Sunday, 31 December 2017

Well THAT was 2017 ... and Onward into 2018



It's been a good year overall,. we've done lots, achieved quite a bit and moved our lives forward in the way we hoped to.  I'm not going to go on and on but will leave you with a mostly pictorial post summing up our year.


I started the year participating in Veganuary .... and stayed vegan  :-)

I also stopped blogging, well on here anyway.


Even with no blog posts to compose, February saw us carrying on as usual, very home based and emerging from Winter in a good position, with stores from preserved Summer crops still feeding us nicely.


And with March's arrival back came the urge to post once more about our activities and Our New Life in the Country sprung back into life.


In April the chooks were on the hillside, enjoying early sunshine and the first flush of Spring.


In May we snuck off to the Cotswolds and stayed in the delightful Spring Cottage.  We visited The Black Country Living Museum for the first time during our stay over the border in mid-England.


In June car boot season was upon us and I started sorting through the house for things we no longer needed and also planting to sell.  Splitting houseplants and sowing extra seeds in the polytunnel of annuals and perennials for re-sale.


July saw us with new hens over in Chicken World, the first four arrived at the start of the month and another four later on, known forever more as 'the green girls' and 'the blue girls' after the colour of the bands on their legs.


August was Show month ... we had a great day out at Trelawnyd, meeting a couple of my lovely readers ... 


... and then two weeks later I had a very successful run with my homegrown and homemade wares at the Llanrwst Show.


In September Ethel came into our lives, wandering in off the main road and following Alan into our paddock.  We got vets and farmers advice and treated her wounds, meaning for one weekend at least, she was 'the best dressed sheep in North Wales'.

She is currently off with the tup ... and some of Will's sheep ... on fresh grazing, and after being scanned to she if she is in-lamb will be coming back to us in the next few weeks.  If she has not managed to get pregnant and provide her own company for the future, the plan is to see if we can get a couple of lambs of our own to join her on our hillside later in the Spring.


October was all about books.

I had managed to sell enough over the course of car boot season to completely empty one bookcase, so all the other books were re-organised and checked.  I'm sure a few more will go during 2018 ... well they have to, to make room for the new books I've bought recently  ;-)


In November we  re-decorated ...


... and restyled the living room.




And here we are on the last day of December.  This month our world turned white. 

We used some of our Christmas money to re-visit The Black Country Living Museum to have a weekend away for ourselves,  and to pickup some inspiration for next years Challenge.  


Our egg sales are so successful we now sell out on a regular basis.



We hung our stockings and had a very merry Christmas.

*** *** ***

And now onward to next year ... this blog is closing. 

Whether for just a year or for more I don't know but I would like to take this opportunity to invite you over to our new blog A Challenging Year ... Digging for Victory on a Welsh Hillside.

There we will be charting our progress to save money, as we work over the course of the year towards trying to pay off the small mortgage we took out to buy our 'pension property'.  Can we really do this in the space of one year?  We are hoping to make this possible by taking a step back in time.  Using what we have, eating what we grow and produce ourselves and stepping away from consumerism.  Using every tip and money saving trick we have learnt over the course of the last few years to cut our day to day living costs to the absolute minimum.

Can we do it ... will you join us?

If you would like to follow our progress please use the link above to get to the new blog, save it in your sidebar or sign up to 'Follow by Email' or use whichever method you prefer get to the blogs you like to read.  Or you will simply be able to find us again by coming over to here and clicking on the link that I will leave in place after this post has been read.  The empty blog is there today, and the first post will appear at 8am on 1st January.

So it's goodbye for now from Our New Life in the Country ...
                                                    .... which after all is not so new after nine years   ;-)

Happy New Year 

from Sue and Alan xx

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Doggy Bathtime


Suky loves a good bath, although we don't do it too often as she takes a long time to dry and is not fond of being damp for long periods.


A good scrub behind her ears is her favourite bit.



Poor little soggy doggy.

Mavis had already had hers and was busy in front of a roaring fire sorting out her feet, and making sure that Dad had rearranged her beard and eyebrows to her satisfaction.

Sue xx

Thursday, 28 December 2017

It's Almost Over ....



It's almost over for another year, I couldn't resist taking this photo of part of todays washing!!

Once dry the Christmas T shirts will be packed away for next year.


The contents of my advent calender are now all in the makeup bag that was the final gift on Christmas morning. 


The empty calender is being saved for me to use next year for Alan.  I will keep my eyes open for little gifts to put into the boxes over the coming year, and hopefully M&S will do the same again next year so I can have another one too, as I absolutely loved this.


My favourite gift on Christmas morning was a box made up for us by my older son, which as well as containing yummy things to eat and brilliant items for daily use, included things from my childhood, that had been discovered tucked away in my ex's house and passed on to Simon for giving to me ... saving it for Christmas was a brilliant idea ... it made my day.


Christmas lunch was a quiet affair, cooked together after our daily chores had been completed, and tucked into on our new little table, with Christmas songs playing in the background and the sound of the dogs chewing on new Christmas bones at our feet.



