Friday, 18 December 2009

Not A Single Flake!

Hope you are all keeping warm, listening to the wireless most of the country has lots and lots of snow - not a flake here! I tell a lie there were half a dozen drifted gently down, as I was feeding the chickens.
We never get very much here - too near the sea, but we have a lovely view of the Snowdonia Mountains - they of course are soon glistening with the sparkly white stuff!
Hubby P has been 'girding his loins' ready for the big chill. Armed with his thermal long johns, cod liver oil, woolly scarf and bakers cap pulled well down, he's ready for whatever comes his way!
Last night he came home with a van load of wooden pallets - they came his way via Barry the the lorry driver. Apparently pallets are a bit like gold dust, everyone is wanting them as cheap/free firewood. At one time you could pick them up everywhere - it just shows how people are short of money, going back to the old days of thrifting, free firewood an all that.
Last week he found two van loads of wood - someone was having a new roof so he came away with the old timber - lots of nails in the ash, but it burns well enough!
Anyway Hubby P has his pallets so I guess the weekend will be spent sawing them up, they will make the 'posh' expensive logs go a bit further!
Thinking of expenses - and looking at my bank balance! Yikes! I realise - as usual I have gone a bit over the top with Christmas presents and whatnot - well I probably always do - I like to find nice things for my little gang of friends and family.
I feel I have wandered away from my good thrifty intentions - become a bit lazy in my ways - so time for a shake up, get the indulgence of Christmas out of the way, and look at our lives afresh.
Every penny is so hard to earn, I want to make it go as far as possible!
I have been lucky enough to join a friend in ordering from a wholesale, wholefood catalogue - so lots of good wholesome things on their way, nuts and cereals and the like - things that will store well.
And Porridge! We love porridge in the Allsorts household, and its so good for you.

I bought a little bag yesterday to put us on until my big order comes. We all had some for breakfast, the chickens have oats sprinkled in their mash, and the dogs have any leftover porridge mixed in with their food.
When I was younger and working on farms, the shepherds always gave their dogs porridge, they said it did them a world of good - Oats the wonder food!

As I said no snow - but very cold, sunshiney but cold'

All dressed up for the weather - Hubby P says I have more skins than an onion!
I like to be warm! I wear leggings, woolly socks sturdy boots and a long warm skirt - and a coat when I venture outside to do my chores and feed chickens and bunnies.
I took the camera with me today - it was nice and sunshiney!

Remember the old wash tub - well I transplanted one of my Fir trees into it - I have reared this little beauty from a 6" baby, I bought to put in a little Alpine garden I made in an old kitchen sink - that was many years ago. As you can see its grown a bit since then. I will put some spring bulbs around its feet.

These little Honesty seed pods, or Silver Pennies, are standing bravely against the cold and wet. They look so pretty shining in the sun.

Still one or two roses - hanging on.
When we first moved to Wales I was amazed that we still had roses in December, it is so mild here compared to Lancashire from whence we came.
It reminded me of this little verse I found somewhere.
'God gave us Memories
That we may have
Roses in December'
I think that is so sweet!

A splash of colour in the pond!
The fish are not too bothered what the weather throws at them!
You all take care now, this white stuff is okay, but can be a hazard!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Are You Ready? Will He Be Comming To Your House??

Hi Folks!
Are your ready for Christmas? Or more importantly are you ready for the Big Freeze the weather men are promising us! Why is it we always get caught unprepared when it is winter for heavens sake!

Richard brought this lovely wreath home from work today, a friend of his makes them from all the lovely things growing in her garden - its so pretty!
Friday saw the delivery of a load of logs - we will be ready for any cold snap they care to throw at us!
Rich and I stacked them - what a job! Its true what they say about wood warming you twice - once when you cut it (stacking it was enough for me!) and again when you burn it!

At least we wont be cold - mind you the wood man was saying there has been a 40% increase in people buying/using woodburning stoves and its difficult for him to find enough wood for all his customers. No doubt the price will go up!

We stack it up in the inglenook to dry off a bit
, and burn it along side a mixture of free, cheap-y, salvage wood, to make the expensive logs go a bit further.
Little 'ol Christmas tree has been potted up, and a few baubles flung on it - looks quite festive!

I dug out the old fairy for atop the tree. She is as old as me, although she has a makeover last year and now looks quite smart. For years she only had one arm - doing our bit for Diversity, and Employment for the Disabled. However due to the wonders of modern prosthetics she now has a nice new arm - although we've misplaced her wand! maybe Father Christmas will bring her a new one.

Much Jollity, and Merry Making over the Weekend - Hubby P's Birthday, just a family bash - but a houseful!

Here's me - nothing changes - height of the evening and still I am caught with a brew in hand! (cup of tea if you're not from the north). I have sort of got out of drinking - although i am partial to a drop of something warming in my tea!

