Little Lizzie Lizard

Today we saw a lizard in our little garden. She was very active and very healthy. But, a year ago we found one in our cantina. She wasn’t very well at all. We christened her ‘Little LIZZIE Lizard’.

Read on to find out what happened.

Yesterday we found this little lizard in our cantina and it wasn’t very well. We called it Little Lizzie Lizard!

She looked so thin and lifeless and so dull that we were really afraid she would  die but we were determined to do our best and try to help her.  First we needed to find out some facts about lizards.  We have shared them and the story of Little Lizzie Lizard below.


Some Lizard Facts!

Lizards belong to an animal class called REPTILES.
Reptiles (with a few exceptions) are cold-blooded animals which lay eggs. They have a backbone, four legs and are covered in scales.   Lizards can be found all over the world except at the North and South Poles.

 Can you guess why? 

There are over 3,000 different types of lizards and they come in all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes! The smallest measures a tiny 7cms whereas the largest, the Komodo Dragon can reach lengths of 3 metres.
Lizards have four legs each with five little toes and they are very fast runners and very good at climbing. They also have a very long tail part of which can detach itself if a predator grabs hold! The lizard then grows another one!

They are insectivores which means that they eat only insects but some of the larger ones are carnivores and eat small animals,
Most lizards live in trees or under rocks and are more active at night. During the day they like to sunbathe!

 Why?? .
Well, it has something to do with the fact they aren’t found at the North or South Poles !!
Do you know what the climate is like at the poles?
Yes! Ice and snow and VERY cold.
You and I and all mammals like dogs and cats and rabbits and mice and horses are warm bloodied which means we are able to control our body temperature. To keep it the same even when the temperature outside changes. But reptiles and that includes lizards, are cold bloodied which means that they can’t control their body temperature. So they need to sunbathe to warm up!

This is why our little lizard was so poorly when we found her.   She had been locked in a cold underground room with no sun and was very, very cold.  She was also very dehydrated which means her  body was lacking in water and dehydration is very serious.  We couid tell she was poorly because she was so happy to be handled and that is NOT normal.   The poor thing hadn’t the energy to run away!


So!  The Jumbles came to the rescue!!

We had to warm her up and re-hydrate her which means we had to make sure she drank some water.  We held her near a bowl of water and were really pleased because she started to lap it up !

Then we found a nice big bowl and popped her in with a shallow bowl of water and then we put it in a nice warm spot outside but not in direct sunlight because it is VERY hot here at the moment.  We also gave her a little box just in case she wanted to hide!


Then we left her in peace but kept checking every hour.

After about four hours Lizzie Lizard was looking very different. More alert and a much better colour !  So we put a few ants and maggots into the bowl to tempt her to eat.  The DOG BISCUIT was not for Lizzie Lizard! It was just a quick way to catch some insects and transport to the bowl !


By the following morning Lizzie Lizard  was anxious to get out and, instead if wanting to be handled she ran off when we tried to touch her !

That was a good sign Lizzie was feeling normal again.

It was time to let her out !


And that’s what we did!

It was such a great feeling to have helped an animal recover and to have been able to return it to the wild.

Video of Little Lizzie Lizard’s recovery!

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Autumn Leaves. Sunday Challenge

There are SO many things you can do with Autumn leaves!

Preparation 

It’s a good idea to take an old book out with you when you go collecting because fallen leaves curl up very quickly. If you take a book then you can slip the leaves between the pages.  Then, on returning home, the book can be placed under something heavy or between other books on the bookshelf until you are ready the use the leaves.

On today’s programme (click on the link below) you will see how to make models and pictures and a lantern but there are lots more things you can do and there will be more ideas in our next programme.

                        Click here for the AUTUMN LEAVESg programme


COUNTRY CHICKEN

 


A lovely hearty dish for cooler days. 

Let’s the kids roll the sausage balls for you. They love the sticky jobs that us adults hate! 

This recipe works  really well in the slow cooker or on top of the cooker or can be casseroled on a low heat in the oven. 

Ingredients: 


I know it doesn’t look very appetising but it REALLY does taste delicious when cooked!’

