Saturday, 29 December 2012

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas from the Holistic Home. It was a very quiet affair with some of us still recovering from assorted ailments, but I had time to make a few things to help it all feel special.
My favourite was the door wreath. I scented the little hearts and stars with cinnamon oil so that people coming to the door could enjoy the fragrance.
I don't normally indulge in Christmas lights, but this year I gave in and decorated my besom broom!
The Christmas tree this year was all in red, with more gingham hearts. It suited my mood :D















And Manchee decorated himself :D
He had so much fun with the wrapping paper and helped us all to open our presents!













While the kittens got on and played with everything they could. Honestly, I'm surprised the tree still looked as good as it did on Christmas day as it was wrecked that many times!













Unfortunately, there were a few breakages, like my Laura Ashley storm lamp and a very nice pie dish that someone (Piper) knocked onto the floor, but other than that it was a gentle, homely  time and we couldn't have asked for better :D

I hope all my lovely blogging friends had a special holiday too and I wish us all a very happy and prosperous New Year.x

Friday, 30 November 2012

Out of the Darkling woods.

Oh there has been such a huge cloud here of late.  Maybe soon it will pass and life can find it's new shape.  December is nearly here and while the earth slumbers we prepare for our midwinter feast and bring light into the dark months.


In the mornings and evenings, I light tiny candles for their warming glow.  The kitties slumber in great purring heaps and share their comfort with us all.

Tohki has no need for candles though, she has luminescent eyes :D

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Where have I been???

Well, since my last post, I've been suffering from what's known as a 'healing crisis'!  It's where you clear out physical and spiritual blocks that have been affecting your life and health!  The crisis bit comes in when it happens all at once.  Generally, this kind of thing is mild and people can feel a little unwell, run down or emotional, but all I can say is that I must have had a great deal of stuff to clear and in a hurry!!!

It makes sense though, that if I'm to move forward effectively as a Healer and a Teacher, then I can't be carrying around a whole heap of baggage!  Life has taken quite a back seat during this process, while I've been focusing on healing the issues that I've been presented with.  Thankfully, my children are of an age where they've been able to help around the home and support me when I've needed it. 

My animals are doing well, and the ponies at least are quite low maintenance.  I'm pleased to say that Aine is making progress and has put on a good deal of weight.  She's still tiny but hopefully will grow in time.  Yarrow goat was put to the Billy last week and will kid next year on my Birthday!  That was just a coincidence but a nice one :D

I've some exciting things to share with you at the Studio blog, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.  My little creations need to get ready for their photo shoot!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Welcome new babies.

This is Aine (pronounced aynee), the newest addition to my ever growing family!
As you know I've been working for a lovely lady who breeds English Goats. I've been mostly focusing on her stallion, Tam, but occassionally help out with the goats when needed. They are a wonderful breed of goat with adorable natures and delightful markings. Sadly, Aine was born in a Farm park that were, shall we say, unsure of how to keep their goats healthy. She is from extremely good bloodlines but due to her poor condition was going off to slaughter with the unwanted males. My goat lady was very distressed and we hatched a plan to go and get Aine, who at this point was called Pancake! LGL (lovely goat lady) was almost at full capacity with her herd of goats, so I decided to buy Aine for myself. This is something I've been wanting to do for years and although I've not got a place of my own to keep her, I'm taking a huge leap of faith that everything will come right in the end. I'm kind of crazy like that, haha!

I was surprised when we first saw Aine, firstly that she's a uniform chocolate brown, quite unnusual in English Goats, and secondly that she's actually smaller than my dog!!!



I paid over my cheque, picked up my goat and tucked her into the back of the car. We sat outside of a nearby co-op, eating cheese sandwiches while Aine munched on some branches we brought for her and nibbled my cheek and hair! It was a very bizzare experience, but I'm getting used to strange things happening in my life now!



Of course, you can't just have one goat on it's own and I know that wherever I keep Aine, she'll need a companion. So I bought the goat that's been on my mind since she was born and named last year. This is Yarrow, my namesake :D She has the typical colouring and markings of an English goat and is so beautiful.

