Season of Soup.

I can’t believe it’s been a month since my last post.  Poor little blog was in danger of being forgotten.  Perish the thought!

I’ve been busy crafting, mainly crocheting.  Time for scarves and mittens, and I’m working on a ‘granny square’ blanket, using up my odds and ends of yarn. Waste not, want not!

Mr Tuna has been in Germany visiting his family and friends over there.  While he was away I took the time to just be quiet, spend time at home, do a bit of garden tidying and dog walking.  I have also been looking after two poorly kitty cats.  One had a tummy upset and thankfully he only had it for a day.  But if it’s out of the usual for your cat to be poorly and it lasts more than a day then you should really take him to the vet.

Our other poorly cat, Casper, is one we rescued earlier this year.  He was very sick when he came to us and we didn’t think he would live long.  But with love, care, Reiki healing and veterinary attention he pulled through his crisis.  Since then he has had a few ups and downs health-wise and it always seems that everything stops when he is ill.  I have some marvellous, loving friends who also send Casper distance healing.  I can’t thank them enough as at times I was too emotional to share healing myself with him.  Casper is about 18 years old and has to cope with renal failure, hyperthyroidism, a heart murmur and deafness and some arthritis.  I will write more about Casper in a later post but just wanted to say this is why the blog hasn’t been updated recently.

My Casper in the garden this summer.
My Casper in the garden this summer.

I want to keep this post short, but happy.  So with that, and the Autumn season upon us I want to talk about soup.

I know it’s Hallowe’en today and maybe you think pumpkin soup should be on everyone’s list, but I’m not that fond of pumpkin soup.  Pumpkin is a bit too sweet for my tastes, so I’ve made Leek and Potato soup – one of my favourites.  As you may have read in one of my earlier posts, I am no cook. Throughout the years I have tried to make soup of one description or another and failed miserably. It always came out of the pan more like swamp than soup! hehehe.  However, just a few years ago something changed and I can now manage a few different soup recipes.

Leek and potato is easy-peasy and basically involves buying the veggies, washing them, chopping them up and throwing them in a large pan.  No special ingredients or equipment needed. Phew!!  You will need a little butter, one medium onion, two sticks of celery, two medium carrots, two large leeks and I used four medium potatoes.  No, it doesn’t matter what variety of potato, they’re just going to be boiled and go mashy anyway.  I also use Marigold Swiss Vegetable organic, low sodium bouillon mix.  This is basically a powdered stock mix.  The instructions of how much water to stock you need are written on the side of the pack.

Wash and chop the veggies.
Wash and chop the veggies.

Switch on cooker – you see, keep the instructions basic.  You may think this is common sense, but I have stood stirring food on a cold hob, wondering why it’s not warm and bubbling.  Turning the cooker on would have helped!  Place a  large pan on the hob and add a good dollop of butter to the pan. (Dollop is an old english measure – nowadays equating to a large tablespoon, or maybe just a little bit more). Turn up the heat so the butter melts, then add your chopped onion and cook until it is soft (but not brown, if they have gone brown you have burnt them!).  Then add the chopped carrot and celery.  Give them a stir every so often until they are a little softened then add in the leeks. Give it another good old stir.  If things seem to be sticking to the bottom of the pan add a tiny bit of water – not a lot!!

Add the veggies to the pan, make up the stock, pour into pan then add potato.
Add the veggies to the pan, make up the stock, pour into pan then add potato.

While the veg is softening in the pan, fill the kettle with water and put on to boil.  While kettle is boiling, put dried stock powder into a jug. When the water has boiled add the hot water to the stock and stir it up.  Add the stock to the big soup pan.  Then carefully pop the chopped potato into the pan. Do this carefully because if you just throw the potato in the hot water, there is a risk you will get splashed with hot water and be scalded.  This will put you off wanting to cook in the future. (Well, if you are anything like me, being scalded by hot water whilst taking part in an activity you are not really interested in will make you less likely to participate in said activity and your culinary skills will never improve and you will have to buy expensive tinned soup from a supermarket).

Hubble-bubble, hot and soupy. give it a stir every and now and then while potato softens.
Hubble-bubble, hot and soupy.  Give it a stir every and now and then while potato softens.

At this point I normally add some extra herbs and spices for taste.  This isn’t necessary – I just like to play at being an alchemist!  I really cannot recommend which herbs go best with this soup or which ones go best with other soups as it’s all trial and error, especially where me and my cooking skills are concerned.  Some of the herbs I use are: tarragon, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, sage, crushed chilies, cumin, paprika, pepper.  I DO NOT add all these herbs to one dish!   You could buy a jar of mixed herbs and add some to your soup.  I suppose the rule is add a little at a time.  You can always add more, but you can’t take it away!

