Thursday, 29 March 2007

still knitting after all these years ...

Kate and Vic have just left - the bathroom is now white rather than yucky-pinky-terracotta (you never see that listed in paint charts, do you?), the office is pristine and empty of teetering piles of filing, and the chicken pen has a door that is attached with real, live hinges, rather than cobbled together with cable ties.

Kate took me to my obstretician appointment yesterday and it went very well. You have to have confidence in a gynaecologist who swears more than you do during an appointment and who understands lambing. She has given the ok for me to stay on the escitalopram, provided I don't need to increase the dosage, in which case they would probably put me on something different. But she confirmed that despite the drugs, the baby won't come out with fins.

Because of this show of competence on her part, I felt able to confide that sometimes, in the dark, insane reaches of the night, I have been worrying that some kind of Foetal Re-Absorption Miracle has taken place and I am no longer pregnant.

I do realise that this is extremely unlikely (or even, impossible) and did say so. However, she didn't laugh too much and got one of those loud speaker things in and we listened to the baby's heart-beat. So it's still there.

Which is nice.

Particularly since Kate is Still Knitting.

This is fine. Sweet, in fact.

However, she doesn't really believe in knitting tension squares before she starts.

So although we have a large number of baby clothes, there is not, perhaps, the consistency of size that one would, maybe, be looking for in ones knitted items.

I have not, so far, pointed out that I am not carrying twins with radically different limb lengths; which I do think by this point this might have been flagged up by a scan. However, unless some kind of Foetal Cloning Limb-Length Miracle takes place in the next six months, we are going to have a surplus of knitted cardies of various different shapes and sizes.

They are, I hasten to add, really, really lovely. It's just the sizing ... .

In other news, we have two broody pekin hens and I am about to set some eggs under them. Yay for chicks!

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

four weddings (hopefully more) and a funeral

The funeral is George's. He finally pushed me too far on Thursday evening and I did the deed. B plucked him and drew him and he's in the freezer. I am not quite so hard-nosed that I was prepared to sit down arms akimbo to roast chicken whilst the bruises he'd put on my legs were still there.

It did provide some entertainment for the friend who came up to visit us for a few days on Thursday afternoon though. I was initially quite worried as the last time I spent any length of time with him, he was vegan. However, times and people change and he wasn't revolted at all.


I've been thinking that we could probably get some sort of funding if we wanted to take this any further in front of an audience - the Performance Art Of The Farmyard or something. I might write a proposal.

The wedding bit is positive thinking about the business website. I've done some revamping and our lovely marketing person is doing some advertising; and we're hoping that we can do a bit more lighting for weddings. Comments on the webpage as always very welcome - email me for the URL.

Blogging, and everything really, is still slow, as you've probably noticed. I'm still being sick pretty frequently, although I've hit fifteen weeks this week. I'm not very chuffed about it and combined with the random hormone swings I'm having (all perfectly normal I'm sure) my achievement levels are pretty low.

Over the weekend we visited Montgomery Castle. I thoroughly recommend - not only is it very pretty, with lovely views, but Montgomery itself has a pretty comprehensive selection of tea-and-cake and/or beer-and-pie establishments which we felt were very impressive.

For now, that is all. But this week I'm going to try and post a bit more regularly. Promise.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

and burnham wood shall come to dunsinane

*cautiously peeps head over parapet*

I think I'm feeling better.

At least, I've been feeling better for the last three days. My life doesn't seem to be unravelling around my ears any more, anyway. And I don't want to sell the house any more, and run away and live in a shack on a mountain with no running water, telephone or mortgage. Although I did very much like the look of this place. However, it would mean another forty minute commute each way for B and anyway, I rather like living here, now I'm back on the tablets.

Also I've managed to wash up for three days running AND change the bedsheets. And yesterday and today I've some website building stuff both for a friend and for ourselves. I'm still getting up and throwing up if I don't have a cup of tea really, really quickly; but hell, that's a massive improvement on three weeks ago, so I'm not complaining.

Much, anyway.

Also, the sun's come out. Had you noticed?

Everything in the garden has started growing and I desperately need to plant the fruit bushes (raspberries, blackcurrant and gooseberries) properly as we just heeled them in when they arrived and now they're starting to sprout. The bees are out and about too, which is a relief as we were wondering if they'd have starved to death because of the early mild weather that meant that they woke up before there was much pollen about.

Tomorrow we have a friend visiting who we haven't seen since we got married. It's going to be fun and in his honour we are going to kill George. I haven't actually spelt this out to him, as he's an ex-vegan. George doesn't know yet, either. I can't say I'm looking forward to it, but doing it quickly and not thinking about it too much is probably the way forward. With that in mind, at some point I'm going to get a dog called Spot so that I can keep yelling "Out, damn'd Spot" at it.

Stream of consciousness post, sorry.

Tomorrow: Cockerel killing report, no pictures, promise. More as an exercise in self-motivation than because you want to know. And a thousand words on 'Why are mothers always so negative?'.

Friday, 16 March 2007


The trouble with forgetting to take your happy-pills away with you for a three day weekend is that although when you come home you start taking them immediately, there appears to be this kind of time-lag thing that happens that means that you go a bit mad a few days later.

