Saturday, 6 December 2008


I thought I'd have a little play around with my photo editing software this morning...

...taking a self portrait, I blurred the original file so the skin tones and details were much softer, then I took the eye, kept the detail and overlaid it onto the blurred background.

This gives a strange depth of field illusion, one that I really liked doing, and one that has opened up a whole new avenue and excitement for me!

My first photography competition.

Recently I sent off one of my photographs, the portrait view of Mount Caburn early in the morning with the mist in the valley, to a competition after Jo suggested I should.


I won first prize, and my photo was put on the monthly E-Newsletter for a garden centre called 'Garden Pride'.

Although there were a lot of entries, I managed to win, and I received a £15.00 voucher to spend in their shops!

I will be sending off more photographs I think!

Thursday, 4 December 2008


, moultingIt's been ok weather really... when you think how bad it could be. I mean, looking at friends blogs round the world, it could be worse.

On the sunny days, my ladies (and Rhydian) like nothing better than to take trips round their estate, and to peck at fineries scattered around as a snack to eat.

Being free-range suits them down to the ground, as it gives them a chance to mill around like teenagers in a park, scratching here, there and everywhere - looking for the tastiest morsel of food they can find - I usually scatter some corn down as an incentive for them to leave the warmth and safety of their coops.

I took a few photos recently, to show the moulting of some of the birds - some of which are over 6 years old aparrently!!

The eggs have all but stopped for us now, although I must admit, we've been getting one or two a day recently.

We had the famous fireworks here in Lewes in November, followed by a bad storm, followed by some idiot of a dog walker letting their dog bark at our ladies through the hedge, thus scaring them everyday!

I'm VERY tempted to put a sonic device over near the chickens to shut the dog up - but would probably get sued or attacked for doing so - you know what todays society is like!

Anyway, the ladies are all happy (if a little bare here and there) and living the high life in their stately home!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Winter time again.

Well it certainly feels like Winter here - the air is fresh every morning, carrying on throughout the day, but one thing I've noticed is that our ladies have started to moult.

I didn't really know about chickens moulting - especially in Winter!

I mean, what's the point of losing all your feathers when it gets cold!?

Shouldn't it be more reasonable to expect them to lose their feathers when it's nice and warm?

Well anyway, I find it all rather strange - PLUS the fact that they all stopped laying at the same time - weird huh!?

Jo thinks it's because of the very bad storm we had here a week or so ago - it could have been the fireworks scaring them...

...I have another possible reason - they're all lazy wotsits!!

Parading around like they own the place - eating and drinking for all their worth - I mean, it's like they live the high life and have now decided to stop doing the one job they are MEANT to do!

It's not as though they have a pressing schedule or anything - in fact - because it's been sunny and rather warmish weather for the few hours around lunchtime and to mid afternoon, they've even been having excursions out in the paddock - so I have no idea what is going wrong.

I'm going to try and sneak up and get a photo of the moulting ladies - although they won't be too happy showing their 'undergarments' for the world to see I bet!


Monday, 27 October 2008

Morning glory

Here are some photos of views from our new home.

A view looking south.

A view looking East towards a local landmark - Mount Caburn in portrait and a couple in landscape - it's amazing how different the same shot can be.

I ALMOST took my Nikon off Auto for the landscape shot - I'm going to be brave and take the plunge into manual mode soon!


Sunday, 26 October 2008

Lasting memories

I thought I'd show a few photos that I've taken recently which make me smile, or wonder.

The first is a photo of Kane I took in our Paddock. I love taking photos of the boys as they are both so cheeky!

The second photo is of a view from one of the top rooms first thing in the morning. It shows the mist rolling over the valley, and the local hill to us called Mount Caburn.

Here is another view from our garden first thing in the morning... just makes us all feel so good in the morning.

Compared to our old view of fences 15' from our windows, this truely feels like our own slice of heaven!

Our new place!


...we have been SO busy the last few weeks it's been like working 24 hours a day (or feels like it anyway!).

Over the last week though, we've been moving a lot of our 'stuff' over to the new place - which now is our home!

