Here you will learn more about my Handmade online businesses specialising in Bath & Body and Jewellery.

You will also hear a little about Hancox Homestead our family business and our adventures of living on a hobby farm and setting up a Golf Driving Range.

Thanks for taking the time to sit, read and share with me and my family.

Warmest wishes to all, Helen & Family.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring looks like it has sprung at Hancox Homestead

As I sit here and type a much overdue blog update the sun is beaming through the window warming my cheek and shoulder.  I have just watered our seedlings who are turned and stretching towards that sun and as I look out the window our seven happy hens are free ranging.

We have been busy at Hancox Homestead, with last year seeing me on bed rest for most of the Season until the safe arrival of our third daughter Emmie.  We are totally grateful for a mild Winter and an earlier Spring.

 Having planted nearly 3000 seeds of all varieties we are enjoying watching them sprout and have already re-potted.  Time to plant more.  My hubby was busy and made some extra large potting tables knowing that I would be going all out this year having not got in the garden much last year.  They are not just for the four acres I garden here but for the Golf Driving Range too,  I managed to sneak a pot or two over there for my enjoyment and in my World no place is complete without pretty coloured dancing flowers!

We are super excited to get our Barn quilt up at the Driving Range, having designed it in July last year it seems like forever.  Our website needs to be worked on and flyer's need to be made and sent out.  Let's not forget the other important aspects of the Driving Range,  the grass needs to be fed, re-seeded in parts and I have many a tree limb to remove.  In the time I was on bed rest everything seems to have grown double.  We hope to be open by the end of April, so pop on out and see what we have been up to and don't forget your clubs!

With all that is going on and family as always remains the most important thing it is with heavy heart I have decided not to continue to sell online this Season!  I will be selling in our shop on site and continuing with my wholesale clients.  At this time in my/our life I needed to make a decision as to what was important and what was taking up my time and not getting the return it should.  On the upside I want to see my Bath & Body shop listings sold so I am having a Spring sale with 40% off, use coupon code take40 at checkout.  (This code is not for use in my Helsia Jewellery shop.)

This is not a final goodbye this is me taking the time out to catch up on life and I am sure that as the end of the Season nears this year I will be back.  As always my loyal repeat customers who can not get to my shop are welcome to send me an email and I will happily keep you in stock of your fave products!

 With Spring on our doorstep we always get some new chicks to add to the flock, we had toyed with the idea of hatching eggs this year but upon research turning the eggs every four hours seems like a lot more time we are short of.  So we will be getting some more Heritage breed chicks to add to the flock.  Our two oldest hens are five now and their laying production is low, however they have many a dirt bath left in them!  We are super excited to also add four little ducks to our property, we will see how that goes and I think that in itself is going to make for a blog update.

Well as the saying goes I must make hay whilst the sun shines, or in my case get more seeds planted.  We get one step closer to self sufficiency each year.

I wish you all a day filled with sunshine and your own little piece of happiness!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Our boy Buster

They say you can not chose your family but you can chose your friends.  When we chose Buster our dog we not only chose a new family member we chose a best friend! 

We went to the farm and selected Buster from the litter, he was the biggest and hence lived up to the name we chose for him, a gorgeous dark grey and white short haired Border collie with big blue eyes.  We were in love!  We had to wait a few weeks before he could come home with us so at every opportunity we went to the farm to see him.

Baby Buster.
Baby Buster with daddy Si and his brothers and sisters.

Coming home!
Coming home!
It was 1997 when Buster joined myself and Simon, he was our first big commitment and our first furry baby together.  We were so excited and thought we were pretty prepared for his arrival.  Buster arrived home to the big bed with beanie cushion in, a collar, food and water bowls, food, bones, treats and all kinds of toys we had got for himWe sat for hours fussing over our new family member.  Of course no one tells you that for the first few nights a puppy suffers seperation anxiety and will howl and whimper all night.  We ended up filling a hot water bottle and putting it under him to sooth him, this did not work and we made our first mistake~we took Buster to sleep on the bed with us.  Which he then took upon himself to keep as his bed, he was a great foot warmer until he got bigger.  Buster would sleep on his back with all four paws in the air and snore, it was time to put him back in his own bed.

