Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Inside/Outside


I've just finished prepping the log burner for tonight, in case it's needed.


The sun shining on the logs made me grab the camera for a quick photo.

It's been another glorious day here in North Wales, but sunny clear days usually mean clear and cold nights, so it's best to be prepared.


Enough  logs on this side and the other for an evenings warmth.


The kindling basket is full ready for the next few days.

It's nice to be prepared.



Outside I've been round topping up all the wild bird drinking areas and bird baths.  The hot sun and no rain has meant that as well as being drunk and bathed in, it has been evaporating too.


Everything is starting to take on that lovely green lushness that Spring brings.


Planters watered,  and dog drinkers filled with fresh clean water too.  Mavis loves this one, and always stops for a quick slurp on our way back from the paddock so I try to keep it clean.



Shady corners, and flowering herbs smelling so sweet in the late afternoon sunshine.  With insects flitting around and bees landing on the flowers of the Rosemary and Thyme.

Just indoors and outdoors today.

Keep well, stay safe. 

Sue xx



Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Trowels, Courgettes and Marigolds



I broke the handle on my largest trowel the other day and using my other one to copy off my clever hubby made me a new one.


It's handy when you own a lathe ... he knew it would come in handy one day 🤣🤣

I'm surprised the handle had lasted as long as it did, I have a bad habit of leaving my trowels in the raised bed I last worked in, which means they are relatively easy for me to find when I start work again the next day, but as I had last worked this particular bed in the net tunnel bed over a year ago it meant that this poor trowel was left out all Winter!!


The polytunnel is springing into life now and these Courgettes seedlings make me smile every time I go over.  


This photo was taken last week and yesterday I noticed that they now have their first 'true leaves' so later on today I will be potting them on into little plant pots so they can develop a more mature root system ready for planting in the beds.


The other day I was reminded to plant some Marigolds to both add a splash of colour to the polytunnel and to deter some of the usual pests that can ravage a your young plants. 

 It's the first time I used this sort of ready seeded tape.  I have used the single lengths before for things like beetroot ... I buy whatever is available when the garden centres sell off their seeds at the end of Autumn, and to get something that should have been £2.99 for just 50p is always a welcome boost to the following years growing box ... but I had never seen this before, also bought for 50p.  

This one has black weed resistant backing, so in theory it should give the seeds a head start over any weeds that would usually appear around them.


I followed all the instructions carefully.


And put strips along three different beds in the polytunnel.  It should look magnificent if they all come up ... we'll see!!



The tomato growing pots have been sited ready for the growing season, but the seeds only went in at the end of last week so it will be a while before they are filled with any plants.

Still it's nice to start getting the bare bones of the food growing areas ready.


Sue xx




Monday, 6 April 2020

Ethel and Joey ... and Views from a Different Perspective


Look who's back  😃🐑

Shepherd Will brought Ethel back yesterday to graze on our paddock once again.  With her was a surprise little guest, her son, now named Joey.  He just looks like a Joey.

She was quick to check out her little house, and make sure it was still home.

With her is another elderly and rather fleece worn sheep with her lamb.  They are slowly taking the lead of Ethel and realising that us and the dogs are nothing to be afraid of, but naturally for the moment they are a little bit stand offish.


It was nice to have Ethel home, we seriously thought she would not survive the Winter even with Will's good shepherding skills, and to have her back alongside her three week old lamb is a lovely bonus.  Jasmine, Ethel's daughter from last year is currently living nearer to Will's farm and living with a group of one year old who will not go on to have lambs of their own until next year.


Confined to quarters as we are at the moment we are making good use of the paddock for the dogs.  They have fifteen minutes of laps around the paddock every morning with Alan, along with a good run around and plenty of sniffing and exploring and then after tea we both go over walk around the perimeter once and then sit on the grass and watch the world go by while they let off steam and have a good run around.

With the lambs now there to join in it should make for even more fun afternoons.  I wonder if Joey will end up as dog-like as Jasmine got last year.  She would chase Mavis from one end of the paddock to the other and then Mavis would chase her back.  No doubt a bit disconcerting for motorists watching the former and somewhat alarming for motorists watching the latter.


Yesterday the weather was glorious and in the heat of the late afternoon sun I lay back, avoiding rabbit dropping and sheep poo and did a spot of cloud watching.

I decided to take a couple of upside down photos while I reclined on the hillside, which when I loaded to the computer were automatically 'righted', so I had to figure out which were meant to be upside down and which were the right way up 😃


It was so relaxing watching as clouds crossed quickly overhead in the warm breeze and fizzled out to nothing as they drifted over our land.


A completely different  perspective on life.



It was a wonderfully peaceful and relaxing way to spend an hour after a day of doing various jobs around the place.  



