I have not been resting on my laurels - just totally involved with two youngsters here to stay - to whom I have given my undivided attention.
We have (at their request) spent lots of time with all the chickens, explored all around here, been up the allotment twice a day.
They have spent ages in the studio flower arranging, making containers, cards, and having their own 'space' to chill, dance, sing, play loud music and all manner of things.
They have each made chocolate eclairs filled with whipped fresh cream and more dripping with chocolate. (Actually after tasting the home made chocolate sauce, they put the minimum on the eclairs then (as I left them to quietly do that bit whilst I went out to prepare the studio) they decided that it was much better to stick their hands in and eat handfuls straight from the saucepan - saves washing up up??? The joy of being young!
It was great to see them cooking things they had chosen. Now understanding exactly what went into things and why - and using eggs they had just collected from Freckles or Pumpkin (Dilly is still not laying), or large ones from Kokko, Adelaide, or Ginger.
Watching them battle with their dough they made for pizzas - and the whines of 'Oh I've got a hole in mine'. Their faces when after all that kneading, having to wait two hours for it to rise, and that lovely feeling they experienced first hand - that punch you do, when it had risen, into that lovely warm dough, followed by the delightful puff of warm air on your wrist. They were quite surprised at that!
Finding our that tomato sauce you make by putting in tomatoes, garlic, and other things that they 'don't like', only to find that it does in fact taste nice. Grating cheese and learning that if you use the tiny holes the cheese won't go through, if you use the next size it is hard work and you get tiny shreds, but if you use the proper large size its easy and very satisfying.
Choosing and preparing all the bits you want on it too - and having the freedom to got to the shops, and buy things on your own, and the novelty of going to the post office and posting a package, paying for it, and getting a receipt. Simple things for us 'grown ups' but a new adventure for youngsters.
When I took one of them into the butchers, (whilst the other chose to go up the allotment to dig up spuds with grandad,)it was a new experience for her.
She went into a butchers once with her mum she said, and it made her feel sick and stank. Our butchers shop is small, immaculately clean, everything presented perfectly, and cool. We wanted minced beef as they wanted bolognese, and out butcher minces it fresh while you wait.
So spaghetti bolognese was made without onions (don't like them) or carrots (like them but not in bolognese)and all manner of things of course. So I made it whilst they were occupied doing something in the studio, and they ate the lot. Amazing that if you grate finely all the things they don't like they don't notice that they don't like them. (naughty of me I know)
They have just left with their three flower arrangements, half a dozen home made cards, gift wrapped presents for people, sweets for their brothers and sisters, (bought by them, we don't 'do' sweets, crips, as they get enough of those each day at home grandad says).
Despite a few 'hiccups' with each other, and 'accidents' here, I am left with a happy feeling of really trying my best to give them 100% of my time and training, and seeing their pride in all their achievements - they really produced some very nice things.
We also have now stored, some wonderful and funny memories, the best of which was a show they put on for us Tuesday night with programmes, tickets, and their autographs.
They changed all the words from, 'We're all going on a summer holiday' and had a verse about Grandad, and how he spent the time, me, and a verse each about the chickens, their names and their antics. It had me in tears with laughter - summed up where we live 'Quiet', and the things we did viewed through their eyes.
The finale was a really good choreographed dance routine - I am not just saying it - I was staggered what two youngsters could write and choreograph in just an evening rehearsing. It was very professional.
I hope they take home a few nice memories too.
Now I am off to clear and clean up change beds for next visitor arriving today.
So Hang on in there 'readers' normal service should be resumed next week - with (fingers crossed) photographs.
There would not be too much to report allotment wise anyway - we have had and are still heavy rain.
Pat has dug up 40lb approx from one row of Orla early potatoes (15 in the row), the runner beans are really running, so lots to pick. The pumpkins and squashes you can almost hear slurping up the water, and the trusses of tomatoes, alhtough green, and now swelling into very acceptable sized specimens, instead of being the size of marbles.
Perlegarten tomatoes have ripened and are small and juicy and sweet. I ate them all myself - perks of the job! (Only one truss at the time).
My experimental bean pole design is a big hit, and works exactly as I had hoped with the beans hanging down at an angle making them easier to spot and harvest.
Back to earth now with a bump - housework and cooking - nothing new there then!