Sunday, 27 December 2009

Pictures of our crafty makes...

The last few posts have been lacking in photographs so I thought I would make up for it today, although there are still a couple more to do another day!!!
This one is our season table with the initial wintry feel to it.

Lots of hand made decorations this year...Rob made a wreath for the front door and we had some real greenery above the mirror in the living room. These snowflakes were an idea I 'borrowed' from Hannah, and we liked them so much we made some in different colours! If you look closely in the first picture you can see some of the paper chains too.

A two tone pink one!!!!

And a much smaller one for the tree in classic seasonal colours....

These are the home made edible goodies we made....truffles, iced gingerbread biscuits, lebkuchen and Jonathan's favourite, peppermint creams!! We packaged them up seperately and in different ways. I enjoyed making the little boxes and bags too!!

This is the celebration ring that I made from clay inspired by the wooden ones from Myriad. They are a lovely idea, but sooooo expensive So, failing to persuade Jonathan to make me a wooden one, I fashioned this one from the air drying clay we had. We used it for all three of the birthdays we had before christmas using the numbers that I made from clay to decorate them. William and David helped to paint those. I need to find some candles the right size for the holes that I made. We used cake candles in wooden holders that Rob made out of a length of Hazel, but they burn down too quickly. It made a nice centrepiece for the table on the day anyway, though.

The baggy Waldorf doll I made for my friends liitle girl designed to be a bedtime companion. A very soft squashy body ideal for cuddling.

The very simple Waldorf first doll I made for her wee one. At 5 months she is teething and so I'm hoping this will not only give her something to cuddle but something to chew on aswell!!!

And this is the traditional limbed doll I made for William. He has dungarees made from bits of old jeans, a t shirt from one of my old t-shirt's sleeves and his hat is an odd sock of David's!!!! Quite pleased with him as a first attempt at this style, although his head is a little should be a little rounder.

I always enjoy making and giving handmade presents. They always feel more special somehow.Jonathan and David loved their socks and Jonathan wore them every day for about 5 days!!!! I wish I had taken a photo of them on the first day he wore them, as they are now a little worse for wear! Photos of those and the hot water bottle covers I made coming soon!!!! I just need to start earlier next year!!!!
Receiving homemeade presents is always lovely too...some lovely hand knitted dish cloths from Hannah and a lovely little knitted elephant for Will. He's gorgeous xx

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Birthdays, solstice and christmas!!!

So, here we are.
Everyone is talking about being ready for Christmas yet here we are still trying to concentrate on Tom's birthday, which is tomorrow.
But we have had to do christmas preparations. There have been presents to make, package up, wrap and parcel up to post. A special consignment was delivered to my good friend Han yesterday, while Rob and the smalls went to the post office with the parcels for further afield.
Rob and Jonathan have their birthdays and then I get lulled into a false sense of security that Tom's is a week away. I started doing christmas things, we talked about the winter solstice and then suddenly I rememeber that it is his birthday tomorrow!!!! Eeek!!! Birthday cake is quickly baked, plans thrown together. A few presents wrapped and cards hastily made. Food shoppping was done this afternoon and suddenly we are here.
This strange day which I always feel should be Tom's birthday. He was born in such chaos around midnight that noone really knows which day is his birthday. The people present (there were quite a few!) seemed to all agree on just after midnight (12:03 to be precise for the record), but to me it always seems wrong that it is tomorrow and not today. He should have been born before midnight, long before, but I won't go into detail about that here. Then he would have 2 days between his birthday and christmas and it would be right....I was in labour all that day and that is when I think about his passage in to this world.
I brought Tom home from hospital on a beautiful frosty Christmas Eve, 15 years ago. This was my first experience of birth and motherhood, both of which started out as a disaster, but I have arrived at Tom's 15th birthday feeling proud that I have made it through many difficult and testing times with him firmly by my side. He has turned into a very mature, sensible young man with a great sense of humour. He is always there to help, can always be relied upon and has always been and continues to be, my right hand man.
He is paving the way for his brothers and I just hope that he continues on this path he has chosen. It cannot be easy being the eldest of four boys....(it certainly isn't easy being a mum of four boys!!!) but he is doing just fine!!
So here I sit unable to do anything constructive this evening as is true of many an eve of Tom's birthday thinking about the whole experience and wishing I had known then what I know now. But despite the delayed and consequently forced entry in to this world, the terrible experience of breast feeding and the upheaval that he experienced as a baby; we moved house more times than I care to remember, and he went to a child minder as a very small baby (don't ask!!!) and many other things along the way, he has turned out ok!!
I may have screwed up in the beginning, but I must have done something right along the way! So tomorrow we will celebrate Tom's 15th birthday.
And from today the days are getting longer and that has got to be something worth smiling about! It is funny how I wasn't as desperate for the Winter Solstice as I thought I was going to be, because we have been having this beautiful snow and frost for the last few days. The sun has been shining, so the normal dull and dreary grey of winter hasn't been hanging over us. Yes, I could cope with winter if it was cold and frosty all the time. It is the grey and wet I hate so much.
We have a decorated tree now. Paper chains and snowflakes up. A winter seasons table. Lights up in the dining room and kitchen bringing the magic to the most used rooms in our house and preents all wrapped. So preparations done, many of the handmade gifts I planned have been finished, and now it is time to just look ahead and enjoy the festive season.
Merry Christmas to you all xxx

