31 August 2010

Ordinary Magic

Yep, just an ordinary homely tuesday. :) Here, for starters, is the Season Table, updated by the addition late last night of some amazingly coloured and textured squash that my mum brought over for that very purpose. :)Breakfast in the garden (and no, it isn't really warm enough any more!) and some crafting.
Some indoor crafting too, Rowan proudly showing off her own little contribution. Pictures of our actual makes in the morning when they will be put to purpose...Eating jammy goodness, the blackberry and apple jam Jenna was making last week. Wow, this is GOOD jam.
And some little lovelies putting on a puppet show while I crochet away.

Yep, ordinary magic. I am loving being at home now the monstrous cleaning tasks have been tackled. I am feeling so good about where life is going at the moment, how simple and connected everything is when it just... works!

30 August 2010


Martin worked very hard today doing more cleaning. I popped in and out helping with washing, and doing jobs in the kitchen, interspersed with fishing children out of the "pond" created by the lid of the sand pit, dealing with squabbles, spacing out the baby corn in the veg patch, and knitting the shawl. Basically, apart from only very slowly coming to terms with my house and the inner rebellion against any feeling of responsibility, it has been a glorious day. :)

Baby bean mine. Gorgeousness itself.

She has lots of new words for today. "Lullo" has been added to her repertoire of "hiya" and "hulllo". "Lilk" and "mamamamama leeeelk" have replaced "meep" for milk. "Joosh" is juice. And we've had lots of those little "got it" and "have dat" and "come 'ere" chatterings. Not to mention that she keeps on sitting down with a book, and babbling in a concentrated fashion, reading to herself! Delicious.

Art with collected grasses, on the patio. Another random Jenna idea.Conversations over the fence.
Jenna: Let's play I have this cat...
T: No, let's play I come and buy the cat from you.
Jenna: No, I don't want to sell the cat. This cat is mine, it's not for sale.
T: Well, it's my cat, and I think you can sell it to me.
Jenna: *sigh* OK, fine, it's a hundered million dollars. Do you have that? [sarcasm creeping in here!]
T: Yes, I've got that much! [in a tone of, well it's imaginary money, I've got as much as I want!]
Jenna: Seriously? You would buy a cat for a hundered million dollars? That's enough to buy a HOUSE!
T: Of course, I don't care, I want the cat!
Jenna: Oh fine, there's no point arguing about it.

Jenna swinging around the washing line pole!

Knitty progress.Replanted veggies.Daddy-made tent.Lovely lovely family. :)
Yes, I'm glad we took today outside. We all needed it a great deal more than I knew before I kicked off my shoes and grabbed my projects and took us out into the sunshine.

28 August 2010

Sweet sweet corn

No, not mine (yet) but some purchased fresh from the farm shop in its own natural green fully-compostable packaging! Mmmmm...Baby Roo approves.

I'm even more excited for mine to be ripe now!

(In other news, my washing machine has imploded, and with the backlog of the de-flea-ing operation we've been forced to buy a new one with our rent money. I spent all morning in tears, but what good does that do? I am baking, knitting, and rising above it all - what else, frankly, can a mama do? Giving up and giving in to the depression would hurt my babies. And so, once more into the fray. Fuelled by sweetcorn, though, which helps doesn't it?)

27 August 2010


Before she died, Nadia was working on a cardigan for herself. It was a pattern I could never HOPE to finish for her, or ever hope to wear if I did as radically different in size and shape as we were. She had finished the large rectangular back panel, which I am going to keep as it is and add to as a blanket or similar, I think. But the side panel she was working on, I just sat and stared at for a long time.

Frogging someone else's work... so very final... so very sad.

I picked a shawl pattern. I worked the first six rows maybe twenty times without pulling out a single stitch she had worked in her lifetime.

I frogged and refrogged my first six rows, determined to get the hang of these blessed increases.

I felt that deep connection with this woman, this woman who faithfully knitted her love for every baby she ever met, this woman who tried time after patient time to teach me this art that she adored.

And bit by bit, I started to rework her stitches, her last gift to herself, into a gift for my family. A comforting, warm, imperfect, simple, no-frills wrap of wooly goodness.I know she would have approved.

26 August 2010

Foodie Thursday: Garden Love

My apple tree is still producing tons of apples. It's hard to reach them all, and I think the tree may need a little pruning later in the year to stop it becoming a nuisance to next door in the near future, but still. Apples, my own apples! With those, and foraged berries, and the glut of still-green tomatoes, I will be preserving a lot this season.

