28 December 2008

what happened to Twiglets?

This Christmas has been a Twiglet free affair here in the Highlands. No Twiglets anywhere. Is this a battle won by the Marmite Haters or are they another victim of the current financial crisis and no one told me?? Have the Marmite Lovers taken supplies hostage and not released any for us up here?

Twiglets - where are you??

22 December 2008

So, 2008, where did it go?

I can't belive that I'm writng the annual catch up again already. Where did 2008 go? Was it two months for the price of one and no one told me? Apologies for those who signed in prompted by the note in the christmas card - I had great intentions of getting this done ages ago but life got in the way, so no change there!

This year has been a kind of a stop start year for us at Highland Madness. It started with having to take the kids to and fro for school, severely impacting on our day in more ways than the hour round trip twice a day. We had to spend the time in between fighting the council for an extra escort for the bus to ensure safety for all concerned. Our epilepsy nurses were not happy to put it mildly.

Once this was sorted - six months later - we had more time to spend on the market gardening side and did manage to produce and sell successfully. We learned a lot along the way and will be better prepared for 2009 as a result. We still have a lot of potatoes in the ground as well as swede and beetroot which has not been harvested due to storage issues.

The good news is the extension is coming on really well. The bad news is we have no space in the garage and the weather has been too wet to put the barn up since we dug the foundations so no space to make more propagators, hen houses or storage for root veg.

In spite of their dilapidated housing the birds (10 bantams, 10 hybrids and 6 Muscovy ducks) are doing well and are still producing eggs. We're looking forward to breeding our own ducks next year and may even sell a few if I can get the dispatching right.

Summer holidays passed more easily this year as we were able to get some help with the girls and therefore out and about, including visits to various beaches and Landmark Forest Theme Park.

Unfortunately Scrumpy's epilepsy is becoming more unstable and we have had to use emergency medication in the most awkward situations. It's an on going issue but life goes on regardless and we take it in our stride. She's a real trooper and copes with it so well. Bear seams to have some awareness of it to as she has several times comforted her sister during a seizure (so much more preferable than the other option of running a muck!)

Our household has somewhat swelled this year with the addition of 26 birds and two cats and four staff to work with the girls. The cats arrived in November as barn cats but it soon became obvious that cats are animals of very little brain and they are currently house cats. IF I have the heart they will be outside cats but it's more likely they'll be utility room cats and we'll put a flap in the door. I'm still clinging to my original idea of pest control...

We're looking forward to 2009. More help with the girls means more adventures and more time to work. Farming, computing - yes, it took 3 1/2 years but he's back at it - and helping out in school and Youth Project will keep us busy.

We have two family weddings to look forward to and we already have visitors booked in as far ahead as May, so if you were thinking of dropping by, we'd love to see you but get penciled in now!

A wonderful Christmas and fabulous New Year to all.

10 December 2008

Happy Advent to One and All!

Thanks for the climbing frame mum!

Three days ago Hot hubs and I went back to the Tattooist and got inked. We screwed up our courage and went in, a few minutes late, to find he was doing someone else and we had to go back in half an hour. We retreated to the bakery cafe for Dutch courage after raiding Woolworth's closing down sale. At the allotted hour we returned and Hot hubs went first. Having lost numerous medic alert bracelets he now has a tattoo on his wrist announcing his condition and I have to say even at this early stage it looks really good.

Then it was my turn and having seen Hot hubby's finger tips going white as he gripped his arm while it was being done I sat in the chair with a fair amount of trepidation. Here goes nothing. It took an hour and a half of scratching feeling but I now have a Peacock butterfly on my back. I found my happy place and it didn't hurt as much as I feared. Until now. Now I feel like I missed a bit with the sunscreen and have a bad case of sunburn. It didn't occur to me that it would hurt after having it done. Washing it and applying bepanthen cream three times a day didn't register as a healing process for some bizarre reason. Apparently the bruised sunburn feeling will fade over the next couple of weeks.


In spite of all this, I am still glad I had it done and I'm pleased with the results. Judge for yourself.



For those of you who don't know, Peacock butterflies are a rare breed native to Highland grassland areas. They grow to about 7cm wing span and are quite beautiful.


02 December 2008

I'm NOT a cat person.....they're NOT growing on me....


At 11 weeks old Tim and Bruce had their first vaccinations at the vet yesterday. Neither of them stopped purring through the whole thing, needle and all. They got weighed again - Bruce was 1kg 3 weeks ago, now 1.6kg, Tim was 900g and is now 1.26kg. Vet is pleased with their progress and thinks Bruce is going to be a BIG cat. That's my big bad barn cat on the right, Tim's hiding behind her brother. As you can see they're not cute at all.

To Tat or not to Tat - that WAS the Question...

Now I'm deciding on a design for my oh so original Christmas present from Hot-Hubby. I have narrowed it down to a butterfly, indigenous to the British Isles, hopefully Scotland but at least to find one that lives where we do. Why a butterfly? Because it's a symbol of rebirth, renewal and life. Photos will be posted, so no it's nowhere the sun never shines!

Of course there are downsides to having a tattoo. I won't be able to give blood for a bit, it will hurt "like a hot cat scratch" according to the tattooist but is that going to be like "tiny scratch" by the doctor as you nearly hit the roof? It will be there forever so I have to be very sure about it and I can't whimp out part way through, it's an all or nothing deal.

On the up side my mum will hate it and I have to admit this does appeal to my inner teenager - sorry mum!

27 November 2008

Just for Michelle...

Another duck picture for scale - or - dinner time!

21 November 2008

Bear Update


Bear is still on her language spurt. Cats are earning their keep! Lots of "Daddy" and "Mummy" and tonight "Ritz" for the required savoury biscuit AND generalised it to ask Daddy!

Also in cat news...Hot-Hubby thinks they "need" to come through to the front room for a cuddle at night "so they get more used to us" They are growing like weeds and feel like they have doubled in size in the two weeks we have had them.

In duck news - they're taking over the asylum!!


and yes that's snow on our roof - more falling at time of writing so hoping for enough for sledging or a melt by morning. Nothing more irritating for Scrumpy than not enough snow!

13 November 2008

osina not othy - now it all makes sense!

Cats have had a trip to the vet where it was confirmed that Tim is actually a girl. Need I say more?

Tim gets stuck, Tim shouts for help. Bruce gets stuck, sits there silently like a numpty.

Both are growing on me and purr like out board motors, so much so that Tim had to have surgical spirit wafted up her nose to help stop her purring so the vet could hear her chest! Tim also had to have her eye checked but all in order except a short course of antibiotics to cover cat flu infection.

Bear is still besotted. Scrumpy also quite beside herself and wants to hug them all the time. They are now dual purpose cats, big bad barn therapy cats. Bear has said more sentences since we had the cats indoors than she has said in the last year. Never underestimate the power of animals.