For 4 people: 

4 CHICKEN joints 

3/4 thick good butchers sausages . Preferably with herbs. Linconshire sausages would work well.  Umbrian sausages are SUPERB!   

Two wine glasses of red wine.

One stock cube. Two big Cloves  of garlic. One red onion. 

A pack of back olives with stones. 

Two tins of good chunky tinned tomatoes.

Two teaspoons of oregano. 

Peperoncino or chilli pepper to taste 

One thinly sliced red pepper. 



METHOD: 

First skin the sausage and roll into balls using four . You should get two/ three good sized balls from each. 

Rub the chicken joints with flour. 

Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pan. Add the chicken and sausage. Toss on medium heat for just four/five minutes then remove to a plate. 



Add onions and garlic to the pan and cook gently for five minutes. 

Replace chicken and sausage and Pour in the wine. 

Simmer for five minutes then add everything else .

Stir well and then turn down heat and cook with lid on very gently for an hour.  ( or put in the slow cooker or casserole it in the oven).

Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Serve with crispy sauté potatoes and tiny tender peas. 

Jumble House Stuffed Peppers 


These peppers are so gorgeous and filling!  Served with a salad they make a delicious, easy and healthy light meal. 

They are best cooked in the oven but if you, like me, don’t have one then it is possible to  use a microwave as you will see from the video: 

The ingredients: 

Large red peppers

Onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes,

Oregano, salt and pepper

Risotto rice

Stir Fry 


At Jumble House we like our meals to be healthy AND tasty and, if you have been following our blog you will know that we also like food with a bit of a kick!  Nothing bland! 

I can’t see any point in eating food, healthy or not, if you don’t actually ENJOY it.  Food needs to look good, smell good and taste good and what could  be nicer and more tempting than colourful, crisp vegetables and plump, juice prawns! 
                         Click on this link to be tempted!
This stir-fry is crammed full of colourful vegetables and great smelling spices and herbs. I’ve substituted Tamari Sauce for Soy sauce and lemon juice for Balsamic Vinegar to reduce the sugar content but feel free to experiment! 

The ingredients 


A large thinly sliced red onion.  2/3 cloves of garlic and about 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger. 

A large red pepper and some green vegetables. (Broccoli, Sugar Snap Peas, Mangetout) 

Mushrooms

A carrot cut into thin strips. ( this adds the sweetness ) 

Prawns ( you can substitute cubed chicken or Quorn ) 

Spices:  A pinch of Crushed Chillies and Cumin. I also like to add half a teaspoon of Chinese Spice. 

Sauces: Tamari and Thai Fish Sauce. Lemon Juice plus 2 tablespoons of Marsala or Sherry.

To finish: A few broken cashew nuts and chopped Coriander Leaf.    (Optional) 



Method: 

Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a wok. Heat. 

Quickly fry the onion, garlic, spices and ginger for about 3 minutes. 

Push to the sides of the wok and add the vegetables that need the most cooking.  Cook on medium heat for  another 3 minutes then push to the side and add more. Continue this process until all the vegetables are in the wok. ( I suggest adding the mushrooms last.). The vegetables should stay crisp so don’t overcook. 

Mix together 1 tablespoon of Tamari Sauce,  1 tablespoon of Fish sauce and 2 tablespoon of sherry/Marsala or similar and add to the pan with the prawns. Cook until the prawns are cooked and a nice healthy pink (if using fresh ones) or heated through (frozen variety). Taste and add more spices/liquid as necessary. 

Stir in a handful of cashews. Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaf and a teaspoon of sesame oil and serve with rice or noodles. 

48 hours in Catania 


48 Hours in Catania. Sicily.We have just returned after a wonderful couple of days in Catania, the largest city after Palermo in Sicily. 
            Click on this link to watch the video


We thought we would take advantage of the great low fares offered by Ryanair from our local airport, Perugia. 
Our flight from Perugia cost around €70 return for the two of us. It took just over one hour. 
I like flying but I am NOT a lover of airports ! The exception being Perugia!!  
To me the airport experience is usually tedious, stressful, expensive and pretty boring. Long queues. Expensive refreshments. Expensive parking. Stressful check-ins. Long distances to walk (or offen run!) ) Often not-very-helpful staff, Etc etc etc.
Flying from Perugia is GREAT! The airport is small and cosy. It’s like going home! Everyone remembers you. The staff, including the bar, customs, police, car hire, everyone …are friendly, helpful, accommodating. The appropriate word probably is HUMAN! I’ve yet to find an airport like this anywhere else ! Arent we lucky to live just thirty minutes away!!

