Tuesday, 13 December 2011

My heart is broken

Sharp End left this world yesterday. I am absolutely heartbroken. He had been my loyal friend and protector for many years and I loved him to bits.He had his family around him when he died and the last words he heard were " I love you!"

I am beside myself with grief and at the moment don't feel I will ever get over it, but my head knows that I will in time. He was a true member of the family and I am finding it especially hard as he was by my side pretty much all day every day. All my daily chores seem so painful as he used to be involved in everything from sorting the laundry to peeling the vegetables.

RIP dear Sharp End, you will remain in my heart forever. xxx

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Number 5

The other day we brought another budgie into our home...yes budgie number 5. Her elderly owner had passed away and she was up for rehoming. We have room and lots of love so here she is even though she wasn't planned!

This is Bonny in her old cage
She is called Bonny and a real sweetie. She's 3 years old. At present she is in a separate cage in different room to the others while she has 30 days quarantine just in case there are any health issues that come to light. Birds hide illness very well, but when they are under stress such as moving to a new home for example, that is when any problems will come to light. Hopefully all will be okay but it is not worth taking the chance and risking the health of my existing birds.

Bon has not had much to eat yet, but that is normal with new home jitters. She is quite fat under all her feathers so I am not too worried at this stage. She's very active. I have put her in a large cage and she is having great fun flying about, climbing and exploring.

On the same day we got her, by coincidence a friend phoned us about another budgie that needed a home so we have agreed to have that one as well. I don't know yet whether it is a girl or boy, all I know is that it will be yellow. Hopefully it will be here this week...so by next weekend I could be the owner of 6 budgies!

pizza potatoes

We just got a bigger halogen oven...I've had one for a while but I found it too small for family meals. I'm really enjoying using this new one. The other night I did pizza potatoes...it's a way I try to get DH to eat more cheese lol. I'm try to make him acquire the taste so he will eat more 'basic'food...he has very 'select' taste buds lol.

You just bake the potatoes in their jackets and then scoop the flesh out and mash it with some cheese ( and or onion ) and seasoning. Put the mixture back into the jacket shells, top with the kind of thing you like on pizza, top with more cheese and rebake for a while. It's real comfort food for these dark and dreary Winter days. If you were feeling wildly health conscious you could have a salad on the side I guess...I personally would like baked beans with them but I always forget until halfway through eating them and then it's too late lol.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

New friends

...Not only for me but for Elliot too :)

This is Buzz ( yellow face, grey, greywing budgie )

Now he has a blue cere, but this was on the day we got him when he was only about 6 weeks old. He is a lovely gentle character and adores Elliot.

These two beauties are Suki ( albino budgie ) and Timmy  ( sky blue normal budgie ).

For a while it was just Buzz and Elliot, but Mr D fell in love with a couple of birdies when we went to a pet centre...quite a distance from home. I told him we had to walk away but he was so enthralled with them we made the journey again the next day to go and get them, thankfully they were still there! I was planning on getting more but maybe not for a while! I'm very glad we did though as they are lovely birds. Suki is more timid than Timmy but they do both come onto my hand for a feed :)

I gave them a quarantine period just in case! Yesterday however they were all officially out of quarantine and have been having fun together. We have 2 large cages now ( and a small starter cage ). I expect they will all end up in one cage eventually but they have the choice when they are out flying to go back to which one they feel happiest in. The sound of gentle chattering in the background is so soothing and makes the house feel so homely.

I am having to hoover 2ce a day as a lot of seed husks blow around from Elliot and Buzz's cage. Timmy and Suki are in a new design cage called a vision M02, there is practically no mess at all from their cage, I highly recommend it to anyone that was thinking of getting birds. I have the medium size as I only intended it for quarantine but if I got another I would get the L02 which would be larger.

Evolving some more :)

Since taking the plunge and learning to drive I have found that it really IS good to face your fears and push yourself into unfamiliar territory...in fact I am finding familiar territory somewhat boring these days...that is most unlike the old me lol...in my quest to leave my old mouse-like persona behind and be the kind of person I want to be, I have taken up a new challenge...