Once the potatoes have softened and the whole mix is hot, then your soup is ready to dish out and eat. This soup will look ‘lumpy’ if it’s just left like this in the pan. This is nice as a chunky soup, alternatively, you can use a hand blender to mix it all together and make it a smooth soup.  I partially blend mine so it is smooth but with chunky pieces.  Then all you have to do it ladle some into a bowl and eat as it is or eat it with some bread.  We eat it with Mr Tuna’s home-made German style rye bread. Yummy nom-noms!!!!

Home-made leek and potato soup with home-made german style rye bread. Lovely for a wet Winter's evening.
Home-made leek and potato soup with home-made German style rye bread. Lovely for a wet Winter’s evening.

So there you have it, The Crafty Tuna’s easy-peasy, Leek and Potato soup.  This quantity usually feeds four people.  With just the two of us tunas it lasts us two days, so that gives me a day off cooking!  Yippee!!.  You can of course pour any excess into a container, or into several individual container portions and put it in the freezer until you fancy soup again. Take it out to de-frost in the morning and it’s ready to warm up by the evening.

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So now, as it is time for us to say goodbye to the sun and get ready to thank our ancestors for their history, strength, and guidance and ask them to see us through the coming dark months, I wish you a blessed and happy Samhain. (You can click on this photo and it will expand so you can read the information).

Samhain-Sabbath

Until next time my crafty friends xxxxxx

Our Northumbrian Holiday pt1: Duddo Stone Circle

Hello tuna readers.  There was no posting last week or the week before as myself, Mr Tuna and doggies were on our holiday in the glorious north of England.  We have a friend who looks after our other fur-kids at home and a super big thank you to her.  (and yes, she got a present.  It’s a lot of work with our cats so she deserves a holiday herself afterwards! :-))

I’m using this post to write about just one day during our holiday.  We had great weather and decided one day to give long dog walks on the beach a miss and drive inland.  We visited the Ford and Etal estates.  There is a narrow gauge steam train just outside Ford and Mr Tuna does like his trains, big or small, so we had to buy a ticket and take the ride.  Dogs travel free of charge!  Our pups have undertaken many vintage train journeys and are quite used to the smells and sounds and the motion of the trains, and they love to sit on our laps and look out the windows even though they get a bit heavy!

Narrow gauge steam choo-choo train.
Narrow gauge steam choo-choo train.
Lennie and Daisy enjoying their train ride.
Lennie and Daisy enjoying their train ride.
Mr Choo-choo Tuna on the narrow gauge.
Mr Choo-choo Tuna on the narrow gauge.
Bunty the narrow gauge steam engine.
Bunty the narrow gauge steam engine.

The whole return journey only took about 40 minutes.  The train goes between the Villages of Ford and Etal which are old private estates. It is possible to get the train to one the villages, get off and walk back to other village.  However, we had other options on our agenda…

About 3 miles north of Etal is the tiny farming hamlet of Duddo and if you look out for the sign posts you can drive down a lane, park on the verge and walk about a mile (probably less) to the stone circle of Duddo.

The walk to the stones was lovely, along a farm track with the blue sky, the sun shining, the dogs sniffing in the undergrowth, miles from a town or major road.  In the distance we spotted the stones on higher ground (although I found out that it is only approximately 100 feet above sea level)  occasionally losing the view as we went through a small copse or around a bend in the track.  Then at the bottom of a farmer’s field there they were above us.  The field had been recently ploughed, obscuring the footpath but a small sign pointed the way and we approached slowly.

The walk to Duddo Stone Circle, Northumbria
The walk to Duddo Stone Circle, Northumbria

It’s not a large stone circle.  There used to be seven stones, now only five are standing, but the foundations of the others can be seen.  The circle is about 10 metres in diameter.  It is estimated that the circle was erected approximately 3,500 years ago, which is about the time of other stone circle construction in the British Isles.

Duddo Stone Circle.
Duddo Stone Circle, complete with Mr Tuna and the fur-kids.

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The deep lines in the rock are caused by weathering of the limestone.  Rain hits the rock and rolls down the side and this constant attrition along with chemicals in the rain cause the soft limestone to wear away.  The rain finds the path of least resistant and dips are created that become deeper and deeper and these are the deep troughs that you can see today.  Considering their location on high ground with the wind, rain and sun beating down on them for the last 3,500 years, it is amazing that they are still standing.  Over the centuries farmers have found it easier to plough around the stones rather than remove them.  And what a blessing that is!  It would be so sad to have lost them. The area has obviously been agricultural land for centuries.