Last week I rented a Luton van with a tail lift, so I was able to move all the big appliances, like the washing machine, dryer and American fridge freezer easier than in our normal van. All went smoothly until it came to the big fridge/freezer - which went up the ramp i made ok, but didn't like going through any of the doors in the house. This resulted in taking off the door to the house, getting it through into a small lobby - then having to take the doors of the appliance - which was an absolute nightmare! But safe to say - I managed it!!

We spent our first night in our new home without Sky tv, only DVD's and it took a further 4 visits from Sky - all failures - until we decided to go with a NON-Sky tv person to fit our Sky dish. They even got to our place in around an hour which was amazing considering Sky did their usual " can't make it this week" line.

I spent the first morning trimming the doors to the boys bedrooms so they would close over the new carpet, and putting up 3 curtain rails for their bedrooms.

Both boys came home the next day after sleeping over at school and Grandmas, and at last it was definately HOME!

The only problem we've been experiencing has been our Broadband connection, but that seems to have been sorted now I've changed the router back to our old one.

What we are very pleased about is the fact that EVERYTHING is set up for us - it means Zak has access to the entire house (apart from upstairs, in which case I would lift him should he want to go up there). The paved area out back is just great, and Zak has already said he looks forward to driving his chair around their like a bat out of hell! Kane can also ride his bike on it.

This photo shows the back of our home, with the patio, and Kanes room he'll move into in a couple of weeks being the nearest upstairs window to the camera.

The other thing of course which makes things better - for the ladies at least - is that we can let them out every day - although at the moment the weather is so horrible they are staying under their mini extension or staying in their own coops.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Family visits the ladies.

Recently we went to show the kids how the build was going, and we decided to take them along and see how our ladies were doing.

They were all in good spirits, and looking well. This may be because for the last month or two I have been giving them a supplement in their water. It turns the water a lovely pink colour, and I thought that the girls would love this addition to their run!


Zak and Kane were also in good spirits as this picture shows!

I was really pleased with the detail on this photo!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Kane, cards and insects

Here is a photo of Kane taken at my mums. He was leaning against a wall so I couldn't take his photo, but I managed to swing it under him and take a snap.

The card was made for my friend Dr Michael Bull, funnily enough, the worlds leading expert in IPods and mobile media! It was his Birthday, and Jo and I created this funny card - can you work out what it is? I treated him to a pint and a fairy cake with a little candle in it too.

The photo of the Bee was great - I was taking some other test photos when I saw him (or her) flying onto these yellow flowers/weeds, and I thought what a cool shot it would make if I could get the camera on macro and take a shot. Luckily, it came out very well, and I must admit it's one of my nature photos I'm most proud of so far - I just love the detail!

To trim or not to trim

That is the question.

I haven't trimmed any of the photos on here, and to be honest I'm not sure if I should. I would like to try to see the whole picture, and to frame images in a way that pleases me.

I'm sure at some point I'll want to perfect each photo, but for now I'm happy with the whole scene.


Thursday, 2 October 2008

A new blog for a new subject

I've started a new blog for my photography, called 'Stiggy's world'.

It's not going to be a threat to David Bailey, but it's my own account of how me experience with a new camera I bought is going.

I hope to find a better platform to show off my photos at some point, something like a gallery - but I'll sort that out at a later date, since our house move is imminent!


More beginner photos

Here are some more beginner photos I took when I first got my camera.

The Walnut is from our very own tree in our paddock, the Tayberry from our veggy plot, and the flower was one at my mums.

I took the walnut photo by first focusing on the walnut, then locking the focus, and setting the nut in the corner of my shot. It's a tecnique I really like, and I have done it on some landscape photos as well - it gives that wonderful blurred background effect.

I took them all with the macro setting - when I get more used to the camera I'll start to experiment, but until then I'm afraid it's only the standard settings I'll be using!


Wednesday, 1 October 2008

My first photo

I was so excited to get my new camera I ran outside to have a go at some macro photography...

This was my first ever attempt at it, and I was really pleased.

I couldn't believe the detail I was able to pick up!

My photo blog

I decided that I would like somewhere to show my photos from my new camera, so here we have it....

...Stiggy's world!

I recently bought a Nikon D40 Digital SLR camera. At the moment I use an 18-55mm lens.

I am a TOTAL beginner at photography, so hopefully you will see me improve over the coming decade or so!!


Thursday, 18 September 2008

Unexpected visit.

You know when things happen and you take a while (or ages) before the fact of the matter sinks in?

