Winter takes another flight and we take the leap….


Once again, I didn’t manage to carve out any time for writing in the past couple of weeks. At the beginning of the year, I was full of ideas about blog posts I wanted to write and I promised myself that I would finally finish my last two travel posts  (yes, I do still plan to write them!), but thusfar none of this has materialised. 😦 It is just the way life has panned out this year….

We are slowly recovering from another bout of coughs and colds. The bugs are tending to linger on rather this year. I had hoped that the very cold spell we had would have killed all the bugs off, but they seem very persistent. My eldest still has a fever on and off, poor love.


After enjoying some wonderfully warm spring days and feeling spring energy stirring within us, winter has taken another flight. It has been snowing over the past couple of days and is still bitterly cold. We even made a little snow lady, Erica 🙂


My eldest reminded me that it was sunny on Candlemas (Groundhog) day, so it’s not really surprising! 🙂


The snow hasn’t been deep, but it’s been compact enough to go sledging a couple of times. The Friday before last, my eldest and I went to the local park with our sledge after school on the off chance that the conditions would be suitable and luckily we were pleasantly surpised. We have a nice wooden German sledge that hasn’t seen much use, so it was a pleasure to take it out for a spin. 🙂 There were only a couple of families out as it was dinner time and getting dark, so by the time we left, we had the slope to ourselves. It was great to do something fun with my eldest, just the two of us. Lately we have rarely had the opportunity and I know it benefits us both.


The week before last was quite eventful:

On Friday, we celebrated our wedding anniversary – 18 years – my, how did that happen?! Although we were both full of cold, we spent a lovely day together; looking at campervans :-), eating (tasty spicy foods), drinking (shots of lemon and ginger – very potent!) and mooching around town. It was just so nice to talk and be together. We haven’t managed to keep up our fortnightly dates for a while due to illness and other circumstances, so it was precious time spent together. We are hoping to get back on track with our dates as it is important to have fun together.

On Sunday, it was Mother’s Day. None of us was feeling ‘on form’, but my husband and daughters still made an effort to spoil me; with cards and a couple of sweet presents. I was very touched.


I love my new cheery teapot for loose leaf tea and my new cup with its rounded sides – so wonderful to cradle in my hands. 🙂


My youngest made me this heart at school : she sanded the wood, hammered in the small nails and wove her chosen thread colours around the heart. A labour of love 🙂 My eldest has yet to finish her gift she says.

Speaking of an eventful week, on Saturday, we picked up our new puppy Millie!


We have discussed at length over the years whether a dog would fit in our life or not and after much debate and discussion, we decided it was now or never. Our daughters are old enough now to be involved and help with a puppy and still have many more years at home to enjoy with her.  We made it one of our New Year’s Resolutions! Funnily enough, we have since discovered it is the Chinese “Year of the Dog”, so it feels even more apt that this is the year we took the leap! 🙂

We picked her out from her litter the Saturday before and the girls spent the week busily preparing for her arrival!


She is a Cavapoo; a mix between a miniature poodle and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. We did a lot of research before reaching a decision, because we wanted to be sure we found a compatible dog for our guinea pigs; without a prey instinct and a dog that didn’t need excessive amounts of exercise and was easy to train!


She is nearly 11 week and is a real sweetheart. We are smitten! The first few days, she slept a lot and didn’t eat much. We think she was missing her family of origin, but she is much more active and playful now. Unfortunately she had an upset tummy the whole week, so I took her to the vet on Friday to be checked out. He gave her an antibiotic injection and some probiotic medicine and we hope to see some improvement soon. She found visiting the vet thrilling; meeting other dogs and being doted on by animal lovers. Everyone commented on her sweet temperament, for which we are most grateful.


When we go out, we have been carrying her in my big knitting basket or in a baby sling as she is still too young to be put on the ground outside. She has been enjoying the view and being close.


She has also travelled on the buses, been cuddled and doted on by numerous children at the school gates and even enjoyed a quick trip to the supermarket the other day, when our cupboards were bare!


I have been trying to study inbetween attending to her. Luckily Millie still enjoys frequent naps!


She will nap wherever she finds a cosy body! 🙂


It had been so cold, we had to invest in a little jacket for her, as she is going to work with my husband three days a week and he works outdoors. The girls tried some dolly jumpers on her too, which are still rather large! At that point I started to fantasise about the jumpers I could knit for her next winter (hee hee!)


She has even had her first taste of snow and seemed unphased by it.


I hope I haven’t gone overboard with the photos! I have really noticed how even the (seemily) hardest characters seem to soften when they meet a puppy. It is a real leveller and in so a real gift.


