Monday, 20 March 2017

Walking at the weekend.

We had a couple of outings to the coast at the weekend. Saturday was mild but very overcast. I'm glad I made the effort to go as the boys had so much fun just running and playing together. It wasn't cold, despite that lowering sky.
Sunday was brighter, but the wind was wicked. I should have stayed in as I wasn't feeling great, but I couldn't let those boys down. They explored dark tunnels in the trees
and galloped around like crazy beasts, well, Walley did the most running. Manchee likes to stop and carefully sniff everything!
I loved the wonky signpost and if we were very energetic, we could have walked all the way to Bosham, a tiny seaside village.
The tide was mostly out and the boats sat waiting for the sea to lift them up again. Walley had vanished briefly before coming towards us at speed.
He'd been for a paddle in the mud and his legs were black with it. The smell wasn't good!
Back home, I let the ponies out for a treat on the grass. Toffee hasn't been well this week, he's had his breathing problem again due to something in his hay so a few hours of grass made him very happy. You can see how happy Merlin is to run on solid ground for a change. Their paddock is just a bit too muddy for shenanigans :D
I've completely overdone it though and so today I plan to rest and do some painting and knitting. I've even postponed the shopping trip!!!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Grow it cook it.

My lovely BF cooked for me last night (as he so often does) and it was gorgeous.  This was just the starter, mackerel fillets over a tomato salad with french dressing (I made that bit). It was so fresh, light and delicious.  The salad has all the ingredients we can grow in our new garden, fresh herbs, shallots and tomatoes.
Murray was hoping so hard that we would drop some fish ;)
Today for lunch I had a simple tortilla filled with refried beans and cheese and because I have to use them up, a few sausage rolls from the freezer :D  Not gourmet, but still yummy and a little inspired by Ree from Pioneer Woman. Boy, does she know how to pile cheese and butter into her meals, but they do look good!

And then this arrived this morning, a lovely little book that I completely forgot I'd ordered online. I'd added it to my shopping cart a few days ago and when I clicked on something I really wanted, I accidentally bought everything in the cart.  I'm glad I did as so far I find the writing engaging and informative.
I hope it carries on in this vein, unlike the other French book I bought last year that just made me want to hurl it out the window. I don't need more stress in my life and that book seriously raised my blood pressure as the author ranted about her neighbours and the slow and uneventful way of the French culture. Why did she move there then???
In my hunger for all things French, I've discovered almost no books (in English) relating to French gardens other than ornamental gardens. I want to know about growing vegetables and being more self sufficient but so far I've not found anything close to what I want. I guess I'll have to write a book myself!  As for the title of this post, BF and myself have a 'grow it, cook it' dream and last year we did pretty well with the things he grew. I only managed soft fruits and herbs, but with more time I know I can do better. The fruits didn't go to waste as I bottled them in vodka and recently tried a drop; it's extremely pleasant :D

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Meal planning and socks!

I have been so inspired by Rain from Rains Garden to organise my poor shopping habits that I took an inventory of all the food we have in the freezer and larder.  It's not a great picture, but you get the idea.  Lots of good things, but not complete meals in themselves. I need to get the other ingredients to turn this lot into yummy meals we'll all eat.  So I made a weekly plan and then hope to expand it slowly to a fortnight plan and then eventually a monthly one.
The only issue at the moment will be buying fresh vegetables, which I have to have or I get crazy cravings like the time I ate a whole packet of cooked beetroot!!! We have a little local greengrocer nearby and when things start growing in the garden I'll have lots of salads and hopefully fruits (if I look after them better than last year!).

Why am I thinking about this, isn't it more hassle and just easier to grab things daily as we fancy them? Well, for one thing it's more expensive shopping daily as I always get seduced into buying that bargain item that sits in the fridge and slowly goes off as I don't have a use for it after all! The biggest reason though is that it wastes so much time and energy going to the supermarket that I end up feeling stressed and unable to cook anything at the end of the day.
Hopefully this will work and I find it's fun sitting and planning rather than running around and making throw together meals, or worse, we all cook seperate meals according to what we each fancy on the day. Both Moomin and her brother are pretty good at cooking so we've decided to each cook once a week for all of us, which means I get a couple of nights off :D

Meanwhile, the sock is growing, soon it will be time to turn the heel and I'll be sat watching youtube tutorials or rushing round to a friends house for her expert help.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Memories (and a menagerie in our house).

