Friday, 14 November 2008

Baking Hot!

Yeah I wish the title was about the weather he he... Well my Mama bought me an unbirthday present of an electric bread maker. We adore home baked bread but a magic box one opens and closes and bread comes out ... well we got to baking in earnest!

My first attempt of a fruit loaf however had everyone amused as it looked like a grumpy old person.

And then there was the Banana Bread Loaf [baked in oven] that was for some forgotten reason nicknamed Jemima Loaf.... lmao I can't remember why perhaps one of the Goddesses reading this can comment and remind me!
As you can see Robert was brave enough to taste my Jemima and live to tell the tale. He enjoyed it... no really he did!!

We then had a discussion about butter and Rio thought butter came from cheese so we made some butter.

The children really enjoyed doing this and seemed to have forgotten making butter a few years ago. I really have let things like this slip since I stopped home educating. Just goes to show though doesn't it? Butter from cheese?? At least he was almost there I guess some wouldn't even make that link.

The butter tasted awesome spread on slices of freshly baked bread. Yes I am putting on weight!!

Still... how can anyone resist home grown, home baked food?

We had a fab crop of tomatoes, aubergines, purple potatoes, chives, white potatoes... It's just too good to resist the urge to EAT!!

Plenty eggs n bread missus!

Back in October Beef laid her very first [and only] double yolk egg! It just so happened to be on the day Torin designated himself as "Beef eater" which isn't as horrendous as it sounds, he just got to have the egg Beef laid. So wasn't he chuffed to bits??

Then we hear a knock at the window and Looky looky who's spying on the Toad eating her egg!!

Now you may be wondering why she looks so ropey... well if you look out the window you will see a rather odd object for a hen run and that is an umbrella... why? Well because while the other three hens ran off for dry shelter beef decided she would go worm hunting. Just look at how disheveled she is!
Photo affectionately known as BEEF DRIPPING !! lol

On the 2nd of October we thought one of our girls had decided to join Beef and lay eggs... white ones too. We weren't sure which hen was laying so the next day I 'lay' in wait and spied Emo coming out of the nest box singing her heart out about what she had just done. To top it all off they weren't white eggs she lay, noooo the first ones were a very very pale version of what we get one of every day and that is a lovely shade of green.
The boys laughed and laughed when they saw the green eggs and one started chanting "I do not like green eggs and ham I do not like them Sam I Am!" But they were equally as amazed to find green eggs don't look green inside and taste just as good as brown eggs.

Unfortunately Beef decided she had laid enough eggs this year and on about 20th October stopped laying every day..... poor girl has done brill so deserves a break!

Emo on the other hand kept us well equipped with green eggs daily.


How bad am I?

Ok I haven't been very well for a good few weeks, also during that time AOL hacked into our Broadband account and 'slammed' it away from BT. Then to top it all off we come back online and find we had a HUGE amount of people order from us so we are busy busy busy here at HQ.

I will catch up and let you all know what's been happening and how the girls are!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Lay a little egg for me!!

Eggs !!

We have eggs every day... I'm so pleased!

So, we got our hens on Friday 26th September and got them home about 6pm.... they all pretty much went to bed soon after that and the next day I woke at 06:45 and skipped to the chookery to wake the girls up.

I sat there with a cup of tea and sat there... and sat there... and eventually Beef came out and squinted at me in a “It's awful early you know!” way...

Then Luna came out, then Emo and after about 20 minutes Rocket fell out the roost, straight out the door landing on her chest on the straw outside!!

I think it's the first Sunday that I have been at home that I haven't done ANY work-work.... I spent ALL day outside building, re arranging, buying plants and other Hen related things and actually had the day off work!! Blessings come in feathered packages!

I kind of got myself a feathered admirer too. Beef the ISA Brown decided that I was luffly and wouldn't leave me alone. At one point Robert and I sat on the bench outside the coop and were discussing how we would alter the ladder when beef went in and snuggled in the dirt.

“She's making egg noises” I said remembering my youth on the farm. I threw a bit of straw at her and sure enough she tucked it next to her.... threw another bit and she did the same. “Wow” Robert said.

