Thursday, 14 November 2013

Wintry ponderings

 Here are my beautiful boys - Theo, Little Whale and Alfie - making sure that the sofa stays well-aired and free from mice!

 We have had a stray tom about the place for about a year now (Ghenghis Khan, aka Moonface, as he has a round face and very round saucer-like eyes).  He is a sort of washed-out tabby.  As the weather's got colder, he has made sure he appears every day at mealtimes (we feed two outside cats, both spayed females, Amber, and Miffy, the boys' mother).  Anyway, although he has pretty well given up pestering all our spayed girls for cuddles, he attacks the boys every time he comes across them.  I have been taming him, and can now stroke him and even pick him up a bit, with the plan to take him to the vets and get him neutered.  I think I will have to up the timing of this . . .

Poor Alfie covered in cow sh*t after being duffed up by Ghenghis Khan.  Last week it was Theo who got rolled in the mud (he was plastered in it, but it brushed off).  Alfie had to have a good scrub down . . .

I've been busy in the kitchen this morning and cooked for the freezer.  Here are some Cottage Pies, and I have an Apple Crumble cooking now.  I went through the fridge veg, and as I hate waste, I took some bendy carrots and half a cabbage and now have them blanched, chilled and in the freezer for soup.  Ditto two more of my home-grown courgettes and 4 red peppers I had bought to make chutney with (to go with the courgettes), but I haven't been in the mood to do.  Halo please!

I found this book in the Works last week.  It is a Japanese quilting book and I think it is a real insight into how the Japanese psyche works, as it is incredibly detailed, and TOTALLY meticulous in its methodology and all the quilts are hand-quilted. I will find it very helpful as it does explain and show each step.  Perfect for numpties like me!

Here's the old Bradbury sewing machine I bought recently.  Needs a bit of spit and polish, but it is dated back to 1885, and still has the original tools with it, quilting feet etc, and the original handbook (though that's falling apart).

Above and below, the unfinished embroidered tablecloth I bought in the summer and have now finished.  I am going over it now, doing a bit of unpicking and resewing though, as the old lady who was unable to finish it, had eyesight problems I think and in a couple of places, towards the end of her working on it, the stitching got a bit untidy. 

Time to blow the dust off my sewing machine now . . . 


  1. So glad you're helping out the poor old stray, we as you probably know feed a stray we call 'Daddy ' as he's the father of our 4 calico's. Tom has managed to get near enoough to let him sniff his fingers but he's so nervous of humans, still we are getting there. Do you get the problem of him spraying? Daddy sprays over our back door and it don't half whiff, so we have taken to putting a plastic box against the door at night in a effort to stop him. I would love to be able to get him nuetered but it's out of the question at the moment.
    I love the old sewing machine, took me back a bit. I made my wedding dress on my Mum's old treadle. What a wonderful machine that was, it would sew anything from leather to chiffon with the same needle, unlike todays temperamental machines. lol

  2. This one is a youngster I think. Perhaps 3 or 4 years? Not a kitten, but not old and rheumy-eyed yet. The main problem with him is that he either knew about cat flaps, or has discovered how to use the cat flap and has followed the boys into the kitchen when chasing them, or creapt in and scoffed their food if I'm out of the room. On occasion, he has sprayed in there too, which I just CANNOT have. So, I shall book him in and then try and get him bundled into a cat box . . .

    I'm glad the old sewing machine brought back memories. I agree with you about the feeble needles on modern machines!

  3. Shepherds pies look lovely! I've got some dishes like that they are just the right size for one or two portions. AnnieX

  4. Annie - I buy these little dishes at car boot sales, when I come across them. They are a perfect one-person size, and I usually cook for the freezer and stow meals away for when we're late back from somewhere, or I'm poorly.

  5. Tom-cats indeed! Every place we've lived there has been that problem--poor things, its not their fault--they're just being how they are made--but that doesn't make their spraying and quarreling any more bearable!
    Your 'cottage pies' are what we call 'shepherd's pie--I'm pleased to know they are the same--one of those tidbits of information. [Now when I'm reading an English novel I'll understand what the characters are having for supper!] The little ramkins are lovely.
    Isn't the embellishment on the Bradley just beautiful! One might purchase it simply as a stunning display piece [if one had room to spare.]
    Your quilt book gives me shivers of apprehension--no way would I attempt one of those things with pieced diamonds--by Japanese method or otherwise! Still, I like to have books of impossible projects to browse when I'm in contemplative mode as opposed to doing mode.
    My own 'whale' [Edward] has landed heavily on the desk three times while I'm trying to comment, so, to distract him, I'd best go to the kitchen.

  6. BB the mind boggles at how busy you have been - you put me to shame when all I can boast about is cleaning out one wardrobe.

  7. Your Cottage pies look lovely. My Mum made Shepherds Pie from the leftover of the roast. I loved it. Thanks for the memories.
    Here in Tucson if you can catch the feral cats either sex, the Humane Society will neuter and vaccinate them for free. Even let you use the cages.
    I think any cat that is not neutered is a shame. besides the health problems the amount of litters one female can have is awful.
    You and Crafty Cat Corner are wonderful for helping out these abandoned cats.

    cheers, parsnip

  8. Sharon - Cottage Pie is made from beef mince; Shepherds Pie is made from lamb mince. Just to be specific! I need to sell the Bradley, truth be told, but I shall enjoy it whilst I can. I echo your comment about the cover quilt. I'm having enough trouble with just the Star blocks! There are - fortunately - some much simpler quilts inside. As for the tom, his "entire" days are numbered!

    Pat - I have to do it first thing in the morning or I'm sunk. I'd cooked the mince up yesterday, so it was cooled. Then I just peeled, boiled and mashed the spuds, and froze the surplus too. The veg was nagging me, so I gave in! As you'll see in a minute, I got my just rewards!

    parsnip - there is a similar scheme here, which I can get him done under, so I will get him booked in, pronto. Too many strays by far, and the real feral ones round here harbour Feline Leukemia too.

    1. Feline Leukemia is a real problem here too. So sad and awful.