Thursday, 26 February 2009

Cupcake Day

Sometimes cupcakes are the answer, now don't get me wrong chocolate is always the answer that could never change. But today it was the turn of the cupcake.

Cupcakes to say "thank you" to Mrs Kean, who so thoughtfully made Mstr B a tudor house while we were away in Finland so he didn't feel left out - I was only slightly embarrassed when he politely refused, wanting to make his own!

The other box is for our poor suffering piano teacher to say "sorry". With a head full of logistics relating to sheep collection and concerns as to why Miss A was so emotional over half term we forgot to turn up for our lesson. So chocolate cupcakes will hopefully make a mends.

Miss A is now much better and we will assume a growth spurt was playing with her equilibrium!

And this could have upset my equilibrium had Bumble managed to go undetected until only crumbs were left.........

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The girls have arrived.....

After much sledging and juggling of travel arrangements we finally got to Finland and enjoyed adventures across the frozen lake, skiing and evenings spent alternating between the wood burning sauna and sitting watching the star filled skies.
Then our return brought more adventures. Snow had postponed the collection of our 3 Wiltshire Horn ewes. We had spent time walking our paddock checking fencing as losing sheep is an experience we have under our belt and one that doesn't need repeating anytime soon!

Our journey was surprisingly uneventful, the girls we ready and waiting so were quite happy to get in the back of the landy to go to their new home.
So we are now the proud owners of Rosie (the tiny one), Posie (the one who looks rather like a goat!) and Flossie, the only one who really looks like a Wiltshire Horn! Flossie is very friendly and likes to come over and be nosy as feeding time. Posie is less sure but she is very keen to find sheep nuts in the trough, but Rosie will only eat grass, she wont touch the hay and doesn't go anywhere near her sheep nuts. They are a delightful waste of time, I can spend far too long gazing at them wandering around the paddock pondering which clump of grass to nibble next. A&B love them, as soon as we are home from school they are out feeding and chatting to them, we are gradually getting our Harvey Herd status back!

The next project is chickens so watch this space.........

I had a very creative time in January and then everything seemed to grind to a halt. My travels have obviously worked wonders because the knitting needles are clicking again and Easter goodie bags are being made, cashmere jumpers from the charity shops have been felted and shapes cut to make bunnies and little knitted flowers seem to be springing up all over the place! Although my battle with the crochet hook is ongoing.

The arrival of the girls has seen me cutting out terry cloth to make my own indoor flock and hares are an endless inspiration, new mugs before our holiday have given me plenty of ideas. So it's time to lock the door and work on my friendship with the sewing machine - it's been a rocky relationship but we're working at it!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

White Muddles

Major muddles have struck....

No sheep (yet), one car in a ditch, one replacement car squashed on the drive(!), no trip to Finland.

We are all happy!


We are in the most beautiful place, covered with snow, we are fit and well so now there is much sledging, snow ball battles, igloo building, bread baking, cake making, hot chocolate drinking and general merriment. How could we be anything but happy.

I hope you're enjoying your wintery magic.