In other news, my eldest, who is in the Fifth Grade of a Waldorf (Steiner) school, finished a Geography project on The Lake District. Each child had to choose a region of England to write a detailed project on. Their project needed to be beautifully illustrated and they had to design a poster and construct a model of the area. My daughter made a papier mache model with my husband.


They presented the project to their class and once again, individually, to the parents  one evening last week. We spent 7 minutes talking with each child about their chosen project and sampling food from the area, that the children had brought in. My daughter made some Grasmere Gingerbread, with crystallized ginger and brought in some Kendal Mint Cake to share. It was a really fun evening and all the children talked confidently about their subject.


I really appreciate how my sensitive children are building their confidence in this setting and how Steiner education encourages the children to be supportive of each other’s work. I was petrified of presenting anything as a child and still am, even as an adult (!), but my daughter took it in her stride and was more than happy to talk to the parents in this intimate, relaxed atmosphere. It was so lovely to see and it feels good to know she is in the right place.

And now we know so much about the region, we really must try to visit at some point this year – maybe with our campervan-to-be?! 😉

And last, but not least, my youngest finished her third knitting project: a little kitty 🙂


And that’s the round up for the past couple of weeks. As for me, I am currently  making a couple of simple monk’s outfits and adjusting a Greek dress for both my daughters’ plays next week.

I haven’t been making much for pleasure, but I am planning to get back on track as I am feeling like creativity is rather missing from my life right now and things don’t feel in balance in that way.


I hope you are finding plenty of time for creativity and are keeping well and warm!

Joining Crafting On at Frontier Dreams.



“Snow Bears” – a quick iplayer recommendation for you- expires very soon!


If you are looking for something cosy and wintry to watch with your children today, I recommend the BBC Documentary Snow Bears. It’s on iplayer until 3rd February. We watched it over the Christmas break and I planned to share it here, but totally forgot to because of going away. I assumed it had finished broadcasting, but we just had a look as my youngest is ill and she requested it and amazingly it’s still being broadcast! Hurrah!

The documentary follows the journey of a polar bear mother and her two cubs as they go on a long journey to find food. There are various hindrances, such as the attentions of a rather large male bear and an avalanche, but the bears manage to stay together throughout. It is lovely to see their close relationship and the mother’s deep love and protection of her young cubs and such a privilege to be able to follow their progress over the weeks/months this was filmed in. This film is beautifully filmed and edited with not too many gorey bits (my daughters were grateful for this!) It really is a visual treat and i highly recommend it if you have a spare hour to cosy up in today. 🙂

New friends…


We have had a few changes around here in the past weeks. Firstly, one of our sweet guinea pigs “Bubble” died suddenly two days before my eldest daughter’s Birthday (he of the wonderful flowing hair on the left hand side of the photo). We had planned to take the guinea pigs into the house on Sunday but on Saturday night there were a lot of fireworks (we celebrate Guy Fawkes night here in the UK around the 5th November, with fireworks, bonfires and processions in some towns) and we can only imagine Bubble died of a heart attack after a loud bang 😦 Guinea pigs are so sensitive with weak hearts. 😦 We were so sad to lose him and so regretful that we had not brought the guinea pigs in earlier. This autumn has been so mild, there was no need to bring them in sooner (we usually bring them in mid-October) but we forgot to consider that folks could have firework displays in the week before the 5th. 😦

We had a little ceremony to commemorate our little friend and my youngest, whose pet he was, drew on his “gravestone”. Both my daughters made sure he had all his favourite foods in with him – sweet girls.


He is now carefully tucked away under our angel where he will not be disturbed.


We had heard that guinea pigs are sociable animals and can get very lonely, so we felt we needed to find “Pipkin” another friend. We went to the pet shop later that day (in the midst of birthday/party preparations…) and were advised that male guinea pigs don’t always take well to other younger males. They suggested we have two young ones so if ‘Pipkin’ decided he preferred to be alone, then they would have each other.

So, without further ado, meet our new friends ‘Pumpkin’ and ‘Cappuccino’ 🙂


They are Texels and will have long soft curly hair. They are so soft and sweet. My daughters fell in love at first sight!


We were told not to handle our new friends for the first day and to keep them in a separate cage from ‘Pipkin’, but after a couple of days of cuddles – they are soooo sweet and still small – it was time to introduce them to ‘Pipkin’ on neutral ground.


So we built a play pen area for them in our family room and they slowly started to socialise. By the end of the first day they were eating from the same bowl
and not long after they were cosied up in the same tunnel.


