on the ground.

The little brown seabright chicks from Norfolk are fully grown now - this magnificent cockerel is just getting his crowing voice and likes to roost in the pine tree overnight.

The other one I am glad to say is a hen - beautiful black with a greeny sheen to her feathers.  Hopefully she'll start laying in the spring.  The 5 little chicks we hatched ourselves came to a nasty end with Mr Fox at about 9 weeks old.  We'll try some more next year.

Peggy and Eileen however are NOT at their best.  They are shivering in the cold at the moment as they are having their annual moult.  There is justice in the humiliation though as they have been hen-pecking the others and making their lives a misery.  We moved all the chickens in together and put their house in the goose run to make feeding easier, and these two have been rather put out.

Lucy, Juicey and Jube are still as gorgeous as ever.  Jube has been called 'he' all year (he/she is now 5 months old) but he could be a she.  A quick search of 'how to sex a goose' on the internet has revealed nothing - most people just wait and see if they lay an egg!  Jube is the one at the back in this picture.

We're delighted to have some winter visitors to the field... they'll eat it down in time for the wild flowers to come up again next spring.
 All Ian's careful fencing is paying off at last, and the hedge back is all greened-up thanks to all the wonderful rain this year.
The massive pile of clay has been landscaped into a curved bank and trees will be planted on it when I get around to it this winter...
 The pond is still leaking but the sheer volume of rain keeps it full.....and covered in duckweed.  Need to sort that but no idea how...

 Everything's green - even the track... 

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Chick Updates

Our ten-week old seabright chicks from Red Rooster Cottage in Norfolk are now bigger than their mother who is half bantam and very petite.  It's been amusing watching her nestling them under her wings at night.

Birds' eye view?  They are now free-ranging around the garden and discovering greenery, slugs and bugs.  Happy hens.

The little balls of fluff we hatched only four weeks ago have now moved outside into a henhouse for the first time.

They started in the incubator, moved to the heat lamp box in the utility room, then out to the shed and now outside.  They no longer look cute!  They are half fluff, half feathers with scrawny necks and sharp little beaks.  Gangly teenagers perhaps.  

If anyone knows what breed this little beauty is, please let us know.  It's been suggested it's a Silkie, or an Arucana.  I suspect only time will tell.