Tuesday 24 May 2022

Clarice does Cragside House - part 1 (the start)

Cluck! Cluck! Good afternoon, folks!

I, Clarice Chocolate Noisette, have decided, to try my wing at writing! From now on (unless I get bored) I shall be a roving reporter...I hope to tour many different places, and critique them, via this blog!

So, here is my first post: On Saturday, my humans (Rosella & Brian) decided, it was high time, they visited Cragside House. It is situated in beautiful Nothumberland, amidst wild moorland, and rocky cliffs.

A picnic lunch was packed, waterproofs donned, cameras grabbed (as was I, rather unceremoniously, I might add...) and off we went. I decided, to sit on the dashboard, with a nice big window, from which I could survey the passing landscape.
Erm..I think I'm facing the wrong way...

The journey was not as long as I'd first thought. We passed through a lot of road-works, about which Brian was not very happy, (I saw some funny, large orange and white beak-shaped things, called traffic cones...you humans are really odd, apparently, some of you wear them as hats...I much prefer a bonnet!).
Those are odd beaks, must belong to odd giant birds...

We also went past somewhere called IKEA, which elicited an excited squeak, from Rosella! Apparently, she LOVES the place. I wonder if it sells mealworms???!
Whoa there!!! I don't think I like roundabouts!

Finally, after passing though a fair few villages, and far too many fields full of sheep, we took a left turn, and went along a rather upsy/downsy (are those even words???!) road. At the end of that, after passing a forest, we got a glimpse of Cragside house.
I refuse to look at another field full of sheep!!!

I wonder if there are any bugs in that thatch???!

After parking the car, and having a bite to eat, we headed off to explore.
Where to start?! Decisions! Decisions!

Having lots of fluffy hens( and geese), equals lots of delicious eggs! Which in turn, equals lots of baking!This is great, as I love to bake, and DH loves my baked-goodies ;-)


Not posted in a while, life has been hectic. Lots of growth and changes! Suffice to say, we now have chickens and geese! Two lads (both were dumped on our land) and 21 girls.19 are rescues/unwanted 2 are home-grown hens! 

So, a new chapter in our lives! A goose is on eggs, and so is one of our hens. We should be getting some babies, in June! So,watch this space......   

Thursday 7 May 2015

Cluck-over! (free crochet pattern)

As you all know, I just LOVE chickens!!!! I use any excuse, to crochet one! But speaking seriously, battery farming, is subject which breaks my heart.
These poor, beautiful, and above all, intelligent creatures, are kept in absolutely VILE conditions. If dogs or cats were subject to the same torture, there would be a global out-cry. But, because these amazing, unique ladies, provide us with cheap eggs, a blind eye is turned.
After a short and brutal life, confined in a tiny metal cage (they never see/feel sunshine or daylight, or ground beneath their poor crippled feet) they are sold for a pittance, to the meat market, for mass slaughter.
A few of the lucky ones, get saved, by chicken charities, and are re-homed. These ladies are in dire condition. Most are almost, if not totally featherless.
My little cluck-over is a crochet woolly top, which a hen can wear, while she is waiting to re-grow her feathers.

As I'm not blessed with any live chickens, my little artificial Frizzle has agreed to model the cluck-over, for me!

Henrietta, looking lovely!

Please note, diagram is not to scale.
Pattern notes:
This pattern is graded as easy, but some prior knowledge of crochet, and crochet stitches is required.
The garment is worked from the neck down, and consists of two identical pieces, sewn together, at the "shoulders".

Some stitches are skipped. in the centre, to create the neck hole. The sides are left open, to accommodate the wings.
It is secured at the base (on each side) with a button. The pattern is written in British crochet terminology. The turning chain counts as a stitch.

ch: chain
t-ch: turning ch
st: stitch
dc: double crochet
tr: treble crochet
hk: hook
slst: slip stitch
RS: right side
WS: wrong side

DK yarn (100 gm ball should make 3 to 4 garments) you may use yarn oddments, crocheted together. The possibilities/variations are endless!

2 buttons
Tapestry needle /bodkin
4.5 mm hk (feel free to use any size hook, which you would use with DK weight yarn, for me, it is 4.5mm)
Tape measure

Pattern starts: (make 2)

Row 1: RS With DK yarn, and 4.5mm hk/hk of your choice, 22ch, tr in 4th ch from hk, tr in each ch to end. Turn (20tr)
Row 2:WS 3ch, 2tr in next st, tr in each st, till last 2sts, 2 tr in next st, tr in top of t-ch. Turn (22tr)
Row 3: 3ch, tr in each st to end. Turn.
Repeat rows 2 & 3, 5 times ( 13 rows in total, including row 1)
Rows 14-16 : Repeat row 3.

At the end of the last row, 4ch, slst to base of last st on this row . Button loop created.  Fasten off. Cut yarn.
On opposite side, attach yarn with slst, at base of 1st on this row, 4ch, slst to top of this st. Button loop created. Fasten off. Cut yarn.

Turn the piece, so that the top (5" end) is facing you. Attach yarn with slst, in 1st st,  dc in same st, dc  in each of next 4sts (5dc). Cut yarn. Skip 10 sts. Attach yarn with slst in next st, dc in same st, dc in each of next 4sts. Fasten off.

With RS facing inwards (not strictly necessary!) place both pieces together, matching up the corners at the top, sew inwards, across 5dc , skip 10 sts for neck, sew across last 5dc.

Designate one side as the "front". Sew a button on each end of the "back". Be sure, to use a button, which fits the loop, snugly, otherwise, it will come undone.