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

What is Home Education?

I think there are far too many people in our country, that do not know or understand the answer to this question, yet still make judgements without bothering to educate themselves about the subject.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Life in slow motion.

So, another week has slipped by without me posting anything.
This is the first year for a very long time that we have a christmas tree up so early in our house. I usually do the tree on christmas eve for a number of reasons. Firstly, I believe it is traditionally done this that right? or is that the yule log that I am thinking of? I can just picture people finishing work early on christmas eve and going to buy their tree on the way home to surprise the children. Not sure where i have the image from but it is quite an old fashioned image!! And secondly, we have three birthdays in this house before christmas with Tom's being the 23rd so I feel it is only fair to give him full birthday honours before moving on to christmas.
But this year, we have a real tree bought from the farm shop. I love real trees. So much nicer than the plastic variety, although I am quite attached to my own little one. We went to get dog and chicken feed and were greeted with a whole lot of trees stacked up against the hedges and fences. Every year we talk about having a real tree but never get around to it. But this year? Jonathan had found a twenty pound note in the gutter while out on his paper round, so we bought one!!! He didn't need much!!!
It has no decorations yet though. We hope to spend some time making some before getting my box down full of the usual ones. Most of those are hand made too but I thought the tree is big enough to take a few more than the little tree, and a good excuse to make some more. I like remembering how each decoration came about and adds to the magic of it all. I just hope we have enough lights to do it justice too!
We also gathered some fir and holly branches to make a wreath and some garlands, but we have yet to work out the logistics of those!!
I'm still busy knitting and sewing pressies and am hoping to at least get some finished in time.
I have another first too. This is the first year when I haven't actually bought a single christmas present by this time. I usually have a little stash going by now, and gardually add to it as I think of things, but there isn't a single bought present in my house yet!!! 2 weeks to christmas and nothing bought at all yet!
I have made mincemeat, but no christmas cake this year as it just isn't that popular in our house, what with birthdays in abundance too.
We are biding our time and it feels very strange. I have made a few cards with David, but it is all a little slow getting going this year. We have edible goodies to make but for obvious reasons can't do those until nearer the time, and my projects are coming together slowly.
Rob has been making an advent calendar with festive pictures of us and the animals in a big tree. I'll try and get a picture posted as it is quite hard to explain. We also have a fabric one that I made a few years ago that we put sweeties in, but it always seems to be problematical and actually Rob's pictures are more popular!!!! Today was Buffy in a party hat and blower, and yesterday we had Turq on skis!!!
There has also been some letter games here, with the montessori sandpaper letters I made a while ago. Will and David spent time finding objects around the room and putting them with the 'right' letter. We all enjoyed trying to think of objects for the obscure letters!!! Will is getting good at recognising them and can type all the beginning letlers of our names on the keyboard, saying everyones names as he does it. He also likes to sit and do typing on Word, asking what it is that he has written afterwards!!
Maybe a pictorial post next time!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