Well Saturday evening was one of these occasions!

I heard a car drive over the gravel outside our house and wondered who it was (the bane of our life is people turning on our parking area outside who have no connection with us in the slightest!). The car actually drove up to our front door and I was just about to open the front door with a flourish of the hand or a gentle verbal assault when the person driving got out and walked towards me.

It actually turned out to be mine and Zak's friend Paul, who had emigrated to Australia, and whom we never thought we'd see again unless we went on a holiday!!

WOW is all we could say for ages, we were so knocked back that this man had travelled across the world, for whatever reason, and had travelled to see us!

We were overjoyed (can you tell!?).

We all met in an online game called Eve-Online, which is a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) set in space, and one we have been playing for about 4 and a half years there abouts. We were in the same corporation together (group of players) and then we made our own corporation and did things together in there - it was great fun!

Unfortunately Paul had to go after and hour or two, but it was great to see him, we still haven't met his other half Kirstin, but I'm sure we will one day!


Tuesday, 2 September 2008

My new camera.

I've always wanted an SLR camera, and I was unable to have one until recently.

I bought a Nikon D40 Digital SLR camera, which I'd read a lot of reviews for, and thought it would be nice to be able to take proper pictures, instead of using our little family Digital Camera (which has done us very nicely so far thank you!).

I was so excited, I part charged the battery and went outside to try and do something similar to the ones I had seen on my friend Don's blog, done by his very competent photographer wife Ruth (who also has a blog with spectacular images on.

Now ok - I had it on AUTO and I wasn't about to change that for now - but WOW!!!

What a fantastic thing!

It's not often I get wow'ed by stuff (ok ok! every time i go into an Electronics shop, farm equipment shop, gadget shop, tool shop etc etc) but this was just BRILLIANT!!

I have been really impressed when someone takes a photo of, say, a flower with it all blurred in the background - so I attempted to take my first EVER D-SLR picture - and here it is - it's a little Dandelion clock just outside our back door!

I've been taking quite a few picture of the new place with it, and found a yellow flowery weed growing on a patch of the uncut grass.

After walking to look at it, I noticed there was a bee flying from one flower to the next - so quickly I took the camera lens off and took a few photos of it as it fluttered around.

Here is My first attempt at a wildlife photo!

I am really pleased with these photo's and one day I hope to be able to take it off of AUTO - or the preset settings!!


Almost done it.

Yes the shed is pretty much done - just a bit more cladding (or siding for others) on the sides and some roof felt on the roof and it's done!

At least now it's pretty watertight and I've managed to get my tractor/mower in there - so I'm now clearing out the main workshop and making plans to store things that at the moment reside in our garage.

Talking of the mower - even though I changed the starter solenoid, it STILL wouldn't start when I turned the key, so using a bit of mechanic know how, I bypassed the solenoid and started the old thing up...

...streaking across the long grass like a rally driver, I managed to cut the grass reasonably quickly, which inspired me to get out my Stihl hedge trimmer.

It's funny how you get carried away - one minute I was smartening up a fir hedge, the next minute I was doing all the hedges... well a few not ALL the hedges - that would just be plum CRAZY! lol!

Still, after about 30-45 minutes of arm juddering fun, I realised I wasn't able to use my left arm very much - it was the arm that supported the trimmer up in the air - OUCHY!

I was happy with the work I'd done though - and it felt good to put some hard labour which made so much difference to the back garden area.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Good afternoon!

I went back down the new place after lunch, and set about putting some serious effort into the shed.

I'd like to go down there tomorrow to hang the double doors, that is, if it stops raining for a bit!

However it was a glorious sunny day today, and I was able to do quite a bit.

First off I finished fixing the roof sections, then I put some doors on the side of the frame, and managed to find even MORE timber from the rubbish skip out front to fill in the front 2 panels.

Now all that needs to be done is to buy some featheredge board (thin triangular timber) to clad the shed with and hang the doors!

Oh yes, changing the subject somewhat - here is a photo of the lady that lost all her feathers.

Sorry about the photos recently, but I've been using my phone...

...I'm looking forward to my new camera coming through the post early next week - a Nikon D40 Digital SLR!

I shall be going over to my friend Dons wifes' Blog to check out how to REALLY take photographs!


I got it covered.


