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?!