Saturday, 17 May 2008

I am feeling so guilty about not having posted for such a long time, that I am trying to make up for it by posting four pictures at once!

It has been a busy spell! We have gone from snow (as illustrated) to hot sunshine. We have gone from cold sheep to sheep which have been shorn. (A story for another post) and we have gone from new lambs to lambs that butt and bite and generally make lovely nuisances of themselves.

This first picture is a wonderful example of the views we get from our house when it's snowing/snowed.

Amongst other things that have happened in between this post and the last has been a visit by this little hedgehog. He/she was trotting around the back field one evening when I went to 'talk' to the sheep. Quite undeterred by the appearance of the Dog, who sniffed around it and then gave it a wide birth.

They are infrequent, but very welcome, visitors.

Those of you who have read previous posts will know that our house appears not to be 'off limits' to wildlife. We have, in the past, found hedgehogs snuffling around in the kitchen when we've had to leave the back door open on hot evenings. And this week, I was called to the main kitchen to see the cock pheasant who had braved the cats and who was calmly eating out of their food bowls.

I know I ought to discourage this kind of behaviour, not least because most hedgehogs, rabbits, pheasants and chickens are not 'house-trained', but I actually feel so honoured that they are not afraid to come in that I find it impossible to shoo them out. I just wait till they've finished what they've come in to do and then clear up any mess they happen to leave behind. Madness!

The lambs, as mentioned above, are too tame for words. This is Dorothy with her mum. She is still the tamest of the lot and is just a delight. I am really looking forward to her being a 'grown up' sheep, to see whether she remains so tame.

The 'boys' are rogues. The little black one, Rhodri, butts at every opportunity and is clearly a little live wire. Iestyn butts too, but only in a very half-hearted way. He prefers to sidle up and chew my trousers. This is OK for now, but not OK when he gets through to the skin, and will not be OK when his teeth are bigger.

Last, but by no means least, the cats deserve more space than they get on this blog.

They are the best of friends. By far and away the best 'mix' of cats we've ever had. Lizzie is the dominant one. She insists on being washed by Dogger and he gets very bored with having to do this, but tolerates it wonderfully. We have always had more than one cat, but we've never had two that get on so well. (This picture is typical!).

And we have never had two cats who behave so much like dogs. Whenever I go out to work on the land, I can be sure that one, if not both of them, will suddenly appear by my side. They play while I work, they come for occasional strokes and they sit with me when I rest. And they are easier to have around than dogs - they don't require sticks to be thrown or walks to be organised. I love them both!

We have had something of a disaster with the baby chickens. Something has stolen three of the six that I had managed to hatch before I was able to organise protection for them. We suspect that it is a crow, or a magpie, although it may be a pair of jays. Very sad and very annoying. But that's nature, I'm afraid. Red in tooth and claw. The mother bird is quite happy with the three she has left and I shall try again, the next time I have a broody hen, to hatch some more and organise better protection for them.

In the meantime.....I shall post again about the shearing, as soon as I can and as soon as I have some pictures.

And then I shall post about the baby ducklings which are due to arrive.........................................

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Is the Day I Post the Pictures of My New Lambs

Well, it's taken me long enough to get back to posting. The bug that the whole family had during lambing didn't help! But now I have no bug and three lovely, lovely lambs. Two of them are ram lambs, which isn't exactly ideal, but they are so beautiful I'm sure they'd win prizes (at least at the village fete) and we may end up keeping one of them to breed from the year after next.

We also have six new, little chicks. Photos of them are not so good! They're hard to get photographed well. But I've stuck a couple of pics up anyway, just so that they're here!

And, finally, it looks as though Spring may have arrived. Bit late in the day, I say. And I suspect we are going to miss out on most of spring and move pretty well straight into summer. It's been cold, not very wet and rather boring of late. The grass is not yet growing well, but the nettles are.

I have been much occupied with fighting them back!

Here you go. Lambs and chickens. As promised.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Is the Day I Feature Blossom

Blossom is a Golden Sebright. Or at least, that is what she is supposed to be. But actually she thinks she's a person.

Not only does she come to the back door and tap on the cat flap at meal times, she jumps up onto your lap when you sit on the bench, to be hand fed.

And last week-end she marched in through the kitchen and sat by the Aga, eating toast off a plate.

We have tried to discuss this behaviour with her. We have tried to shut her out. She is immovable and insists on coming in, however briefly, once a day to pay her respects.

Now we are all more worried that one day she will get shut in and that we shall find her watching the tele.

She has no fear of the cats, tiny though she is, and will cheerfully give them a beak butt if they irritate her, or look as if they might pounce. They now treat her with great respect.

