Goings on

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I haven’t visited this space for a little while as life has been rather busy and writing here is really an enjoyable luxury for me. The last week has been spent finalising our travel arrangements (in all manner of ways) and enjoying end of term plays, concerts and celebrations. The girls have been making teacher presents:

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my youngest brought home her first grade knitting project (modelled here by her sister)

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and my eldest brought home her own original design cross stitch project. I love it!

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The design is of a watercolour ‘splodge’ painting, where the children painted coloured splodges on one side of a piece of squared paper and folded it over to make a mirror image on the other side.

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This was then translated onto another piece of squared paper to create a clear design as shown below:

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I fancy having a go myself  – such a lovely idea. I love Waldorf education for all the handicrafts and beautiful paintings.

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What with  travel preparations and end of term busyness, I haven’t done much creating myself. I ordered myself some lovely purple yarn to make myself an adult version of the sweater I made my eldest a few weeks ago. I love the design and can almost fit hers, so I thought I would give it a go too. I also have yarn from my stash for making a shawl, so I should be fine for car knitting!

I have been putting together craft supplies for our holiday, including Fimo clay, which we are all addicted to at the moment!  The girls haven’t finished their doll quilts, so I have cut out the borders, batting and backing so they can continue their work while we are away and their dolls will be able to enjoy their new travel quilts 🙂

My daughter was off school last week as she was feeling unwell – she is suffering from quite a bit of anxiety about the flight and travel to the unknown and I felt a home day would be helpful. She spent the morning rolling yarn into little balls so the girls can make pom poms while we are away – possibly on the plane – so that we will have a garland of colourful pom poms to hang everywhere we go 🙂

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We will be changing accommodation every three days so it will be hard to feel settled, but small things like this can help us to feel more at home.

We will probably be making a few more things, no doubt, with craft supplies we find in the US, but for now, this is a start. My eldest is keen to do some tie dyeing after her eurhythmy (dance) teacher tie-dyed a green T-shirt for her. I hear that you can tie dye with Kool Aid, so I imagine we will be having a go with a few cheap T-shirts when we are on our holiday!

Apart from holiday craft plans, my eldest spent some of the morning threading beads onto long lengths of yarn to make a beaded curtain for their little house at the back of the garden. We have so so many beads, buttons and bells, all collected over the years of parties that they didn’t fit in the tin anymore!

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I have been thinking of ways to use them. Finally we have a plan! 🙂 So far we have emptied the bead tin by a third, making four beaded panels. Probably another four will do the trick. I think they will look nice and effective and the best bit of course is that they are homemade 🙂

We had dear friends over for the weekend. Usually we go camping with them every year in early August, but since we will be away for over five weeks, it won’t work out this year, so we had a “glamping” experience at ours 🙂 Everyone had a bed to sleep in, but we still spent lots of time outdoors, had a bbq, built a fire later on and toasted marshmallows. It was really relaxing and fun to have our friends over.

We have done quite a bit of work in the garden in the last week or so – my husband mainly! The little play house is finally painted:

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my husband has excavated an area for a pond:

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which the girls could not resist using as a pool during the hot weather we have been having – they have had a lot fun,  including a massive water fight at the weekend with our friends!

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Eventually we are going to put plants and a pump in and hopefully attract lots of lovely wildlife and hopefully have some fish in there too. Water is so soothing in the garden.

My super talented husband has also built us a new seating area right in the middle of the garden, where the sun still shines until late.

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It was so lovely to sit there on Saturday night. We didn’t feel we were disturbing the neighbours at either side or the back with the smoke, so we could relax. This is always an issue in built up areas, so we are pleased we now have a solution. Am fantasising about fires in the winter too 🙂

Our back garden is starting to take shape. My husband has lots of lovely ideas, being a Garden Designer. Our front garden is very magical at this time of the year with all the tall perennials creating a secret garden feel.

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My husband is planning to do much of the same in the back garden in September, which will be lovely. He is so talented and clever – we are very lucky to have him!

