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!

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Pushing through.

I've hit a bit of a wall today and have decided to take the morning off. I'm too sick to eat but I can drink tea, so the wonders of Earl Grey will get me through.
Yesterday we met with friends who helped us go through some planning application forms. We stayed for over two hours, and it was lovely but tiring. We then had to get horse feed and some building supplies. The feed shop is always a success, but we couldn't get the electric wires and had to go to several shops for chicken feed. It was stressful. Later a lovely BBQ with family finished me off. I was fine when I went to bed, but felt steamrollered when I woke up!
So, I'm sat here, watching my little Cotton cat hunting in the garden, Manchee is curled beside me and Walley is in his safe spot under the bed. He loves it there and being such a nervouse dog, it's so important for him to have somewhere he can hide and be comfortable. When we talk about him, we can hear his tail brushing the floorboards in happiness. He's so precious <3

A few weeks ago our poor Fae was rushed to the vets with worrying symptoms. After a very long and confusing discussion with the French vet, the English speaking vet arrived and explained that they thought Fae had been poisoned. You see the word for poison and fish sound identical and this caused a lot of confusion. However, the treatment was sorted and Fae was given strong injections and I had many tablets to take with me. Fae is picky over food at the best of times, but suffering as she was, the last thing she was going to do was co operate. We crushed tablets in kitten milk and syringed it into her mouth, tempted her with pate, fish and cheese. Each day was a new battle as she was ready for us. However, we did get some medication into her and with lots of love and cuddles, she's now on the road to recovery.
 Just as we were getting over that hiccup, Cotton, Fae's mum came in one night with a huge chunk of flesh missing from her nose. Her eyes were swollen and she was so very fragile. A night on our bed and a breakfast of pate (she's not fussy) and she also slowly recovered.
 A week later and the nasty scab was hanging from her nose! It was driving her mad, but I couldn't touch it as the flesh was so tender underneath. A little more pate seemed to revive her spirits! You can see the swelling has gone down in the picture below.

 Out in the garden, the Dirigible Plums are now ripening nicely. I've caused so much confusion on FB because of my renaming of the Physalis or Chinese Lanterns. Years ago, when I read Harry Potter, I found a lovely house in Wales that I wanted to move to. It had a wooden tower and a circular kitchen with bespoke, wonky cupboards. I loved it and wanted to live there with Dirigible plums growing by the door, just like Luna Lovegoods house. I immediately imagined Chinese lanterns when I thought of the magical plums and tried in vain to grow them for years. Now living here, they're thriving, like so many things I'm planting.

I've started sprouting sweet potatoes. Can you see the tiny leaves forming in the center of the picture?

I've also sprouted and planted ginger and the vegetable garden is doing well after a shaky start.
I've made another youtube vid, and I think I'm getting better, I'm less nervous, at least, although it is a bit of a whistlestop tour :D

Youtube in the garden

Edited to add: Apart from going outside to feed the ponies, I've stayed in bed all day, visiting blogs and doing research on youtube. I may manage a little rice for supper, but that's all! I'm trying not to view today as a waste!!!

Saturday, 14 July 2018


Too tired to write now, maybe tomorrow.

Here's something I finished earlier. I'm so very happy with it that I'm keeping it. I'm a rubbish business woman!!!

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Big Giveaway.

I'm having a big Giveaway on my Facebook page. I'm giving away some art prints, fibre goodies and if I reach 100 shares, one of my wire wrapped paintings.
An A5 print of my little barn owl is one of the prints and I'll add more items after I reach over 100 shares. Please spread the word.

My page is here IntotheWildewood

Monday, 9 July 2018

Big difference.

What a difference a good nights sleep makes. I watched the youtube I posted yesterday again before going to sleep and it seemed to seep into my mind. I got out my permaculture book this morning and started the chapter on water harvesting.
All of my answers were there on the page. I need to organise my plants and beds around a water system. I'd love a couple of ponds, but T needs a little convincing. He doesn't say no to anything, he likes to think it through, but I know when an idea is pushing him when he says nothing at all. If I give him space to think it through, he sometimes comes up with a compromise or his idea of how something will fit in. I love his approach to problem solving, it's never negative unless it's something that really won't work and even I can see the truth in it when he points out the flaws in a plan.

Moomin and her brother are going back to the UK for a couple of months to see their friends. It's a gentle cutting of the apron strings for us all as they move on with their lives. This move to France was never going to be a permanent one for them, but they both wanted a year out of studies and a chance for a French adventure. They'll be back for Autumn and then off again for Christmas and New Year parties, they have so much fun to look forward to :D
 The weather is still very Scorchio, but so it is in many countries at the moment! Of course, many  people I know back home have had a hot month and are now worried because they need the rain! My mum has even been told to expect a hosepipe ban! Seriously, after 1 month???

Most nights we take the dogs down to the lake and Walley has a lovely swim. Manchee will dip his toes, but he's not keen on all over wet! I've been in up to my knees and the water is so warm. I'd love to swim, but this part of the lake has strong currents.
 Bambam has the perfect way to cool down! She's changed so much since we've moved. She's extremely relaxed and is so visibly happy. She won't like it when the young people aren't here though, she struggled with that last time and pined for them. At least she has Walley to cuddle now that she's fallen in love with him <3

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Making a plan.

