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Valkyrie

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Everything posted by Valkyrie

  1. Valkyrie

    The Weather Thread #9

    Seems Birmingham had a couple of odd lightning strikes. Been looking at the lightning map and it's kicking off in France and reached Bayeux, lets hope it wears itself out across the Channel. We have a 35% chance of storm risk around dawn. I don't think we'll get any and they haven't changed their minds either, just a few showers during the night. Supposed to be even more humid tomorrow - didn't think that would be possible - got so uncomfortable today! Like prickly heat all over - just not nice! Well off to bed sweet dreams all!
  2. Valkyrie

    Updates from Devon

    Yup. Definitely diddy blue tit - such a cute photo.😍 Just like the one I rescued from the greenhouse then walked all round for it to find it's mummy. Chiffchaffs are little brown birds. I've not seen one down low - they like the upper tree canopy. I wonder if anyone has ever had them on a feeder? First time for everything - we have had long tailed tits on the feeders for years - apparently it's a recent thing for them to do, so maybe . . .
  3. Valkyrie

    Updates from Devon

    I thought I'd do a slightly different thread from the old one. Not sure whether to call it a smallholding (which we have a CPA number - but unable to reach the office to change the details) or homestead as a lot of smallholders have started to do on Youtube to cater for the Americans and worldwide audience. CPA number easy, go on DEFRA, find the phone number - number is not recognised. Now just in case it's me, I try a few more times. You'd think they'd sort that out! So on my retreat to quilting heaven with the North Hampshire ladies, one of which has a holding. Suggested I get in touch with this section. As far as I can see the phone number is exactly the same - but ahaaaaaaaa it has an email contact number. Then again it has so many different subtitles which to choooooose?! Anyway spring has finally come. Or it may be summer already. A guy on a tractor saw OH the other day and asked him what we were doing - there has been a fair few comments on the veg patch! They have obviously been watching the building work - rabbit proof veggie area - and then the long black lines which could be marked for a heli-pad, but no cross bar (they wouldn't be able to see that unless in a plane or helicopter!) are actually weed (wild flower and grass) suppressants. Were invited to a dinner party down the road last night - wow, my first dinner party and my goodness it was fabulous! They got a little excited at the thought of me doing veggies, and already decided I need to sell it! On the way down the road I spotted Early Purple Orchids - that was exciting as they were on our bank! Closer to the gates there are primroses blending with pale violets. Not much blackthorn as it has been shredded in the hedge trimmings. That is not going to happen again for a few years - it needs to grow and then be rotated for wildlife. The wildlife lady came to walk around the property and was delighted we had already started putting in things for the wildlife (although we feel dual-purpose as we want some of the goodies too) and although we couldn't find a single yellow rattle seedling, she has given us a few ideas as a plan B. The wildlife trust is keen on getting pockets of areas for the greater horseshoe bat as it is in decline. It would be nice to think that they could use us as a motorway service station as they travel cross-country. So far in the veg patch we have all the first early potatoes in the ground and a few of the second earlies - well 18 Charlottes, because the pile of compost is now in the way of progression, so I have tried to rake some further up. Well that'll be enough for another 18! On the opposite side of the helipad the garlic is growing and the onion sets are filling 3 beds. This is what happens when you forget you ordered some with one company and then order same and more of a different variety from another company. Only did that because I'd forgotten I'd already bought seeds. I have a lot of senior moments lately! Broad beans are doing nicely and I've filled gaps in with more seeds - no sign yet. In the greenhouse the tomatoes and peppers have been potted on and no longer in the propagator in the porch. They are quite leggy but already flowering. I also have pots of celeriac, sweet peas (purdy for smelly bunches to pick for indoors), leeks - forgot the winter ones but they are now on order! Tamar Organics - great for big seed packets for those feeding customers. Beetroot, chard and more spinach sown in another section. Underneath the work bench I have been adding compost and already have spinach ready for picking, rocket, spring onions, yellow purslane, carrots and more salads - all very exciting! Wildlife is a little sad because the female deer, Juliet, was run over recently. Something has dragged her through a hedge (prime suspect is the badger) and nothing much left. Romeo has been visiting on his own and chomping plants. Obviously confused as one flower bed has been fenced off - not to prevent him nibbling but to prevent poor starving chickens from churning up the plants! Near and in the veggie patch we have had delightful sightings of half a pheasant, half a rabbit and a leg of rabbit on a fence post along with a picked clean pheasant breast. The remaining parts (except for the unlucky rabbit feet - both hind leg leftovers, not sure why they call it lucky!) never stay and can only think it's Bertie or Bessie Buzzard feeding their Tim nice but Dim offspring. Apparently he has been learning to fly as he has been coaxed further out but did a very grand belly flop onto our neighbours lawn. He then wails for mummy to help him. I have heard him! Of course left over remains may have been taken by Mistress Vixen as she must have given birth by now. We see signs of rabbit fur in large patches around the field but no sign of bodies (which is another reason for thinking the buzzards have shelter inside the veg patch) and she carries the whole thing back to her babes. Chickens have been separated. The big ones (well the twins) have decided on a new fun sport - it's let's chew up the curly creature! So Fudgebutt and Curlywurly have been separated before they kill them! Both are sporting purple rinses on their heads - Curly was particularly bad with 2 holes in her head. Obviously fine as she scoffed a fair few raisins while I was patching her up. All healing well when the 2 little ones escaped and were trounced yet again. Fortunately I spotted one of the twins calculating her target and flying over the barrier, stopped her before she did any damage apart from chasing. Both twins have had their wings clipped. All nice perchy fun bits have also been removed as they discovered clipped wings didn't matter when they could use things as stepping (jumping) stones! I'm considering naming the big shelter "Jurassic Park" as I seem to have a pair of very intelligent velociraptors! Anti-peck spray is at the ready. Curlywurly is the only chicken left to lay - probably due to stress - but she has been nest box hogging yesterday and whingeing. I think perhaps today will be the day! We have chiffchaffs - wasn't sure if the first one would stay, but they haven't left. The swallows are here. The butterflies are on the increase and hairy caterpillars are on the march (believe it is a ruby tiger moth). All the fruit trees are starting to flower - the cherries are just coming out. We have palmate and smooth newts and we did have a frog but the chickens ate him and lots of tadpoles. It must be warm as we have a pond surrounded by feathered paving stones - ah nope - female pheasants drinking in unison. Very cute. Poor Dudley Pheasant has hayfever - I sympathised as I also was suffering that day. But we are both fine now! Next door's cat seeks me out and accompanies me around the garden. He is fond of a tummy squiffle. But he will walk under my feet so (as I have said before) I do The Monkees walking down the sand dunes in their Foreign Legion gear funny stagger walk. Anyway I think you've all suffered enough and I'll rescue poor Trigger who is yelling "let me ouuuuut!" Or it could be a response to the other cockerel down the road who is bragging "I've got girls!" and Trigger responds "so have I!"
  4. Valkyrie