The veg garden is coming along. We are enjoying copious amounts of cut and come again salad and some sweet tender peas. The cherries are almost over – I do believe my eldest daughter ate almost all of them (!) and the first yellow courgettes are on their way. We won’t be around to enjoy the abundance until the end of August, but I have encouraged our pet sitter to take all that she would like for herself and for our pets, and of course she can enjoy two freshly laid eggs daily. She has agreed to water the garden daily in dry spells, so hopefully things will keep growing and we will have juicy ripe tomatoes to look forward to 🙂

I am harvesting the chamomile flowers daily to dry for chamomile tea

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and we have a herb bed – volunteer herbs mainly, with lots of dill, chamomile and fennel and we have now added lemon balm and calendula.

I haven’t put my heart and soul into the garden this year, but it is still thriving somehow. Everything wants to grow – the life force is always there.

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I will stop now as we will be travelling later today. Here are my daughters playing  Panda airways 🙂

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I expect I may write a weekly update on our travels as a record of what we will be getting up to. I hope you are all having a lovely summer so far.

Warmest Wishes, Anna

 

 

On Midsummer’s Eve…

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My eldest daughter returned home from her class camp, just in time for my Birthday on Saturday (Midsummer’s Eve and St. Johns – I shared more about this festival here). 

She had a wondeful time. The weather was very hot, which was perhaps not ideal, but she enjoyed the water sports and swimming to cool down and particularly liked the extensive gardens surrounding her teacher’s house. Her teacher is fortunate to live in a beautiful location, surrounded by forests. It was a real gift to the children to have all that space to play in and explore. They could relax and feel more spacious than at school and my daughter said it was a good class bonding experience, which is just what her particular class needed. There is also something about visiting your teacher’s home and seeing where and how they live that opens up another aspect to that person. Teachers can seem like such a mystery.

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The children camped on one of the lawns,

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and enjoyed exploring the grounds and taking walks through the woods, accompanied on occasion by the six resident dogs 🙂

The teacher also has several bee hives on her property and the children were allowed to examine them, if they wore a beekeeping outfit.

I visited on Wednesday, but I didn’t manage to take part in the walk as they left a lot later than planned. The heat was getting to some of the children so a slow pace was required, but it was fun to spend time with the class and get to know them better.

Whilst my eldest was at camp, we spent some special times with our youngest. We went to the sea for a paddle,

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played games and made home made pizza and all her favourite dishes – very much like last year really! As it wasn’t the first time her sister has been away, she adapted very quickly and also had a few friends over to play which kept her happily entertained. Last year C was still in Kindergarten. I can see she has taken a big leap in her maturity recently.

My eldest daughter returned from camp on Thursday evening with plenty of stories of camp life – memories to cherish for another year. 

On Friday our school celebrated St John’s festival,  which included wearing fiery colours, circle dancing and leaping over a small central fire. They were also allowed to put any wishes into the fire. My girls later told me, separately, that they had both wished that Delilah (our hen that died recently) was happy now. So sweet.

We are no longer allowed to take photos at our festivals, but I shared a couple on my Midsummer post last year

Our Nature Table is very red and fiery. The strawberry family are back,

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and Mother Earth and her children have built a big bonfire for Midsummer 🙂

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I had a lovely Birthday on Saturday with my little family and was really touched by everyone’s efforts. I have been feeling very low in energy recently and have been feeling quite emotional too, so I think everyone really wanted to make an effort to cheer me up and give me a lovely day. They certainly achieved that 🌈 They decorated the place themselves, remembering how I always do it.

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The detail is ingrained on their memories 🙂

They even made a sweet collage of old baby photos they found of me!

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The presents were prettily wrapped with fragrant bunches of lavender that the girls picked from our garden (to keep you calm mummy)!

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and the vase of flowers in the Birthday ring was also fresh from our garden.

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So many beautiful touches – it was so lovely to be celebrated in this way!

My daughters only made their presents on Friday afternoon because there was no time beforehand with my eldest in camp. Considering the limited time they had, I was amazed at what they acheived!

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My eldest quickly whipped up some bunting for me,

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and my youngest made me a mobile for our bedroom 🙂 Bless them.

