Monday, 31 March 2014

Weekend happenings.

We have some cats coming to stay who wanted to book two rooms as the two younger cats annoy the older cat of the family.

Brent spent the weekend putting in a cat door so that the cats will have two runs and an indoor/outdoor option.

It's going to be wonderful for the cats that come for a month long term stay over winter too as the cats can  go in and out at their leisure.

Our cats are trying it out for the next two weeks.
 I was very surprized that Lordy was the first cat to use the cat door

Home brew Update.

The brew seems a jolly good drop and was ready to bottle.

Suck it up James - 
keep drinking 
you gotta get all the air bubbles out of the hose before bottling can begin

(I think he had fun! It's moments like these that memories are made of aye)

 Fifty two stubbies of home brew. 
Now we wait at least another 7 days before sampling begins.
James has plans for the official sampling.


Oh my what a watch!
All of our family was glued to the screen such a captivating movie.
Tom Hanks sure is an amazing actor! 4.5/5 from our family - well worth the watch!

Linking to Mosaic Monday

Friday, 28 March 2014

Pinching myself

Talk about P U S H myself but I've enrolled in year two of naturopath course for the May intake.



But I am sure I can finish year one by then - that gives me umm less than 2 months to finish

Which will mean I've completed year one in 10 months GET OUTTA HERE! 
It was meant to take me two years as I'm only part time.

But I'm loving it sooo much that its been a joy to complete not a chore at all (except the unit I put in this week B O R I N G for a right brained type person all about legal stuff - important! but GAG)

The next two units are about micronutrients - vitamins and minerals and digestion and metabolism of nutrients. Then a final assessment of pathology.

Can I manage it? Sure hope I can!

So if it goes a tad quite in the blog world you know what I am doing.

 I will post photos of cats staying as the feedback from owners is they so enjoy seeing their cats while they are away but I've no cats for 2 weeks and then fully booked right past Easter.

Plus I've got clients coming to see me weekly,
as I've still a lot of books to purchase for the course gulp.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Getting a peek into your site's usability.

I followed a link, (as you do!) to Peek where you submit your blog and then a random user videos their experience of visiting the blog.

My random person was a man - here is his webcam thoughts of visiting .

It's made me wonder if other people are having sizing problems viewing the blog?

Is the side bar distracting to you too?

It also made me wonder what content people would like to see less or more of on the blog?

If you get a chance I'd sure appreciate some feedback on the above.

Get a peek into your site's usability.: See and hear a 5-minute video of a real person using your site.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

New sheep to the flock

 Tup our ram's nose has been going flat stick - he can smell the new girlfriends. Tup is the new ladies toy boy being our ram from last years lambs we are running on.Tup is not even 1 year old but as you can see hes going to be a big fellow.

This is Tex, Tup's dad he was a pedigree Texel ram

Tex is now living at another local farm sharing his love about.

Brent picked up our new girls on Sunday

They are two years old

The girls were a bit wary at first - well wouldn't you coming off over 100 acres to 3 acres. I imagine it was there first time seeing a car let alone travelling along a highway.

They are lucky girls ending up at our place - they will have a great life for a few years and be well cared for.
They are texel crosses - texel is a bred that we have found to be great.

They have name tags so I need to try not to get to know their numbers as this helps not getting attached
 But seeing and knowing a number I'm gonna have to be very careful not to get fond of a particular ewe.

 The pressure is now on Tup to perform.
Tupping time will hopefully now begin and Tup will do his job so we can have spring lambs - one of my favourite times living here.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Mother and son Bonding.

Mother and son makes home brew together

Gosh James started his garden when he was 14 and one of the plants he planted was hops  (female vine) now he is older it's time to have a go at making home brew.

Before children I used to be the head home brewer - but when kids came along that task was let go - so gosh I haven't made homebrew in over 22 years. It's funny how things come back to you though.

Historically it was the woman who made the beer in the house.

 "Beer has been brewed for at least 10,000 years and for most of that time it was women who were the brewers. Beer was made at home and all of the family drank it – including the children. It was a safe source of drinking water; and it contains soluble nutritional elements (carbs, proteins, vitamins, minerals and amino acids). Gender roles of the time meant that the home and everything that happened there, including the preparation of food and drink, was the responsibility of women. Men's duties were hunting and gathering wood. Even today in remote parts of Africa and the Amazon women are still the primary brewers, and in those cultures, for men to be involved in anything other than drinking beer would be very odd.