Not the cold kind, (although we have more than our fair share of those!!!) but the blog post kind.
I really must get out of the habit of rushing to finish a post because I have to go and do something else.
I forget that there is a draft saving device that means that I can go back and re read and add in all those things that I forgot to put in first time around.
Like yesterday.
I waffled on about rats and totally embarrassed myself, but forgot to say about the wheat grinding that has been going on here recently. Lots of bread made from scratch here, and we have enjoyed watching Jimmys food factory on iPLayer, where he makes cornflakes. Mad, the amount of effort that goes in to making those little flakes. We are currently into porridge here. Cheaper, less packaging overall and less waste. Mot to mention warming and more filling.
I also forgot to say about the popcorn making yesterday, and the invention of a new breakfast cereal...popcorn and milk with sugar...yuk!!!!
I also forgot to post about the christmas sweet factory that was my kitchen a week or so ago...truffles, choc fudge, biscuits with melted sweets in the middle and pink coconut mice. All practice runs with gifts in mind. Of course these trial sweets had to be consumed by the taste testers and decisions made about which to make again and what to do differently.
I also forgot to post about the fact that Jonathan has finished reading the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series too now. Now we are all waiting for the purchase of the final one in paperback next year!!! This is such an amazing thing to be able to say about him as he has never been a reader and these are the first 'real' substantial fiction he has read. I am SO tempted by the hardback copy, but I must resist!
So many things that we do that I forget to share in detail. So many unwritten, but thought about blog posts in my head.
But if you are doing, you can't be typing about it!! Can you?
Home Ed is full of ups and downs. Periods of intense activity and serious lulls. But with so many children in the house these periods don't always coincide, making for a turbulant atmosphere on occaision!
Winter is the worst time for us. More difficult to be outside for any length of time. Such short days and long drawn out nights. I can be happy indoors for quite a while, as long as I have been out. But that isn't so for all of us. The boys seem to spend more time on the computer and watching DVD's at this time of year. Energy seems to be at a real low which stifles the creativity that I have. It is hard to do things in the evenings as I feel so tired, yet when I am wide awake I have other, more pressing things to do!! I think it is probably the same for all of us.
Looking forward to the winter solstice and the turning of the tide.

Post Script added 4th Jan 2010
I am fully aware that drafts of the cold kind are not spelt the same way and appreciate the tact shown by all those educated folk reading this out there!!!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

A little random post

A quick chicken pic.

A quick duck pic.

A funny cow pic.

And a picture of two dolls my mum knitted for me years ago. I think that they are quite 'waldorfy', and if I remember rightly they are from a pattern by Jean Greenhowe. The clothes are removable and really are lovely. She made a great job of them and they have survived all this time! They must be 25 years old I would think.

Ok, so those pictures are a little random! They are some of the ones I meant to post a few weeks ago but didn't get round to for one reason or another.
Today has been an odd sort of day. One of those days when I didn't really have a plan in mind but it sort of developed all by itself.
This morning while I was making the porridge and putting on the bread dough, I saw a rat run across the we know there are rats around. After all we live in a rural area with fields behind us and lost of us keep chickens and have compost heaps, so I guess they are inevitable. But on my patio? I THINK NOT.
So we all got outside straight after breakfast and proceeded to have a re shuffle of the garden and a bit of a tidy up. He seems to have a 'run' that comes in under the fence from next door and then he must run along the fence under the hedge, where there has been plenty of cover from various things in the veggie canes and fence posts, pots etc So we moved all those out and made the area much more open..Jonathan has set one of his traps there, but I don't hold out much hope, as they are notriously tricky things to catch. I don't really have a problem with there existance, I just do not want them up by the house pestering the quail or stealing the rabbits food!! Poor Merlin. He is back indoors again now and looking quite smug about it too!!!
Jonathan and David were then outside finishing the tidying and making new bows, so it only seemed fitting that we went somewhere after lunch for them to use them. We walked across some stubble fields instead of the usual wood walk, and they had such fun firing their arrows and chasing after Louis as he ran off with them!!! We had an 'Alan' moment when Jonathan was shouting at Louis trying to get him to stop, and then at David to get his attention. It was a BBC animal antics programme or something. Meercats shouting Alan and then Steve. Google it and I'm sure the video will come up on Youtube. VERY funny. Very, very funny.
The boys are now playing together on the computer and have been for a long time. Tom has been outside fixing a few things on his truck that broke the other weekend at his off roading event, which went really well. He got 16 'punches' out of 20. They all have a card attached to the passnger wing mirror that they have to punch at various points along the way. He did brilliantly. Thanks goes to Mike who picked him up with the trailer and brought him home again!
David took part in a distance swimming event on Sunday and swam a total of 300m!!! I thnk he could have done more with a little encouragement, but the organisation was a little poor. He got a 200m badge and certificate and is very pleased with himself, never the less. As are we!!! He did really well, considering he had never done anything like it at all before and it was like the M25 in rush hour. 6 children sharing a lane, all going at different speeds and using different strokes. There wasn't enough room to swing a cat!!!! He kept having to dodge people and that made it difficult to concentrate, I think. But he did well. And really enjoyed it, too.
Right, off now to see how the pheasant casserole is doing. The latest in our free food. Well, I guess it wasn't entirely free, as Jonathan did have to do a fair amount of walking and bashing the undergrowth for the local farmer to get them!!!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

And the word is cheese.

