Our story so far….June 2019…Hello!

Our story at the moment is that we moved from a terraced house in Derbyshire, England to a dormer style cottage in Southern Leitrim in the Republic of Ireland at the beginning of December 2018. The cottage is in a rural area and we have approximately 3 acres to play with as well as the cottage. We are in the process of doing the cottage up and although stressful at times, it is going well so far! You’ll have to read back over old posts for the details if you are interested. It’s changed a lot so far! It’s now dry for a start….

This is where we now live – a little bit different to a terraced house..

‘We’ consists of myself (Cathy), my husband Chris, and two of our children who are almost 2 and 4 (at the moment obviously). We have two other grown up children as well who are still in the UK.

We are Jesus followers who try to listen to Him and follow Him constantly. We feel that He did bring us here, but I get that a lot of people will think that’s not a real thing..(it is).

I do talk about God quite a bit and what we think He is doing in our lives and I will try and persuade you to seek Him for yourself and ask Him if He is there. The reason I do this is because as far as I’m concerned he is the cure for us all. He is who we all need and it would be very selfish of me to not to try and tell you about Him. Also, our lives are completely entwined with Him and it would be impossible to do a blog without talking about Him to be honest.

Jesus saved my life, He saved my husband’s life, He saved a lot of my friend’s lives and He can save your life…give Him a try.

I do also have a sense of humour and it is quite interesting stuff 😀

Mowing the runway.

Welcome, please read, enjoy, ask questions or whatever, I love doing this blog and I do try to be very honest and open. There were various aims of doing it, to give a realistic view of relocating to a different place/country, specifically a small holding, to tell people about Jesus, to give me an outlet (I love writing) and to keep friends and family updated. I’m hoping some people may also just find it plain old interesting!

Toodle pip…

Thanksgiving.

…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

We’re doing thanksgiving this year. We aren’t American, we are English, living in Ireland, but we decided to do it. One of the reasons being we had a turkey! But to be honest we just loved the idea of it.

The whole thanksgiving thing set off a train of thoughts in me today. The turkey is currently in the oven and I’m making a butternut squash pie for pudding as well, the first thing was, that’s remarkable! I didn’t even think I could cook very well ten years ago. I couldn’t, compared to now. Well, I could cook, I just didn’t have much confidence. A friend encouraging me to cook for someone else encouraged a spark of self confidence and it grew from that time.

Then, I thought about what had happened over the past ten years and this is what I came up with. It’s actually really remarkable. Please be mindful that this is written from my perspective (Cathy’s), I can’t really tell Chris’s story. A lot is entwined but not all. His life changed beyond all recognition in a lot of ways too.

I was in terrible debt and that was dealt with just over 8 years ago, we went into marriage with no debt whatsoever. That was thanks to God and a group in the UK called Christians against poverty who helped me sort it out. Well, they did more than help, they were absolutely amazing.

I got married (I was a single parent for quite a long time before this), my eldest left home just before this, went to Uni and then stayed in the London area. Not long after getting married we had a miscarriage (which I found pretty devastating for quite a while) and then two sons, I left my job in nursing to be at home with them. We moved to Ireland just over three years ago, just under two years ago, Covid happened, which made things slightly awkward.

Chris left a job he loved but then got another one over here, doing something completely different but that he had the skills for. We left all our friends and family and church. Weirdly, due to Covid I’ve been able to continue in a way with that same church (for now). We’ve started homeschooling. We’ve been doing up a cottage and grounds. I can cook! We have chickens, ducks and turkeys (temporarily in the case of the turkeys) and grow our own veg etc to a degree. Chris has a motorbike (which he loves). In the last ten years I’ve lost my grandad, two uncles and my dad. I still love 90’s music and have it on at the moment while I’m typing this. Chris’s music tastes are even more dodgy. I’ve learnt to manage a home better (although always room for improvement haha) and a big thing I’ve learnt is that love should not be conditional. I’ve also learnt more and more to go to God with everything constantly and depend on him and I want this to continue. I’ve learnt much about how He is actually in charge no matter how much I’d like to be sometimes, haha.

The above is so simplistic, there’s so much more to tell as well, I can’t possibly tell it all. God is good and I am just so grateful to Him for his constant guidance, reassurance and love. Without His love, I would be completely lost. He has guided us, loved us, and worked in us. And I still feel like I’m only ankle deep with Him. There’s so much to look forward to. Life with you Lord is very exciting!

