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Spring Life In The Garden.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Here Comes 2018!


I didn't want to just do a look back at 2017 post to be honest so this is a bit of a mish mash of the still 2017 and the coming 2018.

First of all I want to show you the start of a project Jon will be starting in the New Year; we managed to get this fantastic sink from a well known auction site for the great price of £40.

It is huge but luckily it will fit beautifully into the existing space, and we also have these...

Today Jon and the boys were clearing out the tractor shed which belongs to our sheep-farming neighbour and friend. He has said Jon can use the shed to store things from his tool shed and garage whilst he is changing them into the B and B. At the same time he found these tiles which we will use for the sink splashback. What a result, just as we needed something exactly like it!

Also Jon and the boys found these wonderful glass jars a bowl.The bottle I have taken to a charity shop as I didn't really like it.

I did get into the garden yesterday and put some chicken cleanings onto the main veg patch.

My neighbour told me that it was quite safe to put it onto the ground to rot down ready for the Spring so I managed around a third of it but will be easy to finish the rest.

In January we had to re-home Jake; we still think about him but know he is happier.

The second Airbnb room is now finished and awaiting furniture.

I especially really love the oak panel we used for the sink splashback and mirror backing.

We are very pleased that for the first Airbnb room we already have a booking for the first weekend in January and one for February. Also, we hope to get the next phase going well as Jon begins working part time from January 10, three days a week so the way he works he will get tonnes of jobs and work done.

On a personal note I joined Slimming World in February and managed to reach my goal a good while before the end of the year by losing two and a half stones.

In April we started a long-term project - mushrooms!

There will not be any result from the plugs in the trees for another year or so. We'll see what happens next year.

By May the growing area had increased. I had the original patch along with the fruit area and patch for carrots and sweetcorn.

In June we had one of our trips to the beach after the boys came home to school. Just fab.

In July Harry and I met Prince Charles at Strata Florida Abbey.

In August we had an awesome time watching the meteor shower from our back garden.

In September I made windfall chutney with apples gifted to me by my father in law...

and Jon took the boys on a camping trip.

In October the Rayburn was lit and with the cold that came with storm Brian and Ophelia we were so pleased for it.

November saw the beginning of the festive season with things like mincemeat readied for the pies in December.

And that brings us to December and the eve of the new year.

It is always a time to enjoy looking forward and thinking of the plans for the coming months but we always like to look back at past achievements and things that happened. There have been some horrible things that have occured in the last 12 months but we must always hope that the world will manage to change for the better, for everyone.

Can I wish everybody a wonderful New Year, being a purposeful, rewarding and just one that brings you peace, happiness and joy in whatever you do.

Bye for now.


Sunday, 24 December 2017

1 Sleep To Go To The Big Ho Ho!

Well! I have finally sat down after a very busy day. 

We made sure our logs and kindling were stocked up, Jon did a few jobs outside, the boys cleaned out Jon's car and then they left for their  boys' day out to have lunch and see the new Star Wars film; they are due back quite soon.

I've taken extra mince pies from the freezer and put a bottle of bubbly in the fridge for breakfast, made a pork and pistachio pie for Boxing Day, done one last wash load, vacuumed everywhere, mopped the floors, ironed tablecloths and clothes for the next few days and made another batch of cranberry sauce. 

Phew!  I AM DONE!

I have a beer, I am watching Columbo and a no-cook tea is planned.

I'm taking this time to think about how we have enjoyed planning and preparing for this festive season, but also thinking of those who will not be having such a comfortable time as I will be doing, me and my three - what more could I ask for?

In a little while I'll also be having some quiet time when I watch Carols From Kings. Later on Jon and I will prep the veg for tomorrow with a little glass of something.

So just to say Nadolig Llawen, Merry Christmas, and a happy, peaceful, joyous New Year.

Bye for now.


Friday, 22 December 2017

Deck the Halls....

I brought in my greenery from the garden on Wednesday and gave it a good soaking in whatever I could find in the cellar. 

Today I brought them up to the kitchen and set to work.

I love having a dresser in the kitchen I can decorate; I had already put some fake kind of greenery on top but needed a lot more. I had taken some lower branches off an evergreen tree and added some holly.

I also put some leaves on the centre light fitting.

In the living room I always have to put something on top of the bookcase as there is a dip and things just disappear! With the help of a couple of logs I managed to get it looking as I wanted; I just love how the greenery looks against the paper chains. (The one in the photo actually came down so had to re-fix that at the same time!)

I have holly over mirrors and picture frames and on shelves, too, of course.

I decorated our cake yesterday; I went for a simple design including a barmy red snowflake!

Sometimes I don't like bright red and green on cake decorations so went for subtlety.

I also decorated one for Jon and his pals at the sawmill and had good feedback on the taste; hope our supper guests on Boxing Day will like it, too.

And finally I made a little flower decoration with some festive blooms Jon came home with from his Dad's last weekend.

So I think I am now DONE with the decs! I don't think I'll be tweaking anything else.

Do you like to bring in greenery to decorate indoors?

Right, I'm having a celebratory beer, just because I can, as Jon is out on his work's jolly and the boys are back from youth club.

Bye for now. 