It's weird how time is recently - I went down the new place to do some work and to let the ladies out only to find NO Builders!!!

After a frantic phone call to report this fact to Jo, I was reliably informed that it was in fact, Saturday!

I had to think about this for a moment before having to accept that it was indeed Saturday.


Anyhoo, I had to finish the shed roof this morning, put a tie across the mid rafter and sort out the position and fastening of the electric cable. This afternoon I plan to put some more recycled doors around the frame.

The ladies.

The ladies seem very happy at the moment, maybe it's because I've been giving them some supplements in their water, and have been puffing mite powder all around the coops and in the corners (where they live).

One of the chickens that we rescued looked awful a couple of weeks ago - she is right down the bottom of the pecking order, and she had lost a lot of feathers - probably due to stress of moving house (Jo and I know all about THAT!).

Now she has grown back pretty much all her feathers, and is wonderful light brown colour - much lighter than the other hens.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

I'm still alive!

I wanted to post that I haven't dissapeared or fallen off the edge of the world, but it's been almost impossible to get around to posting any new stuff on here for a while.

What with both kids at home, and the build needing some attention, i just haven't had the inclanation to write about anything.

I have taken some photos so I'll HAVE to put those on soon!


Thursday, 7 August 2008

Where does the time go!?


It seems like 5 minutes since I wrote the last post on here, but it seems it's been a while.

We've been out buying bathrooms and tiles for the floor and walls these last weeks, it takes a lot of looking to find the perfect tile!

As well as floating from showroom to showroom, we've got both lads home for the 6 week summer school holiday, so it's not so easy to just pop out for a few hours - since we'd have to take them both with us. It's not SO bad though, I got to pop down the new place and do a little bit to my infamous shed.

The photo above was taken on my phone - apologies if it's not too clear - it was also taken a few days ago and it's changed a bit since then, but it gives a rough idea.

I have built the frame for the walls, and it's ready for the salvaged doors to be fixed to it. These doors will not only provide shelter from the elements, but also serve to strengthen the frame I've made, so making the whole thing nice and strong.

I started sorting out the roof yesterday, and I just have to measure and make the end piece before the rafters - then the exciting bit of putting the roof sheets on!

Once the shed extention is done, I can move the tractor/mower into it, shelve the main bit, and start bringing the stuff we have in our garage where we live now.

All very exciting - well it IS for ME anyway!


Saturday, 26 July 2008

Shed extension and other stories..

It's been a while since I have any time to go down the new place and actually do any work - the big summer holiday from school has hit us like a freight train and to be honest I'm still in a state of shock trying to adjust to all day every day having the boys around...

...that's not to say, of course, that I have any problem with having the boys at home, it's just it's a little hard leaving Jo on her own with both and going out, so I try to take what time I can when I can!

The shed has been neglected, as far as doing any further work to the mini extension that has been mutually agreed by Jo and I. So the other day, I had a meeting with our project manager on site, and I realised this was my chance to do something constructive.

I've been digging the hole for the base to go onto/into - I say into as the main shed/workshop is on a slope, so I've had to dig into hardcore and MOT stone, which hasn't been too bad but hard work - especially when I'm digging about 15 minutes at a time. It wouldn't be too bad, but every shovel full means 5 minutes using a pickaxe to loosen the stone!

Friday I visited one of the builders merchants I used to work for and bought some timber for the base, made a frame approx 10'x8' and started to noggin it out (noggins are the short bits of wood between the long bits of wood - in case you didn't know!). As you can see from the photo, the noggins are at one end so far - that is the end where the doors will go onto, and therefore the noggins are where the mower/tractors wheels will be going over, they will support the weight nicely.

What I'll be doing next is to continue the alternative noggins across the frame, then put it in situ and place concrete blocks under the frame making the whole thing nice and solid.

Once that has been done, the 3/4" OSB board will go on top to make the floor, then a small frame, then I'm going to use the internal doors that I managed to salvage from the house to make the walls. If it needs weather proofing after I'll get some 6" feather edge timber and clad it.

Anyway - at least it's progressing slowly!


Thursday, 24 July 2008

One man and his chickens wins blog award!

Yes, thanks to Little Veg Patch, both myself and Jo my wife have won an award for our blogs!