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The most fantastic view looking towards the Scottish Border.
The most fantastic view looking towards the Scottish Border.

The next two photos I find fascinating.  Hard to believe that weathering has created the shape of the stone in the photo.  Looks like it could have been sculpted.  I think it looks like a very curvy female behind/bottom/derrier (take your pick).  If you look closely you will see a carving on one of the buttocks.  It must have been carved, I can’t believe weathering created such a shape.  To me it looks like a dog or a deer.  What are your thoughts?  Do you think the stone was weathered into that shape or could it have been sculpted?  I haven’t been able to find much information on the Duddo Stone Circle which is a shame.  What do you think about stone circles?

What do you see?  Weathered stone or human intervention?
What do you see? Weathered stone or human intervention?

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This shape is found on the left 'buttock' of the stone?  What do you think it is - weathering, carved by humans, a dog, a deer a horse?
This shape is found on the left ‘buttock’ of the stone? What do you think it is – weathering, carved by humans, a dog, a deer a horse?

Why would someone carve this on a stone?  It seems impossible to tell when it was carved.  It’s quite distinct in real life and the photo doesn’t do it justice.  Why would it be carved on this stone?  I didn’t see carvings on other stones, other than what may have been cup and ring carvings, but it was hard to tell due to the weathering.  A couple of the stones themselves, due to the weathering, I thought  looked like hands or feet.

Last but not least, little old me and a hand shaped stone that Ifelt drawn to.
Last but not least, little old me and a hand shaped stone that I felt drawn to.

The two links below tell you more about the Duddo Stone circle.  I highly recommend you have a read, it won’t take long.  The Duddo Community page (bottom link) tells you more about the area and the history and the risks that the stones have withstood in the past and what they may face in future. I for one, am truly grateful they are there.  I have been to Northumbria many times, it’s my favourite place in Britain and I’m sorry I never learnt about these stones earlier.

http://www.thisisnorthumberland.com/features/duddo-stone-circle-northumberlands-stonehenge/

http://www.duddo.org.uk/index.php/about-duddo/duddo-five-stones/

Sit in the centre, take a few deep breaths and still your mind and body.  Listen to the wind, the birds, the air. Breath in the air, the energy and the atmosphere.  Think of your history and your ancestors, think of all the people that passed that way before.  Our ancient ancestors believed it important enough to struggle to move the stones and erect them in a circle. They believed it important enough to visit there regularly.  Not only were the stones erected in a place of power and energy, but all the people passing through have left a part of their histories and energies there.  We left some energy there on the day we visited and I hope we left positive thoughts there.  It was the most peaceful and quiet location.  No towns, no roads, no people. Glorious!

I hope you have enjoyed this post.  Let me know what you think.

More on Northumbria in the next tuna posting.  (Haven’t finished with my holiday photos yet!)

I’m a Bee Widow!

Hello Tuna readers.  I must apologise for not posting anything for the last few weeks.  No excuse, I’ve just been slow. I have been crafting a fair amount.  I really must take some photos and show you what I’ve been up to.  I have also been catching up on the written element of my Crystal Therapy for Animals portfolio.

I have had a couple of new followers in the last two weeks and I would like to say a big Tuna thank you.  It really means a lot to my me and my little fledgling blog.  I will share your blogs in a week or two.  Thank you.  A big thank you to all the people who have liked a post, glad to know you have enjoyed what you have read.

So without further ado, this week I will tell you a little about Mr Tuna’s favourite hobby. (He has quite a few).   His favourite pastime is beekeeping.  He is a self confessed Apiarist!  He has been keeping bees now for nearly six years.  He loves his bees, his girls.  He calls them all sweetheart and he has a good old natter with them when he visits.  I know this because when I have been with him he ignores me and talks only to his girls.  I get a full update on how they are doing anyway after he returns from a visit.

He started with two small hives and now has nine. I have to say nine is enough, especially when he is working long hours at his ‘proper’ job.  In summer he visits them after work.  At the weekend he is there with them.  On days off he is there. I am officially ‘a bee widow’.  I don’t really mind.  It keeps him out of the house so I can do what I want. (heehee).