    What have you all been making...part two...

    Oooh! I'm right! LOL! That's a first! Colourwash sounds like splatted paint! Watercolour sounds nicely blended! Am happy to wait for the exchange.
  5. Valkyrie

    Updates from Devon

    I agree - beans are very bleh but I've just sown some more in the greenhouse and they are popping up. I've grown Cherokee before and was quite happy with them - this year not one germinated, but I'm going to have another try. I also had Lazy Housewife which we liked in the past and I saved seed until they got quite earthy in flavour - might have been a bad year. This year I have a couple of Lazy Hs but the seed was totally different from the Heritage Seed Library - this year I got mine from Real Seeds at the potato day - same as the Cherokee, so I'm not sure if they are true to the name or not. Funnily enough OH has just made a ginger cake today! I'm indoors with all the windows open, listening to a chiffchaff and trying to keep cool! Was in the veg patch earlier and the Painted Lady butterflies are here. Well one is - on my comfrey flowers!
  6. Valkyrie

    What have you all been making...part two...

    Plum - it's gorgeous. See, I did say you are The Artist! LOL! Hope you can get the abstract one done - then we'll need to compare, but methinks I'm already biased to the realistic ones - for anything! Ahhhh that's the one - watercolour, not colourwash! DOH! I was tossing up whether to use the walking foot on this rather than FMC. It's so busy that perhaps a plaid type of line work would be nice - out of the ditch. Perhaps continue with the 201 with that - she has lots of attachments, but I think it'll be easy enough to just wing it! The rest of the done pile are waiting for the super duper machine!
  7. Valkyrie

    What have you all been making...part two...

