Sunday, 16 December 2018

Bouncing back.

I have to admit that lately my mojo has well and truly gone. However, it is returning slowly. Although the day had been looming for some time, taking my sweet Moomin back to the UK hit me far harder than I thought and the stress of the journey with her and then returning by myself has knocked me back more than a bit. However, just before we left, I managed to squeeze in a Christmas market. It was my first in France and it was a very quiet affair, aimed at building my confidence and quietly putting our name out there for future courses.
I was astonished at the warmth of the welcome and at the popularity of my paintings. I can see that the horses are of great interest to people here and the pictures were very popular. I sold several prints and some felted items. Most importantly though, I made some great contacts for next year including a very nice lady with sheep for sale (oops, don't tell T!). So all in all, a far more successful day than I was expecting :D
Yesterday and today was spent dealing with some pheasants and a couple of partridges that T's Dad got for us in England. They travelled on the ferry in a cool box and I was very grateful not to have my car searched! 8 birds in the freezer is a good feeling.
I don't just love birds, I adore them all and I saved many of the beautiful feathers and felt a little tearful when I had to take off the wings and feet. It was almost a push towards becoming a vegetarian!!!
However, I know full well that when I sit down to eat, my faithless heart will forget the guilt and I'll enjoy every mouthful!!! I hope I don't offend anyone, but what can I say? I'm so weak!

A different approach.

Wow! Two posts in as many days, I must have found my voice again! 
Since my post last night about going chemical free, I can report that my skin is still lush and my hair is ok, not great, just ok. I'm going to do more research over the coming weeks and make my own shampoo. I've made soap so I have an idea of what I'm doing.

I need to eliminate chemicals as much as possible from our lives. This is for our health, but also the health of our veg garden. We decided to install a grey water soak away system so that in the summer we'll have water running directly to the potager and herb garden without having to use a hose or buckets from the water butts. The plants that will sit in the first water garden will deal with the waste that's in our water, so of course, they won't be happy dealing with toxic elements. A little soap is ok and if it's homemade, then even better, but I want to remove all harsh chemicals completely. I'll share progress pictures when we get started. Right now it's all bogland outside!!!

My journey with herbs started when I was a teenager. I was given a herbal directory and it just fascinated me. Ever since, I've dipped in and out of herbalism for all reasons, medicinal and culinary. Some herbs and especially essential oils can be extremely toxic in their own right and are not always good for everyone who takes them, so I've begun studying an online course in Herbalism to be sure I get it right.

The horses have been on herbal supplements since our last trip to the UK and the results have been great. Jerry and Merlin were suffering with constant sinus issues, so I put them on an Echinacea blend and they're hugely improved, despite the awful weather.  I brought back for myself a whole medicine chest of supplements that I'm using to find the right balance for my health.  I've also invested in a large amount of seeds so that I can grow everything I need right here in my garden. There are next to no herbal outlets here in our corner of France and I can see a great market for it.

Just by luck, I found a lady called Chanchal Cabrera on Youtube who managed to eliminate the majority of her Fibromyalgia symptoms through herbs and lifestyle change. She says that she's cured, but I'm not sure how possible that is, however, I'm willing to give it a go. I've already changed my life to one that suits me better, so that's step 1 sorted. Her book about Fibromyalgia is pretty good too and I tracked it down second hand on Amazon, but there's probably a link to it on her website.
Here is her website Chanchal Cabrera.  I recommend checking her out.

Sometime ago I read a blog about herbs and remedies. The lady blogger makes all her own creams etc....  I just can't find that blog now, so if anyone knows her or if she herself should drop by, please give me a shout as I really enjoyed reading the recipes :D

Saturday, 15 December 2018

No poo!

I tried this about four years ago. The no poo approach to hair care, that is. The name comes from ditching the shampoo. I managed to last about 2 weeks, no more! My hair was like straw and I felt no benefit at all. I guess I tried it because it was all the rage at the time.

I'm trying it now because I'm having a major reaction to all chemicals and I feel like I have a colony of fire ants living inside my clothes and hair! Nights are the worst because I can't distract myself from the fire and itching. I'm thinking this is a hormone thing as I'm at that wonderful age when my body loves to cause havoc by repeatedly dodging my attempts to live a normal life.