No, we haven't been making cheese. It is Jonathan's random word of the week. He uses instead of cool and wicked. He uses it as a curse. He uses it to break the silence or to get your attention. He has made up a silly song that he sings when you least expect it. He has also been gathering a collection of 'ch' words, such as chocolate and chips and today we have all been joining in!!! Tom has been making up silly sentences with all the cheesy words!
We had such gems as chestnut, chafe, chaps, cheshire, cheek, is quite bizarre really that my least 'wordy' son has taken to thinking of 'ch' words and involving the whole family!!!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

So, what have we all been up to?

Rob and I managed a night away from the kids a couple of weeks ago. Tom babysat for us and we had a whole 18 hours to ourselves! Where did we go, I hear you ask? A hotel? B & B? Caravan? Nope. We camped wild, complete with camp fire!! It was lovely, although cold at night, and I could've done with a bit more sleep. But it was cool. We cooked soup, sausages and jacket potatoes and drank tea and hot chocolate. We had bacon for breakfast and then cleared away any trace of us, (except the ashes!) before walking back to the car. Along the way we saw a kestrel land in a field with a baby rook in its grasp. It was quickly mobbed by some magpies and rooks causing it to fly away to the edge of the field by the fence. Then, along came a buzzard. It swooped down, taking advantage of the situation, grabbed the baby rook, just as the kestrel was flying up into the hedge away from the rooks!!! Amazing!!!
I've been busy making some christmas presents for the boys, but no piccys yet for obvious reasons!!! The socks are coming along well, and they are all trying to work out who they are for! I've also finished another Waldorf doll, using the book Making Waldorf Dolls by Maricristin Sealey. It has turned out well, but is also destined as a gift, so no pic of that yet either!
Rob is still busy with his Fire training, and has made a good start on building our website. More about that another time.
Jonathan has made a new rat trap, using good old you tube for the design. Not that we really think we have rats in our loft, you know, but those scurryings really did sound like BIG mice the other night!!!!They went up to investigate yesterday, taking the cat with them!!! They found what they thought to be nuts nibbled by mice but no other signs of anything larger!! When it was time to come down, the cat took some persuading,and somehow the little tub of cat food got left up there by the hatch last night. This morning when Jonathan went up to set some mouse traps, he found that something had filled the tub with loft insulation and little plastic bits from a game that was spilled up there years ago!!!! Mice? Rats? Borrowers?!!! So the traps are set and we'll see what tonight turns up!!
David has started to really shine in his swimming class and is being moved up after the christmas break. He is also doing a distance swim next Sunday to earn himself his first badge. We have no idea really how many lengths he can swim so it will be really interesting! He can do any stroke that he likes and any combination, just as long as he keeps going!!!
William has a new swimming suit...we call it his super suit! It is a full length suit with floating aid built in. I've never done anything like that before for the boys, the most we ever did was arm bands, but none of them got on with those, and Will is very sensitive to how things feel, so we thought this would be the best option. He sees the other boys swimming and wants to do the same but hates his face going anywhere near the water. Ver confident in the pool though and now that he can float pretty much unaided it might just give him the boost he needs. He can swim with my hand under his belly when he wants to, but he is quite stubborn if you attempt to make him!!!! He loves going swimming so this way at least we all get to have fun.
And Tom.....
Well, just when we thought Tom had turned into a complete computer zombie, spending hours and hours on forums etc, we went into town and bought him some welding wire and HEY PRESTO!!!! Normal service has been resumed. He made himself a metal box for the back of his truck to hold all his straps etc, finished his exhaust pipe that he had started and then finally got a buyer for his wheels and tyres on Ebay, which enabled him to buy a new clutch! If you remember, his burnt out at his trucks first off road outing last month and has been in mourning ever since.
He had several offers of help from various people, but with a downloaded Haynes manual and lots of advice from other Vitara owners with experience in such matters, he started to dismantle the truck. Ooops, I mean take the relevant engine parts apart. Or something!!!
He had to take off the starter motor, and the gear box had to come out, which is VERY heavy, so it had to be supported with straps. Lots of the nuts were old and either seized or rusted or worse, rounded off. It took him a long time with the weather against him all the way.
But he did it!!!! He put it back together yesterday, with the new clutch in place and this afternoon he drove it out of the drive onto the front grass!!!
Totally unbelievable!!! He is 15 years old next month and has just fitted a new clutch in his own truck!!
It kind of puts everything else into the shade really, doesn't it?!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

A few pictures from our walk today.

