Thursday 30 December 2010

and a partridge in a pear tree... the song of twelve days of Christmas goes. Well Christmas has gone along with most of the snow. We look forward to the New Year and all it has in store for us. As I went up to drop the shopping off at the farm after 4pm today I took this photo of the bantams perching up in a chestnut tree. They have a shed to go in,but they prefer to go and roost up in the tree even on the coldest of nights.
As New Year Eve is almost upon us. Have you got your piece of coal ready to be brought in by the first footer by a dark haired man? Jack has first footed so many houses in the past but his hair is not quite as dark now as it was and I reckon we will be tucked up in bed well before midnight.

Saturday 25 December 2010

Christmas Day -a family affair

Christmas on the farm is pretty much the same as any other day -animals are to be fed and watered.Probably it is busier,when we kept milk cows my uncles used to be up at 3.30am to get the cows milked so the delivery man could come earlier and get finished so he too could have his Christmas dinner. Yesterday my dad who is now 88 had a very busy day.Besides the usual jobs he had the tree to decorate,the turkey to get ready and the cake to ice.Then when it was dark he remembered he had some new potatoes in his greenhouse. We had a wild turkey which Nicholas shot and dressed,vegetables my mum did, I made the bacon rolls,cranberry sauce,bread sauce and thanks to Gordon R we had a very good Christmas pudding. I made the cake and my dad dressed it up. And Jack ate it !Nicholas was at the farm getting the animals fed very early then returned later bringing Claire and Rubi-Sue to see us for Christmas. Even the stag get decorated for Christmas. Always remembering Appy and Fred who when I was as small as Rubi-Sue until recently, gave me lots of wonderful Christmas memories.

Thursday 23 December 2010

and the First Tree in the Greenwood.... was the holly. Holly is not only what country folk go foraging for and cut to decorate our homes at Christmas,it is extremely important for the little birds and also other wild animals as they provide a supply of food to them in the winter months.As an evergreen, birds often take refuge in hollies as they provide shelter and give protection from predictors by their prickly leaves.Amongst it other uses, it throws out a lot of heat when cut into logs and put on the fire and is used to make the white pieces of a chess set.
I love to have a bonfire and tonight was no exception. The heat of the fire and the cold of the night air. The trees are covered in snow and frost but in the light from the fire it transformed it into a winter wonderland with the stars twinkling high in the sky. Peace in the countryside in the background the rushing water in the stream was all that could be heard. A million miles from the humdrum of of city life and the last minute shopping.
If you look closely at the bottom of fire can you can see the Holly King-otherwise known as Grandfather Frost

Wednesday 22 December 2010

I have won.....

If you don't enter you cant win. It is very true as this morning I received a wonderful book written by Rachel Allen -Entertaining at Home. Apparently Rachel has a TV series Rachel's Dinner parties and the book includes all the recipes. It is thanks to JUST MILK that I entered their Christmas competition and won.You will also find more fantastic recipes on
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Tuesday 21 December 2010

The Winter Solstice ...

The 21st Dec -the shortest daylight hours of the year but as usual in the run up to Christmas it was a busy day here. There is always lots of jobs to do but with the icy cold weather it is always nice to get finished at the end of the day and thaw out in front of a warm fire. The Christmas lights and decorations are in place and here is the little village I hope will be so magical for Rubi-Sue. It is a lovely village scene lit up with twinkling lights. It reminds us of village life and friends around us.
This is a special Christmas wish and blog dedicated to two dear friends I briefly called on today. Maybe we don't see them for a month or so-their hospitality is always outstanding and their friendship very valid.It is to these friends and others like them in our lives that we raise a glass or two at this time of year and wish them all the very best and hope that Santa brings them gifts -Missoni style x

Thursday 16 December 2010

Helmsley-Window shopping for Christmas

Last night I nipped down to Helmsley which is our local market town. I thought you may like to see what Helmsley looks like with its windows dressed up for Christmas. I love to window shop and as you can see there is a good variety of shops and what they have to offer. Friday is market day when stalls set up in the square. There are fruit and vegetable stalls ,cakes and other edible produce and the "fish" lady. About 40 stalls in all selling their wears. A favourite especially at this time of year is the man who sells jumpers. He gets lots of cashmere - end of range etc. Last week I managed to find a Brora one so I was well pleased. They do a brisk trade and have every colour you can think of. While I bought one, a lady was buying 9 for Christmas presents.

