Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A cold Halloween

Well, I've decided to leave my broomstick at the back door tonight, it's just way too cold and windy to be out flying around on a night like this! As my nana would say "that wind would take the nose off you"!! Seriously though, it is sooooo cold outside, and because it's so blinking windy I don't think we're going to be able to light the fire :o( Last week I lit it when it was windy and the whole house filled up with smoke, we really must get an anti down draft thingy fitted to the chimney pot! There's a story to that actually, when we first got the chimney opened up and swept last year the chimney sweep told me we would need what I thought he said to be an "anti-dandruff" thingy, I thought he meant that the soot would start falling in or something, what a wally! Yet another blond moment to add to the collection! Anyway, seeing as it's Halloween and all that, we thought we'd put a little pumpkin in the window to scare off all the ghosts and ghouls, not sure if we'll get any trick or treaters this evening or not - we'll see!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Busy sewing

Today has been a busy day sewing for my first Christmas fair of November on Thursday, down in Bridge of Allan. It's a Coffee, Cake, Cards and Gifts open day at a friends house so it should have a really nice relaxed atmosphere. There's going to be myself selling my usual wares, Gill selling her Phoenix cards, and another few stall holders selling jewellery, organic handmade soap and Fairtrade Guatamalan bags and accessories.
I've been busy sewing little mossy green felt christmas trees adorned with bells, buttons and gorgeous ribbons, each one being that little bit different from the next. They're filled with rosemary, cloves and cinnamon, and look fab dotted around the house at Christmas time. I've made them for the past two years but always change the design slightly so hopefully they'll still be popular this year. The bells are a new trim that I've used and seem to have proved popular so far! So I'm back off to sit at the fire sewing on another 40 buttons and bells, ah the joys!!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Up on the roof

Today Gregg went up on the roof to check the
other chimney as we're putting in a stove in the
dining room soon - heat at last! After last winter,
our first in the cottage, we promised ourselves
we'd have a stove put in before this winter -
we'll be cutting it fine but will hopefully have it
done in the next few weeks. Gregg was checking the chimney pot and surrounding brickwork and
spraying it with weed killer as there was some willow herb growing out of it over the summer!
We've got a lot of work to do inside too - but that will follow in another post! I did ask Gregg where the life insurance policy document was before he went up on the roof.......very cruel!
Also today I've been playing about with the blog, changing the colour scheme and adding a link to
our web site and other sites that I love. I've come across some really interesting blogs over
the past wee while, it has really become quite
addictive, but nice to know there are other people out there who are also pationate about living "the country life" and all the bits that go with it! I really hope Gregg has the sense to have a look at some of the sites for Christmas pressie ideas, his life (and mine!) would be so much easier and I'll have lots of lovely pressies under the tree!
I also really enjoyed this weekend as the weather
was pretty reasonable and we got out for a few nice walks with Chrissie. I enjoyed it even more than usual as I'd treated myself to some new Hunter wellies as I'd worn a hole through the sole of my old ones, which resulted in some rather soggy socks over the last week or so, so I definitely think I was justified in buying them!
Todays pictures are of Gregg up on the roof and a view of the garden from up there looking down onto the veggie garden - as you can see all of the raised bed are now full of top soil so I can start to plan what I'm going to grow next year - how exciting!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fixing the bridge

Today we decided to "fix" the bridge that goes over the Bruckly Burn, the wee burn that runs down to the Alyth burn (the big burn!) and goes over to the chicken run. When we had all the heavy rain this week the burn was flowing right over the top of the bridge - not good when you've got holes in your wellies! The bridge has gradually
sunk over the last wee while so something had to be done as it just acts as a dam when the burn is in full spate. The banks were also needing built up with stones as they were eventually
washing away with all the rain. So we decided to put some large stones under the two logs that
support the slats to try and lift it above the water level. We also cleared lots of gravel and silt from under the bridge to let the burn flow easier underneath. Some of the larger stones came from in front of the cottage that were acting as a border with the farm road, so a bit of muscle was needed with the wheelbarrow to move them! So you can now see from the photos that the bridge is a bit more level and higher than before and will hopefully survive the winter!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Fruits of our labour

I picked the last of the tomatoes and chillies yesterday as the plants are starting to die now so I thought I'd better before they all go mouldy! I've put the tomatoes into a brown paper bag and put them in a cupboard as they are supposed to ripen well by doing this - can't remember where I read that little tip - I'll let you know if it works! I'll probably forget and find a mouldy mess in a couple of weeks!
I'm going to thread the chillies up and let them dry out, they're great for putting into soups to give them a wee bit of a kick!
Also busy today getting all of the stock tagged and priced for the Travelling Souks that I'm doing tomorrow and Tuesday. Tommorow is at Thriepley House, Lundie, near Dundee and Tuesdays is at Kilbryde Castle, by Dunblane. Fingers crossed both will be a success, really looking forward to getting back into the swing of things for Christmas, time will just fly by between now and mid December, what a thought!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The sounds of autumn