My eldest also wrote me a quick poem on Saturday morning. As I have mentioned before she hasn’t been keen to read and write, but she really wanted to write a poem for me. I was really touched. She says she will write it again on card so I can frame it 🙂

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That’s one to melt a mama’s heart – a definite keeper! 🙂

Unfortunately the weather had turned by the weekend and it was much cooler and quite breezy. We still had a good day though. We went out for brunch and played cards and then visited a favourite garden, with a beautiful wildflower meadow, for a couple of hours. It was so uplifting to see these beautiful flowers.

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There was no rushing about (except for the children’s running!) – just a slow quiet day with my favourite people!

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with plenty of time to smell the roses 🙂

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I don’t know if you know, but the Fairies always have a big celebration on Midsummer’s night! We invite the fairies to celebrate in our garden by setting up a party area for them. My daughters set it all up by themselves this year amongst the flowers and it was just perfect for their fairy friends 🙂

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There was a seating area,

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two fairy dance floors,

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and a fairy feast

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and a bathing area with poppy petals floating on it for the fairies to rest on.

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In the morning it was clear there had been guests that night. Things had been moved and green fairy dust was scattered all over. They even left us two little green crystals in the walnut bowls the girls had left out for them. My daughters adore the magic of this night. I remember as a child feeling that Midsummer’s night held a special quality too. Some books I would recommend to share on Midsummer’s Eve with children are:

Little Fairy Can’t Sleep by Daniela Drescher and The Flower’s Festival by Elsa Beskow.

The next evening I met up with a few friends for a Birthday drink by the beach. It was quite breezy, but at the end of the evening the wind had quietened and we marvelled at the evening sky and the twinkling stars. We are so small in this great vast universe and yet so interconnected to everything.

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We spent a little time throwing pebbles in the sea, making wishes and with each throw, letting go of things that no longer serve us. We all found it very cathartic. I would highly recommend it!

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Now just a little bit about what I have been making so this can count as a weekly round up/craft post (!)

I finished the Geranium dress for my eldest. She is really pleased with it and wore it straight away. Here she is on my birthday wearing the dress

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and briefly from the back, here she is wearing the Front Range sweater in the short sleeved version.

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I didn’t manage to capture her wearing it from the front as she soon decided it was too warm to wear all those layers.

I have also finally finished knitting my first sweater for myself.

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I am really pleased with it. I just need to block it a bit to stop the hem riding up, but it looks great on – a lovely flattering fit I find.

And now to think of new projects. The girls would like me to make little sweaters for their dolls in the left over yarn. And I have some lovely soft alpaca yarn that would be perfect for a shawl…hmmnn let’s see….

I hope you are enjoying whatever you are working on. Joining Nicole for Crafting On. 

 

Weekly update

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June Lovely June
    Now beautifies the ground
     The song of the cuckoo
        In the green woods resounds.

I can’t believe we are already in mid-June! June is my favourite month –  and not just because it is my birthday month 😉 We are at the peak of the year with the Summer Solstice (longest day) tomorrow on the 21st June. I love the long days; they feel so full of potential and the light and warmth brings people out of their homes and out of themselves. All around us in nature and in the garden there has been so much growth in the last couple of weeks. But at this time of year, I also find myself struggling to focus, to get things done. This is one of the challenges for me at this time of year. I feel all over the place… I think they call it ‘Midsummer madness’ 😉 Being born on Midsummer’s eve, it’s not surprising I’m a bit susceptible to a bit of that!!

Anyway, the time is whizzing away and it’s less than a month until we take our big trip to the States. We are getting excited, but still have much to arrange beforehand and lots to do in the next month as the school year draws to an end. Hopefully I will regain some focus soon!!!

Some sad news:

Our dear hen Delilah, who had been sick for over a week died on Friday night. She became weaker day by day and couldn’t even find the energy to eat her favourite foods. At the end she could no longer stand or hold herself up, so we had to prop her up against cushions so she could be upright. It was such a sad sight. We gave her all the love and care we could and put her out on the lawn every day in the guinea pig enclosure to nibble on the grass and for some fresh air.

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We separated her from the other hens permanently once we saw that they were being unkind to her because of her weakness; pecking her and I even saw one hen stand on her to get past. It was awful to see so I removed her immediately. It certainly showed “survival of the fittest” in action 😦 I continued to give her water by pipette, but sadly she didn’t make it. We wonder if the fact that she started laying eggs again was too much for her system after her previous shock? We shall never know…

My daughters were saddened but also relieved for her as she was clearly dying for several days. My eldest who is so scared of death, took Delilah’s death better than we expected as she could see what a release it was for her and how that is the natural course of things sometimes.

