Friday, 26 March 2010

Recycle or re-use?

I'm like the white rabbit, Alice's mate! Busy, busy, busy, late for everything, desperate to cram too much into my day before the three weeks of school holidays commence today at the exclusion of housework I might add!! I'm taking a quick break from the garden to update this blog and drink a coffee, then I'll finish up outside before rushing to make up a guest room for one of my best girl-friends ever, who arrives by train this evening...

The outdoor temperatures have increased noticeably. I'm at that stage in the season where I get confused with dress code each morning. Jumping out of bed I layer up - vest, t-shirt, tank top, fleece, 'nuther fleece, big pants, jeans and boots etc only to find myself stripping in the school car park. It's no thrill for anyone looking, who wants to see big pants?(only Daniel Cleaver in Brig Jones! Perv!)

Temperatures of 10°+ meant that I could begin planting. I've started indoors using every bit of warm window ledge I can find and creating mini-propagators too. Recycling round here is a bit of an effort as we have to take plastic bottles including the plastic milk bottles to the depot. We still do it, husband is a real eco-warrior, but I've been trying to re-use as much as possible. I've found that croissant trays and muffin boxes with lids are cute little greenhouses. Just put some plastic plug trays cut to size inside. Meat trays washed out thoroughly and doubled up, also make great starter trays with a good compost.

In just three days I'm already seeing the heads of the Russian Tarragon waking up in my official plugged-in propagator. So far I've sown; Tarragon, Chives, Mint, lettuce, basil, celery, marigold, leeks, cosmos, bell peppers, mint, courgette, pumpkins and tomatoes. Phew.

I've just planted out the chitted potatoes too and now I need to firm them in as I've finished my coffee. The rain has started but I'm not bothered (love Catherine Tate) as I may get wet but the potatoes will be well watered in....

BTW. The rat smell has almost gone and boy is fully recovered, we have new tenants for the fields and stables and the chickens are laying everywhere. It's an Easter Hunt EVERY day over here!

Catch up soon....

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Reflections on Mothers' Day...

I didn't have Mothering Sunday this year, instead I claimed my Mothers' Day on the Saturday. It was a fantastic day.

We awoke at 7am to see the sunlight peeping through the window that I've yet to get a curtain for and by 8am we were chomping into Ludlow sausages, bacon and our own delicious eggs with crusty bakery bread. My home-made cards were fantastic. Girl had made one in the shape of a tea pot which had a tea bag stapled inside, saying 'take a break today Mummy.' It was inspired. The 5yo's teacher had helped them make cards like little fish tanks with tie-dye material that looked like water. Teacher is beautiful and aged about 12 so I can only presume her grandparents were hippies passing on their tie-dye skills.

By now the sun was high in the sky and although the temperature was a little fresh, there was no breeze so I attacked the garden while husband ferried the kids around the site in Dizzy Disco picking up all discarded trash and rotten wood which they drove to the *new bonfire.

*Worryingly, husband has started building the bonfire for Bonfire Night!! You'll be able to see our celebration from space, I fear for the fence, house, animals!

Dizzy also managed to uproot several unwanted shrubs: We lashed a tow rope around them attached the rope to Dizzy and drove off. It was very satisfying, especially as it meant I didn't have to spend hours digging them out.

The 5yo and Daddy departed for the dump, some 25 miles away while the 7yo took photos of everything and I barrowed 2 ton of rotten cow poo to my raised vegetable beds. Almost heaven except for the fact that our wheelbarrow is absolute pants; with a hard fixed wheel and small capacity I was forced to 'borrow' the tenant's barrow from the stables.....I'm not sure they're happy about this as there are rumours about cows passing worms to horses. However I always wash it out afterwards but its a bit of a pain.

When the boys returned we had lunch in the walled garden in the sun. I couldn't find my gardening gloves and husband suggested they might be in the back of Dizzy. I pulled open the tailgate to find a wonderful, huge, shiny black wheelbarrow with a bouncy wheel. Wit-ta-woooooo. I nearly cried when I had to put the first forkful of poo in it but it's well and truly christened now!