Thanks to my husband and his chain saw...

We are lucky that my Dad always made future plans.I was brought up that every year we plant trees for future generations. Although the fir trees have not been planted many years -fifteen maybe, time flies and this type of tree grows pretty quickly.Yesterday Jack, my Dad and I went off on the mule to find one .Not as easy as you think with about half an acre to choose from. A 30ft tree is no problem but then with our low ceilings we only need one 8-10 ft. Jack took the chain saw. I was mooching about looking for branches of pine cones to spray. I cant understand why people use plastic ones as it is the smell of the pine which makes it seem like Christmas. I bought a couple of nice decorations when I was at Castle Howard the other week -a pheasant and a cocker spaniel dog. I have some beautiful ones that I have collected over the years. When I go to Holland I always try to buy some there they really go to town on their tree decorations. I have trumpets that you can blow and they make a noise and Chinese dolls I was given as a child .So I am busy collecting now for Rubi-Sue and got two pure white doves with lots of feathers on them. Another new one this year is very glitzy in silver and got glass in it to look like diamonds in a crown,I am going to give that to my friend Louise -as I know she will love it as it will go with the chandelier -yes she has a chandelier -in her kitchen.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Dine out with Rubi-Sue

As every female utters when she is asked to go for a night out "What do I wear" For Rubi-Sue. last night she has set the trend for the 15 month olds. Supper after 6pm- for girls the colour is most certainly pink with a big P. Pink slippers ,pink socks ,pink pjs,pink vest,pink hat and pink coat. Should we go high street or designer brands , Ruru says go comfortable. Jack and I met up with Rubi-Sue who had come chauffeur driven -of course, travel in style baby by her mum Claire, and with dad Nicholas. Only a couple of hours before a cow was calving so the date may have had to be cancelled but the cow had its baby and all was well. Rubi-Sue had the day shopping as girls do in Leeds and sat patiently while Claire had her nails done in Harvey Nichols as a Christmas treat . Its a wonder she had not wanted hers done too. We went to The Carpenters Arms at Felixkirk -the food as always was superb but it was being with that little girl that brought us the most pleasure. It could have been beans on toast for all I had cared and I think Jack would say the same. He is really pleased to know she likes dogs and is already looking to buy her a dapple grey pony. There is something about dapple greys and little girls that are special and this little girl is truly very special to us. Next Christmas will be even more magical for her as she will understand more about Santa Claus.The thing we wish her most of all is health .You cannot give health or buy it but is the most important of all. The bottom photo shows she is now ready for her bed ,chauffeur waiting she is getting ready to go not forgetting her main accessory her pink dummy

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Christmas time at Castle Howard

The Howard Family kindly invited the members of Tany to spend the afternoon at Castle Howard today.It is all decked out in its wintry finery to share the spirit of Christmas with us. Baubles of every shape and size adorn the fir trees brought in from the Estate,candles and log fires to add to the atmosphere. Halls decked with holly and personal letters written by the young Master Merlin and his twin sister Miss Octavia to Santa Claus for all to see. They hadn't left anything to chance -leaving mince pies and a drink for Santa,carrots and hay for Rudolf and his friends. What a magical place for children to live in especially at this time of year. So much history and tales of long ago being passed down from one generation to the next.We were welcomed into the Grecian Room with its roaring log fire to enjoy mulled wine and hot mince pies.And as if by magic as we admired the views from the window the snow started to fall.
Due to recent bad weather the Castle has now extended its opening days in the run up to Christmas so don't miss out. Santa will be there to read stories to children by the fireside. Rubi-Sue is a wee bit young yet but hopefully she will be there next year.
Thank you so much to all at Castle Howard who have worked incredibly hard to make our day so special

Tree Bears ...