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On Saturday, we buried her under our little cherry tree. My daughters collected flowers to put in with her and my husband covered her in pretty crepe paper. My eldest also quickly decorated a stone to be laid on top (to stop animals digging her up). It was a very sweet send off and of course I hummed a little of the Tom Jones song “Delilah” 🙂

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I had a dream that night that she was happy. I expect she is now  🙂

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Onto other news. My eldest daughter left for her class camp yesterday.

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They are away for four days and three nights camping, with lots of walking planned and a whole day of kayaking, canoeing and raft building. My husband is joining them this evening to cook the evening meal and stay over and I will join them tomorrow for a long walk – looking at local geography – and ending with a cream tea.  I am looking forward to it.  I have never been able to join my eldest daughter’s class on their trips due to my youngest only going Kindergarten half days. As she now does two longer school days, I can sneak off for the day and join my eldest – hurrah!

I managed to finish my daughter’s sweater/cardigan  in primrose yellow. I did a lot of knitting in the days leading up to the camp 🙂

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I don’t have a photo of her wearing it yet, but will share it when I do. It was a lovely knit and the yarn from Yarn stories is gorgeously soft, I will definitely be treating myself to some more. I made a few mistakes in my hurry to get it done, but my daughter is very pleased with how it looks and that’s all that counts, right?

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I have almost finished the Geranium dress for my eldest. I just need to sew the buttons on and attach the pockets. I promised her it would be done by the time she returns from camp, so I have a couple of nights to finish it in (the days are accounted for). Hopefully my youngest will go to bed earlier than last night. It is so hot, she can’t settle. I fell asleep with her at 9.30pm and didn’t wake up til 4am! I guess I am still recovering from a couple of week of broken sleep with the girls having nightmares and then having worms (they wake up screaming around 11pm-1am without fail…I hear some children don’t seem to be that bothered, but my children are so in tune with their bodies, it really disturbs them). Fingers crossed!

We enjoyed a peaceful Father’s Day on Sunday. We didn’t really do much. Once again, as on Mother’s Day, we had to go out on an errand to get some bedding for the animals, so we combined that with lunch out and a few games of cards. We are really enjoying playing rat-a-tat-cat . It is quite competitive and lots of fun! We are all good loosers, thank goodness!

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The girls made Daddy some paper bunting and some paper flowers. They found the idea in one of the spring editions of the lovely magazine LandLove.

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And that’s my news for the last week. I will be back with more soon 🙂

Happy Summer Solstice!

 

Sharing at Frontier Dreams Crafting On

Advantages of reading late for a highly sensitive child – my thoughts.

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There is so much talk in our educational system about reading and writing and performing ever earlier. Children are considered behind if they cannot read by six and are made to feel lacking as early as four years of age. In Steiner Waldorf education this is not the case and children of seven are only just learning their letters and numbers. This is also the case in many other European countries where formal schooling begins at seven when the first seven years of early childhood are completed.

Before seven years, the child’s only work should ideally be to play unless the child him/herself shows an interest in intellectual learning.

I have been thinking about why my eldest daughter still doesn’t read or write fluently at ten and a half.  Every now and then I wonder if I should have her tested for dyslexia. It runs in the family – my father was most probably dyslexic and my sister and all her children have it.

But something in me says wait.

She has a great sense of balance, picks things up easily if they interest her, has a great memory, can read music and has no trouble picking up an instrument and finding tunes. She is so bright and able in so many areas, I have come to the conclusion that she may be delaying learning to read as a form of protection.

When we learn to read, a whole new world of learning opens to us. We can take ourselves out of our own lives and escape into a book, we can inform ourselves and we become independent in a new way. But once we can read, it is difficult to switch off from the steady stream of information coming towards us. Everywhere we look, there are words – billboards, adverts, magazines, newspapers with horrific headlines and once we can read our brain wants to make sense of everything we see – there is no filter. Our childhood innocence can be taken from us.

