Monday, February 28

Great News!

Look! Yes Bev is laying her blue eggs again - and from this collection I can see the others are too. Mabel is still laying her eggs near the old seat but as I have marked the others I know which is the fresh one.
If you remember, the hens were housed in two sheds, but last week the wind blew the door shut on henhouse 1. The hens, and Ernest all went into henhouse 2 and have been going in every night now and laying their eggs in one of the nesting boxes. This is Great News! We are now up to full production.
Well done Gals!

I noticed from my blog that this is post 194 - so post 200 is drawing close and I am going to have a Give Away!

Watch this space!

Sunday, February 27

Weekend wandering!

We were out on Aga business today. We thought we had it all sorted really.......we would trade in our current Aga for a reconditioned electric one! Then...................I was doodling about on the laptop and I came across an Aga dealer offering a brand new one at a competative price - so competative it was cheaper than a reconditioned one! We decided to have a drive to Catterick and have a close look at a reconditioned one.
Whilst we were out that way we popped in to see Pat and The Farmer for a coffee! What a lovely day we had. Jon and the Farmer were having a deep discussion about Agas - at one point Jon was on the floor with his head practically inside the Aga! Pat and I were enthusing about the joys of chicken keeping (see Pat's chickens above)

I have the feeling we will we popping in again! Pat and the farmer live so near to a popular biking road we use often and it always nice to know a place where we can stop and warm up!
Yes a great weekend!
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Saturday, February 26

Change of plan!

Yesterday we had a drive over to our local Aga Dealer, in Malton, and had a long look at the colours. The cornflower blue has been replaced by a powder blue which didn't do anything for either of us. Navy blue was a possiblility and would have fitted in with the house colour - ie we live in an ex-police house which has navy blue garage doors and guttering, but we felt it was too dark for the kitchen. I was keen on a black one but again too dark. In the end we decided to stay with cream!

The curtains which I am using for the theme throughout the downstairs of the house have a cream background so I will use this as an inspiration for the kitchen cour scheme - so duck egg blue could still feature.

The Aga will be replaced once the weather improves and our current Aga isn't in use. This will be part exchanged, refurbished and sold on by the dealer. The new Aga will be much more efficient as it will have an electronic timer. The Aga Intelligent Management System (AIMS)

The Aga Intelligent Management System (AIMS) is a sophisticated program, which allows you to adjust the output of your Aga to suit your way of life using a remote-control handset. In short, it means that your Aga can sleep when you sleep and only operate at normal power when you need it.

The AIMS program offers you:

· Ultimate flexibility
· Day/Month/Year selection
· Two pre-set active periods each day
· Holiday mode
· Override feature

What can AIMS do for you?

Using the pre-set mode, your 13-amp electric Aga will:
· Cook breakfast in the morning at normal temperature
· Drop to a low temperature during the day
· Return to normal temperature to cook dinner
· Enter slumber mode at the end of the day

Should you go on holiday, the system can also program your Aga to:
· Remain on the lowest energy setting or switch off
· Automatically restart in time for your arrival home

In addition, the holiday mode allows for full day/month/year selection to allow for longer holidays and any program setting. Any program setting can also be easily overridden by the simple pressing of a button on the Aga itself.

I currently have a seperate electric cooker which I use in the summer, but this will be sold as the AIMS system will allow the Aga to be used instead!

Am getting excited now!

Thursday, February 24

Wedgewood Blue - Revamp update!

After much discussion it looks as though we are going for one of these - trading in our solid fuel Aga for a wedgewood blue electric model. We have done the necessary calculations re fuel availability, costing etc and  have taken into consideration both of our initial thoughts - I wnated to keep an Aga - Jon wanted to get away from the dusty dirty atmosphere we have with the solid fuel.

We have measured up the big lounge and as I sit here, Jon is drawing up a model of the room ready for DIY project number 1! I am excited!

Tuesday, February 22

F is for......

Remember from last week? Margie the white hen laying some eggs in the hedge? Well on Sunday we were working in the garden (see posts below for discovery under motorbike seat!) and would you believe there was FIFTEEN eggs in the hedge all together? I brought them all into the kitchen and placed them in a large bowl of water - the fresh ones remained on the bottom of the bowl whilst the other, not so fresh were a tad lighter. The lighter ones I dried and marked and placed them back in the nest - the rest I washed and used.

I noticed Mabel was acting strangely too - she is laying eggs in the front lawn, behind an old wooden garden seat used by the birds when they are feeding from the tree!