So much for a catch up from the last week!! I thought I would upload these photos while I was in the mood. I can do the others another day!
We went for a walk in a local woodland after lunch while the sun was shining, as we have felt far too restricted the last few days, what with the wind and rain we have been having.
I took the camera with me, with the idea that it would give the boys more playing time if I had something to occupy me too!
This is Louis investigating a badger hole....quite brave I think!!

and having a good look round before coming out. He wasn't in any hurry!

One of the many pictures I took of the sun shining through the trees. It was hard to decide which one to use!

And some fungi pictures. I took loads of these too! I love fungi in all its guises. These are just a few of my favourite photos.

This one we saw last week, and it was newer. The edges were still much paler and thicker, making the middle look more shrivelled in comparison. Of course we made the joke of it being called 'Jonathan's brain fungus'!

These ones are William's favourites. He said they lloked like mouse's ears and they were soft like mouse's ears too! He was wearing gloves so he obviously felt that they looked soft as opposed to felt soft. He liked putting his gloved fingers inside the little hollow bits. So lovely to share my fascination of fungi with someone else for a change!!!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Free Food Friday

Free Food Friday. I've not done this one before, although I have always had plenty of things to write about for it!!
Ok, so technically speaking these free edible goodies didn't come our way today, but I am cooking/processing/eating them today so I guess they still count, right?
Cooking apples are always a big feature in our kitchen at this time of year. We pick them up while out and about in the car, while walking the dog, the boys bring them back in their paperound bags and people just turn up on the doorstep with carrier bags full!
This little haul was David's find.

And these walnuts were given to us by Hannah...thank you!!! They are the second lot she has given us, from her stash that she picked up. We traded them for some sweet chestnuts that we collected in the woods. The first lot were nearly completely eaten by Jonathan in a matter of hours so I'm keeping a few of these ones back in a secret place!!!

And these damsons are currently boiling on the stove to make jam. We've had our eye on them for a while now as they are along on eo fthe bridleways we frequent on Bob, but we never seem to get back to get them. We erm..err.. 'picked' these yesterday. Well, Jonathan shook the tree and me, David and Willie scrabbled around on the floor underneath the tree putting them into a box. Good old veggie boxes, where would our foraging goodies live without them!!

Also out on Bob yesterday we found an eating apple tree, of which I picked two from the windfalls. I had a hard time eating it on my bike whilst holding off the horse with my elbow I can tell you!!
Also in the spirit of free things we also drove round on our scavenger hunt yesterday and stopped whenever we saw a fallen branch...lots of Ash had lost branches in the wind and rain of the last few days. That, the damsons and the horse manure from the field, we had quite a boot full!!
Lots to tell from the last week but off to get the jam into jars now!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Allotment update

This is what it looked like today when we left.
Jonathan, with a little help from David, dug over the second patch again, and I planted around 300 onion sets!!!! The rows aren't straight as I forgot the string, but they are in a sort of row type arrangement.
A little excessive do you think? Well, I'm working on a 50% success rate so that will only be 150....we are a family of 6!!! We do a lot of cooking and onions feature very high on the list of ingredients.
It is just so frustrating not to be able to have the whole plot to plan for. It feels so unfair when we know that there are several plot holders that have more than one plot!!! As newbies though, at the top of the list we have to share the plot that becomes available with the next person on the list. If you want another half plot then you have to go back on the list and wait until another plot comes up. Above you on that list might be another person who already has a WHOLE plot but who wants more. How is that fair?!!! But hey ho. We have our half plot and we will fill it completely. We just live in hope that the person we are sharing with doesn't get round to clearing it (they have hardly touched it yet), and then it gets given to us. Yeah right.
But still, we shouldn't be short of an onion or two next summer!!!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Socks and Samhain surprises!

The finished sock!!!!! A little short in the foot length even for me but it has proved that I can do it. The heel shaping was much easier than I thought and I have plans to make some in some proper sock yarn for the boys. There is some really cool sock yarn out there!

And so to Samhain or Halloween as it is better known. I am not going to begin to explain it here because my friend Liz does a much better job of than I could ever do, here. We did the 'usual' things..hollowed out pumpkin lit up with candles, or in this case, squash.But this time, instead of hiding indoors, we had a fire outside and lit the garden with candles and lanterns that were made from jars and black paper. The chimnea worked really well on this occasion and we played Chinese whispers and eye spy in the dark around the fire.

