Monday, 2 July 2018

Watching grass grow

I haven't had too much to say lately, it's been busy here with just the everyday jobs of living.

We did however put down paddock seed onto the cleared field. It was starting to sprout weeds and after the expense and effort of clearing I didn't want it to go to waste. So I spent the evenings a few weeks ago putting down seed and James rolled it using a borrowed tractor.

Now the phrase 'about as interesting as watching grass grow' is pretty apt. 

Two weeks later

The endless rain delayed us clearing the ground and now the hottest summer in years is making it hard work keeping the newly sprouted grass alive. We have a sprinkler which we move about the field morning and night around work.

The kids have had invites to lots of birthday parties the last few weekends, so we seem to have spent all our time driving from A to B.

We went out for the first time in ages as a family on Saturday (for a few hours before another party). There's a local flower farm that makes petal confetti so we looked around the fields. We took my mum who adores the kids, so they all enjoyed an hour the sun.

The flower bed I spent so much time planting last year is looking beautiful and the bees are mad for it. We're trying to do our bit to keep them happy and fertilising the fruit and veg.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Further land clearances and the duck hotel

Another packed couple of weekends. 

We got the wee man a single bed as his legs were starting to poke out the end. As with all things IKEA, it took us most of the afternoon to put together!

James put up my oil lamp in the hallway, I'm so pleased with it and it reminds me of my holiday every time I pass. It's all looking smart now the woodwork is done.

We also did some upgrades to the compost bins that we built a few months ago. The chickens are always in there turning over the waste, but most of it ended up all over the floor. Now we've put in a front that can be taken out when access is needed to the compost. Hopefully we'll get a bit more now.

This weekend our digger driver came over and cleared some more trees and bushes from the land. We built a huge bonfire and burned all the brambles and decaying wood we could find. He also brought the plough round to disturb all the bramble roots, which we've been collecting up for burning. Next plan is he'll bring over his big rotavator type attachment and it should all ready for seeding.

I thought that picking grass would be easy but there are so many choices. I don't want to be mowing all the time, especially with our mower but the meadow mixes are so expensive I can't justify paying ten times as much. I'll just have to think about it this week a bit more.

We've also been duck rescue for our neighbour up the road. Her ducks have been getting a virus and dropping like flies. Sh'ed had a mum sitting and the ducklings had been kept separate from the flock. She asked if we would take them for 10 days to keep them out of harms way. So long as they're well at the end then they'll be going to a new home. Unfortunately as her other ducks are carriers they're not safe to go home. The girls have been very good giving up their home but they don't like having to stay in the pen with them all day. They're too spoilt!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

A beautiful May wedding

Last weekend my sister married her wonderful fiance in the glorious May sunshine. The day was one of the first warm spells we've had this year; the atmosphere was relaxed and jovial. My two were page boy and flower girl and I was bridesmaid.

Stuart's family were lovely and I'm so pleased for Emma that she's got them all on side. Unlike our wedding there were no fights!

We got ready in the morning together over a bottle of fizzy wine. My sister was excited and happy. The kids were beautifully behaved. All went well. I cried during the ceremony (not like me, I'm not a public crier).

We sat in the terrace in the sun afterwards, drinking Pimm's and chatting. We were sat with my grandpa over the wedding breakfast and he told me stories of the war and his early life I've never heard; at 97 he seems to be softening! It is the first time he's really chatted to me, when I was younger my grandparents were very Victorian, 'children should be seen and not heard' type of thing. My mum was in her element bossing everyone around.

Congratulations Emma and Stuart, wishing you a long happy life together xxx

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Not your normal holiday purchases

Now we're home we've got the post holiday blues. That said we're starting to make plans to move the house along and get the garden looking better.

I took some photos of some of the bits and pieces we bought. As always happens we had our luggage searched by the TSA security guys. To be fair whilst everyone else's suitcase is packed full of new clothes, we come home with some odd stuff that must look curious on the x-ray machine.

As you know I'm keen on having some food, water and fuel stored and doing what we can to ensure if we need to we can keep to ourselves for a good period of time. So the first picture is what I was most excited to buy.

I have wanted a mini Sawyer filter for ages and look what I've got!! I also managed to get a lantern for about £6. It burns kerosene the same as our boiler, so is ideal for if we need emergency lighting as kerosene is the fuel we have most of. We need to have practice soon to get the hang of it.
Plus ball jars, a whole tray of a dozen for another £6 odd and what's all they all got home in one piece. A £1.50 toasting fork and some ziplock bags. As you can see the machete made its through UK customs.

Anyone who's seen my Christmas posts knows we buy a Christmas decoration for the tree when we go away and this year we've continued the tradition.

My other joy is home decor and we got a few vintage bits when we were in Mount Dora at the most amazing antique mall. I always like homewares and lucky for me it's pretty common stuff so you can pick it up at a really good price. We got an old mirror, a cornbread skillet, an old oil lamp (that had a bracket that just caught my eye) and a salesman's sample stove. God know's where that will find a home.

I've also been looking for a post box forever and look what I found, I love enamel things and it will hopefully do a better job of keeping my post dry than my current one.

Last but not least, we didn't buy a whole lot at Disney as it's pretty overpriced but I had a silhouette made of the kids. It captures a moment in time. The lady does it there and then with a small pair of scissors in about 2 minutes, it's certainly a talent.

Now we need to start planning what our goals for the year are and getting started. Here's hoping that the weather turns for the better so I can get out in the garden.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Florida bound

We've been planning our holidays for the last 18 months and the time has finally come, we're here.

James and I used to go to the good old US of A before kids and now we've brought them along to nurture the family obsession.

The Florida climate during the Spring is just perfect and I have loved being warm, all the time!

We've done Disney, which is predictably fun for the kids and a bit mental for us. The school holidays are not the best time to travel but with wee man being school age we're out of choices. Baby girls highlight was being chosen to be the real family at a Beauty and the Beast show. She was given a rose and we got to sit at the front, the staff all bowed to her. She was made up!

We have travelled to some of my favourite places like Mount Dora, that has the most amazing antique mall. I bought an awesome corn bread skillet and James got a salesman sample oven, I can't wait to find a place to display them at home. 

We also went to St. Augustine for the first time. The oldest European colonised city in the U.S. and it is just beautiful. James and I fell in love with the place! The streets are quaint and they have the most beautiful Victoriana style wooden houses. We visited the Castillo de San Marco. If you want a great day in the states the U.S. national parks service will give you one every time. We also visited a distillery and a winery, because it's a rule if you're near.

Today we went to Fort Christmas and saw the historical park with re-sited pioneer homes, I was in historical heaven. Some of the wooden cabins are bigger than our house and so gorgeous. We planned it to coincide with re-enactors doing a display and they gave a great show and talk on the Seminole wars. We got chatting to some of them and they were fascinating, I have always fancied doing re-enactments. 

We also visited the wetlands and saw some huge Gators. We had to go the long way round as one was blocking the path and I didn't fancy our odds.

On the way home I suggested we stop at a Pro Bass shop. It's an outdoorsy, camping, fishing, hunting shop and it was huge. We could have spent all day wondering round and got a few things to take home.

We've done the traditional shop to you drop. That being said we've done it in our own unique style and bought mason jars, sawyer water filters, an oil lamp that burns kerosene (same as our heating oil) and a machete, it's like a peppers paradise. Here's hoping we make the weight limit home and customs takes kindly to our purchases.

I will find more pics to show you soon, it's been amazing and well worth saving for.