12 November 2008

What a day! or Dreams can come true...


Yesterday we found Squeak in the wall of the tack room - today, we found him in the tiniest tube in the wall, upside down and looking very much worse for wear. Stupid cat. Having got him out of the wall we brought him in and left him with food and water on top of the boiler in a pet carrier. He soon picked up but then our attention focused on the absence of Ratty, who was eventually found in the wall on the other side of the stable. So today has been spent rescuing cats - head down the back of walls bum in the air trying not to join them. Not the most elegant position but needs must.

I decided to call in the big guns and got the lady from the cat protection league to come out. A lovely lady who has lent us a double size carrier so they can be contained with food and litter tray and we can keep an eye on them. She also confirmed we have two brothers so their actual names are Tim (as in Nice but Dim - Harry Enfield and Hot-Hubby's choice) and Bruce which was my choice and due to a dream I had. Tim has the snots which I'm hoping is due to dust and dirt and nothing more but we need to keep an eye on him. Next episode - a trip to the vet for jabs and worming.


11 November 2008

Mid-week Highland Madess Howler

Put your tea/coffee down and watch this but please be warned, language is definitely "adult theme"

And for those of you preferring "Aww!" to "BWAHAHAHA!!" here's a picture of Squeak - sibling Ratty is the same colour but slightly shorter coat and more of a splodge than stripe effect. Squeak is more adventurous (or should that be less clever?) and got stuck down the wall this morning - stupid cat had climbed up the wood pile and over the gap at ceiling height into the tackroom nextdoor to the stable (we use it as a garden shed.) Did Squeak land in the comparitavely vast area of the tackroom? No, stupid cat fell down the wall - a gap of about 3" at most - and I had to pull the hardboard off to let the thing out. Then I had to catch it - Squeak NOT impressed!


But none the worse for wear



and still cute, for a cat.




08 November 2008

Decison made!

We now have two adorable ginger kittens currently living in the stable. I collected them today from the Giggling Farmer's connection.

Photo's to follow

06 November 2008

Decisions, decisions


What colour wetwall should we have? Where should the radiators go? The lights? The switches? How high do we want the shower head? Where and what's going in the kitchen? The list is never ending! Extension is exciting and progressing but also so consuming.

Then there's the mouse issue - should we trap them, poison them or get a cat or two? I'm in favour of option three so watch this space (had a dream we had a barn cat called Bruce!!)

And now the ducks have moulted and regrown feathers do we clip them or trust them to know what side their bread's buttered and stick around? The books say they fly around not away and they do look amazing zooming around at head height...

Answers on a postcard please....

I'm off to prepare the house and food for friends round for dinner - when the kids are away, mum and dad will play!

23 October 2008

Hedonism at Highland Madness!

Well as you may recall, sometime ago, I posted about a trip we were planning. It came off and I am now sufficiently recovered to tell (not) all. It started with me getting up at sparrows doodah to meet The font of all knowledge to collect some more hens. I was up and they were all asleep, I returned and they were STILL ALL ASLEEP!!! Unfair or what? That just never EVER happens. I put in a complaint.

Hot-hubs toook Meg to stay in her holiday home which she rushed into without a backward glance - something about 6 mile a day walks and lots of fuss was mentioned in her own doggy way. Then it was back to load up the car with kids, cases and all the paraphernalia of holidays
.

Dropped the kids off to their holidays and equally with less than a dismissive glance they were off. By this time I was getting a little bit of a complex, no doubt compounded by my separation anxiety. Were they all that unhappy with me? What was I doing so wrong?. I tried to follow Hot-hubby's lead (or should that be front?) and be happy they were going to be having as much fun if not more than we were.

We were truly on our way now and decided to grab some lunch at the garden centre (great cafe, don't laugh!) on the way to the airport. (Had to send a wee text to Big Help to let her know where to take kids for cafe trip on the way home - Christmas stuff in at the garden centre - Scrumpy was delighted!!)

All went smoothly, the car was parked, the plane was on time and would you believe the guy doing the bag security and the guy in front of us both had a sister in the same place as Hot-Hubs! What's the odds of that? We arrived in the South East. I know it wasn't hell but it was doing a fair impression. The people the traffic the noise - lost count of the number of "Beam me up Scotty!"s.

We made it to Hot-Hubby's sister in one piece and was just delighted to see nephew was still up. He soon disappeared off to bed and we consumed the odd glass of wine catching up on all the family news. Staggered up stairs - (both flights as we were on the top floor, just a bit different to our single storey living as my thighs told me by the end of our stay!) and slept with out interruption 'til 7.30am, a luxury we don't often have.

After receiving a reassuring text from Bear's carer we spent the day Friday playing with nephew who already could say my name and point to me when asked where I was - he's an 18month old genius with a real sense of humour. When asked who mum is will only say "Daddy", first word was "hoover". Mum was not pleased he was saying "Amanda" after an evening and a morning but what can I say? I must have made an impression!! After some quality nephew time and getting more acclimatised we headed off to She who introduced me to Hot-Hubs for Friday night in the pub with old friends. It was just great to spend time with everyone again and those of you who didn't make it, we missed you!!

Alcohol levels suitably adjusted we slept well again!

Saturday was the big day for She who introduced us so we helped out with a few last minute things then headed off to our old next door neighbours for a slap up lunch. This served two purposes - one, to allow Mr & Mrs S-W-I-U to panic in privacy and two, we got to catch up with more friends and remind ourselves how much we miss our neighbours and their cooking!

Suitably refreshed we headed to the hotel and had a (ahem) leisurely get ready. We don't often dress up these days so it took a while. Once scrubbed up we braved the glass lifts to the bar area and met up with people we haven't seen for about 15 or 20 years in some cases.

The wedding went without a hitch (and nearly without the brides knickers!!) and was followed by a great evening of drinking and dancing and laughing with old friends and a few new ones too. Unfortunately even the suitably adjusted alcohol levels couldn't drown out the noise of the trains and we didn't sleep as well that night, but a slap up breakfast brought us back to life and we headed back to nephew to meet up with other brother in law and his family who had travelled three hours down the road just to see us.

Sunday whizzed passed in a whirl and before we knew it we were in the all you can eat Chinese with a bottle or two of wine and a sister in law eager to enjoy a rare night out. What could I do? I could hardly let her down so had to join her in a glass or two.....you guessed it, alcohol levels suitably adjusted and we were dead to the world until after 7am again!

Monday morning and we were going home. You know that going home feeling, the one where you want to stay but you really want to get home right there and then, preferably by teleport? Well we had it BIG style. Having kept my homesickness under control by being so busy it came over me in a wave of tsunami proportions and all I wanted was to be home with my girls and my dog and my chaos. No more high density living, just space and quiet. BEAM ME UP SCOTTY!!