Then comes the honey processing.  Think honey – think a sticky mess! Think sticky mess – think the Tuna kitchen.  I don’t know how he does it, but that honey gets everywhere – doors, doorknobs, the fridge, the kettle, the oven, the floor even the cat got sticky once! First he removes the frames of honey from the hive and replaces them with new frames for the bees to start working on. Then at home he put the frames in his spinning machine which uses centrifugal force to extract the honey which runs down the inside of the machine and runs through a spout, through a sieve and into a bucket.  (all his equipment is stainless steel or food grade plastic and glass). He only sieves once, this gets rid of lumps of wax or any foreign bodies that might have fallen into the honey.  This means that there may be small amounts of pollen and propolis remaining in the honey. Both of these natural products are very good for you and so can only make the honey better.  We do not heat treat the honey, so no goodness is lost, but it does mean that our honey set eventually.  My husband sells his honey, but it’s just to maintain his hobby and all profits go back into the bees.  I’ve looked through all my piccies and for the life of me I can’t find one of Mr Tuna extracting the honey, but here’s a pic of the extractor.

The only picture I can find of his extractor.  No idea why its balanced on a flower trough.The stainless steel extractor.  He has a more powerful one now from Poland but they look the same.

Mmmmm  lovely golden honey fresh in the comb.  This is a frame of honey that would go in the extractor to be spun.

Tasty food for bees.  Blackthorn blossom, out in early spring.  Love this picture. Blackthorn blossom, this comes out in Spring and is a favourite of our bees.

Checking for mites and other nasties that could harm the bees.Mr Tuna checks the ‘underblanket’ of a beehive in order to look for verroa mites or other nasties that might harm the bees.

Beeswax being cleaned. Beeswax being cleaned after the honey has been removed.

Clean beeswax waiting to be melted down into a block of wax or moulded into candlesLovely clean wax waiting to be melted down into a beeswax block or into pure beeswax candles or even health and beauty care products.

After a couple of years of beekeeping Mr Tuna decided to enter the Leeds Flower, Vegetable and Craft Show 2013.  He came third in the novice class for his honey and second for his beeswax candles.

At his first show in Leeds.  3rd in the Novice class for his honey.
At his first show in Leeds. 3rd in the Novice class for his honey.
2nd place for his pure beeswax candles at the same show Leeds 2013
2nd place for his pure beeswax candles at the same show Leeds 2013

In 2014 he entered again.  This time he got a prize for the cleanest frame of honey, a prize for his beeswax candles and an award for his set honey.  Whoopee!!

Leeds Flower Show 2014.  First prize for a clean frame of honey.
Leeds Flower Show 2014. First prize for a clean frame of honey and beeswax candles.
The cup for the best beeswax block.
The cup for the best beeswax candles.
The best frame of honey award.
The best frame of honey award.
Top of the jar with hygiene label.  'Direct from the Producer'
Top of a jar of honey with hygiene label. ‘Direct from the Producer’.
Selling the finished produce at a Christmas fair last December.
Selling the finished produce at a Christmas fair last December.

When the honey has been extracted and sieved he then pours it straight into sterilised jars.  My job is to wipe the jars of any stickiness and then apply the labels to the jar and to the lid.

Mr Tuna melts down the beeswax hexagons (the honeycomb)that the honey was in.  This can then be poured into a beeswax block mould and when it has cooled it can be removed from the mould and stored in a clean dry place for future use.  The beeswax can be made into candles or small amounts can go into the preparation of hand creams, face masks, furniture polish or used in ointment for grazes and cuts and it is very good for sore sun-burnt skin.  But you shouldn’t really be sun-bathing in my humble opinion!  Oh, and mead.  You can make honey mead.  Yum!!  As enjoyed by monks, vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Celts and many other people the world over.

Mr Tuna spending some time with his girls.
Mr Tuna spending some time with his girls.

Mr Tuna is now a member of the Leeds Friends of the Bees.  A new group that hopes to to care for and look after the bees for the sake of the bees health rather than for the mass production of their honey.  They aim to promote more bee friendly planting, cut out pesticide or fungicide use within the hives, they aim to promote the increase of the native black bee and hope to decrease the importation of bees from other countries.  And they are using different forms of hives and using more environmentally friendly materials and insulation.  Here is a photo of Mr T insulating a top-bar hive with straw ready for the coming Winter.

Mr T in his gear and a top-bar hive.
Mr T in his gear and a top-bar hive.

This natural beekeeping sounds great and you can read more about it in Phil Chandler’s book “The Barefoot Beekeeper”, “Learning from Bees: A Philosophy of Natural Beekeeping” is also by Phil Chandler.

Or check out http://www.friendsofthebees.org

Or search for natural beekeeping or top-bar beekeeping on Facebook or Google (other search engines are available!)

Leeds Beekeeping Association is a member of the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA).  They meet regularly at Temple Newsome, LS15.  They also hold taster days for those who think beekeeping may be for them.  They also do various training events, open days and craft stalls and they sell basic beekeeping equipment.  Be warned!  It can be an expensive hobby and it can take up a great deal of your time.  Bees are living creatures, not just a throwaway commodity.  Once you have them, you have them.  To give up on them and forget them is cruel.  If you don’t have the commitment don’t get bees.