    I think Plum has that title! LOL! Thank you. All sewn together and recently I found out that if you sew a sort of basting stitch (I kept mine the same length as I sewed) around the whole quilt top, it stops it from stretching and keeps the joined parts together as they were sewn and sliced before sewing together. I hope it stops the fraying too. So folded over the landing rail and the bed has been made ready for my visitor. I will do a 2 and a half inch cream border and then the squares again for the outer border. It's interesting in that the diamonds aren't really diamonds at all - they are rectangles. I guess they need to be as each is offset to make the chains continuous. I loved every part of this so far.
  8. Valkyrie

    Updates from Devon

    I agree - they haven't been growing in spite of the feed and tlc. We have finger tip sized ones but sort of fun to pop in the mouth DM. I wondered if Lesley will have raised beds in the polytunnel at some stage. I will be doing raised beds eventually just to ease the bending over to plant and pick. Yayyy M&M! I did see a little brown bumblebee in there this morning, but later I did some more tickling. Patricia - I did read ages ago on the old forum that people actually had chickens that chomped the bindweed - needless to say I was delighted to read it. Unfortunately not one of mine touched the blooming plants! Apparently you can eat the young leaves and stems also roots, but in small quantities because it makes you go to the lavvy poo poo Barney McGrew . . . !! Soapy - if only you could see how disorganised I am! It's all racing against time and elements. The spuds I was looking back and we planted them at the beginning of April so amazed that we managed to get a couple of dinners from them. Have to say I harvested 3 onions - they were only going to be bull neck ones, so made space for the others. Plus 2 more potato plants - this time Casablanca which yielded a bigger yield of 1lb 12 and a half ounces. The compost man did say that we might get eelworm as the ground hadn't been cultivated - and we did in a couple of tubers, but easily cut out. Flavour also very nice. Will grow these again too! Lunch today was totally home grown - left over cooked Red Duke of York with tomatoes, salady bits and fried eggs. That's a first here! I'm feeling happier about Sweetpea. I saw her yesterday morning but not today until this evening and there she was with her little upside down botty feather (plus I can get close to her now) under the bird feeders. Since Dudley went, we've had a new guy. He has much lighter feathers, a bit of a blondie. So I'm calling him Phineas Pheasant. He's been giving Sweetpea the nod, so clearly fancies her. I think she's happy to find company. I'm happy that they seem to be happy! Something has pulled off my little comfrey leaf from the little plant. It was fine yesterday - although I spotted OH pulling things up - and knowing he also can't tell the difference between weed and useful plant, I'm guessing him. Especially when he said oh dear the little one in the pot. No I have no comfrey in pots - they are all in the ground! He didn't own up to "weeding" and I reckon he thought he would help clear the gap for it - even though he knew I'd planted them all out - I showed him!!!! Arghhh! Although it could also have been naughty baby crows playing. The leaf wasn't eaten. I need a nanny cam! But funny old day here - rainy on and off and sometimes just in the air, very humid and the wind was warm - as was the rain. Actually quite a pleasant, dry evening, apart from no sunshine.
  9. Valkyrie

    Updates from Devon

    Sorry DM - I think the bees are all here! I sowed my toms in January - and then they were too big to go into the greenhouse which was unheated, but they survived and while we have great trusses, there have been very few bees in the greenhouse, so I've hand dusted the pollen. I'm guessing the lack of light and warmth has had a knock-on effect there.
  10. Valkyrie

    Gardening thread

    Well nothing ventured, nothing gained. Let us know how it goes - because I'll probably do that later in the year.
  11. Valkyrie

    The Weather Thread #9

    They've changed their minds - the storms and torrential rain is now sunny. Still forecast for the early hours of Monday - looks like we are escaping the worst. Early night tonight and hope I sleep through any reconstructed 1812 Overture from the weather. Today started as it finished yesterday - cooler with total cloud cover - pretty blue/grey and pastel shades.
  12. Valkyrie