I have just been out with my friend Louise to visit her mum. She makes the most amazing bears and I came home with one for Rubi-Sue . Eve calls them Tree Bears they are to hang on the Christmas tree.She makes them for her family and friends. Each one is unique as you can see.It must be lovely to be so clever as to make such dear little treasures. Each is crafted from antique material and customised to who the person who receives them is. Hours of work must go into them as they are all hand stitched and the smaller they are the harder they are to do Rubi-Sues' is the one with the green head and mink collar.

Monday 6 December 2010

Fancy an Adventure..

Sometimes called the Chelsea tractor, but as we don't live in Chelsea we do need to have a 4x4. Not only with the wintry conditions we seem to have started to get over the last few years but also for Jack's work with the dogs,we would not able to get out. There is a new company set up called ukLANDROVERevents where you can hire a Landrover to drive oer a 50+ route ,taking in a variety of on and off road terrain around North Yorkshire. You are even allowed to share the driving with your friends. You may like to look them up on their website or ring them on 07787555060 for further details. This is just another way to spend a day when you come to stay with us.

Sunday 5 December 2010

Demijohn - The Liquid Deli

On my recent trip to Edinburgh I wanted to bring something back for Jack and I found the perfect shop -Demijohn - the Liquid Deli- It was just round the corner from the Missoni Hotel where we were staying.Angus Ferguson and his wife Frances opened the shop in the Edinburgh's Old Town in 2004. It was like an Aladdin's Cave -where else could you buy a ball of Marmalady gin,lime vodka liqueur or elderberry and port liqueur in wonky bottles.They have vinegars and oils too and all beautiful wrapped. To personalize them you can have whatever you want written on the bottle. Yes we do have 4 litres of raspberry vodka and more litres of sloe gin on the kitchen window sill which Jack shakes with great enthusiasm every morning. The antique looking containers and huge demijohns, they are stored at in the shop, make it resemble a grown ups sweet shop.
I must say a great thank you to Sarah and to all concerned who had to go to the trouble of running around to the Missoni hotel to pick up my purchases from the Demijohn as I had left them there. They sent them on to Glasgow and they were finally deliver here safely and now are sat under the Christmas tree. Only later did I find they have a shop in York too.I am so glad I found this shop as when you need something for someone and you are stuck for ideas look no further .They do mail order too

Friday 3 December 2010

Another day, another picture...

...this shown how beautiful our countryside is whatever the season. On the edge of the North York Moors National Park and in only one of two areas designated for its outstanding beauty in North Yorkshire .We only have to open the door to look out at this view.Looking over the top of our farm , in the distance there is Newburgh Priory and Coxwold and on a clear day you can see the face on the church clock. But it needs very good eye sight to tell the time.
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Thursday 2 December 2010

The cat crept in...

and didn't go out again. What a wise cat we have. We often talk about the dogs, guests get lots of pleasure for taking them for walks during their stay with us. We seem to forget the cat but here you see her making herself very much at home in from of the fire. Her name is Duchess she was born the day Prince Charles married his Camilla. her brother was called Marmaduke so then we had a Duke and Duchess. You would think with all our dogs about she has nearly got though all her cats lives now but she very much holds the court.She is much loved by everyone who sees her and has a special friends called Sue and Dave who is a regular guests from Cornwall. Until then she is happily sleeping with her paws over her eyes as cats do this when there is a storm didn't know this happened in a snow storm too

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Animal on the farm...

...and skies that have that wintry look to them and a near Nativity scene I nipped over to the farm with some shopping as I had ventured out in Jacks 4x4 .As soon as you got down Byland Bank near Byland Abbey and on to Coxwold the snow was only about a third of what we have here. Back home on the farm you see the donkeys,cattle and Herdwick sheep all eating there are some Llamas close by. We are feeding the little birds in the garden and even in this cold weather they reward us with a song. Please remember to feed the little birds near you too.