21 April 2010

Picnic and Bluebells

My aim for the day was to go visit the bluebells in Chaddesden woods, and since it's so near Emma and family we arranged to have a picnic and a lazy ramble and a good dose of sunshine and fresh air. We had to buy bread on the way, as my loaf was not nearly risen enough for baking, but I managed to find fresh organic pumpkin and carrot bread so that was all good. ;) If you have to buy the stuff, it is a relief to find something you actually want to eat.
Anyhow, it was just glorious, and under the trees there was just enough shade for the babies, and plenty of interesting things to eat (leaf litter, check - twigs, check - soil, check) as well as sisters running around like crazies and a whole pond FULL of black wriggling tadpoles (which the babies did NOT get their little hands on).

Rowan spent a lot of time venturing further away on her own. She never once went out of view, but seemed to be testing herself (and us) as to what she could manage. It struck me as a metaphor for so much of these days - letting her go knowing that she would come back to me when she was ready, just being there and not commenting, letting her be a separate person and experiencing all that can mean.

Filthy baby eating apple pieces! I think I may have gone a bit overboard with the baby shots, but she looked so sweet and tiny exploring on her own, toddling and crawling around in the dirt. Ah, I love seeing a muddy little free-range tiny.At the fort again. Connor is a bit full of cold again, so he was starting to feel thoroughly fed up - but he soon perked up out of the sling and watching all the goings on. We even saw butterflies out and about sunning themselves.

And, basically, it would have been a perfect day in its own right.
Then we had the idea to go up to Bluebells farm (a slightly longer walk but totally worth it) for their own freshly made ice-cream (it's a dairy farm and they use their own milk, and have a local organic shop too). On the way we passed several huge patches of speedwell, lots of daisies, and lots of dandylions. Which reminds me that a few days ago when Morgan went into the garden to find the dandylions flowering she said, "Oh THANKYOU mummy, mine garden is BEAUtiful!"The play area there kept all the children pretty happy. Though some big boys wouldn't let Morgan play and kept calling her a baby. Jenna was amazing. "She is NOT a baby, she is a big girl and she is MY SISTER, so she will not be spoken to like that because it is hurting her feelings!"
The only sour note was that I very nearly flew off the handle when I was trying to hurry Morgan to the toilet and she kept pulling away from me to mess about with the hand soap at the farm gates, and wet herself. But deep breathing, and we all got out of there in one piece. And I came home with spelt flour from a local windmill, our second favorite flour for bread making beaten only by their five grain. So there is one loaf in the oven right now, and another two in the big basin, and lots more flour in the cupboards. :) Yes, today has been a day full of soul-food.

More Garden Days

Our garden was looking a bit unloved even as we were starting to spend more time in it. Just little things that have gotten away from us over the winter. Yesterday we had a huge clear-up and suddenly it feels like a proper part of our home again. We have finally decided that, as we can't afford to further fox-proof, we can't bear to get more chickens and have them eaten or stolen. So the hen-house is coming down while we are dealing with all of the other jobs that need doing. With some sighing on my part, I admit, but nevertheless it seems like the right decision.

The girls have such a whole way of being in nature, it makes me smile to see them busy in the sunshine.

The pots and vegetable beds are warm, fresh, clear soil now that I have done the hard work. Next year I WILL remember to cover them to overwinter so that I don't have to do this in the spring! Anyhow, the potatoes still aren't in (I know, I know) but salads and herbs are, courgette plants and onions have been planted (some of the onions are doing really well already, those that were started off as soon as I cleared a few inches of vegetable bed!) so I am feeling quite productive.This week I have been feeling very out of sorts, and ratty with the children (though it is a relief to find that even when I'm feeling very negative, the shouting and ranting and threatening that at one time seemed an impossible character trait to rid myself of are just... gone, and I have not returned to those old habits). In the garden, with muddy grass-stained knees and dirty hands, the tension seems to seep away from me.

When we come in, sometimes only as darkness draws in, and other days as soon as we are all cold and wanting a hot supper, the children have very little time to create chaos before bedtime.

Every kind of gift, from this little patch of earth we call our own.

19 April 2010

I Spy with Morgan

"I gonna help you a clue... It's a cloud."


A long road trip, frustrating but relatively peaceful. Three excited little girls! Well... Excited, but also sleepy...

A weekend away, staying with Tim and Nusa! Lots of adventures. And warm warm days running around in their little garden.

A day in London, sunny as can be and packed with people - tube, Museums, parks, boat on the Thames, art, sculptures, fountains, and lots and lots of walking!

A whole new garden to explore and make their own. Secret agents, fairies, dragons and families - all kinds of games and all sorts of "toys" found and made for themselves.

A spot of art in the fresh air. Nusa is such an amazing artist, a creator-of-beautiful-things, and a gentle healer too. Both of them have been so generous and loving with the children, meeting their needs and allowing such chaos in their beautiful house! Nus brought out this huge canvas and just helped Jenna to do whatever she wanted with it - I have never known an adult be able to be so freely with a child, not directing or prompting or hassling her at all.

That baby of mine, of ours, oh she has toddled and wobbled all over the place. She is a bundle of sweetness and her strength and balance change daily.

A last adventure before heading home, our experiences more filled with green spaces than we could have dreamed of in such a huge city.

Lots of memories to treasure, gifted crystals in our bags (a quartz wand for Jenna and a smooth rose quartz pebble for Morgan - thanks Nus!) and new books to read on the way home (the new Robin Hobb novel for me, dragons in my dreams now for weeks - thanks Tim!).