Tag Archives: work

Progress

Dandelions reach up for the last of the evening sun as they close - 22nd April 2012

Dandelions reach up for the last of the evening sun as they close – 22nd April 2012

Last year was most definitely one of massive change for me; I moved house, my dad spent months seriously ill mostly in hospital and then died, I was made redundant for the third time from a job I loved and at a time when unemployment for people my age was rising each month and the relationship I had been in all of my adult life ended.

All of these things have completely changed the shape of my life forever and will carry on doing so for years to come I would imagine but it has also been the kick-up-the-bum I needed for me to take stock and decide what is most important to myself and what it is I really want from my life; a little hillside with my very own ‘hobbit hole’.

 This want is something that has been forming for years now but something over the last year has just clicked and made me realise I can make it real  and not just have it as an “if only…In a prefect world” dream.

Summer blooms - 20th August 2011

Summer blooms – 20th August 2011

I am a strong person and one of the things that makes me strong is the connection to the land I have. I feel most alive when I am out in *it*, cleaning out goat sheds, sowing seeds and watching the sky change. It is what I know and understand and when I am away from it I feel trapped and boxed in…

Willow capkins - 21st April 2010

Willow capkins – 21st April 2010

After my last redundancy I made some bad choices; I was so concerned with having a job I didn’t really consider the reason for working and told myself I could make it work. I was wrong and as a result the job/s I have had since November really haven’t been working, most weeks I worked six days a week and my only day off a week was as a result of me putting my foot down and even then that was often pushed with requests to work an extra shift; I am so much more than my job. I know it is possibly a thought that never even crossed others minds but I am a good carer*  because of the me that I am away from work and working six days a week for not enough money doesn’t leave much room for this.

However this has hopefully now changed and a few weeks ago I started a new job which will hopefully give me some sort of balance between work and home life as well as enough income, and so long as I am careful some left over to put into savings towards my hillside. It does of course come with its down sides; a week on week off rota so I shall be away every other week but hopefully these weeks can be used to learn the skills I am going to need e.g. green building and living off grid and maybe even extra time to blog and share what I learn.

Round house - 24th October 2010

Round house – 24th October 2010

Lots of things are going to have to change; the way I garden and allotment, the animals I keep… Thankfully I have my mother and sister who are happy to look after what I already have whilst I am away but thoughts of more chickens or some quail will need to go on hold for the forseeable future. I am going to need to learn and apply more permaculture methods to growing and storing food and I have questions about what to do about seed sowing next spring if I am going to be away. Growing in pots isn’t going to work as well as it did last year but it is all do able and feels like I might just be moving forward at long last.

*and this isn’t just me being big-headed about myself it is what I have been told by both my employers and something I believe when I have seen the way some others work

Trundling along

This was begun a week or so ago, just after the sun had burned the frost of my hill and before yet another day of going to work… (I also knew where my camera was at the time but don’t now so now photos I’m afraid)

Things seem to be back to a ‘stand still holding your breath’ stage at the moment and even though little in roads in the right direction are being made I hate the waiting for the return of ‘normal’, whatever that maybe now. Most of it revolves around work and money, which makes the waiting even more frustrating as it is all waiting on others to take action or make their minds up whilst I am left floating along with the days turning into weeks and my plans having to be made in a months timescale instead of what I’d like… And even some of those have had to be put back.

I hate the control money has on everything and the way it makes me feel when there isn’t enough of it; as though I am in some way an inadequate person and as though there is an extra strain on just getting the day-to-day done. I so truly wish I was in a position to not have such a need but I’m not sure that that could ever be reached, and not without first having enough money to begin with. Money seems to be the line between existing and *living* and I want to live and not just for work as so many others seem to have to.

Any way, I am making small (what feel like tiny just now) inroads and this is what I’m trying to focus on… Grumpy poor-me moan over.

Bella kidded two weeks ago, another little boy. He is sooo tiny up to Dumbledor (that is what Briony’s kid was named) and I can’t believe that there is such a difference in just a month. He is darker in colour but already has patches coming through and is going to be more like his mum and Knightshade in looks. He’s been named Dougal.

Just before the cold weather hit I decided to start sowing, hence why I am sitting here with a windowsill of leggy seedlings, and popped three courgette seeds into a pot with a “three courgettes isn’t much to lose” kind of shrug and added a windowsill growing kit of chillies and a packet of Nasturtium for good measure. I think I really needed to get my hands in some soil and see the tiny shoots of hope that seed sowing brings and so far so good, apart from being a little leggy they are fine and I have added a few pots of sweetpeas to them since and then had a splurge of seed sowing last night and have an assortment of flower seeds lined up to be sown today.

I don’t really have a plan to what I am doing so far, just a vague idea of greatness, but it is making me feel hopeful and as though my life hasn’t just become work and a search for new work.

Full

Life seems very full at the moment but at the same time it is full of *plans* and *maybe’s* instead of definites.