The night sweats were the worst symptom and started over a year ago. I would throw off the covers to cool down and then my muscles would cramp in the cold because Fibro hates the cold and damp. I started on HRT and the last year has been great as I began to feel like myself again. However, recently I developed a reaction to the glue on the patches and I was soon covered in little round burn marks on my butt where the patches had been. I started a course of herbal remedies to replace the patches and after a week, I'd stopped using them in favour of Red Clover, sage and Dong Quai, among others. I'm back to having night sweats, but they're nowhere near as bad as before.

My skin, though, is reacting to everything I use. Our skin is our largest external organ and covers around 20 square feet!! That boggles my mind! When our body is struggling, the skin is our greatest indicator. If we have acne, dry skin, oily skin, it's often due to something going on inside. So while I'm trying to tackle the reactions to my skin externally, I also need to address what might be going on with my overall health.

I have no quick answers here, I'm just going to try different remedies and herbs and keep a note to share with you all here.

Tonights bath was an Epsom salt bath to detox my skin. It was a bit drying, but I thought it would be so I took a pan of oatmeal water with me (cook oats in a muslin bag and keep the water). I washed my hair with a raw egg, which wasn't as gross as it sounds. I then used a vinegar and essential oil rinse for conditioner and soaked my skin in the oatmeal water.

My hair feels incredibly soft but my shoulders are still a bit itchy. My skin feels nice, but I doubt that will last as I have terribly dry skin.  I need to not shower tomorrow and will have a shallow bath instead. That's my compromise as it's suggested on several sites that you only bathe once a week!!! I don't think so!!!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Making myself do it!

Walk that is! After planning my route around the lake, everything around me held me back from actually getting out to build up some strength. Yesterday I made myself go. I took the dogs and the Moomin who is back from the UK for a few months before leaving for good. It's been a difficult time, facing that empty nest but the work around our little farm has kept me from dwelling on it too much.

The canal is a great place to start building my muscles as it's the only really flat place to walk around here. We did a usual route at quite a pace and I felt so much better after.
Today I'm going to tackle a more hilly walk and will be taking the dogs alone. It's too strenuous for young legs, apparently! She had her birthday last week and I can't believe she's now 20! Where did all those years go?
I'm not getting maudlin, I'm getting the dogs and heading out the door :D

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Outlander capelets.

Autumn evenings are for lighting the fire and watching old episodes of Outlander.The first season was my favourite and I adore the knitwear so much. I'm feeling very inspired to make some lovely items for the Christmas fair next month. I'm not sure what people will think! I love the colours in the wool used here, so I'm going to have a go at spinning something similar.
I have a lot of Teeswater Texel fleece that has a delightful crimp and curl. I accidentally felted some when washing it but didn't mind as I thought I would use it for felted animal hair. Then I watched the episode that introduced us to Geillis Duncan and fell in love with her little capelet. The curly locks would be perfect along the edge of this, so I threw a bundle in the dye pot and played with food dye.
The colours are sooo yummy. I used food dye on wool many years ago and it's still bright and perfect now, so I'm not worried about it fading too much. Once it's felted it should be set in it's colour.
All week I've been working on these little Christmas trees for the fair. I don't mind if I sell them or not, they're really just to make my table look festive :D
The walking hasn't gone well this week as I've been rushing around with the horses. They had a big hay delivery, so the pallets had to be cleaned and the old hay moved or put in their field.
This morning as I pulled the tarp back, this little fellow plopped out. He's sooo adorable, I think I'm in love <3

He's only tiny, about 2.5 inches, but I'll keep an eye out for him as I sort the hay, I wouldn't want to step on him! I'm struggling to think of a name for him but I'm sure one will come to me. I already have Trevor and Neville who live under the Studio;  maybe I'll find more inspiration in Harry Potter. We're working our way through the movies again. I never tire of them.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018


This is the route I plan to take next year.
The weather has been stormy, wet and windy lately. It's caused a few problems with my muscles but mostly it's good to lay in bed and listen to it raging outside!
Tonight however, I have a nasty, sore throat and a blocked nose. It's probably nothing, just the warning sign I sometimes get to slow down and take it easy.