Animals, sunshine and birdsong ... what more could you need.



Sue xx



Sunday, 5 April 2020

Police Stops, Shopping and Lambing Time


We had to venture out yesterday to get some Layers Pellets for the chickens, even though they barely lay eggs now that the girls are all in retirement,  they do need these to help with the calcium levels in their little bodies and as a good base feed.

The Police were out in force in our area, stopping all non-essential journeys and turning around visitors to the area who were trying to have their daily exercise far from home.  Here in Wales no unnecessary journeys are allowable, even a ten minute hop in the car to take your dog to a park or beach is not allowed.  If you can walk there fine, it's the unnecessary car journeys that are being clamped down on ... and with good reason.  

We were about to be flagged down when one of the officers recognised our truck, it is a distinctive model and there's only one other one that we've seen locally, so they knew immediately who we were and where we were from, so we were waved through with a smile.  It gave us both a real sense of belonging, which was nice in these strange times.

Anyway when we got to the farm supplies shop it was closed.  We did notice they now operating a 'phone your order in from the gate and pay over the phone' technique so we plugged the phone number into Alan's phone ready to join the queue on Monday morning.  I'll go along for the ride and as neither of us will have to get out at all there will be no problem, and it's surprising how a simple ten minute car ride with a change of view lifts the spirits.


While we were out yesterday we called our neighbour to see if she needed anything and managed to pick her up some cat food from the local Co-op who were operating a 'one in, one out' system at the door.  Getting ourselves a couple of necessities and a couple of treats while we were there.

Which category do the doughnuts fall into, well I guess that was the necessities camp!!  A sweet treat will stop me murdering Alan, so he agrees totally with my categorisation.  He got a couple of  'red stickered' almond cakes, so perhaps I'm safe too ... for a while.

The shelves were pretty empty in the Co-op, so we made the decision that if we need more shopping we will venture slightly further afield in the opposite direction to Tesco and leave the small Co-op for the people who live the most local to it, a lot of whom are elderly and walk through the town to get there.  We are 3 miles from Llanrwst and just over 8 miles from Tesco in Llandudno Junction, but of course we have the cars so that is not too much of a problem. 


First thing every morning we see farmer Thomas in his Landrover driving slowly round the fields over the road from us and on the opposite side of the railway track.  He drives in twice a day to check on his sheep, who are currently in the process of giving birth in the fields.  Outdoor birthing is quite common in this area and at this later time of year.  It is the more mature sheep that have birthed easily before that are left to their own devices except for daily welfare checks.  For the past week there has been one lamb running with all the sheep, obviously an early arrival, but over the last 24 hours three more little playmates have joined him.  No more hanging out with the grown-ups for him.


Sue xx


Saturday, 4 April 2020

Toilets, Wellies and Excited Chickens


We make good use of everything here  😄



On the 14th March we went to the cinema to see The Invisible Man, a good film by the way.  We just caught the cinemas before they and all other places of entertainment and eating out were shut down.  It was a profitable night out as we came away with two full bags of popcorn, left by the people in front of us.  Why do people buy so much popcorn and then not eat it, perhaps the idea of it is more appealing than the actual taste to them.  Well anyway we picked it up for the chickens to have over the coming days.

Then a day or so later we tidied the house ready for the photographer to come and take the sales shots for the estate agent, and the bags of popcorn were hidden in the cupboard.

You know what I am about to say don't you!!

Yes, I found them at the start of this week.  Luckily the popcorn was still as fresh as when it was popped ... which I actually found a bit strange. 


Anyway everyday this week the chickens have had a nice treat of sweet popcorn ... they love it and hoover it up in preference to their usual un-popped corn.

Oh well it has made their usual rations last a lot longer, and it's nice to see their excitement.

🐔🐔 🐔

Sue xx



Friday, 3 April 2020

Wash Day Blues


Washday blues not because I'm blue about doing the washing, but because the washing is mostly blue!!

We both seem to wear a lot of blue at the moment, which is handy for being able to chuck everything into the washing machine at the same time.  And it would appear that I wear mostly stripes.  I do love a good stripe, spot or check ... as long as they are in blue and white or green and white.


Alan likes a good comedy t-shirt or character t shirt.  His Chewbacca t-shirt on the line here gets a lot of comments as did his old Sesame Street one with Oscar the Grouch .  

The one that says 'Made in the 1950's ... some parts still in working order', gets him stopped in the street, usually by little old ladies eager to tell him how old they are.


In other news ... Ginger says 'Hi' from his new favourite bed, the dog bed in the conservatory.  He is fickle that cat, just when we get used to him being in that bed he'll be back to sleeping on the table instead  😸


Sue xx



Thursday, 2 April 2020

Becoming Unbusy



There's a lot of talk on the internet and on blogs about keeping busy during these strange and worrying days.  Keep your mind and your body occupied and there won't be time for worry. 