Morning dew on a spiders web - October 2009

Morning dew on a spiders web - October 2009

Each day there is another job to enquire about, an application form to fill in, an interview to go to or a job centre visit to make but I still don’t have any confirmed work, just lots of possibles. With each job I try to work out how it would fit into my life, fit around other work and how much time it will leave for living at the end of each day, week or month. I think I may have to find something full-time, which I haven’t done for so long, but we shall see.

The kitchen, and house, is full of things to be made, done or stored. I’m pleasantly surprised by the amount of produce that has come from the allotment and garden given that I haven’t really grown anything, or so I’d thought. Ok, maybe thinking about it most of it has been forged and not really come from the allotment or garden but as least I can put a lane or track to where it has come from and it shall keep things going for a while.

Wind turbines - October 2009

Wind turbines - October 2009

And my mind is full of everything; lists of jobs to be done, plans for next years growing season, plans for what I should be doing and plans for what I want to be doing all crashing around and making it hard to see one job out before feeling that I should in fact be doing something else instead, something more important, or needed. I’ve started going to bed each night feeling like it has been another day wasted with nothing much getting done and waking up not knowing where to start or which list should take priority.

It is all very tiring but not in a good way.

The goats have started coming into season and already it’s time to be planning kidding in March and that can’t be right, surely things can’t be that far a head in the year already.

Everything it just so full on and urgent at the moment; it would be nice to be given some time to stand still and take a deep breath

As the world carries on turn

Many, many times I have wanted to sit down and write over the past months but I have only managed to do so a few times and only a handful of those few times have I managed to write something coherent. Part of my problem has been knowing where to start again as so much has been happening and time just seems to keep marching on without anytime to take stock, or breath before another week, two weeks, a month has pasted. But I will try…

Dog rose flower; somewhere along Lydney Docks - 14th June 2011

Dog rose flower; somewhere along Lydney Docks - 14th June 2011

Family and health (or lack of it.) Since Easter my dad has spent more time in hospital than at home, just him being so ill takes up a massive amount of time and energy but when he is in hospital then someone visits him everyday, which takes up most of every afternoon. Mother is bearing the brunt of it but is has everyone stretched and then the few days that he has been at home, maybe even a week if you add all the days together, it is a battle. He can hardly do anything for himself, and getting him to eat… And every time he has been rushed back in within days of being discharged for one reason or another. This last time he didn’t make it to resus which is an improvement, but is does leave everyone on edge waiting for the next phone call to say he is coming home, not really coming home or been rushed back in.

I have also still been trying to sort out my health problems, I have changed doctors and hopefully now am getting somewhere. I feel a little bit like I’m being a hypercondriac as a part from a few blips I am mostly fine, and feel better than I have in years, but I know if I don’t get things sorted then I could end up back in the mess I was in a few years ago and I don’t ever want to go back there so it has to be sort out.

Work. It is all change at work again; I seem to write this so often but at the moment the three years of funding we had has come to an ended and there is only work for me until the end of September. I realised I have been very silly as although I’ve been doing my job for two years now I have been reluctant, or completely refused, to do the university course that would mean I was qualified to be doing my job so I now only have my experience and the good name of the charity I work for if I was to go up against someone else if another very rear job were to come up. I am annoyed with myself for letting this happen but the work / home life balance is a great battle I always seem to be fighting and committing myself to an extra day or more a week away from home to be qualified for something I was already doing perfectly well was something I was not willing to do… Add to that the growing suspicion that I would have hated the course and it has been one of the very few times home life has won over. The summer holidays started this week, so our busiest time of year, and I am only working ‘my patch’ one day a week and so doing a fair amount of travelling, also seem to have taken on an extra half a day more than I promised myself I would.

Fowers at Ryton Gardens; I have have no idea what these are - 11th September 2010

Flowers at Ryton Gardens; I have no idea what these are - 11th September 2010

Holiday. I had a whole week off at the start off this month and I did hardly anything with it which is not like me at all, normally for a month before time off I am writing a list of every backbreaking job I want to get finish whilst I ‘have time’. I think I still had a list but in the end I just pottered about and spent time with friends. It was nice, needed and somehow I have managed not to beat myself up about not ‘getting things done’.

Busy bees; comb after less than a month they moved into the hive - 11th July 2011

Busy bees; comb after less than a month they moved into the hive - 11th July 2011

Bees. This is possibly the most exciting news of all and from the second the swarm arrived I have wanted to blog about it but not jinx it. WE HAVE BEES!!! Last year mother was given a top bar beehive by her sister and since then the plan has been to start keeping bees again. We had our name down for a swarm but weren’t really doing anything more proactive about getting one as everything else has been some manic. Then, during a complete nightmare of a week a swarm just arrived on a gorse bush just across from the house, a neighbour almost walked into it and came and knocked on the door as he knew we wanted one. Him and middle-younger-sister carried the hive out and left it near to them with the lid off in the hope they would go in and then I arrived home (on a call that the cows where out, it was that kind of week) to find mother cutting the branch they were on and putting it into the hive. And they have been with us ever since!