Some of the nice things we made to eat....

And some of the gruesome creations for the feely box, that Tom and I made up.
Mashed brains...

Eyeballs in intestines?....

Baked apples still warm (hearts), stodgy porridge oats with water (sick) and slimy pasta slugs which even looked like slugs as we died them very dark purple. If you look carefully you can see a stray one in the pictures above!!
I dug out the face paints, googled a few images, added a little imagination (and Rob's creative mastery for my hat)and this is what we all looked like!!!
Mummy witch and Willie Wizard..

The Mask and Milo, aka Tommy and Louis...

Jonny the Joker...

And David the vampire....

We all had a good time and it was good to celebrate something without any commercial influence. This is our prelude to Winter Solstice and Yule as opposed to the awful hyped up Christmas that now takes over our lives, whether we want it to or not. We have always tried to stay away from the mainstream cheap, plastic, throwaway culture but not managed to create what I felt was a really good alternative. This has given me hope that with them all on side we can create celebrations the way we want them to be. Neither of us have ever been 'religious' so that part of it eludes us, so the Pagan approach was the obvious choice as it already is a part of us without us realising it.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Knitting socks seem to be the thing at the moment so I thought I would join in the fun.
I recently won the give away on Becks craft blog for the sock knitting kit (Thank you so much Becks!!) and despite my preconceived idea of how crazy knitting on 4 needles was, I have managed to produce a tube!!!!
Yes, I followed the instructions and even managed the 16 or so rounds of K2P2 ribbing and am now about half way down the cuff in good old plain stocking stitch which, bizarrely enough is just knitting every round.
So feeling rather pleased with myself, I just thought I would re read the instructions for the heel.
I will never manage that!!!!
Is there some kind of helpline for sock knitters to call when dealing with the heel?
Can I call Heel Helpline?
Or maybe someone I know has actually has done it before and will be able to tell me that it isn't that scary, and once you start it all seems to make sense?
Oh, please?!
I think I may be stuck at the heel later on and will need to publish a photo of my half finished sock and leave it as a WIP
Hrmmph That may put my christmas present list a bit behind.....
Oh and does anyone have a pattern for fingerless gloves?
I'm thinking half knitted sock may convert happily to glove.....

Monday, 26 October 2009

The treadmill that is life.

It's been a busy week. We haven't stopped. It's been like a roller coaster of ups and downs, excitement and anticipation, fear and distress.
Some things have got done. Some things haven't. Time has been well spent and on occaision, not.
I have a mental list as long as the Great Wall of China of things that need to be done, things that ought to be done and things that I would like to do. It is rare for this list to get any shorter than it is at present.
It is a full time job just washing, cleaning, feeding and clothing a household of this size, without even thinking about the fact that 5 out of the 6 are male! That isn't taking into account the Home Education aspect of things. Then you have the fact that most of us like to be outdoors. We all like to make things in varying degrees; which means that perhaps we have more materials and ongoing projects around than other families might have.
We have more animals perhaps than ordinary, dog, rabbit, quail, chickens and ducks plus the horse down the road. We have also added the allotment to our list recently.
Maybe it is more accurate to say that we have our fingers in more pies than most people!!!!
Some days it all ticks along...well, speeds along, and other days it just all seems too much to deal with. Then even the normal day to day stuff seems insurmountable.
What I need is a ...dare I say it...maid. Not a housekeeper because I like to do the cooking but just someone who does the stuff that needs doing on a daily basis. The boring stuff!!! So I can get on with the exciting stuff!!!
I think I must be tired.
And why is it that we have joined the odd sock brigade? Until I had William, I don't think we had odd socks. It just didn't seem to be a problem for us. Now they are just an accepted part of our life. They even have a semi permanent home on the landing. Sometimes the pile gets really big and then we realise that there are now a few pairs in there, and then it gets smaller again for a while. But it is always there, laughing at me. Just like the dirt and dust around the house. The boxes of clean washing alongside the boxes of dirty washing. The number of boxes is usually the same, just that the ratio of dirty to clean changes.
The treadmill of life. I know that everyone is on it. But why does my wheel seem so much harder to turn sometimes than other peoples?

