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Wait, I haven’t posted yet?

I didn’t go in to work today. It was absolutely glorious and I sat in the garden and drank herbal tea and shitposted on Twitter allll day long on me phone.

This is the front garden, where the chickens live. It’s where our garden chairs are and we look out over the sheep field. But the real miracle is the back garden this year, out the kitchen door.

Uncle B has been working on it for years, and it’s really coming into its own. Last year was good, this year is spectacular. Everything is a harmonious height and color.

I’m trying to work out how to walk down it with a video camera to give you an idea.

June 15, 2022 — 8:19 pm
Comments: 5

Your daily dose of adorable

This was shot from the garden, my dudes. By Uncle B on his fancy new phone.

I know I was complaining I couldn’t see the lambs for the overgrown hedge. That’s the super big field behind us where most of the flock hangs out. There’s a smaller field next to us (the one I tried to buy for lama keeping) and the flock has access to it. A few sheep wander in it sometimes.

These little puff balls came right up to the fence. A gang of six was pronking around in the grass.

This is the *best* time of year here.

April 25, 2022 — 5:35 pm
Comments: 6

Much reduced

The prevailing wind here is from the West and it is often very powerful. Brisk isn’t in it. In the path of this wind across from us were three large and robust willow trees.

They blocked our view of the fields beyond, but they were obviously planted as a windbreak, and very welcome for it. I called them the Three Sisters.

Then a terrible storm came along and blew down the old girl in the middle. Imagine, a tree as old and established as that. Blew it right over. It very much damaged the one on the left, too.

After that, I called them the One-and-a-quarter Sisters.

Now look! Quarter sister didn’t make it through the Winter. I noticed it on the ride home today. She has joined Middle Sister and is no more. Yes, I’m talking about that sad dead stick way over to the left.

I guess it’s just the tree across the street now. Not much breaking of wind there.

Speaking of windbreaks…we’ve let the brush at the end of the garden grow up to help shelter Uncle B’s vegetable beds. Now I can hear little baby lambs and I can’t see them! It’s making me nuts!

Oh, yes. We have LAAAAAAMBS!

April 19, 2022 — 6:38 pm
Comments: 6

Stately.

Today’s Adventures in British Architecture: Chesworth House. It was the childhood home of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard, but it’s much older than that.

The picture is the banquet hall. I love this about the Medieval great halls: it is simply a continuation of the ancient Viking long hall or Sussex round house. A big open room with a long firepit in the middle (well, it would have had a firepit in the middle) and a high peaked ceiling to draw the smoke away. It’s a design so successful it stretches back to prehistory and didn’t change much until late Tudor times.

The Clergy House in Alfriston is a much smaller house on the same plan. This was the National Trust’s first property, by the way. It was falling to bits and they paid £10 for it. A short but very cool day trip.

It’s also the plan of all the inns and Breezehome, your first house in Skyrim, though game designers didn’t have to worry about where the smoke was going to go so they put a floor directly above the fire.

Badger House was innovative because, you know, chimney. But the mantlepiece is a great beam of wood flush with the wall. They hadn’t figured out they could keep their Christmas cards on it if it stuck out a little.

Anyway, back to Chesworth. It’s a private home. In fact, it’s only Grade II listed – same as Badger House. Last time it was on the market, in 2018, it was up for £6 million. Do have a look around.

The beams! That kitchen!

I’d hate to have to heat the place, but I suppose whoever bought it is a creature made entirely of money.

January 12, 2022 — 7:13 pm
Comments: 6

This is what I’m doing tonight

We got a quadruple load of wood today. We’re expecting high winds and heavy rain tonight. My job is to check the CCTV from time to time to make sure the tarp hasn’t blown off. I’m just about up to it.

It dipped into the low twenties last night. Very unusual here – it does it maybe once or twice per Winter, if at all. I had to boil a kettle to unfreeze the chickens’ water this morning.

That wouldn’t be impressive in Rhode Island, but a 500 year old house on the shores of the English Channel gets cold. I mean, really cold. I don’t know what the insulation R-value of wattle and daub is, but it can’t be good.

No power on earth could drive me out of this comfy chair with my two (2!) hot water bottles and my large fat cat.

Dead Pool tomorrow! Be here, but bring your own hot water bottle!

January 6, 2022 — 7:46 pm
Comments: 13

The bastard made a vinaigrette!

It’s no surprise in a house as old as this that we have a seasonal rodent problem. It’s full of holes and hollow places.