Thankyou for friends and family and hello if you’re reading this 🙂 We miss you. I’m cooking a turkey!!!!!! and it’s our own turkey! for the first time ever!

Love, Cathy.

Peace.

Chris said to me after the last post, ‘write one on peace’. I’ve been pondering this since, on and off.

The first thing I did was blitz memory verses I had on peace, the ones I came up with without going to the bible were:

He whose mind is set on me I keep in perfect peace. (Isaiah 26:3)

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. (John 14:27).

Jesus is my peace. (Ephesians 2:14)

And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7) – read the bit before this too.

I come not to bring peace but division. (ooh). (Luke 12:51).

When you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (got a bit distracted at this point). Still a good point though.

Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink or what you will wear. (Matthew 6:25).

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has worries enough for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34).

I will lie down and sleep in peace because you alone oh Lord make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8).

The people who dwell in darkness have seen a great light. (Matthew 4:16).

What makes you fight and quarrel amongst yourself? Sin! Your own wants and needs. (James 4:1), I will put the correct version for this (from the NLT): What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?

Trust in the Lord your God and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him Him and He will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

In my father’s house there are many rooms…(John 14:2)

Alright, some of those aren’t directly saying peace in them, but believing/following them does give you peace. And they’re from memory so not entirely word for word. But I’ve chosen to leave them as they are with the references so you can look them up if you want to.

You know, sometimes, I think, how can I speak on peace? I don’t have peace. Then I think again, and the thing is, I do. Jesus is my peace whether I recognise this or not and I actually do have peace. This came to mind today as I lay in bed earlier. I actually don’t feel that well today, nothing serious, just feel a bit under the weather. I laid there this morning and suddenly realised how much God has changed me and my life. I had a direct flashback to lying in bed just before I came to know Jesus, when I’d just got back in from church in the very early days. In that case I was lost, I was curled up in a foetal position, I had very little hope in me, I was despairing, depressed, did not know what to do or where to go and then God guided me to himself through Jesus. The direct contrast between today and then was quite something. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t always feel peaceful, like I said, I was feeling under the weather today and missing England, but it was so entirely different to that afternoon over 13 years ago. The difference is God, coming to know Him and having Him dwelling inside me, knowing Him. Him loving me and guiding me no matter what, me wanting to be guided by Him and changed by Him and that’s it. It’s lovely. Sometimes I believe He gives us these memories so we remember what He has done.

Thankyou Jesus!

There’s also been other stuff this year, I’ve had a lot to process since we left England and there’s been some stuff that I needed to go over, to do with forgiveness etc. I found myself becoming quite bitter and angry at times (not so much now).

A while back, I was mowing and talking, not so much ‘with’ God, but ‘at’ him, mowing is brilliant, no one can hear you (or so I think) and you can get it all out. However, God very calmly and clearly told me that there’s no room for unforgiveness in a Christian’s life. And I realised I needed to deal with it and get on with things. And the thing is, you could say, you just ‘decided’ to do this, out of your own strength, and yes, there is an element of that, but the main element is actually a supernatural loving kindness of God where he just changed me. It changed very quickly from thinking of a certain person with bitterness and anger, to actually naturally thinking of the good stuff they’d done and are and actually liking them again. It’s quite something the love of God and what he does. I was reminded of this when I was listening to a preach a few weeks ago and the same phrase was used of ‘there’s no place for…’ and I remembered.

We need to look at Jesus and be changed, We need to have zero tolerance for bitterness and deal with ‘stuff’ quickly. Don’t let stuff fester, it isn’t good for you. And no, this isn’t some self help thing, this is real, this is God, this is just a small example of what he does. He is for us, not against us. He is a Holy God who wants a Holy people.

And one more thing, this peace I speak of is not some sort of mantra ‘I will have peace, I will have peace, I believe in God type thing. Caring about issues and speaking out when necessary is not in contradiction to this peace. It doesn’t mean we aren’t called to think and use our brains and care. I believe this sort of caring about major issues can drive us to God and prayer in amazing ways. It is about putting our trust in Him and doing life with Him and having faith in Him and resting in Him.

Amen!

Cathy.

PS. There are a lot more verses to do with peace. I just used the ones that came to mind. And yes, there’s a lot more that could be written but I’m going to leave it there, the kids need my attention too! 🙂 Bye!

Urgency.

