Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Wales - 8 Months In


Back in May I wrote this post. We had been in the valley a month and it was my intention to write another update after we had been here for six months. That was two months ago and I'm only just getting around to it. So here it is, Wales. Eight months in.
  1. The biggest change to me is the valley itself. Back in May the valley was a palette of greens, often set against the brightest blue skies. The wildlife was everywhere (including the house) and I was knee deep in brambles. Fast forward to December and the valley hills are now a palette of earthy browns and yellows set against grey skies. It's darker, wetter and colder, but still beautiful.
  2. We no longer have wildlife living in the house with us and thanks to a new wood burner there will be no jackdaws filling the chimney up with twigs next spring. 
  3. The brambles have also been tamed. It took a lot of work that one and I lost count of the amount of hours I spent in the orchard pulling up bramble and nettle roots. In case you were wondering, nettles are easy and quite satisfying to pull up. Brambles are the actual devil. The orchard now homes Alessi's slide, trampoline and mud kitchen. We don't spend nearly enough time out there at the moment due to the rain and cold which feels like a huge waste somehow.
  4. Which links nicely to the mud. It's everywhere. Every time there's a storm or a spell of hard rain/wind, the windows get covered and I have to wash them again. Not because I'm precious about windows, but because they genuinely get that bad!
  5. The roads in the valley become interesting to drive after these periods of heavy rain. Water and debris from the trees cover the roads frequently now. My car hates it and develops an annoying squeak in wet weather. Speaking of my little Starlet, she's now almost permanently covered in a layer of mud. Poor girl.
  6. The bathroom has become Baltic once again. 
  7. During the summer the grapevines in the orchard's greenhouse went mental. I was too busy battling brambles to tackle them then, but last month I finally got around to pruning them. It was like Day of the Triffids in there, but less orange. They are now pruned and the chickens are safely tucked away in there, protected from the worst the winter weather can bring. 
All in all, it feels like the time of discovery has past. I don't even feel like this is our 'new' life anymore, it's simply our life now. And that feels good. It also feels like the right time to move on from the valley. The great Welsh experiment was a success and we now know that we made the right decision to move here and want to put down roots of our own. While I love this house and the valley, I need a home to call my own and earth to dig up and plant as I wish. Hopefully we can find something next year, but if not, I can certainly think of worse places to rent while we wait.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Winter List 2017


I am very late posting the winter list this year, but finally here it is. I've decided to update it as I go along this time around so if you return back to this post after a few weeks, it should look a little different. Also instead of including a long list of previous Winter Lists at the bottom of this post, I've just added a link to last years instead. That should be enough for the curious among you.

Home
Door curtain up
Draft excluders for front and back doors
Dig out fairy lights, candles and lamps
Put together a Power Cut Box (candles, torch, camping stove, matches etc)
Pull out blankets from storage and air out
Dig out the hot water bottles
Rug for living room
Clean all windows
Finish painting the house!
Start stocking up firewood


Garden
Trim hedges
Mow grass 
Harvest sunflower seeds and put up heads for birds
Clean bird feeders
Move chickens in to barn
Move tender plants in to greenhouse
Take cuttings of flowers to keep and move indoors


Car
Put together winter box (blankets, torch, de-icer, ice-scraper)
Check lights, wipers, windscreen washers, tyres and heaters
Give it a good clean


Misc.
Change Alessi's nature table to autumn
Put up autumn decorations
Stock up on the Vicks vapour thingies, (expensive, but a god send during cold/cough season)
Freshen all coats, scarves, hats and gloves
Check boots for holes


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

A plastic-free aisle? Yes please!


Have you heard about the Plastic-Free Aisle campaign?

If not then it pretty much does what it says on the tin. It's campaigning the UK's supermarkets to provide a plastic-free aisle so customers can chose to buy food without all the unnecessary plastic packaging.
And it needs YOUR help! The more support it gets, the more likely it is to happen so if you haven't already please, please, pleeeeease give them your support and help make this awesome idea a reality. You can support them in any of the following ways:


1)  Follow on social media, Twitter here, Instagram here or Facebook here

2)  Make a short video of yourself saying "My name is [insert name here]. I am a Plastic Addict but I am ready for change. I want a plastic-free aisle." Then email the recording to addict@aplasticplanet.com so it can be uploaded to their website. 

3)  They have a petition that you can sign here

4)  There is also another petition which is unrelated to the campaign, but as it's basically calling for the same thing it's definitely worth signing too. You can find that one here.


Please do get involved, even if only to follow them on social media somewhere.
This is such a good idea which could easily make a major difference to how much single use plastic is generated here in the UK.
And don't forget to also shout about it too. Share the petitions on social media or make and share your own video. Let your friends and family know about it and urge them to support the cause as well.

And lastly, if you would like to find out more about the campaign and the folks behind it, you can do so by visiting A Plastic Planet's website here. 

Thank you friends!

Monday, 21 August 2017

The (Invisible) Ripple Effect


I've been thinking a lot lately about how far the effects our actions can reach, even the smallest ones. How what we do, or even the things we don't do can have a ripple-like effect. And how we don't get to see how far these 'ripples' actually go. I've been thinking a lot about that last bit specifically.

I believe that not only are you capable of shaping and changing the world, but that you're doing it right now already. And you do so in such small and unassuming ways that you're probably not even aware that you're doing it.
Sometimes we get caught up in the feeling that to change the world we have to do these huge and amazing things. We're just average people living average lives right? And we can't all change the world or make a difference. We have jobs to do, children to raise or we just don't have what's needed to make a meaningful impact.

Wrong.

I don't believe anyone is average when it comes to this and everyone can affect things even from their sofa, or while working their nine to five or just generally juggling life's responsibilities. You are more powerful than you realise. It's in the way you talk, the words you use, what you share of yourself with the world, all of it will create a ripple.

So if you can believe that even the smallest of your actions can have far reaching effects, maybe you can believe that you have more power to spread some positivity than you realise. Just you being you will create positive ripples. Or negative ones.
The choice of what you put out there is yours and yours alone. You may not get the reward of seeing the positive outcome of your actions, but that doesn't mean they won't be there.

This is what I remind myself of during times when it feels as if all our efforts to do some good are having no impact whatsoever. I truly believe they are, we're just not seeing them. And sometimes it will feel that we're not making any impact at all and sometimes we will see a glaringly obvious sign that's impossible to ignore.
I suppose what I'm trying to say can be summed up in that well known phrase "be the change you want to see". And you can do that from the sofa. With greasy hair tied up in a messy bun, with yesterday's clothes on and an overwhelming need for more sleep, you are still all powerful.




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