Pizza for dinner was another surprise.....kinda surprised we ever got it! We ordered from a takeaway in a little town 5 miles away and explained carefully how rural we were. 'S'okay,' said the man with the cute Turkish accent 'We got Sat Nav...' I eventually had to run a mile down our lane and guide him in with a high beam torch!! We re-heated in the oven, and I'm pleased to say we have not contracted salmonella.

All in all possibly the best day ever. Thanks family and thanks God for the nice weather.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Sex, Sex, Sex,

Gosh it's a bit sexy here at The Larches; Rooster's at it all day, pheasants pop into the garden for a daily dilly-dally, rabbits can't stop going for it and now the pond is a heaving mass of fruity frogs and toads. I wondered who was burping in the garden and it turns out to be fifty amphibians, 'scusting, they must have drunk loads of pop!

My boy's getting better and better at walking, even attempting the odd short run, (and he certainly does look odd when running.) Back to the fracture clinic on Thursday.

I did look for an official picture of a frog for this post when an online article caught my eye:
'Not feeling sexy? Chug some Peruvian frog juice.'
Oh my, I think I'll just stick to my usual pint of wine thanks!!!! I ALWAYS feel sexy then....

Free Clip Art thanks to Froggie Frog.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

My 5yo is a Thunderbird Puppet

I couldn't be a CSI, (Crime Scene Investigator, for those of you not forced to watch every syndicated episode by your husband.) The reason I'd prefer not to undertake that role, is not just because I failed every science examination I ever took.....[when I sat my mock O'Levels, the nuns had to combine my physics and chemistry results: I still only scored 9%.] No, the real reason is that I've found that I hugely dislike the smell of a dead body.

There's been a [Taggart voice if you please] 'mur-dah'  in our new house. The body hasn't yet been recovered, but the smell is re-volt-ing! The aesthetics of my inherited ensuite is bad enough. The ultra-modern bathroon vying with the authentic Victoran gothic, but now it stinks too! The rat, for that is what is dead, has chosen to secrete itself somewhere in the urinal-tiled, false walls that enclose my cathedral to washing. (To fully understand my ensuite see Feeling Blue if I need to Poo on 25 February 2010.)

10 days ago we laid down poison in the attic and waited for the hateful pitter patter of tiny feet. Wishes really do come true it seems, but now there is the most almighty smell, sweet and penetrating. I imagine the smell as a greeny-brown colour, originally contained in my bathroom it is now sneaking down the corridors of the house, choking all in it's path!

The sun's been wonderful this past week and temperatures have dared to reach 8° so I'm assured by my neighbours that the smell will shortly disappear, along with the flesh of the rat.

'Don't worry,' they said. 'A whole legion of blow-fly maggots will eat the carcass....'

Delightful. Then I suppose I'll be left to fight the flies. Deep joy.

It's been a helluva week. I had been working like a demon to finish editing my book before the sproglet were on a month-long Easter holiday, but.....then Thursday came.

Husband said he'd be home by 7.30pm, not too bad, but too late for dinner as a family. We three ate early. I conceded to let the 7yo and the 5yo bathe together, after they pleaded to build a Water Olympic course for their Japanese GoGo things! ...... Note to other mothers: Unlike Lego, Gogo don't vacuum easily.

Clean, warm and giggly after their bath, I managed to herd them to their own rooms. Having read to them they settled, looking at books in bed. As is the custom when you don't have staff, I went back downstairs to clean up. (After the lottery win I'm soooo getting staff....sigh....)

The 5yo heard Daddy's car engine first. He leapt from his bed and rushed to the top of the stairs.

'Daddy's here.'

'Into bed, he'll come up.' I called from down the corridor.

'But I want to tell him about Star Wars on the DS.'

I walked to the bottom of the stairs situated in our inner hall. Originally, in 1848, this hall was to be the grand entrance to the house. The owner soon changed his mind when he felt the north wind's power as it rushed up the valley and over the fields. Instead the front door became a window with oak shutters for winter. Now it's a cosy room with a huge log burner and original Victorian stone tiles. Boy was high above me, peering through the banisters.

'In. To. Bed.'

