Wednesday, 27 May 2009

LISTS "To do or not to do!"

That really is the question....

I am almost cringeing as I write this as it's going to sound SAD to most of you, but I am on a campaign which involves a "Cleaning Experiment" for a few months, by then I hope it will either have developed into a habit or I will have thrown the idea out as ridiculous!

The aim is to have the housework and home responsibilities under control so that I have more time to enjoy and explore new things without there being an imbalance....have my cake and eat it? Perhaps...enjoy life to the full, embracing new challenges...definitely.

So here's the thing (where have you all gone?!!)

5 Areas in the house

Bathrooms B1
Bedrooms x2 B2
Kitchen K3
Living Room and Study L4
Middle Area,Hall, Stairs and Landing M5

So there is a 5 week rolling programme which runs from Mon-Fri. I have tried to keep it as flexible as I can so that I don't get all legalistic about it.

The idea is this:

The house itself has to be fairly together ie carpets hoovered, sinks wiped, sort of acceptable.The idea is NOT that everything else gets ignored until you get to the allocated week for that Area!

Week 1 is the Bathroom which means that for 5 days I concentrate on that area particularly. Some days I may spend 15 minutes tidying a shelf or folding the towels in the airing cupboard. On another day I may spend an hour on something. Last week I touched up the ceiling paint in the shower and cleaned between the grouting. They were the long jobs, but I know that in 5 weeks I won't need to revisit that area for long at all so I can concentrate on something else in that room which had to wait until I came full circle again! It has been a good feeling to look at a room, that you have "attacked in stages", without it being too onorous at all.

This week it is the Bedrooms and I was appalled to discover 5 hankies under the bed, covered with thick dust! This led to me going to extremes and moving the bed across the room so that I could wash the carpet. So there's a job I shall not be repeating next month! I even cleaned on top of my wardrobes and I found a box of scapels up there...hmmm. The furniture polish I made was a bit overpowering on the Lavender essential oil front so next time I will take the advice that 2-3 drops really IS enough! The olive oil and vinegar combination worked well though. Little by little the cleaning chemicals are disappearing from my cupboard and are being replaced by simpler recipes.

So that's it really. Of course decluttering, simplifying and organising happens along the way, which tick my boxes, so I'm happy!

At the weekend you have 3 choices:

Have a rest!

Continue working in that Area...

Start the next weeks Area...

The main thing is not to become a slave to it and enjoy yourself as you potter around.

In the meantime I will keep trying to get some photos and images on here!

Friday, 15 May 2009

"A Crop Palace" Open for business!

A perfect little sign reduced to 25p in "Age Concern" that matches perfectly with the heart shape design on the hen house!

There had to be a ceremony to capture the moment...two grown adults... might even submit the photo and the story to the Battery Hen Welfare Trust...wonder if they would put it in their newsletter! I'll think on that one, could be quite entertaining with the Greek storyline.

Dick had the job of "chicken grabber" from old residence and plonking them down into 5 star luxury whilst I was doorkeeper in new establishment to stop them from running out to explore the great outdoors! There were plenty of contented little clucking sounds and they all went straight into the house for a look around, not sure what to make of perches...will they lay in the nesting boxes, I wonder?

New experiences of feathers being ruffled in the breeze. Blades of grass to tug at outside the wiremesh. They were in their element!

Looks as if they have all gone into the house to sleep, I have yet to creep in and bolt the door as earlier one heard me coming and popped out to say hello! It is going to be fun being able to move around and touch them more. The litter is so deep that it is soft to sit in and they have all come over and pecked at the sequins on my top, which reflect the light!

Ramzi and Dick have both assured me that the wiremesh is plenty strong enough to withstand the jaws of a certain predator, so I will have to chill out and accept that! I still feel very protective of them though!

Prudence eyeballing me!

This shows A Crop Palace in all its glory!

It took 24 hours for them to learn to lay in the nest box!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

A Crop Palace Part 3

Dick, armed with electric screwdriver is on the case. I have two main functions here;

I act as "occasional supporter of frames" amidst much whirring of screws as each piece fits together

and "bringer of hot and cold beverages".

I try NOT to give advice...(lesson learned)

These girls have absolutely no idea what is going on just a few feet away! I can't wait to see these exbattery hens exploring their new "Des Res"!

The Poultry Pen you can see in the foreground will eventually be moved to stand alongside the new one, pretty much where you can see that mound of earth. We plan to landscape it a little (an interesting excercise in a sloping garden) with a bench or something similar where we can watch them and feel as if we are in a different world for a while!

A few days later....

I keep out of the way apart from "recording the moment"!

Not sure what Ramzi is thinking in this photo...but as you can see he has his uses!!!

I couldn't resist this one...

We are nearly ready for the hens, A Crop Palace Part 4 will be the grand opening, am tempted to have a ribbon cutting ceremony because I feel frivolous...yep gonna think on that this space!

Dick has a little more concreting to do around the base (rodent proofing), we still have to get the Hemcore litter from Mole Valley..goodness knows how many bales! He and Ramzi have screwed some "shuttering" (?) along the bottom so that all the litter stays in the Poultry Pen....we've learned a few things from our original enclosure! We also have an additional wire mesh layer to staple around the lower area, mainly because my neurotic preoccupation with the strength of Mr Foxe's teeth and Dick being obliging...peace of mind and all that....

