Saturday, 28 August 2010

Off to Wales...

The second Home Ed camp this year and a week for the Survival Family to regenerate.
See you all in a fortnight or so xx

Friday, 20 August 2010

Softly, softly.

Last week, we went to visit this lovely Alpaca farm. It isn't too far from us and I have a sneaking suspicion we will be visiting there quite regularly from now on!! The wool is so lovely and soft and the colours are just gorgeous.
The lady in the shop was lovely and spent time talking to David and answering his questions. She helped me to find some wool for a couple of little projects and then directed us to the nusery field where we saw some baby alpacas.

Aren't they cute?

I wonder which alapaca donated the fleece for these?

I'm sure it wasn't this little fellow, as he was less than an hour old!!!!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Hot pursuit

Twice yesterday I was pursued by a hornet.
Both times were self inflicted.

The first time was in the morning walking in the woods with the boys and dogs. There is a wooden watch tower and David ran ahead to climb up into it as usual. I'm sure there is a sign that advises against it for safety reasons but that has never stopped us before. This time however, he didn't reach the top step and came running back towards us shouting that there was a wasps nest.
So , what does any self respecting home educating mother of four boys do??
Yes you've guessed it!
I went as close as I could to try and take pictures with my phone.
Isn't that what you would've done?
Oh. I see.
Well, being fairly challenged in the height department, Jonathan decided that he could climb to the second step and get a picture of the nest. So he did, although he zoomed in a little too far, and the resulting picture isn't of a quality I would put here.
The hornets, for that is what they were didn't seem to bothered by our attention, and there were only a couple flying around the top of the tower. Until we turned our back to walk away!!!!!!!
One of them came after me in hot pursuit!!!! I heard the buzzing noise come closer and then stop. It didn't carry on over my head and away, it just kept buzzing! Right at the back of my head!!!!! I shook my head a few times to try to get it to leave me alone but it just kept on buzzing!
Tom had Will on his shoulders some way away and he and David started walking further ahead, but Jon was behind me and could see it on my hood!!!

I was petrified, but I quickly managed to pull my fleecy jacket off over my head and dumped it on the floor. Then I felt really vulnerable because my arms and neck were exposed.
Jonathan, my hero, stood on the hood to kill it and then we picked up my jacket and got far enough away to feel safe.
Phew. I was shaking like a leaf.

Scary looking beasts aren't they?!! We could see that it had latched on to my hood with its jaws which is why I couldn't shake it off.
And this what good old Wiki has to say about them....

Hornets, like many social wasps, can mobilize the entire nest to sting in defense, which is highly dangerous to humans. The hornet alarm pheromone is used to raise alarm of nest attack and to identify prey, such as bees. It is not advisable to kill a hornet anywhere near a nest, as the distress signal can trigger the entire nest to attack. Materials that come in contact with pheromone, such as clothes, skin, dead prey, or hornets, must be removed from the vicinity of the hornets nest. Perfumes and other volatile chemicals can be falsely identified as pheromone by the hornets and trigger an attack.
As in all stinging wasps, hornets can sting multiple times; they do not die after stinging a human as is typical for a worker honey bee, as a hornet's sting is not barbed. They can also bite and sting at the same time.

How lucky were we?????!!!
The nest was a work of art though. A proper ball of grey papery like substance. Fascinating. I just wish we had some good photos to make the scary experience worthwhile!

If you look carefully to the top right of the wooden tower you can see a little dark shape. Well, that is the hornet!!! I think he was camera shy!!!

And the second time yesterday???

Towing Tom's car(aka The Hornet) to this weekend's off road event!
It was a scary experience too I can tell you. Our car is lifted slightly and also has big chunky tyres on it which I think unbalanced the trailer slightly. That coupled with the wet roads made it quite nerve racking!
At least there was no danger of getting stung though. And in this case slow and steady was definitely the key.

Although the worst of this one is that I have to tow it home tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Rambling today.

Strange day today.
I woke up with a stiff neck, shoulder pain and a headache to boot. I slept badly or rather I slept in a bad position I guess and dreamt alot of wierd stuff. Never good.
So instead of heading off this morning to see our friends for fun and frolics, I was stuck with the grey skies and drizzle as the view from my window.
Will spent the morning drawing and colouring on my bed, while i dipped into a book my good frind Han has lent me.
Birth Reborn by Michel Odent

I was left feeling choked up about my first birth experience, feeling grateful for my second and so lucky to have had the third and fourth in the most natural way that I thought possible.

It also left me feeling that if only I'd have known then what I know now, and that after my most wonderful and humbling experience last July, that more women should have access to the support and knowledge that is out there. Han had accessed a whole lot of resources using the web which enabled her to achieve her home birth after a disasterous first birth experience.

And then there is my neighbour who has just given birth to a big,bonny,baby boy and having talked about breastfeeding during her pregnancy has already succumbed to the I'm not producing enough mentality. He's only 2 days old! Her milk will not have come in yet. She's 'supplimenting' him with bottles for goodness sake. Already. Where is her support?
I know you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink, but is that not what is wrong with our society now. They do 'sex education' in schools and I know some offer child development GCSE but where is the teaching of what should be the norm?

Which brings me back to the Doula thing again.
In the absence of mothers and aunties and neighbours and close friends and communities, is this a viable option?

Monday, 2 August 2010

Where did July go?

So here we are. August already.
I haven't posted any pics from Hesfes because I realised that the only one I have is this one!

This is Will in his pirate bandana, his Hesfes t-shirt and sporting the friendship 'bracelet' I made for him!! Not sure its supposed to be worn as a garter, but hey ho!!

We were all too busy enjoying ourselves to take pics I think.

Oh there's the basket I made at one of the workshops.

And a face cloth I knitted for a friend in the quiet moments.

A few pictures taken in the days after our return....

Blacky playing dominoes.

And a few pictures in the woods..
a chair made out of a tree trunk.

A new bench that has been made out of naturally shaped planks. Not sure why Will is holding his nose....

Maybe its because of the stinkhorn?

The beautiful moth that we found in the bathroom. I think it is a hawk moth and is one of those ones that feeds on the privet as a ctaerpillar with a horn at one end.

Will's little scribbling that turned out to look a little like a .....

A science lesson... Experiment to show the effect of neon blue dye on Tom's hair, after stripping it of its natural dark brown shade with peroxide!!!

And last but not least, the marshmallow making with my new jam thermometer!

You'll notice the lack of pictures of the finished product!!! Lovely soft, pink marshmallow squares. Devoured in a matter of minutes!!!!