The rules state to name 7 other blogs, but since I've only just done something similar, I shall point people to my post below this one and hope to get away with just doing that!

link - Tag I'm it!

(I hope I don't get into any trouble for this!)


Sunday, 20 July 2008

R.I.P Polly.

I'm sorry to announce that Polly has passed on.

Very sad about doing this today.


Saturday, 19 July 2008

Tag I'm it!

I’ve been tagged! My friend Don at A view from the Green Barn tagged me to share six random things about me, and then tag six others.

I probably won't be as good at this as him though...

So Here are my six random things:

1. I learnt to play the drums at 8 when my Dad let me use his set.

2. I have really small hands!

3. Even though I shave my head, my hair has lasted me longer than my Dads hair has lasted him!

4. The thing that made me sit up and notice my wife when I first met her was her beautiful green eyes!

5. I used to help Zak score goals at 'Seagull Specials', which is a football team for kids with special needs, supported and run by Brighton and Hove Albion - our local team.

6. One of my old motorbikes won 'Worst Rat' at a bikers rally- which means it was the worst bike in the entire rally. (think Mad Max type of bike! Matt black and using beer can for air intake)

I’m tagging:

Jo my wife at Jo Blogs - it's amazing how she thinks up all those ideas - and I'm so so proud of her for being asked to have her designs published in international magazines! and she has another blog too - Jo Blogs Outdoors (Love you Jo!)

Connie at Cetta Cheese Chatter - she is my friend in Hawaii who is in Television, also does a lot of crafting - her charms and jewellery is fantastic!

Greta at Little Brown Hens - she says she's a 16 year old stuck in the body of a 50 y/o. She really cares for her ex-battery hens, as you will see when you visit her blog!

LVP at Little Veg Patch is another on my blog list, she has a town garden that she has transformed into a hive of activity, with her ex-battery chickens and vegetable patch.

Angel at Stormdreaming - she has firm opinions and will let you know about them! She loves art and graphics, and takes some cool photos.

Math from Ramblings of a Technomage - he and Angel are online gamer friends, Math writes programs and stuff for his Mac PC including some stuff he develops. Math is also an accomplished cook, and loves to share recipies for cakes!

It's difficult for me to do this, mainly as I don't have time at the moment to go blog surfing, but I hope those that are mentioned here will get a few more readers!

Tag Rules:
Link to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules on the blog.
Write six random things about yourself.
Tag six people at the end of your post.
Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Emergency at the coop!

I went down the new place last night and found that one of our chcikens had had a prolapse while laying an egg.

Not a very nice thing to experience, I can tell you.

I cleaned her up as best I could last night and made her as comfy and as clean as I could - after pushing everything where it should be.

Polly, as I've named her for obvious reasons, was a little better this morning when I got there earlier, she still had a prolapse, but it was only half as bad as it was the night before.

I found our plastic pet carrier and took a towel down to the new place along with a nice clean newspaper. Once there I managed to catch her quite quickly and easy (my confidence at picking them up is improving every time I do it) and put her gently into the carrier, where she sat nice and quiet on the newspaper.

I put her in the back of the car, and driving carefully so not to let her slide around in the back, I drove down town to get some Preperation H. Prep H is a hemorrhoid cream, non greasy. (I used to use it on my tattoos to keep them nice).

When we got home, i brought her out of the carrier and covered her front half with the towel so I could work on her back half. A washing up bowl filled with warm salty water was by my side along with lots of sheets of kitchen roll to dry and clean with.

Once everything was clean, and covering the tips of my fingers (I wore surgical gloves) with prep H, I made sure everything was where it should be. Holding my hand there for a few minutes, she sat nice and calmly.

Polly was then put into our old rabbit hutch, a lovely big hutch - 4' x 18" x 2' high, that I had transformed into a comfy rest home for her for a few days. She had everything she needs, food, water and a soft towel to rest on, plus I put a black bin liner over most of the door so she remains calm in the darkness, but can still see enough to eat and drink.

Hopefully tomrrow it will be better than it was this morning, and maybe soon she will recover totally - I hope so, because the alternative is not a good one.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Highly trained chickens!

This morning I went to see the chickens after taking Kane to school...

...I was rather pensive as the holding pen is an unknown as far as safety from Mr Fox is concerned.

