let me introduce you to the new gals

You’ll know that we were down to only 2 hens last weekend when Miss Marple died.  I immediately phoned the breeder we buy our fowl from and reserved 2 new hens which we collected on Thursday.

The first 2 days, we kept them shut in the coop, with food & water, just to let them settle in.  However they were in close contact with Miranda and Miss Moneypenny at bedtime.   Then we let them explore the inner enclosure for 2 days, so the old gals could see the new gals in daylight, but not peck them to death.   

The following photos were taken during this introductory stage, so apologies for the chicken wire. Please allow me to introduce you to . . .

news gals

Our two new laying hens.


Having to undergo full inspection.

Miss Plumpton

Miss Plumpton, a hybrid Sussex, all beautiful and white with black tail feathers and a very pretty “collar” of black around her neck.


And Mauricette, a French Blue.

Both Miss Plumpton and Mauricette are 20 weeks old, and “on the point of lay”.  We’re not expecting any eggs from either of them for a few weeks, until they’ve settled in properly.  Anyway, they’ve now been allowed to explore the outer enclosure and things are going fairly smoothly.  Miranda is being very bossy and she doesn’t seem to like Miss Plumpton very much – we’re wondering if it’s because she’s such a bright white? Early days yet though.  I’m sure they’ll all be scratching and happily clucking together before too long. 


a thumbs up for Lindashee

I don’t usually do “advertising”, but today is an exception.  Just wanted to let you know that my daughter, of the blog Lindashee  has just opened her on-line etsy store.  On her blog, over the years, she has built up quite a selection of small cross stitch designs, which she offers as free instant downloads on her blog.  Her new etsy store is a place where she will be selling her new selection of cross stitch charts (also in pdf form, instant download), and only available in her etsy store. 

She only has a few charts in her store for the moment, but is busy working on several new designs she hopes to add before the end of the year.    LindasheesStitches is the name of her store and this is the banner to look out for with an example of some of her new designs.


such a dashing dog!

I know I’m biaised . . . but when I show you the following photos, I think you’ll all agree, Gibbs is one dashing dog!

First up . . . a reminder of what he looked like as a pup.  Here, aged 4 months, sporting a bandana made for him by Lynn.


Lynn makes and sells bandanas and collars for dogs in her etsy shop ouafouaf and donates 50% of profits to Twilight, a retirement home for dogs.  Twilight is run by volunteers and financed by donations.

Anyway . . . now that Gibbs is all grown up and less likely to chew on things hanging around his neck, he’s been wearing his bandana recently

Gibbs bandana original 

. . . slightly hidden under all that fur and neck!  But it’s a bit Christmasy for autumn.  So what to do? . . . make a few “every day” ones, is the answer!  I had a good look at the bandana made by Lynn first, and then dived in to make my own. 

bandana back 

I used two different prints for the fronts and the same blue for the back.

Gibbs bandana 01

Gibbs bandana 02

And doesn’t Gibbs look gorgeous?  He’s now almost 14 months old, so he’s finished growing.  Weighs in at 38 kilos and has the most glossy coat and the most adorable character. 

and then there were two . . .


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



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. 

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


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


bathroom before 02


bathroom after 03


bathroom after01


bathroom before 03


bathroom after 02


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


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!