Gone to the birds..

Hello one and all! Well, to jump straight in, we only have two ducks left, two females, all the rest have been eaten (we think) by the fox, it’s happened bit by bit over the last few months. So I’ve had a shuffle round today, A – because I didn’t want the last two to be eaten and B – because of the bird flu. So the quails have gone into the old chicken coop within the larger chicken shed, there’s now wire across the front of the chicken shed too, which will hopefully keep the chickens enclosed. I think I’ve said before, poultry is supposed to be under cover at the moment, and apparently bird flu is rife in Northern Ireland and we’re quite near there so I thought I’d better do something. It’s going to be harder work cleaning them out, but that’s preferable to having to slaughter them all and the ground needs a rest too, it’s a bog.

J’s been really helpful with it all this afternoon, helping me catch the ducks and carry the bath and feeder down, littlest gets fed up quickly and wants to go in, but he had to wait on this particular occasion.

I processed one more turkey yesterday and that’s in the fridge for a few days and then it will go into the freezer, we now have two turkeys left, we had three yesterday, but one got out and again, a fox got it, there’s feathers all over the field. It was J’s favourite (he wanted to keep it), so at least I didn’t have to actually kill it, but it was still unfortunate. So, two left. I think trying growing our own this year has been good and an experience, but I very much doubt I’m going to do it next year. I think we’ve got enough on with the other birds and everything else. Also, I like turkeys, they’re nice, friendly birds and slaughtering them is hard both because of that and because they’re huge! If I change my mind next year, you have permission to remind me of what I just said. I can just imagine Chris’s face if I decide to do them again though, haha. Maybe geese?? 😀

I haven’t had a phone for a week I think now, I bought one not long ago (a second hand one) and the screen stopped working, so I’ve sent it back and am waiting for another second hand one to come. It was strange last week without one, partly because we had storm Barra come to visit. The winds were really strong and I suddenly realised if anything happened I wouldn’t have any means of ringing anyone. We also had power cuts, so no wifi either. But all was well and we do have neighbours I could go to as well. I haven’t really missed it in a lot of ways, but the frustrating part is I can’t even check my bank balance without one because I tried to check it online and it wanted to send a security code to my phone to make sure it was me and ….I don’t have access…. my old phone is broken and won’t charge up. Modern life is so strange in some ways, my phone broke so I can’t access my bank account…ah well, hopefully the new (ish) one will be here soon.

As mentioned above, there was a couple of power cuts with the storm, but they didn’t last too long, hours rather than days. We’ve brought the gas hob and butane back into the house to use if we have any more. Everything else needs electricity to function. The hob and gas cylinder were here when we moved in and on our three year moving to Ireland anniversary they were back in. It’s very nice to have a cup of tea when you’re in darkness. It’s also good to have the fire!

Anyway, just an update and a big hello from us! Photographs will be back on when I have a phone.

love, Cathy.

3 Years!

As the title says, we’ve now been in Ireland for three years! Three whole years. Wow. If we stay two more years, we’ll have lived together in Ireland for half our marriage haha. That seems weird. I don’t know why, it just does. I suppose it’s because I still think of Derbyshire as home in many ways really. I wonder if that will change in the future? I guess we’ll find out! Our littlest is now older than our oldest was when we moved here, I guess he won’t even remember our old house or anything about Derbyshire really. Whereas J (the eldest of them) does, so he still misses it sometimes, he mainly misses family.

I’m not going to go on about what’s changed since we’ve got here, although the circumstances of our arrival do now seem bizarre! and very distant. Sleeping on air mattresses for a few months, waking up with damp skin and hair while the house dried out, not having a bath! Using a bucket in the kitchen and then later a big plastic plaster trough. I tell you what, I am so grateful for having a bath now, every time I get in I thank God for it :D. (and Chris who put it in.)

What I want to talk about briefly is dancing. I’ve started doing some exercise stuff recently on youTube and one of them is called grow with Jo and there’s a couple of exercise videos that use gospel/worship music and they’re brilliant! One of the songs is one called Shackles by Mary Mary. I hadn’t heard it in a long time but it’s one of those that I absolutely utterly love. It makes you just want to dance and praise God. So it’s been on a lot recently. Especially on our moving to Ireland anniversary day, I decided to dance.

This is because what the song says ‘take the shackles off my feet so I can dance..’ is my testimony about God really. That’s what He did.

As many know I used to be a drinker, I enjoyed it, I drank far too much and when I’d had a skinful I used to be up on that dance floor and quite embarrassing! I didn’t really dance much and definitely not publicly without booze.