So we went to stand outside the chookery and arrange bits of wood [as you do when you are waiting for an egg!!! lol] and within minutes Beef came out and quietly said “Bock!”..... I whisked myself back into the chookery, opened the door and... TWO EGGS!!

Ok they were tiny pale eggs and one of them had a soft spot and was leaking but they were our very first eggs. The girls hadn't even been here a full day yet!

That evening when the hens were going in to roost Beef sat next to me on the window sill and wouldn't leave me. She wanted to be petted and wanted to help me preen my messy head of feathers! lol

Beef has laid an egg for us Monday and Today.... lovely brown eggs. Robert says they taste good too!

Now if the other ladies could bring themselves to lay all would be fantastic!

As for four hens being enough..... HA!!! What fool said that? We are now seriously thinking of getting two more.... just two... honest!!!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Here come the girls........

Well, well well.... We got our hens and a swift lesson in “Just 'cause you haven't seen a chook jump 6 foot before, doesn't mean they can't!”

After a lot of faffing about it became apparent that we were getting nowhere with the rescue hen situation so found a local poultry farm and went to visit... well, I say visit but we amazingly had the cage in the back of the car! Not sure HOW that got there!! **innocent grin**

They had a huge field with about 150 chooks of all different shapes and sizes and some fab cockerels... one of which goose stepped around the paddock in a very majestic manor... if only we lived somewhere else. I would SO have him!!

In my head I planned on getting four girls of the same colouring/breed but once we got there my 16 yr old daughter fell in love with a white and black flecked chook at the same time I saw a big fat beefy looking brown hybrid, now named Beef. So instantly the colour coordination plan had failed!

We then spotted a dainty black hen who's feathers shimmered bluey-green as she pecked around the paddock, my daughter instantly named her Emo!!. Then last of all a fabtastical black and silver pebble effect chook caught our eye.

So our new family was quickly despatched into the cage, into the car and into our lives!

Robert [who wasn't excited at all!] was nervously pacing outside the house as we arrived with the girls... queue a big grin that almost split his face in two as he spotted us pulling up. We took the cage round to the chookery and opened the door against the chookery door.

I sat on the ground inside and sprinkled some corn on the floor. The girls bocked quietly to each other and all 8 of us waited for the bravest one to venture out.

The white hen [still unnamed] gingerly stepped out and started to peck at the corn... “oohhh, mmmm,” it sounded like she was clucking. Next was Emo who had a look sideways at the corn, noticed it was disappearing fast down the white hens throat so plopped out beside her shortly followed by Beef and then at last the pebble coloured chook.

They all pecked around me gingerly but making appreciative noises over the corn.

Suddenly Beef made a rumbling noise, then Emo joined in and all of a sudden all four girls were bubbling at each other “Predator! Predator!” I looked up the garden path and saw my Maine Coone cat Each Peach Plum 'n' Pear stalking up to the chookery.... “you're ok girls” I said.... Emo came right up to me and bock-bock-bocked at me in a “If you're the cock round here SAVE US!” she then totally lost her composure and shot through the kitchen window into the lap of my 16 yr old daughter. At that point the pebble hen amazingly went from standing on the ground to being perched 6 foot on the edge of the chookery fence!!!

I stood up with my mouth hanging like sporran round my throat in total amazement!! “BOCK BOCK” she screamed which kicked me back into reality and I scooped her back off into the chookery while my son shooed Peaches away.

Then began a frantic staple-gunning of netting around the perimeter! I will be buying netting for the whole roof today!! Sheesh!!!

So... from that magical transportation she gained the name Rocket! Tis just the white hen we need to name now and apart from the obvious names, snowy, milky, Blanc... etc etc nothing fits her.

I'm sure she will reveal her name to us in due course!

Rocket seems to be the more vocal of the girls. The slightest movement and she is off clucking at the others to BEWARE BEWARE!

My son woke up at 07:15 to find me having my morning tea in the chookery and with a big grin asked, “Cor! Did you find any eggs yet?” lol ..... soon Torin... soon.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

September...Where IS the sun?

Lots of changes and business meetings and suchlike ..... The Green parent magazine now sample in the packs and are also going to be giving away one of our competition packs in their winter issue. Here is a photo of the pack!