All four lads managed to come, first time for 5 years they have all been in the same room at the same time! This modern life - I don't think it helps family relationships, we seem to be flung far and wide, we talk on the phone, and exchange photo's and whatnot. But its not the same as all being together - having a real good hug and a laugh!

Hubby P had a real good time - he had cake and everything!

Sunday the lads went off to the beach, and brought me back a present!

A lovely bit of driftwood for the garden.
The beach was lovely - just a bit cold!

The tide must have been really heavy to have thrown such large chunks of trees well up the beach.

I liked this last photo - Father and son, they even walk alike!
We had such a nice weekend - its nice to make the effort, to be together, and make memories!

There were people we missed, but they too, were there in our hearts.
xxx Take care now xxx keep warm xxx

Monday, 7 December 2009

What Can A Girl Do - But Make Soup!

Well Hello there folks!
What a wet,wet, wet week - I think we've been almost washed away! And yet again this morning I woke to the sound of yet more of the wet stuff. Hubby P - Bless him, brought me my cup of tea in bed and said 'If I were you I would stop there - its awful wet again!'
For two pins I could have taken him at his word, and hidden under the duvet all day!
But - much to do, and first things first - a big pan of soup to make. I live on the stuff when its cold and wet, its so warming, and I like to make it colourful - cheery!
So its a bit of - its raining - make soup!

Time is marching on - I can no longer pretend Christmas is ages away. We have the boys coming at the weekend, so all Father Christmas's things will have to be wrapped so they can be sent to F Christmas. All the little ones are getting excited!
I saw some cute little trees at the car boot sale, I will only have a tree if they are rooted and small enough to go in a pot. Then I keep them for couple of years bringing them in for Christmas, until they are too big for the pot (then they go in the garden), and I start again looking for a baby tree! Mind you the last couple of years we haven't had a tree - well not in the conventional sense, I think last year I decorated our little bay tree.

Its quite a little cutie -the tree. Just waiting for the rain to stop then I can hunt out a big enough pot and plant it up!
All this cold weather and the chickens are feeling it, its about this time of year that I start doing hot mash for them, I like to think it helps keep them warm and well nourished.

I have an old pan for the job, and each day I boil up all the potato and veg peelings
and any old scraps, when they are cooked through I drain them and give it a mash up adding any old bits of bread, a few oats maybe, old cereal -anything really, to dry it off a bit and make it a bit more interesting. I have found they like rice and noodles, and bits of fruit - apple cores and the like.

I give it to them whilst its warm, and they tuck in! Billy the rabbit is always first at the dish - he likes a bit of mash!
Speaking of the rabbits, we bought two new ones at the weekend.

This is Smokey - Smokey Robinson

And this is Whitney! She's a bit shy at the moment!

Of course you know Dusty - she's doing really well - a happy little soul!
We decided to get some more rabbits because - well I enjoy looking after them, and talking to the Pet Shop man the other day, he said he would be happy to take any babies (he cant find any locally to sell) - so I thought it might be a nice hobby, rearing little families of bunnies for people to have as pets. I think it is important that children get the opportunity to get close to animals, to learn to care for them, be sensitive to their needs and responsible for their pet.
I know having pets was a big part of my childhood, and still I like to share my life with a rabble of odd ball chickens, rabbits, dogs, and one very superior cat!
Not a lot on the Treasure Hunting front. Car boot sales are full of glitzy Christmas stuff!
I did find a few bits, these were thrown in a pile of what I think was old theatre costumes. The lady stall holder sells wonderful Vintage things, usually a bit too expensive for me. I think she was having a bit of a sort out,and heaped all the costumes and whatnot in a corner - the sign said 'All £2' - so I just had to have a rummage!

As you can see I found a wonderful vintage ermine collar - now I know its very Un -PC to wear fur these days, but back in the day this would have looked just fabulous!
I will display it on one of my mannequins - in the bedroom where it won't upset any visiting vegetarians or whatever! lol!
I think the Spats are a fairly modern day version, they are made of a soft stretchy fabric - they are something I will wear, and of course the pink scarf - is just so very me!

Much excitement in the Allsorts Household - not only have we just had three family birthdays in the past week, which entailed much dining out and general jolliness.
But the Master of the House (well he can be this week!) - Hubby P has a major Birthday this Thursday - Yes its the big Five O for him!
Not that he wants any fuss, and when asked, NO! - he does not feel - THAT OLD!
Its just the creaky knees, sore arthriticky shoulder, failing eyesight, bad back and generally expanding waistline that give the game away!
But we still love him! Boys are coming over at the weekend ( they live away and all have those inconvenient things like jobs and work during the week!) - so we will have a little merriment on Saturday. Families are just the best thing! don't you agree!!
That all for now folks! xx take care! xx keep warm! xx