The little ones are always climbing over the much larger ‘Pipkin’, but he tolerates it well. Bubble was the dominant guinea pig so he is used to being climbed on! We put them in the same (two storey) cage at the weekend and they are doing really well. Phew!


We still feel sadness at Bubble’s demise, but these sweet little ones have brought us much joy already.

Apart from our new friends, my husband has been working in the garden again as he had some time in between jobs.




He has laid a new lawn and reshaped it so we have plenty of space for lots of lovely perennials and grasses. I love the shape of it. It feels so relaxing to look out to the garden now, after feeling rather haphazard for a long time. I feel so grateful that my husband is so clever and talented! 🙂

The view from our seating area to the pond is also lovely and relaxing – it will be even better once the plants are growing!! There are some spring bulbs to look forward to too 🙂 At the moment none of us are allowed to step on the lawn for three weeks, so there will be no trips up to the veg patch (most of the beds are ‘resting’ now anyway, except for some leeks, chard and parsley) or to the play house, but as the nights draw in, we find ourselves inside more so it is easier to be patient 🙂

Weekly update



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.


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.


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” 🙂


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


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



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 🙂


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?


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!


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.


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



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 😦



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!


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.


The first ripe strawberries


The generous quantities of elderflowers this year


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.


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. 

Animal tales…

As I mentioned in my last post, we had a visitor come to stay with us this past week. She was full of fun, lively, affectionate and a joy to have around and the house feels so quiet without her. Her name is Dotty and she is a working springer spaniel 🙂

The week flew by. We enjoyed our daily walks to the park: sometimes we wondered who was walking who (!) as she pulled us around the park!


We played ball for long swathes of time, taking it in turn to throw the ball and Dotty never tired of it; she literally has boundless energy.



The park became her playground, but there were a few moments when we managed to  slow her down enough for a ‘photo shoot’



or for the children to rest a while 😉


or throw sticky grass onto each other!


I am not sure this breed of dog would suit us long term as we don’t always have the time or energy for such a lively dog. When my husband took her to work she was well behaved, but she kept distracting the men by nudging her ball towards them expectantly and persevered until she got what she wanted! We used to have a collie, Jess for a year and a half, inherited from a lady who was very sick and needed to rehome her asap. She was a lovely dog, but very similar in nature to Dotty and needed a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. I had a young baby (my eldest) and my husband was working indoors for a while, so she didn’t get the attention she really deserved. In the winter evenings, my husband often had to go out to the park with her after work to throw the ball around in the darkness!  It wasn’t really ideal! Luckily we managed to rehome her with an older couple,  who used to look after her when we went on holiday and grew to love her and she had a lovely rest of her life, with plenty of walks and a large garden in which to run around, not to mention roast dinners (over the dry biscuits we were giving her!). So that story has a happy ending 🙂

So if we do get a dog, we will have to think carefully about the breed. We are certainly tempted as it had a surprisingly calming effect on us all and was so nice to have those doggie cuddles!

Now we have other animal issues. One of our guinea pigs, ‘Pipkin’ is sick 😦 He has been out of sorts for days and I took him to the vet today as we noticed he hasn’t been eating at all or passing any stools, which is serious for a guinea pig. The vet suggested all kinds of investigations that really are out of our price range and I am not sure they are all warranted either. In the end, we are feeding him some special feed via a syringe and giving him various medicines for his gut, as his abdomen is distended and the vet hoped it would help with the bloating. We are also giving him water via a syringe regularly as he isn’t drinking either 😦 I gave him homeopathic carbo veg earlier as a ‘reviver’ and was thinking of lycopodium too as that is good for the kidneys and the digestive system. If anyone knows of anything that may help him, please do let me know as we are concerned for our sweet little two year old ‘Pipkin’.


The vet suggested we separate him from his friend ‘Bubble’ so we could keep an eye on him, so I set up half of our hutch indoors. When my youngest daughter found out her ‘Bubble’ would be alone in the outside hutch without his ‘Pipkin’, there were floods of tears, so I cleaned up the other part of the hutch and brought him in to be next to ‘Pipkin’.


They are so close, they immediately found each other and had a chat :-). It was touching to see (‘Pipkin’ is on the right hand side).


He has been so quiet and withdrawn, it was nice to see him more animated and at least he is close to his friend now. Everyone is happier that way. We shall do our best for Pipkin and pray he recovers as he is a valued member of our family.

We really love our animals here and wouldn’t be without them. They enhance our life and teach the children to care for others in a very natural way.


A short story about a Hen…


This is Delilah. She is one of our three lovely hens. We have had our ladies Lily, Ruby and Delilah since last May. When we first brought them home, only Ruby was laying, but the other two soon caught up and we were delighted to be receiving two to three eggs a day. Treasure!