When God saved me, I can remember one specific time when he broke this awkwardness. It was actually at a friend’s wedding, the evening bit, I just found myself up there on the dance floor, sober, and yes, probably looking stupid, but dancing and loving it, with no self consciousness, just enjoyment and such an awareness of Him and His love. It was awesome. I can remember dancing with a friend’s young daughter (she’s grown up now) and just messing about and twirling round. It made me smile then and the memory still does. God is awesome.

so this is my testimony –

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise You
I just wanna praise You
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I’m gonna praise You
I’m gonna praise You (Shackles (Praise you), by Mary, Mary).

In every part of life! Not just dancing.

Cathy.

Bit of an update.

Thought I’d say hello again as the last post was on thanksgiving a couple of weeks ago. We’ve been inside a lot as it’s been really rainy (it’s winter I guess!) and everywhere is mega soggy. We haven’t had snow though and it’s been fairly mild really for December I suppose. I just start feeling like staying in at this time of year and have to forcibly remove myself from the house in order to go anywhere. It’s quite funny though because once I’m out it’s like ‘wow, isn’t it lovely! lets go!’

I’ve mentioned before, Chris has been working six days a week for a while now, so he’s just off on Sundays and I have found that change difficult. We’ve had the car a bit more though, so that’s been good, although it is because Chris has put a motor on his push bike and has been going to work on that. He says he loves it (and yes it is totally legal in this country before anyone comments on it) and he wraps himself up in layers and a waterproof suit and rides off most mornings. It takes a bit of maintaining as he’s doing a fair few miles every day, but he seems to like that too and he’s good at it.

We’ve got four turkey’s left now, I need to process them very soon and get them in the freezer. There’s a bird flu warning out in Ireland and all poultry is supposed to be housed at the moment, I haven’t got anywhere inside to put them, so I’ll probably sort them this week. I’ll be glad when it’s done. There doesn’t seem to be many places in Ireland (not nearby anyway) that slaughter poultry, so it looks like it’ll be me doing it. I know there’s often strong feelings on this, but like I’ve said before, I think if you eat meat it is fairly healthy to know how it’s been brought up and kept. Also, to have an idea of what is involved.

We also have ten hens and one rooster in another pen (they do have a house) and nine young chickens in the polytunnel at the moment. The young ones are doing really well, they scared me the other week as I went in one morning and their crops (the place they store food) were absolutely massive, they looked like they were ready to burst! but it turned out they’d just gorged themselves and they are absolutely fine. They looked so odd, little chickens with massive bulges to one side of their necks. Because they’re light sussex/cream legbar crosses it’s interesting to see how their appearance changes every week because I’ve never seen these particular crosses before. They’re just getting little crests on the top of their heads at the moment. And unlike the purebred cream legbars (that are autosexing), I couldn’t tell which were male or female very easily, so I’m still waiting to be sure.

We’re still home educating, we enjoy it on the whole, it’s very nice to have the freedom to decide what to do with our time and brains! but like anything, there’s ups and downs. But to be honest I’m very glad we’ve had the continuity of just home schooling all the way through covid, it’s kept them without all the ups and downs of schools opening and shutting and you can attend this and see people and now you can’t and recently there’s a whole new debate on younger ones wearing masks etc. So I’m glad to be out of all that too. We aren’t homeschooling due to Covid, we decided to do it before it started, but I’m glad we made that decision.

I love Christmas, we’ve got a devotional book to do and we’re making some decorations and crafting and painting and all that a fair bit. We’ve got the tree up (I think it’s the earliest I’ve ever put it up) and we’re on countdown. I love talking about Jesus to J (he’s 6), it sort of clarifies things and makes you realise whether you can actually explain about it in a clear way or not, because a six year old is very forthright and honest and says if he doesn’t understand or gets a very clear look on his face if he’s bored or confused. And you also soon realise how much rambling you do rather than get to the point! (or how unclear you can be) haha.

Enjoy advent folks! If you don’t know Jesus, if you don’t know why he came, or what he has done, try having a read of one of the gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John). If you read one chapter of Luke a day in December, you get all the way through by Christmas Eve. Jesus is just the best present ever, He frees you, to be you. No one else and nothing else will ever do that. He is also real, not some mystical figure way back in history. Knowing him is a real and active thing, not just a distant figure in a book. And the only way we can meet God is through Jesus. As Jesus himself said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me’ (John 14:6). Talk to Him, tell Him whatever you need to tell Him. Ask Him questions, seek Him and you will find Him (Matthew 7:7).

Good bye!

Cathy.