Archive for February, 2009

Have I gone too far this time?

February 25, 2009

On our way to pick up next winter’s egg supply today (as day-old chicks, to pop under my broody Pekin bantams) I spotted a dead pheasant at the side of the road. Nothing unusual at this time of year in the Dorset countryside, but this one was at the end of a layby, so would be easily reachable without danger from speeding traffic. I said to the girls, “If he’s still there on the way back, he’d make a good supper tonight…” Cue squawks of teenage horror…

Much to my surprise, he was still there, so I pulled into the layby, nipped out and had a quick look. Well dead, but still warm; no signs of decomposition or illness. So into the boot of the car he went…

And indeed he has made the most delicious meal, in a home-made Chasseur sauce, with baked potatos, bulgur wheat and stir-fried kale. But half the family, the male half at that, are being exceptionally fussy and refusing to eat him.

It’s not as if it’ll make any difference to him now, is it? He very clearly died of colliding with a car, nothing more sinister or infectious than that, and he’s been well-cooked to be on the safe side. My Other Half maintains that his mortal remains would have fed umpteen small creatures of the night, but I suspect they would instead have been a deathtrap for them, lying in the path of on oncoming traffic in the dark. I for one am grateful for his little life and untimely death; his bones are boiling for stock right now and his glorious feathers will adorn some of our textile projects. And it’s not as if we killed him ourselves…

Anyway, I’m proud of my daughters, for helping to prepare him without a fuss in the end. And I don’t really mind my fusspot males not eating; all the more for us tomorrow!

These proud mothers think chicks hatch from a cardboard box...

These proud mothers think chicks hatch from a cardboard box...

Advertisements

Everything comes to she who waits…

February 23, 2009

I popped into the Tip this morning to see whether any sewing machines had come in over the weekend; with the economic downturn, the flood of old beauties has slowed to a trickle as people begin to realise that they may actually still be useful. Lee greeted me with, “I’ve found something for you! Look behind the Metal bin!” And there, to my great delight, was the exact size of grill needed to restore our firepit to full functionality. Not that we’ll be eating out in the garden for a few weeks, but as this season’s seeds start to go in, winter’s cool grey chill is starting to recede and there’s suddenly so much to look forward to, in the house, in the garden and out in our beautiful countryside…

Not that I’ve been idle in the dark evenings. I asked everyone to give me money for my birthday and Christmas presents, and put it towards a very secondhand Louet S20 spinning wheel, which has been helping me make a small dent in the huge pile of Freecycled fleeces in our porch. I’m rather pleased with the resulting yarn, though I’ve yet to put it to good use and actually make something with it. I’ve joined our local Spinners & Weavers Guild, as they do lots of other things I’m interested in too, like Kumihimo, rag rugs and felting. We’re experimenting with dyeing, both chemical and natural, as part of the girls’ educational adventures this term, and some of the shorter fibres are going into felt. So this is how I’ve spent some of my evenings this week:

 

Dorset Down fleece with Dorset Featherstitching...

Dorset Down fleece with Dorset Featherstitching...

They’re made from felted Dorset Down fleece, lined with leftover polar fleece, soled with suede from the Scrapstore and stitched, firstly by machine on a rescued “Light Industrial” Singer 15 from 1895 using Scrapstore upholstery thread, then Dorset Featherstitched by hand with hand-dyed thread recycled from a gone-wrong jewellery project. Didn’t cost a penny!