Thankfully the journey home was uneventful and we were home safe with our girls - who had survived trial by respite for four days and enjoyed a cafe treat with Big Help on the way home. I can honestly say we all enjoyed our four day holiday but we're all glad it's over. Scrumpy particularly had a hard time spending that long in respite, even having as much fun as they did Bear also had a moment of sitting by the door with her suitcase (but then she has done that before on an overnight when asked to eat shepherd's pie!) I think we'll stick to a maximum of two nights in future.

21 September 2008

Scrumpy turns 11!!

I can hardly beleive it but Scrumpy is 11. She has had the most amazing brithday weekend with a party and chocolate cake a la Hot -hubby's at school on Friday, cake and candles at play scheme on Saturday followed by tea at Burger King then home for cards and presents and blackerry and fruit picking on Sunday. It doesn't end there - next weekend it all starts again when family visit for more cake and candles and presents and cards. Birthday octave? This is birthday bonanza!!

Yes, you read that right, fruit picking. Scrumpy LOVES fruit picking, just don't expect to get any of it home! That'll be her five a day for the next week or two...

17 September 2008

Hot -Hubby has been peeking.....

PS I've had a complaint about misrepresentation - to be clear, picture of M3 is newer than the one we had and ours was green but that was the only picture I found on the net so illustration only. The picture of the Morris really is/was mine and the picture of the MX5 is actually an older model than the one we're getting and ours is in black but you get the idea!!

15 September 2008

Reasons to be cheerful

What do you get if you cross one of these


with one of these?

Answer..........


A MAZDA MX5!!!!



Yes, amongst other things the credit crunch has hit the House of Highland Madness. Hot-Hubby and I have combined our toys into one little bundle of joy. Yes, I was very sad to see my little Moggy go but it was time to part company. She had to come out of her cosy little garage to sit in the elements when the extension started and she didn't like it. Not even a little bit. We have had a lot of fun over the eight years we've had her (yes her - Beatrice) but a new era has dawned and it's more "VROOOM" than "Parp Parp".

The MX5 will be arriving shortly and no doubt you will hear all about it in a future post as we plan our highspeed adventures around the Highlands and beyond.

Now, you would have thought that was reason enough to put a smile on my face but we have another. I'm so excited - it's such an embarrasement of riches - but we - Hot-hubs and me, no kids, dog or birds, are getting away for not one, not two but FOUR nights!! Can you beleive it?? Mind, the planning, favours called and owed and down right sculduggery that has forgone this adventure we'll need it. And we have a reason for this indulgence other than all the really good excuses I could give in that my very best friend of over 20 years, she who introduced me to Hot-hubby, is getting married at the other end of the island. We're flyig down and hiring a car so we can make the most of our time. I just hope we're busy enough so we don't have time to miss our girls - two nights away (Dad's wedding last year) was bad enough, not really sure how I'll be after four but I'm looking forward to all my adventure time and glossing over the issue.

Full report to follow the event....well that of course depends on what happens....it might be edited highlights!!


02 September 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HOT-HUBBY!!

Yes, we are getting old, or as I like to think of it, growing up! Hot -Hubby had a special day recently and was spoilt rotten with cakes galore...


Catherine made this amazing cake complete with veg patch and poly tunnel, only missing the tractor but that would have been a bit tricky in icing.



By request and tradition I made chocolate cake - I could tell you the recipe but then I'd have to kill you. I will say good chocolate cake requires dark sugar and a bare minimum of 1 1/2 oz organic cocoa powder.

Hot-Hubby is feeling creaky and not at all happy about being beyond 30 something, but consoled himself by playing driving games on his new XBox. At least when you're a "Golf Widow" you're not still tripping over them....

16 August 2008

This just in....




Hot off the press as it were, here's a pic of our first off-spring, well, Sale-Or and one of his harem anyway! How cute is that? It (as yet not sexed) had a poorly leg and was almost for the big coop in the sky but the Mad Ukrainian saved it and it's now a happy chuck.

Hot Hubby put his technical hat on and got the pic of our first stall off my phone, so here it is as promised
and here's today's effort - that box in the front was beetroot. We did well and sold out of eggs, courgettes cucumber and cabbage.


14 August 2008

FINALLY.....

At last! I am one of the elite club who has won a Manic Mummy contest! I AM DELIGHTED!! Can you tell? I did a little jig, I let out a little whoop and I've been singing Abba songs all morning. Can't wait for the CD of Mamma Mia to land on my mat. In the mean time I will content myself with digging tatties for Saturday's sale and laughing at Big Help as she pervs at the builders.

Five sleeps to school

11 August 2008

Ponderings of a poultry keeper

Whilst deep in the depths of poultry keeping thoughts were floating through the ether of my mind, as they do, when I stumbled upon the traditional interview question "Where do you see yourself in five (ten) years time?" and I had to laugh as I thought of where I was ten years ago and what I was doing ten years ago and what my response would have been then - it certainly wouldn't have been "Upto my elbows in duck shit and mite spray" that's for sure! (That's the joys of ducks - think long and hard before you invest for they are filthy creatures) Ten years ago I was working in an office with a computer and a desk and swanky suit - Oh my oh my oh my! That, thinking about it, was more than ten years ago. Ten years ago I had a baby to care for so maybe not quite so far from today as I thought - ANYWAY, I digress so back to the point which was - where were you ten years ago and when you were there did you think you would be where you are now? Comments please...

06 August 2008

More photos...

Sweet corn is trying to burst out of the poly tunnel!


We have walls!

Malcolm and his harem playing on the straw bale

Thirteen days to go 'til school starts and no prizes for guessing what the weather's doing right now...here's a BIG clue - I'm tootling on the computer...


01 August 2008

Five weeks down, two to go...

Yep, the summer holidays are ALMOST over and the internet is back again!

We have been to the beach LOADS thanks to good weather and help and I have to say I am a very proud doggy owner - our Meg has been teaching other autistic kids to not be afraid of dogs. She is SOOOO good and SOOOO lovely and yes she was nearly kidnapped at the beach yesterday. She was playing with a little boy who has autism and his dad and grandad who were so chuffed because he usually freaks at the sight of a dog I think they had designs on encouraging her to go home with them....easily done as she's such a tart, she'd go if there was a ball involved.At this same beach trip Bear decided to have a total meltdown at going home time - just because we were and she wasn't ready to - and for the first time a very nice lady came over to ask if she was hurt and could she help? Above the screams my soggy helper (Bear + water, enough said!) explained she was autistic and whilst Bear drew breath I heard her say "Oh that's OK then." How totally cool is that?? Scrumpy is 11 next birthday and that is the first EVER time that's happened. For those of you not "in" the autism world, that's how to handle it.