Later that night we had a change in the sleeping arrangements - Ernest and Mabel were joined by Margie and Olwyn - the night after however we were back to the regular arrangement

margie, mabel and Ernest in Henhouse 1
and here we can see from the left, Bev, Olwyn, May and Eva! We know how cold the night is going to be by how they settle - if they cuddle together we know it is going to be cold. If - as is the case here they are quite spaced out it tells us the night is not so cold!

Whilst I was watching the birds feed look what I spotted heling himself to some bird food - a wonderful pheasant who lives at the bottom of the garden!

So, all seems well with the Nesbitt hens! We STILL need to find where Bev is laying her eggs though - goodness knows how many she has stashed away!
More next week!

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Sunday, February 20



Normally we keep the hen food in the garage, but a few weeks ago we noticed the sacks were being nibbled away.  I now store the sacks of food in the kitchen cupboard. Today, Jon decided to check the motorbike over as it will need to have an MOT test asap so it will be ready to tax for March 1st. The battery was flat so Jon had to charge it up. When he removed the seat – look what he discovered! A door mouse had made its home there over the winter months. It had nibbled through the plastic bag containing the map book and also part of Jon’s waterproof trousers. I quickly got the camera and captured the moment! He didn’t seem bothered by Jon or myself and Jon checked over the various electrics and wiring to ensure it had not nibbled through anything important It would appear it hadn’t.

The Dormouse and the Doctor by A. A. Milne

There once was a Dormouse who lived in a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),
And all the day long he'd a wonderful view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

A Doctor came hurrying round, and he said:
'Tut-tut, I am sorry to find you in bed.
Just say 'Ninety-nine' while I look at your chest....
Don't you find that chrysanthemums answer the best?'

The Dormouse looked round at the view and replied
(When he'd said 'Ninety-nine') that he'd tried and he'd tried,
And much the most answering things that he knew
Were geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

The Doctor stood frowning and shaking his head,
And he took up his shiny silk hat as he said:
'What the patient requires is a change,' and he went
To see some chrysanthemum people in Kent.

The Dormouse lay there, and he gazed at the view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue),
And he knew there was nothing he wanted instead
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

The Doctor came back and, to show what he meant,
He had brought some chrysanthemum cuttings from Kent.
'Now these,' he remarked, 'give a much better view
Than geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).'

They took out their spades and they dug up the bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),
And they planted chrysanthemums (yellow and white).
'And now,' said the Doctor, 'we'll soon have you right.'

The Dormouse looked out, and he said with a sigh:
'I suppose all these people know better than I.
It was silly, perhaps, but I did like the view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).'

The Doctor came round and examined his chest,
And ordered him Nourishment, Tonics, and Rest.
'How very effective,' he said, as he shook
The thermometer, 'all these chrysanthemums look!'

The Dormouse turned over to shut out the sight
Of the endless chrysanthemums (yellow and white).
'How lovely,' he thought, 'to be back in a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red.)'

The Doctor said, 'Tut! It's another attack!'
And ordered him Milk and Massage-of-the-back,
And Freedom-from-worry and Drives-in-a-car,
And murmured, 'How sweet your chrysanthemums are!'

The Dormouse lay there with his paws to his eyes,
And imagined himself such a pleasant surprise:
'I'll pretend the chrysanthemums turn to a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)!'

The Doctor next morning was rubbing his hands,
And saying, 'There's nobody quite understands
These cases as I do! The cure has begun!
How fresh the chrysanthemums look in the sun!'

The Dormouse lay happy, his eyes were so tight
He could see no chrysanthemums, yellow or white.
And all that he felt at the back of his head
Were delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

And that is the reason (Aunt Emily said)
If a Dormouse gets in a chrysanthemum bed,
You will find (so Aunt Emily says) that he lies
Fast asleep on his front with his paws to his eyes.

Saturday, February 19

1 Down - 8 to go!

Feather duster c/o google!

Well I have had quite a day here at home, commencing the great de-cluttering of the house in preparation for our DIY make-over. I have sorted out piles of books, to be collected on Monday and had a thorough scurry round the main bedroom. There are now 2 bags ready to go to the Charity shop on Monday and a lovely clean and tidy bedroom. I am quite exhausted so a quiet night in sounds just the ticket.

We seem to have escaped the far!
Watch this space!

Thursday, February 17

Back on Track!

I bought a pet banana and I tried to teach him tricks,
but he wasn't any good at catching balls or fetching sticks.