During the medieval era when witch hunting was rife, hundreds of women were accused of witchcraft and executed. Many of those women were brewers. The visual motifs we associate with female witches date from this time. The extraordinary thing is all of them - cat, bubbling cauldron, broom, pointed hat - are also symbols associated with brewing beer.
A cat would keep vermin at bay that would otherwise eat the malted barley; the bubbling cauldron is the vessel in which the ingredients are boiled. When the brew cools down, yeast lands on it and ferments the sugars, creating a dramatic froth. The broom was used for sweeping up but also by law, anyone selling beer was required to display an ale stake above their door as a sign that beer was on sale. An ale stake was a wooden pole with a bunch of twigs tied on the end. It doubled as a broom. Hanging foliage above the door to proclaim that alcohol was available for purchase dates back to Roman Britain. In a society where most people were illiterate, visual signs rather than written signs were used. The pointy hat was a practical way of being seen. Women with surplus beer would go to the marketplace to try and sell it, or a middle woman known as a huckster would act as an agent and flog the beer. They wore the pointed hats to make themselves prominent in a crowd.
So everything associated with a cartoon witch is actually the semiology connected with a female brewer in the middle ages. Some academics argue that women were accused of witchcraft so that others could profit from the local beer production. It was very rare that a woman accused of being a witch escaped with her life."

How to make Home Brew  (lager) the old fashioned way without a beer kit.

1 tin of Black Rock Light malt extract (1.7kg)
Hops (fresh off female vines) 50 grams
1 tin of golden syrup (1kg)
400g sugar
1 pkt of dry lager yeast (11.5g)
Sodium Percarbonate - a no rinse steriliser - our brand was CopperTun most homebrew places and supermarkets sell this.
An airlock
A home brew fermenting container.
Bottle caps
Cap machine.

Note everything must be kept very clean. Hygiene is very important when you are fermenting anything.

Sterilise all equipment.
Wash out your fermenting container and then sterilise it by putting 5 litres of hot water in it and add 2 tablespoons of sodium percarbonate - swish it around, make sure it gets in airlock. Leave for 10 minutes - give it another swish around and tip out. Do not rinse.

Heat 3.4 litres (6 pints) of water in a preserving pan add the malt extract, golden syrup and sugar. Heat until it has all melted and dissolved. Pour into fermentation vessel - place lid on as you don't want any airborne bugs getting into your brew.

Place the hops into a muslin bag or soup sock (don't have to but it saves you straining the hops)
Boil the hops in 3.4 litres (6 pints) of cold water and simmer for 10 minutes

Strain the hops making sure you squeeze as much hops juice out as possible and add this into your fermenting vessel (put lid back on)

Top up your brew with cold water to 18 litres (4 gallons) stir well.

Now let  the brew cool till blood temperature about the same heat as you need for making bread when adding the yeast - not too cold and not too hot. Sprinkle over the packet of yeast and stir well.

Place lid on and leave.

You should hear the airlock bubble away - it should be working briskly by the following day.

Day 2 skim off the head from the brew

Leave the brew for 3- 4 days it should start to clear. When the brew is clear its time to bottle.

I'll post our bottling system when we bottle.

Excessive consumption may result in side effects of  dizziness, vomiting, nausea, irritable bowel symptoms, diarrhoea, headaches, disorientation, short term memory loss and behaviour problems.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Bella and Leonardo

 Bella and Leonardo go home tomorrow
 They have been a real pleasure to look after and have been acting like they own the place - We've become a tad too fond of them I think..

 Omar, Sterling and Coco went home yesterday - So now Leonardo and Bella have both runs to free range in.

Bella is very ladylike, she licks her chops and nose after just about every mouthful.


A burn up is one of my favourite things

I totally relax and just fire gaze - pure bliss

Once the fire dies down and the embers are hot enough of course we cook up some sausages

"What! Sausages!" Stella seems to say.

Years ago Brent made up a hot plate for the fire and skewers that turn to cook the sausages just right 

OOPS Stella forgot her manners!

Stella doesn't take her eye off the sausages cooking.

Nothing like toasting marshmallows over an open fire is there?.

Linking up to  Mosaic Monday

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Jo Moore comes to Cottage Tails

A sample of photos Jo Moore captured when she came and visited
 more photos are on Cottage Tails Facebook page

Jo is a local (rather famous) Wellington photographer that has a real love of animals - it shows through her Pet portraits  Here take a peek over on her pet page of her website

When Jo was a young girl she wanted to be a vet nurse or a zoologist but knew she couldn't of handled seeing mistreated animals. She chose instead the career of photography and all through her degree she focused her assignments on conservation and animal welfare.
Now a successful photographer she spends her time taking wedding , corporate, and family event portraits. BUT she also donates her time and skill  by taking photos for SPCA and HUHA .  Talk about someone paying it forward aye!
You will know which ones are Jo's photos as she has the above JM in the bottom corner of all her photos.

Linking up to Saturday's Critters