Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Cherry picking and log burner

This weekend we took the kids on our first trip out as a family since COVID restrictions to a pick your own orchard. I've not been since I was a very young child and we all loved it. The cherries were huge and so sweet. The weather was warm and sunny and the views across the Malvern Hills were beautiful. We also got to see my mum and she was excited to see the kids.

We made a cherry pie when we got home and I canned some cherries for the year. As always they don't go as far as you'd think. We may have to go back for more!

Today we had a log burner fitted in the new front room, come winter we'll be snug as a bug. This is another job that's been on the list so we're all happy to be moving forward again. Although I will confess that James hates a job he can't do himself and it's costly to get someone to fit, but at least we're covered by our house insurance in case of fire I suppose.

Also here's the front wall re-built by my talented husband. We got the tin for the roof delivered yesterday, so may get started on it this weekend.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

A very sad week

We've had a very sad week this week. I got a call at work from my brother-in-law to tell me that my grandpa had died by suicide. My mum has been his carer for the last 4 years and spent every day with him. She had been to see me at work that day to get some dressings to dress his arm after a fall the day before and cried she was so happy to see me face to face. Unfortunately she found him and it was as you can imagine very traumatic for her. It has been difficult to process and so unexpected.

My work has been great and given me a few days off, so I've seen my mum. That in itself is a tough decision as I don't want to put her in danger from Coronavirus, but mental health is also very important so for now she's seeing me.

Grandpa giving me away at my wedding

Work continues on the land as always and the polytunnel is starting to fill with plants I never planned on growing this year. 

I've also been painting the new gate and repainted the garage door and driveway gate, so with an audiobook going that has been very therapeutic. I'll get a picture at some point soon.

Today we had to put down a chicken with a prolapsed vent, which is always sad.

The kids have been out in the paddling pool and enjoying the sun and I am so grateful for the opportunity to sit with them and watch their childhood exuberance. 

Sunday, 19 April 2020

A weeks holiday in lockdown

James and I had this week off on holiday. We are both still working during the pandemic, it was much needed!

To be honest it is super hard when the majority of your work colleagues (in James' case) are off getting full pay while you have to continue to work and home school the kids. It's easier for me, as although I'm now working full time everyone else in healthcare is also working hard and I get to leave the house as usual. I am avoiding too much Facebook, I can't bear to hear how people are bored at home, when I'd love to be spending time with my kids. My challenge has always been envy and right now I am working double time on keeping on top of it.

Anyway onto the fantastic week off. The opportunity to not have to go anywhere meant we were even more productive than usual. James re-built the wall out front by the pig sty and pointed it up, I have ordered a gate where the old pig entrance used to be. It's a little wider than it was to make a new pedestrian access.

Our usual Easter egg hunt was reduced to just us, but it was still special and we now had enough chocolate for the 20 kids that had been planned for. 

We have some wonderful neighbours that we help out occasionally and like all of the retired people round here their gardens are amazingly well kept. I had a wonderful delivery of plants this week so the beds are once again overflowing.

The polytunnel got planted up with salad and spring onions and I potted up the tomatoes and aubergines. I've started more cottage garden plant seeds too. It got so warm in there this week with the sunny weather, I could have been in the South of France. We had managed to buy an IBC and got this is set up by the polytunnel to make watering easier. The plan is eventually to see if we can get a drip watering system set up at some point.

Another friend has given me a sour dough starter so we have made a few loaves and they were good! 

We did so many walks with the kids and picked some wild garlic. We made pesto and garlic butter and fresh pasta so we've eaten like kings. I even had a Weston's cider delivery so it's been the type of week where mid afternoon is a perfectly acceptable time to open a bottle.

I've cleaned the windows for the first time in 12 months, had a BBQ, done a 1000 piece jigsaw, sorted out junk, James cut down a leylandii; is it any wonder that we're happy to be off work? I am so lucky to have a life where all I want to do is be at home and sometimes that has to be my consolation and God is it a big consolation!

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Polytunnel progress and Coronavirus consequences

This weekend was the first break in the rain since forever (October) and for once there were no storms forecast so we managed to get the poly tunnel plastic on!

James was recovering from a rather nasty norovirus and I was full of cold; you should have seen the state of us filling the trench, it was pretty pathetic. 

But it was all worth it, we now have a covered structure. Now to the digging inside...

On another note following the COVID-19 outbreak my beekeeping course has been cancelled for this year, gutted.

James' work has banned overtime and put them on short time, so that will be difficult, but we won't be the only ones.

My work however is absolutely mental. The surgery is incredibly busy, with mostly phone consultations, I seem to spend my whole day signing prescriptions. For all the Facebook posts about supporting the NHS workers, there are an incredible amount of abusive patients who throw their toys out of the pram when they don't get what they want.

Now the schools are closing tomorrow, for those of us that have to work more hours in healthcare it's going to be tough to have the kids looked after. I can't wait for some time off, I think we're in it for the long haul right now.

I have never been more grateful for being that weirdo who keeps the cupboards stocked!

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Polytunnel beginnings and beekeeping

So it's been our goal to get back to growing food for the last few years. We've had our work cut out on the house, but we've come to the end of the last big project.

The field next door had a poly tunnel in when we bought it, but a wood had grown around and through it since it was last used. It was used in a commercial business, so is 13 metres long; we should have plenty of room for my veg in there.

Towards the end of last year we dismantled the frame and the last few weeks we've been reassembling it where we hope it will get some sun, but be a little sheltered from the wind that whips up the hill.

James has made some doors out of wood we've had knocking about and today I ordered the plastic. So we now have something keeping us busy for the next few weeks.

So to the most exciting news...today I booked onto a local beekeeping course!!! I've always wanted to keep bees and in keeping with my life's too short philosophy I'm getting started on the path. The plan is probably to save some money for all of the equipment etc, but I need to know what to do and if it's for me first so here we go.