Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Little House Not On The Prairie

Today I've felt very much like Ma from the Little House series, or (for Georgette Heyer fans) like Jenny from A Civil Contract - all housewifely! So a quick run-down of my day:
- got up and fed my son for half an hour to help clear blocked up ears from a minor cold he has.
- put the washing in the washing machine, sorted out breakfast.
- got me and children washed and dressed.
- Mum and Dad came round and we all went to the allotment where we weeded, dug and harvested.
- got lunch for everyone.
- put washing out.
- washed up.
- boiled, peeled, chopped and pickled 2.5 lbs of beetroot from the allotment.
- peeled, chopped, blanched and froze 2.5 lbs of carrots from the allotment.
- made a lemon drizzle cake with the lemon my mum brought me.
- made pizza dough.
- washed up.
- comforted my son when he punched himself in the mouth with the end of the sink plunger which he was sticking to the floor and then pulling up with a popping sound. Came up unexpectedly hard that time.
- finished pizza and got tea on the table.
- got washing in.

And now I have to start getting the kids to bed, reading to them and getting them to sleep. Well, at least I've got a lot done today!
- made afternoon snack.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Autumn Fair

We went to our local Autumn Fair yesterday and I was half-inspired and half-frsutrated. It was inspiring and warming to see so any local community groups there - most that I'd never heard of before. There was a local spinning, weaving, knitting and craft group (who I've hopefully collared to come along and do a demo at my Home Ed Group with their spinning wheels and wool!), local Protection Society who try and protect the town's heritage whilst also trying to intervene on proposed future developments to get them to be proportionate and in keeping with the town, as well as a local Energy Group, Eco Vols, and 'Friends' of various of our local parks and green spaces. So why aren't all these people linking up their efforts under some umbrella organisation such as Transition? Argh! It's frustrating! What we really need here is a charismatic leader who has the energy (and time!) to go around to all these groups and draw them in so that we can co-ordinate all our efforts - surely there would have to be some saving in energy by ensuring we didn't duplicate effort and supporting each other?
I had been starting to think that just wasn't anyone in this town who was interested in green things, but now I see that there are many people who are, but only in their particular niche, or area of interest. People don't necessarily have an overview, or see themselves as a generally green person, they are just interested in their small area. I wonder if, in time, there could be some links made? It would certainly take someone with more energy than I have right now. But maybe there is hope.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Well, the equinox and, predictably, I am thinking about balance. Last night's Home Ed Group Adult Social Evening went really well and it was so nice to get out and about in the evening to chat to othert adults. I felt a part of my life which had been dormant for a while start to wake up again, which was nice.

But this morning I feel all cross and crotchety despite having the Not Back To School Picnic to look forward to later. This could be due to waking to a big tantrum from my son, who hardly ever has tantrums, about something silly, but really because he hadn't eaten breakfast. Well, apparently this is the rteason for my crotchets, but really I think it is the feeling of transition which is responsible for both my grumpiness and my son's. The wheel of the year is turning towards the winter and, while I'm looking forward to colder mornings and that crisp autumn feeling, I'm also nervous of the winter - it has such power over my mood that it's truly something to respect in a way I never feel about the summer.

Tuning into the feeling of transition in the season, there are also changes afoot in my personal life - my husband has an interview for a teaching job, the Home Ed Group is really taking off and becoming a large part of our lives ( leading me to worry if this is a good thing? Am I relying too much on one aspect of my life?), the Transition Group I'm involved in isn't going so well and I feel it's draining me to no good purpose (which is very disappointing), I've started writing a new novel (young adult this time) and feel quite positive about it.

After all this pointless musing, I'll leave you with a picture of our Equinox Biscuits (half dark, half light, get it?):

Monday, 21 September 2009

Busy Time

As the year tips over from summer to winter, I have such a busy couple of weeks. Tomorrow I am running our local Not Back To School Picnic, which I'm very nervous about. After being in the local paper last week we also have a photogrpaher coming to this event and I'm really hoping it looks good and will help inform people about home education and what it's all about, and dispel some myths and prejudices.

Today is also the last day for responses to the Select Committee Enquiry into the Badman Review, so I'm also wondering what will happen with that. I sent in our local group's response a while back and I know lots of other people have also been working on responses. Fingers crossed.