...A couple of weeks ago I started martial arts training...Shotokan karate to be precise. Yes it's true! I've been nagged by certain family members to give it a go for a long time and lately even the instructor started encouraging me to try...so I thought what do I have to lose? Perhaps my teeth and a straight nose? LOL hopefully that won't happen, but I do have much to gain...the martial artists I know all have a certain confidence about them, not cocky or arrogant, just a self confidence that I wouldn't mind myself. I have to say that even though I have only taken 4 lessons I am enjoying it immensely! I ache like anything after a session but I know that will improve once my muscles have got used to being used in a new way. There is a LOT to take in... new words, a new kind of body co-ordination...I've known my left from my right since I was a teeny child but you'd never know if you watched me just lately...My driving instructor discovered that I am not very good at translating mirror images or detecting small changes in a series of movements and that my auditory memory skills are non-existant, in short, I have the attention span of a Goldfish...by the time Sensei has got the end of the sentence I have forgotten the beginning of it. Something else that became apparant when I was learning to drive was that I am slow at processing things...this has again has come to light in my karate class, but I am a lady of a certain age and not a spritely teenager...one of the black belts said to me  " we have no failures here, only people who give up!"  When you think about it, that is a very good saying which you could apply to many areas of life. I do not plan to give up when it gets hard...well gee, it is hard now lol...but if everything was easy where would the challenges lie?...life could be very dull.

I have to wear a uniform, for those of you who don't know, it's a white canvas suit called a gi.They are a bit of a devil to dry but I guess it just means I will have to be very organised in my laundry rota. I have long hair, down to my waist and I have to tie it back for karate which is a bit like being in school lol...You are also not allowed to wear jewelry, just in case you cause yourself or someone else an injury. It's a whole new world to me and it's making me think. Most exercise I have enjoyed in the past has been the type of thing that I do alone, walking swimming, running etc, so this is another way I am being taken out of my comfort zone...I am not looking forward to doing the exam/gradings as you have to do that in front of a hall full of spectators, but it is part of it, so I will have to accept it just like everyone else does!

So there you go, another step forward :)

Friday, 30 September 2011

latest pic of Elliot

Here's the latest picture of my baby...isn't she a darling? She's now choosing to fly out of the cage and land on my hand...the last couple of weeks she has also started to allow me to tickle her on the top of her head, she really seems to enjoy it, awww!

I have news...besides Elliot we have another addition to the family...I will try and get pics this weekend and post soon :)

On other subjects...At the moment we are having a heatwave...it may not be as hot as some countries but it has come in with a blast and we have not had time to acclimatise, phew! The forecasters say it will turn nasty next week though so we are all trying to make the most of the lovely weather. It is so odd, it is hot enough to get sunburnt but the Christmas trees are already appearing in the shops...this is most unlike England lol.

Today my friend J passed his driving test, both he and DS used 'my' driving instructor and we all passed first time :) so everyone is happy including our instructor :)

Sharp End is still with us...I won't say he is going strong but he does have his lively moments...usually when he knows food is around!

Yesterday my eldest sister came to visit. She has just got her first car after being without for about 30 years...it was lovely to see her and have her stay until late in the evening. We had a good natter and did a few crafts together, a lovely day :)

Well I think that is all for now.
Best wishes to you all out there in blogland
Dox :)

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Having a go at Brioche

I'm still exploring new ( to me ) doughs in the kitchen. I'd never tried making Brioche and yesterday took the plunge...have to say I am very pleased :) I chose to make Cinnamon rolls...very easy, looked good and tasted even better!

I sent a few next door whilst they were still warm but haven't had the verdict yet. Today some friends turned up unexpectedly and I still had a bag of dough in the fridge so it was just a matter of rolling it out, spreading the filling, leaving to rise and baking...a real treat to share :) I read that you can freeze the dough so I'm definitely making a few batches to put in the freezer nearer Christmas time...my friend James said today " Mmm, all that's missing is the snow, lol" ...so I think they'll go down a treat during the festive season :)

If you've not tried Cinnamon rolls made with Brioche, I urge you, have a go, you won't regret it, yum!