Now there's absolutely no harm in this and at first being back here in Wales I too have felt the urge to keep myself busy, to get things done, achieve all those things that I've been putting off for so long.

Now it's time to call it a day on that.

This is not me anymore.

When my Mum phones she frequently says at the end of a call  'I'll let you go now, I know how busy you are'. 

 I'm not, if I was I won't be anymore ... I don't need to be.

I don't want to be.



Exactly this!!


We seem to put more value on the people that are busy.  The people that rush around doing this and that and never say no to doing just a little bit more.

If you want something done, ask a busy person people say.  And yes, I used to fall right in that category.  Always squeezing just a little bit more into my day.

And losing a little bit more of me each time I did.

Now is the time to claim that bit back.



And this enforced time at home to think quietly about this has been quite cathartic for me and has only reinforced my knowledge that for me the way forward is complete and utter simplicity.

A call back to a simple way of life, here for the moment, back in the Van when I am able.

While I'm here I will be whittling down my possessions, so that when I am able to return to the Van packing my life into a tiny Fiat 500 car will not be a problem.



Someone who knows all about and lives a simple live is Niamh over at Fairyland Cottage.  Her videos published each Sunday are an oasis of calm.  If you don't already watch them or subscribe to her channel do so you will love what you find.

Her sunrise of birdsong is wonderful to hear.


Sue xx



Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Working and Snoozing


As I mentioned in yesterdays post we have been getting lots of little jobs and indeed some bigger jobs done while we are at home.  And hard work means that lots of sleep has been necessary.


We are managing this very well … all of us.

While Alan and the animals snooze more during the day in between jobs, I've been finding myself waking up later and later … I even got to 9.30am the other morning, which is unheard of for me.

We obviously need it and while we can … we might as well.

Over on my other blog today is the tale of us actually leaving the old homestead for an hour and venturing to Tesco.  We didn't need to but we had to.





I'll just leave it at that.


Sue xx



Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Getting Through the Jobs


 This enforced time spent at home here in Wales has meant there has been a real need to find useful ways to fill our days.  Although Alan is still working full time, albeit from home, he still has the evenings and weekends free, so with me being here rather than at the Van living a totally different kind of life and being here 24/7 at that, not being able to be here there and everywhere in my car visiting Mum, the shops or walking dogs, there has been quite a few extra hours to fill.

We have been using this time wisely, to do all those little jobs that have been put off and put off  ... and once they are done there has been a real sense of satisfaction for both of us.


For instance, yesterdays main job was to finally get around to finishing this little area near the gate.

When we first moved to North Wales and started walking the dogs along the  promenade and beach at Llandudno, we started to pick up a pebble with a white stripe each time we went.  One or two pebbles a week had added up to a nice little collection, one that we had been meaning to add to this area ever since the driveway was completed a couple of years ago.  Luckily we had continued to pick up a few more pebbles here and there recently as we needed a lot more than we had!!


Alan had already part filled the area with a layer of concrete a few days ago, and then yesterday he topped it with some quick drying cement and I set too to press in all of the pebbles before it dried.


It was going well, until I ran out of pebbles.

What to do?

I had to think fast.


Then I had a brainwave, and I raided Alan's little stash of old and antique tools and bits and bobs in the box in his workshop!!

He didn't really mind as he saw the lovely effect they created and in fact we loth love it so much we will probably use the rest of his collection at our new address in the future for a similar feature.

Only hopefully next time we will get round to doing it before we are about to sell up!!


Sue xx



Monday, 30 March 2020

My Daily List of Four



Photo from:  Crazy Girl Loving Life on Facebook


I'm still trying to give a modicum of structure to my day, or at least to my thoughts, with my little four part list of things to try to accomplish each day.  Yesterday's four things went something like this:


Productive - Hoovered the downstairs.

Fresh Air - 2 doggy walks around the paddock, one with lots of lunges and hops, skips and jumps ... yes Alan thinks I'm mad, it's official.  I did try to look like it was a normal walk whenever a car drove past.  🤭

Something Cooked or Made from Scratch - missed out on this one, we had a nibbly, eat all the little bits from the fridge sort of day.

Something I Love - We both watched a couple of films ... Contagion, so weirdly similar to how things are now it was scary!!  Men in Black 3, we've never seen this before so it was different.  And finished off with a Midsomer Murders, a really old one with John Nettles as Barnaby.


Every day is starting to feel like a Sunday, it's very strange.  A bonus is that although it's bitterly cold outside, the sun is still shining and somehow that makes things so much better.

I hope you are still safe at home.


Sue xx