He could never catch a Frisbee,and he wouldn't sit or speak,
though we practiced every afternoon and evening for a week.

He refused to shake or wave or crawl or beg or take a bow,
and I tried, but couldn't make him bark or get him to meow.

He was terrible at playing dead.He couldn't jump a rope.
When he wouldn't do a single trick I simply gave up hope.

Though I liked my pet banana, I returned him with regret.
Boy, I sure do hope this watermelon makes a better pet.

--Kenn Nesbitt (no relation)

Leigh, if you are reading this I dedicate the poem to you! lol!

Yes - you need a sense of humour if you are on a diet! You also need a sense of perspective and the ability to view things in the greater picture!
My Slimming group meet every Wednesday night where we exchange the trials and tribulations of the past week's efforts in our quests to lose some weight. The group is a great group of people and over the course of the months we have all been attending, we have become great friends. We laugh so much - it is a great night.

Two weeks ago I had an unpleasant incident with some kippers - I think I mentioned it briefly here. Basically after 24 hours of intense bodilly functions I was amazed to discover at my weekly weigh-in that I had GAINED 2 lbs!!!

This last week has been a week of gay abandonment! The Thursday saw me and  a couple of my girlfriends enjoying the  birthday of one of the group. The other member, the chef is an absolute master in the culinary skill/knowledge lunch was out of this world! Friday - I bought a meal deal at Sainsburys - absolute corker of a deal which I managed to get two fabulous meals from. Sunday - it was raining and Jon ; I went to Whitby for fish and chips. Monday was Valentine's day and we had an absolutely FANTASTIC meal out at our favourite restaurant. Prawn Cocktail, Sirloin Steak, Cheese & Biscuits and wine. Tuesday and Wednesday - nothing spectacular but nothing particularly good either - diet wise.
I wondered whether or not to go to Slimming Club - in the end I went....dreading the result when I ambled onto the scales. Result? I gained half a pound!!!!!!!!!

Back on track - but hey what a great week! Loved every minute/mouthful of it all!

Tuesday, February 15

Ere, there and everywhere!

It's quite entertaining keeping hens! Over the past few days it has been great news to see them get back into the egg laying process. I guess like people (well me) some of them are not morning creatures, whilst others are. This morning when I let them out of their respective henhouses I found two nestled away. By the colours I know these were from Eva and May, the two orange coloured hens. Absolutely gorgeous too I can tell you!

Ernest has settled in just fine. He sleeps in Henhouse 2 with his flame Mabel, but on some occasions Bev and Margie spend the night in there too!

This is henhouse 2 (former goosehut) as I took this photograph I could make out the form of Mabel inside, settling down to lay an egg.

Yes, sure enough she was inside .....whilst Ernest waited outside!

Our hens have a very good life really - they certainly have lots of space in which to roam. They cross over the front lawn, onto the wall. under the fence and have a real good forage in the field next door.

Whilst I was taking the photographs I noticed Margie, the white hen hanging away from the rest of the hens.

Look why! She has been making a nest in the hedge between the wall and the field.


Sure enough, when I went back outside about an hour later there she was!

I also noticed Bev hanging around the same part of the fence - so now I am wondering if she is laying some in there too? Bev lays blue eggs and there hasn't been any over the past week - so somewhere there is a clutch of blue eggs!

I am enjoying documenting our hens - if you would like to receive my daily hen news just drop me a line to my e-mail
denise dot nesbitt at bt internet dot com

Monday, February 14

My Valentine's Day

Just experimenting here - my lovely flowers from Jon - our lovely cards are on display


and the meal is booked tonight at my favourite restaurant - what a lucky girl I am!

Sunday, February 13

Wet Sunday!

Today the weather has been dull, foggy and wet! We jumped into the van and had a drive over the moors to Whitby where we enjoyed fish and chips! Whitby was busy as ever despite the rain!

Friday, February 11

Reasons to be cheerful - 16, 17, 18 and a rant!

It is that time of the week again. I think over the past weeks I have realised I am a cheerful person and the reasons I have stated really should form part of a regular mantra. The three reasons I am stating this week are basic yet so central to my cheerfulness/contentment but really should NEVER be taken for granted.
16, I have good health.
17. I have good friends.
18. I have a good, loving family.