So the foundations of my dairy herd have been laid and also the idea of a new business is forming.  Fingers crossed :D

Also, Rossichka spoke to me about limitations to living Holistically.  This is something I'm going to give lots of thought to as I don't want this blog to simply be for people who live in the countryside, or who have large gardens.  I want to be able to carry on living this way, even if my home life changes again and I find myself living in the city or if I lose the access to my field.  So, I'm off to get my thinking cap on :D

Saturday, 29 September 2012

What is a holistic home?

I've been thinking about this a lot since starting my new blog.  Why would I call it this and what makes my home holistic?

If you look at the meaning of the word, holistic, it means to consider the whole system of something.  The way that the home, in it's individual parts, comes together to form a complete way of living.  For me, it's about looking at everything I do so that my overall goal of living a simple, low impact life can be achieved.

I want my homelife to fit easily into the world around me and although my goal is to one day have a small holding, I realise that it's quite possible to live more thoughtfully wherever I am.  The Vertical Veg family have proven that it's possible to achieve great things in a small space and I find there are other inspiring people on the internet sharing their secrets.  I'll post links as and when I find them.

Living simply and holistically isn't the same at all as living easily.  If I want to have fresh bread for the day, then I have to get up extra early to bake it.  My jams are homemade, so that means a day in the kitchen.  I'm not perfect though, and will sometimes use the tumble dryer if I've not been able to line-dry my washing.  For me, it's not about being perfect, it's about having a go and making changes.

Today, the sun is shining, so I'll be getting my washing hung out, and some fleeces washed and ready to spin before heading out to visit the new addition to my family.  More on that tomorrow :D



Sunday, 23 September 2012

A Miracle Happened.

Do you remember my earlier post about Bo, Merlin's baby?  I didn't think I could afford to take him as many of the fields near me have been built on and there are few affordable liveries near me.  Also, I'm pretty sure I can't have him at my field (it's complicated!).  Well, the lady that owns TamLin has said I could keep Bo with him once he's been gelded, as a field companion.  How wonderful for these two youngsters to run around and let off all the steam they need!  I'm a very happy bunny tonight, as Bo would have faced a less than certain future with so many ponies changing hands due to all the rising costs of keeping them.  Looks like I'll be shaving even more money off my accounts now though.  Fingers crossed for more work!!!  Perhaps I should write a book, haha!

Such a difference a week makes.

I'm so happy with how TamLin is coming along. He's such a sweet pony and is so keen to learn. He's really pleased to see me when I get to his field and has started calling out, although that could be anticipation of his bucket at the end of our lessons :D



His first two and most important lessons are to lead properly and to be tied up. He's handling them very well, but I can see his stress levels rising when he starts trying to self-soothe by chewing things, anything he can grab, in fact! The lead rope and my arms are usually coated with either very smelly shower gel or most recently saddle soap as he became too used to Avon roses, haha!


Now when I see him looking for something to bite, I relax the pressure and back off for a bit. He really appreciates this approach and as a result is learning very quickly.

Sadly, Tam is the sort of pony that an inexperienced or heavy handed trainer would find very easy to abuse. He turns his emotions inwards and unless you can see the signs as his stress builds, an outburst would come as a complete shock. This is one powerful little stallion and I'm very keen to encourage his trust as we play and work together. I'm also trying real hard not to fall in love!!!


Progress so far: Tam can step back at a light touch to his chest, he will step over if touched on his neck or stifle and he can be loosely tied for a very short time, although I can't leave him yet. That's a target for a few more weeks. He's also unhappy to have his tail fiddled with, which is something I must deal with if we are to expect a vet to get close enough to geld him at the appropriate time!!!

The heavy rain and wind may mean that progress in the coming week is very slow indeed.  I may not be able to do a great deal other than visit and talk with Tam, but that's not always a bad thing.  If you're interested I'll let you know more about his progress :D

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Raised Pie - or, Dog food pie!