As I walked up to the run from the veggy plot, I noticed something strange... of the chickens didn't have a chicken wire pattern on it.

It was a few seconds before my brain put two and two together and realised that the hen was actually OUTSIDE the run!

I hastily unlocked the gate and ushered her inside...PHEW! I thought, and I suddenly couldn't see the other four... my mind raced as the worst situation possible came into my mind - Mr Fox must have taken them...

... it was only after I looked round the back of the coop that I found the other ladies...PHEW! I thought for the second time.

We went to a fairly local big supermarket and decided to pop home to eat a spot of lunch, then the idea was for me to go back down the new place and put the netting over the top of the holding run so no more could escape.

It was weird, I looked at the runs, and could have sworn that there was more in one run than I had previously thought.

Indeed there was - one of the new ladies had done something so clever that I now don't think chickens are so stupid after all.

What this hen had done, was to jump up onto the old coop, walk along the apex, jump onto the netting over the main run, then she had walked over the netting (the holes are just over 1" square) and managed to fall down a hole right by a corner!!

I put the one I thought was new, but unfortunately i made a mix up and put the 'leader' of the new ladies in with the old lot.

Why I say unfortunately is because the leader of the new ladies didn't only get angry at Rhydian the cockrel, she absolutely kicked his behind into next week!

It was like looking at a spitting cobra - her feathers all around her head and neck exploded into action, making her look very scary (even to me!) and she made short work of getting Rhydian... he was cowering and running away from her she was so viscious!

I managed to get her away from Rhydian and into the holding run - but BOY was she miffed!

Later that afternoon I managed to cover most of the run with the netting, but one hen still tried to get up on the top of the coop again.

A very strange day.

Chickens saved from certain death!

Yesterday was the day we went to fetch our 'rescue chickens'. Above is their 'Chicken Limo'.

We were told to meet up in a local park, where we thought we would be going off to help catch the birds and put them into boxes for transportation.

When we got there at 10am, we were told to put a name on the box and how many chickens we wanted. The idea was for the organisers and a few helpers to take the boxes, fill them and then to bring them back to us.

We went home for a bit to have some lunch, and were back at about noon. There were a lot more cars and people milling about, and the park Rangers were not happy. They kept stopping and coming over to the organisers and asking how long they would be as they'd had complaints about the parked cars along the road.

At about 1:30/2pm we saw the horsebox containing all the boxes arrive, and without further ado we went and waited for our name to be called so we could collect our new ladies.

We were finally called, and Jo and I took one end each of the box and carefully took it to our car.

Once the windows were down, we set off, and I very carefully drove to our new place.

I gently dragged the box in the 'holding run' and opened the box to let them out - they all seemed more than happy to stay in there!

After a wiggle of the box they came out - the box was moved, and i put some corn and grass on the floor for them to forage through.

Meanwhile, one of the Silkies - the smallest most picked on and most broody one - went to say hello to the new ladies, by scrambling under the middle gate!

All in all a good day!


Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Blackberry or Raspberry or maybe something else...

My parents visited the new place last week, and one of their observations was that the Blackberries didn't look...

...well, Blackberry-like.

After a little tasting session, my Dad decided they were Tayberries.

I tasted one, and I must admit it didn't fill me with joy, or make me see angels or anything...

...still, they were ok, and I imagine with copious amounts of sugar they could be quite bearable!

Oh and the reason I mentioned this, is that they are the fruits that are safely tucked away under the netting away from the birds!


Networking in the veggy plot

We went down the new place earlyish today, as we knew we had some work to do.

Personally I wanted to do a bit more to the shed extension, but after sitting down with Jo for a drink, we noticed a bird swoop down and take a bit of our fruit!


...well maybe not exactly those words, but I knew I had to get off my behind and sort something out!

One of the end posts had to be replaced, so I concentrated my efforts on that that - making a nice sized hole with my pointed heavy metal bar, I made sure that I'd made it nice and deep to support the wires with the stems hanging off them.

Unfortunately I wasn't tall enough to hit the post in, so using some bits of scrap sheathing ply and joists, I made a makeshift step about 1' high.

"AHA!" I thought - NOW I can do the job!

Standing on my pedestal (I think Jo was swooning at me at this point - or maybe it was just the heat) I was able to use my small club hammer to help the post on it's way into the ground.

