Monday, December 26, 2011

The end of the holidays

Back to work tomorrow, but it's hard to feel bad about that since it's another short week. It really doesn't feel at all like winter here. Even the temps are well above normal and without any snow or strong winds...just weird!

I'm getting a side of beef, organic and grass-fed. One of my co-workers has a 'beef guy' who raises a few as a hobby in his retirement. I called him about six months ago to reserve one for our family and it's being processed this week.

I set up my aerogarden with mixed lettuces and they are growing fast:

The hens are loving the dry warm weather and I spoil them with daily treats. I can't think of anything that gives me so much happiness for so little effort as my chickens. Every time I go into the pen I'm surrounded and if one is sitting in a nest box when I gather eggs, often she will let me pick her up and shift her to another box. Ten hens are averaging eight eggs a day.

And such a variety!

I hope everyone is staying safe, warm and happy as the year winds down and we greet a new one.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Barrow in Furness

I've been rereading Nella Last's War, which is taken from the diary of a middle-aged housewife during WWII. I've read a number of first-hand accounts of life in those turbulent times, but this is my favorite.

Aged 49 in 1939 with a difficult husband and two grown sons, the book provides a front row seat to her reactions as events unfold as well as her observations on those around her. It feels real because it was. Volunteering became a vital part of her life by working in the WVS (Women's Voluntary Service), the canteen (to feed the soldiers and sailors passing through or stationed there), and the Red Cross shop (selling donated items to raise funds to provide parcels to P.O.W.s). Added to all this was the strain of having her youngest off fighting, the worry of making do with very restrictive rationing and inflation, and the horror of heavy bombing.

Barrow in Furness was (and is) a port with a major ship-building yard. That made it a prime target during the blitz. Today I googled the location and, while looking at the images, found myself doing a double-take. Furness Abbey looked very familiar....

and there it was in pictures I had taken on my 2004 visit. On that same day I was in Barrow where I saw a submarine in the ship-building yard...

Talk about having history come to life! I wish I had known about Nella's book then.

The good life

I've started my next knitting project. This time I'm making a baby blanket for my niece's first baby. There's a deadline on this one! No sitting around taking an entire year to finish.

It's been a nice relaxing weekend. My parents came over yesterday and we watched Cowboys & Aliens. Today I've finally gotten around to putting up the rest of the window plastic. It's been a mild winter so far, but that's not likely to last.

Exciting news: after weeks of 1 egg a day, recently production bumped up to 3, and today, 4 eggs! Yay, hens!