Saturday 25 April 2009

A good week

What a week! Glorious weather, the boys now have a healthy glow about them after looking so pale for all of winter. Alec has had a school trip to a local farm, which he enjoyed, but I think he would have preferred there to be some animals there. Ethan and Luke were a bit reluctant to return to school, with Luke even suggesting home-schooling. However, a week into it, and they all seem to have enjoyed themselves. We had a trip to a toy shop yesterday as the boys had some money to spend. It was a credit to them that they didn't fall for all the horrid cheap plasticky stuff, and even though they what they did buy was still plastic (lego, and nerf guns) they have not stopped playing with them, to the point that at 11 o'clock last night I had to ask them to go to bed, as I was tired, and they were up at 6.30am to continue playing with them!!

Sophie has achieved things herself this week. She has her first tooth, is now crawling properly, rather than a combination of bunny hops and combat crawling, and she was in the newspaper with her woolly knickers (as Stuart likes to call them) helping to promote real nappy week!

Well, what have I done this week, with the house back to myself (and Sophie, of course!)? I've been down the allotment of course! I alwas find this time of year a bit awkward, as I am torn between being outside, or continue being inside doing all the jobs needed to keep us just about ticking over!

It has to be a strategic visit, timed around Sophie's sleeps, as she doesn't like me bending over whilst she is in the sling, even when on my back, and there aren't that many jobs to be done down on the plot at the moment that can be done stood upright all the time. This week we have finished the raised bed, and planted the carrots (Autumn King), but no space left for my purple carrots :( . We have dug over some of the bottom plot which had been undercover for the last year, after being rotovated last spring and it was clear of everything, so in went the maincrop potatoes (Desiree). We have pruned out bits of "big bud" on the blackcurrant bushes, which are looking like they will provide a bumper crop, despite not being pruned last year...mmm.. more blackcurrant sorbet! We have planted the peas (although I can't remember what type!), and manured trenches for the runner beans. Finally we had our last bonfire before the growing season really starts. There are many more things that need to be done, and I'm not sure I want to list them all, as I would find it rather depressing, but needless to say I am feeling very optimistic about this season, as it is feasible that we could stay on top of it all, and get some good stuff out of it this year. By the way, if anyone wants some purple sprouting, I have plenty of seedlings!!!

To top off the feelings of self-sufficiency, Hetty laid the most enormous egg, it is at least a double yoker, and nearly fills my hand! And I'm hoping Betty will start laying again soon, after a broody spell. Although looking at her earlier, in the rain, she was throwing straw over her back, which was very comical, looking as if she was either attempting to camoflague herself, or protect herself from the rain!!

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Catching up again!

I can't even remember how much has happened since my last post! However, I have finished Sophie's dress, and it even fits her! However, I still haven't mastered the camera, I will get there I promise! I have also been busy making a knitting roll for mothers day, a bag and purse for a friends daughter, little knitted chicks and rabbits to put a small egg in for Easter gifts for the boys friends. And each time I make something I think "I should take a photo of that" and then forget about it until it is too late, and it is given away. I do wonder about myself at times, I've never been particularly organised, but lately things really are getting out of hand. I just need more time....

The children have been enjoying the holidays, with playing with friends, and the occasional trip out. We had a lovely day at the allotment last week, and managed to pretty much clear the bottom plot, which included having to dig up about 4 plum saplings, and brambles that were at least two inches thick at the base! So now we have some extra space to plant some more crops. Stuart has an idea for growing some hops, as he fancies beer brewing from scratch. Well even if we don't get as far as the beer brewing, I can imagine a few doorways adorned with dried hops!

We had a trip out to Mary Ardens house and farm near Stratford, which was lovely. Alec had the chance to do some falconry with a common buzzard, and they all had a go at splitting logs, threshing and winnowing, as well as an Easter treasure hunt. Amongst all this was the learning of what life was like for Tudors, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. In May they have a week on sheep, and I'm hoping the chance to do some spinning of wool, we'll have to go back just to see!

Another day out was to the Brecon Beacons. Stuart had been wanting to do some hill walking, so Easter Monday we set out early (for us!) and reached the Brecon Beacons by lunch time. We found a sign post to some waterfalls, and decided to explore. It was fantastic, with so many waterfalls coming down the hill, the boys were in their element, and we even found pools of frogspawn, which Ethan was very enthusiastic about. A picnic by the stream ensued, along with some rather wet feet from stepping on stepping stones, and missing! It would have been perfect if it were not for all the other people who were there too, there was us thinking we were off the beaten track, but not so. Is there anywhere in this country where you can truly get away from it all? We then continued to climb some unknown hill. With Sophie in the back pack it was pretty hard going (she seems so much heavier in that than in the sling!) Luke and I were the only ones to make it to the top of the cwm, after having to scrabble over copper laden rocks to reach the boggy moorland at the top. We returned to the others waiting below with red cheeks after such a climb, but a great sense of achievement. I think we have finally found a family activity that we all get something out of, next step camping!