Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Who will buy this wonderful feeling....

Who will tie it up with a ribbon and put it in a box for me......

Well, I was reminded of this as I tried to find a suitable heading for my Misi button (look right) just now. Do you remember the song? I think I sang it almost constantly throughout 1976 after seeing Lionel Bart's "Oliver!" for the first time.

Don't press the pink button just yet - there's nothing of mine to shop for, although I would thoroughly recommend looking at Misi anyway. There are many in blogland who have taken the handmade pledge (buy nothing mass produced for a year!) but even if we can't be that radical it's still so good to support small enterprise and get something unique and well made for your trouble.

See you soon....

Friday, 3 July 2009

Well, you wait ages for a bus and then.....

Just had to ask, have you heard of Bellowhead? If not, get some, put it on the ipod and don't look back - just makes you: skip/bounce/soar/feel alive/sing/laugh delete as appropriate or all of the above.

What took you so long?......

Have y'all seen this? Don't it make you smile?!
Well - I didn't mean to be away so long! I had every intention of blogging most days and uploading pictures and everything but...... I think life took over.

We've been working like crazy up the field, the beds are full of veg of every description and we have now discovered what's good to grow and what's pointless. The pigeons ate the peas as soon as we planted them out (we raised them till they were so high in pots) but didn't touch the beans (runner and dwarf french). The muntjac ate my redcurrants but nothing is touching the blackcurrants and some idiot cut off all the new growth instead of the old canes when pruning the raspberries so I shall be frequenting the local farm shop in a couple of weeks for our summer raspberry fix (luckily the autumn raspberries don't need careful thought when being pruned, they just need mowing down indiscriminately - I can do that!)

Going up the field is tinged with sadness though, as a good friend, who shared my enthusiasm for it and home education sadly died a couple of months ago after a very short encounter with cancer. Everything I do up there is accompanied with the thought, "Lyn and I did that last year.... " Seasonal living is wonderful but its inevitable rhythm and repetition in one's memory is a mixed blessing.

I've also been turning my thoughts to crafting and how to make it pay. I'm going to open a MISI store (google it!) in the next few weeks and see what happens. I'm completely obsessed with knitting noro yarn and a new yarn from a new discovery:

they have 100 space dyed yarn colours to choose from in everything from laceweight to chunky yarn plus dyed silk fabric and felt. I can't afford to keep knitting with it unless I sell the resulting items so that's what I intend to do. At first it will only be baby stuff but if enough people come and buy I hope to knit shawls, scarves, and other bits and bobs for us grown up people later.

Well, I don't want to burn out so I'll leave it there let's hope I blog again sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

This is a cute idea. Copy this note, ask your child the questions and write them down exactly how they respond. Tag me back if you have done this, I'd love to hear the answers.
1. What is something Mummy always says to you? Be quiet
2. What makes Mummy happy? Being good
3. What makes Mummy sad? Being naughty
4. How does your Mummy make you laugh? Telling jokes about what she thinks the dogs say
5. What was your Mummy like as a child? Boring
6. How old is your Mummy? 42
7. How tall is your Mum? 1,000 metres
8. What is her favourite thing to do? Eating chocolate
9. What does your Mum do when you're not around? Drink coffee and sleep
10. If your Mum becomes famous, what will it be for? Making jam
11. What is your Mum really good at? Making cakes
12. What is your Mum not very good at? Looking after her teeth (two have broken in the last month!)
13. What does your Mum do for her job? She looks after me
14. What is your Mum's favourite food? Chocolate
15. What makes you proud of your Mum? Her cakes
16. If your Mum were a cartoon character, who would she be? Lola (from Charlie and Lola!)
17. What do you and your Mum do together? Read stories
18. How are you and your Mum the same? We both like art
19. How are you and your Mum different? She's left-handed
20. How do you know your Mum loves you? She hugs me
21. What does your Mum like most about your dad? He's funny
22. Where is your mum's favourite place to go? A farm

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Artistic pursuits?

The wonderful Melissa Wiley (see blog list for a link) has blogged today about something which "pierced her heart". Well I have to say, after reading her blog this morning, it pierced mine too. How I long to share with mine the joy which comes from music, poetry, literature, science and so on, the sheer pleasure that God has put is in a world with so much to explore. So much of the time what I do seems like pearl before swine as my efforts are ignored or worse still, argued and fought against. There seems no joy in sharing these things if they come as hard fought victories after (metaphorically!!) bloody battles. Something else I was reading on a Charlotte Mason site last night is probably relevant. She talks about Mums needing time to "play" - not with the children, but by themselves in whatever creative, artistic pursuits they choose. I think it's called "me" time - now, where do I find some of that?.........