I hope you have enjoyed this little peak into the world of Mr Tuna and his beekeeping. I hope you have enjoyed the piccies and here’s one more:

But before I go I think my next post will on foraging, something both Mr T and I enjoy, though he likes making the mess after the forage!  Tis the foraging season!  Actually any season is foraging season!!  Bye bye until next time. xxx

Always bee happy :-)
Always bee happy 🙂

Critters: Yorkshire Animal Healing.

“Critters:  Yorkshire Animal Healing” is the name of my animal healing business. I passed my Animal Healing course with a distinction. I set up my business in April 2014.   I am qualified up to Master Healer level in Animal Healing.  I am insured for Animal Healing through a company called Balens.

My business cards.

I am able to link and work with my animal spirit guides, one in particular, who help me to focus the healing energy for the highest and greatest good of an animal in need.

I trained at the Animal Magic School of Animal Therapy based in Norfolk. The teacher there has her courses scrutinised by DEFRA and other educational bodies.  I have very nearly completed my Crystal Therapy for Animals portfolio.  Very excited about that!

I have lived in Pontefract, West Yorkshire for the last 11 years.  This area has excellent links to the four counties of Yorkshire, so please do not think I am too far away to visit you and your pet.  Just phone and ask if I could travel to your area.  I am married to my lovely husband and we have two dogs, four cats and two older tortoises.  I am vegetarian and animal welfare is very important to me.  However, please don’t think I will preach to you or try to convert you to my way of thinking or living.  My husband eats some meat.  Yes, I wish he would eat none, but it’s his choice.  I don’t smoke but I have several friends that do.  I don’t lecture them.  Each of us makes our own decisions on how to live our lives.  If you want me to preach I will do!  I sign petitions for animal welfare reforms.  I am against the Badger Cull and been on marches to ‘Save the Badger’; and I am certainly against hunting or shooting any creature.  I would prefer it if other people believed the same as me, but I respect individual choice.  What I will say is that we all have a conscience and we must be sure that we can live with our thoughts, beliefs and actions or in-actions.

As an Animal Healer I am willing to try to work with any species of animal:  family pets, farm animals, fish, birds, reptiles or wildlife.  If it is too difficult to get near to an animal I can be nearby and send healing.  Fish in tanks can receive healing through the glass or above the water.  The same can be done for other types of animal such as spiders or scorpions – I confess I wouldn’t like these crawling up my arm!  But that doesn’t mean I won’t visit them.

One of my tortoises receiving healing earlier this year.  This little shell critter has arthritis in one of her back legs.
One of my tortoises receiving healing earlier this year. This little shell critter has arthritis in one of her back legs.

Please visit my website :  www.crittersyorkshireanimalhealing.co.uk  for more information.

You can find me on facebook as:  Critters: Yorkshire Animal Healing.

I look forward to you contacting me for a discussion and to book a consultation and a treatment.

I am also happy to visit any local groups and talk about Animal Healing and my work.

Thank you,   Tina Wittorf – AMMH

Purr away the blues

It’s true- cats are good for you.

Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)

purr-away-the-blues-by-welcoming-a-moggy-into-your-home-and-heart

Research* commissioned by Cats Protection shows that sharing a home with a cat can help people of all ages cope with the demands of everyday life, with findings such as:

• During the months of January and February, cat owners suffer 60% less headaches than non-cat owners, are 21% less likely to catch a cold or flu, and feel significantly less miserable, impatient and tense.

• 81% of children aged 13 and under sometimes share their feelings with their cats rather than a family member or friend when they are upset.

• 50% of people aged over 55 said their cat had helped them in times of a crisis, whilst 46 per cent felt their cat had helped them cope better with bereavement.

Cats Protection’s Emma Osborne said, “Our research shows that cats can have a hugely positive impact in the lives of people they live with, whether they are…

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So, What’s so Special About Tuna?

Hello!  That time of the week for another blog.

I’ve been reviewing my few previous posts and I have to say how lovely it is to have some likers and a couple of followers.   Thank you for taking the time to tap like and follow.  It really is appreciated.  As yet I haven’t added any links to other blogs or websites that I like and follow.  This is because I haven’t figured out how to do it!  Rome wasn’t built in a day and this blog has certaily taken longer than that!