He stood up and rested his chin on his hands gripping the polished rail, an errant leg raised, he looked like a ballerina rehearsing.

'Pleeeeese can I wait here?'

'No. Daddy will come up in a minute. Go. To. Bed.'

I walked away, back down the dark corridor towards the kitchen, knowing full well that he'd wait there till Daddy appeared.

Seconds later I heard a deep thud then silence. In that split second I wondered what the boy had thrown from the upper landing into the hall and then I realised that it was the sound of my baby's body hitting the hard hall floor.

I ran. In the hall I found his little body on the cold stone.

He was briefly unconscious and in that split second I'm ashamed to say I moved him: I gathered him up in my arms, moving him to the rug in the centre of the room. You'd have thought I'd have known better after watching all those stupid CSI episodes. Truth be told I paniced. Then my husband walked in.

The next thing I knew I was waiting on the dark bridlepath outside our property. I held a powerful torch to  guide the emergency medic to us. Indoors husband lay on the rug, comforting our son who lay shivering under his Thunderbirds duvet. I worried what the 7yo was doing.

Under the starlit sky, I wondering what would be our fate that night.

It took almost 25 minutes for the rapid response paramedic to get to us across the hills. I thought we were serviced by the air ambulance, unaware that it only operates by day, fearful of powerlines at night. He was serious, concerned by the 20ft drop of the stairs. Within another 30 minutes the ambulance came. Three medics searched boy for injuries.

'There may be a spinal injury, looks like he fell on his coxix.'

All the time boy didn't move, just wimpered that his pelvic area hurt.
When the men began to strap on a neck brace on him he screamed and cried.

'You're killing me, I can't breathe, please get off me. Stop them Mummy.' I wanted to beat them away from him but I didn't. I just lay beside him and felt powerless.

The ambulance ride took over 40 minutes even with flashing lights and a siren. Boy started drifting off to sleep, the medic waking him every few minutes to check on him. I whispered....

'Dear God how far from civilization have we strayed?'

Through the night he was tested and x-rayed and put through something that looked like a time machine to another planet. All proved inconclusive. Finally we were admitted to the children's ward. Hubby and our exhausted 7yo departed. It was 3am.

I sat beside my little son while he slept. At 4am I fished in my bag and found the latest book club choice, a disturbing and depressing book called 'The Secret Scripture.' I couldn't feel much lower so I read, methodically, trying not to let my thoughts wander from the story. I didn't want to sleep, so far we'd had no bad news and I was desperate to forestall the morning lest it brought any. Eventually I pulled my old faux bear coat around me and slept.

That was last Thursday, the 4th of March. On Friday 5th March at 9pm we were officially discharged. Although bruised and unable to walk properly, boy had no life threatening injuries, he didn't even have a fracture. There was trace blood in his urine but no sign of internal injuries.

After three days of TV at home boy was back on his feet, albeit walking a bit tenderly, we teased him;
'You walk like a Thinderbird puppet.'

On Tuesday I drove the 7yo and boy, plus an enormous bean-bag, the 14 miles back to school over the hills. It's funny but after dropping the children off I couldn't cope with driving home: I was fearful that something bad might happen. Instead I hung about in the little medievil town near school, for an hour or so I window shopped and then I sat in the car and read my dreadful book, glancing at my mobile from time to time.

It seems I needn't have worried, he had a great day. That's when I decided to cry, I was so relieved and tired and conscious of what could have been. Outside boy's classroom other mums and teachers rubbed my back, I'll rub theirs' another day.

We three drove home chatting happily in the car. The sun was out and it was almost 9°, the warmest day for almost 12 weeks. I'm pleased to say that I've finished the back breaking work of filling my raised vegetable beds with top-soil and as I turned into our drive I noticed that wonderful Walter, farmer and hedge cutter extraordinaire, had left me a fantastic present; 2 ton of rotting cow poo. Life is suddenly very good again. The chickens were pleased too, perched on the mound they were harvesting red worms. Maybe egg production will be up too.

Spring is here, babies are healthy and isn't life precious? I really hope you and yours are safe too.


The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon