And so comes Autumn....

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Flying back into Britain last night from the hot Tuscan sun did not fill me with dread. Yes we enjoyed the Italian food, the wine not to mention the beautiful scenery and we appreciated it for all its worth. But, and there is a but, there is nothing like coming home. We left in summer time, enjoyed summer time and have now arrived to our wonderful British Autumn and I for one am full of pride of our own amazing country side. Yes it is a bit cold and wet, but go with it and embrace the changing seasons. We walked today in the rain in the glorious Ampthill Park, one of the last places that Queen Catherine of Aragon lived. Steeped in history if only the trees could tell their secrets.
Elderberries dripped from trees like little jewels tangled with brambles of blackberries gone over.
Now we sit beside the first fire of Autumn, combined with a chicken in the stove, it fills the house with warm familiar smells that are a comfort. We now lay in wait for the changing colours and the first of the chestnuts, there is still plenty to look forward to, but for now we sit infront of the fire and maybe open the Chianti from Chianti and think of days gone by and days to come.



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There is nothing quite like a picnic. Taking time out with family & friends, letting the kids run free and maybe a game of rounders if any ones feeling energetic. And the best thing about picnics... they are FREE! (well nearly.. after you have bought the food).
Underneath a big tree, in the middle of a field, by a lake or one of my faves watching the cricket, there is nothing like it!
I shall definitely be packing my picnic hamper and heading off to Woburn on this fabulous sunny Sunday for a relaxing days gone by treat.
Picnics in my opinion don't need to be made difficult by lots of fancy food, just a good loaf of bread, some very good cheese, a Victoria sponge for afters and your away!
To make a bygone picnic to indulge in, pack pretty blankets to sit on, always use a wicker basket or hamper, pack real vintage china including the tea cups...(don't forget to pack the earl grey) and if you haven't got a wind up gramophone laying around, download a nostalgic music app for the iPhone, they even come with authentic vintage vinyl crackle
Go on, what you waiting for...
All together now "Underneath the spreading chestnut tree....."
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Foraging and Harvesting summer seeds

I love this time of year, Summers not quite over and Autumn not yet started.
The morning air smells different and inviting. The plums are dripping off the trees and Im looking forward to making plum and ginger jam.
We have a new apple tree in the garden and its given a wonderful tasty crop.
But what I particularly love is taking the whole family blackberry picking.The kids love it, yes you get stung and end up with purple hands and in my kids case purple faces, but there is nothing more enjoyable than foraging for fruit on a warm evening across the fields.
In the garden I've started harvesting the flower seeds from Larkspur, Sweet Peas & Poppys ready to use next year, its an enjoyable garden job that's most relaxing & its free seeds!



Building the hen house.

Once you have done your research, and you know what type of chickens you want, you'll need to buy or build your hen house. There are some great carpenters out there selling such beautiful chicken houses, I love www.flytesofancy.co.uk but there are hundreds out there to choose from. However they can be expensive to buy so we have decided to make our own, and what better use of the old coal bunker that we have never used for coal.

So on the bank holiday wknd, we all got to work on restoring and transforming our coal bunker into a chicken coop ready for our little brood. Hubby set to work making a new weather proof roof, the kids cleaned up the main part of the house and I started sanding down and painting all the wood work in f&b old white... I Love that colour.

We're half finished and can't wait to show you how it looks. Then we need to set about making the inside uber cosy, we will be looking into and buying the feed and treatments for our chickens over the next week. We will also need a run for our brood to get them accustomed to their new surroundings, we do intend on letting them roam in the garden when they are settled in.

Next chicken blog... equipment.

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