I'm certainly enjoying the new doughs, but the only thing is, my waistline is expanding, YIKES!

Doxie :)

Stash bash

My piles/boxes/bags/baskets of 'spare' fabric and things that I want to use for fabric is getting the better of me...it really is outgrowing it's space. Mr D had a sort out of clothes he no longer wears and this of course just added to my pile...I just love some of the prints...didn't love them on shirts but really like them for crafts :)

nice print but didn't like it as a shirt       

I've decided September will be a 'Stash bash month'...I've got lots of sewing projects that need to be done and I haven't had the machine out for ages...also I've seen some gorgeous fabrics in the shops but there is no way I can justify buying any new stuff until I have made a considerable dent in what I have! So...project number one was a bag to store Mr D's climbing shoes :)

I really pleased with it    
 I'm pretty chuffed that the fabric looked so good when it was used on a smaller project and Mr D still gets to enjoy his funky print :) I'm also chuffed that I actually remembered to leave an opening for the cord...so many times I have merrily stitched away on the sewing machine and then found I forgot to leave a gap and had to undo the stitches...it seems I am learning from my mistakes lol.

Nice and roomy
 There is plenty of room for the shoes and maybe even his chalk ball bag will fit too if he wants to store them together.

I had some cord lying around from another project and always have a supply of toggles and fastenings so it didn't take long to complete. I just have to find a use for the remainder of the shirt...perhaps patchwork...I shall add the buttons to my 'button jar' so as much of it can be recycled as possible :)

I hope you are all well and happy out there :)

Dox :)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Hey, you're not a bird!

When I was coming in from the garden a few days ago I thought I saw something slide down the tree trunk by the back door... I took another look but could see nothing and put it down to 'morning eyes' not yet focusing properly...imagine my surprise a few minutes later when I was doing the washing up and saw this sight from the kitchen window!

isn't he sweet?

I think he is either a Woodmouse or a Yellow Necked Mouse. We had YNM living in the attic a few years ago, but I couldn't see if this little fellow had a yellow necklace on or not. Whatever he is, I thought he was adorable. Every now and then he would stop and eye me suspiciously but he stayed quite a while with me watching him out of the window, so I guess he wasn't that scared...and he let me take some pics with the snappy camera, so he was a brave little chap!

It's so nice to know that even in the hustle and bustle of suburbia, wildlife still finds a way to survive :)


My cherry blossom

I love Cherry blossom...we planted an ornamental Cherry in the garden about 15 years ago and it never fails to give a super show, but sadly it never lasts for long which teaches us to really appreciate it during it's short season. One evening I was feeling rather bored...the men were watching a film that I didn't particularly want to see so I had a play with a few leftovers in my craft stash.

What I used:
  • Straight sticks from my Spirea bush
  • Floristry ribbon from a Mother's day bouquet DS gave me
  • Child's bracelet left over from a party lucky dip 
All I did was cut out flower shapes from the ribbon, attach the little coloured stars from the bracelet with hot glue and then attached the blossoms to the sticks and put in a little glass jar. Now I can have cherry blossom ( although not as ornate as mine in the garden ) all year around!

a pretty way to recycle some leftovers!  
I think I will try making some Chinese Fringe Flowers soon. I just got to fiind the right kind of materials for the actual fluffy petals, something that I can cut fine, will drape and not fray. I have the 'real' plant in the garden so hopefully it will flower again soon and I can study it in more detail.It always seems that the shortest lived flowers are the prettiest, still I guess that teaches us not to take them for granted and to really enjoy them while they are here :)

Monday, 18 July 2011

Homemade Tortillas

It was my first time at making these and I was pleasantly surprised. They were so easy and they tasted good. I don't think I will bother with shop bought again. I reckon they'd be fun if you were getting the whole family involved in cooking the meal or if you were cooking with friends :)

We filled them with chilli con carne. They got a thumbs up from everyone so it looks like they are going to be making a regular appearance at the dinner table :) I just wish I could have served them with a home grown side salad...I grew the salad and it was doing brilliantly but the wild birds have been having a great time shredding the leaves and just leaving me with stalks!!!!! Oh well at least someone enjoyed the salad lol


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Sharp End update

An aging but distinguished looking Sharp End

I thought after posting about Elliot it was only fair to give you an update on how Sharp End is doing...here is his latest pic...yes I know he's not really allowed on the furniture, and yes I know he is lounging on a leather armchair, but when you get to his age you've earned the right to bend the rules a little...and Sharp End if you are reading this, I said "a little" lol.