While reading my past blogs I saw that I promised to tell you why I called this particular little blog The Life of Tuna.   Well, its very simple really.  You know that predictive text thingymajigg?  The one that thinks it can read your mind and so writes what it thinks you want to write?  Yes, that annoying bit of computer programming.   My name is actually Tina.   Now, you see the problem? Tina and predictive text.  Hmmmm…..Not many people write Tina, but loads of people probably write tuna, so that dreaded predictive beast thinks everyone that that uses the letters T, N and A wants to write tuna.   People and friends texting me who might have been in a rush or who may have trusted themselves enough to write Tina did not check through their text before sendig them to me.  Consequently, I was called Tuna ALL the time!!! It became a joke and it started popping up on birthday and and christmas cards and on e-mails and on facebook messages.  I am a committed vegetarian of twenty nine years and have never eaten tuna. Even when I was a meat eater I couldn’t stomach the smell of tuna.  No dead tuna has ever passed my lips.   So thIs name stuck and I am now Tuna, Toona, Tina-Tuna,The Tuna, Little Tuna etc, etc…….   But I don’t mind, I have broad shoulders, I’ve been called worse.

When I started making and selling my crocheted and felted goodies I wondered what I would call myself.  A couple of friends made suggestions.  We mixed them up a bit and I became ‘The Crafty Tuna’.  Yeah!!    I wanted this blog to be friendly and fun, but the main reason for setting this up is to promote my work, not just my crafts, but my Animal Healing business, which I am passionate about,  and I also want to be able to tell people about the benefits of holistic therapies.  Since these activities take up most of my time, which is great because I love them,  I decided to call the blog ‘The Life of Tuna’.

Me dressed and ready for some holistic work.
Me dressed and ready for some holistic work.

I am qualified in several holistic therapies: Reflexology, Indian Head Massage, Swedish Body Massage, Hopi Ear Candling (Thermo-auricular therapy),  Hot Stone Massage and I also hold certification in Massage for People with Cancer.  I hope in later blogs to go through each of these therapies and tell you a little about them and how they can help you.

I am qualified up to Master level in Animal Healing, which seeks to work with and channel the universal energy in order to aid a beloved pet.  I am currently completing my portfolio in Crystal Therapy for Animals and have recently undertaken a course on making and using native British tree essences (Animal Essentia) which works at a vibrational level with animal and the universe in order to improve the well-being of an animal.  I am happy to work with all types of animals:  domestic pets, farm animals, work animals, furred, feathered or scaley, large or small.

Please click on the ‘About Page’ on this blog to see my websites and Facebook pages.  Thank you.

There will also be posts about life in general, in particular about life at ‘Tuna Towers’.  Never a dull moment with four cats, two dogs, two tortoises and a husband!

I will finish this little piece and go and figure out how to create a link to other pages.  Wish me luck!

Lots of tuna love xxxx

Mission often Impossible!

The date:   Monday 20th of July 2015

The Time:  03.20hrs.   That’s twenty past three in the morning when we should all be in bed and asleep!! Yes!

Your mission should you choose to accept it:  to rescue a tiny mouse from the clutches of Rosalinda, Huntress of the night in her furs of black.

Sleeping peacefully in my bed, I became aware of some muffled grumblings.  Think I heard the words ‘Rosie’, ‘mouse’, ‘stop it’, and maybe other not so nice words.  But I had an appointment in the Land of Nod and I was soon asleep again.

I must have slept again, because when I next became aware of the world I could hear the padding of feet and teeny tiny tapping sounds on the wooden floorboards.  I was instantly awake! Wide awake. My auditory faculties (my ears that is) and my brain made a connection. Those earlier grumblings and the teen tiny noises together with kitty paws and snickering sounds could only mean one thing.  THERE WAS A MOUSE IN THE BEDROOM!!!

I swung round onto the edge of the bed holding my feet above the ground in case the mousey decided to tip toe over my tootsies.  Blast, couldn’t reach the light switch.  I reached out with the toes of one foot and tentatively put them on the floor for a bit of balance. A tiny push onto those toes and I’d reached the light and the bedroom came into stark view.

There by the wardrobe was Rosalinda and there, about two feet away from her, behind the kittycat night-time water bowl, was Mousey!  Rosalinda – eyes wide, ears alert, nose twitching and tail switching; Mousey – small, brown, huge eyes whiskers trembling, sitting on it’s hind legs.  Behind the water bowl was a good place for a little respite as Rosie hates to get her lustrous fur damp and she obviously did not want to put her paws anywhere near the bowl in case it tipped, spilling the wet stuff in her direction.

