Sunday, 26 April 2015

Lying down, and who is top dog?

I have been doing a lot of lying down this weekend. Spent most of yesterday asleep on the settee in the music / sitting room after having worked hard in the back kitchen trying to catch up with its messiness all morning. I think I am winning that particular battle. It's having to shift things round as Jim continues to renovate the house for us, that is what causes the tendency towards chaos. Not to worry, Lester has cleared out the lounge, and there is nowhere downstairs where things like tools, empty boxes, wood, stuff, etc..., can be put. His tools are now out in the middle barn, and there they will stay. He was going to put everything upstairs but I had a mini strop about him doing that, because last time he used the upstairs as his tool area most of the tools ended up being kept on the stairs. I am not a nagging type of person but I am quite likely to become that way if things are left lying about the place once the renovation is done to the downstairs.

As I was saying, ........ yesterday one o'clock in the afternoon came along, and down on the settee I went, there to stay until it got dark, and then off to bed I went. This morning was not any better really, but I have stayed awake, but only just. We have done some painting in the sitting room though, with Lester rollering the walls, and me lying down again, but this time on the floor as I tried to get a straight edge between the bottom of the wall and the floor tiles. Trouble was that it was slow going, and lying at full stretch seemed to encourage a feeling of wanting to go to sleep again. I didn't, but there were a couple of times when I did feel myself starting to wilt.

It has been restful weekend though, with lots to do next week.....Jim is not here so we have the opportunity to go out and about together, something which we don't do when he is working here, just it case he falls off his ladder, needs a cup of tea to keep going, or something like a chunk of wall falls on his head.....

And the view from the kitchen window:


Lester trundling to and fro with the wheelbarrow to the cow dung heap,
the piggy girls keeping an eye on him just in case feeding time has come along....


..... and zooming round to the right, and you can see the work the girls are doing to the veg plot,
and Claudine's house across the way...
she is our nearest neighbour....
after years of living close to others, first in terraced housing, and then in a semi detached house, it is so lovely to be able to make noise and do other things which a close neighbour would hear.
In other words, we have privacy!!!

Ah, and now the two rottweiller girls,
Blue on the left wearing her soppy 'I love you and you love me' look, Maz on the right in her 'What the hell do you think you are  doing!' look.


Yesterday the little brown hen, one of the two chickens who have damaged legs,
well,...there I was, sitting out in the courtyard taking a five minute break,
and up she flew onto my lap.
and what a sweet moment that could have been,
but from close right of me a mighty great paw sort of swiped the hen off my lap.
Off she went in a low arc,
yelling her disapproval,
and flapping madly so she could land properly.

The paw belonged to Mazzy, who had obviously decided that no one was going to perch on me unless it was herself. Bless....they still think they are puppies, and remain always in hope that they can climb on our laps for a cuddle, but all they can manage is a front paw, followed by the other front paw, followed by a slow creep of the rest of their body. 
It is normally at this point that we push them back down again because they are squash us with their weight, and often it is both of them trying at the same time to get up, which of course makes for double the weight.

I used to fear rottweillers, but after having got to know our girls, I find them the best of dogs to have, but maybe it is the way we look after them that helps them to have such  lovely natures.

Boolie (our male springer spaniel) has been having a moan outside the door for the last half an hour while I have been writing to you, so I had best go and walk them round the field before he drives me buts with his howling. The girls, I am sure, will be taking a nap in their beds. It is a bit of a wet day, and they don't 'do' wetness.

Hope you have had a good weekend,

Hope you have a splendid week,

Vx


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Up a ladder, and more rat holes....

Been up a ladder all day doing this....

 
.... painting the dining room/music room and myself, because I am a mucky painter, always cleaning up the paint splots as I go but not bothering to get rid of the paint splattered on my person.

Now I love those shelves, but trying to get a sharp edge when wood meets wall is, to me, almost impossible, but I do my best, although it is slow going. And another thing, when a paint splot lands on the wood it is devil of a job to get if off again despite having a damp handy rag nearby to mop up with. Not to smudge the splot immediately, that is what I have learnt, but to dab gently to get the worst of the paint off, then a vigourous rub on the remainder of the paint seems to do the trick.