These days he is wobbly and on medication but he is still enjoying life. His body is covered in fatty tumour-like lumps but the vet says they are the least of his worries. Sadly he has Chronic Nerve Degeneration. Sometimes he cannot get up straight away and there are times when he drags one foot but he doesn't seem too frustrated by it. If he cannot get up he will bark to let us know and we give him a helping hand. He is still eating very well, both the food we give him and the food he manages to steal when we are not looking lol.

"Mmm, looks good enough to paddle in"

 We didn't think he'd make it but amazingly last month he went on holiday to Wales with us. In this picture he is contemplating going for a paddle in a Welsh river :) His body looks a barrel shape but that is because he has one lump the size of half a football on his shoulder/side and another not far off that size on his undercarriage on the opposite side...this is in addition to all the other various sized ones he has dotted around. The vet says they are not causing him distress and any kind of operation most certainly would, so it is best to leave them well alone. He is now by far the oldest of his breed the vet has treated and so we are counting our blessings that he is still with us even though he does look rather lumpy and bumpy!

He is unable to get in the Doxiemobile these days but we have a ramp that allows him to get into Mr D's car albeit it with a shove and "heave-ho!" from us. Mr D also made him a ramp to help him up the steps in the garden, he tried to step up the side of it first and had a couple of tumbles but now realises that if you start from the bottom life is much easier lol. When he is 'warmed up' he can still do a half run / trot,  it doesn't last long but it is perfectly adequate for chasing a ball. He does fall over a fair bit but he just shakes himself and gets back up, often looking at us as if to say "Did you push me?" lol

"Alas poor Bonio I knew him well"

He recently decided to get a bit too involved with some crafting I was doing...making flowers out of paper doilies...somehow he ended up wearing a homemade 'Shakespearian' doily collar...The rather fed up look was not because of the collar, he's always been okay with having hats and things put on him lol...but he was most dis-chuffed because he didn't want to sit still for the photo...his favourite visitor N was sitting to one side of him and he was desperate to go and lay on his feet lol.

So there you have it, that's what an aging Sharp End looks like. He is 14 now which is not the norm for a dog of his size and breeding. He comes with all the problems of old age that humans have ( I am always handy with my bucket and mop ) but we love him just as much as we ever did!


New addition to the family...

Introducing Elliot....

"Hi I'm Elliot"
"My Mum thinks I am the prettiest birdie in town"

"I'm just over 8 weeks old"

Isn't she an absolute darling? I've been liking the idea of having a pet bird again for quite a long time. For most of the 20 + years we've lived in this house we've had birds, but the last of the original gang passed on about 18-24 mths ago and we had been birdless since that time. I had my heart set on a blue budgerigar and a boy but when I saw Elliot she seemed so perfect in temperament that it didn't matter that she was not a boy. I hadn't originally wanted a girl as I was not keen on the 'egg' issues, but I guess we'll deal with that if and when it occurs.

All the information I read said leave the bird to settle for a week before you try and tame it, but she looked so chilled and relaxed I thought I'd make a start on getting her used to me the day she came home...in just a couple of hours she was sitting on my finger! I do think leaving it a week before you put your hand in the cage is a little foolish because surely then the bird would have started to think of the cage as THEIR territory and not yours????...thus giving you trust and territory issues to deal with. I don't know what other people think about that? If Elliot had appeared terrified then of course I wouldn't have pushed her, but she seemed to take it all in her stride so I guess I read her correctly. Last night she let me tickle her under the wing  which seems like a big step in trust. I won't let her out of the cage until she is perfectly happy with me stroking her back and neck...then if she gets into difficulty when she's out she won't feel stressed by me rescuing her from the back of the sofa or whatever.

I hope you are all well and happy.

Doxie :)