What should I do?  The husband hates being disturbed during the night (don’t we all?) especially when he has a long day at work approaching.  Old cat Casper sleeps downstairs and is deaf so is oblivious of the dilemma, the dogs were snoring in their bedroom (yes, they do have their own bedroom, what’s the problem with that? Their own beds, in their own bedroom and their own laundry basket to take their own blankies for a wash when needed.  It’s a dog’s life).  The other two tomcats were watching the unexpected entertainment from the comfort of the human’s bed.  Just lying there, watching, not moving, not enticed to join in the mouse hunt.  Truth is they know better than to join Rosie in one of her hunts.  She out-hunts them all.

Well, I couldn’t just go back to bed. I couldn’t just watch as Rosie hunted down her quarry, so, yes, I decided a rescue mission was needed.  How should I go about liberating Mousey from his nemesis?  Remove Rosie?  But then Mousey would still be in the bedroom.  Throw a towel over Mousey hope it weighs him down so I can gather him up and take him outside?  Hmmm, tried that before and you can’t be sure that you have gathered up the tiny being.  You go outside, shake the towel out in the undergrowth only to come back indoors and there is Mr Mouse still sitting where you left him!

I decided to try to catch him there and then, with my bare hands.  What was I thinking?  I was half awake, bare footed and about to try and pick up one of nature’s fastest moving creatures – the tiny, scared mouse.  Rosie had settled down in a long wait for Mousey to appear from behind the water dish, so I decided now would be the time to lunge.  So I did, Mousey ran, I squealed like the girl I am, Rosie went into strike mode and Mousey turned tail and ran back behind the water bowl.

Maybe the softly, softly approach would work.  Mousey saw the cumbersome human as no threat whatsoever, so kept his mousey eyes on Rosie.  I thought I would creep up from behind and be able to pick him up by the scruff of the neck then carry him outside – a journey with a mouse in my hands I hadn’t yet planned. So slowly I bent over, reached out my arm and hovered my fingers over the tiny little body.  Finger and thumb approached the neck area – and bingo!!!!  I had him.  For about a hundredth of a second, when he curled around and bit me. Biting the hand of the rescuer! Did this Mouse have Stockholm Syndrome? Was he now sympathising with his captor and willing to join in with her sick kittycat games?  Needless to say, there were more girly screams and Mousey was dropped (not from a great height, it all happened very quickly).

I was intent on saving this tiny life before I scared it to death or burst its eardrums with my squeals of terror and confusion. I went in for the catch again, this time not so much a catch as a pinning down of its tail.  I pressed his tail to floor and somehow managed to pincer my thumb and index finger together and got a grip on said tiny tail.  I had him!  I picked him up and ran down the stairs, though the lounge, bypassing the sleeping cat, shoved curtains aside and with my left hand managed to unlock the conservatory door and the other door leading to the patio. Barefoot I skipped across the stony patio and onto the cool night-time grass. I trotted over to the far end of the garden and carefully placed Mousey down on the grass where he made a bee-line for the shrubbery.  Mousey was FREE!  Yey!  Mousie 1, Rosalinda 0.

As I was locking the doors Rosie approached with a look of kitty hatred on her face.  I had taken her toy off her.  She wasn’t happy.  Much miaowing and snickering and trilling went on.  I was clearly feeling the sharp end of that hairy, raspy tongue. I didn’t care – Mousey was free to live another day.  He appeared unharmed but very tired as I doubt I would have caught him quite so easily as he been on full alert. Poor thing. I ignored Rosie’s feline expletives and returned to bed.  Of course I was wide awake by then, so snuggled down and watched the sun come up and listened to the dawn chorus.

The Killer Queen

all phone pics june 2014 956all phone pics june 2014 1272

 I do not approve of cats hunting or catching birds, mice, rats, shrew, voles or moles.  Yes, on occasion Rosie has even bought us live moles as gifts.  I don’t like how cats play with their victims.  The above story happened to me last night and it’s not the first time it has happened and I don’t expect it to be the last.  I tell it as a typical anecdote that often happens to cat owners.  And I decided to put a comical twist on it.  The mouse did not appear harmed but was exhausted.  When I picked it up I had a look at it and it did not appear hurt.  Cats are hunters.  It’s how they have evolved. We have taken them into our homes but we cannot remove instinct and I don’t believe we should, for then they wouldn’t be cats.  

So until Rosie brings in another creature I shall love her like I always do. I shall moan at her until I rescue her poor victim, then I shall continuing loving her.

She is Rosalinda and she wears furs of black.

All the Fun of the Feast and Fayre

Well. hello there!  Tuna checking in.  I hope everyone is keeping fine and dandy?  I should have written this last week but blame the heatwave for my lack of action.