Other news? Poly tunnel is looking like a jungle - cucumbers are tasting mighty fine and aubergines are looking good. Premieres (potatoes) are almost ready, hoping they'll be spot on for the next local sale on 16th August. Swedes are growing well and beetroot are golf ball size so looking promising.

The down side is that seeing as we have been having way too much fun with Scrumpy and Bear the day we put aside to prepare the ground for our second attempt carrots and parsnips it is POURING rain. No good for tractoring. Bugger.

If I can figure out how to get the photos off my phone and onto the computer I will post pics of the Mad Ukranian's chick. Photo-fest II to follow sometime soon - ish!

22 July 2008

Autism mum top tip of the day.....

Thank you! Thank you Catherine! A top tip from my good friend has stopped my house stinking like a stable due to Scrumpy having "toileting issues". In the pet department they do a cleaning spray to clean up after animal"accidents" removing the smell which would encourage them to soil again in the same spot and I'm delighted to say it works for humans too!

The House of Highland Madness is open to visitors again!

Keeping you in the picture...


Courgettes are doing well


Cucumbers and harvested coriander in the poly tunnel, sweetcorn and squash in the background


Meg was not sure about Domino who came for her holidays - yet another small thing to worry about!!

but she's getting braver with the ducks


Our extension is progressing

and due to school holidays that's your lot for now!

We have had a stand at the last two local producers markets and sold quite well - eggs, lettuce, coriander etc. the next one should be better as the potatoes and courgettes will be ready by then.

Scrumpy and Bear are having WAY to much fun at holiday club and as we have some help this summer we're keeping up at home too with trips out to the beach, park and cafe (stick that in your pipe and smoke it Michael Savage!)

(link takes you to another blog so scroll down and find the post - you will be amazed, and not in a good way!!)


22 June 2008

Like I always say, rubbish in, rubbish out...

Action on Additives Campaign

Tartrazine - E102 - artifical, yellow food colouring
Quinoline yellow - E104 - artifical, yellow food colouring
Sunset yellow - E110 - artifical, orange / yellow food colouring
Carmoisine - E122 - artifical, red food colouring
Ponceau 4R - E124 - artifical, red food colouring
Allura red - E129 - artifical red food colouring
Sodium benzoate - E211 - artifical preservative

These are the additives currently in the line of fire, but you can learn more about this excellent campaign here www.actiononadditves.com.

Oh, by the way, the planned photo-fest has been put back due to 2" rain falling today, and yesterday I was too busy doing a village sale!!! Sold all but 1 of my Marvel or Four seasons lettuce, several excess tomato and pepper plants and a few pots of parsley. Not bad for a two hour sale in the hall.

19 June 2008

The Amazing Tale of the Mad Ukrainian and the Egg Swap

This is just so brilliant I had to share!

The mad Ukrainian in this tale is my very dear friend and neighbour and this is all true. It goes like this.

The Mad Ukrainian came up (she lives down the hill from us) one evening and asked if she could swap some of her chicken eggs for some of ours as she had a broody hen. Do what? I asked. Well seeing as we have a cockerel and she doesn't, could she swap some of her definitely infertile eggs for some of our possibly fertile ones to put under her broody hen to hatch out. Ah, problem number one is our eggs have been out from under a hen for some time and problem number two is we don't keep them at the required 38C so nothing will happen. Well she wanted to try anyway and while she was at it why not try a duck egg too? It would be an experiment.

We laughed, we swapped and we waited.

Last week we saw a very happy Mad Ukrainian. Not only had the experiment been a success as broody hen had sat blissfully on eggs in a quiet shed but she had managed to hatch two live chicks!! Not only that but if she had kept her cool and sat for a wee bit longer there would have been a little duckling too. Amazing. (and good news for us as this proves Sale-Or and Malcolm are not Jaffas!)

Sadly one of the chicks didn't make it having strayed too far from mum's warmth but at time of writing the second chick is doing well and feasting on porridge. Again I hope to get some photos of it when time allows.

Hmmm, I feel a photo-fest coming on and it just might happen next week as the school transport issues have been sorted and we won't be doing 50 miles a day on the school run!

06 June 2008

Did ya miss me? Did ya?

After a long absence , I'm back to report on life in the house of Highland Madness!

First off, poly tunnel news - it's now full to bursting with plants and we have had our first salad leaves which of course were the best ever tasting in the world. We have cabbages, courgettes (zucchini for those across the pond), two types of lettuce, tomatoes, chillies, peppers, cucumbers, parsley, sweetcorn, two types of squash, cranberry and two types of grapes growing plus more seeds in the propagator for succession. We're hoping for a bumper harvest after all our hard work enriching the soil with muck and compost, sieving the top soil and loading it into raised beds (another engineering master piece from Hot Hubby!)

Veg patch news - I have planted 9 - yes count 'em - NINE rows of tatties of various kinds (a lot of roosters and some different types from The Font of All Knowledge) There's also beetroot, swede, carrot, parsnip, leeks, peas, red onion, white onion, spring onion (scallions for my US readers!) and strawberries.

So far the roosters are making a good show and we have fruit on the strawberry plants. Onions are sprouting and the spring onions that we started in the poly tunnel have not keeled over in the east wind that whips across our hill top. Strawberries, although fruiting, are looking a little wind battered but they should be OK. I'm a little worried our early potatoes haven't shown yet but The Font of All Knowledge says we should be OK.

And what's growing the best? Yep, you guessed it, WEEDS. At least this year we can get to remove them...

Orchard news - we have cherries on our trees and lots of blossom on the apples, pears and plums so deer allowing we should have some fruit this year. Glad to say no sign of the pear leaf spider mite we had last year.

Bird news - we have continued to have a steady-ish stream of eggs although production has been interrupted by a couple of broody birds and the introduction of six Lohmann Brown (egg machines, you know, the brown type you see on Jimmy's Farm). We have also doubled our duck family to have Malcolm and his harem of five.

Sadly we have had some illness and currently have two birds in isolation with respiratory infection that we have had to treat with antibiotics. Thankfully I think we caught it just in time and it hasn't spread any further through the flock. (Total head count is 24)

Also in bird news - WE MADE OUR FIRST SALE!!! Yes, we have sold eggs. We have received money! Up to now we had been bartering with them but we have a sale!

Scrumpy has been having some nosebleed issues and currently we are having to put cream up her nose, which, I have to say, is going very well. No problems getting it up there at all. The nosebleeds have been the abattoir kind of puddle type so I'm hoping the cream will do the trick and we won't have to go down the quarterize route as that would mean a GA and we don't really want that. Seizure activity is still more than we would like but it looks like we're going to have to ride the storm of puberty before we get a better handle on it.

School reports have been issued and Scrumpy is doing well. She's currently teaching herself Danish through the medium of simultaneous Winnie the Pooh on video and on DVD on the computer...