Friday, 6 March 2009

Nothing Much

I'm blogging because I haven't for a while and I really do want to keep this blog up to date and get into good bloggin' habits but what to say? It's been a very productive week on the smallholding, all the paths are clear, the beds are slowly becoming weed free. We've got a huge long bed of summer flowering bulbs (gladioli and the like for cutting) ready to start growing as soon as the weather gets warmer and the fruit garden is all pruned and mulched (muck and straw) ready to go. It looks like we'll be on schedule for planting peas and beans on Monday. I'm really excited that at last I have enough man (actually women!) hours to throw at it. We work on it for two full days every week but I expect that to increase to three during the late spring/early summer months when everything just goes bonkers. Oh and talking of the "patch" we've just "invested" in a cute little terrier puppy of the same name - more about him when I've got some photos!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Clever Girls!

The days are getting longer - those who know about these things demonstrate by upping their production in a matter of days. We now have enough surplus eggs to sell again. Starting to feel like spring......

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Not all bad.....

Today was a pretty awful day in terms of home edding - you know the kind that makes you ring the nearest primary school just to reassure yourself that there are places available if you need them. Once you know that you can stop hyperventilating.
And then I remembered yesterday and this. I didn't ask him to draw this, he just did. Maybe I can keep going then.....

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Not glowing, definately not glowing.....

Against my better judgement I was persuaded to buy a famous brand of breakfast cereal - you know, the one that purports to be porridge but better..... the only reason I caved was because we could send off for Shaun the Sheep books if we ate enough of the stuff.
This morning I tried to make some - it seems you can't make it on the stove only in the microwave or by pouring boiling milk on it which I did. It looked and tasted like gruel and nothing like regular porridge. I was a bit bemused as I thought that apart from the added vitamins and minerals (what more excuse does a parent need not to bother finding out how to feed a balanced diet?!) it was just oats. I was wrong - it's oats and a significant proportion of oat flour (aka sweepings from the mill floor?) which means that the poor little dears who eat this stuff don't even have to experience the texture of oats as it goes down their throats!
I paid twice as much as I would have done for organic oats too!

My son was deeply disappointed as he had believed the advertising and thought it would be marvellous - my husband had it right when he explained "good things don't need advertising - if you have to spend millions of pounds persuading people to eat something it must be pretty bad" Now I think that's a pretty good rule of thumb!!

Thursday, 29 January 2009


"Clearly there is an appropriate kind of sheltering. When those who are opposed to homeschooling accuse me of sheltering my children, my reply is always, 'What are you going to accuse me of next, feeding and clothing them?"---R.C. Sproul Jr.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Frescos! Every Little Helps...

Today we made frescos. We put a thick layer of plaster of paris in a foil baking tray and painted onto it almost straight away with watercolour paints. The results are much brighter than I expected. Obviously we had to have a Ben 10 one but we also had a suitable oriental looking one. I did my ubiquitous flowers as I can't paint anything else.

We've been working steadily through "the story of the world" by Susan Bauer. It makes so much sense to study history chronologically and it drives me mad that the library only stock the history topics dictated by the national curriculum! A whole lot of stuff happened between the Aztecs and the Tudors don't y'know!!

Anyway, the frescos arose from our study of the Golden Age of India and the Gupta dynasty. Next week the rise of Islam..........

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

8 Random Things

I've been tagged by Jo - goody I've always wanted to do this but now I can I'm struggling to know what to write, how much to give away and how much to hold tight!!

Here goes:

1. I really dislike my name. I would choose to be called Jemima or Tabitha.
2. I started going grey at the age of 13 and have never dyed my hair.
3. I would like to cut off my long hair and dye it but I'm too scared!
4. I would like to have at least 8 children but I realise it probably aint going to happen!
5. If I could I would do nothing but bake and knit all day long.
6. I've only been happy for 5 years - the rest of my life has been pretty crap.
7. I find it very difficult to believe in the future.
8. I don't like to look up at the sky either by day or night - it freaks me out. As does the sea!

Monday, 26 January 2009

What a Lovely Day!

I know it's been a good day - I've got four blisters on my hands and lots of stinging nettle barbs which prickle and itch like mad! Today we tackled a couple of big beds on the holding and cleared lots of weeds. The soil underneath was revealed as rich and full of worms (a very good sign) and it's going to be very good when we come to planting. Again, the children helped sporadically but willingly which is the important thing. The plan is to clear all the beds of weeds by the end of February ready for planting in March.