Tonight we have our first home ed group Adult Social Evening. Thankfully, I'm not holding this in my house (like that would be feasible, NOT!) but I am a bit nervous about it. What if no-one turns up? What if we have nothing to say to each other without the kids butting in every 2 seconds? Eek!

And next week there's the first joint event we're holding with our local museum, which is also rather nerve-racking. Add to that our usual weekly meetings, plus the next assignment I need to do for my course, and the recent inspiration I've had for a new novel, and things are looking rather busy.

Well, suppose I'd better stop sitting here blogging and go and hang the clothes out, then do the shopping.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


I've just had to buy my first onions since June/July when I started digging up my homegrown allotment onions. I *hate* having buy onions, I've decided, and next year will plant loads more onions and garlic too on the allotment as they grew so well and were so tasty, and now that I know how to dry and store them properly. Now if only I could remember how many onion sets I bought last year to give me this 2/3 month's worth crop this year.

Can anyone give me advice on storing potatoes? I have a bumper crop and the nights are starting to get cold, so I want to be digging them well before the first frost, but we have nowhere dark and cold to store them - no root cellar, no garage and no rodent-proof shed. What we have got is a plastic toolshed (with the lift-up roof from Argos, you know the kind!) on the north wall of our house. If I store the potatoes in that, inside a cardboard box and newspaper, will they stay good, do you think? Would the forst get at them in there? Or does anyone have any better ideas (other than digging a root cellar)?

Sunday, 13 September 2009


It feels like autumn is coming - I can smell it in the air in the mornings and the evenings. We're almost to the autumn equinox and the children have named this time 'the start of snuggly-time'. Like me, my daughter needs to snuggle up under a duvet to really sleep well, so for that reason we are both looking forward to the change in the seasons.

However, I also suffer from SAD, so the depths of the winter are usually bad for me, and in a dull winter I'm really struggling by January. So autumn is rather a mixed time for me. On the one hand, it's one of my favourite seasons (along with spring), but on the other hand, it leads to a potentially difficult time.

in the past, I've tried to go along with the spirit of the season in winter and pretty much hibernated, but actually, I don't think this is the best approach for me. If I don't try to keep a bit active, the depression can take over.

The key, as ever, seems to lie in balance. Finding that elusive balance between going with the withdrawal and regrouping which are an essential part of the winter season, and yet not allowing myself to sink under the weight of dark days and give in to the yearning to just lie in bed all day reading Georgette Heyer books (my equivalent of a comfort blanket).

Maybe we'll have a bright, crisp and cold winter rather than a dull and mild one. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Octopuses and jam!

What an odd week we've had! Well, we've made *much* jam in the last few weeks, here's some of it:

And we've also made octopuses - or should that be octopi? Whatever, we've made them, out of wool of course!
And there has been much time spent in making dens as the weather has started to turn slightly cooler:

And we've had a slight finger-knitting craze. No pictures yet, but my daughter has really taken to it and it's suprisingly relaxing. Let's hope that calmness descends on our house with the autumn weather. I can't wait!

Thursday, 3 September 2009


I have been working up to this post because I really wanted to do it justice, but if I try to do a long, and erudite post in the way some people do, whose blogs I love to read, it will never get done. So it will have to be short and to the point.
I have been getting involved in my town's fledgling Transition movement, and currently it seems like an uphill road - I have days of inspiration and days of feeling very discouraged - but I have been changed by this already. It's hard to describe. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the Transition Movement basically takes as its starting point the fact that climate change is real, is happeneing, and that peak oil is real and is happening. It then suggests that, rather than waiting for the government to do anything about these things, or worrying that we'll turn into armed survivalists and it'll be the end of the civilised world, we start planning and changing our world now, starting with ourselves and with our communities. We re-localise, re-skill ourselves, establish local links, local trading, even local currencies, ahead of any catastrophic happenings in the enviornment, or running out of oil, so that when these things do occur, we will have 'resilience' built in to our communities. Plus it will make our communities nicer places to live in right now! Win-win!
Anyway, this is something to be inspired about. This is life-changing. Read The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience by Rob Hopkins and start seeing the world differently. Check out The Transition Network for loads of information and help to become a Transition Town. Check out this blog for updates and other snippets.
I can't do this justice in words. Reading The Transition Handbook made me feel hot and cold all over, it gave me shivers up and down my spine. It made me feel very depressed and very inspired. It was one of those books where you *just know* that you've come home. I think everyone should be given a copy. It should be required reading at school. Then maybe we'd have a better world.