Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A rainbow

Today I am upstairs sewing curtains and each time I look out there's a rainbow. It looks so nice to be able to view it without the supply poles in view. Unfortunately I can't open the window for a clearer picture and the wind is so strong it would probably blow off!

An indigo sky

The sky this morning was almost indigo as the early sunshine briefly broke through the cloud. We have had huge gales and really awful weather with hail, snow, sleet and thunder. The corner of the building covering the well has begun to collapse and all the garden furniture was blown upside down.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Stair work

Our stairs are a definite challenge. Dave has been stripping off old paint and varnish so we can keep the wood exposed at the sides of the tread. The treads themselves are dished and in some places cracked across. I always venture on them extremely carefully!
Dave had great success repairing two really broken treads on the flight of stairs leading to the top of the house, but as with everything it's slow and challenging work. (Making curtains in another room I hear a lot of sighing!)

Sunday, 29 March 2015

A sort of goose arrives!

Finally we are ready to start choosing furniture. Initially we intended to pick up pieces from antique shops but it soon became apparent that with this approach it would be easy to end up with rooms that were a muddle of different styles. Years ago I came across a company that makes furniture that you can paint (or not if you prefer), their unforgettable name 'Scumble Goosie'. Not only are they still in business but have flourished and so we ordered a chest and a writing desk which came today. Delighted with our purchases we have now decided to order more for the other bedroom. The simplicity of design seems to lookjust  right in our rooms with their massive timber beams. We do intend to paint the furniture so .... watch this Blog!

Finding Mum

It interests me that the lambs aren't very good at finding their mothers. Often they run across the field and try several ewes before they find 'Mum'. For their part the mothers aren't particularly helpful either however they sniff the lambs and if it isn't theirs it gets a gentle head butt to send it in the direction of someone else. We've been watching the lambs race about. Now the older ones seem to enjoy being together and race about like mad things. I've felt sorry for them in the recent terrible weather as it seems a harsh introduction to field life.

Friday, 27 March 2015

I can see you

Before the hare was posing by the daffodils but today he is most definitely hiding in them. Unfortunately, a bit like a child covering themselves with a blanket, he presumably felt more concealed than he actually was. Altogether he was there for at least an hour while I tried to not photograph him and get on with my domestic tasks!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Stacking them high

Although the numbers of mother sheep have now reached double figures there really isn't any need for 'lamb stacking' yet!

Hare and daffodils

The hare sat for quite a while this morning down by our raspberry canes. I think he must have known that the daffodils made a very photogenic background for him - and of course the photo is the essence of spring.

Later the hare really looked as if he was sniffing the flowers. Through the camera lens I could see his nose twitching. It had rained hard in the night and everywhere sparkled with water droplets.

The ultimate photo

Yes the lambs and the hare caught together in an early morning photo! I was pleased to see the hare had no problems getting under the electric fence that has been put in place to stop the lambs from heading down to the stream.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Vino tinto 'eclipse'

Dave has bottled his latest batch of wine and I decided that my labels should use one of our eclipse photos. I think they look suitably distinguished. At the moment it is 'a young and fruity specimen' just ready for a couple of months maturing in the cupboard under the stairs!

More curtains

Having had practice making the bedroom curtains I now feel more confident about starting on the ones for the guest living room.  I searched for ages before finding this lovely Vanessa Arbuthnott 'Acorn and Leaf' fabric which is exactly right for here, surrounded as we are by so many wonderful mature oak trees.

A happy sheep

A blissed out sheep was using the gate as a scratching post. She must have been itchy as she was there for ages and then turned round to do the other side! In the night we had quite a bit of rain and I could hear the lambs complaining about this un-experienced turn in the weather. Now it's become very windy so the big woolly coats must come in  handy.

Pullet eggs

I'd love to get a few chickens but currently free range pullet eggs from just up the road are £1 for a tray of 40 so having our own certainly wouldn't be cheaper. I love that these are from chickens just getting the hang of laying eggs. We have them scrambled on home made wholemeal toast for today's lunch.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


"A croquembouche or croque-en-bouche is a French dessert consisting of choux pastry balls piled into a cone and bound with threads of caramel."

As watchers of past Masterchef competitions we have seen contestants struggle to make this spectacular dessert. I asked Joe what he'd like for a birthday cake and Dave suggested this!!!!  Actually after a false start with the first lot of choux paste it was easier than we'd thought with the biggest challenge being how to construct the cone needed for assembly.  This was the finished result of which we were duly proud (and it tasted really good).

Birthday boy

Joe also got a conventional cake for his birthday (just in case our masterpiece hadn't worked). I decided 25 candles may be rather too many to light in one go so I went for what looked like 'a lot' of them instead.

Partridge pair

Our pair of red legged partridge are definitely back and this one climbed on top of our soil heap and started to call. They make a very strange guttural clucking, almost clicking sound. While trying to photograph them I noticed that to make this noise their throats puff right up as you can see from the photograph. We do wonder where they've been for the last 7 months.

