Monday, 15 October 2012

Comfort And Joy


Sweet memories of our precious little guy pictured top left above with one of the rest of our flock.  He passed away 2 years ago tomorrow, after a very short illness.  He was hand reared and the tamest little bird, with such a sweet personality.  He was adorable, and we miss him very much.

Oh!  We are having such a wonderful time!  I just know this precious week with all of us together at home is going to be so extra special.  Today has been especially precious, full of so many lovely things that will make memories to treasure.

Today we went to visit a wonderful garden centre that we had not been to for a very long time.  Cubby Bear and Little Bear decided this was what we would do today.  It sells just about everything besides plants!  You could spend all day there looking at all the different things that you can buy there.  It also has a lovely big cafe, which sells the most delicious home baked goods such as huge scones and slices of cake.  We enjoyed tea, hot chocolate, cake and scones before walking around looking at all the different things. There is a huge Christmas decoration department, set out like a wonderful grotto!  Well I could have spent all day in there, and so could Little Bear!  In fact whilse the menfolk got busy looking at the gardening equpiment and fishing things, we spent a very happy half hour or so deciding on the prettiest ornaments, lights, garlands and wreaths that we would like to buy!  Of course we didn't buy anything - we truly don't need any more decorations for Christmas as we already have far too many, but it was fun imagining what we might buy!  Then we all enjoyed looking at the indoor plants, and the gift section where I was delighted to discover that there was a big Yankee Candle stand!  While we don't use real candles downstairs, we do have them in our bathroom and bedroom, and I was so happy to see some of the new Christmas scents available.  Again, we didn't buy anything, but I made note of the ones I might like to have!

After that we went to the pet department which has a huge aquatic section that Papa Bear and Cubby were very interested in.  There were many different sorts of fish, freshwater ones and even salt water ones, in a special tank.  That must take an awful lot of work to look after!  There were other animals besides, including chinchillas (we have 2 chinchillas, that the cubs take care of), rabbits, guinea pigs and some reptiles too.  And there was also a large cage of cockatiels.  They were all so pretty and friendly!  I spent a long time talking to and admiring these little birds, and they were all very tame.  One of them really seemed to take to me, and kept following me back and forth and cheeping at me.  Whenever I whistled at this little one, it cheeped back with the sweetest little voice.  Just imagine my excitement, when Little Bear and Cubby announced that they wanted to buy me one!  Papa Bear knew that they had been thinking of doing this, but had wanted me to be able to choose my own bird.  And of course it was no trouble to decide which little friend to bring home with us!  The sweet little bird that had already chosen me!  I was almost crying with happiness and excitement!  We think it is a female bird, she is a cream coloured pearl (speckled with paler patches) and has pale apricot coloured cheeks and light lemon coloured feathers in her crest, and the store lady told us that she has been hand reared, so is therefore very tame.  We are collecting her on Wednesday so that gives me plenty of time to get the nursery cage ready for her arrival.  She'll likely only need to spend a few days in there before she is well integrated with the other birds.

Thank you so much, my sweet cubs, for your wonderful, generous and amazing gift!  I can't wait to bring her home to meet her new friends!  I think it is especially sweet that my dear children have chosen to buy this little bird for me almost to the date of the anniversary of us losing our precious little guy pictured above.  It is almost as if through the loss of him, we have come full circle, and are now able to celebrate the arrival of a new little bird to share our home with.  We love having cockatiels - they are great pets, and very good company for me, when everyone else is out.

After so much excitement we were nearly ready to go home, but there was one more stop before we left - the farm shop, which sells all kinds of fresh produce, all locally grown and organic.  It also sells a variety of wholefood supplies, meats, fresh cheeses, baked goods and freshly ground grains.  I was so excited to see that it sells the granary wholegrain flour that we all like best for our home baked loaves.  I haven't been able to find this in any stores nearby, and have had to use a supermarket version instead for the last few months, which has been a reasonable substitute, but not anything like as good as the original.  This flour is ground locally at a working mill that we have visited several times.  It is a water mill, not a wind mill, and it is fascinating to see it at work.  Inside the mill it is very cold!  You can buy the flour there too, but it is about 30 miles away from where we live, so a bit of a journey.  Now it doesn't matter - we can get it from the farm shop instead!  As we were walking around the store we also discovered that they sell pheasants!  There was just one left - a lovely plump one, very fresh indeed.  Of course we had to buy it!  As I write it is roasting gently in the slow cooker with diced fresh apples, onion and carrot, ready for our evening meal.  We will enjoy it with potatoes roasted in their jackets and a gravy made from the cooking juices.   And just as we were queuing up to pay, we saw a stand with fresh chestnuts on it - so we got some of those too!  Yum!  Roasted chestnuts smell so delicious!

The kitchen smells so wonderful - full of lovely autumn scents.  We will enjoy the roasted chestnuts this evening while we enjoy a movie together, and I shall make some non-alcoholic mulled "wine" too.  Then I think we will almost feel as if Christmas is here!  So much comfort and joy!

What a happy family we have.  I thank God for all the good things in our lives.  We are so very blessed indeed.

Tomorrow I shall post the recipes for the pheasant and mulled "wine", and explain how to roast chestnuts at home too.  During the week there will also be a post about how to introduce a new bird into an existing flock - very timely!

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