One day last autumn, we closed them off from their laying quarters inadvertently for most of the day, so they were unable to lay their eggs (hens require a quiet, private place to lay happily -at least ours do). The next day Ruby and Lily laid flat eggs  (!) and Delilah never laid again, until this week! 

Not long after locking them out, Delilah’s comb started shrivelling and going purple and her feathers started to fall out too -she did look a sorry sight 😦


She was still eating well and acting normally – as normal as a hen can act! 😉 so I suspected she wasn’t ill, but I was still concerned when she showed no signs of improvement, so I took her to the farm where we had purchased her and the owner reassured me she was fine, just in shock. Delilah lays our biggest eggs, so I am not surprised! (Ouch!). We were advised to add Life-Guard to the water to support her recovery and I put in some crushed arnica for the shock too. It has taken a good six months for her recover. I imagine it didn’t help that it was winter,  but now she is looking almost as good as new, her comb is growing  and is a nice healthy red colour again. Hurrah!


Here she is at the back with her lady friends. Her comb is still a little smaller, but she looks really well with a shiny, full coat of feathers. 

I thought I would share this story, as being a new hen owner I had no idea what was going on with her. Our chicken-keeping book made no mention of this and when I searched the internet under “purple shrivelled combs”, it led me to believe she might have a heart condition or some infectious disease and knowing that chickens can die from one moment to the next from illness, I was keen to know what to do. Getting to know your chickens is important so you can spot behavioural changes.

Through this experience we got the opportunity to see how the girls really care for each other. When we took Delilah away to be looked at, the other hens acted very confused and didn’t really settle until she returned. It was touching to see how delighted they were to see her back; there was a lot of contented clucking.  🙂 A friend of mine told me about one of her older hens, who became sick in her old age and went into her nesting box to die. Another older hen went in there with her and later my friend found them huddled together with the other bird’s wing cuddled around the dead bird. It really is very moving to see the close relationships animals have with each other.

This morning, we were very excited to find a clutch of three eggs in the nest box!  It looks like she has made a full recovery, so this story has a happy ending 🙂


Horses and knitting

I am making slow progress on the sweater I am making for my eldest daughter.  I was hoping to make it for her birthday by the end of October but I don’t seem to find the time somehow. Now all the crayon rolls are made, I am enjoying a bit of cosy knitting instead. The other day we took a long car journey and I played a bit of catch up and today I went to watch my youngest daughter having a horse riding lesson and managed to fit in a few more rows in between reading this horse and pony encyclopaedia


I am trying to find out as much as possible about horses as we now own a pony! I know it sounds strange, but we didn’t intend to become horse owners and it has come as a bit of a shock surprise that we are actually responsible for our very own horse, but this is how it is and so I am trying to educate myself so I don’t feel quite so out of my depth! She is a beautiful girl and we are all quite smitten but totally inexperienced! 🙂


I will explain more shortly. Tonight I am just going write this short post on my work in progress for KKCO . I am still finishing off a couple of posts I am writing related to Michaelmas  🙂

Hope you too are enjoying some cosy crafting time!



What to do with all those eggs…

Monday is baking day in our weekly summertime rhythm. Our chickens Lily, Ruby and Delilah generously present us with two to three eggs every day.


Sometimes we find it rather a lot to keep up with – my daughters aren’t so keen on eggs now they know where they come from!! 😦 so we often gift eggs to friends, teachers and neighbours and of course we enjoy them ourselves. It is nice to share the bounty.

Today the eggs were overflowing out of our bowl ( we need a basket methinks…)  so we thought it was a good time to do an egg-themed bake. We chose to make these coconut macaroons as you need six egg whites for them! We also made jam tarts from this book with some of the egg yellow and I used the rest to make tofu fingers.

The girls pretty much made them themselves with some direction from me. My eldest daughter took charge of the macaroons. It was a bit of a messy business, but they did really well and the macaroons are really soft and chewy and very moreish!




My youngest was in charge of rubbing the butter and flour for the jam tart bases ( her older sister is highly sensitive and the feel of flour on her hands is deeply unpleasant for her ). C really loves getting her hands dirty so she had a great time!


H helped her sister with the jam and cutting out the tart bases. Didn’t they do well!



Both recipes are sugar free, using honey instead. Needless to say my daughters were delighted with these two sweet treats today!

A big thank you to our lovely ladies ( seen here scratching about in the gravel outside their coup, looking for tasty morsels no doubt!) We love their quirky selves 🙂