This is normally a pie I make at Christmas, packed with all the leftover meats and stuffing and anything else that I can find! Although, so far, no vegetables have made it into this pie as my son would have a fit!
I adapted the recipe from a Game pie that I found in one of my old house keeping books. I have so many second hand cookery books, often bought for £1. or less from Amazon marketplace. I adore old books and prefer them to new ones. I love holding them and thinking about the people who used them before me!

So, I made this pie as I had a whole load of meat offcuts from the supermarket. I originally bought them for the dog, but in a moment of total selfishness, thought they were too good and would make a lovely pie! My Mum was horrified, haha!

The recipe for the hot water pastry is:
350g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
75g lard or white fat
150ml milk or equal measures of milk and water

In a bowl, mix flour and salt together.
In a pot, warm the milk and add the fat and bring to the boil.
Add to the flour and beat to make a soft dough.
Knead until smooth and leave to cool. (I usually roll it out warm as it's more pliable).
Set aside 1/3 of the dough for the lid and roll out the rest.
Line a high sided pie dish with the dough or use a pork pie tin if you have one. Fill with chopped meat etc... I usually add a white sauce as the children don't like the jelly that goes into most meat pies, but you could add that instead if you prefer.
Add the lid and bake in a pre-heated oven at 220C for 20mins. Turn out onto a tray and bake for a further 20-30 mins.

Sorry these pictures are so dark!

PS. Check the Studio blog, as I have updated the Etsy shop and there are some cute Halloween earrings in there, with more goodies to follow :D

Monday, 17 September 2012

First job!

Well, it seems that no sooner have I qualified as a Reiki Teacher that I've been offered some work. My Reiki will definitely come in handy for this youngster! He's a four year old untouched stallion.



He looks quite grumpy in this picture and he is certainly used to getting his own way and has never been challenged, until today that is!

We reached a bit of an understanding and despite minimum handling, his weakness is food, so I do have a bit of leverage to work with! I think progress is going to be very slow, but thank goodness that he doesn't seem to be a rearer or kicker. He would so love to tear a chunk out of me though, that was pretty obvious! We'll see which of us is the quicker, haha!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

That was the week that was!!!


Last week I took my final step and became a fully trained Reiki Master Teacher.
I just had time to take Manchee for good long walk in the woods to calm myself and spend some quality time with him, as being away from him for most of the week, I knew, would be hard on my boy.


It was a gorgeous morning and the light was very dramatic in places.


These are a few of the photos from the day at the Furnace. This lady kept us entertained with her beautiful recorder playing.



This family were so sweet and the children kept us entertained while Dad was off fighting!!!


The pikes were fine, but when they brought out the cannons, we struggled to spin any decent yarn!!!


Then my training began and my brain was stretched farther than it has been in many good years! It was an amazing experience despite how tiring it was.

We took a day out mid-week to go to Glastonbury for my Master Attunement Ceremony. As you can see, the Tor completely dominates the town. It's all you can see for miles around.


This was the view from inside the Chalice Well garden. I love this place so much, it fills me with such deep contentment. We did take a paddle in the healing waters, but for some reason the photos I took were most odd, with blurry bits all over the place!!! Read into that what you will :D


The well stream is so beautiful and such a gorgeous colour due to the heavy content of iron.


This is my lovely Teacher Zeb. We had an amazing time being peaceful and contemplative in the gardens before our long walk to the top of the Tor.



Holy mo, it was windy up there. As I had my attunement, I honestly felt like we'd blow away. A whole lot of baggage left me that afternoon, that's for sure.


Now it's time for fresh beginnings and a new journey. Will you join me? :D

Friday, 7 September 2012

Fernhurst Furnace.

Firstly I have to say that Manchee has had a huge turnaround. A great, nasty lump popped on his head this morning and he's finally started to eat again, in fact, he's hardly stopped all day!!! We had a short walk in the woods and took things nice and easy, although for the rest of the day he was quite wired and drove me almost mad with his antics. I am a very happy bunny :D


Tomorrow I'll be taking my spinning wheel along to the Fernhurst Furnace to do a demonstration with my lovely spinning group.