I guess I'm feeling a bit nostalgic as I think about leaving my house, the place we've called home for the last 20years.  A great many animals have shared this space with us and when I think about why I paint and create art, I guess a lot of it has to do with the things I'm surrounded by. The lovely countryside, woodlands our horses and of course my children who are now grown into young adults. Ultimately though, there have been an awful lot of animals!!!

(I appologise now for this lengthy post!)

Long before we moved here we had Max (below) and Pouncey (I can't find pictures of him on my computer) then along came Arnold below.
Both Max and Arnold lived until their 20's.
My Studio when it was new and the garden relatively uncluttered!!!
Merlin joined us and so looks like a tiny Bo! In the background is my darling horse Oliver. I still miss him sooo much.x
Then came Jubbly. What a little treasure he was. He would sit in Moomins pocket and steal cereal in the morning. Honey nut cornflakes were his favourite!
Charm was so very adorable and had many adventures escaping from the garden and visiting neighbours.
Moomin took place in an online Alice tea party and I loved seeing her in a dress without her wellies for a change.
The Moomin took to goat keeping and won a rosette at The Weald and Downland rare breeds show in 2009.<3 br="">
Our kitchen was regularly used as a craft room for Moomin and her brother.
In 2010 Manchee came to live with us. Despite looking a little nervous, he travelled well coming back from Devon and it was worth the long drive for the happiness he's given us.
In 2012 I worked for Cowdray Park Farm and inevitably brought my work home with me.  We named our little charge Button. He wasn't expected to live long but we cared for him anyway. Piper, looking extremely pregnant, was more than happy to keep an eye on our baby lamb.
He was alert and very friendly.
Manchee surprised us all with his gentle attitude to the funny new 'dog' and kept close to him often. Unfortunately we lost the battle but at least gave Button a lot of love while he was with us.

Then along came the wave of kittens. Cottons kittens were just too wonderful to even consider parting with. I was very foolish to think I'd be able to sell any!!!
I adore Fae's little paw around her mama.
Then Piper had her litter of black and whites!
Two black, two black and white and Cottons trio. It was crazy and I sold two before deciding not to part with any more.
Finn is about 6 weeks old here and almost as big as Cotton already. He's a lot bigger than her now, but then her nickname has always been 'half a cat' as she's so tiny.
Then, after working with them for so long, I got a couple of goats for myself. Here is my lovely Yarrow and her kid Bella. There is no describing the feeling of being involved with such a precious moment.
Aine we bought from a petting farm somewhere in London, I have no idea where as I was too excited to pay attention to anything other than her adorable little face.
My goats are now at the Butser Ancient Farm and I miss them terribly!

So what now???  Who knows what the road ahead will bring, but I know one thing is certain, my animals will be with me and probably a load more besides :D

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Pet food.

I've been making dog food for a few weeks since Manchee was off colour, then after his collision with Bo's foot, I carried on as it was easier to get his medicine and painkillers into him via a delicious home cooked meal!

The recipe is very simple, one third of meat to two thirds of vegetables and grains. I make a wheat free recipe as I don't think it's very easy for Manchee to digest, being half Whippet and half Bedlington terrier.

The vegetable portion is made up of brown rice, lentils, carrots and a little sweet potato all cooked until nearly soft then I had a cup of porridge oats. Finally I add the cooked meat and let it cool.  Half is portioned into freezer bags and the other half goes in the food processor to be ground to a fine past.
This is the paste spread on a baking sheet. I bake it for 25minutes on a medium heat, then flip it over and bake for another 25 minutes. Then I break it into bite sized pieces and bake again until it's dry and crunchy. This is for texture and sometimes I mix in a little cheddar before baking to give it a different taste. Some of the cats will eat the kibble, most will eat the mush and Manchee eats it all!!!
This was last nights dinner, same recipe but with beef and pork mince instead of turkey. I didn't bother to make the kibble from this one as all the animals wanted it right away :D  I'd call that a success but I think a little yeast extract may have been the reason the cats wanted it so badly!
I went shopping today, I go far too often and hope to cut it all down in time. I couldn't resist taking this picture though :D  So, they've named a biscuit after me. The label said gingery with a mallow filling. Yep, that's about right :D
I couldn't resist this picture of Bambam, she is so beautiful that I may have to paint a picture of her <3
BTW, thank you to my new blog friends for visiting and leaving messages, it's lovely to connect to new people.x

Monday, 6 March 2017

Lots of wild women.