I am looking forward to showing you the 6 exbatts Prudence,Mabel,Bianca(white ears)Stella(Star shaped comb) and two as yet unnamed because they look similar but am hoping that named they will be very soon as I reckon I can see enough differences to tell them apart...not easy, you know when they are all the same breed! It will be exciting to see them exploring their home and environment.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Sewing and Sowing!

The task for the morning was to sew the duvet cover and make two pillowcases out of the remaining material. I inherited my sewing machine when my Nana died in the late 70's and as it hasn't been serviced for years, it is a little temperamental, so I have to treat it with much respect...chuntering along rather than breaking the speed record for sewing in a straight line! The results were very pleasing and it also means that we have a fairly "girlie" duvet cover to offer rather than Sonic the Hedgehog!

My other little project has been to grow basil. Why I used the entire packet, I'll never know, I shall be giving plants away with my eggs at this rate! Perhaps I should attach a recipe card :) I am very protective of these seedlings as I am a beginner really, having left planting seeds to Dick. I am the weeder and harvester normally!

These are some of the seedlings which are up in the Craft Room (South facing) and as I now spend more time up there I will be able to keep an eye on them.

This one of the reasons I could never have nail extensions, I just have to get my hands in the soil!!!!

Following on from yesterday's "jeans decision day", I took a long hard look in my wardrobe and mending box. This has resulted in various items taking up residence in the "repurposing" box to be made into bags, wreaths who knows! My clothes mending box is now empty as a result. A strange thought came into my mind as I was sorting through these clothes....a new day...a new set of clothes...but then nothing surprises me about these sorts of thoughts anymore.

The A crop palace Part 2

Maggie's Half Dozen Henhouse from Flyte so Fancy ( with larger door specifications incase we want to have Indian Runner Ducks in the future! Can't recommend this company highly enough, we have been delighted with everything we have bought from them.

All stones are broken and levelled, a good use for the 20 years pile of rubble by our garage!

The concreting begins.....

Backwards and forwards to Homebase ferrying bags of concrete to mix...

That evening we had dinner with friends and one of them said "I've got a cement mixer, do you want to borrow it?" WHAT!!! The job was finished on Bank Holiday Monday without the backache and in less time!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Julie went to see a farm e i e i o..and on that farm...

Today I got to go to a farm, a real farm, a farm with cowpats and country smells. My friend Ava, "determined to make a farmer of you" took me with her whilst she inspected the cow's eyes....apparently, they can jab themselves in the eye whilst eating grass and it can cause injury, so regular inspection is necessary. So armed with wellies (not green ones) I strode alongside her whilst we climbed the hill across her land to find them. Most were Aberdeen Angus, she informed me....I just saw wary eyes and much wee and poo coming out in fountains from rear ends....which held a strange fascination if only for a short while....

The calves were cute, especially the sucking on udder one, and I wished I had brought my camera. I did however have my mobile,and it was, as I was looking for the camera setting, that I trod in the cowpat which apparently Ava has never done despite having a field full of the stuff!

The most amazing sight of all, for me was the farmhouse....oh my word, okay, the words "Money Pit" come to mind, but the personality of the place, the wide windowsills that you could sit on like a benchseat, the leaded windows, the Arga, the woodburning stove, the farmhouse kitchen....lots of interesting little cupboards and shelves for jams and jellies. I would be in my absolute dream a little, I did and then came away praying that her vision for the place would one day come into being, God willing and all that!

It has been a good start to the Bank Holiday w/e. I am hoping to put my Craft room to good use and finish repurposing (a new word I have learned from other Simple Living blogs!) a torn kingsize duvet cover into a single one with two pillow cases. I have measured and cut and plan to complete that in the next day or two. Another item from the mending pile out of the way!

Yesterday, I bought a wicker basket for my knitting projects, a bargain at £2.95! I am learning that you have to get these items when you see them in Charity shops as they don't stay long. I have been getting frustrated with my knitting bag as it has so many pockets that I spend ages trying to find my scissors, sewing needles etc delving about in its deep recesses! So the bag will be used for transporting in case of w/es away and the basket can stay at home where can see eveything at a glance...and it has a sort of sentimental charm about it.

On yet another trivial note, and this is going to sound absolutely mind numbing information, I made the momentous decision today (no really it's pathetic...)to throw away my "second skin"... my old thin worn out jeans that I love so much because they are so comfortable whatever weight I am. They feel like part of me and I wear them a lot, okay partly because they are one of the few items that actually fit me at the moment, but also because they move with me and well, I don't know what else to say...anyway...this week I noticed a tear, not huge, but a tear in the upper thigh area where thigh is herniating out is not pleasant...even if I have lost 2lb this week (yay!) Added to this, I had tried on a pair of jeans in a charity shop yesterday which were in better condition than the ones I was wearing (the fact that they were size 14 and I couldn't do them up was another issue to deal with) So the decision had to be made...this morning I wrestled with the "should I keep them for gardening?" NO, remember herniating thigh, not good...could tear more and that would really put the chickens off laying...So now, here I sit in my low slung (not a good style on me!)black jeans with my belly resembling Eglon King of Moab after the sword ordeal....

So if you have lost the will to live, at this point, I apologise, my next blog will show manly men doing stuff with bricks and cement...A crop palace Part 2. In the meantime I am going to learn how to weave on a cardboard frame...bye for now!!!!


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