Cutting Edge

I am not immune to darkness.

This morning was one of those days when I twice thought, truly, why am I even here. This is all pointless.

The build up of stuff to do, the money worries, the feeling of getting nowhere with anything? Can coalesce into a great dark cloud and leave you almost paralysed.

The antidote, as ever, was a full on day in the garden. I have dug and weeded and raked and planted and scythed - oh, my soul! How I love that scythe. Its shushing rhythm, the warm, wooden grip of the snath, the fact that it's even called a snath. Even the word makes you feel better. Pausing to sharpen the blade,thinking ceaselessly about how to get the angle just so.

After pauses to take H to work and help Neil move some sheep, I went back outside (I'd planned on coming in for housework, but the sun was shining and the breeze was calling my name) so I cleared plastic sheet mulch and shifted junk and optimistically planted one last row of main crop potatoes that should have been in a while ago.

And oh, my heart! How I love to work outdoors. It heals my soul, and gives me hope and is the very stuff of my dreams.

The dawn is going to have to break. Somehow, this is going to have to be my whole life.Or at least, its core and centre.

If you want to buy a scythe too, click here.

Old Friends

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It's been a monster week, with no time to work in the garden, and it shows. There are weeds and snails everywhere.
Tomorrow, God willing, I will be out there making a difference.
Today, I was at work.
Then when I got home from work, having barely greeted H and Boo, there was a resounding knock on the door.
When I went to open it, I was delighted to find John and Hester, from the chapel we used to attend some years ago. To our shame, we left a little quietly, we didn't really know how to do it, and so we skulked off and probably hurt them terribly. We've never known quite how to go back, but they are such darlings, they were passing and obviously the Lord suggested quietly to them that they pop in and say hello.
It was so lovely to see them again, the girls came down to say hello and their eyes widened as they have obviously grown up a lot since they last saw them.
We had a cuppa and chatted for half and hour, and I feel truly blessed that these lovely people took the time to stop and say hello! We must catch up with them again soon.
That's the end of Half Term as we used to call it, and fully 50% of us are suffering sore throats and colds, which is not so good, at this time of year.
Next week, back to exams, and the month of the crazy timetable.

Blogging About Logging

Yesterday was a big annual day out for us to the Bath and West Show. I did a fair amount of planning ahead, bought tickets in advance, and constructed the picnic to end all picnics for all four of us for well under £20 (including wine, and puddings, and all sorts of fripperies) from Lidl, so that we did not spend one red cent (or indeed £6 each for a bread roll with something in it) on food or drink all day long.

For the second year running I made a point of watching the brilliant Kate Mobbs-Morgan of Rowan Working Horses do her logging demo.

It's part of the plan for the farm to use horses - well, in the first place, one very small pony - as draft animals, and I love to learn anything I can about this stuff.  I've lived and worked around horses all my life, but draft work is a new area to me, so I'm keen to make a start. We've broken Diva to harness to the point of long reining her, and now we are kind of stuck for harness and equipment. All of which costs money. So I am going to need to think of a way to get hold of the kit without breaking the bank.

Other than that, it's been a working extra kind of half term week, with H and Boo revising at home, and the exam pressure building for both of them.

Unbelievably, I have to add, having just read Mel's post at Inkblot Kingdom  that we also lost a cockerel this week,  cause or causes unknown.

We also spent the early hours of one morning chasing our landlord's cows around the lanes, and the early hours of the next trying to evict a bat from our bedroom.

I often feel I am on the very edge of stepping out onto the path I trust and know I will follow. I feel I've left it too long. Images like the one above of Kate, behind a powerful Ardennes horse, in the woods, make me feel it all the more. There is no time to waste. What ever it is, I need to do it soon. If not now.

One step forwards ...

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Bit of a rubbish day really.
We've always been very careful with our sheep and seldom had cases of flystrike, but we discovered one today, in one of those that was due off to market this Thursday. So that trip is cancelled, and that income, and before income has come expenditure, in the shape of the necessary medication for pretty much all the sheep, and a delay now before they are clear to shear.
We are at work on our  budget at the moment, determined to get back onto financial solid ground, so not a positive day in that respect.
This also meant that Neil had to come home from a decorating job, so triple whammy - income lost on two fronts and expenditure off the scale.
Tomorrow, I am back at work, and Neil and Boo are off to catch up on the decorating job, while H revises for a day. She has had less opportunity to do so than Boo, and spent today toting round with me, sorting out chemicals, doing routine chores, and ultimately scything areas of nettles in the goat pasture.
After a turbulent day of accusations and tantrums and general discord, I m feeling out of sorts, and need to get everything sorted out.
We have one focus, to get ourselves out of debt and on to some kind of financial freedom. To do that, we need to develop the main business, which is painting and decorating, and the secondary business, which is the farm, and the meanwhile, I need to do my part time job. Walk in the park, huh?

Sometimes, it feels too hard. And sometimes, the bantams lift your spirits and it all feels OK.

Simple Gifts

Mr Drake Helps Out

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The weather is moody and changeable, and so am I.
I have tried to give up this place a million times, but it won't let me.
It's an unreasonable battle, and an outright stupid thing to try to do, in my circumstances.

So on Saturday, I rebroke ground on my old market garden (with Mr Drake to help. Mrs Drake had business to attend to) and my heart SANG.

Sometimes, God just asks you to do something, and the doing of it fills your soul with joy. And you still don't understand why.

The Day They Won

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Time goes on, and things change.

Each day, a little more of our treasured past, our haven, our love and life and being in one spot, all together, with such magic, is taken away.  Because time is, yes. But also because of spite and dislike.

Although our tiny haven is being dismantled, we have no other options, so as we watch it all fade, we focus in, trying to make safe and beautiful spaces in what we have left.

Inside, as a few overwintered plants send up blooms, and the first shrubs are in flower, gathering small handfuls of bliss, the penguin paperback tones of wallflowers, the kitchen cabinet white of the spirea. Tiny corners of pretty, in a world of ugly.

outside, tidying up our seating area, where soon we will be able to eat at dusk, with bats flying overhead and candle lanterns glowing, I wonder if I will ever love evenings as much when this is gone. Now they are my so special times. I adore bats. I love the chattering of the chickens as they go to bed, the blowsy late evening scent of the broom. I wonder if I can remember it all forever, if petty people succeed in taking it away?

Grounded. I wonder if this is it. The moment the worm turns. The day I actually say, yes Lord, I'm here, and I can do what You ask. Not sure what it is, but I'm gonna do it.

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