Bear is still being Bear. That statement will speak VOLUMES to those that know her and for those of you who don't let's just say antics include climbing out the window to go to the ducks, wrenching the door open on the bathroom cupboard to get to the goopy liquid soaps etc (through a maglock that is designed to keep adults with Prada Willie Syndrome away from food).

Her school report was very well written - "When in the mood....." We did laugh but on a serious note she is doing well in spite of the issues we have had this year with seizures and medication.

Hot Hubs and I are doing OK, aches and pains and all. We had a night away (!!) which was good for the soul (ahem!) and seeing as ticket sales for the summer dance didn't exactly fly we have cancelled and we, the organisers, are going out instead. Well, we couldn't waste babysitters could we?

The weather here has been just fabulous lately and I have been zooming around in my little blue car with the top down and the wind in my hair having a blast! It has passed it's MOT so another year of fun and frolics is mine for the driving.

Summer holidays, all seven weeks of them, are looming large and only four weeks away so time to get my military precision plan sorted and in place. We're hoping to have some help and therefore be able to get out and about this year so my sanity may remain intact. Notice I said may...

Oh good grief! I can't believe I almost forgot to tell you - our extension is under way and we currently have a very big hole where our yard used to be....along with temporary fencing to keep the birds in and a moved fence to keep Bear in the garden and out of said hole. It should be done by Christmas so not too long. I hope!

That's it for now but photos may follow if I get a chance in between everything else.


25 May 2008

Scrumpy scores again

Scrumpy has won the gold medal for the walking race at the disability sports day.

Needless to say I am fit to burst and said medal is in pride of place in the front room (away from Bear's fingers)

12 May 2008

This is a giggle


I am a
Canna


What Flower
Are You?




Go and find out what flower you are the let me know - I got this from Kim.

11 May 2008

Things you wish you hadn't said

A while a go Scrumpy took to having a bed time story again (a welcome return!!) after a period of finding it too hard to share a book. It has been "Little Robin Red Vest" for AGES and I now know it off by heart cover to cover. Last night as we were doing our bed time routine she had a slight panic because having made her room look like the average almost 11 year-olds' bedroom she couldn't find "Little Robin" I decided to capitalise on the situation and get her to have a different book which got the reply of "and then Little Robin".

We read the "new" story which she enjoyed and then the moment came for "Little Robin". I said "It's OK, it's in my head" as she was diving under the bed. Scrumpy wriggled out from under the bed, looked at me like I was mad and, as the words came out of my mouth, proceeded to lift my hair up and look for Little Robin.

I will now have to find the blasted book, which may have been kidnapped by Bear, or I fear I will be scalped, most likely mid-recital...

10 May 2008

OUTRAGE DOES NOT EVEN COME CLOSE

I was emailed this by a friend, a fellow animal and dog lover, but I have edited out the graphic photographs as they are so offensive I don't want them appearing on my blog.

In the 2007, the 'artist' Guillermo Vargas Habacuc, took a dog from the street, he tied him to a rope in an art gallery, starving him to death.

For several days, the 'artist' and the visitors of the exhibition have watched emotionless the shameful 'masterpiece' based on the dog's agony, until eventually he died.

Does it look like art to you?

But this is not all... the prestigious Visual Arts Biennial of the Central American decided that the 'installation' was actually art, so that Guillermo Vargas Habacuc has been invited to repeat his cruel action for the biennial of 2008.


Let's STOP HIM!!!!!

Click on the following link :

http://www.petitiononline.com/ea6gk/petition-sign.html

Thankfully in the UK he would have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law. People have been imprisoned for less. Remember the news a couple of days ago? A woman was prosecuted for leaving her dog to starve to death in a room on it's own. This creature died a terrible death, only surviving as long as it did by licking the condensation from a failed double glazing unit. At least it was not held up as some kind of entertainment. To say this behaviour is outrageous, depraved does not do it justice. Psychotic? Am I getting closer? Tell me if you think I'm wrong

07 May 2008

News Flash

The sun is shining and I have had to break out the sun screen!

Had our first duck egg today and the chucks are producing well enough for us to be giving away eggs to neighbours and friends.

LOADS going on - update you when it rains!

01 May 2008

What do you think?

On BBC breakfast news yesterday there was a story about the 15 year old star of Hannah Montana (what ever that is!) posing in the buff for Vanity Fair magazine. They showed one of the pictures and I'm happy to say she was not exposing anything you wouldn't see on the beach. However, the pose was provocative so my question is - Should a Disney starlet be posing for photos of this nature? Are we more worried because she's 15 or because she works for Disney? She was reported to be embarrassed by the results so was she that comfortable doing it?

Polytunnel News

We have Lift off! Two varieties of lettuce and the spring onions are sprouting so the propagator works. Another triumph of engineering from Hot-hubby. The sweetcorn is sprouting and we have new growth and flowers on the strawberry plants. No more water disasters as I have put a sign on the door to remind "people" to turn the tap off.

The chucks and quacks are settling in well and chucks are keeping us in eggs already - they are on the small side as the birds are young but very tasty and soon they'll be that bit bigger. Quacks have yet to produce but they take longer to settle so no worries there, we've only had them for a week after all. Bear is giving them lots of exercise so could be a minor miracle if we get duck eggs!

One piece of sad news - we lost a chuck on the first day due to not realising how small a gap they could get through and next door's dog ate it. The garden is now chuck proof as well as Bear proof. Meg still scared of them but getting braver.

25 April 2008

The Bear is HAPPY!

Bear has just sampled our first home grown eggs for her tea. I think they must have been fairly tasty as she went back to lick the spoon and scrape the pot! Looking forward to mine...

Bear has not stopped beaming since she saw chucks and quacks in her garden - no photos on-air due to my phobia of cyber bogeymen.

Meg was hysterical - no photos because I was wetting my pants! Picture said cute boarder collie in pointer pose with a deep frown and her nose going twenty to the dozen. She couldn't have said "WHAT is that and WHAT is it doing in MY garden?? more loudly. She's still scared of them.

24 April 2008

Chucks away!



Muck spreading - finally getting going!



The Quacks! Bear's new best buddies the muscovy ducks.



Chucks in their house



Chucks outside



This is our cockerel (rooster for my American readers!)which although pre-named "Sale-or" as in sale or return (to maker!) did not wake us up at a ridiculous hour (we have Bear for that)

20 April 2008

Bear's been busy...



This is why we have locks on our doors and this is also what happens when we forget to use them!! She did have a lovely time though...

16 April 2008

We have LIVESTOCK!!!

Firstly, I am pleased to say we're back to normal, our normal, and my mother has gone home. We love visitors but they are a distraction...

Of far more importance and interest is the news that our family has swelled! We are now the proud owners of 3 muscovy ducks, a dozen assorted chickens (for eggs) and a cockerell. They arrive next Wednesday so of course I will post pictures of their arrival.

