Monday, 24 November 2014

Teaching an old dog new tricks!

Oh its hard, you think you are getting somewhere & then there is a set back. Normally caused by someone else & this instance I lay the blame entirely on Mike!

On the whole Rocky dog is settling in well, remembering he was rescued from an abusive home when he was a puppy then rescued by an old man who he spent five happy years with.

The five happy years being lots of attention as it was just the two of them, lots of treats & table scraps & being allowed to bark at passing dogs & people whilst out on a walk. Of course there was the teasing about cats too!

Santa Swap package.

Rocky gets lots of attention now too, he is an affectionate dog & will quite happily clamber on your knee for a cuddle or tap you with his paw for a stroke. Lesson No 1 learned that if he wanted to be by himself not to approach him (as in young teenage boy to sit as close as possible & stroke him)as he would emit a low growl as in 'piddle off & leave me alone'.

He gets 'good boy' only treats now & certainly no table scraps.

He is not allowed to bark when we are out, I'm very firm on this one as it is me who does the majority of the walking. He used to pull a lot so I bought a harness for him & a nice new lead. If we approach a cat or dog I hold him close & cross to the other side while repeating quite firmly 'NO', it seems to be doing the trick. We have had the odd bark but his normal reaction now is to either whimper & pull a bit or just to ignore the other animal.

Now onto the biggy, We have a lot of cats that visit the garden, we are surrounded by fields & they hunt in there & come to sit under the bird table. At first Rocky was happy to wait patiently for the door to be open so he could be in the back garden. Over the past couple of weeks Mike despite my strict instruction not too as been winding the dog up about cats! Now when someone goes to the French doors he gets beyond himself with  excitement, to stop this I bought a dog gate so I could contain him ( he also gets beyond excited when Harry returns from school) the gate is useful for that too. Would Mike wait until he was behind the gate, no, he didn't!

Rocky wasn't allowed out yesterday morning & as Mike can be rather bullish shall we say, he thought he could push an extremely excited dog back with his legs to stop him getting through the doors. Naturally the dog took great umbrage at this & growled, barked & snapped at (not on) Mikes foot.

I am now dealing with an upset Harry as Mike is threatening to get rid of the dog & an upset Mike as I have been shouting at him over his behaviour.

I have spent a lot of money, time & effort to integrate the dog into our family home, he knew he had done wrong yesterday & while I lay the blame firmly at Mikes feet Rocky was also on loss of privileges. No treats or cuddles, he was allowed a stroke though. Perhaps Mike might listen to me now.

On a happier note my house is super spic and span, I spent the afternoon cleaning & putting clothes away. I even posted my Santa swap parcel on Saturday too, this means I can spend today knitting,

Enjoy your day xx

Monday, 17 November 2014

Monday mornings

I do like a Monday morning, only the hound & I in the house. The beds have been stripped & the washing machine is on. The house needs a good dusting mind but I shall get to that later!

There is something bugging me though, I'm pretty sure a pigeon has fallen down the chimney or a collard dove as there is some sort of deranged cooing sound going on!

Anyway back to my Monday I'm pondering next years plantings. Not the veg ones mind as I'm going down the baby plant delivery route next year. Mike is taking over the greenhouse, he has taken a lot of interest in the greenhouse this year so I'm leaving that up to him. He has bought a sulphur candle for it & some cleaning solution.

Anyway my thoughts are more towards flowers & other garden pretties. For some reason I can't get the idea of white snapdragons out of my head. So I plan on having a block of them in my cut flower patch.
I'm planning on taking an aerial shot of the plot each month, no time like the present so here is November 2014 which admittedly looks bleak.

There is more to the garden but short of tying my legs to the radiator I was most reluctant to lean out any further. Mike is much more taller than me perhaps he can take next months shot for me!

So what can we see, the fruit bush plot to the left. I removed a red current & white current bush the other month. I have some yellow raspberry canes to the side of this bed & I really struggled to get to them, I have one red current, two black currents & two gooseberries left now. I cut the alpine strawberries & the asparagus back & lifted the dahlias. The sea kale has disappeared hopefully underground or the slugs, snails &/or pixies ate it under the cover of the cosmos forest of summer.