Hugs xxx

White Magic

As I am sitting thinking about my past week white seems to crop up time and time again. Monday morning arrived with the prettiest dusting of white over fields and trees. Little did we know that by lunch time it would be a thick duvet of white everywhere. B&A were delighted that by midday school had called time and two very excited children and a very excited dog were let loose to run through the magic carpet that had appeared. Me? Well you have to join in with the odd snowball and snow angel don't you - it would be rude not to!The afternoon passed with shrieks of laughter and hours of freezing cold fun out in the orchard building snowmen, sledging down over the paddock and attacking Bumble with an endless stream of snowballs, poor thing still hasn't quite worked out why these balls just seem to disappear when they hit the ground which had us rolling with laughter.
The paddock is now a perfect sledging slope but when we arrived at the Bungalow the paddock was shouting out for a few sheep to munch away at it's long grass and although it seems to have taken forever we have finally found some sheep and are planning to collect them on Wednesday. The three girls are Wiltshire Horn ewes which look great and they don't need shearing, all they need is a good scratching post to rub off the old fleece which the children will love collecting. These girls are last years lambs who were the smallest or the last born of triplets so they have had lots of hand rearing but they are still small. So Abi will be in charge of giving them endless attention and petting and lots of sheep nuts - just up her street. The girls have all be given names, Flossie, Goaty and Runty, however Abi is far from impressed with Runty so she has renamed her "Baby" - very PC!!So snow, sheep and then my landy which got a good wash last week for me to discover that it really is white. Although washing it wasn't the best idea as I managed to flood the garage at the same time, gosh I am getting good at this multitasking!! The result of my endeavors was the discovery that no drains around here seem to work as I frantically grabbed a broom and tried brushing the water away from the garage door. My actions were fruitless no amount of brushing was going to disperse the volume of water I had used so we had a garage under an inch of water with Christmas decorations floating around it and now we have our very own ice rink - splendid.The only other white I came across is really quite distressing, let me explain. Friday we are supposed to fly to Finland for a snowy holiday on a frozen lake - weather permitting of course! Our holidays here are just magical, Finland is so beautiful. We stay in an idylic log cabin with a log fire and wood burning sauna, it's so relaxing and we have so much time just being together as a family, hiking across the frozen lake, cross country skiing and watching for reindeer - quite perfect. But there is a down side, the time had come to venture into the loft and retrieve the ski wear. I hate this part of the preparations, jackets, gloves and the worst one of all, the trousers. Now my dread is because no matter how much running or how little I eat I am just not the right shape for this unfair item of clothing. So year after year I drag the blessed things out of the loft and transform myself into a walking, talking michelin woman! With a white jacket, greyish trousers and fuddubadas a plenty the cursed character appears.
So with this in mind I heave a sigh, flick on the kettle and open another bar of chocolate.....well it's too late for this year and brown is the new white!

In the beginning.....

Welcome! I have been pondering blogging since we moved last October, from just outside of Bath to a tiny village in North Oxfordshire. With some gentle encouragement from a dear friend who has the most wonderful blog and all the beautiful blogs I have visited since our move I have been inspired to write my own.

So who am I and why am I here? Well Mr H's job moved to Oxfordshire, and as a family we just can't function when he works away all week so we decided that we would join him. After much searching we were delighted to find a very 1970's style bungalow set along a farm track with it's own orchard for a back garden and a paddock just crying out for sheep, chickens and ducks - our idea of pure heaven. The village has a tiny school just a few minutes walk from the Bungalow and Mr H's work just a 20 minute drive, all quite perfect. We were leaving behind family, great friends and a small woodland so the spot we choose had much to live up to.
As I sit and write this post I am looking out at B&A at the bottom of the paddock in the stream with Bumble creating a tidal wave of mud having a marvelous time - just one of those magical moments. Although there is a high price to pay for free range children,fun resulting in hours of hosing, moping and laundering things that used to look like children and clothes!We were so privileged to arrive at the Bungalow during a spectacular autumn. We had plenty of time to enjoy the colours, apples on the trees and the stunning views. Then the frosty cold days of a true winter with a magical fog that often clung to the trees at the bottom of the paddock giving a truly Christmassy feel to the whole place. Now we are into a new year which will bring us so many more wonderful times here. When we return from a peaceful escape to Finland we will collect sheep and settle them into their new paddock. Scrub chicken coups and find some plump, comfy residents, with the promise of fresh eggs and the sound of contented clucking to keep me and Bumble company as we march through the spring months.
It all sounds very idyllic and is, although we are no strangers to the learning curve of being more rural. Dragging the wheelie bin for what feels like eternity to get it emptied. Septic tanks are a whole new ball game, one which we don't understand the rules. Blocked drains are frequent and drain rods one of our new best friends. Oil tanks are also a great mystery which I am reliably informed will all become clear with time. But there is a nagging sense of dread that one day we will wake up with no heating or hot water, not something to look forward to as believe me it is two coats colder up here.

B&A continue to enjoy the freedom of the outdoors and the prospect of longer warmer days are very inviting. New friends are being made and there is always the thrill of seeing old ones. My hopes and dreams for 2009 is a year where we can enjoy all the wonders of where we have set up our new home and welcome all the muddles & magic to come.