Monday, 19 October 2009


We drove through a nearby village yesterday on the way to an art gallery, and there were hand made boards up out side a couple of the houses in protest of plans to build a wind farm in a neighbouring field.
What is that all about???? The boards were on a very, very tight bend (almost 90 degrees) and in order to look at them, Rob alomost under steered the corner. So not only are the boards dangerous, and probably have no planning permission themselves but have they really thought it through? The boards protest not about the noise as a first concern, but the house prices!!!! What about the price of the world??
I have to say I was flabbergasted at the ridiculous campaign. 3 boards in the village, which is in the middle of nowhere.
We stayed in Wales last yearfor a month, in a mobile home, less than half a mile from a wind farm. The noise or visual impact was so small...we hardly noticed their presence.
They have been planning one very close to us. We have made no objections.
Have people got their prioties wrong? Or is it just me???

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

And sew..........

This is my new craft that I was planning. It is a Waldorf style doll and my first attempt! I bought this pattern and supplies from a lady on Ebay, while waiting for my book and other supplies to arrive from Myriad. I was itching to get started!! This one is made from velour fabric with a stockinette stuffed head. He has a little bell in the end of his hat, and stitched features. Will and I decided not to leave this one with a floppy body, so stuffed it gently with organic wool this morning to make him more cuddly. I am really pleased with the way the head went, as apparently this is the most difficult bit and is kind of make or break really. If the shape isn't right, or the features aren't in the right place, it can look so wrong! But this is Turq and Will loves him. I have plans to make another, similar one for a friends little girl, and a more baby friendly one too. You know who you are!! ;-) And then I will move on to 'proper' dolls with stuffed bodies, and limbs with clothes and hair....I am so excited!! I loved making this one and hope that this could be the start of something.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

A few recent photos...

So, here we have the little Imp hat I knitted for Will the other day, on the spur of the moment. Kind of cute and he likes it..he decided on how to finish the top off..neat finish, gathered or gathered with pompom. I haven't done much hand knitting recently so wanted to do something very simple and quick to get the feel for it again. Why is it that I always forget how to csat on in between knits?!!!
And this is the paper mache wigwam, cardboard tepees and fire that Will designed and made. Complete with compulsory playmobil indian!!
Will wearing his headdress. David made one too but the picture of the pair of them shows even more mess than this one!!! lol
Chimney sweeping.... now this deserves a whole post to itself really but this is the reminder to ourselves of the ordeal that was chimney sweeping!!!! Needless to say the brush and the poles parted company at some point during the proceedings, and reuniting them was not a simple task!!!! Maybe I'll tell the story one my book!!!
The wasp that Rob painted on the side of Tom's Vitara. Good old acrylics again.....not sure how long they will last on the side of a car, but the effect is good isn't it?
Tom's Vitara with completed paint started off white remember? He did a brilliant job, I think.
And Tom's Vitara at the Off Road weekend complete with very dangerous looking bumper!!! It completes the wasp look!!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Allotment update

And a couple of photos of Jon (and Will)riding Bob bareback!

And this is what the allotment looked like after Jon and I had spent an hour or two there on Friday. Jonathan did the major digging, and I used the trowel to get a few of the stubborn weed roots out of the clumps of earth and picked up as many weeds as I could see behind him. We took two bags of roots etc away and feel we have really made some good progress. We intend to tackle another bit this week so we can put some manure down before clearing the bit at the end by the compost heap. Jonathan is really good at the digging. He has muscles in the right places and the stamina to keep going to finish what he has started. We have the same mentality: I just lack the muscle power!
This was after we popped down the field to see Bob and let the chap's chickens out. On our arrival we noticed a sheep in an odd position and my heart sunk. It was one of this years lambs, lying dead on a gate that had previously been leaning up against the fence. It must have been reaching through the bars to get to the grass behind it, when it fell. Why it didn't just walk around it, I don't know. Although it is a sheep and not best known for it's brains. It managed to get it's head back up through the gate, but the weight of it's own body must have been too much and it died through strangulation. It was still warm when we got there and I wish we had left the house an hour or so earlier as we had originally planned. We might have been in time to save it. Instead, we were left with the task of lifting the gate, and propping it up on a wooden block, so that we could both lift the animal to get it free. It took us both to carry it in to the barn. It was so very sad. Obviously the animal was bred with slaughter in mind, but this was an undignified and cruel death which served no purpose. Very sad indeed.
I feel that I should end this post on a high of which there are many...Tom's Off Roading weekend last weekend, Star Trek with Explorers this weekend, the many craft projects that have been produced and Jonathans afternoon helping the local Farm shop to name but a few. Rob's Fire Service Training is going well, and the website is taking shape slowly. I have a new craft that I am very excited about and am waiting for book and supplies to arrive in the post in the next few days. All exciting stuff, and never a dull moment here. So, consequently I am exhausted and off for some quiet knitting by the fire, instead of waiting for blogger to upload photos....I'll do them tomorrow.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Coils and wheels.