  Above: We loved the area around Piazza Duomo. It was so full of life and character and culture. 

The flight to Catania took just over one hour and yet the Ryanair staff somehow managed to deliver their usual drinks and food and duty-free and scratch cards looking their usual smiley and stress free selves despite passengers finding it difficult to get organised! It was a late flight arriving in Catania about 9pm.

We had booked (with Ryanair) the bus … Alibus …to Piazza Stesicoro and that worked very smoothly. The driver was great and told us when our stop was coming up. It was a twenty minute transfer.

                   Above …our GREAT B&B

Getting off the bus, was, I must admit a bit of a culture shock! Coming from quiet, clean and peaceful Umbria to Sicily is well, WOW! Especially when arriving after dark. Maybe arriving from Liverpool or London or Milan would be kinder! It’s the noise and cars and litter and people and a feeling of ‘…are we safe here!’ But our concerns soon vanished . We were safe and everyone was very friendly and helpful and only too eager to help us find our B&B. In fact the people of Catania are really adorable ! It was difficult to tear ourselves away from bars and restaurants and the B&B because we just wanted to stay and chat!  

We chose B&B Stesicoro because it had such good reviews and because it was so central. We were NOT disappointed! 

Don’t be put off by the entrance down a short dark alleyway. It’s fine. The actual B&B fronts onto the piazza and it’s great fun before breakfast watching the marketeers set up every morning. 


        Above: Piazza Stesicoro. Right outside our B&B 

View of B&B Stesicoro Via Etnea is one of the busiest and most popular streets in the city, cluttered with shops and restaurants and bars. It leads to the Duomo and castle and market plus you can always see Etna! Unfortunately, because of the clouds I never got to take a good photo of this majestic volcano which towers over Catania and, according to locals remains active, erupting every summer for a week or so.  

Right outside the B&B is the Piazza Stesicoro complete with the ruins of an amphitheatre and some of the most magnificent examples of Baroque architecture you will see anywhere. Just five minutes away is a lovely green park . An oasis. Somewhere for people like me who really NEED a green break every day!

The Rooms and the location and the people are just amazing. We will definitely go again to Catania and we will definitely stay at this same B&B. The family are so lovely and do everything possible to make your stay a happy one. The rooms are large and very tastefully decorated and furnished. Everywhere is spotless. English is spoken. The air-con and WiFi works well. Breakfast is your typical Italian Prima Colazione with delicious fresh and hot pastries, boiled eggs, ham, cheese, yoghurt, fresh fruits,bread and freshly made coffee. 


    Above:  San Nicolò 

On our first day we had a good wander around the Piazza and the small roads leading from it taking in a few churches ( there are hundreds!) the university and ending up at the church of San Nicolo and the adjoining monestry. San Nicolò (above) is a very strange looking church. The bul dung began in 1702 but was never completed. It is possible to go up the tower where a wonderful clear view of Mount Etna awaits but unfortunately we arrived at the church when it was closed for the afternoon siesta and so missed this attraction. But the adjoining monetary was well worth a visit. 

       Above:  the Castle 

The Duomo On our second day we turned right onto Via Etnae and walked for ten minutes past shops and restaurants to the Piazza Duomo. This piazza is spectacular and so are the multitude of little streets leading off it. This area is so interesting and became our favourite. We really loved the huge street market which spreads out from the piazza and is open every day except Sunday. The sights, sounds and smells are incredible!  

The market From here it’s only a quick walk to the castle and to the Teatro Romano and the docks and so we were able to enjoy all of these in just one afternoon!  

We really enjoyed our two days in Catania but it was not enough! There’s so much more to see not just in the city but in the surrounding area including, of course a visit to Mount Etna. We will definitely go again and, next time, for longer! 

This is a very short account of our visit. For more I hope you will enjoy the video.
Click on this link to watch the video

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