From what you can see of the main veg bed, it's all empty apart from some apples for the blackbirds & thrushes. It's snoozing for the winter we shall say politely! Raspberry canes to the back which have been most rampant this year & have already been snipped back. I shall cut them right down in January & tradition I like, to me it signals the start of the year.

The rest is out of shot so we shall leave that for now, I've rambled enough for today. Enjoy your day all xx

Ps It wasn't a stuck pigeon, upon further investigation I traced the noise to Harry's room. The pump on his goldfish tank is blocked, as it seems to be a bit of an icky job I shall lave it to Mike to sort out this evening.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Do you want to squeeze it Mike?

Te he, what a way to get your attention. Now I am always extraordinarily proud of anything I make & grow. It surprises me each time I harvest or finish something that little old me could do such a thing. It also gives me a huge amount of satisfaction.

I have made & completed the above stocking for my sister for Christmas. Isn't it beautiful? I bought this magazine last year. I wanted to make the quilt on the front cover & bought a selection of material. Well you all now how my summer panned out so that didn't happen. There were quite a few things I wanted to make from the magazine & when I saw the above pattern I knew I wanted to make it for my sister.

The patterns in the magazine needed to be increased in size which was beyond my printers capabilities & quite possibly mine! So I bought a stocking pattern & cut the pieces out approx two months ago & em sort of left them.

Two days ago I thought I really had to get a move on as I knew my sister would love to have a stocking full of little gifts this Christmas. Could I find the magazine anywhere? No I couldn't, I had a good memory of what the design would look like & with a little jiggery pokery I finished it.

As I said I am always pleased when I have made something & when Mike returned from work I eagerly set upon him.

'Look Michael, I've finished it', 'Oh yes, I see, very good', 'Is that it, is that all you can say', ' What do you want me to say, it's very good Sue will love it', 'Would you like to feel it Michael, give it a squeeze, it's padded I quilted it'! So on & so forth as I followed the poor man around the house.

The conversation finished with the words ( quite possibly an hour later|) 'For Christ sake Joanne put the thing down, you will wear holes in it'

P.S when I say fill the stocking I don't quite mean to the top it is rather large. There will be a few nice gifts in there for her which I have picked up over the past few months. I just need to buy a mug & replace the chocolate Gruffalo which I ate the other day. I shall leave you with a close up of Rudolph. Enjoy your day all xx

Thursday, 13 November 2014

A lonely homegrown pumpkin

My one & only pumpkin, it looks green in the above shot but I can assure you it is a rather lovely pale shade of blue. I think it was called Blue Hubbard & perhaps without my neglect it would prove more productive. Out of the three plants this was the only harvest.

It is a little scratched & a tad warty (aren't we all)! , but I plan to do something special with it. My first idea of handmade pasta filled with pumpkin & sage drizzled with butter is a no no.

Mike discovered he was lactose intolerant last year & while he his not as badly affected as other sufferers, butter is a big no no. He has lactose free milk & cream which I find agreeable, the butter substitute however is not good + I am quite unsure where the pasta machine is currently hiding.

If I am to make something from such a handsome pumpkin it has to be perfect. I suspect I shall roast some of it with some spices as a side dish. I could perhaps have some in a curry & I'm sure if I have seen a bread recipe somewhere.

In all honesty I shall probably leave it whole until Rob returns from uni next month, ones thing for sure it wont be turned into soup. Enjoy your day xx

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Hound!

Rocky dog who enjoys two walks a day, behaved himself extremely well at his first visit to the vets, who has suffered a change to a higher quality dog food, who would like to eat one of the cats he spies on his walks, who would also like to nibble on one of the squirrels that scamper past him & whose being here has eaten considerably into my craft budget.

Harry used to be terrified of dogs, a neighbour helped him get over his fear by tying his dog up outside to the front garden gate. Gradually over a period of weeks Harry edged up to the dog & they became the greatest of friends. Ever since then Harry has wanted a dog of his very own & to be honest if it wasn't for the death of my father in law he would still be waiting.

Rocky dog has settled in extremely well over the past few weeks & certainly seems here to stay, I have even bought him his own Christmas stocking!