Also, I have learnt to pace myself with the kitchen timer: 30 minutes painting, then 30 minutes doing something else, then 30 minutes painting, etc. This seems to stop the feeling of climbing Everest, which tends to come upon me after only a few minutes with the paint brush. By using this method I have managed to do quite a lot today although it doesn't look like it because all I have done are those shelves, which took ages to do because of having to marry the wood with the wall.

I am now in the rest zone, so thought I would have  a chat with you, although I shall have to walk the dogs in a minute because they are restlessly padding around me. Have I mentioned that Jim is working on the lounge now.......

 
 
..... the small black lump is Maz in her dog bed, sulking because I wouldn't let her chew the paper cake tin liner from the cake I had just baked. The rottweiller girls sleep in this room, but soon we shall have to move them into the back kitchen.
 
Anyway, this is the lounge.........the grey mass on the lower right is the fire surround which Jim has just made, and today he has been filling in the gaps between the beams and the walls, which are rat runs. (top left, the dark bits in between the cross beams). Mentioning rats..... Lester heard movement in the back kitchen last night. Went to look behind the storage shelves and there was a rat hole, newly dug. It was big, and upon investigation with the torch, Lester was able to report that the hole was being used as a larder, and that it went through the wall out into the middle barn. Oh dear. Well, that was last night, and put us both into a frump with each other, although I don't know why we were like that, because neither of us had asked the rats to come and live with us. But we were tired, and it had been a long day,........
 
So, first job that Jim did today was put cement into the hole, and then went on to block loads of other, smaller, holes both in the back kitchen and the middle barn. And it has been decided that we cannot risk the rats burrowing through into the house again by digging out the stones in the walls, and that we shall put a lime mortar plaster (or some such.....I can't remember exactly what the stuff is that Jim uses for the walls) over the walls and cover all the stones up so the rats can't burrow through again. And we are going to look out for a Jack Russell type of dog to help us with this war with the rats, who, after all, were here before us and had established a haven of rat runs both inside and outside of the house as well as in the actual walls themselves and really would like to continue co-habiting with us, but we think not.....the war continues.
 
On a more cheery note, a couple of photos of the front kitchen......
 
 
......please excuse the vacuum cleaner, but it is waiting for a good fairy to come along and use it.

...... and the sink area, still without its curtains which I have not had time to make, but even if I had made them I wouldn't hang them yet because the house is still full of dust. Yesterday, for instance, it was like a desert sand storm in the house as Jim did some cutting of the wall in the lounge with his electric thingy. He did shut all the doors, but somehow the dust refused to be contained.


As I mentioned yesterday, the plate rack has not fallen off the wall despite being fully loaded with plates, most of which are in the dishwasher at the moment, hence the empty plate rack!

So off over the field with the dogs now, with instructions from Lester not to walk through long grass. While on his mini tractor cutting the paths round the back field this afternoon he said he saw several snakes. He said that one in particular did not look the same as the others. He said it was an adder. Hokey dokey, I shall only walk where he has cut, and I shall tread heavily so that any snakes will go away from me tout suite.

The biting flies are zooming in on the udders of our two cows, who have been coming in from the field quite wounded from their attacks, their udders full of lumps and scabs from those horrid flies. So he has had to put a fly, tick, flea, etc.... product on them. Not sure what we could have otherwise done. We don't like using chemicals on the animals, but if we don't then the animals suffer. Anyone else have any ideas about what to use to help protect our cows out in the field? Any info would be welcome.

Off for the walk now....surprisingly I did not get bitten by any mozzies on our walk last night, neither are they trying to get us while we sleep, which is a good thing because I still haven't got the muslin curtains back up on our four poster which protects us from insects wanting our blood.

Bye for now,

Vx


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Been doing things.....

Today I spent a portion of my day up a ladder in the dining room / music room, where I was painting the walls. I should be painting at this actual moment but I am not because my legs are getting cross with me, and I don't want to upset them because they are the only pair of legs I've got, and I don't want them coming out on strike, which would be a nuisance, because I would have to stay in bed and not do anything because my legs wouldn't be travelling me to and fro wherever I needed to be. That would not do at all. They have lots of work to do yet, so the compromise I made with them was to have a five minute sit-down, so here I am.