Monday, 5 November 2018


Two posts in one day! What is going on???

Well, this has been happening a lot lately! To the left is the new kitchen and to the right is the old kitchen. This space in between was a corridor with a toilet under the window. It was such a waste of space! Today the wall on the right came down and now our downstairs is totally open plan. The cats aren't quite sure what to make of it. I've swept and washed the floors and the sofas have been thoroughly hoovered.
We lit the fire tonight to celebrate :D

On Wednesday we went into the village for the Halloween celebrations. I put dark scary make up on and no one noticed!!! Apparently the orbs around my face are a good sign. There are 7!
 The village took a lot of care over the decorations. The bars were blacked out with spooky ornaments and scary people serving.
 This is the view down to the main street. We had free hot roasted chestnuts and there were bowls of pumpkin soup available for a small donation. The crepes were normal price, but looked very good.
There was a big parade and the maire, dressed as a ringmaster came and greeted us and was clearly happy to see us joining in. I love this little village so much <3

A rare moment!

I'm having a sit down after my breakfast this morning as I stupidly took an extra dose of painkillers last night and I feel sick and dizzy today! I always take my tablets before bed so that I can sleep off the nasty side effects, but taking extra doesn't give me the time I need to get my head straight. I hurt my finger a couple of days ago, hence the extra tablets!

Today another wall will be coming down in the house, so we will then be completely open plan downstairs. Monday is my major housework day, so I've no plans to get to the studio but when I do, I'll be weaving as my finger is no good for fine detail work.

This is what I was making before squashing my finger.
 There was some comotion outside and I grabbed my phone in time to capture this terrifying sight!
 Ta daa, it's Dexter :D  He came to tell me he was hungry and where was his dinner!
 I fed the cats and came back later to find!!! Gigi, not only sitting on my work but clearly she couldn't care less :D
What would I do without my constant distractions <3

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Walking again.

The progress on the house is slow and we had a lovely kitchen for a day and then we knocked a wall down so it's all under dust sheets, which hasn't really stopped the dust from getting in everywhere! The wiring is almost complete and the cooker and fridge are finally connected. It's very exciting :D

As if I don't have enough on my plate I've decided to get back to walking, but this time with a goal in mind. I'm going to get myself fit enough to walk the length of our wonderful lake at Guerledan.

Here is a link to a tourist page and features a lovely video of the lake.  Guerledan Lake.

A dear friend, Val, is walking the Camino de Santiago which is a whole lot further than around my little lake. She's talking about walking in honour of the migrant caravan as she puts it. I've spent a day or two thinking about her words and have decided to do something similar.

In my case, I'll be walking for all displaced people but also to show that even someone with a chronic condition such as mine can still live a fit and healthy life. I would love to do more walking and even take one of the ponies along as a pack pony, but maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm going to do the walk next year as everything along the lake has now shut down for the winter and I plan to camp one night half way around the walk. The route can be completed in a day but I want to do this slowly and take the opportunity to meditate and be completely focused on the moment at hand.

I love the lake so much with it's ever changing face and I'm so looking forward to spending time alone with nature and my thoughts.

This is my favourite spot. In the summer this little beach is submerged but in winter the water level drops as the gates are open for the hydro-electric station.
So, my plan for today is to do some baking and then take the dogs to explore a part of the lake that I'm not used to. I'll build up my distances over the coming months :D

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Time flies!

I really don't know where the last month has gone! I've been so busy with the house and the animals that I've barely had the time or energy to write a blog post. I find I need a lot of mental energy to sit and write and that seems to have been the first thing that went!
I can see a little light now that certain rooms are sorted and  the kitchen is underway :D

The biggest task has been to transform the loft into a cosy bedroom and living space for my son. He was sleeping in the old lounge which is almost the kitchen. My lovely man has worked his socks off doing all of this by himself!
First the floor went down.
 The the loft was insulated and new boards were added.
The two big cross beams were removed and replaced by uprights, but I still walked into the down beams at least once a day! A false wall was installed at one end to hide the water tank and to create a little walk in wardrobe on the left.
All of the painting was then down to me and that is a lot of wood to treat, believe me! The white plasterboard wasn't so hard on my neck as the ceiling was!
 Finally I got to play with moving furniture around. The space to the right is awaiting the new window and will be the office corner.
 The sleeping end is really cosy and all of the animals have thoroughly checked it out!