Monday, 23 March 2015

A matching pair

We now have a pair of curtains for the guest bedroom (which we are currently sleeping in!) Extending the fabric with the gingham linen has worked fine but was a huge palaver and not one I'll be in a hurry to repeat!

A perfect spring day

Today the sun was shining after some brief earlier showers and the trees and hedges are just starting to have the faintest tint of green about them. Seen close up the leaves on the hawthorn are starting to unfurl. Walking down to church yesterday the air was full of the sound of birds singing (and now also of the lambs). Our efforts at tackling some less familiar hymns were rather less musical!

Finally fitted

It's been a long wait to get our fireplace installed in the bedroom but now there is one more job we can tick off the list, once the paintwork's made good. This is the same room as I've been making curtains for, so far it's known as the 'blue room' and it goes with the big bathroom. This should be the first room that we have ready for Bed and Breakfast. I wanted to just call them 'Room 1' and 'Room 2' but at the moment using the wall colour is the only way for anyone to know which one I mean!

Hare in a hurry

The hare was running through the garden this morning when I saw him first around 5.30 then an hour or so later he came back and squeezed under the gate into the sheep field. I wonder what he makes of these new furry additions to 'his' field.

A frosty start

This morning it is decidedly chilly and looking outside I realise that I can see the sheep's breath. The lambs need to stay snuggled up with their mums.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Beer garden

This evening was the first that it was light enough for us to have our evening drink outside in the garden (albeit well wrapped up as the air was quite cool). Dave samples one of his home brewed beers. While we are sitting and enjoying the view some more sheep and lambs arrived to join those opposite. Happy days.

The worktops

We take advantage of having a temporary problem (we hope) with the drain from our sink to re-oil the kitchen worktops - as for the time being we are using the utility room sink.  Dave carefully sanded them down before applying two further coats of oil. Although they take effort to keep nice I love them and I'm very glad I didn't let people talk me out of having them.

Keeping watch

Puss may still be very stand offish with us but she is sitting here guarding the entrance to our farm, just in case anyone else gets any ideas about coming here to be fed. Much of the time she likes to just sit on the grass up at the top of the Big Field.

Almost done

These curtains must have taken longer to make than almost any pair in history! I've been trying to combine sewing with gardening today as for once the wind has dropped and with rain forecast for tomorrow I have to reluctantly stop fixing on the header tape to go outside and continue digging weeds out of the Stonehenge bed.

Half of a pair

Well I have one curtain hanging at the bedroom window now (and one old totally un-matching one!) Hopefully the other will join it tomorrow. It's very hard getting on with things when there are hares at one window and lambs at the other!

Saturday, 21 March 2015


This evening I noticed that there was loads of noise from the sheep and when I went to see what the problem was I discovered one of the tiny lambs had squeezed under the gate and was now on its own in the lane, all the others had gathered to watch and presumably give advice in a cacophony of baa-ing. After a few false starts I managed to grab the lamb and pop it back into the field. All this stress and they aren't even mine!

Not one hare but three

Today we saw three hares in the big field, although I could only get two into the same photograph as unfortunately someone was shooting nearby and the third took off across the field. These two however spent all morning with us and every now and again the one sitting on his haunches practised his boxing moves.

Tablecloth joy

Today we went to see what the antique fair at Uttoxeter Racecourse was like (mindful that our last visit there had resulted in us buying Hill Farm!) Today my purchases were more modest but I fell in love with this 1950's tablecloth. It exactly matches the colour of our doors and has a wonderful design of fruit, blossom and walnuts.


A little late for Mothering Sunday this year, our daffodils are finally starting to open, having been in full bud for quite a while. They are a lovely old double variety which have naturalised in the garden.

Friday, 20 March 2015


Today we planted our first crop of the season - early Winston potatoes. They had chitted nicely and were ready to go into the soil - carefully dug over by Dave whilst I tackled the large crop of weeds flourishing elsewhere in the garden. It's sunny but with a very cold wind.

Solar eclipse at Hill Farm

We had an amazing time viewing the solar eclipse this morning. At first we thought the cloud cover would prevent us seeing anything but it created the perfect conditions as you can see from our photos!

Preparing to view the eclipse

Following advice I prepared to view the eclipse with a pinhole cut from card and placed over a mirror, which enabled us to project the image of the eclipsing sun onto the newly painted door in the living room. We thought this may be our only chance to view as the fine cloud began to build up outside - typical conditions whenever there is anything interesting to watch in the solar system!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Wall colours

Our colourful stair walls will soon be a thing of the past as Dave prepares to repair and paint them. I meanwhile am escaping to London for the day to the Country Living Show to view Liz's Ewenique Furniture and lots of other amazing exhibits.
Our own Ewenique Sheep!