It’s funny when you write anything that’s public, there’s such weird unseen and unsaid pressure on you. People from all types of backgrounds and beliefs reading it and actually judging what you write and possibly how you live. I find it can keep me from writing what I actually sometimes want to write, the questions arise in my mind ‘am I wrong?’, ‘have I put it right’, ‘am I doing it right’, ‘what if people hate it’, ‘do they hate me?’, ‘do they resent me?’, ‘do they pity me when I’m vulnerable?’ (I hate that thought, I think vulnerability can actually be a very good thing), ‘am I putting them off Jesus?’, ‘does talking about Jesus put people off my blog?’.’do the ‘experienced christians’ think I’m talking rubbish?’ ‘Do non believers think I’m nuts? And do you know the answer to all this? It doesn’t matter. I love people reading stuff I write and enjoying it but I also know that I have not been placed on this earth to make everything comfortable for them, no matter who they are. I know that it can be very good to make people (and myself) question things, sometimes even provoke responses and I believe God uses that quality in me for the good. I also know that He works in me and sometimes all I have to do is get it out, either in writing or in person and then it’s sorted. I believe it’s called external processing.

I love writing and I love writing this, but what I don’t love is the feelings it puts into me once I’ve written something, because quite often hardly anyone reads it and then I think, what’s the point? I know some love the smallholding stuff, the animals, the growing, the garden and the house progress and I think we’re all just that little bit inquisitive about other people’s lives, but I also know that I’m not just going to write about that stuff and that’s it, because Jesus in in me and with me and with us and delivered us from darkness into light. No matter what is happening at any point, he has still delivered us into his freedom and his light. As it says in the beginning of John, the darkness has not overcome it. (nor will it ever do, no matter what things in our lives or the world look like.).

So, what’s the point of this blog I’m now asking myself, I think it’s just to decide that I am going to carry on writing and I am going to include Jesus in it, because He is in every part of our lives, the Holy Spirit dwells in us and with us and we are His. And I do feel as well, an increasing feeling of urgency for people to know Him. So yeah, I’m going to be me, I’m going to write about practical everyday stuff and Jesus.

So now that’s sorted. It’s bank holiday weekend in Ireland this week, which is great, because it means Chris is off for two days this week, he’s mowing and strimming at the moment because there’s loads to do and he enjoys it. It was our 8th wedding anniversary recently, in some ways it feels as though it’s gone so fast and in some ways slowly. I feel like I’ve learnt so much since we’ve been married, I know people try to explain what it’s like before you get married, but you don’t really get it until you’ve done it and I am so thankful to God for his love and his guidance in relation to this particular relationship. I wasn’t very good at relationships before I knew Jesus and he has most definitely made me better and keeps prodding me and changing me and showing me how to just love. As the bible says

“And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) ESV version or:

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (New Living Translation version).

I love God, try him, you will not be disappointed, he loves like no-one else ever.

Thanks for reading!

Cathy.

What a difference a week makes….

Well, just over a week ago I was sat on a rock waxing lyrically about the ducks and all that. Since then, two have been killed, one last night, so this afternoon was all about moving them to the top of the field and trying to proof their run. It’s a little bit of a mystery how the duck was killed last night because it was dead in the run with some wounds, hadn’t been taken or eaten, and the others were ok. One of the drakes definitely got taken under the netting earlier in the week, there was nothing left but a few bloody feathers. I thought I’d sorted the problem by mowing it again and repositioning the electric netting, but obviously not.

But anyway, when I was trying to catch the remaining seven to take them up the field in the dog cage, one went missing, so we now only have six. Maybe it will turn up, but I’m doubtful somehow. Such is keeping ducks… It’s sad, but I’m really hoping that’s it now (and by some miracle the missing one turns up). It was hard work this afternoon, carting everything up the field including the ducks. That particular task involved lots of running and trips up the field one duck at a time, they are very skittish and don’t like being caught. They’re lovely animals. It’s a pity foxes and minks think so too.

It will get me fitter anyway, walking up the field every day with a wheelbarrow and water. (There was a hosepipe at the bottom of the field, that’s why they were there.) It’s also a lot drier at the top, I think I’m going to have to move the pen every week during the winter to try to keep the ground ok. It gets so wet and ducks just stick their beaks in there and make it into a swamp. So it’s a lot more work but necessary if I’m going to keep them.

Managed to get two in the cage, the others had to be taken up individually.