I remember when my children were much younger and we lived in our former house, that I dreaded the day when they would be able to read the headlines on the sandwich board outside our local newsagent which we always passed on our way to the park. There was always something horrifying to report – these things sadly sell papers. Luckily, where we live now, this isn’t an issue and the girls still can’t read or have chosen not to.

My youngest at eight has no interest in learning to read either. Several children in her class almost taught themselves and many still cannot read as there is no pressure to do so in Waldorf education for some years and even then, children can learn about interesting topics without actually reading themselves . There isn’t an overemphasis on reading and writing the way there is in mainstream schools; it is just part of what they do.

It is only since the third grade (at 9 years) that parents have been encouraged to read 10 minutes a day at home with their children. During the the nine year change my daughter did not have any inclination to learn to read. She made slow progress and her energies were mainly tied up in her emotional life. Since turning ten, I can see she has made considerable progress in her reading and is more interested in writing, but she is still very unlikely to take up a book to read by herself.

I think she is protecting herself from what is out there – by not reading she is delaying finding out about things for which she is not emotionally ready and cannot understand or make sense of.  I think her sister will follow in the same way.

I feel so grateful that we are in a school where my highly sensitive chidlren can make their individual progress without pressure or being made to feel stupid.

My children love to play imaginatively and be active outdoors. They do not yet have the impulse to sit and read or escape into a book. Of course we sit and read together and my youngest will spend time looking at picture books. We love books here, so I do feel sure that one day my eldest will feel the pull  to read books on her own. When the time is right, I believe it will flow easily.

I loved reading as a child and was encouraged intellectually. It is hard for me to trust sometimes but I remind myself that sometimes we can only embrace something when we are truely ready for it. I will patiently wait for that day and in the meantime encourage her in our ten minute evening reading sessions.

” You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink” 

I wrote this for parents whose children may also be late readers but are bright, imaginative and creative and most likely highly sensitive. Keep encouraging them and trusting. With love. 

 

Elderflower season

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The elderflower season is upon us! To me, the arrival of the elderflower heralds the beginning of the summer months; bringing with it memories of warm, relaxing days, drinking elderflower spritzers, eating sun ripened strawberries and watching tennis at Wimbledon…

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I just love the frothy whiteness of the blossom at this time of the year – it really is a joy to behold.  I have been picking several umbels each time I go for a walk and have been busy making elderflower cordial, cold water infusions and drying the flowers for tea. What a foraging treat!

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Elderflowers have some wonderful properties: they are both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, so can help alleviate the symptoms of colds, flus and other viruses. They can also help with the symptomatic relief of allergies and boost the immune system. I always use the berries in the autumn to make tinctures and syrups for winter illnesses. Last year the berries were quite scarce, so I had to used dried berries. I am hoping that the abundance of flowers this season will lead to a bumper berry harvest in the autumn. Fingers crossed!  In the meantime I will enjoy the gift of the fragrant elderflower.

Ideally elderflowers should be picked in the morning on a bright sunny day. The flowers should be nice and white and open with no browning and should be picked from an area away from traffic as they, like all natural things, absorb pollution. Only take a few flowers from each tree so there are still plenty of berries for autumn foraging and to feed the birds in the autumn and winter.

I tend to suffer from hayfever around this time of year, so I thought I would dry some elderflowers to drink in tea when I experience hayfever symptoms as I heard it can help.  I laid them on a baking tray in an airing cupboard (so in a dry place out of direct sunlight) but you can also lay them on cardboard or anything like that. They should dry within a week. I removed the stalks and  am storing them in an airtight container for future use.

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I have also made a couple of bottles worth of elderflower syrup for us to enjoy. I tried making a sugar-free elderflower cordial last year, using dates, in two different ways, but we didn’t really like the results very much. One was very fermented and no doubt healthy, but it didn’t get drunk so no one gleaned the health benefits!! So this year I decided we would use sugar.

The cordial I made is a modification of two different recipes. One had far too much sugar in it for my liking and the other assumed you boil the water and sugar first and pour it over the elderflowers, which I hadn’t done.  It has worked out well I think. There is still plenty of sugar in it so it should keep well, but it’s probably not very immune boosting! 🙂

The main thing is that we are enjoying it – and drinking in all that lovely sunshine!

