and then there were two . . .

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Miss Marple (above) is now pecking & scratching in chook heaven.  I’d noticed she was under the weather a few days ago, and I probably didn’t react in time.  By the time I did  react, she was suffering from an enlarged crop (so google brought up various issues like “impacted crop” and “sour crop” for that).  Husband contacted a few vets in the area.  None of whom seemed to know much about hens so it basically became a DIY lesson in hen health (or ill-health), sifting through various articles/videos on the internet to find out what to do.

We isolated her from the other gals and adminstered a small amount of olive oil in the first instance, hoping this would help the blockage.  This was then followed, by some gentle crop massaging to help her vomit and empty her crop.  I thought I had got the hang of things, and was managing to help her bring up lots of foul-smelling gunk . . . but sadly, it was a case of too little, too late.

Miss Marple will be remembered as a very prolific layer, a very good-looking black & tan hen with a bit of an attitude. 

So for now, there’s just Miranda and Miss Moneypenny in the coop  . . . but hopefully, it won’t be long before a couple of new chooks come to join them.  I need to phone our local breeder to find out if there’s still time to reserve a couple of birds for this month, or whether I’ll have to wait until March next year.

In the meantime . . . guinea fowl are growing and seem to have settled in well.

pintades 9 weeks

Here they are, aged 9 weeks, sunning themselves in the back garden. 

We’ve been having an Indian summer this past week with temperatures around 23°C and gorgeous blue skies.  An opportunity to take a few colourful photos

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cosmos02

of what’s flowering outside . . . and one, just for laughs, of what Ducky is up to indoors.

ducky 15 10

I know it doesn’t look like it, but he’s actually fast asleep, with his eyes wide open lol. 

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what was all that crashing & banging about?

I mentioned only the other day that there had been lots of crashing & banging going on in our house recently.  The reason:  we were having our bathroom re-done.  And when I say “having  it re-done”, I mean, we chose to pay the professionals and let them do all the work.  We’ve done a fitted kitchen, in the past, and we’ve laid tiles, but we decided we didn’t have the skills to tackle a total bathroom refurbishment.

Bathroom which, rather strangely looked like this before work.

bathroom before 01

(before)

A bath hidden by kitchen cupboards, and a kitchen sink instead of a washbasin . . . no you’re not dreaming lol.  Previous owners had transformed their old bathroom into a kitchen but since we already have a nice big kitchen downstairs, we didn’t need another one upstairs. 

Anyway, after patiently being on the waiting list since February, for the contractors we wanted in to do the work, workmen arrived on 25th Sept and demolition began.  Work lasted over 2 weeks and now I can show you the results. 

bathroom after 05

(after).

bathroom before 02

(before)

bathroom after 03

(after)

bathroom after01

(after)

bathroom before 03

(before)

bathroom after 02

(after).

We’re really pleased with our brand new bathroom, well shower room really.  We weren’t 100% sure that our choice of tiles, colours, and floor tiles would all work together, but it’s turned out just as we hoped it would. 

a bit of this & that

I’ve been busy of late cross stitching on something I can’t show you just yet . . . and also putting up with lots of crashing & banging in the house, accompanied by loads of dirt & dust: the result of which I hope to reveal very soon.

What I can share with you today are the following photos . . .

knitting front and back

Progress on my sweater – yay!  This got stuffed in the bag way back in July because weather was too hot for knitting.  However, over the last few days I’ve finished the front, and begun work on sleeve n°1. 

A little crocheting happened too, but only this

flashy floater

Another floating toy for Gibbs in a very flashy neon pink (left over from a MyBoshi beanie) because . . .

flashy floater 2

. . . the first toys are still functional and floating BUT they’re looking rather sorry & grubby. Not to mention that they’re very difficult to see on dry land, when they fall in a pile of autumn leaves.  I didn’t have enough pink to cover the entire bottle, which explains why it’s a mish-mash of colours & yarns, but it’s bright pink enough to spot from quite a distance and Gibbs believes a dog can never have too many toys.

And last photo, with a big thank you to Ghislaine, one of my ex students

from Ghislaine

Ghislaine sent me a whole pile of bookmarks, including a couple to colour in, and

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an oil pen !  This is a rather nifty device which contains sewing machine oil – how very clever! 