See that shockingly bad bottom photo, I was trying to take a shot of where we are extending the cut flower bed. The compost bin is being moved & the concrete to the left is being chipped out. Every time I knelt down to take a shot the hound came scampering over! Enjoy your day xx

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Tentative plans

Thank you all so so much for your lovely messages on my last post. Mike was rather touched when I told him about the comments left so I thank you again from the bottom of my heart.

The funeral was a pleasant affair, well as pleasant as they can be! Mike, his two brothers & a nephew wanted to carry the coffin in & out of the church & the rest of the funeral party to follow. It's what they did with their mum many years ago.

I walked down the aisle with Harry & an elderly niece of Mikes dad. An absolutely lovely woman, if you could choose your parents I would have picked this woman like a shot! Anyway imagine the scene if you will a short lady in her earlier 40's dressed in black, holding the hand of a teenager & her other arm linked through an elderly ladies. Walking gracefully & respectfully in a line with the other close family members.

Now I was doing my level best to make sure Harry & the elderly niece were ok it was after all a sad occasion. I wasn't keeping too close an eye on the floor of the church you see & didn't notice the grid until I walked over it & felt the heel of my shoe squeeze through one of the holes rather too tightly for my liking!

In a split second I felt horror, despair ,why the heck did I have court shoes on my feet & not proper heels, trying to remember if they were expensive shoes as one would have to be left behind, how was I going to warn the mourners behind me, should I let go of Harry & elderly niece to try & retrieve said shoe, how would I hobble gracefully & respectfully down the aisle with one shoe on my foot or should I really set the scene & kick my remaining shoe off! Split second passed by & I raised my foot up & thankfully my shoe came out with it. I shall remember that sensation for the rest of my life & the snorts of laughter it brought afterwards.

The hound has settled in well, he came with his own crochet blanket!  I do have photos to show you but after a big tidy up the other day I have misplaced my camera. I am yet to download the latest batch of photos so you are stuck with the one at the top of this post.

We had a big garden clear up & I took a couple of shots from my bedroom window to show you how bare my garden is looking now. It's quite a nice feeling knowing that the garden is ready for next year & I have the the winter to make plans.

I have a couple of days off so am treating myself to some Christmas crafting, the heating is on the hound is snoozing on his blanket, a candle is lit & Christmas movies are on the TV, As always enjoy your day xx

Friday, 17 October 2014

I won't be around for the next two or three weeks unfortunately Mikes father passed away last night. Not totally unexpected but we didn't realise it would happen this soon. As devastated as he is is Mike is out making arrangements as I type, playing the big brother as he is with his youngest brother.

We spent a surreal few hours together this morning, Mike received a phone call at midnight along with his brother saying he needed to get to the hospital. Sadly they were minutes too late & his dad passed away just as Mike was running through the hospital to get to the ward, he was minutes behind his brother. They spent some time with their dad which was a comfort to them both.

The surreal part came when Mike returned home & we sat up together drinking coffee & watching Christmas movies. He insisted on opening one of the curtains in the sitting room as he recalls after his mum died she looked through the window. Mike believes in that sort of malarkey you see, he saw my granddad in his bedroom when he was younger after he died, many moons prior to us getting together that is. It was an interesting story when I put two & two together after our third date that his parents lived next door to my grandparents.

We have also inherited his dads dog. I told Mike last week if the lady who was looking after the dog was unable to keep him we would be having him. I couldn't see him shipped off to a dogs home, his dad rescued him as a puppy you see after he had seen him being mistreated. I don't think I can have any chickens though with him, I shall have to see!

 The staff on the ward have been absolutely fantastic with the boys over the past couple of weeks genuinely caring & concerned. I don't think you realise until you are in that situation just how hard they work & the whole range of skills they need. The chaps on the same ward have also been a good bunch, the boys are popping in this morning to say their goodbyes which I think is one of the sweetest things ever.

Anyway I shall return in a couple of weeks or so, once the hound has settled down & the funeral out of the way. I shall post some photos, of the dog that is! - I am busy googling pet insurance.

Thanks for your comments on my last post, you really are a super bunch - take care xx