We have three of these lovely little birds, but she is by far the most audacious. Trinnie and Treasure are friendly too, but not quite as pushy!

That's all for now, folks, I can hear her tapping on the door - it must be breakfast time!

Friday, 11 April 2008

Is The Day I Get Featured On Someone Else's Blog

What excitement!


And on such a wonderful blog, too.

I am more than grateful to Tom and would urge you all to go and have a look!

However, I appear to have lost the ability to produce live links on here, so if anyone can remind me how to do it..................I'd be everso grateful.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Our Last Lamb Arrived

He hasn't got a name yet - because he arrived at 6.30 in the morning and the Committee couldn't get together to decide before some members had to go to school and work.

I should be able to inform you all by tea-time!!

If there are any geneticists out there, I would love to know how a white ewe and a black and white ram manage to produce a jet black lamb!!!

All I can remember is something about dominant and recessive genes and peas....I was really interested in Biology, but not terribly good at it!

Anyway, here he is, bless his little woolly legs.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

I Shall Reveal My First Attempt at Felting

So, I have sheep. I have wool. And I have a daughter who is doing Textiles A level.

And she wants me to try out felting.

And I have a lovely American friend who creates the most wonderful things with felted wool.

How could I not give it a whirl?

Here it is.

My very first (and possibly last) attempt at felting.

I find the process somewhat trying. Don't like the wet hands bit. But I was quite pleased with the outcome.

Someone is definitely getting this for Christmas.

And they'd better be grateful!!!

It's a brooch, just in case you feel like commenting and don't know what you're commenting on!!!

Monday, 7 April 2008

I Can Confirm that Dorothy is Alive and Thriving

Very, very quick post in between jobs.

Dorothy spent the day undercover yesterday and was jolly wobbly.

But this morning she is out on the field, 'boinging' away and following her mum.

Breathing quite a sigh of relief.

Think she just had a rough time being born and needed to rest.

More later if I can get back here.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

We Had Another New Lamb and She Is Called Dorothy

And I am absolutely exhausted.

This one wasn't as easy as the first. Young mum. Big lamb. We watched and watched and then we helped.

I thought for sure that we'd lost her, but she came out fine and got up quickly.

She has suckled and she is alert enough, but I'm not sanguine. She's wobbly on her back legs and not quite as I think she should be.

So....I'm hoping she is just taking her time to 'come round'.

I shall see what I shall see in the morning.

And I'll blog if I can.

All a bit dramatic and all on top of a morning spent clearing what is now known as 'The Wilderness'.

Bed, I think!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Here He Is. A Bit Blurry But.....

This is Iestyn, (Yes-tin) our very first Shetland lamb.

He arrived yesterday afternoon. No fuss from mother, she just got on and did it and she's looking after him very well.

He has the longest legs ever, so I think he's going to be quite a big ram lamb. Very friendly, very pretty and doing well.

I'm sorry he's blurry. I can't seem to get him to stand still long enough to get a clear shot. Shall take more photos when I have someone who can hold him and we can get a proper portrait.

But I think you can see enough to know how wonderful he is.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Is the Day that I Meant to Post More Pictures...

But was too cold to take any.

So, it's more sheep instead. Omelette is the cream one and Pudding is the black. Both ewe lambs from this year.

It has been really bitter here today. The wind was at my back when I went up to feed the sheep, but when I turned to admire the sunshine on the valley, the icy blast across my face caught me by complete surprise and I had to turn my back on the view.

It snowed as we were winching up the fallen oak branch from 'the bank' (an almost vertical rockface to the stream). 'What am I doing?' I thought. 'Why am I not in a hot bath?'

However, we now have a rank of cut oak logs, a hot fire in the lounge and we've eaten.

Oh, and I got the hot bath. Bliss!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Pond Picture Sorted

Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Sideways pictures?

Must be something to do with all that digging.

I have put it right and the cat (whose name is Dogger and who is known as 'the Dog') is now less seasick.

The sun is shining on my pond today. Long may it last.

Come on, grass, grow will you?

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Fanfare for the Pond

Here it is.

I did say it was a very small pond!

But it makes good use of the old sink.

Now, I need to explain that this is only for the ducks to wash their faces in. Apparently, they don't actually need a swimming area, but they do need a washbasin for their eyes.

So, they will start with this and a proper pond will be dug, as time goes on. By someone other than me!!

In the meantime, as you may be able to see from the photos, I have puddled one of two areas near the current 'pond'.

You will also notice that it is tastefully positioned under the shade of a tree and that I have created this project in the Spring in order to get the grass growing round it as soon as possible.

Anyone who laughs at this project will be shunned. It was very cold, it was very wet, the sink wouldn't sink and I got mud in my wellies.