Courgettes and green tomatoes in my basket.This courgette plant is amazing, it has been heavily slugged and still it goes on producing at least one courgette a week.Sweetcorn! This is our first successful year with this stuff (two varieties and both doing well) and I am so so happy with it. I have been trimming the "silks" to ward off weevily things, and releasing any straying ladybirds nearby just in case (all our other crops and flowers are standing up for themselves quite well this year). If only I could persuade root vegetables to fatten up, I would be a good step towards vegetable sufficiency in spite of my very small very messy outdoor space. :)

Painted stones, staple of childhood and of family garden art.And a wicker planter full of beautiful and useful flowers for eating, drying, remedies... :)We certainly do seem to be heading into Autumn already!

25 August 2010

Joys and Frustrations

I foraged sloes at Attenborough. In the freezer they go for the making of my first sloe gin. My mum has requested it for Christmas, but I guess I need more sloes first! They take a lot of collecting! Recipes welcomed, though...

New red hair. The sour note here though is that the henna did not take at all this time - so my new red is a chemical red. The internal debate was long, but after two attempts to henna I had just invested too much energy in the new bright hair to decide to forget it all. I love the colour, but I am torn with regretting allowing chemicals back into my home in the name of vanity.

There are many compromises this week, after no compromise at all over Jenna's birthday and all the home-made-ness and the no-plastic-ness.

Another compromise has been the one day of flea spray use. That cat has been treated regularly with (nasty chemically) spot-on flea treatment, because this neighbourhood is full of cats and they are often not well cared for. The flea treatment compromise was almost enough for me to say I never want to own a pet again (though I don't know if I really will ever be able to say that) and THEN she bought fleas home anyway! One day last week she started scratching (a week after her last spot-on stuff) and I immediately flea sprayed everything. Feeling guilty, but doing it anyway with the residual mama-anger at the health visitor implying that my children and house weren't cared for. *sigh*

Well, it didn't work. So we are now on the routine of hoovering everything, salting, hoovering again, peppermint and neem oil (when the latter arrives from good old ebay!), hoovering, vinegar spray... I am not a happy mama.

I have been feeling so inspired to create some art, though. This is a very happy feeling. I have been impatient, in a good way, ready to start something new and grow in a different direction... It isn't comfortable, but it is happier, and I am seeing it as a good thing - an important time - a time to become more fully me. :)

Add to the pile of ridiculous stuff, though, tha darn car journeys to and from Attenborough, farm shop, Emma's house, church. We can't bus to those places, but oh how much I am hating the car right now. Rowan is a little houdini and can get out of her car retraints (even though we upgraded to the super-expensive highly rated rear-facing upright five-point-harness type of seat) and when she isn't escaping she is crying.

Cue the stop-start game: Find lay-by. Offer breast. Nope, she wants to climb not feed. Eventually put baby back in seat. Baby cries LOUDER. Find somewhere to stop. Offer breast again...

It ends up being a desperate game of driving as far as nerves, principles, and focus will allow before stopping again with a car full of people who increasingly as as unhappy stopped as they are on the move. I don't have an answer. Apart from to avoid such journeys as much as possible (which may or may not then involve having a supermarket delivery instead of using the farm shop, which again I'm not happy with)!

I am rising above it all. I have happy healthy children, a house that is finally feeling like it's under my control (because I am so done with hating where I am right now). I have music, green growing things, crafting and love. I am an artist. And I have red hair. So, take that, world.

24 August 2010


Here is a little five year old, waiting for the morning to come around and bring with it a birthday.Here is the breakfast table, laid with bright blessings, candles, gifts, flowers and silks.The birthday crown and mandala silk cloak hang on her bedroom door ready to be worn for the day's celebrations.

And here is a big six year old having chocolate pastries and green juice in the family bed, as happy as can be.Presents! Rjabinnik on etsy made these lovely pixies and woodland creatures for us, and we are so happy with them. :) Jenna wanted some people and fairies and things, and we were happy to oblige! I made her the little toadstools (on the birthday table) and hand dyed two playsilks.

She also opened her Osthiemer ponies from Ashleigh, and had me take the bridle off the mummy horse. "She doesn't need this, nobody owns her, she lives wild and she wants the same for her daughters."And she reverently lit her special candle herself, and had us draw all the curtains so that she could see it better. :)Then out for a day of walking, birdwatching, and foraging. "It's OK little snail, I'm not going to hurt you, I'll put you right back where you want to be, I just want to show everyone how BEAUTIFUL you are!"

Oh, and lunch in the cafe again, the regular birthday celebration treat! My mum met us there, and surprised us by bringing Paul and Maarja (just visiting for this week). We had such a gorgeous day, and it started to rain just as we got back to the car to go home.

The birthday child chose lemon chicken for our tea, and we watched Ponyo (which is like an arty anime version of the original Little Mermaid, if you can imagine such a thing). Japanese art, yay. Crochet version, EXTRA yay. I will be making this soon... :)