    Gardening thread

    What a lovely tranquil spot you have made. Well done with the veg. Don't know much about horseradish apart from grating the roots and they can be invasive with huge taproots. With regard to pak choi - yes - you can do both. We have some in a packet of mixed Oriental seeds (which we like best) so have just picked as and when needed, although we have a small patch in the greenhouse we have been eating a lot of salad! I know it likes cooler temperatures and is now beginning to bolt, but not a lot else about it - so I looked up on Youtube and found this short film which is really interesting and something that I'll do in the future (although I think this is in a polytunnel) but could easily be under a cloche in winter!
  13. Valkyrie

    Updates from Devon

    OoohOW ooohOW! Er pretty but nope, not for here - Mistress Vixen would chomp that fancy tail off in seconds! Well I thought Frida was having a time-out but no, she was laying in the little green nestbox that I got for broody nestbox hogger. She hogged so much that Frida gave up! A nice little cluster of 5 eggs! OH said "oh noooo not that many!!!" But Goldie has seen the light and has now come out into the light. Still having issues with little Fudge, although she had a day outside - bed time and she was in as soon as I opened the door. The Force with her is strong! I gave up with the sin bin - it didn't work either! With Goldie I just let her stay although I pulled her out when everyone was yelling, and for tea and a general run around the garden with the others in the afternoons when everyone had laid. Inga only has one little bumblefoot bit left - the one on her toe came out today - it was huge but thankfully all in one piece. She was duly disinfected and trussed and what happened? She kicked it off. I managed to check it and it already looked like it had closed up nicely. Soooo the last remaining bit looks like it won't be long. It'll be easier for her too as I won't take hours to bandage her up, although I'm getting much better at it! We had our first crop of spuds - 10.5 ounces of Red Duke of York and they were really tasty. I think we'll do those again next year. We still have some in the fridge. I think a nice mini frittata for lunch is on the cards with onions freshly picked too.
  14. Valkyrie

    What have you all been making...part two...

    Actually it wasn't as difficult as it seems - went really quick and it was a rainy project in between other things. I guess if I cut out the interference with life (hah!) then it probably wouldn't have been longer than a week. And thank you. All old fabrics - some pre 2002! I actually enjoyed this one because it stopped me hoarding the old things and it was a reward for tidying the fabrics into workable scraps and strips. Of course it's all messy in there again! LOL! But won't take long to tidy with the new organising regime. I need to finish the last 2 rows tonight because I need to make the bed for my old neighbour coming for a short stay. I also need to iron all the washing which is now piled under the ironing board. Hmmm maybe I need to vacuum first so the clothes don't get thready bits all over them!🤪
  15. Valkyrie

    The Weather Thread #9

    Goldie no longer broody so was off in the garden with the other big'uns. So I grabbed a chair and put it under the walnut tree and hoiked out the little'uns and they had a whale of a time scrabbling around where we'd cleared the grass and nettles. OH surprised me with a Pimms! So we both sat under the tree while the little girls had the best time in a long while! Just gone outside and it's a lot cooler and the sun has disappeared. Weather looks like storms late Sunday to Monday early hours then rain in the afternoon. Joy. Tuesday looks good but storms throughout Wednesday, particularly in the afternoon to evening with "torrential" rain. Big joy. Not amused!
  16. Valkyrie

    The Weather Thread #9

    I think you adapt to the weather where you live. In Florida we were in t-shirts while locals were wrapped up in thick coats! Same for my aunt in Cyprus - she says it's cold in winter - but where she is, it's like a nice spring day here! I wouldn't mind average weather - just not the monsoons! Planted everything in the veg plot that needed it, strimmed all across the field to the edible hedging and around those so that the mower could keep the grass down around the little plants. Even with sun cream slathered on I've caught the sun - not enough to burn but enough! So mad dogs and Englishmen as they say . . . so in with some orange juice and 7Up for a rest and a cool down!
  17. Valkyrie

