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Saturday, January 28, 2012

New year - new chickens!

I lost 11 of my hens last autumn to the dratted fox. Always a possibility, something you just try not to think of. Trouble is they don't just take one - they kill the lot, so it's an all or nothing situation.  He got into my big pen by yanking my feeder/hopper off the wire wall and then pushing his way through the little hole they have to peck through for their feed.

Anyway enough about the downside, the upside is that as it's nearly spring (well you gotta look optimistically don't ya?) I have decided it was time to fix the run, clean out the house and fill it all back up with hens (this decision was in no small part due to the price of pretty pale and insignificant eggs in Sainsburys)

So the two hens and cockerel that the dear ol' fox left me with (cos they were living next door) got moved into the big pen last weekend.

My handsome boy!:
I'm afraid tho' he didn't show many manners when the new girls arrived ;) he pretty much dictated immediately what they were there for as far as he was concerned - so rude!  The new girls are a bit young yet, but when they start laying we will use him for that purpose and hatch some eggs for meat. He's a big boy so I think will produce good eating birds. (I know it sounds callous, but really they do have an incredibly good life and any hens that are particularly good layers get kept and the cockerels always have a chance to father more before their time, I'm sure the same can't be said for the birds that you buy at the supermarket)

The new girls tho' weren't sure about all the attention and took refuge behind the bay tree. They've settled in now tho' and strangely having declared his intentions so early I don't think he's been near them since They are a bit young for him though!

In other news, the crochet blanket is going well and will be finished in a week or so, I have nearly finished all the squares (yes there were 130 if you remember) and I may even be able to do an extra row as there seems to be some yarn left over - I'll have to see how that goes though.  There is an, as yet unused, oatmealy colour which is used to join all the squares together as "sashing" so to speak, so when I've finished the squares (maybe tomorrow) then the joining shall commence. I've tried to take some photos but it's a grey day here and they don't look as lovely as they should so you have to wait!  I may take this blanket out somewhere special for a photo shoot when it's finished!

The final news is that the Crafters' Barn is gaining momentum.  I have new software and new webspace for a bigger better Barn and will then be inviting many more sellers to join us to improve the range of handmade gifts we can offer you.  It's testing my tech skills though I must say - I haven't worked so hard at learning something new since I was 14 and taught myself guitar!! ;)  I'm off to a trade show in a couple of weeks so am hoping to find ways of maximising our exposure and providing the very best retail outlet for crafts that I can.

Right, it's very chilly here so I have a date with a fire, a cup of tea, a hot cross bun, the tv and some crochet.

Til soon xx

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Coming home.........

This post was sort of written in my head last night on my way home from Norwich.  Those of you that read my blog regularly will know of the loss of my dearest friend last year. So by the wonders of modern technology (and some good old fashioned sleuthing... well new fangled cyber-sleuthing to be more accurate) I found the details of his interment service yesterday at his Cathedral.

My first inclination was, in all honesty, not to go. It's a long way and the few internet entries I had read had suggested in would be a short service, and to be frank the last time I was in a church was Bishop Michael's funeral, and quite possibly the time before that was his Ordination as Bishop (ooh no, I'm missing out the Chrism Mass last year - but anyway you get my point!).  But as time went on and I thought about it, I realised that this was one of those times when you really do need to get up off your lazy *ahem* and be in a place that you know will feel right.  One of those things that if you go and don't (not enjoy - that's the wrong word, but you know what I mean) you have lost nothing, but to sit at home and wish you had been there - well that's an opportunity you'd never get again. And as I had been kind of scouring the internet looking for details my head told me that at least some part of me was interested enough to want to go.

So, train details were gleaned and I set my alarm for 5:45  on a Saturday morning (this in itself is quite an event worth blogging about - I'm rarely up before 8, and a little more often than is probably wise to admit to, not up til 9!)

Now the thing is, that having been to the funeral, and the committal I wasn't quite sure of the purpose of being at this service, but assumed I'd get the message when I got there - And yes,  I think I did. You see to me (and possibly wrongly, but we are all allowed our thoughts and interpretations aren't we?) This was completing the circle, this was my dear friend FrM coming home. I had been to his ordination and his funeral at the cathedral, and the last thing I really saw was him being carried out of it .... this was him returning home to his place of rest. Where I can always go and find him if I need. His ashes are interred at the base of the icon of St Felix, in the chapel of the Saints at the east end of the Cathedral, and truthfully when I heard that during the service the biggest smile broke out that I had no control over. Not only because St Felix was the first Bishop of the East Angles, but more because his name....... Joy, Happy. FrM's message was always of the Joy of God.

I thought this would be my last visit to Norwich, it was what I had geared myself up for. But it won't be. A part of me will always also feel at home there, in the place where my friend became part of an amazing family. I, too, have met new friends and people who share memories of Fr M.  We had great fun at lunch after the service discussing various memories and learning about the "different ages" of FrM and the different ways we had grown to love this strange little man. So, coming home?..... a final resting place, a place of comfort, or a place in your heart where memories and love will always reside? One, some or all of the above.............