I shall take another picture when the sun is out and the grass has grown and the tree is in leaf. Until then, please employ imagination!!

Monday, 17 March 2008

The Pond

Turned into one of those jobs you wish you hadn't started.

The plug is back in the bathroom.

More later................

Sunday, 16 March 2008

And Today is The Day That I Dig the Hole for the Duck Pond

Well. Duck pond is a bit of a euphemism. I am going to use the old kitchen sink, set into a very wet patch of the orchard, on the assumption that it will fill with water and I shan't have to carry buckets up all the time.

I have, of course, lost the plug. So I set about thinking what I could use instead. And decided that I needed something round and heavy to hold down a piece of plastic in the plughole. And came up with the ideal answer. A plug.

Having crisis of conscience about whether to temporarily 'steal' a plug from the bathroom sink...will it ever get replaced if I do (?), or whether to dig the hole, sink the sink and wait a week to buy a plug. It'll never happen. I shall steal.

And all this in anticipation of some not yet born ducks from an enthusiastic member of the family who has two and a drake in her suburban back garden and eggs in her incubator.

Such are the problems and conundrums that beset the smallholder. But they're not heavy problems or unsolvable conundrums and serve to keep one's mind off more serious matters!!

I shall post pictures of orchard, 'pond', ducks and, possibly, stolen plug at some suitable point in the future.

In the meantime, I have a tree picture, for your approval.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Is the Day That I 'Feature' My Daughter's Pengies

She's a talented child! Not only does she get A grades in school, she can winch logs up a cliff face, do the ironing and, best of all, make Pengies.

Her Pengies are selling well in shops here and she has taken the plunge and got herself a shop on the Internet.

This saves her having to work in the local pub and me having to drive her there and back!!

She also has her very own website, created by her equally talented graphic artist sister.

Oh, and apart from all their talents, they are both wonderful girls and the best daughters any mother could have. (I can feel them cringing from here.)

Monday, 10 March 2008

And Today....We are mostly waiting for thestorm

Which is raging in Cornwall and South Wales, but which has not yet reached us up here in mid Wales.

We have an old barometer, which I check occasionally. I was startled , this morning, to see that it had gone down past 'Stormy' and seems to be trying to go off the scale.

I've never, ever seen it go that low before.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Tarquin's Turn to be Featured

Tarquin is my ram lamb. He is a real sweety, but he's growing up and getting more assertive (ie he butts you!)

He is so soft when in a good mood that he will stand by me while I rub his nose. But I am not complacent. He is, after all, a ram.

There has been great debate as to whether he has done his job this season. No one saw anything, but it does look a bit as though three of the four ewes may be in lamb.

There's a bit of a virtual book running on the outcome!

So, here he is. The most beautiful ram anyone ever had.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Is the Day I Show My Sheep

This wise looking old lady is Mushroom. She is one of my eight Shetland Sheep and she is the elder stateswoman of the flock.

She is canny and hard to outwit.

Which is going to making lambing tricky, if she is indeed in lamb.

I will, gradually, add pictures of all the others and, hopefully, of their lambs when and if they have them.

Whether they are 'in lamb' or not is a long running saga!!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Is the Day I Decided to Enter My First PCAGOE Challenge


I guess I need an egg.

No problem there. Hens are laying loads. Well, two a day, anyway. (This is another disaster story, but not for this post).

Nice little bantam egg. Won't go mad and do a big one first time.

I can blow the egg while I make the lunch and cook the next batch of beads and take the washing out of the drier.

Better just take a quick look at a tutorial.

Doesn't look too hard. Make hole. Yes. Get syringe. Yes. Blow out insides. Yes. Swill out. Yes.

Oh dear, oh dear. My egg has cracked and there is yolk all over the work surface I was going to put the dried washing on and the timer has gone off on the beads and lunch is beeping in the oven.

Only thing to do is stop trying to do four things at once. (I can do three and I can prove this!) Turn off all beeping timers, put egg aside, leave drying to crease and lunch to cool down and.....

confess all the PCAGOE.

I'm SO glad I did.

My next egg will have two neatly drilled holes, one at each end, one slightly larger than the other.

And it will be by far the most beautiful egg that anyone ever covered with polymer clay.

Monday, 3 March 2008

And Yesterday..... We got a Wi

Well. What an amazing waste of time this is going to be.

I can do golf. I can do tennis. I can do bowling.

But I'm absolutely useless at boxing.

Not because I can't bring myself to hit the dummy on screen, but because it's too energetic and I run out of steam before the poor bloke falls over and stays down for a count of ten.

I am told that we are also going to get 'Olympics' which involves doing the hundred metres, amongst other things. I will let you know how I get on.