This week something happened which has really annoyed me. I am not one to rant yet as the days have passed I find myself thinking more and more about it. On Wednesday we had a visit from a firm of financial sdvisors, endorsed by my teaching union. We read the literature prior to his visit and were aware he would try and sell us something be it life insurance or investment suggestions - neither of which we intended using the firm for - we just wanted to know my entitlement/settlement details. I have life cover etc. Anyway I am rambling - he asked me if there was anything I intended to buy. I said I would like to buy some artwork. Art was ALWAYS my favourite subject to teach and I felt this would be a good momento of the 25 happy years I spent as a teacher. I also thought Mackenzie Thorpe would be an appropriate choice - he is a local artist and his work features the local Yorkshire Moors......however I think I just may go for a something by the amazing artist Jackie Morris - will share more later!

Well this chap was so against MY choice - he dismissed it straight away. Shortly after he left, saying he would return at a later date - well so he thought. We will NOT be setting up another meeting thank you VERY much and I WILL be buying some pictures THANK YOU very much!
The very nerve!

These will look lovely in our lounge and will be a wonderful reminder!

Tuesday, February 8

Day to day life in the henhouse!

After my post last week I read so many comments from people saying they were looking forward to the update on the chicken situation - here is a brief resume.

Up until yesterday, Ernest and Mabel were in henhouse 2, a somewhat smaller residence than the former Goosehut (now Henhouse 1, but neverteless ideal for a couple.

Hens have very short memories and forget that Mabel was once one of the gang - so we have to watch for pecking order rituals.

The photograph above was taken on Sunday. I have been letting the hens out at different times and slowly introducing them to each other. Today is the first time they are all out together and as I type away I am aware that a drama is about to unfold!
Ernest is holding his own and is keeping the hens amused. There seems to be some friction between a few of the hens but I am hoping this sorts itself out. Whilst I have been quite in control of the situation my managing time in/out of the henhouses I know that sooner or later I am just going to have to let them be together and sort out any issues.
A couple of hours ago I was aware of quite a comotion in the paddock. Mabel was clucking very loudly, obviously wanting to be in Henhouse 1, on the shelf laying an egg. Unfortunately Eva had the same idea and was sitting quite happily on the shelf. Fast foreward a couple of hours and a few minutes ago I popped round to find Ernest and Mabel on shelf in Henhouse 1, sitting quite happily together. Henhouse door is open, so it will be interesting to see what develops over the next couple of hours!
Watch this space - I will keep you updated on any happenings!
More action can be discovered over on ABC Wednesday's blog!

Sunday, February 6

Showhouse Stuff!

We live quite a cocooned life really, so as we have been thinking about our future home improvement plans we thought we would visit a couple of show homes to get some basic ideas and to see what is happening in the big world of DIY. In June we will have lived here for 20 years so we are totally out of touch with what is available now. Now I know showhouses are very modern and basic - our house was built in 1956 so we don't want it to look like a showhouse (as if) but there were elements we saw which we both liked.


Excuse the colour issue here - not sure what's going on. We both liked the layout of this kitchen/diner. The picture above was taken looking straight at it, and then I turned to my right and took the adjoining wall - you can see the wall cupboards continuing. This layout would be similar to what we could do in our kitchen - but through the doorway would be our utility room leading out onto the patio.

The downlighters are something we want throughout the downstairs of our house.

We loved the pull out cupbards

the lights under the units were quite something!


We are having a shower fitted above the bath - the lights were colour changeable - we liked that idea!


We liked the french doors - the front of our kitchen overlooks the front lawn - where we get the sun on an evening - an ideal place for a BBG and sitting area! We liked that idea. To the right you can just see Jon's arm - behind him was a door leading to the utility room - in our case the door would lead to the snug where we would just have a wall mounted TV and sofa.


We saw a few wall-mounted TV's and modern fireplaces - again, something to think about!


We looked at 4 showhouses - the idea of having a bold wallpaper on one wall seemed to be the in thing, but as our walls are to be re-plastered we will just be having emulsion - however I do fancy stepping outside my comfort zone of magnolia and experimenting with some colour! I quite fancy an aubergine chimney breast!!!!

At one showhouse we met another couple It just so happened the chap was an electrician - so he gave us his number and we'll be contacting him this week to come round and give us some quotes. He works in a lot of modern houses so he had knowledge of the latest kit AND can get a great discount!

All in all a good day. I feel focussed.

Friday, February 4

Reasons to be cheerful - 13, 14, 15

It's that time of the week again! Why not join in?

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy with a Heart

3 more reasons to be cheerful.

