Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Around Here Lately...

It's been a little crazy around here, I have to admit. At times this week I have felt that I have been stuck in some kind of weird movie, I'm doing things I never thought I would...

Like for instance, my sick cat behaved disgracefully on more than one occasion with myself and then the vet nurses in trying to administer her tablets. In desperation we have had to switch to administering her meds in injection form - only, it's ME who is doing the injecting! Never in my life did I think that I would be poking needles into my pets! lol. So right now the windowsill in my bathroom looks like this...

and I have one of those bio-hazard waste boxes next to the loo :) Thankfully I have managed to inject her successfully two days running. I still keep making a safety net appointment each day in case things take a turn for the worse.

The other kind of crazy this week is that the rubber seal on my washing machine ripped. It's a new-ish machine and still under guarantee so fortunately it will be fixed for me at no charge - but only next week Thursday. Now I don't know about you but there is no way my family can be without a washing machine for so long, so I have had make a plan and have patched up the rip with - wait for it - a bicycle repair kit. Who knew that it would come in handy for something other than a bicycle wheel! 

On a lighter note, I have been put in charge of snacks for our Art Co-op tomorrow which isn't a big deal normally, but one of the children is vegan, so today I baked my very first vegan cake.

I am so happy with the way it turned out. It's risen beautifully, smells delish, and all that's left to do is ice it, with vegan icing of course.

An arrival brought by the postie...

...some cookie cutters I ordered in anticipation of some fall baking later on in the year. I thought of baking some maple leaf cookies and flood icing them, the apple cutter is to make little apple-shaped apple pies (as per pin on my 'All Things Autumn' board) with a friend - a fall activity we want to do together with our children.

And a fun outing this week with a friend...

We went to the beautiful Rufford Abbey in Nottinghamshire. It is absolutely beautiful, we had a picnic lunch in the rose and lavender garden - which was positively alive with insects and birds.

There is currently an archaeological dig underway as they are wanting to uncover earlier foundations. It was interesting to watch for a bit and added to the educational side of things :)

Apart from uncovering foundations as you can see, they have found a pipe and two human teeth!

So there you have it, a little peek into the summer living that's going on here at the moment ;o)

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Heartfelt Home Ponderings

Today I have firmly dug my heels into the ground and have refused point blank to move from my home - apart from a run later on today to take my daughter to dancing ;)

I feel as though in the busyness that has surrounded me, that my home has been neglected. Little things really, the feeling that I am never quite on top of the laundry. The carpets that really needed a good vacuum a day or two back and the bathrooms that could do with a good clean. All these keeping-the-home things that form part of my joyous role of home keeper and that really do bring me joy, have been set aside. 

Today I woke determined that before everything - even lessons (!!) - we were going to lavish a bit of TLC on our home - our place of refuge.

It actually took less than an hour with the three of us pulling together and getting stuck in. Carpets were vacuumed, bathrooms cleaned, wastepaper and recycling bins emptied, counters wiped down and floors mopped. The girls then sat down to their lessons while I completed the last two loads of washing and folded and packed away the clean clothes.

I can't tell what this does for my state of mind :) - I feel a little more ordered and in control. 

Lessons are now done for the day and the planner is officially closed until tomorrow. I have a few hours before I need to think of preparing supper.

I thought that I would take a little stroll around my garden and reconnect. 

A beautiful rose is out in full bloom. I was tempted to snip it off and bring it indoors, but I have enough flowers in various jars around the house, so I'll leave it where it is for now.

The Teasels are looking amazing at the moment. They are tall, so tall and each plant has loads of flowers. I can't wait to see the purple haze develop.

Having Teasels in the garden was something I wanted to do back in 2012, but never got round to it. last spring I planted up the seeds (they are biannual) and nurtured them through the winter. This year we are enjoying this plant in abundance, and I hope (as was intended) that the butterflies and gold finches will enjoy them too.

My Opium poppies have long since shed their floral skirts, but what is left are their beautiful seed heads. So decorative in themselves that I won't cut them back just yet.

The sky today .... oh my! It is quite something. Great big white clouds scudding along the blue, bluest of skies.

I glance over the fields that stretch out from our home, past beautiful grazing Cressie, my neighbours horse, and over the rolling dales. The patchwork quilt of fields is beginning to change now, golden patches are appearing. Today I can see our church clearly nestled in amongst it's nest of trees :o) - the peaceful scene brings a flood of peace washing over me

The postie arrives, today he brings me a book I ordered, I can't wait to sit down with a cup of tea and go through it's pages.

 I grab a cup of tea and sit in the sunny, warm conservatory. For a little while cannot tear my eyes away from the countryside, it's just so therapeutic. I open my book, it's pages immediately capture my attention as they reflect what is dear to my heart, home and the English countryside...

The authors words are BEAUTIFUL! Oh she has a way with words! She makes the most mundane household tasks sound like you want to jump right up start doing them!

Scattered throughout her writing of keeping home through the seasons, are recipes which I am definitely going to try. The author reminds me of Susan Branch - she's England's Susan Branch lol.

Anyhoo - I've rambled on for long enough here today :o) - have a wonderful Wednesday everyone.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Weathering Wild times

Today the heavens have been heavy, great big cumulonimbus clouds have been gathering and building. Finally, late afternoon, these great big magnificent clouds unzipped their fluffy fronts and showered the earth with the rain that my garden so desperately needs.

