Monday, October 27, 2014

Bug Hotel

I have always wanted to make a bug hotel ever since I saw the all singing, all dancing one at my Montessori nursery. It was made from old pallets and even had a felted sloping roof - very high spec!
They had even had a lovely sign made that read Bug Hotel!

  Not too dissimilar to this!

Now my children are no longer little I didn't really see the point of something elaborate and huge for them to ooh and aah over because, believe you and me, it took enough bribes this morning to get the girls outside to even help me, so I don't think it'll be a thing of great interest to them. With the realisation that it's only going to serve its purpose, I figured that it should be bug sized really and the pallets we're accumulating with the build, would be better served in the chicken run enabling the chooks to get off the ground when it's particularly muddy!

A quick visit to our local reclaim yard and a rummage in the skip currently sitting in the drive, I found suitable 'rooms' for our clientele.

An hour later and 'ta da'! Critter Chalet available for rent!!!

It is only small and fits into the wilder part of the garden perfectly. It cost a grand total of £10 to make (well, if you rule out the hot chocolates it cost me to bribe the girls to go to the park to gather some nuts and conkers!!) I think we still need to add some more bamboo canes which I'll do once I find the saw (goddam this build!) and the hedgehog house to the right in the picture also needs more doing to it as I feel it could be open to unwanted visitors (ie foxes) if I leave the entrance quite so exposed.

Oh and, as promised, our new fencing that now surrounds the bees and gives us better access to our allotment. Now I just have to convince Mr Beehive that when we re do the fencing beside the new garage, that this is 'totally' the look we're after!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Five children and IT!

Well, that's it! The clocks have gone back and we're officially into the darker nights again.

I think this is always my indicator to pick up the knitting again, or rather a sharp hefty kick up the bum to finish off all those WIPs in order for my actual 'children' to benefit from wearing them rather than my 'grandchildren' one day!

Tiny Tea Leaves cardi by Madeline Tosh

It's half term this week and I've become mother to five for the first part of this week as my sister and her husband have taken a trip to Marrakech (not envious really!)

We're very lucky that the cousins get on so well and, aside from a few teething problems initially when we realise that five IS actually an odd number, they tend to disappear only to reappear when they're hungry (which, with five mouths, one of whom is a teen, two further of whom are growing boys and the third and fourth...well they suffer from FOMO*, I seem to see them constantly or, am made aware of their presence with a rustling of one or other in a cupboard or the drone of 'I'm hunnnnggggreeee'!)

Of course, there is one slight problem now they are five and that is we downsized the car last time so I am unable to fit all five in these days. This, on the otherhand, works out in the teen's favour as he gets to stay home with the WiFi whilst I take the rest out to burn energy and get much needed fresh air tomorrow! Then we're taking them to our local for the two for one burger night...with the threat hanging over that five is STILL an odd number, so if they don't! It's incredible how well they're doing so far...rooms are immaculate!

The garage, on the otherhand is a little less immaculate, but it's still beginning to come together.

My sis is also having work done on her house at the moment and, whilst she is such an organiser, it will come as a shock to you that I am very good at finding a big pile of sand in which to bury my head (and believe me, there is an enormous pile to cater to my ostrich like abilities on my drive at the moment!)
She has notebooks with drawings and costings and catalogue page numbers for showers and taps. I seem to be suffering from cannaebearsedness at the moment because the catalogues are making my head hurt!

I have managed to buy a woodburning stove to go in the new room, nice eh?

So if we have nothing else, we'll be warm, oh and I did extend my forward planning to a toilet roll holder. I have my priorities right at least! I do need to start thinking about flooring and wall covering/colours, kitchen cupboards, sinks...sand...sand...sand.

Maybe as those dark nights draw in further still, I'll finish this cardigan and turn my attention to some of those catalogues...I can hear them yelling at me from inside the drawers they've been stuffed in!

*FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A birthday celebration

Today we have returned from celebrations with my mum, dad and sister and her children as my mum turned 70 years young earlier this week.

We had a lovely day just the 11 of us and I think she felt suitably spoilt
 We had clubbed together to buy her a new camera and we also bought her a lovely alpaca shawl from the alpacas in the village...well, every 70 year old needs a nice shawl to keep them warm in the draughty evenings right?

Our garage/studio is going up quite fast now that the brickwork has started, however I'm not sure that the weather is going to be on our side this week, it's looking pretty grim. The weather has always been something of a fascination to Mr Beehive, but he has become close to obsessed these days with plenty of 'shhhh' and 'hang on a mo, it's the weather' taking precedent in case it stops play the following day. I am also becoming an avid weather watcher in order to know exactly how much newspaper I will need to put down on the floor each morning to attempt to prevent paw shaped footprints, children shaped shoe prints and adult shaped boot prints decorating the kitchen floor. I will be happy once the build is done (I'm sure I've said that already).

We also had a beautiful cleftwood fence put in on Friday. We have been needing to put something a little securer than a plastic 5 inch high fence that we currently had, around the bees. I found a local company who use local wood and it's created by using an axe rather than sawing, so you end up with a far more natural look. I haven't yet taken a photo of it, but it looks similar to this:

I absolutely love it. We were given permission to replace the old broken gate through to the allotment, so we now have our own entrance/exit through to our piece of extended land ;-) This is obviously good fortune as today I discovered that we had 3 butternut, 4 pattypan and 2 acorn squashes to bring back as well as two HUGE pumpkins that we're going to need to take the wheelbarrow round to bring back, lucky we now have a little secret garden gate to cut the 'long' journey down a bit!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Turkish Delight

One month in and I'm still here and still smiling, most days.

Of course, things are hotting up in many fronts: Harvest at home, harvest at school, Christmas to plan for (at school...not at home yet).

Mr Beehive and I had a glorious 72 hours in Istanbul only 2 weekends ago. I can't believe really that on Monday morning we were drinking turkish coffee in the bazaar in Istanbul, 24 hours later I was in front of the class as if nothing had happened.

We were a little down on our luck with the weather, sadly having two out of the three days with rain. But, not to completely wash us out, the final day was beautiful.
We walked for miles over the course of the weekend, drank far more coffee than we normally would, travelled by tram with our faces in other people's ampits (if you think the tube is bad in rush hour...welcome to Istanbul, probably one of the most crowded cities in the world!) developed a taste for 'proper' turkish delight and sat on the edge of the Bosphorus in the glow of the bridges lit up, for dinner. We both agreed that a weekend is simply not enough time to explore Istanbul and we hope to come back here again someday.

Then of course we were back to normality.

The barn is now down...the mess is still there and there is a very small amount of brick work that is now up. Sod's law has had us with a beautiful September and October, of course, the minute we have arrived at brick laying, the rain descends and stops play. We are desperately hoping to have it into some kind of liveable space by Christmas, but I think we're going to have to see what life brings.

We have lit our first fire of the season too. Master Beehive the elder brought a supply of logs in to fill the two baskets last weekend and both Sunday and Monday we resorted to lighting the fire. Sometimes it's not necessarily that it's too cold, it can just be that it's too dreary and grey and there is nothing better than watching the flames lick at the inside of the stove door to warm both mind and soul.