Monthly Archives: December 2012

Christmas Day

Christmas Day is an odd one; all that build up and rush for the world to stay still for a single day. Or increasingly not.

The pressure to batten down the hatches and forget the run of the mill whilst having the prefect day with loved ones. All that planning, worry and stress for one day of the easy life.

That day is now done and dusted for another year and the world can return to normal. I am back at work for another week, but very grateful of the few extra days spent with family. It was not a complete day of closed down; I still stopped at a petrol station and filled up whilst taking my sister and her partner to their Christmas dinner and my brother still managed to find somewhere to purchase instant coffee when to his horror the jar was down to the last few mugs worth and that is living out in the sticks.

Today (Boxing Day) I had to visit the supermarket with work, as much for the trip out as the young man I care for cannot stand to stay in, and there is more or less panic buying after the single day of close down; very little bread in the aisle, the fridge containing milk was nearly bare and very few fresh goods were left as we walked through the doors. Beside the empty shelved people were phoning loved ones “there are only a few loaves left, how many do you need?… Well, you can always freeze it” and this was a super store supermarket not the small town ones I am use to.

It makes me stand in wonder at the world and how it turns in a ‘normal persons’ life. The world is now a changing place and I truly believe that others will look back at this behavior as a time of madness, the shops have been (mostly) closed for one day that people have had a years warning of and yet this kind of stock piling is the result. Didn’t everyone eat enough yesterday? I highly doubt these people went without but how would they cope if something went awry?

This is not just a personal flight of fancy either, although I do often long for a return to something more in line with my ideals of how the world should work, it has already happened more than six years ago in Cuba when they were ‘cut off’ and their imports of oil were halved and food imports dropped by 80%, The Power of Community: How Cube Survived Peak Oil was made in 2006 and is amazingly hopeful watching if there is time for a little bit of insightful watching during the remaining festive period

Outline Photograthy

This post has nothing to do with gardening or craft or anything else like that but wanted to share…

This weekend I collected the prints from Outline Photograthy and have to say I am over the moon with them!

Outline Photography - November 2012

Outline Photography – November 2012

The photshoot was a prize given away on their facebook page and is something that me and my sister would never normally do but it was so much fun and the results are amazing.

Outline Photography - November 2012

Outline Photography – November 2012

 We tried lots of different things out and took all our favourite clothes that we don’t normally get to wear as we trudge through the endless mud of this year.

Outline Photography - November 2012

Outline Photography – November 2012

The morning was loads of fun and I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Winter Solstice 2012

This year I finally marked the Winter Solstice; it has been some years since I have do anything bigger than maybe light a candle or maybe making a nice meal. This time of year seems to be such a rush with daylight hours being in such short supply and Christmas being just days away everything else seems to get pushed aside, wrongly really.

"Merry Midwinter" tin can lantern - December 2012

“Merry Midwinter” tin can lantern – December 2012

This year I met with friends and their children in the woods. We set up camp with candles and fairy lights, made tin can lanterns, ate party nibbles and homemade cake, drank hot chocolate and tested out my bucket BBQ and made popcorn.

Making popcorn over the fire - December 2012

Making popcorn over the fire – December 2012

The light was magical and by the time we had finished a mist had fallen that hung around until half way through the day today.

Thank you Vicky for the use of your photos from the evening. The lantern only stayed up for a short time and didn’t last long enough for me to take any.

Hand made winter greeting cards…

Winter greetings cards - December 2012

Winter greetings cards – December 2012

Made by own fair hand…

Countryfile

A bit of a hectic end to last week and a busy time at work has meant this is not the post I was hoping it to be but the excitement had to be shared whilst there is still time to…

A few weeks ago me, my sister and mother caused a little bit of a stir in our rain swept village when the Countryfile film crew came to record a piece with us about our sheep and how we graze and manage our flock, which is following the local tradition of grazing them out on the common waste land of the area;

Countryfile: Free roaming sheep in The Forest of Dean

This link should take you straight to BBC iplayer and to the right piece of the programme and will be there until this Sunday (16/12/2012)

Free roaming sheep are something of a marmite issue, either you love them or hate them. I am bias and think that they are a local tradition predating any of the open plan drives in the area and the tradition of keeping sheep on forest waste land saved many a starving miner when times were hard. And that is before I start on the subject of the way they help shape and manage the area or anything about our flock.

Eleven

I love finding new blogs and reading details of real people’s lives, I’ll often spend hours flicking through blog rolls finding new amazing people, some who I will visit again and again and others who I will just flit through, having the best intentions to visit again but losing them in the world-wide ether (if that is the correct use of that word) of the web.