As I sat in the conservatory watching the rain sheet down and trickle down the window panes, I couldn't help but reflect and compare how life is mirrored in nature. 

This week, a storm has been brewing. Initially I was not aware of it. Life happens from the moment you open your eyes until they shut again at the close of the day. Some things go unobserved.

The eye of the storm in our home today? A rather small, much loved and rather quirky feline member of our family.

I had heard a little snuffle here and a little cough there. The other cats had had the snuffles a few weeks earlier and had been treated with a course of antibiotics. Miss Cinders hadn't been quite as bad as her feline sisters so I had kept her antibiotics on hand just in case. When the first little snuffles started I started her on her course of medication and assumed that after the 5 day course she would be fine.

Well, she was not! We ended up at the emergency vet at midnight on Monday night with a kitty who was struggling to breath {stressful!!!}. She was treated (at a hefty fee) and sent home for the rest of the night, me - with instructions to get her to our own vet first thing in the morning.

Tuesday dawns and businesses open. I call the vet. 'Yes come right in, we'll see her immediately'.

Oh dear! It turns out we have one sick kitty. She has lost a third of her body weight and had to stay in for a myriad of tests. It turns out my poor kitty has pneumonia. Mercifully we have been able to take her home after a long day of prodding and poking, along with a small pharmaceutical arson at our disposal and strict instructions to make sure that she does not miss even one dose. 

We are also a good deal less well off (like - I could buy my months groceries with the cash paid out in medical bills!) which caused my heart to race just a bit :)

 So after filling you in, lets get back to reflective me sitting in the conservatory ;)

As I watched the rain pour down, I noticed that on the lawn a couple of pigeons carried on with what they were doing before the storm broke. They seemed totally oblivious. They didn't fly off, they were unperturbed, they stood fast through the rain shower.

Throughout today I had wobbly moments, yet throughout today God sent little reassuring messages. I opened my daily devotional app on my phone and today's verse is 1 Peter 5:7, 'Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you'.

I switch over to my devotional reading for today, Phillippians 4: 7, 'The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.'

A chat with a lovely friend who has a gentle and godly heart, a burden shared, spirits lifted, worries understood. Our visit - a hug from God.

Even through life's little upsets and bumps, God is there and He wants us to know that He is there - and cares, even about the little things. A sick cat, an upset child, circumstances that keep us busier than we would like - God is there.

 The rain can fall all around us, make us wet and miserable, but we need not fear or let it get the better of us. We can keep our spirits up because the showers will pass and the sun will come out. We can rest in God's perfect peace if we will.

Which brings me to another point to ponder...

When life is getting us down, when the rain is falling, we do need to take a little time away from it all. Ten minutes, time to sit in the protection of the 'conservatory' watching the rain bucket down. Time to turn our thoughts to our Lord, time to sip a cup of tea and say a little prayer. Time to sit quietly in God's presence and just .... be.

My storm has passed, but I know that for others the storm may last a little longer, or perhaps you were expecting a sunny forecast but see the gathering clouds that spell wild times ahead. Take time to rest in Him who brings perfect peace. Just that little bit of time where you step away from the crowds and busyness and sit in silence in the presence of your Lord :o)

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Celebrating July

Well here we are - High Summer! As I think on where we are in the seasonal year I am all too aware that summer is a short season for us in the Northern Hemisphere. August is Late Summer and then we hit my favourite season of all in September - Autumn.

For us in England, July means the start of the summer holidays! We are all looking forward to that! We have worked hard this year and we are all feeling a little washed out. The thought of sleeping in a little longer in the mornings, having no agendas and  having time to just think is like a little bit of heaven right now. So far 2014 had been wonderfully full and vibrant for us, and it will continue to be so what with more family coming out to visit later on in the year. 

But for now, let's see what July has to offer us.


Gemstone: Ruby
Flower: Larkspur or Waterlily
Moon: Full Buck Moon (12th)

Traditional Rhyme

July is now what our old poets loved to call 'sweet summer-time, when the leaves are green and long,' for in such brief word-painting did they picture this pleasant season of the year; and, during this hot month, we sigh while perusing the ancient ballad-lore, and wish we could recall the past, were it only to enjoy a week with Robin Hood and his merry men in the free old forests... We feel the harness chafe in which we have hitherto so willingly worked, amid the 'fever and the fret' of the busy city, and pine to get away to some place where we can hear the murmur of the sea, or what is nearest sound - the rustle of the summer leaves
 ~ Chambers Book of Days (1864)

Faith :: Liturgical Year

3rd - Thomas the Apostle
22nd - Mary Magdalene
25th - James the Apostle

Nature and Garden

The patchwork landscape of the countryside is transformed this month. 
Crops ripen
soft fruits in abundance
balmy days
busy insects
birds morning chorus dies down

Life in July

Summer Holidays
Set time aside to journal
Ponder and Pray on the new school year
Chesterfield Medieval Market 29th
Summer Reading lists
Clean out my File Crate and restock with fresh folders
Choir breaks for the Summer

In the Kitchen

Homemade Popsicle's
Jam making
Fish and Salads


Follow Shirley Ann's board All Things Summer on Pinterest.

I have a few more ideas on my summer Pinterest board which you can check out :) 
That's about it for July, it seems to be a much slower month in the way of plans etc, perhaps that is the way it should be. Time to just relax and spend together as friends and family enjoying the warmer outdoor days and all that it has to offer.

Have a lovely Thursday all...