We had the county ratman come out to the house not long after we moved in and he told us many and interesting things about rats. Then he flung blocks of poison all over the attics and crawl spaces. For many years afterwards, we had a Christmas tradition of smelly dead rat under the master bedroom floorboards.

The poison must’ve worn off or been consumed because we’ve got some active squeakers at the moment, especially banging around in the kitchen cabinets.

Last night, I smelled the pungent stink of vinegar, opened the cabinets to discover he’d chewed his way through the base of a plastic bottle of malt vinegar. Also through a bottle of spray olive oil. The bastard made a vinaigrette on my kitchen floor!

Cleaning that up, I discovered this lickety-clean peanut butter jar. The lid must have been plastic – it done vanished entirely!

I don’t work Wednesdays. Tomorrow I shall put on the moon suit and see what awaits me deep in the cabinets.

December 14, 2021 — 7:55 pm
Comments: 8

Batten down the hatches

After a dreary Summer, comes a miserable Winter. They’ve been bigging up shortages, and now shortages are coming to pass.

Partly self-fulfilling. BP announced gas rationing for their filling stations today and this afternoon our local (non BP) station had a brutal queue.

Meat, particularly beef, is getting scarce. I had a hankering for a slow-cooked beef joint and we couldn’t find a brisket for less than £8. (Still not eating the bugs, tho).

Tuesday we went into a supermarket – in person! – for the first time in…oh, fifteen months. It was fully stocked, but the online shopping has shown up some missing products. If they keep talking about it, people will naturally start to hoard toilet paper again.

Natural gas prices have exploded. Electricity also, and little suppliers are going bust. We’re preparing for blackouts.

That’s the second fire of the season. We’ve opted to go with all wood this year (instead of switching to solid fuel for the coldest months) because it’s much, much easier. Also we once had a delivery guy drop a literal ton of coal at the end of our drive, blocking it. We’re getting a little old and crunky for that kind of manual labor.

If it’s a cold one, I’m disappearing under the electric blanket for the season.

September 23, 2021 — 7:23 pm
Comments: 14

Lookitim go!

Bill the Badger takes his leave. I tried slowing the video down, but then he’s just a slower streak of blur.

He was snuffling around the front garden late last night right when I wanted to go to bed. I knew the moment I opened the front door he would vanish, and there you have it (I can hit a button and manually record to this computer).

Behold, my white trash chicken empire! This is what happens when you expect three or four bantams and you get ten.

The house to the far left was my very first. It was slated for demolition when I suddenly had to house a bunch of cockerels. The one in the middle was a hospital cage I used for sick chickens. It was never meant for permanent housing. Whoever gets stuck in it overnight gets the most free range time next day to compensate.

The one at the far right is the proper new chicken house. Currently, it houses the two hens and one rooster. Why is the fox so much better at catching hens?

September 6, 2021 — 6:40 pm
Comments: 6

He’s back, dammit

I kept the chicken food inside for six weeks, which was a right royal pain. I thought by now, he would have gravitated to a new neighborhood, but my June badger has returned to pinch chicken food.

That’s the picture from last time. After that, I somehow managed to turn off the recording function on my surveillance cameras. I’m kind of relieved. I always dreaded seeing something awful unfold on video.

So late last night, I spotted an amorphous hump of fur rooting around in the feed bin on the camera last night and I said to Uncle B, “You sure you don’t have raccoons in England?” El baj was so into eating my layers pellets that I walked right up to him and he didn’t notice me until I spoke.

It’s a nearly full 20-kilo bag of chicken feed with a nearly full 20-kilo bag of cracked corn, so I don’t think I can drag them in the house without making a mess. Funny, he’s never been interested in the corn, just the pellets.

I tied the lid of the bin down with a bungee, but I doubt that will stop him and I don’t want to hurt him. Bungee cord-associated ocular trauma is a thing, y’all.

So I put a couple of folded, defunct metal lawn chairs on top of that. It won’t stop him either, but I’m hoping it’ll be loud and that will startle him. Or at least alert me.

I’ll keep you posted. Good weekend, all!

September 3, 2021 — 7:28 pm
Comments: 20

He’s outdone himself this year!

Uncle B is the gardener (my mother used to say I have a purple thumb – every plant I touch dies). This year’s back flower border is especially superb. Everything the right height, all in bloom at once, lovely harmonious colors.

No, of course I’m not going to ask you to judge by that manky black-and-white snippet. Here it is in color.

Picture shows about half of it and doesn’t do it any kind of justice, though. So much so, he went out and bought hisself a wide-angle lens to capture it the lot Sadly, by the time it came, things were going over a bit.

August 23, 2021 — 5:49 pm
Comments: 12