I was recently introduced to Sarah at The Little Family of 3 when she tagged me. Thank you Sarah and here is the game;

The rules as passed on by The Little Family of 3:

  • every tagged person has to tell 11 things about themselves
  • answer the 11 questions from the person who tagged you
  • list 11 questions for the folk you are going to tag, and they should have fewer than 200 followers if possible
  • don’t back-tag

Eleven things about me:

  1. I am the oldest of four with an older half-brother and sister
  2. I love TV crime dramas such as A Touch of Frost, Inspector Morse, New Tricks (most of which I know off by heart) and Waking the Dead
  3. I never spent a day in school until I was much older and worked on projects in them
  4. My celtic tree sign is the willow tree
  5. I love fatty foods with loads of sauce e.g. cheese or gravy
  6. I was made redundant three times before my twenty-sixth birthday
  7. I don’t have a tv but do have a LoveFilm account and use iPlayer too
  8. I have been vegan and vegetarian but never eaten meat
  9. I don’t play computer games often but every few years will spend days playing a game called Settlers, building up my own kingdom and making sure there are enough farms to feed everyone
  10. I like mayo with chips, but not everytime
  11. I drink far too much tea socially but hardly any when I’m not with people to drink it with

Sarah’s questions for me;

  1. If money was no object would you move home, if yes where too? If money were no object I would buy land, enough to provide enough space for me my mother and sister to build our own houses and have our own space but close enough to be able to see each other all the time
  2. Where is the most interesting place you have visited? Off the top of my head, The Eden Project. I think it is hard to get under the skin of anywhere without spending time there and getting to know the people and stories it holds
  3. How many of the things on your to do list do you actually manage to do in the allotted time? That all depends on if I make a list or lose it before I reach the bottom. Old to do lists are often very interesting when they are found weeks, months or years later. I always put everything off until the very last-minute any way
  4. What was your favourite story as a child? I’m not sure if it was my favourite but I remember listening to The Kitchen Warriors and Heidi over and over again. We use to borrow a lot of audio books from the library when I was a child and listen to them every night at bed time
  5. Who is the person you remember idolising as a child? I really don’t remember idolising anyone as a child
  6. laminate floor or carpets? If it has to be either than laminate but I would prefer slate or wood
  7. what is your favourite dessert? Cheesecake or mother’s trifle (and no I’m not creeping lol)
  8. What job did you always want to do as a child? and do you do it now? I always wanted to work in the media or be a writer. I remember when I was very little, maybe five or six, being interviewed for the radio about being home educated and I said then I was going to work in the media even though I was very shy and that is what I started out planning to do but it isn’t what I do for a living now and I’m not sure it’s what I still want to do either
  9. Is there one thing would you like to change about your life? I would truly love to live in a world that was less dependant on money. It is such an unreal concept with no real value at all and yet it hold so much power over everything. I spent a lot of time struggling to reach a balance between having enough and having enough time to not need it
  10. what is your favourite pastime?  Anything to do with my home life; gardening, looking after the animals (even mucking out!), cooking
  11. what is your favourite season of the year? I really couldn’t choose one, each season is different each year any way

And the questions for those tagged (if you are choosing to take part)

  1. What inspired you to first start blogging?
  2. What waking thought makes you want to jump out of bed and start the day?
  3. What is/was your favourite outdoor game?
  4. What is your biggest time waster?
  5. If you could invite anyone to dinner; who would they be? What would you eat? and why?
  6. What is your most used tool?
  7. What would you bring back from the past that you think we have lost and why? I don’t mean a person, that would be too easy!
  8. What was the last thing that amazed you?
  9. Have you ever seen a shooting star?
  10. What is the oddest food you have tried and did you like it?
  11. Tea, coffee or something else?

And finally my tags:

  1. Laura at Dichotomyof as she hasn’t blogged for a while and I miss here posts
  2. Rosie and Simon(?) at Eco-Gites
  3. Anthea at Tales from Mount Pleasant
  4. The HedgeCombers – I haven’t forgotten my ABC tag, it is a work in progress!
  5. Caro at An Urban Veg Patch 
  6. Katy at The Good Life in Practice – a new blog I stumbled across the other day

And that is all I have for now, not a full eleven but quality should make up for quantity lol.  I know I shouldn’t back tag but I would love to know your answers to my questions Sarah

Home for the the winter

I wrote this almost a week to the day ago but have had some trouble getting the photos onto it…

We took advantage of a dry morning yesterday to bring the donkeys home from their summer grazing. It was a nice excuse to have a walk through the woods which we don’t really get time for normally.

Once we were off the main roads and onto the foot paths the donkey were (mostly) happy enough to wander along enjoying some of the taster bits of grazing the woods have to offer;

Donkey walk - November 2012

Donkey walk – November 2012

Donkey walk - November 2012

Donkey walk – November 2012

The woods down into the valley and out the other side are very different;

Donkey walk - November 2012

Donkey walk – November 2012

Donkey walk - November 2012

Donkey walk – November 2012

Donkey walk - November 2012

Donkey walk – November 2012

Once you are down into the base of the valley then it is dark and much cooler than the top of the hills, even in summer. You can see signs of how the wood would have been when the area was a Royal hunting ground and of the industries that have let their scare on the landscape. There are signs of old coppice and of the wild boar that are spreading out and up the hill.

Donkey walk - November 2012

Donkey walk – November 2012

Donkey walk - November 2012

Donkey walk – November 2012

Donkey walk - November 2012

Donkey walk – November 2012

Donkey walk - November 2012

Donkey walk – November 2012

To the right of this photo is a patch dug over by the wild boar and to the right is the entrance to an old mine, now ‘capped’ and hardly more than what looks like a pile of rocks fallen from the bank above.

For the whole of the walk the sound of flowing water followed us and the signs of the recent heavy rain fall was everywhere;

Donkey walk - November 2012

Donkey walk – November 2012

Donkey walk - November 2012

Donkey walk – November 2012

There was some more photo showing the water-logged ground but wordpress seems to have changed their system for uploading photos and I am not sure how the new one works. A few days after the donkey came home part of our walk was completely flooded to over half way up car depth so our timing was chosen well!