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

6 Sleeps To Go To The Big Ho Ho!

Good evening. All is cosy here with the Rayburn and the woodburner lit. No going out tonight so looking forward to a relaxing evening as have been busy all day. Bread has been baked along with the last batch of mince pies, I think. Beds changed, washing done and put away or to dry, last gifts for the boys wrapped, the usual.

Sue over at The Cottage At The End Of A Lane was talking about a lovely Christmas book the other day she has so I thought I'd show my book vignette this year.

My very favourite of them all is, as ever, the one with the image of a fireplace and tree is called Tim Mouse and Father Christmas. As I sit writing this I have the fairy lights lit on it. Eeeek!

On the front door I have my wreath; it's been there since the beginning of the month but I just added some extra greenery to it the other day - I like to think it is simple but effective.

When people come through the door this is what 'welcomes' them.

I am itching to get the holly, ivy and laurel inside but leaving it a bit yet as I want it to last. I plan on keeping it in the cellar in water for a day before I put it up so it gets a good drink. 

Once the holly etc are in the house I generally stop decorating but I am always tweaking things as I go along - never happy, you know what they say, more is more!

Right best get off and put the rest of tea on; sausage casserole is bubbling away nicely in the Rayburn. Not sure what I will be having as feel I need to be a bit well behaved this next week before I have a lot of cocktails and treats over the festive period.

Bye for now.


Thursday, 14 December 2017

Cocktails A-go-go!

Last year I made an attempt to stock the drinks tray for Christmas and we did ok. However this year I really am determined for us to have some proper cocktails.

When we ordered a few festive bottles (Jon and I don't drink that much so we like to have something a little special at Christmas). We are also having people over on Boxing Day so it will be nice to have a jug of something nice on ice to offer.

This is how the sideboard is looking. Also, because this piece of furniture is of a period that PERFECTLY suits the idea of cocktails it would be a crime not to make the most of it - well that is my excuse!

I have also invested in a proper cocktail book; contents were important of course but it did have to look right, too. The circular shaker and glass holder was a gift and it's just right!

In other news father in law is out of hospital and home. Has to rest up with no heavy activity/work for eight weeks.

The wind last night was ferocious and the tarp has been part blown off the Poly House, again, so I am PROPERLY ignoring it now.

The boys had great fun in the snow this week, sledging and making snowmen. It has now all gone now I might add. They are back to school after two days off with most of the Christmas activities having been re-arranged so they all fit in before they break up on December 22, same day as Jon. Woop woop!

I managed to snap this little visitor at the top kitchen. May use if for a card next year!

Ok, better dash as it is our community Christmas lunch at 12.30 and I have made a big pot of bread sauce to take as my contribution.

Hope everybody is recovering from any snow/bad weather.

Bye for now.


Sunday, 10 December 2017

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Bore da!

We awoke to the perfect version of A Child's Christmas In Wales, weather wise anyhow!

The forecast was snow from 4am today, we were awake at 5am and it was already coming down heavily. It is still snowing some now. Jon and the boys have gone to clear our neighbour's path and driveway then are going sledging - I am NOT!

Here are some of the views around the house; here from the top kitchen,

across to the chicken enclosure and....

the cars!!

I am of the mind to load the Rayburn up with baking potatoes and make a big pot of veg soup. 

We will have to see if the boys can get to school and Jon to work in the morning. I have just seen the first two vehicles, a land rover and a tractor. It said on the Internet that it was taking two hours to get from Lampeter to Carmarthen. We are going nowhere, hunkering down and just enjoying the time together.

I have just seen the Aberystwyth Neighbouring Policing Team go past so I guess people are being looked out for.

Hope all is well with everybody, Dawn I see you have had some winter weather at yours.

All take care please.

Bye for now.


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Mince Pie Mayhem and Poly House Protection!

This was the kitchen yesterday.

This was the first mince pie session of the season. I tried a couple of new things - a pecan nut under a circle topping on some of them and also painting some holly leaves; Tracy can vouch for my ridiculous sense of joy over the latter! Eeek!

I actually made a total of 42 but managed to burn a dozen when I got sidetracked by something. Aargh!

Here is me being a little festively naughty, considering I was going to Slimming World last night (still managed to only put on 1lb so still within my target weight after 8 weeks I think.) First mince pie from my kitchen. Mmmm, and Jon said they were better with me having cooked the mincemeat when I made it.

We are pretty much Christmas Central here, just a few more decorations to go up but I'm loving, as usual, the living room with my paper chains and paper globes.

I have this basket display in the bottom kitchen window and I'm very pleased with it. I like to have some things I can pick up and move to other places if I want to decorate somewhere else quickly.

However we are not getting the tree until the weekend what with Jon being back and forth to see his dad.

Now, on Sunday there was a team effort, so no time for action shots,and we got some tarps put over the Poly House. This means that as I find the time to do so I can start and tidy up inside a bit. It already feels better as I can dry out things like pots and tray that are just carrying so much water.

It isn't the prettiest thing in the garden by any stretch but it is serving a purpose until Spring. 

(So pleased that the angle of all these photos means you cannot see what an horrendous state my far veg patch is in just now!)

In other news FIL still hasn't had his op but it is scheduled for Thursday, fingers crossed.

Right, boys home shortly and better be ready to referee the mince pie situation as they are already getting eaten up stupidly quickly, but that is what they are for!

Bye for now.