    Updates from Devon

    Well with the summer solstice came the sunshine! It's been lovely and today is the same. Will have to dash outside and get things done pretty quick while we can. I think a lot of the bad weather has been blowing across from the USA - they have had odd weather this year, then looking at the satellite it then pootles back across the Atlantic and up the Bay of Biscay - then storms! But hey ho, it is what it is. So while I gave up with the parsnips, I planted out the beetroots. What happens? A day of sunshine and the parsnips put in another sneak appearance! A tad late! Grrrr! Sadly Dudley the pheasant has met his maker.😥 Am thinking Mistress Vixen as there was nothing to show but a few feathers and not the complete plucking session that the buzzards like to do. We are now down to the one Mrs P. I've called her Sweetpea as I can get quite close - like 2ft - for a chat! But that's nature - mustn't get too attached to the wildies. Although a happier ending for a baby blue tit that I found at the entrance to the greenhouse. Picked it up and gave it a cuddle to warm it up. Even OH got to stroke it. Then I went walking round the bird feeders to try and find it's family. When I got to the opposite end of the garden it perked up and flew out of my hand to join the others. Tears of joy that time! Ending on a good note - we have paid the deposit to the architect yesterday so we are actually making progress now. Photo is the stupid tardy parsnips!
  18. Valkyrie

    The Weather Thread #9

    Oh my goodness Beanie! I'd melt before I'd even got out of bed! Predicted 30 here but then I think being high, we may get a bit of a breeze to cool it down. They certainly get warmer temperatures in the next village which is a couple of hundred feet below us. But this was definitely more like it last night. We sat in the field and watched the swallows.
  19. Valkyrie

    **Thread of little facts & things**....3

    Lovely photos - happy days!
  20. Valkyrie

    The Weather Thread #9

    Today is looking promising too - started sunny, just a bit hazy, but blue sky and a few cauliflower heads on the horizon. Cumulus!
  21. Valkyrie

    The Weather Thread #9

    Yes, I saw that. It was originally earmarked for us on Monday/Tuesday, so it's racing towards us. Certainly very warm today once the clouds cleared. Even the wind was pleasant. Was able to do all sorts in the greenhouse and field and even cleaned the girls out before the next deluge. Oh well winter's coming!
  22. Valkyrie

    Updates from Devon

    The Watch of the Blight is now lifted for a little while longer yippeeeee! We used up the last of the shop bought spuds yesterday, so from now on we start lifting and playing hunt the buried treasure. Yarrrr! The grass and other growing wild things is tall - and we can only just see the deer's antlers as he walks through. I have thought of leaning on the gate with a piece of hay between my teeth, but I need a big floppy hat and a smock top. Managed to finish strimming all the grass in and around the chicken run before the rain came again. Poor Curly was doing zigzags through the taller buttercups and grass to run back inside away from the scary beasts that were racing in too. Since Trigger's disappearance, the birds seem a lot calmer and the big ones are no longer squabbling between them. I still don't trust them enough to let them in with the little ones though. I've managed to pot up a few things and tied a couple of runner bean poles together - but gave up running in from the field, taking bits back in and out was annoying! Still I live in hope! From the little seed bed in the greenhouse I have pricked out a few kale and calabrese into pots to harden off ready for the field. I have lots of things ready for the field if only the weather would behave! And I spotted greenfly on one of the most healthy peppers. Not amused! They got squished and now I need a squirty sprayer as I've utilised one as a starch spray in the sewing room. The previous greenhouse one was retired as it was next to useless. Maybe a garden centre trip on the cards!
  23. Valkyrie

    The Weather Thread #9

    Dashing through the showers with a wheelbarrow full of hay, slipping as I go and growling all the way ar ar arrr! Well I think I managed to get half a dozen runner bean poles in by installments. Some are tied and some aren't. Today looked good for the solstice - was up for the sunrise - by accident - yesterday's strimming gave me an arm ache so thought I may as well get up. Even let the birds out! Now it's all clouded over again and looking on the radar there's a teeny tiny patch of rain over us whereas everywhere else seems clear (apart from Exeter and east of Cullompton). Hoping for some sun - it could at least make an appearance for mid-summer!
  24. Valkyrie

    Bright blessings

    Happy summer solstice. Summer. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
  25. Valkyrie

    **Thread of little facts & things**....3

    Join the club - we number a fair few! LOL! These emojis are doing my head in - they keep shooting off the page and I have to scroll up to get them - now they freeze and I have to close the page and open it up again. I liked the way they used to be.

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