Poly tunnel news - some numpty (Hmmmm who could that be? Me? Surely not!) forgot to turn the tap off on the hose, which then burst, and turned it into a swimming pool. Still, the strawberries won't need watering for a while!

I almost dare not report that the weather has been pretty decent of late.

11 April 2008

Easter Holidays, Recycling and Visitors

News in brief - the kids went back to school in Tuesday, Bear managed to go without a sick bowl but Scrumpy needed a shot of it on Thursday and had to stay home Friday. She seems to be recovering better than Bear did, most likely due to the fact she is easier to keep away from food than the Bear.

Hot-hubby's latest creation is now in pride of place in the poly tunnel. We had to carry the propagator which includes at least two bags of sand over wellie eating mud and get it up onto the new workbench. We fell, we lost boots, we have injuries but it is in place and waiting for seeds to be planted. The bench is a work of recycled art and is in fact Bear's old bed with the legs cut down a bit. She had a high bed for a while, you know, one of those ones that has a chair underneath as we thought it would be a safer way for her to be high (as opposed to climbing on top of the wardrobe which she was doing) but she bounced on it too many times and it died.

We have also recyled by shopping at the charity shop to get a garden table and bench set that is too heavy for Bear to move, we think, and some planters for herbs. Needless to say it poured with rain when we had to pick it all up.

Last news - my Mother is here. Enough said, excpet she goes again on Wednesday.

03 April 2008

Crises averted!

One of the things that happens to you when you have at least one autistic child is that your senses seem to step up a gear. You can smell trouble at 100 paces if not further and you develop bat ears for the wrong kind of noise.

Today it was all quiet, in a good way, so I decided to take a moment to myself and catchup on a couple of emails etc. All was well but then I smelled it. The unmistakeable smell of toothpaste. I sped to Bear (aka prime suspect) and found the cutest thing so far this holiday. She had found the toothpaste all right but bless her cotton socks she had only got the veg brush and put a wee bit on it and was sat in the sunroom brushing her teeth! I scanned as only autism mums can but there was no trace of the tube - off to the bedroom with dread in my step - still no toothpaste. Mystified I went back to the kitchen regrouping my thoughts along the way and found she had put the tube back on the windowsill with the top on. See, she can be good!

Subtext lesson of this story? Don't forget what you put in a temporary safe place when you're unpacking the shopping!

02 April 2008

Never mind the honey....

Bear's love mud! Well, mine does anyway. Lots of icky sticky squishy mud. The icky stickier the better. We had a rough night last night, Bear had a tummy bug which gave her agonising cramps and vomiting - bad, but she learned how to get it all in the bowl - good!

Feeling up to taking advantage of the warm spring sunshine (yes, I said warm spring sunshine!) Bear decided to check out all her wallowing holes just to make sure they still worked - which they did - in her pj's. She "found" a "stick" which was attached to my cherry tree and looked amazed when I explained it wasn't a good idea and if she left it where it was she could have cherries later in the year. The face said "Mum, it's a stick. I see no cherries."

This just in - there are plants in our poly tunnel and they aren't weeds! I have dug up and potted 127 strawberry plants ready to be replanted in a lushous enriched ridged bed. (We're ridging everything this year,lesson learned last year) and hot-hubby is, as I type, putting the finishing touches to the propergator which will have temporary residance in the front lounge. I am now taking bets on how long the seedlings will last with Bear's "help".

Please note I have not said we have had three days of pretty decent weather and I did not report having washing drying outside two days on the trot so the rain dancer doesn't need to break out the tap shoes again. OK? OK.

30 March 2008

Today's the day!

It's here already, today it's officially summer. I rather tentitively peeked out the curtains this morning and was pleasantly surprised by a not bad day - it's (so far!) not raining and when I let Meg out there was no icey blast. Not bad at all.

News in brief -the barn is still in bits, the ground is still too wet to dig foundations or plough, but progress will be made today when I uproot the strawberries and move them out the way ready for the muck spreading, fertilizing etc. after which they will be rehomed in a lushous bed ready to produce a bumper crop.

This year I'm hoping for more of this



and less of this




Yes, that was our car last summer, if you can call it that, flash floods and all.

25 March 2008

The exception that proves the rule...



You know what I said about spam, it being a "count me out" thing? Well my step sister (God she'll kill me for that!) sent me this and it made me laugh out loud so thought I'd share seeing as it doesn't count as spam. It's my blog and my rules. Ner-ner-ner-ner-ner!

PS This post was brought to you by technical advise from Manic-mommy - is there no end to her talents?

21 March 2008

Happy Easter

HAPPY EASTER!

The holidays are here again - one day down, 17 to go!

I am looking forward to havingsome fun really......no really, I am, honest!

18 March 2008

And we should care because?

There are British services in danger zones around the globe, the American economy is in melt down, we're not far behind and what's the top news story today? How much Heather Mills got in divorce settlement and what the judge thought of her.

A true shout at the telly moment.

16 March 2008

After Thomas

I finally got round to watching this film which was on TV recently. It's about a family who have an autistic son and how a dog called Thomas helps break through the barriers between worlds. I don't usually watch this kind of thing as the portrayal of autistic family life is seldom even remotely acurate or even ball park. All that happens is I get cross and shout at the telly - like that's going to make any difference! Sorry, I digress.

Watching After Thomas I was pleasantly surprised to see the accuracy of tantrums, the dreaded shoe run, the reaction of by-standers - or should that be gaupers? It was all so familiar. Even down to the reactions of extended family members. I laughed, I (almost) cried, I truely identified with the mum character played by Keely Hawes. One of the best lines which I hope to remember should the occasion warrent it was
(by stander with daughter age about 11) "Disgusting behaviour!"
mum's response "What? All this lot staring at a disabled child? Yes it is disgusting"
Beats my response to "Can't you control your child?" of "No can you?"

Got any good ones I can add to my repertoire?


15 March 2008

Now I'm getting quietly excited...

Why? Because our barn arrived (in horizontal hail) and the nice man with the big trailer moved the door up from the bottom of the field so it's all in one place - in bits. But more to the point, and I feel I should be whispering this, it hasn't rained significantly for two days.

Hot-hubby has almost finished the propagator boxes and I am about to plant something more interesting than wellies in mud. It's tricky, because once I plant we only have a set number of days before it has to go somewhere which means we have to make significant progress outside which means our current state of almost drying out has to continue and in fact pick up the pace a little. We have 20 tonnes of poo, half a tonne of NPK (that's a fertilizer) and about 300kg of lime to get on to the ground and funnily enough I would rather not have "help" from Scrumpy and Bear who start Easter holidays far too soon.