The next job now is the kitchen. This is what it looked like when it was the lounge.

More updates soon, now I just want to visit you all and find out what you've been up to in the last month :D

Sunday, 9 September 2018


How can I paint a feeling with words.
The dusty remnants of a hot day gone stale. The still air waiting for the cool of night to descend. My life here is a million miles away from my imagination, both a blessing and a strange mix of excitement and dislocation. I love these late walks with the dogs, the final goodnight to a full and busy day. The ponies have the last of their daily hay, the chickens put to bed and the dogs and often the cats walk with me along the long and silent road as our nightime slumber approaches.
Tonight, the moon has yet to rise, the shadows are heavy and a dark, a silent shape follows our progress beside the tall, over my head corn. Finally, she can stay quiet no more, a little meow and I know that it's Piper, it's always Piper. Soft and silky, like smoke at our heels. We turn for the return and she falls to the ground in a dramatic gesture of needyness. Cuddle me, she squirms. We stop and do. She then falls in beside us and we return through the golden arched light of the trees, illumined by the house light. Home, familiar yet still new.

My poetic meanderings are what fills my brain as I say goodnight to the day that's been. It's hard and lovely here :D

Friday, 31 August 2018

The opposite of shopping!

It's been a full on busy week here at the Wildewood as we tried to spend every spare moment we could with our family while they were here. I say 'our' family when  really they're T's family who have extended their warmth and affection to me, I feel very lucky <3 My own family are often lacking in the warmth department and it's made me sad on more than one occassion.
However, a good thing happened a few months back. My long estranged Father contacted me through the mighty power of FB! I've been in touch with my half sister for a few years but suddenly I recieved a message from my Dad. It's a small word but has slipped so easily into my vocabulary. Dad. I had a childish pleasure from typing that word into my phone after so many years without a father of any kind. My Stepfather was wonderful and I had a lovely early childhood with him, but when he moved out, we lost touch and he found a new family. Sad but true.
Finally now, I feel connected and I understand why I'm so different to the family I grew up with. Some members enjoyed calling me 'freak' because I refused to fit in with the rest of them and their ideas of how I should live. Now finally it all makes sense. My Dad has always travelled and made his own work, he's been successful at just about everything he turned his mind to and I'm happy to know I've inherited some of his pioneering spirit :D

But this isn't a post about family, it's about a lifestyle change. I've learnt so much from my garden, about what grows easily and what is worth a bit of effort, but the biggest lesson has been in how we eat. Before the veggies started to come in, we would decide on meals, make a  list and go to the shops.  Lately though we've been checking the garden first then heading to the store cupboard and building meals around what we have here. Our food bill has halved over the last month. Our conversations often start with 'What do you fancy with spinach tonight?' Or 'Do we have any different courgette recipes?'
So this has saved us money for the summer months, but what if we can extend that further? We need to store our food safely, grow veggies in the poly tunnel so that we have greens all year, maybe even some salads in winter. It's all very exciting and helps me to deal with the black dog of anxiety who still comes creeping around from time to time.
Unfortunately one of my nightmares came true and my tomatoes have developed blight. I'm very disappointed with how they've all failed this year despite my constant attention and efforts. I'm going to pull them out today and make green tomatoe chutney. I was so looking forward to biting into a sun ripened home grown tom! Never mind, some of them ripened in the greenhouse and I don't even remember planting yellow ones, but that's the colour they turned out! The taste was a bit bland too. I hope I'll have better luck next year!

 Lettuce and bok choi.
 Salads, melons and cornichons.
Basil and peppers.