Buster's big comfy bed.

Buster with his chew and big blues.
In the days that followed Buster's arrival we realised that he had a big personality and the need for adventure.  We spent hours trying to teach him to go to the bathroom on the newspapers we left on the floor for him whilst we went to work.  Instead Buster thought it would be fun to run and dive and shred the paper and when it came time for the bathroom~well anywhere would work.

The garden was an endless source of fun and trees were not meant to be planted in the ground they were meant to be removed and the hole used to bury a bone.  Oh and what fun the branches were to rip off and run around with!  We realised then that Buster was a head strong little man and no matter how many hours we tried, he was still going to do his own thing.  Still until the day he left us he never handed the stick, ball or chew toy over, you had to throw it and then he would not give it back, it made for fun wrestling matches and of course a battle of manliness with my two fave boys (Buster & Simon)!

Buster and Douglas playing football.
Walks were never dull for me with Buster, for some reason Simon had the ability to control and have him heal yet I would get dragged around the block and through any trees that may of got in the way and wrapped in the lead.  I more often than not was a disheveled exhausted mess when we got back, but Buster was walked and happy and that was all that mattered.  "Walk/walkies" was the first word that Buster recognised and related to, but it was not a word to be used lightly as soon as you said it you better of meant it as Buster would start springing around the house looking for his lead like a possessed animal.  His next trick learnt was to sit and give paw or "manners" as we said. 

At times we wondered what the heck we had let ourselves in for, but no matter how bad a day at work and how bad a mess we would get home from work to find, Buster still had the ability to melt our hearts.  He was a very kind, friendly dog, full of love and energy and we later saw his nurturing side.

Buster at the window asking to come in.
 Not only was Buster our first furry baby but we were in our first house and busy decorating it.  I still remember to this day getting a call from the decorator, "there is a slight problem here, your dog has got out of his room and destroyed all your borders of wallpaper, I won't be able to decorate today"  I don't think he expected the response given "well he is a Border collie you know!"  A quick rush to the decorating shop after work saw the problem corrected.  The big hole in the door was another problem we fixed at a later date!

Buster and puppy Douglas biting his side.
At this point with us both working and some destructive days we decided that Buster could do with some company and what better time than to have a brother for him, Buster's mom and dad had another litter.  This time I picked Douglas who not like Buster was the runt of the litter with his one blue and one brown eye, long haired and smaller than the rest.  Again we had to wait to bring him home so we took Buster on walks to the farm to meet his brother to be and the bond was almost immediate.  When Douglas came home Buster took him under his paw and was wonderful, he also passed on some of his traits like not passing the ball to us but the dogs played wonderfully together.

Buster's smile after he and Douglas made a big mess in the garden
 A few years passed and "our boys" as we called them were very happy together.  Douglas looked up to Buster and would get very upset when Buster would slip under the gate and take himself off for a walk around the estate leaving him behind.  Luckily for us the kind neighbour over the road always brought Buster back home and encouraged him under the gate with dog bones, which in return Buster would send her a thank you box of chocolates each Christmas!
In 2000 Simon was given the opportunity to be a part of a major plant build and start up either in Canada or the US.  Canada was looking more favourable and with that we were sent away for a week to see what we thought.  It was December, knee high in snow and we landed in a little airport (London) thinking we were in the middle of nowhere.  As our week progressed it was apparent that they really wanted us to relocate.  Whilst here we started looking at properties, however Simon had told them that part of the deal would be our family (Buster & Douglas) coming with us.  We decided that we would need a decent size garden for the dogs, never in our wildest dreams did we think we could afford a 50 acre hobby farm.  We could and we did and within three days of our week we had started the purchase process.