I hope you enjoy using this pattern, and that, the hens wearing their little cluck-overs, are nice and snug :) xxxxx

P.S. I would really appreciate any feedback, good or bad, about this pattern. So, please leave a comment. Also, I would love to see pics of your ladies modelling their garments! Please feel free to send your pics to me at

A lovely website, with gorgeous chicken art items for sale www.janegrayartist.co.uk

Thursday 9 April 2015

Is this a cushion I see behind me?

Good morning, dear readers! It is a gorgeously sunny day, but there is a fierce and freezing wind blowing. Still, that's not bad for the end of March, in dear Blighty :)

Any how, now for some egg-citing news! I've just had my 8th & 9th crochet patterns published in the wonderful magazine, that is inside crochet! A smocked cushion, and my Hens of Happiness!

The hens had been taking to Clarice (my super model woolly cluck, who appeared in issue 54 of Inside Crochet magazine last year) and, they decided, while being a decorative garland, on my dresser, is very nice, they wanted more from life!!!
Fun, egg-citement (well, they are chickens after all) and glamour...And, they got all three, when they visited dear Claire, and got to model in a world famous crochet magazine :)
All the hen pics are official pics from Inside Crochet magazine. www.insidecrochet.co.uk
They were as good as gold, and never clucked once!
Don't we look lovely :)

Model hens!

So, they hopped into a jiffy bag, clucking happily, and off to the post-office they went!

Now, on Friday, I got my copy of the magazine, in the post, and was thrilled to see my cushion looking lovely and fresh, and the hens, looking proud as punch, gracing its pages :)

The woolly clucks also poured over the pages, clucking with pleasure, at all the lovely featured patterns.
Tristan seemed rather confused, he was sure the cushion in the mag, looked rather familiar...Erm, yes, Tris, that is the very same cushion, you are resting against!
Are those buttons edible???!

Clarice: Sigh, I was modelling in this very same magazine (issue 54) only last year....How time flies!

I'm sure I've seen that cushion, before...
Official cushion pic, from IC magazine.

Bless him, he is a lovely roo, and very good looking; just not the brightest! LOL! ;-D

Friday 27 March 2015

Limpets, seaweed, and a very sticky beak!

A couple of weeks ago, it was a dull and windy Saturday (I hear you ask, what else is new?!) and neither I nor the clucks had been out for ages.
I, on account of a rather nasty dose of flu, and clucks; well that was just due to general apathy and laziness!!!

Anyhow, I digress. So,it was felt, a trip to the beach was in order, to blow the cobwebs away! Blossom was getting her claws done (yes, these woolly clucks are very image concious!) Penelope was was busy making worm & sweet corn soup (Squawks, and Co were coming over for dinner).

Tristan & Cecily were spending some rare quality time together, preening! Well, he has been away rather a lot, doing gigs with his band, and poor Cecily has been been feeling rather neglected.

So, that just left Clarice, who is always game, to go exploring...

So, we all wrapped up warmly; Clarice made sure she donned her woolly but stylish bonnet, grabbed a basket for any foraged goodies, and off we went!

Ready to start foraging!

I'm sure, there is a skull behind me...

Despite the dull grey sky, and freezing wind, the beach was wonderful!Nothing like the sharp fresh salty smell of sea air, to wake one up! We saw a flock of adorable plovers, some black headed gulls, herring gulls, and even a greater black backed gull (very large, and rather scary,to poor Clarice!).

Mistress of all she surveys!

DH & I wandered along the beach looking for old bottle tops (we found none!) and Clarice had a whale of a time, or should that be cluck of a time, foraging!

Now for some food...

Beady eyed scrutiny, in progress!

Plies of seaweed were gleefully scratched in, rock pools scrutinised via beady eye, and limpets and winkles. mercilessly pecked, by a woolly, but persistent, and surprisingly sharp beak...
I'm gonna get you little limpet...

Now, Clarice had promised to bring back some goodies for the other clucks; hence the basket. And, she did collect some critters, but, on the way home, we heard slurping, and gulping sounds coming from the back seat, and by the time we got home, all that was left was a pile of empty shells, and one very sticky beaked woolly cluck!!!

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Clucks in Cornwall?

Good morning, dear readers!

The weather has finally improved, and the sun is actually out! The trees are full of buds, ready to burst into leaf and blossom, and the garden is alive with bird-song :) In short; Spring is starting!

The woolly clucks have been feeling rather cooped-up and restless. On Monday, they joined me on the sofa, while I watched the new version of Poldark,http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/mar/09/poldark-review-rugged-gorgeous-breeches-review on BBC I-Player. I don't know who sighed more; me or they! The scenery was absolutely breath-taking!!! The acting is very good,too. The characters are all very well fleshed-out.

And the best part; there were three scenes, containing chickens, in the programme! Since then, the clucks (and I ) have decided, a holiday to Cornwall is a MUST! None of us, except Blossom, has ever been there, and that fact must be remedied.

So, this morning, Cecily & Co have been Googling holiday parks/cottages,  and trying to find a nice place to stay! It has to be woolly cluck friendly, of course! LOL!

Lucky Blossom has already been Cornwall, when she stayed with the lovely Jo Barlow, and her gorgeous hens. She even went to St.Ives, for a picnic! Lucky cluck, she gets out more than I do! But, she says, she wants to see more of the area!

All I can say is, watch this space....;-)

Ready steady...Google!

The Eden project is a must see, especially for the clucks; it has a GREAT bug 'a'la'carte menu!

Cecily, using the integral mouse! She is better at it, than I!