Our successes so far have been with the spinach, a wonderful variety that was just a cheap packet from Wilkinsons. The spinach beet has been good, but no comparison in flavour so I'm letting the beets grow now.
The lettuce has been a big success, especially since I discovered slugs hate coffee grinds and sawdust!
Basil has also been a huge success but coriander either hasn't grown or has bolted right away. I need to find a better place to grow it as it's getting too much sun.
This is the first year I've had success with peppers and they're growing nicely as are the chillis, so I'm looking forward to them.
The beans were a late starter but are swelling nicely now. I grew three varieties but the only survivors have been Gigantes a large soup bean from Italy. I have some small bush beans growing called Cupidon. I planted these a few weeks ago as they're quick growing and I'm experimenting with a fall garden. Fingers crossed.
Also in the fall garden I have radishes, kale, cabbages, bulb fennel, cornichons, herbs and carrots.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018


I sometimes feel like I'm being pulled in different directions and the essential me gets diluted as I try to hold it together. This isn't a complaint as I only realise it's happened when something snaps me back into place. The weather has begun to drift into cooler mornings and the scent of Autumn creeps up on us as we go about the late night feeding routine. That's when I begin to feel like me again. I start working on wool projects in my mind, plan the next square for my cushions and think about lovely thick blanckets to snuggle under.

Yesterday started cool and damp, but soon the day blossomed into a hot summers day. We had a full on morning of cooking as we prepared to entertain our largest family group yet. Seven of T's family have come over together from the UK and his brother and wife have driven up from La Rochelle to see our house and meet the animals.

I made courgette and sundried tomato soda bread.
 A white loaf.

Four quiches, all vegetarian.
 And this is how it all looked put together. I didn't have time for photos as everything came out of the oven because it was like a conveyor belt. Cook it, cool it, cover with tea towels until serving!
 Everyone had a lovely time and I had some lovely compliments on my cooking and even a suggestion that some things would sell well at market. What high praise indeed :D
 While the adults rested after lunch, T's nephews helped with feeding the horses and they were such willing helpers. It was a lovely day and the first of many :D
Today I'm planning on some knitting in between feeding horses and pampering my little seedlings, have a lovely one all.x

Wednesday, 1 August 2018


I think slugs are like the Hydra. You cut one down and ten more appear to take it's place! Most nights around 10.30 I give the ponies their last feed which is a bale of hay spread along the edge of the field. Then I grab a torch and a knife and go slug stabbing.
The big ones are easy, but the tiny white ones are a nightmare. They can decimate a plant en masse but you can't acutally grab or stab them as they're too little. Then, there seems to be a call that goes out to the top field - 'All lower field slugs are no more, move down, move down'! They all march down the pathway from the muck heap to the orchard and the potager - bastards!!! (sorry Leeanna, I had to say it!)
I then stagger, defeated, back to the house where the cats are waiting for second supper! What are they, tiny hobbits???
I'm taking a glass of wine to bed with me now.

Thank you all.

Thank you everyone for the lovely comments. I sometimes find that I have to give in, have a good cry and just wallow a bit. A long sleep always helps and I often wake the next day as a new person feeling like I've lost a whole day with almost no recall of it! It's unsettling, but I just have to go with it. There's no pulling myself up by my bootstraps and I'm sure most people who suffer with this problem know that well. You just can't shrug off the burden of depression no matter how hard you try.

When I was first single after 20 years of marriage, I tried to soldier on. I had to prove something to myself. I wanted to be a Superwoman! It's just not possible, I put off the emotions for too long and in the end it's what caused me to develope Fibromyalgia. Sometimes I hate having this condition and sometimes I view it as my body having more sense than my mind. It tells me to stop, take stock and assess how far I'm pushing myself. I also have to be more clever about how I live and work out ways to get the same job done but without making myself ill.

This is why my workload is so varied, I want to do the garden and work with the ponies, but it has to be limited and then I can sit and do painting, spinning or making pendants. I guess this is a holistic approach and it certainly works for me.

A prime example of taking a different view of a problem is what's helping me to deal with Flash, our naughtiest pony.  He's the worst sort of escape artist. I caught him last week with his whole front end through the fences and onto the road! He just doesn't seem to feel the electric from the fence the way the others do! We had to tighten up the wire and reinforce the electric just to find that he'd then ducked under the fence and onto the newly seeded reserve paddock. I've literally been pulling my hair out. He's also very unbalanced and unaware of his feet, he's trampled me more times than all of the others put together!