1. I am feeling much much better after the dreadful 24 hours I had - a bit early for details at this early hour of the day - some may be eating breakfast - but let's just say I wont be eating kippers for a while!

2.I am really enjoying the 2 mile walk I do each day with Freida, my faithful german shepherd. It is not so much of a chore anymore and I can actually say I want to do this. It is a wonderful feeling when the horses in the ajoining fields fit in with our pace and walk along side us - a great way to start the day!

3. I am so looking forward to Tuesday - I will find out the settlement for my Teacher's Pension. I have been aware for some time that the government have earmarked "public sector pensions" for change and I KNOW one area will be the early retirement age of 55 being put back - it was announced this week that in 2012 the teacher's pension scheme is going to incur changes! PHEW! I JUST crawled through that one! Roll on June 29th!

Tuesday, February 1

C is for Chicken and why did the chicken cross the road?

Oh I can hear the shouting out "To get to the other side!"
A group of people gave their interpretations below to solve the issue.

-Descartes: to go to the other side of the road.

-Plato: for the chicken, truth lies on the other side.

-Aristotle; It’s the nature of all chickens.

-Carle Marx: This is a historical inevitability thus it should rise up against it.

-Captain James Kirk: to go where no other chicken has gone before.

-Hippocrates: because of an excessive pancreas disorder.

-Martin Luther King: It dreamt of a world where chickens have the right to cross any road without justifying it.

-Richard Nixon: The chicken hasn’t crossed the road… I repeat she hasn’t crossed the road!

-Nicola Machiavelli: The important thing is that the chicken crossed the road, and it doesn’t matter why. Its urge to cross the road justifies any means to do it.

-Shamel: Because it saw a colorful rooster.

-Sigmund Freud: To wonder why the chicken crossed the road is an indication of suppressed sexual desires.

-Buddha: asking such a question is denying the nature of all chickens.

-Jim Carry: Finally! I thought it’ll never cross!!!

-Stephen Segal: You tell me!

-Charles de Gaulle: Maybe it crossed the road but not the highway!

-Einstein: whether the chicken crossed the road or the road itself moved towards it, this all depends on the chicken speed multiplied by the number of its footsteps.

-George W Bush: This action is a flagrant violation of the UN resolutions. Just the mere notion of the chicken crossing the road without punishment is considered a threat to democracy, freedom and justice. Hence, this proves to us that we should’ve unquestionably destroyed that road long time ago. So, to keep piece in the region, and in order to protect the values we fought for, we decided to send our troops to demolish all poultry farms in that area. This way, no other chicken will be tempted to cross the road again.

-Hamlet: This is not the question.

-Othello: It felt jealous and decided to revolt.

-Nietzsche: because when you look at the road for too long, the road will start looking at you.

-Shakespeare: It didn’t cross the road, but the road tempted the chicken to cross.

-Oscar Wilde: I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible.

-Mu`ammar al-Qadhafi : I forgot.

I laughed at the above - I know many of you reading this will have to...
But getting back to the story....
If you remember, last week I told of the iminent arrival of our banty cockerel - companion to Mabel, our hen who had taken up residence with neighbours. Well, the neighbours were moving so it was decided that Mabel would return to the Nesbitt Henhouse complex, together with loverboy himself!

All was planned, so on Saturday night Mabel and Cockerel arrived in their hackney sack cab!
They were placed into Henhouse 2 and left for the evening. It was at this point I asked neighbour if he had a middle name."Ernest" was the reply - hence the appropriate name for cockerel.
Foolishly, on Sunday morning I opened the door.Ernest and Mabel scuttled out and Ernest spent no time in making a dash for field next door where he spent a cpouple of hours. I let the other hens out and after a while was marvelling at the way they were all integrating - Ernest included. As I chatted to my SIL on the phone I saw Mabel walk along the pavement OUTSIDE the house, ie next to the main road. I dashed outside to see her cross the road, walk through the farmer's field, back to neighbours. Apparantly she was wanting to return home to lay an egg. We left her settle. At dusk I was ushering the hens into their henhouse. Ernest followed them in, but Olwyn, large brown one started pecking him. He made a swift exit into henhouse 2, closely followed by Margie the white hen. Later, Mable was brought back and placed into the same henhouse and soon settled down with both Ernest and Margie, Ernest in the middle of them both. We are leaving them settle for a couple of days - I am taking water and fresh food every morning and evening. In a couple of days we will let them out and see what happens!
Watch this space!

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