The most successful show of the holiday break was 'Snow Bears'.  The dogs absorbed every minute of the tale of a mummy polar bear trekking across the ice with her twin cubs.


A full hour passed of doggy silence and concentration as the adventures unfolded.

We had quite a television based Christmas this year with the bad weather outside meaning chores were done as quickly as possible and doggies walked as and when we could, but luckily it's been quite good on the old box and I've been drinking in every detail of the BBC adaptation  of Little Women which unfortunately finishes tonight. 

Our Christmas isn't completely over yet though, as my youngest son is coming for a quick overnight visit between shifts from work this weekend.  As an emergency services worker, his Christmas dinner on the actual day was a hastily grabbed and very solitary bowl of pasta, so I think an action replay of our dinner would be a grand way to end our festive celebrations.

I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful Christmas, and can I just say a massive thank you for all the Christmas wishes on the comments on the last post.  It was so lovely to hear from so many people all over the world.

Sue xx







Saturday, 23 December 2017

It's a Very Merry Christmas from ...


It's a very Merry Christmas from ... Ginger.


... from Mavis


and from Suky


Ginger proving he can still eat his dinner even while wearing a Santa hat.


The chickens have been a victim of their own success. 

Egg sales have been fantastic and we are wiped out for Christmas, so it's time to shut up shop for a couple of days and build up some supplies again, and talking about shutting up shop ... I'll be back blogging in a few days too.



Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas

from 

Sue and Alan

Suky, Mavis and Ginger

 Jack and his ladies.  xx




"Can I take these off now please?"



Friday, 22 December 2017

Come on in ....


Come on in ... if you'd arrived ten minutes later the fairy lights would have been twinkling.

Christmas has arrived at ours!!


There are goodies in the cupboard ...


.. the contents of the hamper too.


There is food in the fridge ....


... my favourite 'fridge foods' at Christmas are the cold, cold tangerines, we keep the bowl topped up as much as we can.


Tinsel has been draped ...


... but sadly the snow has gone.


Never mind there is a stack of Christmas Dvds to watch ...


... now that we've finished filling stockings ...


... and have posted off gifts to grandchildren.


Would you like a glass of something alcoholic and very tasty ...


... or perhaps you have time to wait for the last batch of mince pies to be made.

You're off, oh well it was lovely to see you ...



... close the gate on your way out.


After you've said goodbye to the festive piggies of course.

Back tomorrow with more festive photos  :-)

Sue xxx

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Christmas at the Black Country Living Museum



A bit of a catch up post ... something we did a couple of weeks ago.

Back in May during this years mini holiday, we went to The Black Country Living Museum (see here), when we bought our tickets we converted them, free of charge, into a year long pass.  So when an email pinged into my box saying that the museum was celebrating Christmas through the ages it seemed like too good an opportunity not to go again and make good use of the ability to get in 'free'. 

Using our Christmas present money and an anniversary gift from Mum we booked a night in a Premier Inn close to the museum, and paid for the dogs to go into our the local kennels.

It was a lovely way to celebrate our tenth anniversary, a weekend to ourselves mooching about in lovely old houses. 


We got to see lovely old delivery vans, vehicles and buses.


Some brilliant houses. 

The outside of this one was my favourite, something about the roof to the extension slanting in the opposite direction to the main house and yet it still looking totally sturdy.  Every house had people in period costume making Christmas gifts or foods, and roaring open fires to keep them warm.



This larder was decidedly un-festive ....


... but some of the plates on the shelves gave a list of rations and recipes for wartime treats, which explained the lack of cheer.


Potato Shortbread anyone?


The facilities in all the houses were of the decidedly weather unfriendly type.  These days we simply can't imagine having to nip outside to use the loo in the cold and damp of Winter.


There were Christmas present ideas in the shops.


The rooms above the radio shop were decked out for the festive period ...


... and the table laid ready for dinner.



Paper chains and Christmas cards above the shop next door.


A lovely little vintage tree ... I would love one of those now :-)


We were wrapped up warm, but it was really a lovely day, with a chilly breeze but glorious Winter sunshine.  We were very lucky with our choice of weekend as the following Sunday the whole place was closed due to heavy snow.


New tin bath for Christmas anyone?



And here was the 'National Elf Service' building.


I loved the old enamel pots and pans in this kitchen, and I have just been lucky enough to buy a large pan, just like the one on the front left of the cooker, off EBay for a fraction of the price it would have cost me from an antique shop :-)


The old china and pots caught my eye in this shop window.


The interiors were wonderful with swathes of festive Christmas greenery.


Peeking through each doorway was a true step back in time.


Another kitchen/living room.  This one in one of the little 'back to back' houses.


And all too soon, as the chill of the late afternoon started to fill the air it was time to nip onto one of the old buses and make our way back to the entrance and the gift shop.  Where one or two  purchases might have been made  ;-)

It was a lovely way to spend time celebrating our anniversary and gave us lots of ideas for next years Challenge.

Sue xx