Yesterday I decided to do a little 'in-hand' work to teach Flash about spacial boundaries and where exactly to put his feet when asked. He was so confused at first but I discovered that he loves praise and above all, scratches on his neck. He's a very nervous little soul and was given to T as a companion for Jerry when he was about 2years. Jerry and the others all treated him like the baby and as such, he finds it hard to be on his own but at the same time, he throws his weight around like a spoiled brat. Once he realised I wasn't going to do anything mean he started to listen and react to my instructions. After 10 minutes, he was walking nicely beside me, backing up and moving away from pressure to turn lovely circles. The whole 'lesson' lasted just over 10 minutes as Flash began yawning and closing his eyes. That was all he could take! I then gave him some hay and sorted out the dreadlocks in his mane. I'm looking forward to more work with him today, but if the added attention sorted him out yesterday, it didn't stop him from escaping again early this morning. He was back in the reserved paddock grabbing grass before I could catch him!

Monday, 30 July 2018


It's an old companion is anxiety. Not a welcome one I have to add. I've not had it much since living in France but the last couple of mornings I been woken by it and then the pain in my shoulder takes over and I lie still, breathing slowly to calm down. Sometimes I realise that I have a lot to be anxious about, all that we've taken on here and the huge gamble that we can pay for everything and live good lives. Other days I'm almost running outside to greet the challenges.

Yesterdays post was a bit of a whinge, I suppose, but I'll leave it there for now as it's not as awful as some posts I've read by others!

Today I'll be taking it a little more easy. I have some spinning to do later and maybe some more tiny knitting. I love this, it's such fun.
 I made the tiny needles from cocktail sticks. I might try a tiny garment soon. Knitting for faeries ;)
 I finally got around to washing the filthy Oessant fleeces that I picked up months ago. What delight this one is. It's soooo soft and squishy.
 The ram fleece is odd. It has lots of coarse hairs, but the rest is really soft. I'll probably do some felting with it. I fancy making a black wolf! Now that should take my mind off things :D

Social Media.

It's exhausting using social media to promote my business. Maybe the market has become over saturated but where my old blog had nearly 200 followers, this one has 25! I'm not sure how to promote it or even if I want to now! I've spent a couple of weeks pushing the Giveaway on FB only to be given confusing stats. On the page it appears that I've had 8 shares, but on my stats page it states over 40! Well, I still only have 8 comments!
Shall I give up? Maybe my art and sculptures are as crappy as I sometimes feel they are. I get so despondent sometimes!

Today hasn't been good. All the digging in the rain yesterday left me with the dreaded Chronic fatigue, only todays major symptom has been the weepies! I worry about so much, the ponies, the paddocks the futility of it all. Hours spent picking glue off the walls before we can begin to think about plastering and painting. At this rate, Christmas will be a camping affair like last year. Oh yes, I'm really feeling sorry for myself tonight! Maybe if I swore a bit more I might pick up more followers! I really don't understand what sets some blogs above others, perhaps I'm just boring!  I'll probably take this post down tomorrow, I do hate to whinge!!!

Saturday, 28 July 2018

I love my garden

I really do. I love it in a way I never could in England because I know I'm staying here for a very long time. I'm planning and planting for our future. In England I never felt settled. When I was married, there was always the threat of moving house and then when I was single again, I never knew if I could manage to keep it all together. I worked so hard to keep a roof over our heads but I knew that as soon as the children left college I would move somewhere permanent, somewhere secure, and here we are. I should almost change the blog name to Wild Woman in the garden :D

My new salad bed is doing well and after the rain yesterday, everything has doubled in size!

The chickens love it when I'm in the garden and they always run to see me. I love our girlies <3

 The chillies and basil are growing well and I've harvested the first sprigs of basil for supper tonight. We're having fresh pesto with pasta, yum.
I only popped out to let the ponies into their paddock and found myself pruning the tomatoes. I hope they do well as I've never done this before and it felt very drastic. I usually take out the side shoots but today, I took off all the lower branches and re-tied the toms into a more upright position. Fingers crossed. The squash have doubled their size since my last photos! I can thank the rain for that. Nothing waters the garden better than mother nature.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

This space ....