I enjoyed quite a bit of it, I quite like work like that, it’s challenging and I enjoy the challenge, but it did start to get to me towards the end. I have trouble with my feet, have done for quite a while now. The left one was pinned and plated quite a few years back now and the heel/ankle joint can be stiff and painful, but my right heel has been really painful for months and months now, it’s terrible in a morning and after today it is too. If anyone has any suggestions on what to do they would be gratefully accepted. I’m guessing I need to start stretching it out, I’ll look it up at some point. I keep thinking about a word I was once given saying ‘look after your feet’ and wondering how I was meant to have looked after them. At the time I just thought it was a metaphor for my spiritual life, but now I’m thinking it was a lot more practical than that! or maybe there’s a link, I don’t know. Anyway, any suggestions welcome.

For those who read my account about our youngest’s fall and his cut face. It looks like it’s healing fairly well, it’s still difficult to tell properly but he is well in general and it looks ok. Thanks so much to those who asked about him or said they would pray. And praise God for looking after him and us.

Like I’ve said in previous posts, we haven’t had the car much recently and don’t expect to have it much in the near future. Because of the weather, Chris is mainly using it for work. So if we want it we have to take him and then pick him up again. But on Friday it was good weather, so Chris went to work on his bike, and I decided to stop everything and take the boys to the beach. It was wonderful. They love it on there and there’s just so much freedom on a beach to run and play and just be themselves. They don’t seem to notice the cold much either, it wasn’t planned, I thought they’d keep their wellies on, but they took them off and were running and paddling in the sea and making channels and sandcastles and just loving it. That was a good afternoon. A much needed release for us all. I love the beach, I love listening to the sea and the birds and the smell of the seaweed and looking in rock pools and collecting shells. Just breathing it all in. All made by God and pointing to God. Things to enjoy.

Bye for now. Have a good week.

If you’ve got this far, thanks for reading too!

Cathy.

Well hello.

I maybe shouldn’t be writing this, I feel like utter rubbish today, so it may not be a good idea, but I guess we’ll see. I’ll try not to let it affect the writing adversely.

There’s a few reasons, most of which are personal, but also, littlest fell yesterday when we went out. We actually had the car for the first time in ages, so I took them out in the late afternoon, it was beautiful. Until he fell on a sort of boardwalk which has metal things hammered in to stop your feet slipping. He went face first and lacerated his forehead (small but punctured) and above his top lip, that one was a bit deeper than I’d like, it was gaping a bit, so I decided after agonising about it, to try A&E in case it needed something more than steristrips. I also rang the GP and the receptionist told me to take him to the hospital because of the head injury….

So, I picked him up, sat him down, applied pressure to the bleeding with my jacket, when it stopped we had to walk back to the car, that took about ten/fifteen minutes. The journey to Sligo hospital then took an hour. You have to pay for parking, I didn’t have any money, so thankyou God, a fella came along and gave me his ticket. I took them in (J was with me too). You have to go to a sort of portacabin to be initially assessed (and either give health insurance or medical card details or pay the fee). Then you go through to the actual waiting room. There’s barriers all over in the hospital because of COVID, it felt so weird. The waiting room was packed. It was obvious that ambulances were coming in quite regularly too and my heart sank. It had already been over an hour and a half since he’d cut his lip. So we waited and waited. It got to about half 7 ish and a member of staff came and asked people to reconsider why they were there and that was the prompt I needed as I had two uncomfortable kids in the middle of a crowded waiting room, in a hospital where it’s been known to have outbreaks of Covid. One of whom had been wailing not too long before. So we left. Then it was another hour to get home. So, all in all from him doing it to getting home it was probably about 4 to 5 ish hours. By that time, his lip had swelled, so stripping it wasn’t that effective really. I’m not an expert in facial stuff, but I’m really hoping it heals well and doesn’t get infected. Praying. It’s not too uncomfortable today, but it’s still oozing and the strips are only to give it a bit of covering really. His head seems ok. Thankfully no signs of problems there either.

I was only saying the other day, I needed to get a proper medical kit together. And by that I mean a proper one, not the terrible ones with useless things in that you get as a pack. I think this has confirmed it. At least I have some knowledge of what to do too. During lockdown I had to repair little one’s head twice, he fell on stones. They healed well. Just leaving it, providing it’s clean, seems to do it. (covered with the strips). But this time, the lip injury made me feel unsure. Thankfully, his teeth are ok too. Bless him. We’re an hour from the nearest hospital, so good to be prepared..