I couldn't be bothered to go to the Dashboard to call up my blog, so I googled it. Well! There are an awful lot of wild women out there!!!  I had no idea when I set up this new blog how popular the idea was of women re-wilding and being at home in nature. Bringing nature into our homes isn't a new idea, and neither is going out and communicating with the wild woods and plants, it would seem. I'm not sure why I thought it was. It's something that I thought had gone way out of fashion, but whatever my views, it's clearly a mindset that is strong, healthy and thriving!

I found this little fox skull on on of my walks, and I regret not bringing it back with me, but my companion was a little freaked out at the thought of me putting it in my pocket! I don't know why skulls fascinate me as much as they do!
 My three boys aren't exactly wild, but they do bring a lot of happiness to our family (and debt and stress, but hey, they're cute!)
I'm starting to build my walks up, a little at a time and the bright weather certainly helps, not that we've had a whole lot of it, but when the rain eases and the sun creeps out, it does the spirit good :D

Thursday, 2 March 2017


Lookwhat I started :D Sadly, I made soooo many mistakes that I unpicked the whole thing and re-did it all in double time.
The thing I hated the most was this big gappy ladder that was forming where my tension was all over the place.
I'll post pictures of my progress soon :D

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Still here!

Wow, it's been ages since my last post and nothing much has happened. I've had a half hearted attempt at clearing out clutter and a disastrous visit to Ebay where I'm sure my postage costs wiped out any possible profits!!! Never mind, I'll try for a garage sale when the weather improves.

I had a hospital visit yesterday and it was every bit as horrible as I was expecting, apart from the nice young man who took my blood. There's always a silver lining ;)

I love this picture of Fae and Bambam, it just makes me smile. Bambam didn't keep here head there for long, it was just too undignified!!!
Last Monday, poor Manchee was kicked in the face by Bo, our baby Eriskay (I say baby, but he'll be 5 this year and should be ridden really!) It was a horrible accident and one that unfolded in slow motion, but all at once, if that makes sense? I could see it coming, but just couldn't get there in time.  I'm happy to report that Manchee is now doing very well, but his face was very swollen and he's still in a bit of pain with his jaw. He was lucky not to lose his eye!
Needless to say, I'm keeping him and the ponies far apart because I know that my silly Lurcher will not have learned his lesson and will probably always snap at the ponies heels!!!

On a good note, I'm learning to knit socks. So far it's coming together and I've not fudged it too much. When I've managed a few more rows, I'll post some pictures :D

Sunday, 22 January 2017


I've been ill! That's all I'll say on the matter, but today is the first time in ages that I've felt like cooking so I'll be pottering (shuffling) about in the kitchen and later, there may be good food, I hope!

If I didn't have a boyfriend who was an incredible cook, I could have starved ;)
Sorry for the naughty spiraliser picture, but it did make me laugh!!!
 Then he did that Jaimie Oliver thing with the courgettes, mushrooms and veg, where it gets flipped in the pan. When I try it, the dog gets to pick it up off the floor!
 The finished product, chinese pork with veg and rice noodles coated in a lovely homemade sauce, sort of hoy sin.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Juice and the interminable shawl.

Diet is very important to me as I try to be careful not to give the Fibro any excuse to hit me. After a few excesses at Christmas I decided to treat my system to some good wholesome juice. I don't waste the pulp that comes from the juicer, I mix it with porridge and cook it up for the chickens, they love it :D
The weather has been awful this weekend, so there has been no chance to get out for a proper walk. The dog has been for a quick stroll around the village, wearing his little waterproof coat, but it's not enough for either of us!
A hearty chicken casserole with lots of paprika, honey, orange juice, garlic and vegetables is just what's needed on a damp and chilly day. The honey and orange juice reduce down to make a lovely sticky barbeque sauce. We had it with hassleback potatoes, which are divine sprinkled with crunchy fresh ground salt and pepper.
As we've not managed to get out I've been sitting in and knitting. However, the shawl is just growing bigger and yet I only seem to be halfway through the pattern! When it's done though, it should be very warm and snuggly. I'm hoping to have it finished before our next visit to France.
Manchee had to be in this picture, reclining in front of the fire :D
A close up of the shawl, it's so worth the effort but I'm being (easily) tempted to do a little crocheting to use up my stash.

I found this gorgeous blanket on Pinterest, it's very like the style from Attic 24, so I'm thinking it might be one of Lucy's. It's gorgeous and something I'll be aiming for!