However, I also needed a break from the fumes of the paint. Crikey but it kicks up a stink. And the window has to stay closed because the swifts are back, and house hunting furiously, and for years they have nested in the house, it being full of beams and handy holes, so they do not see any reason not to carry on the same as they always have. It is very sweet to hear a chirrupy male bird and his lady chatting as to whether this beam was good to make a nest on, or that beam over there. Shame that we have just sanded and oiled those beams and are not fussed with having slithers of bird poo everywhere, including on the cream coloured settee we have just bought. So I have to just drink in the paint fumes and hope it doesn't addle my brains anymore than they are already.

So.....we have five hens left. They are still in the courtyard. A family pow wow decided that we will not have any more hens until a proper henhouse is built, because we want to tidy up the courtyard. This has been the decision since Christmas. And then Lester accepted a bag of fresh eggs from a neighbour who he had given a lift to. And then I was marched across the road to another neighbour who also has hens who are laying at the moment. More eggs were received.

A few weeks ago Lester said it would be a good idea to get a new incubator, the small one we had started off with having been donated to friends of ours so their small son could enjoy watching chicks hatch and grow. This purchase has proved handy, as Lester went into smallholding mode today. We now have a load of eggs in the new incubator. Reinforcing the family pow wow decision not to have hens in the courtyard, I spoke loud and clear to Lester, reminding him of that decision, and when was he going to have time to build a proper henhouse. Bless him, he said he would get one done. He has also got his mini tractor out of the Middle Barn, and is at the moment clearing out the cow pens, using the tractor to tow the remoque , which is loaded with spoilt hay and straw, out back to the pig paddocks. When this task is done, he has mentioned that he might plough the veg plot. Oh! So it looks like we shall be doing some veg after all!

Meanwhile, I carry on painting and drinking in the fumes. The kitchen is nearly finished, and is just waiting for some more oak shelves to be made. I continue to oil the oak work surfaces. The plate rack is now on the wall, and has not fallen down even though it is now fully loaded with plates. It is a relief that it has stayed put. The kitchen is also being used as a music room as well at the moment, so is housing my two keyboards, and Lester's violin, mandolin, and banjo, plus sundry piles of sheet music. We are supposed to be playing at a hog roast the first weekend of June. Heyho, it will be alright, .....I hope!

I seem to be missing a lot of the Spring this year, but not to worry, the house is coming on. Jim is now working in the lounge / guest bedroom, and then he is on to working on the hallway, and if funds permit, the back kitchen. Rat holes are being blocked up, which means that all the rooms will be rat proof. I doubt they will ever be entirely mouse proof though, but when you have had rats messing about in the house mice do not seem quite such horrors.

And then there was the dead rat in the ceiling of the Half Barn, which is where we sleep and work. Unfortunately the flies weren't about, so the carcass just rotted slowly. A couple of flies doing their job would have prevented the odour for hanging around for so long (flies > meat> eggs> maggots> meat eaten> maggots pupate> flies). We left the doors and windows open twenty four hours, but still the odour hung in the air, which was a bit unfortunate because it happened just at the time I was trying to finish painting the ceiling above our bed, which was the area in which the rotting was taking place, as could be smelt by the wafts of dreadfulness oozing from out of the several holes between ceiling and beams. Yuck.

Not to worry, that smell has now gone, to be replaced by paint fumes. Ah well, it is nice being tidy, and it really is a treat to walk through three rooms which are now more or less done, apart from painting, and making them homely. All of a sudden we seem to have a lot of space around us.

And now I see that sun is starting to slide behind the nearby hills, so I had best go and rescue my paint brush before it dries hard, and get the girls out for a walk on the field, and no doubt get bitten to pieces on my legs as well as I walk them. We have had thunder storms. It is Spring. Everything is waking up, the recent wetness enabling all those biting insects to wake up as well.

Saying bye for now, and wondering how many bites I collect tonight. Not to worry, such is life when one is living in the countryside!

Love and blessings,

Vx