Anyway, this is how I made it:

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  • Cover the elderflowers and lemons with water and soak for 24 hours (or a little longer if you forget about it!)
  • Sieve the water solution into a measuring jug, discarding the flowers and stems. Pour it into a big pan, keeping track of the quantity of liquid you are using.
  • Add 250g sugar per litre of water – I added 500g to my 2 litres of water
  • Bring the sugar solution to the boil and simmer on a low heat for twenty minutes.
  • Pour into clean, sterilised glass bottles using a funnel.

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Enjoy!

Not long after making this cordial,  I went to a party and drank an elderflower infusion, which is essentially elderflowers covered in water and left to infuse overnight. The flowers and stems are removed in the morning. What remains is water infused with the delicate sweet flavour of elderflowers. It is a light, fragrant drink and sugar free!

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Being sugar free, it doesn’t keep long like the elderflower cordial, but I have been making infusions every couple of days as I really enjoy them and am sure they make an immune boosting treat! 🙂

Oh I do love foraging – nature provides us with everything we need;  if only we knew how to recognise and use the herbs and plants that grow so generously by the wayside like our ancestors would have done. I intend to find out more 🙂

On another note, whilst I am writing about summer beverages….

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We  have been enjoying fresh mint tea from the copious supply of mint in our garden and on hot days, we have been drinking iced water with cooling mint and lemon slices. So refreshing! Our mint attracts a particular moth that tends to lay its eggs on the mint. Last year the mint was doing so well but by July and August, it had been bitten to shreds and looked a sorry sight 😦 I fear the same is going to happen this year as there are dozens of mint moths on it at all times.

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I have collected some sprigs to dry indoors, to store for mint tea and flavourings

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but for now we are making sure we enjoy it in all kinds of salads and drinks before it is no more. I am not sure how to prevent the moths from laying eggs. If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear from you!

I hope you too are enjoying all the delights of the season. 

 

Unsettling

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We have been having strong winds here in England these last few days. I have just returned from an evening walk and found my local park in chaos in places: branches have been ripped from trees and leaves lie strewn across the lawns. It feels more like autumn than summer, as I feel the crunch of dried leaves underfoot 😦

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The peas and beans have also suffered in our garden as their supports have been pulled out of the ground and many tall perennials look worse for wear too 😦

And the wind is still blowing…It is having an unsettling effect on us all; the children have struggled to settle at night and I have felt all at sea somehow (lack of sleep isn’t helping…)

To add to the unsettled feeling, our hen Delilah, who was doing so well after her troubles late last year, has become unwell. She has been losing weight recently and her feathers have lost their lustre. Yesterday she was barely moving and looking very sorry for herself. I took her to the farm again where we bought her to have her looked at, but the chap there didn’t seem to hold out much hope 😦 Another lady, who overheard our conversation, advised us to feed her cat food or scrambled eggs and to add some apple cider vinegar (with the mother) to her water for her gut health. I haven’t been able to locate any, but I do have freshly ‘brewed’ Kombucha in the fridge which tastes like apple cider vinegar and is good for gut health, so I gave her a little of that in her water.

I read somewhere online that watermelon is a popular choice, especially if the hens aren’t drinking so we gave her some of that. She certainly seems to be enjoying it, but mainly she has been resting.  I have had her on my lap a few times, crooning “Delilah”  to her – I have been a big Tom Jones fan all my life 🙂 – and other soothing tunes. I have always sung to our hens, funnily enough. It just feels right somehow!

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She is currently indoors in the guinea pig hutch so we can keep an eye on her. Poor dear, she really isn’t well, but we will continue to hope and pray for her recovery and above all that she does not suffer. In the meantime we are giving her lots of love and care.

Any ideas from fellow chicken keepers to help our hen would be very welcome.

Hmmnnn…yes it all feels rather unsettled here tonight…..

And to add to the unsettled feeling, the country goes to the polls tomorrow….

At uncertain times like this, it helps me to turn my attention to my breath; the one thing that is steady, reliable and always there and I choose to focus on beauty and abundance where it is to be found. It is everywhere if you look for it.