This is my opinion and my opinion only, but I think the health system in this country is dire. We were so spoilt in the UK, with minor injury units, fast tracking, proper assessments.. Children’s units…Yes, there are problems, but nothing like over here. I’m not even sure here what you have to do to get things like smear tests and all that. (I’ve just looked it up, you’re supposed to get them free from 25-60), don’t know whether you need to chase them…but for most things there’s a cost. Children don’t get free dental care either, or regular check ups, they get one in school I think and that’s it, as mine aren’t in school, they won’t. I think if you’re seriously ill in this country, you have a problem, because of the structure, not the staff.

God bless the NHs and God bless the Irish system, may it actually benefit the people and not harm them.

I know his injuries weren’t that serious, that’s not what I’m saying, there’s just no support for health here as far as I can see. It’s very much laissez faire..as far as I have experienced and see. I’m very grateful we have a medical card at the moment too.

Cathy.

And it’s Saturday..

Running out of title ideas haha. Anyway. I’ve just done the birds, it’s the afternoon time and I’ve come to sit down on a rock at what J calls his quarry, it’s at the side of the field. It’s beautiful at the moment, sunny, warm, the kids are playing up near the chickens, so I’ve got a moment.

These are my current views:

It’s nice isn’t it?

The ducks are just about living in a swamp now, I’ve just text Chris and said one day I’ll go in and never be seen again because I’ll have been enveloped by mud. They seem to like it though. And thankfully, they’ve started laying inside their house. They were just dropping eggs in the mud before. So I’m thankful both from a mud perspective and because crows and magpies have been nicking the eggs and they don’t seem to when they’re laid in the kennel.

That brown square is their pen. Edit: you can see my rock in this picture.

I’m thinking whilst I’m sat here, phone in hand, thinking what’s new! Not loads. Chris is working 6 days a week now, so I’m here with the kids most of those days. I’ve planted some perpetual spinach in the poly tunnel and we still have tomatoes that are still reddening. There’s peppers too, but no sign yet of them changing colour. I’m hoping they will but I can still use them if they’re green. There’s loads of sprouts and some beetroot that are almost up to size. I do love planting, it has to be said. The front garden is still flowering, the rudbeckia anyway, and a few others, needs tidying, but I don’t get much time for that at the mo. I’ve had to gain a new perspective on weeds this year and had to accept I can’t get rid of them all!

The turkeys are doing nicely, still have 6, they’re nice and healthy, and seem happy enough. I moved their electric fence yesterday to new grazing, so they had a bit of time out on the field. It was hilarious, the kids were out too and J helped me herd them back in. They’re quite easy to herd really.

That’s them before I moved them, I was actually looking at the wagtail at the time.

I’ve put a new little house in for the quail:

Continue reading And it’s Saturday..

Tolerance?

I always find it funny how God speaks the same thing through others when he’s also been speaking to you at the same time. This morning I listened to a preach where the speaker basically said that themselves on their own are not patient in the slightest and it really reminded me of a blog I was going to do earlier in the week. Well, I started it in my head and then never got round to doing it.

Basically I got told earlier in the week that I was ‘very tolerant’, I replied with ‘I am definitely not tolerant’ to which was replied ‘you are’, and I just said ‘well you’d better thank God for that’. Because the truth is, I’m not. Me, by myself, I really, really am not. I’ve lost count of the number of times I just want to verbally rip into someone or tell them not to be so stupid or just be very impatient and unkind. That’s where God comes in. He speaks to me and works in me and makes me learn to be quiet when I would really love not to be. He teaches me through mistakes I make too. He gave me a new heart. It’s hard judging what is right to say and what is not sometimes, but telling the truth in love as the bible says, definitely does not involve ripping someone a new one, so I’m learning and learning to love rather than take offence. I still do sometimes, but as I said, I am learning.

I also thought today of some of the stupid things I’ve done since knowing Jesus, there were immense amounts of stupidity before, but there’s been some pretty awesomely jaw dropping moments since then as well. It’s been thirteen years of knowing Jesus this year. So, if I have been insensitive towards you either in person or on t’internet or on here, I apologise. I was quite insensitive when lockdown first started and I couldn’t see why people were complaining, I am a bit of a this is what you’ve been given so get on with it type personality… I was also quite touchy when I first spoke about becoming catholic, I just love unity in the church and hate division and it comes out wrong sometimes. I also just love Jesus and think we spend far too much time talking in general and about issues that aren’t that relevant.

