Saturday, 30 April 2011

Beetle mania

Big and beautiful, in it's own way, well over an inch long but I'm not sure what type of beetle it is.

Perhaps I should have done some research first, as I now know this is a Common Cockchafer- Melolontha melolontha.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The cockchafer (colloquially called may bugbilly witch, or spang beetle) is a European beetle of the genus Melolontha, in the family Scarabaeidae.
Once abundant throughout Europe and a major pest in the periodical years of "mass flight", it had been nearly eradicated in the middle of the 20th century through extensive use of pesticides and has even been locally exterminated in many regions. However, since an increase in regulation of pest control beginning in the 1980s, its numbers have started to grow again.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Blooming marvellous...

This week in the garden.

Some of my peonies are here for their all but too brief appearance....

Even the weeds can be stunning!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

This week...

This week I have made....

42 stoneground wholemeal rolls
1 Guinness cake
1 Dorset apple cake
1 farmhouse fruitcake
32 breakfast bars, full of fruits, nuts and seeds

11 breakfast trifles. Oats soaked in apple juice, strawberries, honey and yoghurt mixed through with layers of sliced strawberries and blueberries.

1 gluten free trifle

12 banana muffins
12 orange muffins
5 dressings. Hassina, creamy coconut, spicy peanut, tahini and french.

8 portions of baked spinach risotto pie

7 portions of roast vegetables and cous cous (hassina dressing)
7 portions spicy noodle (Peanut sauce)
7 portions mixed bean salad (creamy coconut sauce)
6 portions potato and onion frittata
5 portions falafel (tahini sauce)

Boxes day one awaiting filling


Phew am I glad that's over, absolutely shattered and very very hot!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Introducing the girls

We lost one of our girls recently and for anyone that keeps chickens you know how hard that is, they are part of the family, all with their own personalities and special little traits. People do think it's a bit weird that you can get so attached to them and upon seeing me upset even my son pointed out that 'it's only a bloody chicken'.

So I thought I would introduce the remaining girls as a bit of a keepsake on my blog.

Mary Margot - The boss from day one, nobody messes with her or they'll soon be put in their place. She hasn't been pulling her weight on the egg producing front for a while but probably eats the most. A contender for the pot if there ever was one, she's very heavy and would definitely make a good meal, but not in this house.

Lucy Roy - A large blue, very aloof and keeps herself to herself. A regular layer and earns her keep. 

Black Olive - The underdog, very quiet and knows her place, which is at the lower end of the pecking order. Not sure she has been laying at all for a long time and can sound like she has laryngitis on occasions, a bit of a squeaker. 

Susan Jigglypuff - The smallest and most definitely the naughtiest. The escapologist of the group, turn around and there she is in the flower beds eating anything that is green, including my herbs and veg! The most vocal too, do you remember the jibber jabber toys, well she sounds just like that (Like this but a bit faster). The meanest to Black Olive, exerting her authority just because she can. A good layer and for her size surprisingly large eggs.

And then we come to Florence - A coral. The prettiest and most friendly chicken of them all. She lays large white eggs which a hint of peach. Another escapee but not as destructive as Susan. She recently lost all her feathers in a moult and looked just dreadful but now she's beautiful once again. Florence is probably the most picked on and is at the very bottom of the pecking order. She waits her turn for food, backing off if anyone but Olive looks her way. Weirdly though she does have one animal under her in the hierarchy and thats Bertie!

 Berties role in the chicken world - You remember the film Babe, a pig that thinks he is a sheepdog? Well Bertie is a dog that thinks she is a chicken herder, or sometimes an actual chicken. She spends a lot of her time in the chicken run, checking out and stealing any tidbits that the girls have, they take no notice of her but Florence may give her the odd peck if she gets too annoying.

Otherwise she watches and waits, keeping her eye on the escapees and if they do go onto the beds she will round them up and get them off. Obviously she has watched me do the same far too often!

Keeping her eye on Florence.

And when she can't stand it anymore she'll get a little too close for comfort. Chickens just freeze when they feel under threat and once they have Bertie has no idea what to do with them, it's no fun if there's no chase in it, a quick sniff and the same old routine starts again, back off, await movement then start the rounding up again.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Abstract portraits in oil and acrylics

I was asked to do another couple of paintings recently and finally got around to delivering them today.

The first is an oil from this photo

which resulted in this

And the second of Pink (the singer), which was wanted in black and white and so I used acrylics.

This is the picture I chose

and the finished painting.


Tuesday, 5 April 2011


I'm glad I took these yesterday as the wind and rain are playing havoc with the blossom this morning, it looks like its snowing in my garden but the chickens love it, free food floating down from above.