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The first ripe strawberries

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The generous quantities of elderflowers this year

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And summer storms do produce the most beautiful rainbows 🙂

Of course storms are just part of the weatherfront in nature and in the landscape of our lives. This too shall pass and the sun will shine again.

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I try to remember that none of this is in my control anyway and the best thing I can do is let go and trust. All is as it should be. 

Whitsun half term break

 

The weather is wild out there as I sit in the comfort of my living room writing this. The rain is lashing against the window panes and the wind is howling round our house, chasing stray items around the garden and leaves have been torn from the trees.

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It has been wild all night so we have had broken sleep and lots of anxiety from my eldest, who is suffering from a whole host of fears at the moment. The weather is really reflecting how she is feeling this morning – rather stormy and restless. poor love 😦

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Here she is in a sunnier moment, dear sweet girl 🙂

The children are returning to school today all dressed in white for their Whitsun assembly. The Whitsun message is so welcome right now, with much in the World feeling so unsettled and divided. If only we could understand each other fully, really speak each others language and perceive how each other experiences the World, we would find so much more empathy and peace; both at home and in the World. So much heartbreak and discontent comes from feeling separate and misunderstood. If we cling to our persona, our class, our political allegiance, our national pride, our religion, our generation, our culture, our upbringing or our opinions, whatever they may be, it segregates and distances us from others human beings. This distance can create fear; of the unknown (culture, religion…) and fear ultimately keeps us separate.

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We are all precious children of God, the Universe, the World, no matter what our belief systems are and we all wish to be happy and free from suffering. If only we were to understand each other better, we would no doubt realise we are all the same underneath.

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Hmnn…not what I was planning to say (!) but I guess the Whitsun message has been on my mind lately. I wrote about it a bit here last year

Back to half term!! We had a lovely ten day break from school and were blessed with some warm, sunny days. We celebrated my youngest daughter’s Birthday at the beginning of the week and spent some lovely fun afternoons with friends.

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The children enjoyed having lots of time for free play : in the school holidays, I try to protect our mornings for home time. In the afternoons we are free to see friends or go out on errands. I must admit we spent several days in our pyjamas until midday!!

The girls really appreciated some less structured time at home. They have given all their toys a new lease of life this week 🙂

They have been dressing up,

playing out on the street

being creative

and throwing water over each other to cool down!

and generally having a marvellous time together. I am so pleased they are such good friends – may it always be thus.

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On Friday, we went for a walk with good friends to forage for elderflowers. They seem to be prolific this year. We easily managed to fill a big bag and there were plenty for both our families.

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I made elderflower cordial with most of the flowers and am drying a few umbels for elderflower tea.

It was so lovely to be out in nature with friends.

The children are so much freer with all that space around them and spent a lot of time running through the fields.

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On the weekend we went to Alfriston Clergy House with my mother.

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This medieval thatched cottage was the first property acquired by the newly formed National Trust in 1896.

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It was dilapidated at the time, but has been since been restored to how it once would have been.

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It has a beautiful cottage style garden, complete with a productive vegetable garden

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and a wonderful orchard to play in.

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We found an apple press secreted under one of the apple trees.

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It was an enjoyable visit and good to spend time with Oma (German for grandmother) who came to visit us this weekend.

As for me, it is my first day alone after ten days with the children, so I am playing catch up. As far as making goes, I have started work on my eldest daughter’s sweater in sunshine yellow.

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It is knitting up well so far, except for a small mistake on the ribbing that my daughter doesn’t seem to mind. Phew!

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She has also chosen material so I can make her a Geranium dress like her sisters. I hope to be cutting that out shortly. My daughter is going on a class trip in a couple of weeks time and I would like these to be finished by then (even if they are impractical to take with her!!) It’s always good to have a deadline I find. I will probably also finish her Infinity Cowl to keep her warm on cooler evenings camping. I just want to wrap her up in homemade goodness, so she can feel how loved and protected she is.

I have been reducing my photos in size so they don’t take up so much memory space, but I don’t feel the clarity is quite the same. I wonder if anyone has any suggestions about this? How do you load your photos onto your blog? (if you have one!) I would be grateful of any advice. 

Joining the crafty folks at Frontier Dreams Crafting On