On other news - my new best blog-buddy Julie Buxbaum has donated a signed copy of her new book "The opposite of love" for our fund raiser. How generous is that? Got a book you want plugged? It'll cost you a signed copy but I'll flaunt it recklessly!

One year down, many more to go


Today, 15th March, marks the first anniversary of the start of life without Ollie. He is still sorely missed and Scrumpy still says "Ollie disappeared, Ollie sad" on a regular basis.

We chose to explain the loss as "Ollie finished" as this would mean something to Scrumpy and Bear. How else do you explain death to children? Hard enough but when you have to navigate autism as well it gets tricky. Very tricky.

For those who were not lucky enough to know my little boy he was the most lovely dog ever. Bear could twang his ears and wag his tail for him and that was just fine by him. They loved each other, and much as I would like to think he was my dog I know, in truth, his heart belonged to Bear.

Here he is again, being good and posing


07 March 2008

This could be a competition....


What?? I'm sitting this one out - it wasn't me!!

So, got a cuter dog than me? I don't think so! Regrettably we're talking past tense with Ollie, more on that later, but he definately wasn't doing a rain dance!

06 March 2008

Open Message


To who ever is doing the rain dance

You can stop NOW.


Quit jigging


I need at least a week of dry weather - two would be better - I am not happy.

So why the picture? This rain is SO depressing. I am not happy, I was looking for a dancing picture and found this - it made me smile and being an otter he most likely is doing a rain dance!

05 March 2008

Having a bad day?

"As we face the next round of tribulations, there are distinct signs that I am turning slightly batty."
(Lady Black, wife of the fraudster)

Couldn't have said it better myself!


"
At the very tiny level described by quantum mechanics, our universe is like a crazy dance of waves, tangoing to myriad beats."
(Prof Stephen Hawking)

So that'll be me with two left feet then...

02 March 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Did you forget your mum today? You did? Naughty you! It's Mother's day to day and all Mum's should be spoilt rotten or at least as much as I was anyway!


I had hand made cards



Bear made me a jam tart in the true tradition of Mother's day - OK it should have been cake for historic accuracy but come on, she made it and it was diet bustingly good!

I had breakfast in bed with a Yummy Mummy mug around my coffee and no, funnily enough there are no photos of that!

I'm having a great day watching the snow with Scrumpy, chasing Bear with the scissors yet again and above all I feel loved.

If it's not Mother's day where you are call her anyway, hug your kids anyway and have a treat because today is a special day.

28 February 2008

Things you find when you're not cleaning the bathroom...

I was not cleaning the bathroom and found this on-line. I thought it was really funny!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o_Hdq-v7

and DO NOT click here if you are easily offended but it is funny

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KUowJzpgxs

At some point when I'm not hoovering or something equally thrilling I might figure out how to do a link thingy properly.

I've just noticed I'm using "thingy" a lot...must be my word of the week!

Now I really must go and do something about the bathroom - flood aftermath about covers it!

26 February 2008

I know you're out there...

I know you're out there and I can see where you are so somebody say something!!

Stop lurking! I love to hear from friends old and new - and old ones if you don't want to use your real name use a nickname and I'll try and guess who you are. Since my last instruction class the page has changed so now all you do is your comment and the verification thingy and then click n the name/url button and type in your chosen name. You see? EASY so try it.

23 February 2008

Fundraising time!!

We're organising a fund raising evening so far involving a box supper and a ceilidh washed down with a beer and wine bar in aid of a local charity that provides holiday clubs, youth clubs, YOFI groups and after school clubs for children and young people affected by disability. SOAR Youth Projects are a total life saver for families with children with special needs so dig deep and let me know if you would like to support us with donations for the raffle, auction or bank account.

This event is specifically raising funds for a sensory room trailer which can be used at the holiday club venues and also by schools in the area who a have children who would benefit from the equipment but don't have the facilities themselves.

Once all the details are confirmed I will be advertising the event so watch this space!

PS Catherine taught me how to predictive text - be afraid, be very afraid, I have 314 free texts and know how to use them!

18 February 2008

What makes me madder than a box of frogs?

I found it. The thing that's more irritating than spam. Predictive text. I finally had to give up my ancient yet Amanda friendly mobile as it gave up the ghost - well battery and signal - and had to get a new-fangled one which so far is not Amanda friendly. There's just too much on it and I went for the simplest one they had! It came with a load of free texts so I have been trying to use them rather than call, seeing as they're free (and we all love a bargain don't we?), and had to spend HALF AN HOUR trying to turn the *!@! predictive text off! What is the point of it? Why can't I just write the letter I want - let's say a g - without it turning into an I?? Anyway, panic over, it's off and it's staying off. Call me old fashioned but I like to do the talking and I don't expect my phone to answer me back!

PS We are now a two tractor family but tractor 1 is poorly and currently undergoing a transfusion.

18th February

13 February 2008

Update and pictures...




Here's our shiny new poly tunnel. Please note crispy blue sky and sunshine! OK, so we haven't actually got anything in there yet but the box containing 67 varieties of veg seeds did arrive yesterday. All I've done with it so far is check it's all there and sort it into herbs/salad/root etc but seeing as we're scheduled to have a third day (count'em t-h-r-e-e!!) of dry crispy blue sunshine we should be able to get going in the tunnel quick smart.



And here's where the barn is going to be. I like to show before and after, that way you know how hard we worked! Now the field has dried out we'll be able to move the earth out the way ready to lay the concrete base.




And here's our growing collection of gadgets. I confess the nearest I get to using them is helping attach or detach them to the tractor for Hot-hubby to go tractoring....but what's this? Why we're soon to become a two tractor family no less!! How exciting is that?? Tomorrow is the day and I might just have to post a piccy of that too.



On to other news, last week's bad weather didn't bother us as Scrumpy had to go to hospital for two teeth to be removed. Bear went on holiday for a couple of nights so we didn't have to worry about her and that left me home alone - just me and the dog while Hot-hubby was the best daddy in the world with Scrumpy. How many times have I wished for that? Did I a)enjoy the solitude or b)spend all night worrying about my brood and what that noise was? (This is not a contest, who do you think I am? Manic Mummy?) Let's just remind ourselves to be careful what we wish for!




And just for the "Awww!" factor here's a piccy of the keeper of my sanity, Meg, in one of her favourite places, the beach.

13th February



12 February 2008

Phew! What a week it was and is!!

12th February

Well I'm just letting you all know I'm still doing this blog thing, just too busy just now to fit anything in!

Oh, and for all my blog-virgin friends who are struggling to leave a comment (you now who you are - and thanks for the emails!) all you have to do is write your note in the big box, then type the letters of the word verification in the little box and lastly click on nickname and type in your name and then click post comment - so that would be a double lastly then...should work but sometimes takes a couple of goes.

At least I'm not really a Billy no-mates, it just looks that way!


03 February 2008

Snow, perfect snow!