I thought I would share a couple of things we have seen recently. The pictures are ones that I have found on the internet as we weren't quick enough with the camera to get our own shots!! Or maybe we were too fascinated with what we had found to bother.
We found four of these yesterday on a beautiful, sunny, autumn walk along the canal. They were basking in the sun but obviously it was still quite cool and they were slower than usual, hence we got to see four grass snakes!!! One of them just slithered under the nearest hawthorn root, and we could get a really good look at his face close up, while he was coiled up in safety. He was beautiful, and it was really exciting to be able to look at hime for so long. His little tongue flickering in and out, tasting the air. Fabulous!

And this is what we found on a walk on David's birthday back in August. I managed to pick this one up, to the delight/disbelief of everyone!!! It kept coiling itself really tightly around my hand, so that even though I knew that it was a harmless little Slow worm and that it is really a legless lizard, I still got a little squeamish and had to put it down before getting a better grip!

And one day a couple of weeks ago, we were driving along and saw a Penny Farthing going along the road!!! We drove along behind it for a while so that the boys could see, and it was so thrilling to watch this chap cycling along on this ancient machine. Or was it? It looked more like a newly built copy to me, but why would anyone do that?!! Jonathan quickly pointed out to David (and me!!!) that it was called that because one wheel was like a penny and the other, a farthing. This was quite meaningful to David and probably Will too, because there has been much talk and handling of old coins in our house recently. And if the boys had been in school? No doubt they would have 'been looking' at Victorian times at some point, with pictures of various things from the era, but they wouldn't have seen this. You can't beat seeing a real Penny Farthing actually cycling along a very quiet country lane, to understand what it must have been like to ride one! He was so high up! And the wheels so thin!! Jonathan would've loved to have had a go, I think. He likes a challenge!
Oh and a link to another fabulous you tube video...The Badman song.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Another brick in the wall....

This is the link to a great video on you tube courteous of openartsurgery. It is a protest video against Badmans report and enforced schooling.
I think it is fab!

The lyrics are...

we don't need your registration
we don't need your yearly goals
no right of entry to our houses
badman leave home ed alone
hey badman leave us kids alone
all in all you're just another brick in the wall
all in all you're just another pawn for ed balls

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Use the fork.....

Sorry, couldn't resist the title!
Some before and after photos of our allotment today.
This is the view from the gate down the central path..ours is the patch on the left of the path, and you can just make out the fence posts on the far left of the photo.
This is the view from the other end, up the path. Our plot now being on the right of the photo, with the tall fence at the end!!!

This is after a couple of hours....

And this is what it looked like when we left at lunchtime. Feeling very pleased with ourselves, but enough for one day, I think!

It is ours officially of today, so we were down there before 9 o'clock this morning trying to clear the weeds. We did really well and discovered that not only did we inherit raspberry canes and rhubarb along with the mountain of sow thistles and nasturtiums, docks and buttercups, we also have a row of very neglected and weed choked strawberry plants. We dug them up and brought them home. I spent a while this afternoon, relocating them in the bed that we recently emptied the compost bin on to. There is quite a substantial strawberry patch now, provided that they all survive the move. Fingers crossed xx
Jonathan and Rob did most of the heavy work, although I did my fair share and can feel it this evening!!
I also thought I would tell you about the amazing Merlin. He is basically a house rabbit, with a cage in the house that he sleeps in at night containing his food and water, an outdoor area with shelter and a litter tray in the living room for when he is playing with the children or relaxing in the evening by the fire!! I heard that!!! I heard you snigger as you read the bit about playing with the children. Or maybe you didn't..maybe you just visioned him sat on someones lap as they stroked him?
I said played with the children and that is what I meant...I wish I had it on video to show you, and I will endeavour to capture it, because it is a regular occurance, not a fluke or one off!!! It is worth seeing.
This rabbit actually picks up the bricks/playmobil/animal and moves it!!! When William or David are playing he sort of goes up to them, picks something up and tosses it to them! It is just so funny to watch. He also does it if something is in the way of where he wants to sit. He just picks it up and moves it to one side!!
He also jumps up on to the sofa, as he just did while I'm typing this, and has a look at what you are doing and then jumps back down again. Funny little fella!