So today, I have mostly been rocking too and fro and mumbling.


Tomorrow, we go to Wallasey to take Kate out for a birthday / Mother's Day meal. Hopefully I will have stopped rocking by then, even if I'm still mumbling a bit. It's the first time I'll have eaten anything more than cake in public for nearly three months and I am very much looking forward to it.

In other news, I think that George The Barnvelder Cockerel is going to have to go. He's getting quite narky in a Violent Attack Cockerel kind of way; and I saw him eyeing up someone-and-their-dog walking up the road in a worrying fashion yesterday. Hopefully there will be a brief gap between a complete cessation of vomiting and my becoming the size of a whale which will mean I can off him with my faithful broomstick.

For today, that is all. I am going to bed.

Monday, 12 March 2007

status report

I am still here - have been away for the weekend and now have lovely in-laws staying doing painting and planting, whilst B is working in Edinburgh.

Results of weekend: very relaxed, good company, conversation and CAKE, lots of baby-stuff from our friends.
Results of painting-and-planting visit: To Be Advised.
Vomiting Status: Better but still occasionally unexpected, despite plying baby with chocolate eclairs.

Back soon.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007


Yesterday we had our twelve week(!) scan and collected two new chickens.

Both of these things went well.

The scan was weird-but-nice. The baby was wriggling around inside and we could see it's little arms and legs and both hemispheres of the brain. Odd to know that it's basically doing aerobics in there for twenty minutes and then dozing for twenty minutes and I can't yet tell any difference between the two. I do keep feeling fluttering sensations but I have decided that that's a combination of wishful thinking and wind.

Today is the fifth day without being sick, which is nice.

I am celebrating by helping B construct a pen for the Pekins, essentially so that we can go and visit some friends for a long weekend this weekend, without having to arrange for chicken sitters; but also so that they stop jumping over the fence and sitting in the council grit box opposite the house and causing everyone passing to stop and ask us whether we know our bantams are out. It's a very nice, sunny day and it's good to be pottering in the garden, even if I still can't lift anything heavy in case the baby pops out by accident when I tense my stomach muscles.

The two new chickens are another couple of Cream Legbars. Because we lost Exploding Chicken to The Great Hen House In The Sky, we decided that a couple of additional greeny-blue egg layers would be a good addition to George's harem.

We are selling all our surplus eggs to family and friends and it's working really well. The egg money pretty much pays for the chicken food; so eggs we use ourselves and any meat we produce is coming straight off our housekeeping budget. We worked out that the cockerels we culled just after Christmas would have cost us £90 - 12 kilos of good meat at £7.50 a kilo - which pretty much pays for the purchase cost of the chickens back in the summer. I know that we could buy chicken meat much more cheaply from the supermarket; but I have become really, really peculiar about eating meat that I don't know the origin of - so if I eat meat, it's going to be expensive meat.

I am in the process of putting together a really nerdy spreadsheet to track our chicken keeping costs ... but actually building a pen to stop them getting flattened by passing traffic is more of a priority today. And this afternoon, we have to go and collect the rest of the bee-kit from The Bee Man. This is the final load and is the one including the honey extractor. The bees have settled in well and are buzzing around the garden looking for flowers.

I reckon that I'll be in bed by seven again tonight - the slight hitch to not feeling totally rancid all day is that I do actually do stuff that makes me tired and then need to go to bed in woolly bedsocks really early.

Tomorrow, pictures of chicken accommodation, as exmonkey very flatteringly requested some last week, and I haven't yet shifted my lazy ass.

Friday, 2 March 2007

fruit trees

Various people have asked for more info about the apple trees, so rather than rant for twenty minutes about my dysfunctional family, which was my other option for today's post, I thought this would be rather more soothing.

We wanted to get a mixture of cookers, eaters and cider apples - but we left it quite late to order and our chosen supplier - the highly recommended Adam's Apples - was short of some of what we wanted in the correct flowering groups. So, all on MM106 rootstock, which grows to twelve or fifteen feet in height, we have:

  • a John Downie crab apple, which gives lovely red fruit and also flowers across the flowering groups and therefore helps with pollination
  • a Bramley cooker
  • a Pixie eater
  • a Saturn eater
And we've also gone for a Merryweather damson and a Victoria plum, plus a couple of gooseberry bushes.

Next year, we want to get at least one cider apple to add to the mix. The difficulty we are having is that after the torrential rain, the ground is SO waterlogged that many of the holes we dig immediately fill to the brim with groundwater. B and his Dad spent a large amount of time on Tuesday and Wednesday working out drainage for bits of the garden - the next project is going to be land drains I think, which should help.

We don't really have that much space for more trees - I fancy a greengage and a cherry and a pear ('plant pears for your heirs'!) as well, but I think we will have to wait and see how the rest of the landscaping project turns out before we make any more decisions about adding to what is now effectively an orchard.

Today B is working and I am loafing. Yay! for loafing.

Thursday, 1 March 2007


Am still here, but feeling a bit grim again. Twelve weeks on Monday though, so hopefully things will start to look up at that point.

B and his parents planted all my apple trees yesterday.

In the rain.

I love them.