I wish I could say making a plan of any kind is easy, but it's not for me! My homesteading book talks about making a business plan, and I've done my best with that. I know what my resources are, what I want to get out of my business ideas and how to go about it all. So far so good, now to the practical stuff. Where do I site my vegetable beds?
I've moved several plants and changed the plans a few times now and I'm just not happy with how it's flowing, or not flowing. The big vegetable bed with the beans is my best one but I want more and fitting them in is not easy due to the trees and shape of the paddocks. The ponies take up a lot of space and on the whole are the biggest drain, financially and timewise but if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here. I'm thinking in circles and changing my mind constantly, it's not helping me at all. I wish I could find a more detailed description of how to lay things out!!!

 For now, it's too hot to do anything much, even thinking is out of the question. Dexter has the best idea <3

Edited to add:  I think I may have found the answer I'm looking for, how wonderful is this?


Saturday, 7 July 2018

Slowly finding my direction.

As the title says, I think I'm finding my true North. In the past I've felt torn between my love of growing things and my need to create art. I've realised lately that I have to sort out the timings but with careful planning I can do both. Because of the Fibro I need to rest in between strenuous jobs so that's my time to make art or spin. I'm settling into a kind of routine of work, rest and work and it's all coming together.
My growing started out great but the mini-greenhouse was in the wrong place so was difficult to water and I lost some of my tomatoes and beans. The slugs started to take over and so I had to have a big move around. The greenhouse is now right by the house, tucked into a hedge in a place that I thought would be far too shady for anything to grow. The fact is, this spot is perfect, it gets afternoon sun and is cooler than higher up the field so the seedlings are thriving instead of roasting. I have enough plants left to catch up and chalk this up to experience. It is after all our first year of growing and the time to make little micro-climate maps of the the land so that we can  find the best places for our plants.
The beans are struggling in this heat, but with some wool mulch and a bit of care, I think they'll pull through.
 The spaghetti squash and spinach are doing really well, so this is clearly a good spot for squash.
In the background, behind the chicken house is the new haystack. Our neighbour along the road had their field cut for hay and we knew from the start that it was going to be beautiful hay. We were so glad when they asked us if we wanted to buy it and I may be imagining this, but all of the neighbours at that end of the road seem to be more friendly. Maybe they thought we were odd getting our hay delivered from another village, but in truth, that was the only farmer I had contact with. Now slowly we're integrating with the farmers in our own village and it feels good to belong already :D
 I'm in love with dyers Coreopsis, but these little plants won't be enough to dye anything so I'm hoping to collect seed from them and have more success next year.
 At least the woad is doing well and the dyers greenweed too. The rhubarb also had to be moved down from it's place up the field as the slugs were ruthless. I don't do battle with nature, there's no point. I just find somewhere that I can protect the plants and go for simple solutions. Slug traps are next on the list.
 The dirigible plums are doing well and will be ripening soon. I love these little plants (physalis) and thought of them immediately the plums were mentioned in Harry Potter. I often forget what they're really called when people ask as I've been calling them dirigible plums for so long :D

So my garden is doing well, my plans for the future are taking, a sort of shape and today I started writing the first draft of my book. It's not going to be a Homesteading/Smallholding bible it's not going to be a how to find the best life possible (although that would be nice) and it's not going to be a self indulgent look at how we're trying to change the world. At the moment, it's a mish-mash of ideas that I'm trying to pull together into shape. If I sort through it all I could have at least 3 books covering lifestyle, knitting and healing for starters. It seems that being in this peaceful place, my thoughts and inspirations are going wild! Now I just have to find the dicipline to write it all down.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018


Well June certainly flew by me in a massive rush! The weather suddenly turned very scorchio and I decided that it was the perfect time to wash and very importantly dry my stash of fleeces.

So my studio started out like this.
 I did a lot of this (look at those curls!).
 And now the studio looks like this! Time for a massive clear up session! The trouble is, see the cupboard door half open and wedged with the chair? It was holding my vacuum packed fleeces and all was well until a couple of bags failed and the door popped open!  If I can't vac pack these fleeces, I can't store them!
 At the beginning of june we managed a quick trip to Pontivy and had a lovely dinner out. It was a wonderful evening and I adore these bright umbrellas.
 Back in the studio I fanally managed to do something I've been wanting to for sooo long. I started painting on the slate from the land around us.
 I had in my mind a method of wire wrapping the slate so that it can be hung on the wall and I've totally fallen in love with this method.
 I even like the back design. I'll be wrapping everything in wire if I'm not careful!
I've been doing a lot of jam and chutney making as well. Fruit is cheap at the moment so it has to be used up.
Lots of bottled oranges too.
Our two cherry trees have given us a good haul and there are still enough berries to keep the birds happy :D
I hope July will go a little slower as I'm worn out after all my labours. I do have to fit in cleaning the outside walls though and that's not a job I'm looking forward to!