Friday 30 September 2011

See the bouquet?

Its not every day I make a bouquet- I think this is the one and only. Lucky me, it features on the cover of a magazine! Mike and Petra were married at The Mother Magazine camp which we were at in the summer.

Thursday 29 September 2011

The last few weeks

We've been busy again, and haven't had chance to get some thoughts down.
We have had a wonderfully fabulous end to WWOOFing with 2 weeks at Lower Shaw Farm in Swindon. We all decided we wanted to return to our first host for the end of our trip, and I'm really glad we all agreed.
The girls loved the company, the playing but especially the animals, and we adults enjoyed, um, the same! We were only planning on being there 10 days, but Andrea said we could stay for her birthday celebrations, so we did.
While we were there, there was a Women's creativity weekend that I was a participant for, so DH and the girls had two days playing out, and generally keeping a low profile. I think that was a bit of a challenge at times, but I really appreciated the chance to try out new things.
I've been busy recommending LSF as a destination for families- we've had such a wonderful time and looking forward to planning a return visit next year.

We've returned to home base in Huddersfield, staying with my parents for a few months. We've started settling in, but that isn't going so well.
My parents have various holidays planned, so the idea was we'd be housesitting with a few weeks overlap. However, my parents are not supportive of home educating. In fact, they are anti-home educating and feel we are depriving Big One of a suitable education. She should be spending more time with children her own age (the slightly older home ed kids she chooses to play with are not suitable) and she should be made to sit down and read, write and do numbers.

That isn't what we want for her, and we don't want to have any conversation we're having about the girls turned into 'if she went to school/she should go to school' etc. Thankfully my parents feel it isn't going well- my mum especially is suffering seeing how 'deprived' Big One is. We are both quite firm on our opinions, but my mum isn't great at communicating around the issue and is feeling ill. My Dad quite agrees with her, but can talk to us about it.
This has helped us a bit, and DH and I realise that a lot of our issues with school education ( apart from starting too early) are about discipline, or the lack of it.

Anyway, to avoid a serious rift we've been asked to leave, and thinking about it DH and I are relieved. We thought it'd a be a struggle to share living space with these strong disagreements, and thought it'd be us saying we had to leave soon. This also means we haven't the choices we were trying to work through- I haven't the proof of income to rent anywhere, our tenants would need 8 weeks notice (and we don't want to live there) and that leaves buying a caravan as the way to go.

My parents go away for a few weeks in just over 1 weeks time, so fingers crossed we can manage this coming week.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

More baking

Big One wanted to be busy in the kitchen too. can't wait until they're ready!

Home baking

First batch of 'andrea's' sourdough just out of the oven. It definately won't last long! Thanks andrea!

Thursday 22 September 2011

Crafty moment

I keep meaning to share what I've been up to- when I get 5 minutes! This is what I've been doing: a couple of scarves, a hat for me, a felted hat that is more doll size than anything else, a plaster and paper bowl, a slate and silver necklace. Andrea has the other scarf I made yesterday- its her birthday today. I'm making a picture with fabric, but that's going slowly. I only wish for more hours in the day!

Thursday 15 September 2011

On to our Final WWOOF

 We’ve been hiding.

No, actually we’ve been far too busy having a brilliant time to keep up with the blog!

We had a few days near home last week catching up with DH’s family. An older relative has been diagnosed with breast cancer- thankfully she has a ‘good’ type that is responding to drugs. Anyway, we wanted to spend some time with her, and we haven’t seen DH’s parents since March, so it was very good to see them as well.

We’re back to our starting WWOOF host, in Swindon. Lower Shaw Farm has been a favourite with us all for all sorts of different reasons- from the tyre swings, to not needing to camp, to fun work, etc. We planned to be here 10 days, but we’ve been asked to stay a little longer ( which took no thinking about at all on our part- um, yes please!) so we’re having 2 weeks of fun. Sorry, hard work! We’ve had a day off today.

Big One on the tyre swing

Maggie and Charlie at Lower Shaw Farm


So far while we’ve been here I’ve adopted the chickens- Matt is away so I’m trainee poultry keeper, keeping them fed, watered but with lots of help collecting the eggs. We’ve been harvesting in the garden,a bit of weeding and digging, and DH has been building a brash ‘hedge’, and helping getting the first cafe of the term off to a good start. The girls have loved helping, from filling salt cellars to cleaning a play house, to feeding and moving the sheep, and of course playing in the play barn, with the tyre swings and cargo net. I was meant to be helping with the knitting cafe, but instead I was able to learn a little about casting on and off, and stocking stitch. I just need to remember to get some knitting 'sticks' and get practicing- Big One is keen to knit and I don’t want to hold her back! At the weekend we had an afternoon out to Coleshill National Trust Open Day, so we could look around a veg box scheme garden, and able to buy some Huuuge icecreams- they were officially for the girls but we all got a good taste. The goats there were well petted by Big One, and we all enjoyed having a good look at the water mill- unfortunately not quite enough water that afternoon to grind flour, but they had been milling that morning.