We've given up on the incompetence of Royal Mail and signed up with a courier company ... there are only so many 'undelivered' packages a company can cope with... sorry Royal Mail but you are pants!

We have also started the ball rolling to find distributors for Mama Packs. It's proving difficult to get the message across that we want them GIVEN away... I think most of the emails we have had from people have asked if we “Have any objections to how much is charged” the Mama Packs are to educate, initiate and open the eyes of families around the nation to a more ethical lifestyle... to introduce companies to families that can offer them an alternative to gak chemicals. NOT to make someone a tidy profit...

One will notice that the packs are marked at £0.00 ...

Still waiting for Innocent smoothies and other similar companies to contact us so watch this space!

We are off on a short adult weekend with friends so no blogging until we return... hopefully with news of our Chooks!!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

New Mama & Baby Packs.

What a crazy week! Mama Packs went back on sale again and as per usual sold out within hours, lots of lovely emails from people loving the packs but when I suggest they leave a testimonial or review on the site only a handful do.

Some of the testimonials have me in stitches, I particularly like the one left by Kitty Banham

who said:

“omg I nearly peed myself when it arrived, no one knows I am pregnant so
the postman standing there with a box with Mama Pack written on it made
me grin so far round my head it nearly split in two! “

I remember that so proud feeling very well, the feeling like you could just split in two like a firework when anyone noticed or asked if you were pregnant.

Having a tough time keeping patient this week. Lots of companies want to sample in the packs but it seems they are sensible and work 'normal' hours which means deliveries of samples is slow by my 24/7 workaholic standards!! I have been waiting for one particularly exciting sample to arrive for 2 weeks now. This means I am regularly seen staring out the window at delivery vans hoping they have that package!

I have got quite a good relationship now with the delivery chaps and have a chat and a giggle with them, they can't get their head round what we do here but often comment on how nice the packages smell. This morning the driver said “More smellies?” as he handed me a large squidgy parcel... “Nope” I replied with a big grin, “Sanitary towels.... washable ones!” His face was a picture!!!

The sanitary towels were for the new 'baby' of the packs which is going on sale today!

The New Mama & baby Pack.

This is a gift pack people can buy for the expectant or newly birthed mother. It will contain the following:

Newborn Cloth Nappy.

Newborn Baby Vest.

Baby Soap.

Mummy Massage Bar.

£2 Gift Certificate for Fizz n Suds Shop

Mummy Massage roller.

Cloth Sanitary Towel.

Sanitary Towel bag.

Baby Bandana Bib.

Baby Wash Mit.

Washable Baby Bottom wipes.

A congratulations personalised bar of Green and Blacks chocolate.

£1 Gift Certificate for MORE chocolate from Rizy's Wrappers.

A taggy comfort blanket.

A roll of 100% degradable nappy sacks.

A Booby Reminder breastfeeding bracelet

Newborn knitted booties.

Baby Cream wonda balm.

Beautiful gem phone charm / keyring charm

My goodness it's the first time I've seen the list written down!! Even I am impressed lol

Anyway to buy all of these things individually would cost you a little over £67 but I have not taken into account the separate shipping charges so it's more like £80.

Not a bad little gift to give someone is it?? better than a bunch of grapes!!

The photo doesn't show all the items in the box... must update that!

Right... the sun is out which means I should go and do some more work on the Chookery!


Monday, 25 August 2008

The Mama Pack Cult Buy!!

We reckon there must be a body guard, you know like the two Ron's from the 80's ?? What were they called [hurriedly Googlies..] Ahhh The Management!

Anyway where was I? Oh yes, we think there must be the Two Rons sitting to the side of the Mama Pack web store as no matter how late, how quietly, how non dramatically we add Mama Packs to the website they sell out within an hour!

We have taken to adding batches in groups of 20. Why? Well the emails we get from people pleading with us to “Put a pack aside for me, I'll pay double!” or “Please, please call me when they are for sale!” made us think that if we released them in batches of 20 some of the ladies who get on at erratic times during the day [or night while breastfeeding] would stand a chance of getting a pack.

I'm beginning to think it is more a case of “I bought a Mama Pack” than just having a sample of what is inside.... Have we spawned a cult buy? Are we the new Crocs?

I have to say though that during September we have some amazing businesses joining the samplers..... The Green Parent Magazine will be adding a copy of their magazine into each pack, Rude Health will be offering up a delicious feast for breakfast... mmmmm and many many more!

We are thinking by December the Mama Pack will have to upgrade it's 9 x 6 box and blossom into a bigger one to accommodate all the goodness within!

The August competition pack was sealed today and a photo taken of it's innards... I am tempted to keep it but alas I have no new-borns and my youngest is now **gasp** FIVE!

There is also the birth of the Mama Contacts Directory..... You've all seen the books for sale listing out where to go for your green, ethical, enviro crunchy products and we've all been guilty of standing in WHSmiths wishing we have the money to buy a copy to mull over at home.

Well the Mama Contact Directory is FREE!! It is free to anyone who cares to download it from the Mama Packs store. Downloading of course means you save paper and our ink...

Oh my goodness our ink!! I was printing out some contact directories today for the last batch of Mama Packs and my blessed ink startedto run out.... they might not look as fab as they should but they are good enough and I will use the printers cartridge until it is quite quite empty! I'll stand on it's plastic neck and wring it dry if I have to..... well!! Every drop counts ya' know!

I am of the distinct impression that the recycled paper we use 'drinks' ink a lot readily than the nasty bleached virgin paper.... Someone really should come up with a gloopier ethical ink for peeps like us shouldn't they?

Bank Holidays are a bit weird here as we still have heaps of work to do and yet no one else seems to be working so our emails and phone calls echo in a chasm of 'fun havers' ... **sigh**

Anyway apart from that I have had a HUGE office jiggle.... Well I say huge, what I mean is the window side..... and yes I know our desks are still a mess but you know it's all organised chaos!

The jumper that is stretched over the back of my chair has history so don't think I am being a slovenly lady!

It belonged to my dear Daddy and when he died in march 1988 my Gradnfather took it back to Czechoslovakia with him and he wore it. When he died in August 2006 [anniversary tomorrow] I

brought it back home to be with me.

When ever I have a hard decision to make, having a pants time or just in need of a hug I wrap the arms around me and feel...... safe.

I have to add here I have also used the sleeve to wipe spilt organic white wine off my chest after an on-line friend made me SCREAM with laughter and I might add almost drown during an MSN chat.

Msn is bad for you and your heirlooms don't you know!! I was blowing wine out my nostrils for hours!!

Oh my goodness... I've written a book on here again.... ok over and out.


Thursday, 21 August 2008

The roof, the roof, the roof is on .....

Well yesterday was a busy day in the chookery! We finished off the doors for the pop hole side and added a roof. The wood part of the roof was made out of a wardrobe I have had since 1972 and the felt was new. Robert didn't want to get reclaimed/recycled as it usually isn't very good quality and waterproof... I agree. So we invested in a roll for £6 and have loads left to cover the sand-pit area when it is built.

Then I got busy insulating the south side, I used cardboard boxes from suppliers and samplers to slide in between the two walls of the side and then packed bubble wrap, carrier bags and other plastic wrapping that was from the business in between the card and the inside wall. Nice padded insulated wall now on that side as it gets the most wind. Then started painting the south side. I used left over fencing paint and some magnolia that we have no idea where it came from but found a HUGE pot of it in the shed.

Then in typical Yzzy style I had to decorate the chookery so we cut a potato into a stamp and a wine cork and got daisy painting with some left over paint from when I decorated the boys room earlier this year.

At one point I went to add a bit more paint to the yellow pallet and promptly sat full force on the edge of the drain border!! OUCH!!!!! I am now sporting a rather cool bruise on my bottom, good job it's well padded or I could have cracked my pelvis!

Building this is making me think of Duck-Duck and our first aviary we built for him and the Rabbits / Guinea pig. That was such a cool garden, it's a shame we have such a small one now and such a high fox population here. I could hear foxes screaming in the distance last night and I wondered if it was just a rubbish bag they had found to sing about or if someone had lost a pet to them.

The sound of their 'joy' when they ravaged Duck-Duck and guinea will haunt us both... we will make sure this coop is sly proof.... well as sly proof as one can.

Why do foxes sound like chimpanzees now? I remember a few years ago they used to howly-yelp you could tell it was a fox. Nowadays they either sound like a female being attacked or chimpanzees.... horrid sound!

Anyway... it's chucking it down with rain on and off so I don't think we will make much progress on things but I am hoping we can build the nest boxes today.

Only the main door to do after that and the sand box and we will be ready for the girls.

Torin enjoyed painting yellow daisies on the coop... and yes he has got black nail varnish on, when Rio giggled Torin said, "You know River..... boys can have nails painted toooooo" and flounced off.

More photos can be seen from yesterday either in the slide show on the left here or by clicking the slideshow.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The Hen lady called!!

Just spoke to Lesley the Hen rescue lady and we are going to be collecting our girls in 4 weeks!!

How exciting!

I must now spend some time showing the little members of the family what they will look like as I don't want them to be shocked / upset when they arrive and look oven ready...

Mama Packs

The Mama Packs are taking over the office!

I think after our September break we need to have a meeting to discuss 'space'. I don't mean an in depth analysis of Mercury and Venus either.

I have been finding myself staring at the lounge area thinking how I could fit cupboards and shelving in there... Is this a normal obsession for work at home parents? To fantasise about taking over the whole house?

Anyway, I'm thinking an office refurb and some serious cupboard purchasing/freecycling is in order. Unless of course all my children decide to join the foreign legion thus leaving me with 4 spare rooms!!

My beloved book shelf containing my personal library has already been relegated to our loft room and a pile of “oh I might need that” has been harvested and placed next to my desk waiting for me to bite the bullet and either freecycle or sell on £bay..... But.... But what if I suddenly need 3 pinards, or my last two Goddess Mums ring slings or heaven forbid I may wake up one morning and decide that I really need the belly casting equipment again!! Oh the pain, the pain...

And someone please tell me why I thought buying a running machine for the office would make us use it? I think my exact words when I put it together were, “Right then, every half hour or so we stop work, jump on here and run for 10 minutes.... think how fit we'll be?”

Or rather think how annoying it will be to have a big lump in the office restricting our space and reminding us what sedatory oafs we are!!

Mind you as you can see it has a dual purpose, what a lovely towel rail it makes!

The box quivering behind it is my "might need this box"... so there you go I have found a reason to keep the running machine!! It hides the might need it box from view so i don't sell anything thus meaning when I wake up one morning and shout "I need a pinard now!!" I can easily run to the office and find a selection of three...

I'm a genius!!!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Pennywell Pigs

Oh no!!

What news.... they are no longer adding people to their waiting list!!

Robert and I were saying today as we were building the Chookery how we could easily enlarge the area and add a sty for when we are ready to get our Pennywell Piggies....

I went to look at the website just now and it says they no longer have a waiting list as thousands of people world-wide want them!!

What a shame.... clearly fate though so we shall forge ahead with our chookery and try not to get too down about lack of Pennywells. *sigh*

Phase Two

Yeahy... I cracked flickr!! lol....

So there should now be photos that update on here or you can go to HERE and view them all.

The materials used in making the Chookery so far have been:

An old wood rubbish bin container
Some pallets
Our old double pine bed
A wardrobe [tall boy] that I have had since I was 2 years old!!
Some reclaimed nails, hinges, bolts and screws,
Some twisted willow branched
An old fire guard
The ladder is the back of the bed!
The wall lining inside the coop is from old laminate flooring thrown out by neighbours in their skip... *grin* Yeahy for skip shopping!

The tools used were given to us by Mama and the lady next door has been holding on to her fathers tools and gave them to Robert... Thank you Francis!!

There is still a bit to do, we need to felt the roof [waiting for some felt to turn up at the tip!] I need to re-do the fencing around it as it is a bit too low and the old fire guard which i adapted to be a gate is far too low.

I aim to have this all done by September as the rescue center will have chooks for us then! ... Hopefully....

The Chookery!

I've tried to blog before but either got terribly bored or lost log in details... so here is my new concerted effort to blog.

I shall start by going back in time to last month 'July 08' when we started to build our Chookery. A home for our intended Rescued battery Hens.

Hmmm, how does one add images??? Ahhh done it!

That is child number 3 Lolly waiting for some jobs as she wanted to help daddy build!