Little Helpers flight arrived and landed in a ten minute window between snow showers, avoiding a divert and 4 hours on a bus to get here. Snow fell at home to three inches over night and much to the delight of Scrumpy and Bear it was good snow to go "sliding snow" (sledging!). It was not good snow for snowman building but by then we were all too tired from sledging to care much.

Last night we had high winds and I think maybe a little rain as now the snow is nearly gone and school will be open as usual. As I say, perfect snow!!

Sorry no photos due to having too much fun!

01 February 2008

Sploshing off the wagon

Sad to say hot-hubby and I fell off the HEP wagon last night and have been regreting it ever since. Even more sad to say the promised snow did not materialise, just high winds and more r a i n. Progress stilll stoped and nothing to play in. Except mud and puddles.

31 January 2008

Things are moving on...

Had a call this morning to say the door for the barn was ready for shipping but would the lorry fit up our track? Hmmm, over to Hot-hubby for that one, my spacial awareness is not that great. (NO women driver jokes or even thoughts thank you very much!!) Well, what do you know? It will fit and they'll even be able to turn round...either our yard is WAY bigger than I thought or someone has been up and stolen all the gadgets and stuff that usually clog it up. They're obviously thinking the same as me because this is the second thime they've called about it. I know I know, what's the use of a barn door with no barn to put it on? Well that's winging it's way to us too! Told you things were moving.

And guess what? It's snowing. Yes, snowing and no, this is not just ordinary snow, this is weather warning blizzard snow. We have little helpers arriving for a long weekend tomorrow, Little Helper 1 (LH1) doesn't like snow and I had to do some speedy convincing that the sun was shining and nowt to worry about, which will dissappoint LH2 who LOVES snow and will be out sledging and building snowmwen with Scrumpy until she can sledge and build no more. Well, the sun was shining when I spoke to LH1, really it was, and the fact that school sent home a note saying check the severe weather website before sending the kids in as it's going to be blowing a hoolie from midnight on is one I'm going to gloss over.

So to summerize - things are moving but stopping again pretty quickly due to the wrong kind of weather! Oh well, time to play silly B's.

29 January 2008

Would you buy a factory farmed egg?

The other day I received an email informing me that good old Bill Gates was being frivolous with his fortune again - in fact he would share his ill-gotten gains with little old me if only I would forwrad this email to my friends so he could track it....it was in the paper so it MUST be true, according to this email.

I confess that for a giggle I did forward it to a couple of friends who I thought would share the joke, but then we - Hot-hubby and I - got talking about this kind of junk email. We all hate wading through it, and whilst most of us are savvy enough to know a con when we see one, not everyone is. Sad to say some people are taken in by these things and some times it's not just a few emails being sent out, it can be hard earned money. I've lost count of the number of times my soul would be saved/I would meet my true love/I would win riches beyond dreams if only I would do this or that according to the email.

My point is, we're all getting a bit hot under the collar about factory farming, egg production in particular, and if we can find it in our hearts to care for our feathered friends how about those unknown friends across the ether? In forwarding these spam emails we are our own worst enemies. We get them time and again because we send them time and again, perpetuating the problem. Let's call a stop to it. If everyone buying free range eggs means more chickens get to know life is more than a three foot cage then I figure the same can happen to spam. Conversely, we can kill it. Dear friends I know you love me and think of me often, I do not need a daft spam email to let me know, just send me one word. Hello!

27 January 2008

The Dangers of Dieting

At this time of year, we along with a lot of folk are trying to shift a few extra pounds - let's call them Kg, they don't mean the same and the numbers are smaller - but I have a warning for you, dieting, my fellow bloggers, is DANGEROUS.

So, here in Sotland we do of course celebrate the Bard Robbie Burns on 25th January with Haggis, neeps and tatties. The best haggis have to be hunted down with special preparation including the traditional tea, tattie scone and shortbread before setting out after the beast. So, there I am, doing the traditional tea and tattie scone quite happy counting it as lunch when the shortbread course came. "No, I won't have that, I'm watching my weight." I said. Big mistake. Being fairly new to the game we decided to go for a coastal dwelling haggis as they're (supposedly) easier to catch. We set out, and it wasn't long before we found our quarry. I crept nearer keeping directly behind it (haggis can't see behind them) and just as I stretched out my hand to grab it a twig snapped under my foot alarming the haggis which leapt away to the safety of the sea. The tide was out and it had a way to go but try as I might, I had no energy to overcome the beast and it escaped to the waves before I could grasp it. All I was left with was a mouthful of sand and salt water.

Be warned, bloggers, don't skimp on the shortbread, sand just ain't the same.

26 January 2008

Why Highland Madness?

Well, The Highlands is where we live and those of you who have an experience of the autistic world will know the madness (mostly in a good way!) that that precipitates. It's not an accident I chose a piccy of a rainbow for the title - it reflects nicely the many colours of life in our house. By the way, that's not an original analogy, I pinched it from Jackie Jackson author of "Multi-coloured Mayhem" and mum to best-selling author Luke. It is however an original photo taken at the end of our nearest road.

Anyway, to begin at the beginning, we arrived in summer 2005 in time to get the girls settled in their new school for the start of the new year and it will never cease to amaze me how well they took it all - new home, new everything. That's not to say we didn't have more than a few "incidents" like Bear escaping in her pj's running over the fields at 9oclock at night (thankfully it's still light up here at that time) and flooding the bathroom on more occasions than I care to remember.

2006 was the Year of Containment as locks appeared on doors, fortress fencing went up and tap tops disappeared. It was also the Year of Don't Relax for a Second as Bear found her way round our defences to continue her reign of chaos.

2007 saw us realising we really could do this market gardening thing and we learned how to plough, rotovate, cultivate preparing the ground for a range of veggies. Unfortunately we couldn't have chosen a worse year to start. As the rains came down and the weeds grew up our efforts were all in vain as water rose up around the top of our potato ridges for days at a time. A few strawberries and a couple of bags of tatties was all we could harvest. But it was a small and perfectly formed harvest which we all enjoyed!

This year we have already been busy errecting a poly tunnel to extend our growing season. This will be followed shortly by a small barn to house our tractor and growing collection of attachments. This year, if it ever stops raining, will be a good year.

A New Blog is Born

So, here i am at the keyboard, typing at my very own blog. Hi Blog buddies!! I have taken the plunge after much nagging - sorry - encouragement from my good blog-buddy Steph. (Check her out at http://www.manicmommy.blogspot.com/ )

What to write? What to share? Should I worry about the blog-boggeymen out there? Come to think of it, will anyone actually read this? All questions I have been pondering for a wee while now, but, today's the day to take the plunge. My diet's going well, my visit to the hairdresser yesterday was not a disaster and things in general are looking up. So, as you are reading this please leave a comment and say "Hi!"