This space I occupy! It was on my mind tonight as I gave the ponies their late night supper of hay. The sky was heavy with a big, full moon, the stars languid in their warm suspension and I moved slowly too, thinking, as I carried out the last task of the day.
I've seen this sky before, these stars, these dark, late night tasks. It doesn't matter where I live, my life is the same, the space I occupy is mine and I carry it with me wherever I go. The view over the hills, dark with night, the sky bright with moonlight, soft whispy clouds and me, tiny beneath it all. I try to tread lightly, I make my mistakes and try again. My life is a repeating pattern, but it's mine, true to who I am regardless of all that's changed, shaped and moulded me. I'm the same, but different. Older, wiser still a fool and still learning. It's a good life and it's good to be alive.

Sharing the load.

I've been trying to get the Studio up and running with varied levels of success. There is so much to do here, that I can't leave T to struggle on alone.
When the children were here, they helped with the animals and my son learnt about carpentry and helped with the building work. But for now it's just the two of us and I have to help with the house or it just won't get done. It does worry me that I also need to be bringing in the pennies, but I have to find the balance. It's all about the balance!
So this is what we've been up to lately.

The loft is progressing nicely, but the flooring can't be finished until the re-wiring is completed. This is a long slow process as the house hasn't had new electrics since the 70's! We're actually going to have plug sockets in the bedrooms, yay :D

 Our new boiler is in place beside what will be a small built in wardrobe. The boiler is electric and next year will be mostly powered by solar panels. It will save us so much money as the current boiler guzzles oil and is about the size of a small car, it needs to be gone!
 Two weeks ago, the Tour de France literally whizzed past us. Three hours waiting and whoosh they were gone in less than a minute!
 I did enjoy taking photos of this beautiful mare nearby. She may find herself in a painting, some day!
 The sweet potato is doing really well and will be planted this week. I have another to sprout as a back up, but once they get going, they seem quite vigorous, but that's fine, I adore sweet potatoes.
 Here's Maggie looking beautiful. She had a terrible accident late last Friday night and only rejoined the herd yesterday. Merlin accidentally clipped her back leg while 'horsing' around, and she bled profusely. I'm a panicker, made worse by buckets of blood, but we cleaned the wound and put a pressure bandage on it. By the next morning it was dry, but she was in pain, so we kept her in a tiny paddock and spoilt her rotten. The change in Merlin was shocking. He was so lost without her and wouldn't go anywhere without Bo to look after him! I need to squeeze in a little work with them all, but it's been too hot and I need more hours in a day.
 I made my best bread yet! I followed some you tube vids and worked out why my bread has been a bit unreliable. It's all about the kneading. I don't believe in taking out your frustration on the dough, as I feel you're passing on that negative energy into your food. I don't want to consume anger! Anyhoo, the upshot was that I need to knead for much longer. The texture of this dough was creamy like a dry mozzarella. It's hard to explain, but once the dough is ready, you absolutely know :D
 Here are a couple of comparisons. Below, spaghetti squash from 10 days ago.
 Same squash this week. They've been a resounding success and I'm definitely growing them again. I have some wonderful recipes to try and I can't wait for them to ripen :D
Finally, the pictures that led to the blog title. Now that the children are back in the uk for a while, we have the oppotunity to get on with sorting the downstairs of the house. I cleared out the old sitting room with a view to making a start on painting. I peeled off a sheet of paper and discovered to my horror the walls are all lined with polystyrene and our workload just doubled right there!
 I started with a wide scraper, but it was just no good. T found me a long pallet knife type scraper.
 I put on lound music and got stuck in. One and a half CD's later and one wall is finished. All the yellowy stuff is thick glue! Some of it is peeling off but the rest will have to be scrubbed, I think!
So that's my next few days planned out, but I intend to spend a bit of quality time in the studio as it will at least give me a chance to sit down!

Edited to add:   I don't think the squash coming up are the spaghetti squash after all, they're the wrong shape. What a shame, that means something ate my spaghettis and my infill of potirron is what's doing so well!!! Ah well, at least we still have squash to eat!