Once the post was in nice and firm, I transferred the wires from the old post, and fixed them as tight as I could. Then I found some old metal poles we were using for our peas (they were eaten) and put them at diagonals against the posts.

After they had been bashed into the ground with my trusty club hammer, we started to fix the netting, with a length of wire linking each post, acting as a ridge pole.

Once over, I preceded to join the ends, which were carefully 'stitched' together with wire sleeving, and VOILA! It was finished!

Save the chickens!

Today we were told by our site manager at our new place, that there are 13,500 freerange chickens going to be slaughtered unless people go and help to rehouse them.

I just couldn't believe this, but it gets better....

...the chickens are being slaughtered, not because they are sick, not because they are old, but because the shells on the eggs they lay are TOO THIN FOR THE SHELVES!

Yes - you read right - our favourite supermarket Tesco has stopped getting these chickens eggs, because the shells are too thin to be packaged and put on the shelves!!!

You can see our local animal welfare group here -

Unfortunately I haven't got round to renovating our vintage coop - I'm going to have to work on our existing shed/coop to fit them in - but I'll be blowed if I'm not going to do anything at all!

Here's the local paper quote;

Lay-off for hens
By Simon Barrett

A charity is trying to find homes for 13,500 free range chickens which are being given away because their eggs' shells are too thin for supermarket shelves.

Animal lovers have a month to claim them before they are sent to slaughter for dog food.

The 18-month-old birds from a farm in Brighton are now too old to eat, but could lay eggs for another six years. Tara Maher from Brighton Animal Rescue said: "Supermarkets don't want eggs from older chickens because their shells break more easily during packing

It's strange how peoples values change - before I had kids I wouldn't have even bothered to read the article - let alone care enough about it to do anything to help!

Just makes me glad to me me NOW!


Sunday, 22 June 2008

My new toy

People who have been reading this blog for a while will know that I am a great fan of the power tool.

Power tools bring so much enjoyment and relief at being able to do tasks simply and properly.

For example, recently I bought a hedge trimming attachment (135 deg adjustment for those powertool geeks) for my Stihl KM90 combi engine. I already have a rotorvator attachment for it, which is incredibly useful in the veg plot.

I first tried this mean machine in our back garden - because we've been taking care of the new place almost everyday, our home we live in has been left to overgrow a bit. The grass was up to my waste and the weeds were over 5' tall!

I thought I'd test my new cutter on the garden, and low and behold, it was like a hot knife through butter - it literally took minutes to do almost the whole lawn (which normally took me 1.5 hours to do with the small electric mower we have).

After that successful trial, I took the trimmer down the new place and did a little practice on one of the hedges.

WOOHOO! I thought as I gently stroked the hedge with the cutter end - it was so easy!

With my new harness all of the weight of the engine section was supported, and with how the strapping was routed meant that I could hardly feel I was carrying anything at all!

Instead of dreading trimming the hedges with a hand tool, I can now look forward to hours of fun with my trimmer ...

..*COUGH!* I mean I can look forward to working hard shaping the hedges to a better form!


Park fun

Last week it was really nice and sunny, and after school one day, Kane decided he'd like to go to the play park in our village.

So, armed with a carrier bag of goodies - some Quaver crisps, some mini Jaffa Cakes and some drinks, we ventured along the road and into the park.

It's only a smallish park, but it has some very fun climbing equipment and a couple of small slides and some swings.

Kane took me to the back of the park where it is overgrown, but there is a little path running along the length of this area which the kids use to hide and play 'jungle'. I didn't like it as I was too tall for the path - I got a little fed up after walking into the third branch, and my idea of fun is not seeing Kane having to wrestle with brambles the thickness of his arms, but we eventually made it to the other end, albeit with a few more scratches than usual!

After that we went on the swings, with Kane being quite brave and wanting to swing quite high. Then it was time for the climbing frame and the monkey bars - which Kane has never really shown any interest for - nor me actually, I've never really been able to use them!

Sitting down for our little picnic was nice, as we chose a great tree to sit under. The dappled shade was cooling on a hot day and the rest did us both good.

Ever the adventurer Kane wanted to climb the tree we were sitting under, and, with a little help he managed to scramble up to a great spot!

After a bit more running round and chasing each other it was time to go home, but we both agreed it was a very fun time!