I pinched this picture from their website http://www.fernhurstfurnace.co.uk/?page_id=4 so shhhh, don't tell them. I'm really looking forward to an old fashioned day of spinning and gossip and probably a whole lot of crochet.

There are lots of things to see and do plus a lot of lovely food from lamb roasts to vegetables in the woods. There will be displays from all kinds of artisans like blacksmiths, wood turners and spinners, yaaay :D

If you're in the area, why not drop in, entry and parking is free. I'll be there on the Saturday and it should be great fun :D

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Worried!

Poor Manchee has been so unwell for the last week and despite antibiotics he's only improved a little. Wednesday saw him almost back to normal, bouncing around the garden in his usual Tigger style, but just a short walk leaves him tired and listless. Today he played in the park with his friends, but then spent the rest of the day crashed out with the kittens. I must say that I'm getting quite worried and will take him back to the vet tomorrow if there's no change by morning. I can't bear the thought of him getting really sick. I can't say anymore than that :(



Edited to add: He's just had a mad dash around the garden chasing off 'intruders' it's a regular activity and is just to let everyone know he's doing a grand job :D Fingers crossed he's on the mend!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Early morning.


I love the silence before the day begins. The gentle moments as the sun creeps above the hill and kisses the sky with pink and gold. The birds are quieter now, no need for the dawn chorus as they instead prepare for winter. The hawthorn outside my window is empty save for a single fat pigeon. With hardly any berries this year many of the birds have moved on to a more fruitful tree. It could be a hard winter for them this year, so I'm going to hang feeders out, high up where the cats can't reach them.

There's a bite to the air this morning making me close the windows but as the sun climbs higher, burning off the whispy clouds, I think that later it may be hot again. But for now I can savour the coolness a little longer. A few tiny birds are piping in the hedge, probably sparrows, my favourite birds. They are so small and plain, often overlooked but I love them. I think I'd like to get a good bird book and learn to recognise the visitors to my tree. Oh dear, another trip to Amazon then!!! Maybe later :D

I hope the day is beautiful for you, my blogging friends :D

Monday, 3 September 2012

Growing your own food.

Quite a few years ago this book changed my whole outlook on life. The American farming industry and it's practices are dipped into, but not enough to dominate a thoroughly good read about turning your life on it's head. The writing is engaging, just like sitting down for a cuppa with a good friend and discussing the problems of the world!



So why am I mentioning this now? Well, I was looking for a companion for the little chick below and have been offered some meat birds to grow on.



Hmmmm.... I'm not sure how I feel about this, as there are so many issues to consider, the biggest one being at the end of the project!!! I'm such a softie, but I do feel that we should be able to look at where our food comes from and be happy with the process it went through to get to us.

So what would you do?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Another rambling post.

I have to share a picture of my finished studio as I'm so happy with how it looks. This is my favourite corner and for some reason the one that stays the tidiest :D The unit I bought from my favourite junk shop, but when I got it home it didn't smell so good, even after 3 thorough washes. Originally it was pale pine, so I decided to paint every inch of it and drown the smell with paint! It worked and I love the brightness it brings to the room now :D Faintly, you can just make out the Windling Trees on the wall behind. They come and go with the changing light and I'm in love with the effect, it's so magical!

Talking of magical, Tohki looks almost demonic, haha!



This is one of my super cheap suppers, using up a whole load of vegetables and food from the fridge and larder! I always keep a well stocked spice cupboard, so I started with a base of onions, garlic, ground coriander and cumin and then began adding whatever I could find. There's some tomatoe puree, a half jar of curry sauce and a whole heap of veggies. A handful of raisins and the discovery of some choritzo in the fridge finished it off nicely :D


Served with garlic and coriander naan bread, yummy!


Sadly, I took the decision to let Otter go to a good home, but it wasn't without tears or regrets. The lady desperately wanted him and I was confident that she'd give him a very loving home, but all the same it was a tough call :(



Another tough call is what to do about Merlin's yearling. He's growing into a fabulous little boy and I would dearly love to have him, but unless a miracle happens I simply cannot afford another pony. The cost of keeping a horse or pony is far more than people realise until they've had one for a while. The last few years have seen hay prices rocket and then there's vet fees, farrier fees, insurance..... it's a long list!

