Tuesday, 30 November 2010


I know it's been just a week but we're becoming seriously sick of the snow. I can't get my car out of the drive and three home ed events we had been really looking forward to this week have been cancelled due to the inclement conditions. Worse still, I have been persuaded to do what I said I would never do - allow a hen to stay in the house.

Merlin is a queer beastie. We've had her for about two years and she's never laid for us. She lays her eggs in obscure places and on the rare occasions that we do find them there is often loads and we don't know how long they have been there. Good job we love her. Well, in keeping with her odd nature she began to molt a couple of weeks ago. It always surprises me that hens molt in autumn (that's the norm) as I would have thought they would molt in summer when it's warmer. Anyway, Merlin has to go one better and wait till we have well over a foot of snow and night time temperatures of -9 *sigh*.

I don't have a picture of Merlin in her current condition but for anyone not familiar with a molting hen, this is what they look like. First they loose almost all of their feathers, then they become spiky like the picture above. If you look closely you will see that the end of the spikes are beginning to fan out. This will increase and they turn into feathers as we know them. Merlin is currently in the bald/very early spikes stage. She's been cowering and standing around like a statue outside so we have been bringing her in late afternoon and taking her out and putting her in the greenhouse during the day. She's smelly. I'll say it again, it's a good job we love her.

Thankfully the enforced reduction in life pace is helping to ensure that nana takes things slowly after her op. She's home and doing fine. Thanks to everyone who has been in touch and wished her well.

Hmmmm.... we've ice skated, sledged, bum skidded, snowballed, built snow men, dug numerous paths for our hens and bunnies, played hide and seek the icicle. Time for a bit of sunshine perhaps?

It's so bad round here that I had a call this morning to say that our local community hospital was closing today due to the weather. I was secretly relieved as I can't say that physio is my favourite activity.

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Monday, 29 November 2010

Advent Spiral

Yesterday we braved the snowy weather to join with some other families in walking the Advent Spiral. We waited outside of the village hall as the two ladies kindly organising the spiral made the final touches.

We all entered together and found the hall in darkness save for a couple of candles on the window ledges and a large candle in the centre of the evergreen spiral.

We each took a seat arranged around the spiral and listened as one lady told a story about a shepherd boy.

After this we all sang quietly as the lady leading the spiral presented each child in turn with a candle. The child walked the spiral to the central candle, lit their candle from the central one and then placed it upon a silver star within the spiral. The whole thing took place in silence save for the soft singing.

I didn't take my camera but the spiral looked almost identical to this one below.

Once every child had walked the spiral we silently filtered outside to be greeted by beautiful floaty snow in the darkness. We took shelter under some large trees while munching on star biscuits and drinking hot apple juice. A truly magical time.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Snow Fairy

If the weather forecast is correct I could be needing this guy by tonight.

Big thanks to a special friend who sent this to me. It's put a smile on my face while waiting here to call the hospital to find out how nana's op is going.

Thursday, 18 November 2010


Introducing Ginger, one of our new girls, who found her way onto the top of the greenhouse and struggled to get down.

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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Rowan tree

I was delighted to take delivery of a rowan tree this afternoon. It looks nothing like the above, but hopefully it will in time.
When the tree I was hoping to save was felled I checked out the prices of semi mature trees and concluded I couldn't afford one. I got this one from a fellow member of our local community currency scheme for just one hour in time credit. What a result!
Need to find out how to protect the roots from frost this winter as I suspect they will be fragile and susceptible to damage.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Lantern walk

We joined with our Steiner friends the other day to celebrate Martinmas with a lantern walk. The children had spent a couple of sessions making their leaf rubbing lanterns. Unfortunately it was exceptionally breezy and the candles didn't stay lit for long.
Thankfully it didn't seem to bother the children.
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Thursday, 11 November 2010

Kindling the flame

I'm struggling to keep the flame burning bright at the moment. Winter has arrived here with a vengeance this week. We've had our first flurry of snow and some heavy frosts. The days are shortening rapidly - much more quickly than I recall ever having happened before.

I seem to be spending too much time hanging around doctors and hospitals and not enough time just being with heart and home. Too much time raging at things I can't change, imploring the ignorance of some and generally exposing myself to negativity. Goodness, if ever there was a time to be bright and positive it's now as we come into the shorter days and longer evenings - a natural time for thought and creativity.

It's time to take stock. I've been reading this message which a friend shared with me years ago. It's helping to focus my mind.

So, what have we been up to other than struggling to keep on top and upbeat?

We've been enjoying what is left of our garden gifts. The pumpkins are all but done now but there's still chard, curly kale and jerusalem artichokes.

Basking in the glow of candle light.

Musing at Snowy admiring one of the last of the sweet pea flowers. Snowy is one of the latest additions to the fold. She arrived just a few days ago with her chum Ginger who not surprisingly is a red hen. Ginger's not had her photo shoot as yet!

Hanging about.

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Thursday, 4 November 2010

Quote of the day

Nana, 'I can't sew the guy's head on - I'm in the middle of stuffing Mary!'

Thankfully I can confirm that our bonfire guy is now with head, awaiting his hot date with the fire tomorrow night. Mary is well and truly stuffed along with the three wise men. She's a fast knitter is Nana. I suspect there may be pictures of the Knitivity by late next week.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Washing our cares away

I was ever so pleased that the morning after our 'fright night' referred to below, we were heading off for a one night stay at Blackpool. We had our cares blown away in Stanley Park, washed away in a marathon session at the Waterpark and were bedazzled by the illuminations.

The pictures above, taken from the website, don't do the place justice. We really did have a blast. We were there from 10.30am till almost 4.00pm and save for a fifteen minute snack break we were go, go, going the whole time! I was delighted with the amount of facilities for Miles. I was concerned that he would loose interest well before Hermione, but as it was he was the one least keen to leave.
I never thought I could come to like Blackpool. Hustle and bustle just ain't me. When the children announced they wanted to go last year I was horrified. I have to say I'm coming round to it though. We thoroughly enjoyed the circus and aquarium in Blackpool Tower last year and the Waterpark this year was amazing. Sure, I've never seen so many hanging baskets full of plastic flowers in my life - but for a one night stay perhaps that's all just part of the charm.