I also thought today of when I was a very new, enthusiastic christian and sent my daughter off with people she barely know to a youth christian camp. They were very nice people, but still…. I basically sent her because I listened to others too much rather than actually being sensitive and caring and actually listening to God and just loving her, so I apologise for that too! She didn’t really want to go and I shouldn’t have sent her. You can’t force faith.

I’ll leave you with that thought!

Humans haha, process is good…!

God bless you one and all.

Cathy.

Oh don’t we complicate matters?…

I asked J this morning (one of our sons) ‘why did Jesus come?’ and he simply said ‘to save us from our sins.’ In a world that seems to be getting so complicated and the gospel being unclear to so many. I love that. Because that is exactly why he came.

I was interested, because I’d just written down on a piece of paper, What is the gospel? I wanted to clarify it in my own mind, partly because I think we do complicate matters so much, I wrote:

The good news. Jesus is the good news.

Lived a sin free life, died on the cross, was separated from God at the point of death because he took our sins onto himself.

He descended into hell.

Was resurrected.

Ascended.

Will return.

There was more, and there is more to it than that, but I’ll leave it there. Read one of the gospel accounts and you will see (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John).

I’d also just watched a short satire video about an interview between a present christian and a first century christian, it is funny but also uncomfortable because of some of the truth that is in it. If you want to watch it it’s here: https://youtu.be/7Zrve6NMWxk. You can make your own mind up.

So, If you are aware of being stuck in your sins/things you’ve done wrong, patterns of behaviour that aren’t right, of looking to this, that and everything to try to remedy matters, in need of hope. It’s simple, you need Jesus. He will cleanse you from your sin and make you new. The journey then starts! and what a journey it is. It is one that I have never, ever regretted.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9).

I am a simple being, but I like it that way :D.

Amen.

Cathy.

It’s Autumn but Still Sunny!

Hi, so we’ve been out a fair bit recently, making the most of the good weather. We’ve been walking, playing, we met another home ed family for the first time earlier this week, it’s been great. But just for now it’s stopped, the jeep needs a bit of work, so we’re at home again this week. Which is actually completely fine with me. There’s so much to do at the moment and it’s mainly stuff I really enjoy, so bonus!

As people who see my instagram will already know, I posted about my morning, I made passata from cherry tomatoes, I got the recipe from a lady who has a facebook page called ‘the Cottage Garden Dromahair’ and again I will repeat, it’s worth looking at if you’re interested in gardening/cooking etc as I think it’s brilliant.

I also did some chopped tomatoes, I got this method from another facebook page called ‘The Preppers Pantry’ and again, I love her page too, it’s actually got some pretty unusual things up. There’s a few jars of chutney from the beginning of the week as well and I got J to draw the labels this morning. I got going early this morning as it was supposed to be raining, but the weather is actually still quite good. I also froze some eggs for the winter as I’d lost track of what were old and what were new, so I just decided to start again and freeze them for our own use. You just mix them up like you’re making scrambled eggs and freeze them.

The flower growing is quite exciting, I love that we’re growing our own plants. There’s some that we might have to overwinter in the greenhouse in pots and then plant in the spring as it gets so windy and rainy it tends to kill plants that aren’t well established. I have lots of lemon balm, ox eye daisies, snap dragons, aqualegia, chives, lupins and some others. I also ordered some new vegetable seeds from a new Irish online store called Sow and Grow and they arrived the next day and were really well packaged. One of the principles (I think) behind the company was to minimise waste and not to put too many seeds in the packets as so many seeds often don’t get used. I will definitely be using them again. I’m also going to start growing some half hardy annuals this autumn in the greenhouse in the hope that we may have some early flowers for the garden next year.

The homeschooling or home education as I am tending to prefer to call it nowadays has started in earnest this week. J had started complaining he was bored early in the day (he wanted to go on games on the phone), so I’ve started doing our formal type work (which is still quite minimal) early in the day and it’s gone well so far.

A short local walk yesterday.

Generally, as in this morning, I have been trying to get jobs done early and then do the language arts and maths after that, but what I find, is I then try to rush everything. I was getting stressed trying to rush the jobs and then not concentrating on time with the kids so I changed it. I’m finding that being more in the moment and making the effort to actually ‘be’ with whoever I am with and concentrating on what we are doing at the time is a lot better for everyone. I also really, really like ‘to do’ lists, so they help. I just like notepads and pens really.