I'll keep you posted as to my decision!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Thrifty living.

Or, having fun in the holidays on the cheap!!!

Last week, Moomin and I did some work at the Weald and Dowland museum and so got in to visit their houses for nothing! This beautiful Tudor house was filled with wonderful music from a group of people playing a variety of recorders. I had to marvel at the windows though! No glass and only shutters to keep the cold out. Well, they weren't very good at that, but must have kept the worst of the rain and wind out. We spent a good deal of time at the Tudor kitchen and Moomin learnt some very good recipes to try at home.



The first was griddle cakes. A blend of wholmeal flour (milled at the Weald and Downlands own mill) butter, cinnamon and raisins and mixed to a stiff dough with a drop of cider or ale! We had them for breakfast and they were heavenly and very cheap to make. This flour is mighty filling, so two cakes each was enough!


Another good day out was to Harting Hill, where the dog thoroughly wore himself out climbing to the very high top of the hill twice. His approach to the cows grazing there was either to creep quietly by, or simply bolt as fast as he could! He's not always a very brave dog!


But he does love chicken and we had such a peaceful picnic sitting on the hillside where I managed a very boring landscape painting!!!


Following the thread of thrifyness though, I have a very large store cupboard that needs to be cleared out, so I'm going to be trying to cook cheap and simple meals for the next few weeks and see what recipes I can come up with. Stay posted :D

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Painting!

The Dining room/Studio has begun it's makeover!
As you can see from this first coat of paint, the blue walls didn't want to go away in a hurry!



After 4 coats of cream paint I added the Windling Trees. The sunlight is responsible for the inconsistant colour here.


This is a clearer view of the cream colour with an antique white for the trees!


Originally, I was just going to paint these two trees in one corner, but got carried away and put trees on all of the walls,


linking the branches over the doorways. This isn't a great picture as not all of the tiny twigs are showing, but you get the idea!


Manchee found it all just too exhausting and had to lie down on an old James Dean bedsheet (junk shop find!!!).


My beautiful Larry Mc.Dougall print looks amazing against the new background :D


And a quick picture of Finn, looking so grown up and handsome :D

Friday, 20 July 2012

Lets talk about the weather!!!

We Brits do love to moan about our weather don't we? I wonder sometimes what we'd have to talk about otherwise! It's a safe subject rather than discussing our plumeting economy or the damage we've don't to our Earth. Whenever I mention to change of the gulf stream affecting our weather, people glaze over and stop listening!!! Are you still with me? ;) Well aparently our weather is set to improve as the gulf stream moves back to it's original course, so here's hoping!

My garden is swamped with growth, but largely weeds and VERY long grass. The pallet garden has begun to thrive and because of it's upright position, it's not become flooded. The slugs don't seem to like the rough wood either, so that's another bonus. The right hand picture is a week old and the peas and pak choi are now quite large. Big enough to start eating :D

So that I could have a succession of salads, I decided to add more containers and being resourceful, I used these old drawers from our dead freezer. They are now sprouting with basil, coriander and another salad mix.



While pottering in the garden, I noticed a visitor watching me from the Studio roof. Does he look familiar?


Clearly he's the rogue responsible for getting my kitties in the family way!!! He's the image of our little Banshee!!!


I wanted to share with you how crazy my home is looking now! These are just the babies as the Mama kitties like go have some quality time alone. Can you blame them?


I had always intended to sell the babies to pay for the Mama's to be speyed. Well, as with best laid plans, there are often hitches. In this case, the very good homes have vanished and I'm reluctant to sell them on to unknown people. Many years ago, we had two boy rabbits. Long story short, one of them produced a litter of babies!!!! I gave the babies away to good homes and none of them had happy endings, I'm very sad to say. So, here is my dilema, do I keep the kittens or take a chance? I think I know the answer!