SAL update – “Getting Ready” #1

As SAL members and regular readers know, Avis and I had a happy dance for the last SAL update with our “Cirque des Triangles”. A lovely monochrome design which we both made totally our own through choice of fabric and thread colours.  Way before we came to the end of that project, we had already been discussing what our next SAL project would be. 

It just so happens that the two of us did a little spending in the Christmas sales on sewandso, last year, among other things, both buying the following kit.

GR cover photo

“Getting Ready”, a kit by Design Works, adapted from the artwork of South African artist, Ronald West.  We both fell in love with the very quirky style, not to mention that the price, in the sales, was simply too good to miss. 

Anyway . . . this is what we’ll both be working on over the coming months.  However, while we are going to try and pace ourselves, so we keep up roughly the same stitching speed, we are going to tackle it each in our own way.

My way is rather erratic.  I’ve decided to start top left, so my first stage looks like this.

GR stage 01

You’ll have to hop over to Avis blog to see where she began stitching.

And don’t forget, if you have the time, to do some blog-hopping to see what other members are up to.  Here is a list of links to visit the rest of our stitching group.  AvisGun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Catherine, Mary Margaret, TimothyHeidi , Connie and Jackie.

Next update will be on 29th October.  Hope to see you then!

best layer of the month #September

hens 03

Autumn is on its way, therefore hens have been moved back into their enclosure in the veggie patch.  Here they are, enjoying all the fresh grass and vegetation that grew while they were in the orchard.

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hens 02

The coop-move didn’t put them off their laying at all . . . and total egg count for September was 65 eggs!  18 from Miranda, 20 from Miss Marple and 27 from Miss Moneypenny.  She’s the Marans Cuckoo hybrid to the left of the following photo.

hens 04

hens 06

I’ve got more mouths to feed here, with the arrival of

guinea fowl 03

Young guinea fowl, 6 weeks old in this photo, who, like last year, will be fattened up in time for the festive season. 

guinea fowl 02

We’ve had to be inventive after a lot of fun & games the other day.  Young guinea fowl are so small that they can escape through the net fencing enclosure as we soon discovered.  I reassure you, all ended well, but not before Gibbs got to try out his retrieving tactics and a few feathers were lost.

Anyway, the temporary set-up is: young guinea fowl inside a small plastic greenhouse.  It’s far from perfect, but it allows them to stretch their legs and eat grass, keeps them dry and safe from draughts (& Gibbs), and prevents any future Houdini episodes.  As soon as they grow big/fat enough, they will be allowed more freedom.

finish one a month #2 – September

Early in August I boasted that I was going to tackle finishing off my “finished” projects, and attempt to do one a month.  Well September almost came and went without me keeping that resolution . . . almost, but not quite!

I am very pleased to say that I finished not one, but THREE cross stitch projects!  Yep – three in one afternoon.  Not that any of the following took much time to do, it was more a question of just getting down to work.  First of all . . . some framing.  I bought two identical 50cm x 70cm frames a while back for my two Ink Circles cross stitch projects, but had to wait a few weeks for the cardboard mounts to arrive.  I’m not too sure about the colour of my mounts, but there wasn’t a great deal of choice in the shop I went to.  I’ll probably get used to them, the more I see them.

Ink circkes finish 01

So, a drum roll please for a framed “Cirque des Cercles” and matching “Cirque des Triangles”.

ink circles finish 02

ink circles finish 03

I do have a picture hook on the wall opposite, for “Cirque des Triangles” but wanted to show both together.

And third finished finish . . . a very quick sewing project . . . just adding a zip and using some beige denim from a pair of jeans I cut up which no longer fit.

yarn cats finish 02

yarn cats finish

To make myself a little pouch for my crochet hooks.  I know some people make needle rolls, but I just wanted to whizz up something really quickly to keep all my hooks together in one place.  Not the world’s most creative (or brilliant) sewing, but it’ll do the job.

“a little bird told me” – happy dancing

a little bird finished 03

I’m happy dancing, not only because of a finished quilt, but because the recipient of above quilt is now safely here.  Little Mona, born on 29th September by C-section and weighed in at 3.200 kilos.  Mother & baby are well, father is very proud, and 7 year old, older sister, Cléo is thrilled to bits.

This quilt is something I began making this summer – totally inspired by the bird fabric (“Tweet”).  I really let rip with colours and prints . . .

a little bird finished 04

a little bird finished 02

Quilting was kept simple though, as that’s never my strong point.

a little bird finished 05

a little bird finished 01