Have drawn attention of others playing with this silly thing, to the article in the newspaper yesterday regarding serious repetitive strain injuries caused by too much wi-ing. Fell on deaf ears of course!

I suspect this is going to get well in the way of 'The Tree Project', at least until the novelty wears off.

So, no new pictures of logs this morning and I refuse, point blank, to take a photo of the Wi. Although I shall be videoing some of the players because it is really very, very funny to see otherwise sane people throwing themselves around at the tele.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008


And today is the day I add.....

to my blog.

If you haven't found Etsy yet, please follow this link!

Etsy Mini Blog

Saturday, 23 February 2008

And Today... I shall mostly be chopping logs

As an anitdote to the detailed work I do on my polymer beads and jewellery, I like to chop logs.

This sounds quite a clinical and straightforward activity, until I explain that firstly you have to drag your log......

Then you have to chop off all the little twiggy bits. (Rather unrewarding).

After which you have to chop off all the sticky bits. (Slightly less unrewarding).

Until you get to something that could, reasonably, be called a 'log'.

I intend to post pictures of each stage, but in the meantime, you'll have to make do with 'logs'.

And sometimes, in Wales, it isn't even raining when I do this!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

And Today Is....The Day I....

Have time to look around and find some beautiful things on Etsy. It has taken me this long to get myself set up and to have the space to actually see what others are doing.

I rather like this

and I rather like this

and I rather like this too

In fact, I can almost feel a treasury coming on.

It's wonderful to find other polymer clay artists producing things you'd give your right arm to have created!

But now I really must go an create something myself, inspired by what I've seen

Sunday, 17 February 2008

And Today...I am adding Blossom to the blog.

She is a Golden Sebright and is friends with Treasure and Trinny. We used to have a Suzanna but she, I'm afraid, is no longer with us.

I am blogging because it is so cold I can't stay outside!!

It may not be very cold to those of you who are reading this is the States, but minus 8 is considered pretty cold here!

Although it's cold, it's beautiful. The sun will be down on the house in half an hour and then all will be well. In the meantime, I shall busy myself with 'inside' jobs.

Which include blogging pictures of my much loved birds.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

I subscribe to this movement. I love handmade things. I have two daughters who love handmade things. And we all make handmade things.

There just isn't enough time in each day to 'make' as much as I would like.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Here they are! Chickens!

Well, this is some of them. My photography is letting me down here - they all go blurry when I try to post, but I'll work on it!


Not only are we mad about sheep and chickens, we're also pretty much in love with penguins.



By Popular Demand - Chickens

I am delighted to report that there has been a request for photos of my chickens on this blog.

When I find some good ones, I will post.

In the meantime, I have found an egg!

So, here it is.

The pride with which we collected our first egg was enormous.

He did point out that it was rather an expensive egg - estimated cost about £500 taking into account the shed, the fencing, the cost of the hens and the first food.

But, hey, what the heck. It was ours!

We ate it very, very slowly!

Monday, 11 February 2008

My Etsy Shop


Is a Stunningly Beautiful day here in Wales

There is a heavy frost and brilliant sunshine, which makes the whole valley look wonderful.

It also inspires me to work, inside as well as out.

So now I have cut the logs for the fires, I can get down to making some jewellery.....

The sheep are happy, even though it's cold, they seem to like the sunshine.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Not a Lighthearted Blog To Finish the Day

I'm just beginning to hear about the fire at Camden Market and am hoping that they manage to get anyone out who's trapped.

I have only visited once. It was a pretty scarey place, even without a fire! It was what I imagine a real bazaar to be like, a maze of shops and stalls and a slightly Dikensian feel. Fascinating, alive, dark, slightly threatening and too much to take in all at once.

I would not like to be the firefighters on this one.

Sleep Helps

Well. And here we are at the start of another brand new day.

And I have remembered how to 'do' pictures.


Have a picture!

This one is of a gate, not a sheep.

I often see things round here that make me stop and take a photograph. I have loved this gate for years and shall photograph it again in the Spring and in the Summer.

and Good Morning to you all

Oh dear. I've commented rather than adding to my blog.

The rest of the day is in the comment!!

I'll try and do better tomorrow.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Is Another Brand New Day. Or it Was.

But I realise that it is now coffee time and I need to stop whirling and see what I've achieved.

Well, I've got rid of the scrap metal. Or, rather, the nice man on the tractor, with the dog who broke my chicken's leg has.

I've ordered lots of bits ready for the order onslaught.

And I've asked for and received, much support and good advice.

SO. Not bad for the first couple of hours of this new day, then.

Just need to draw breath and then start on phase two.

Which includes talking to the sheep!