We moved in 2001, Buster and Douglas were given their travelling papers and had to go and spend a few days in a kennel prior to flying.  They arrived a week after we did and Buster was in awe, lots of trees, grass and trails to run.  It did not take long to teach him to stay on the property and tractor tires driving down the road were not to be used for chew toy!  He was four then and every day he loved our daily hikes, he loved chasing after us whilst we zoomed ahead on the ATV trails.  He was a happy dog and this is how he spent the next ten years.  He never lost his sense of adventure, he would often go off in the woods and see what wildlife he could find, he never did understand the possum playing dead or why the hens we had would come out of the coop as soon as he had rounded them in.  He was a gentle soul he never nipped, he nudged.  He was always top dog and in later years Douglas tried to take that from him by provoking a fight, Buster would walk away unless it was completely necessary to put Douglas in his place.  They would fight, we would split them up and then they would be cuddling up to each other, it was a typical sibling bond.
Buster and his "manners" along with Douglas and Saphire on our snowy road.
There are so many stories to tell about Buster, he had fifteen great years and lived a full adventurous life filled with love, fun and many walks, right up until the day we had to say "goodbye".  He went missing on the Wednesday evening and when Simon came home from work and enquired where he was I thought he had probably gone for a quick woodland explore.  Buster was showing his age, he was nearly blind and had suffered seizures which had caused him to get unsteady under foot at times.  When all our other dogs came back and he didn't we knew something had happened, with torch light and car light we looked for him until 12.30am, at 2.00am I did another check and at 6.00am.   We spent the next two days searching every inch of the property three times over by foot, golf cart and car.  We visited the neighbours got word out telephoning every local vet and shelter but to no avail.  We were heartbroken and after a week and a half of endless searches we deemed that he was of an age and had gone off to die.

You can imagine my surprise when the following Wednesday I on the off chance walked in to the local Foodland and came face to face with an A4 picture of Buster, please call if this is your dog!  I screamed stopping the store in their tracks as they probably thought I was going in to labour as I am heavily pregnant.  That's my dog I exclaimed and began telling the story which kept everyone engrossed and a few looking upset as they were waiting for their change and leaving the store.  With that I took down the poster and rang the number leaving a message, I was so happy I totally forgot what I went in the store for.

That Wednesday evening the lovely gentleman who had looked after Buster for the last week and a bit drove in to our driveway with him and brought him home.  Him and his wife had refused to give up on Buster and knew somewhere he was loved, they thought he was the most wonderful loving dog but the long journey had taken it's toll.  He had turned up in their backyard two days after leaving here, they live on the next road over which is 13mins by car so we believe Buster had walked at least 12k if not more.  One last adventure and he turns up at an animal loving home who happen to have English heritage.

We spent all Wednesday night cuddled to Buster, he slept on the rug by our little girls bed, they cried when they had to go to school and daycare as they didn't want to leave him.  I spent the Thursday brushing and trimming him but saw him deteriorating before my eyes, I had to carry him outside as he was weak and disoriented.  Simon arrived home on Thursday after two nights away and ran excitedly in to see his old pal, but was saddened to see him in this state.  I booked him in to our vets on the Friday and told them to treat him but I was bringing him home we had been apart for too long.  The call came and the news was not unexpected but sad, Buster had kidney failure and anemia and they did not think he would last the night.  We could of tried a kidney flush treatment that would of seen him in the vets for five days hooked on to a machine with only 50% chance.  Heartbroken we made the decision to have Buster put out of pain and put to sleep.

The whole time Buster was missing we wanted to find him, bring him home and say goodbye.  We got to do that thanks to some really kind people which we will always be grateful to.  We are also thankful to our vets who always take the best care of our pets and us.

Buster will live on in our hearts and through stories in our family and those whose hearts he touched!  

August 1997-October 2012.  

Buster after a quick swim in the lake, one of his many favourite things to do.