Thanks Jo and Co for all your help! If anyone else reading this wants to join in the community smallholding effort please contact me via the comments box - we like to share!

Sunday, 25 January 2009


Just thought I'd update my many readers (!) on what's happening here. Last week we managed to get every scrap of compost to the right end of the field at last. So tomorrow will be a day of clearing beds and filling compost heaps with weeds, sweeping and tidying so that when the planting time comes we'll be ready. It's always so tempting to start planting early but my experience is that later sowings are stronger and more likely to thrive so although I want to get those pretty packets out right now I shall restrain myself a little longer.....

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Cauliflowers Fluffy

Does anyone else out there know this song? It's been on my mind all day........

Cauliflowers fluffy and cabbages green,
Strawberries sweeter than any I’ve seen
Beetroot purple and onions white,
All grow steadily day and night

The apples are ripe, the plums are red,
Broad beans are sleeping in a blankety bed

Blackberries juicy and rhubarb sour,
Marrows that are fattening hour by hour.
Gooseberries hairy and lettuces fat
Radishes round and runner beans flat

The apples are ripe, the plums are red,
Broad beans are sleeping in a blankety bed

Orangey carrots and turnips cream,
Reddening tomatoes that used to be green,
Brown potatoes in little heaps,
Down in the darkness where the celery sleeps

The apples are ripe, the plums are red,
Broad beans are sleeping in a blankety bed

And What is the Use, Said Alice....

Of a blog without pictures!
Well, tomorrow is grand opening of boxes stage five so maybe soon I'll get some images up here. We had another fun day yesterday (isn't it amazing - you spend a whole weekend looking forward to tomorrow and so soon, it becomes yesterday!) on the holding. The old compost heap is almost dug away and lots of lovely rich, worm laden compost is piled up ready for use in the spring. I've bought some seeds today to start off on the window sill: salad greens, baby carrots, cauliflower, summer cabbage. I've got the potato order almost sorted out and garlic, shallots and onion sets will be coming soon. Now I've just got to work out how to pest-proof the place.....

Sunday, 11 January 2009

I love ya... you're only a day away....

The forecast for tomorrow is torrential rain but undeterred by mere inconveniences like that (it never does what they say anyway) I'm planning another day of barrowing compost. I'd also like to get the chickens mucked out (more yummy compost in the making!) and all the leaves and grass cuttings from last year into the new compost heaps. If there's time we might have a little look at the old goat area (no, not my room!) and see what fencing remains after a couple of years neglect. We're going to have to restock soon and I'd love some golden guernseys but we'll have to see.....

Friday, 9 January 2009


Had a whole day at home processing marmalade today. Good oportunities for DS1 to do a bit of maths whilst weighing oranges and sugar and then packing boxes of jars in mulitples of 4 etc.. not to mention working out profits and costs! We washed and packed over 200 recycled jam jars and made a batch (30 jars) of the stuff. More to follow as I've got another farm shop lined up for sales.

I decided to pay him for his help today - £1 per hour with 10p deductions for every complaint. He didn't earn a heap but it's a start and he was certainly excited by the possibility.

I'm itching to start getting photos up here but I've a good 60 boxes to unpack before I find the necessary cables - bear with me.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Here we Go Again....

Well, this is my third attempt at a blog and my goodness knows how many -th attmpt at getting my smallholding off the ground. I hope to create a space for interested parties (we're having a party?!!) to have a nose at what we're all about here at Sunnyside.

Yesterday I had an inspired start to the New Year when some home edding friends joined us for the digging and the barrowing of the compost at -3 degrees or whatever it was yesterday. The kids alternately played in the snow and complained about the cold but hey - it's character building.

Today I went to the knitting group I started with a fellow knitting freak - we talked about wool (mainly Noro if anyone else cares less!) and needles and tension (the knitting kind) with a brief stop for a yoga demonstration in the middle - I've been suffering with a very stiff hip (I actually wrote hop there which is probably more appropriate!) since I took a break from the gym before Christmas - for TWO WHOLE HOURS and as no-one else turned up we had a great time ; )

I must have 5 or 6 knitting projects on the go and I keep starting new ones. I'm trying very hard not to get overwhelmed by the amount of possibilities in all directions that crowd in at the moment - the garden, the smallholding, the house, the home education, work, courses, kids (I typed that list without thinking - reveals a lot about my priorities - no?) How does anyone find time to actually work some-where 9 - 5 every day? Where would life go?!