This morning, the kids were playing really well, therefore I did do the jobs. They were jobs I really enjoy as well, such as seeing to the animals and sorting the greenhouse and making (cake and passata). And then we’ve done the formal stuff. What I have found that we didn’t do any official ‘learning’ over the summer, but we do talk about words and numbers in everyday general life and situations, and J actually hasn’t really forgotten anything, if anything he knows more than when we finished in July. So I can see how the unschooling approach could work really well.

I’m hoping to do some woodwork and some sewing/making this year as well with him, because he is very practical and enjoys doing. I love choosing what we are going to learn about and tailoring it to us, discarding what doesn’t go well and adjusting our path to what is needed and will work. The only thing I need to sort is starting to learn Irish, so I’m going to look at a couple of websites that schooldays.ie recommends and take it from there (I know virtually no Irish apart from failte). So I’m looking forward to it too. There’s something called Rosetta Stone that I’ve seen advertised and seen people commenting that they use and recommend, but I think that’s probably for in a year or so’s time, when the boys are a bit older. (I haven’t used it, this isn’t a recommendation!)

So it’s going quite well, we’ve started to meet other home schoolers in the county and surrounding area. Early days yet, but looks promising. We are in a gorgeous place, loads to do, but I actually quite enjoy that and I am very thankful that I have the privilage of actually being at home with our kids. It’s a miracle that I do really! Thankyou God.

Right, I’m going, see you all soon. Love to family and friends.

Cathy.

Happy Tuesday.

Evening! I don’t know what it’s been like elsewhere because I haven’t looked, but it’s been really warm and lovely again over the last week here. So this morning, I’d just written out a to do list as long as my arm (seriously) and done the essentials, as in the animals and the greenhouse. I looked around, breathed in the air and just decided we were going out. I’ve been feeling some stress recently, having difficulty prioritising what I need to do and balancing it out with spending time with the kids but I think I definitely made the right decision today. When the weather is bad, we don’t tend to have the car, and J (eldest boy) really likes going out. So off we went, in the Jeep with the scooters in the back.

The first stop was Drumshanbo park. It’s a lovely place, next to Acres Lake (there’s also a boardwalk) and it was less busy because most children here have already gone back to school. Our August bank holiday is earlier than in the UK. The kids loved it and littlest conquered his fear of going up the big slide. He went halfway up the ladder a few times and came back down each time, then I turned my back to look at something J was doing and he was up! There was no stopping him after that. He loved it. I LOVE that he did it and in his own time too, he was very determined and kept trying.

It was nice as well, because there was another English woman there who I got talking to who lives in Drumshanbo. I’d never met her before and It was really lovely to have a conversation and just chat. We both miss England too, so we had that in common! Haha.

Next stop was for food and toilet. There aren’t many public toilets in Ireland (hardly any where we are), so that had to be Tesco’s in Carrick on Shannon. (Hardly any bins either and still generally very clean.) So after that, we parked up next to the waterfront, the parking is free on the road and took the scooters out and had a walk up there. There’s a long path that goes along parallel to the road but far enough away to be safe with kids and it’s lovely. There’s a wild area at the beginning with some wild flowers and long grass and willow sculptures/tunnels.

I’d love to do a willow structure.

Then we walked/scooted and the boys climbed on the wall. J insisted on going on his scooter on the wall. Which sort of scares me but I know he’s really agile and good with his balance and I like him to push himself a bit, so I asked him to watch where his wheels were going and left him to it. There’s no way I would have let littlest do it though!

There’s also a bridge with benches that goes partway out over the water.

After that the boys enjoyed playing at the water’s edge for a short while. look at the reflections, it was beautiful.

It was very peaceful

Finally, theres a free library at the side of the path. We took a couple of books and we will take a couple back at some point soon. I think it’s really funky. It’s a brilliant idea. I’ve heard of people doing them for seeds too in different areas. My head keeps filling with ideas I’m not sure what to do with! I’m sure it’ll come clear at some point!

Then it was home time. The turkeys keep getting out so I’ve clipped their wings again tonight with the hope that it’ll stop them. I’m not sure that it will!

Run! Ruuuuunnnnn, be free!

Anyway, it’s far too late now. I’m off. Thankyou God for a beautiful day. Good night and God bless you all.

Cathy.