Little One on the Rope Swing

I have only cooked one meal by myself for everyone so far . I’m much more comfortable helping, but can do it if pushed, and I enjoy it once I get started! Anyway, cooking for 8 or 10 isn’t too scary ( especially with a kitchen that has everything to hand- from spices to graters to anything you might need), and the courgette lasagne went down well as did the potato wedges and beans.

As I haven’t been blogging, I haven’t mentioned I’ve been getting into crochet again over the last couple of weeks. My mum has a little furry scarf that she likes, but would prefer in yarn. I’ve known this a while, but I only just got around to attempting to copy it in crochet. I managed to use a 10 mm hook ( souvenir from Isle of Skye wool shop) and some nice extra chunky yarn from Castle Douglas yarn shop and very quickly whipped up a scarf. The first one I did is for me( well, I made it for mum but when asked about colours she wanted something different) the second is lined up for a birthday present, and then Big One wanted one of her own and I’ve just finished mums today. I’ve also made myself a hat- but it was a little loose over my ears so felting was the plan, and now sized as a newborn gift!Luckily we know a new baby-  hope she'll get some wear out of it..... Photos would help, but I’ll save that for later with my phone.

Today has been our day off, so we’ve been busy exploring- not only a trip to a yarn shop, but also a mosy over to Avebury- which is amazing. We’ve been to Stonehenge and were stupended, amazed, etc despite not being able to touch the stones. Avebury has a village within it, so it is expected that you walk amongst the stones, touch the stones and feel the magic. Today was a glorious sunny day- and I get the feeling there’s some magic left there. We had a lovely day with new friends- it was a LSF WWOOFers trip as our French and German friends came with us. Handy having a van that seats 6!

Julie has kindly just given me some pictures she has taken, so all images (unless I get organised and will label suitably) are thanks to Julie- I'm trying hard to place these pictures in the post, and it just isn't working for me. Its the girls bedtime, and I simply cannot do this for longer. Apologies for the random pics....
The Rooms at LSF

The veg garden and re-covered polytunnel at LSF

Avebury- WWOOFers trip out

DH and the girls at Avebury

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Woodland Opportunity in Kent

Anyone want to work some overstood chestnut in Kent?
We've been sad to hear the couple who were living in the wood,starting to work it this summer are being pulled in different directions.
The wood has mains water installed this year, and there's a caravan, tree bog and several shelters, probably a shower - we haven't been there for a few month so don't know how far the plans got before things changed.
We WWOOFed there earlier in the year, and the owners would ideally like a couple to be there for a longer term. If we lived locally we'd definitely be up to going to help on a daily basis, but unfortunately we can't.
Its beautiful. There's a small area of conifers that need felling first, but its mostly chestnut IIRC. The access road in the wood is a bit of a challenge, but you can also walk in from a main road nearby.
Get in touch if you're interested, and I'll pass your details onto the owner.

Sunday 4 September 2011

Saturday 3 September 2011

Final Camp

I'm quite sad, really to realise tonight is our last proper night living in our tent. Its kept the worst of the weather off us for the last months, and its been brilliant. Our stove has kept the temperature nice and hot when needed, and cheered us up in the cold and damp (and in the frost back when we started)- which fortunately hasn't been that often. I've been mulling over if we have one item that's been priceless, or something to really shout about - but I can't choose! Would it be our handy kitchen units? The hanging shelves ( thanks Sue!) our beds? our sleeping bags? The wellies that have lasted Big One more than a few weeks? The van that's taken us everywhere with hardly a grumble? I can't choose- I'll  mull it over and come up with reviews some other time.On other things.....

Our budget has gone completely to pot, and to put it bluntly, we've run out of money. We have money due in next week, but until then we're watching the pennies. I was wondering how we got in this situation- because it really has snuck up on us!
However, with a few hundred extra pounds for tires to pass the MOT, a few hundred pounds of lovely things like a kelly kettle, some interesting books and Austrian scythe(before these extra costs came to light!), another few hundred pounds for a replacement fan for the van, another £500 for extra storage for the stuff we didn't sell (our mistake-we forgot the 6 months would be up before we returned), and an extra 2 weeks campsite fees (yes, another £200) for not going back to a WWOOF host. With extra time not working we've done more driving around Scotland, which has been another four hundred pounds not included in our budget. I thought we had a pretty healthy contingency fund of about £1000 ( when our entire budget was only £4000)- but all our extras have got to nearer £2000. Oh well. Thankfully we've had tenants in the house and at the moment we'd be really stuck without that income.

Tomorrow we pack up and head to visit family for a few days- a relative has been diagnosed with breast cancer and gets some results this week, so we want to be around for them. We have our final WWOOFing 10 days at Lower Shaw Farm, our first ever hosts,after that, and we're really looking forward to it. They have somewhere for us all to stay, so that's how tonight is our last proper tent night. Sob!

Friday 2 September 2011

Rainy day fun

We found a park in Castle Douglas- perfect for rolling UP hill,lol!