Monday, 22 August 2016

Time flies

Well hello there.
It never ceases to amaze me how much I miss writing this blog when life gets too busy to update it. I can't believe the last post I wrote was about the chicken swap. That feels like a long time ago now.
So I guess this will be another update post, with the hope that I can get back in to updating more regularly again.

Obviously one of the things that's new here is that we now have Titch back with two new chickens. Although they no longer feel new. Meet Tufty Sue and Snowball. I don't think I need to point out which one is which.

Since getting these hens the change in Titch (the original chicken) has been amazing. She had been at the bottom of the pecking order and bullied by the other two. Now though, she is the leader of the gang and a proper cheeky little boot she is too. Snowball is a little fluffy dream. She's so friendly and will often creep in to the conservatory while I'm working and fall asleep on my lap (or feet if I push her off). She's even jumped up on my shoulder and settled down happily. Not so happily for me though as each time I'd start to relax she would peck my ear. Not that it hurt, but it would give me a start if I was concentrating on something! And then there's dear Tufty Sue. She's at the bottom of the pecking order, but not bullied. She's just cautious and follows the example of the other two. If they are relaxed so is she. If they aren't however, then even if she doesn't know why she's not ok, she'll carry on not being ok along with them. Divvy thing.

They've all settled in brilliantly and it's amazing to see the difference bantams make to a small garden as opposed to regular sized chickens. For a start, they're not big enough to scratch up the grass or dig holes. Sometimes I move their coop to give them fresh grass to peck at, but mostly just leave it where it is and let them roam the garden when we're home. They like to hang out by the house which means the patio gets covered in poop if I don't clean it every day. Sometimes it feels like a faff, but then if I had a dog or a cat I'd be cleaning up after them too, so really not so much. Especially as I can just hose it off or throw the droppings on to the vegetable patch. I say vegetable patch, the slugs ate everything a long time ago so really, it's just a patch.
And that's them.

In other news we finally got around to sanding the living room floor after pulling up the fugly old carpet. I had thought that the wood had previously been treated as it was so dark. Nope. Just years and years of grime. It also had that horrible tar-like paint that old floors have around the walls. Luckily though, it wasn't too much of a nightmare to sand down. Here's a before pic.

And this was it after Dan and my brother had spent the a whole day sanding.

I've wanted wooden floorboards in my house for as long as I can remember so I am head over heels in love with it as you can imagine. Of course it will get cold in the winter. This is the problem with old houses. The space underneath the floorboards and ventilation bricks in the walls means that we're going to have some wicked drafts in the winter if we don't draft proof it. That will happen though, but we have to wax them first. We're getting there. Slowly.

What else? I've put myself on the waiting list for an allotment. The garden is really Alessi's domain now and other than flowers, there's not really room to grown veggies without taking away some of her space so I thought, why not? Not to mention that any veggies wouldn't last long with the chickens around. The waiting lists are over a year long and I may not get one at all, but I figured it couldn't hurt to at least try. And in the meantime I can keep growing the odd thing in pots. I'll figure out the chicken proofing next year!

Work wise, things continue to grow which fills me with pride, but this summer I really struggled to stick to my 'keep things simple' resolution. Although unlike previous years I quickly recognised the signs that lead up to burn out and took my foot of the gas a bit. As a result, I got back on track. I finished the autumn stock last week and I'm now enjoying a well earned holiday. I say "holiday" although the shop is still open, but not having to worry about the sewing part feels like such a luxury right now. And I really wanted to clear the decks so that I could focus on Alessi before she starts school next month.

Oddly, I'm not feeling the way I thought I would be over Alessi starting school. I was expecting to feel sad, but I'm actually really looking forward to it.
I'm nervous for her. I want her to enjoy school so I do worry about that a fair bit, but otherwise, I'm not sad that my baby has grown up or that she will soon be at school instead of here with me. That's not to say I didn't have a wobble though.
It was in the lead up to finding out which school she would get in to. Most people I know were excited or nervous to find out, but I just ignored it and didn't even bother to look on the day. It was Dan who looked during his lunch break and let me know. And then came the tears! So I did have a wobble. Maybe I've just had it early? Since then I've come to feeling that it's the next natural step for her and if weren't time that led me to feeling that way, then it was Alessi herself.
She is so done with nursery now. My bouncy little girl who used look forward to going and would run off without giving us a second look, now no longer wants to go. It's boring and babyish she told me one morning. And it's not just nursery either. I'm finding it harder to keep her entertained at home at the moment too. She's outgrowing her old games, toys and the things she used to like to do. She's ready for new challenges and realising that has made me a lot more laid back about the whole thing. If anything, I'm looking forward to seeing what the latest version of my daughter will look like. What things will catch her imagination and interest. Where her spark will lie this time. Watching her grow up is by far one of the most fun things about being her mum and yes, sometimes it's also heartbreaking. Thankfully though, right now it's mostly just the former.

So that's pretty much where we're at at the moment.
A mixture of enjoying the last of the summer and preparing for the next season and all that it will bring.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Chicken update

It's been a while since I've updated about the chickens and a lot has gone on since I last introduced them.