Growing in numbers - 30th July 2011

Growing in numbers - 30th July 2011

It has been amazing watching them build their combs and how they change; to begin with they were not in the least bit worried about us opening up the hive and I have even been in there without a hat or vail and have still not worn gloves but they have started getting a little more up set if the hive is open now. The comb seems to change every time we look in there as well; to begin with it was white and looked so breakable, then you could see the different between the honey and brood cells and now the comb is covered is golden stickiness.

Each time we open the hive I have been taking photos and have created a new Flickr set to record it – Bees

Goats. It would seem that I am not kidding this year after all. I’m not too worried about it as I know the Jelly Beanies kidded fine and they were living in with Knightshade at the same time but it is a bit disappointing. I have put Briony up for sale and am trying to find somewhere/someone who will take Bella on loan for a year or so until I am more sorted. I have had lots of phone calls and emails about them but haven’t been sorted enough to contact people and both Briony and Bella make it impossible to take photos of them as they are just to interested in the camera or having a fuss. I was looking at their ‘baby photos’ the other day and I can’t believe have they have completely changed colour and markings, they are now both mottled and patchy and stunning.

School holidays

Lemon balm shooting back through - 18th February 2011

Lemon balm shooting back through - 18th February 2011

This week is half term and so a flat out week at work, not really much time for anything simple life-y but I am having a good week. We’ve been doing lots of outdoor cooking; on Monday we made bacon butties and fruit salad, Tuesday and today we have made naan bread pizzas and jacket potatoes and tomorrow we are going to try fruit salad trifles.

At the weekend I finally got chance to try out walking to the allotment and it wasn’t too bad, it took about 10 minutes one way and about 20 minutes another way. I also planted out some of the strawberry runners I potted up at the end of last year, they are in the front garden.

My hens have started laying again it is so nice to have home produced eggs to eat

A trip to the sea

Sand turtles - 23rd January 2011

I have been away over the weekend playing in the sand, cooking outdoors and staying up far too late with my works annual residential trip.

It was a lovely weekend but now I am back to reality and gearing up for the big moving push this weekend

Onwards, slowly

This week has been grey… Grey and busy; busy at work, busy at home, busy moving. There is just an endless list and I am not feeling very organised, or completely well.

I have a new home for the Jelly Beanies, well hopefully I have. They were meant to go on Saturday, and a few times since but for busy-life reasons they are still here. At home everyone’s sheds are in need of cleaning out, plus a shed we use as a sort of ‘over-spill’ housing which naughty doesn’t get cleaned out as it is normally used in a rush but we want to bring the cows home so it has to be done before they move in.

All the cleaning out does mean that the allotment is getting a generous manuring, and I almost have a plan for them now. Part of my plan includes not sowing or planting anything excluding garlic until March 1st, when I told Rhys this he asked how I was going to survived. Until then I am getting organised, I need to finished manuring and covering those beds that are still left, add some boarders to those on plot one, buy some pens that don’t come off of the plant labels (done last night) and finally, and really finally after all the other bits are done, buy the very few packets of seeds I need for this year and seed potatoes. I think I am also going to treat myself and the new house to some large terracotta pots for growing salad and tomatoes on the patio

Needed recognition

My contract for my current job runs out at the end of March, which is something I’m been stressing about, possibly mostly as it’s a bit of an unknown. I’ve never had an end date for a job before and I love this job so much.

Since I started it I just feel like such a healthier, positive, valued employee and person, which is so different from how my last job and employers made me feel. I’ve been telling myself that it’ll be fine, so long as I have enough to keep my animals and allotments I’ll be fine and won’t mind what I do. interesting job seem so hard to come by at the moment, especially local interesting jobs. 

On Tuesday I had a meeting with my team leader / manager / director / founder of the company (I’m not really sure what to call her) to talk about my annual report which is the first one I have ever written and was stuck with what I thought was a long way to go but as it turns out is nearly done after all… Any way, before we started we had a chat about how the project is going, what is happening in the other districts, and funding.

The first piece of good news is the person I am covering for is going to be needed where he is for an extra month, so my contract is going to be extended to cover this period.

The second, bigger, piece of good news they like my style of work and value my input into the organisation so much they are basically creating a whole new job just for me! Some of it will be carrying on with what I have been doing, as I have managed to under-spend by £10,000, some on new funded projects (if we can get the funding) and some of it will be working in other districts.

The finally details of what I will be doing still need working out and finalising, but I will have another years contract and I’m happy.

Wales

I have been in Wales for the weekend with a group of children and young people from work. 

Bucket and spade - sometime over the weekend 23rd - 24th January 2010

 

It was a lovely weekend and we had a lot of fun. Now it is time to return to normal life and catch up on some sleep that I have missed…

Work retreat

I have been away with work this week, partly to recharge our batteries after the summer holidays and partly to start planning for the furture.

Image056

I have lots to post about, but whilst the sun is out I am going back outside.