Saturday June the 27th saw myself and the husband setting up stall at Darrington Feast and Fayre. This was the 32nd year of the fair and is usually a great day out.   A very early start for us which was assisted by the lovely early morning sun.  It was a quick shower, got dressed, had breakfast and filled the car with goodies to sell at our local Summer fair.

Mr Tuna is a beekeeper.  That’s his hobby, not his job.  But when he is not at work he’s with his girls – thousands of them.  He loves them and calls them all sweetheart.  I am a bee widow!  Anyway, more of that in a future post.  The little bees make more honey than they need so the surplus is extracted, filtered, bottled, labelled and sold by Mr tuna.

I make and sell crocheted items.  At fairs it’s usually amigurumi collectables.  I make lots of crocheted bee keyrings to sell alongside the honey from our bees. They could be used as bag charms too or just as little cuties sitting on your desk at work or shelf at home. I also make other little critters and also some accessories, scarfs, shawls, brooches and bags mainly.   And yes, more about this in a future post.

Here are some piccies of our day at Darrington, West Yorkshire.

Setting up at Darrington Feast and Fayre June 2015
Setting up at Darrington Feast and Fayre June 2015
Yours truly waiting to sell, sell, sell!
Yours truly waiting to sell, sell, sell!
My bees and other animals waiting to go to a good home.
My bees and other animals waiting to go to a good home.

We had a great day.  it was pretty long but fun.  It was sunny but with a breeze to keep us cool.  However!!  Sunscreen is always needed. So there were hats, sunglasses and tubs of factor 30 stuffed into my copious “Aladdin’s cave” of a handbag.

Mr Tuna sold lots of lovely honey.  He doesn’t sell for profit.  He only sells his surplus which then pays for more equipment and bee paraphenalia. I sold half of my bees.  Not as good as I had hoped for, but it paid for the yarn used and the keyring attachments.  Although I will write more about my crochet and craftiness in future blogs, if you are interested you can visit my facebook page: The Crafty Tuna.   That page has lots of pictures of my crochet, felting and other makes, plus a few bits of fun and links to other pages.

Here are more piccies!

A hot busy day at the fair. The view from our table.
A hot busy day at the fair. The view from our table.
Yummy!  Two wicker baskets that I bought to store my crafty makes in.
Yummy! Two wicker baskets that I bought to store my crafty makes in.
Quick pic before we set off.  Showing off the crochet flowers I made and stitched to my hat.
Quick pic before we set off. Showing off the crochet flowers I made and stitched to my hat.

So, that was last Saturday.  Seems ages ago now.  Since then I have been trying to avoid the heat, look after our aging poorly cat, Casper (who has picked up by the way), make some tree essences  (yes, information in a later post), finish off my Crystal Therapy for Animals portfolio (more on that in a later post); and I’ve made a summer handbag and a winter scarf (yes, piccies in a later post – I just like to tempt you! heehee).  Told you I liked brackets! ()

The Crafty Tuna says bye bye for now.  Will write again soon!  xx

Summer Solstice greetings 2015

I would like to wish a wondrous Solstice to everyone and everything – human, mineral, plant and animal.  We all benefit from the power of the Sun, it’s only right that we praise and celebrate it.  I thought this diagram of the Wheel of the Year was rather pretty.  It is from a Wicca blog and I have very naughtily forgot what it was called.  I will look it up again tomorrow and add to this post. No intention of using someone’s work and then not naming them.

wheel of the year       

The Oak King is dead, long live the Holly King!       

So how did you celebrate the Solstice? Did you stay up all night to welcome in the dawn?  Did you sleep and set your alarm to wake you up in time to enjoy the sunrise? Did you travel to a sacred site such as a stone circle? Or did you go off and and find your own little piece of the country in which to welcome the sunrise?

I was woken up by two of my cats.  We looked out the window at the sunlight (sadly a somewhat overcast morning) and listened to the dawn chorus.  I LOVE the dawn chorus.  Anyway I fell asleep again!  Not to be awakened until i smelled the coffee coming from the kitchen that the lovely Mr Tuna had arranged.

After the animal care jobs and a few household tasks we had lunch and then went for a walk with the two doggies.  (More animals tales {tails!?} coming in later blogs – how much do you want to know, I could talk for hours about my fur-babies. Had a cool, blustery walk (yeah, I love British weather!) and said hello to some trees and wished them Solstice blessings.  I love trees – more about that in a later post. 

So now it is nearly the end of June 21st.  I shall leave you with two images of the Summer Solstice in Iceland, where there are only about 3 hours and 20 minutes between sunrise and sunset.

midnight-sun-in-iceland-3  sunrise iceland                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Enjoy your Summer!