The chicken coop is currently empty as all three of my girls have gone back to the breeder so I am henless. The reason being, the two silkie hybrids that were supposed to be bantams, turned out not to be. They got pretty big, pretty fast and it became clear to us last month that they were too big for the current coop we have. Also, they both kept rounded up on Titch a fair bit so something had to be done.

I don't have the space for a coop large enough to accommodate all three chickens and I chose bantams as I wanted to avoid the destruction the previous ones made to the garden. It's not just the grass you lose. They dig! The wonderful thing about Titch is that she's small enough to scratch away at the grass to her heart's content, but she's not big enough to scratch it all up to the dirt and then keep going. And she's certainly not big enough to hold her own against two larger chickens who don't have enough space.

So. They're back with the breeder who happily offered to rehome them. We're going to get two more chickens to replace the silkies, actual bantams this time! And that's why Titch has gone back too. The breeder is going to introduce her to two new friends and watch them for the next week to make sure they settle in well together. If they're happy we'll be pick them up again this weekend.

I'm sad that we had to say goodbye to Elvis and ChickyMcChickface, (Alessi renamed Gertie almost immediately after my last post) but I know they'll be better off for going back. And Titch will be home soon with two new friends who won't keep pecking her everyday.
I'll introduce you to the new chickens again next week once they've settled in.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

A Resolutions Check Up

This photo has nothing to do with my resolutions, but I love it. Alessi took it and I think she really has an eye for composition! ..Blurry photos of the floor aside.

We're half way through the year and I thought it would be useful/amusing to see how I'm doing with the resolutions I set myself at the start of the year.

Work, keep it simple
I'm doing really well with this one. To do lists are kept short and focused only on the most important things I need to do. I've been careful not to take on more than I can handle and no longer work weekends. I worked in to the evenings for a week earlier this month, but I consider that a one off. It left me feeling rough enough to remind me why I made this a resolution in the first place!

Time with Alessi, make it count
I'm doing ok with this one, although there are days when things are tough going. When I'm tired of being tugged/shouted at and I feel that we're far from making the most of these remaining pre-school days. But even on those days, when she's in bed I can look back and see logically that all in all, we're going just fine. Over the past couple of months Alessi has had a growth spurt personality-wise. The games and toys she was drawn to earlier this year are now branded as 'boring'. This made keeping her entertained difficult at first, but then I twigged what was happening and things are much easier going again. I'm throwing new things at her to see what sticks, where her spark now lies. Dancing is something she seems drawn to in a big way at the moment and not a day goes by when she doesn't ask to see "that little girl in the video who does the splits". She's referring to Sia's Chandelier video with Maddie Ziegler. We want to take her to a dance class to see if she likes it, but I want to find one that doesn't take itself too seriously. I want her to have fun with whatever she does so I don't want anything to be too structured at this stage. I'll just have to keep watching her and following her lead. So yeah, I think we're doing alright on this one.

Accept myself
Yup. All accepted and happy. Except my skin's bastard habit of breaking out in spots twice a month. That I will never accept. Cheers hormones. But the swearing, wibble wobble body and social awkwardness? I'm ok with it.

Read actual books
If sewing magazines count, then I am totally nailing this. If they don't (they don't), then I'm not, (I'm not).

Celebrate my accomplishments
I got off to a good start with this one, but I've since become rubbish again. I am really annoyed at myself about it. I even have a list at the front of my notebook of things I'd consider to be accomplishments (I am that bad at recognising them when they happen) and having just looked at it, I can see that I've achieved two of them without so much as a "well done me". This one needs some serious work.

So. In a nutshell, I'm doing really well at keeping my work load simple, making my time with Alessi count and accepting myself, but reading actual books and celebrating my accomplishments need some work!

Sunday, 26 June 2016

EU - the aftermath

Well. We royally fucked that up didn't we?

I woke up at 5am and usually when I wake up at some stupid hour, I simply roll over and go back to sleep. But I remembered that it was results day so I reached for my phone. When I was met with the sweaty and manically grinning face of Nigel Farage over the heading "Britain votes to leave the EU" I had a surge of adrenalin that went right down to my legs. It that moment, my primal fight or flight instinct kicked in and told me to run.

I knew I wouldn't get to sleep again after that so I went downstairs and sat by the window, coffee in hand feeling utterly betrayed by the country I've called home my entire life.

So what now?

Will there be redundancies at Dan's work? Will his job be safe if so? Is this the start of the end for my shop? Are our plans to move now shot to pieces? And don't even get me started on what this will mean for Alessi's future.

One of the worst things about this is the not knowing. The limbo we now find ourselves in, regardless of which way we voted.
I keep reading the news and that seems to be a mistake. It's just more opinions, more questions. The petition I and millions of others signed, now appears to have been 'hijacked' by well meaning non-British citizens. I'm sure their intention was good, but all they've managed to do is undermine what could have been a powerful message for Parliament from the British people. Maybe it was a long shot anyway, but it was one that gave me hope.

One thing that does make me very happy is that Alessi is too young to understand all this. Last Friday was no different from any other Friday and her biggest annoyance at the moment is that it's raining and she wants to let the chickens out.

So for now the answer to all my questions is the same. Wait and see.

And in the meantime I will endeavour to carry on as normal.

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