Even though it was Friday the 13th yesterday we had a super day. I managed to get some sewing
done outside in the sun, always a treat when it comes to this time of year. It's amazing how it's still so mild for this time of year - when the sun was out yesterday it was gorgeous. As I said in my posting the other day, we lost the mink trap when the burn was high with all the rain we had on Wednesday. So yesterday we had to walk down the burnside to try and find it. Luckily we have a path that leads almost from our house all the way along to Alyth along the den, it's a lovely walk through the woods and alongside the Alyth burn, as shown in the photo. About half a mile
down from the cottage we
found the trap in the burn ( thankfully as it's borrowed from a neighbouring farmer!), so we were then able to enjoy the rest of our walk through the woods. Catriona was also with us, so with her help, the three of us gathered some acorns and beech nuts for me to dry and put in my woodland pot pourri - a big seller at christmas time!! We came across lots of toad stools on the walk, I find them really amazing as there are just so many different varieties. Catriona took a photo of the one shown above.
I also took myself off on another walk to gather
some pine cones - again for in the pot pourri -
I've had my eye on a big branch with loads of
cones on it that I pass most days with Chrissie - so we scrambled up the bank and collected about half a carrier bagful!!
It's been on our tea-time walk the last couple of days that we've seen lots of geese flying overhead, yesterday we saw a huge flock. I love the sound of them, it's such an autumn sound and reminds me so much of my childhood as we used to have lots of geese in the fields surrounding our house at this time of year. I also love the sound of pheasants when they ( and you!) get a fright and fly out the undergrowth - it's such a magical sound, and the way they just glide through the air, although a tad hap-hazzerdly! This photo shows a gorgeous male pheasant that took to roaming around in our garden in the spring - I do hope he makes it through the shooting season!
The pot pourri probably won't make it onto the web site as I can't make enough of it at this time of year so if anyone would like a bag its £4.95. I'll try and get a photo of it posted soon!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Has the earth moved for me...................!!

Well, after all that rain yesterday we really MUST get all of our topsoil moved this weekend.
Both the burns are really high, and I think the
mink trap may have been washed down the burn, oops, we'll need to go wading tomorrow to see if we can find it!
The soil is to go in the raised beds Gregg built for me over the summer, we have 10 in total, mostly for veggies but I'd like to grow some flowers for cutting too as it's lovely having them all over the house. So far we've managed to fill 2 of the boxes, it's really hard work and takes a lot longer
than you think to fill one box. I have a feeling
Gregg may be at it all weekend!! We've also got a large pile of well rotted manure from when the last owners of the cottage had their 2 miniature ponies in the "paddock" - so that's to be added to the boxes too.
The weather is good for tomorrow but the rest of the weekend is doubtful so we'll see. We're hoping to get the woodburning stove in the dining room soon as I'm not spending another winter in the "ice box" - I got chillblanes on my feet for the first time ever last winter! So we've got a fair bit of work to do on that as there is the original stove behind the wall and god knows what else we'll find! Ooh the joys of renovating an old cottage!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Chillies are so easy to grow...........

I've managed to grow loads of red and green chillies in the greenhouse this summer, something I've never grown before. I've also got a huge crop of cherry tomatoes at the minute on my tumbling tomato plant. Not sure if it's warm enough for them to rippen in the greenhouse so I might need to bring them in to the house to finish them off, we'll see. I've had about half a dozen so far that have rippened but that was a few weeks ago. I have to admit I did cheat a bit as both the plants came from Dobbies in Perth! We were a bit late in getting the greenhouse cleared out, it had a huge grape vine in it and loads of spiders and cobwebs. I use the term "we" very loosely - Gregg cleaned it out, I wouldn't got near all those cobwebs and spiders! I just stood outside shouting that he'd missed a bit every now and then!!!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Grotty day

It's a really grotty day today, it was horrible and misty when I walked Chissie this morning and it has now been raining for about 2 hours, I hate days like today. Gregg has also gone back to work after a week off, shouldn't really admit it but I do actually miss him!! I'm busy getting lots of orders done as well as trying to get stock made for myself as my first couple of christmas fairs start two weeks today. They are at Thriepley House, near Newtyle on Monday 16th Oct and at Kilbryde Castle, outside Dunblane on Tuesday 17th Oct. I have got soo much sewing to do to get enough stock together for these fairs! I have ordered some lovely bits and bobs to complement our range so hopefully they will have arrived by then or I'll be selling empty brown paper bags!!! Here's a nice cheery picture of our dahlias outside the greenhouse, one of the last flowers left in the garden from the summer. I bought them at Snapdragons Garden Flowers, my friend Janes organic flower business which she also runs from home, she has a super blog at http://www.snapdragongarden.blogspot.com/ .