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Waiting for sourdough bread, which I rushed and therefore will not be best, to cook.

Funny old week. Neil had some blood results - they were looking for arthritis, which he did have in a foot following an injury, but as it turns out is not responsible for his current crop of aches and pains.  What they did find was a low white cell count.

Of course, this could be nothing more than him fighting a low grade infection, but you have to remember I lost both parents and a brother to cancer, tragically young in all three cases,  and I have a terrible fear of losing those I love.

I do what I do. Today I did all the animal chores, with the faithful, incredibly beautiful, incredibly strong H in harness alongside me, despite her being down with a horrible cold.  I made bone broth, I made a stew of good homegrown things. I made cheese, and whey with which to lacto ferment carrots, grown in the garden.

I am awake waiting for good, solid, sourdough bread to cook.

I cut kale, minutes before it was to be cooked, and beans, by the basketful, and cooked them lightly with seasalt and piled them up alongside the stew.

For me, to love is to nurture. I am almost afraid that tomorrow I have to go into work in the office, and I won't be here, to make everything as wholesome and strength giving as I can.

I pray. I trust God. It will be as He intends.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose

Midnight strikes.
Another day. How blessed. How wonderful. 

Nan - Nandos, Ninja, Nandy Pandy, Ninny Noodle Noo.
Great clarity of identity for a working dog.

Chickweed Salve

First, gather your chickweed.

Chop it roughly into a jar

then add just a ziz of apple cider vinegar. My home made version is on the dark side, but smells good.

Let sleeping dogs lie. Add oil to cover. (Make tea.)

Place on a sunny window sill

This will steep for two weeks or so, shaken daily, before being made into a salve for sore and itchy skin.


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and later, what I did with it!

On Contemplating Loss

I am worn, and weary, for another night’s poor sleep.
The goats bring a light to my eye with their antics, their cheek and chancing. The hiss of spectacle-misting warmth into the chill pail, and the have a go, get an extra scoop shenanigans of every morning.
Taffy is first on the trailer. Taffy is always first. If we walked in and yelled ‘vaccinations, big needle, painful stab in the butt, who’s first?’ Taffy would head the queue. She’s so afraid of missing something, she’ll always take the risk.
The others slope off under the walnuts, and wait ‘til bossy pants emerges, dribbling molassed grain and looking smug. Then Lacey.
Lacey’s bum does in fact look big in this… trailer. We turn her round in the narrow gap and she settles to be milked. She is not in a hurry, she loves human company. She tells tales and sings songs. And she is Poppy’s oldest daughter. And I love her.
Linen Matilda next. They all have middle names (Taffeta Tallulah, Lacey Mae, Linnie Matilda, Aida Jane) and of them all, Linnie Matilda most often earns hers. Gentle to the point of heartbreak, all heart and soul, with tender feet and eyes like tomorrow, Linnie bumbles through her food and waits. If it’s windy outside, she’ll wait ever. She likes the warm and dry and quiet.
Alpine memories stir. I almost yodel for Aida, Ai …. Da….Aida-oh-ha-da.
And she runs like a faun through the grasses, happy to be last, happy to get the last lick of the bucket, happy to be just a little tricky to milk, due to having been designed for either earth shatteringly huge twins or a milking machine. Aida Jane, my Aida. Poppy’s other girl.

How will I ever say good bye? Who to? How will I ever part from them? How will they not be family, under the green canopy, where their (great) grandmother died in her sleep, one sunny day  beneath the walnuts?

Forgive me, if I sometimes talk in shadows. Their amber eyes haunt my seldom sleep. I cannot bear their loss.

Dig This

Well, I made a start.

I started with digging. Digging, in case you don't know, is profoundly unfashionable. No dig is where it's at. And raised beds - or permanent at the very second best - no allotment stylee digging please, we are permaculture.

Guess what? It doesn't work on my plot.  One of the truisms of permaculture is that the edge is productive, and the edges of all those beds? Are productive. Of endless, endless grass. Because we are surrounded by cow pasture. Well managed, organic, cow pasture.

So this little war time garden is going back to digging.

In other news, I am close to signing up once more  with my phone job, because we do need to bust the debt, and fund the dream.

Fired by sudden confidence, although it means my doing more than I am doing, in less time, I somehow believe this is actually the true meaning of less is more, and it will work.

We'll see.

So just a possibility

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I may regroup on an old idea.

A few years ago,  I grew a garden based on the Wartime 'Dig for Victory' plan, and used some very basic cheap seeds.

I'd kind of like to do that again, only better. I'm thinking of redesigning my old wartime style blog and making it a diary of this enterprise.

I'd be following the Dig for Victory leaflets, and also the books by C. H. Middleton, produced during the war.

I'd be using the cheapest seeds you can get, from Lidl - or maybe searching out the closest varieties to the originals?

I'd be coming down from my 'organic' high horse. I wouldn't be using anything truly toxic (some of the wartime pesticides were pretty out there) but also, I wouldn't be purely organic. I'd be using the artificials as recommended by C. H. when necessary.

If I'm going to do it, now would be the time. C. H. Middleton begins in September, with preparing the garden for a bumper wartime harvest.

Decisions, decisions.

No-Hopers, Jokers and Rogues

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We are the no hopers, the jokers and rogues.  I love this song, and it just about sums up some of our choices, and our life.

If I had to pick a moment that, had it been released at the time, this song would have played in my head, it would have been on the day in 1998 when I got out of the car in the co-op car park in Pewsey with my my 18 month old babe, and my heart sang, 'We're starting again!'

It hasn't always been a walk in the park, but it's been the right choice. Raising a glass to my fabulous husband, and my awesome and beautiful daughters, mad Nan the collie, dopey Morse the beagador, Cormac the Irish rogue, Diva the welsh joker, the goats who are no hopers, the sheep who keep us sane.

Have a little faith in the dream maker in the sky
There's glory in believing him
and it's all in the beholder's eye.
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