Thursday 24th June 2021.

It’s raining, it’s pouring! The old man is snoring. He went to bed and bumped his head and couldn’t get up in the morning…

That’s a strange rhyme really, isn’t it? I still like it though, reminds me of when I was a kid.

It is raining, unusually, haha (joke). But! it’s meant to be good weather after this for a week or so, so that is excellent news.

Thankfully, it will water the new annuals I planted on the front. The garden’s looking great, it’s starting to actually fill up a bit, cottage styley! And, almost even more thankfully, it was dry for our St John’s Eve bonfire last night (last year it poured down). So we managed to burn all excess wood and a mountain of cardboard and it was nice and even enjoyable! The kids were riding up the field in the jeep with their dad, bringing stuff to be burned in the trailer and when they weren’t in the jeep they were playing at the top of the field or helping (with supervision) to throw the wood on. They were late to bed but that wasn’t a bad thing because they had a lie in this morning.

We’ve just had dinner (lunch if you’re posh) and they’re playing with lego and playdough, it’s quite peaceful. We haven’t done J’s letters and numbers yet and so we’ll do them in a while. He’s quite happily making at the moment so we’ll definitely leave it for a bit. A beautiful home education bonus – flexibility.

There are a lot of bonuses, I love it most of the time. I suppose the negative aspect might be that our home is often quite messy, but hey ho, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives as far as I’m concerned. And I actually do really enjoy being with them which is cool and has grown and grown over the last year.

We’ve just hatched some turkey’s, all six hatched, so the boys are involved with looking after those too. We’re going to look after them for a few weeks and then decide whether to bring them up ourselves or whether to sell them on. At this present moment we have five ducks, six ducklings, seven hens, one very young rooster, three chicks, twelve quail and now six turkey poults, so I need to have a think. As someone has pointed out to me, turkey’s get quite big! So yeah, will have a think and see how we get on. It may be the last hatch for this year, but we’ve probably got enough to be going on with I suppose.. watch this space..

Still haven’t sorted the picture problem.. think I may have to pay a subscription if I want to put more photographs up and I’m not sure I want to do that, so it may just be writing. There’s always the instagram!

See you later!

Cathy.

Always on my mind!

There’s a few things on my mind at the moment, so, whether to go with the mind things or whether to focus. I could just focus on this place and the animals, or I could wander round as my mind takes me. Let’s see…

So, number one on my mind is….God and becoming Catholic. I’m (we’re) getting excited again about this, I still don’t know when it’s actually officially going to happen, but my heart literally leaps within me when I think about it. What I should understand, but quite frankly don’t..still..is some people’s attitude towards it. I should, because I used to be like them and only believed what other protestant’s told me and I even thought Catholics needed converting to ‘our’ beliefs. But that shows you what happens when people don’t get proper information, just chunter amongst themselves. My advice is do some reading, or watching if you want to know more. Bishop Baron (word on fire) is a good place to start, as is Keith Nester (ex Methodist minister), EWTN’s The Coming Home Network for conversion stories, for the more intellectual, Scott Hahn (his conversion story is quite something) or Catholic Answers (there are actually a ton of resources). Don’t slate it if you know nothing about it apart from what other people tell you, you have more of a right to if you actually have knowledge..! Thankyou for listening to my rant. Haha. Of course, you may not give a monkey’s and that’s ok too!

Of course, to those who have actually been open and honest and been people who I can actually talk to, thankyou. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou! It means a lot.

Number two. I’ve forgotten what it is, so onto here and the animals and garden and all that… if you’ve got this far, thanks! It’s sometimes a disadvantage that you only see the first few lines on the facebook page.

Do you know what? I love Jesus, I absolutely so just love Him. Sometimes, like this moment, His love just fills me, and it’s often when I’m not at my best, like when I’m defensive or hurt and He just fills me and yes! makes me ‘feel’ wonderful, but also just know Him more and more. Since we’ve come here, we’ve often not been part of church meetings and more on our own and whilst I wouldn’t normally advise people to stay away from Christian meetings, it’s been a good experience of learning to walk with Him, to hear Him for ourselves, to go to Him with everything and not just wait for a ‘meeting’ but to meet with Him every single day, worship Him, talk to Him and get to know Him better, to trust Him no matter what. Gets you away from this consumeristic type worship where it’s all about us and our lives, it becomes more about Him and His will. He teaches us all the time, there is so much in me that is wrong and He teaches and leads me. Telling me when I’m wrong too, which is actually a very good experience.

Anyway, I’ll blog about the house, ducks etc in another post. I’ve just realised because I didn’t update my subscription, I can’t upload any more photo’s, so I need to look into that. Having read it, it’s a little all over the place, but I sort of like that, so I’m keeping it.

Have a lovely day. Hello to all our friends and family in the UK! It’s been nearly two years since I was last there. It’s gone fast but it is still a long time not to have seen anyone. When I said in my blog after I came back that it was now Ireland time, I had no idea how true that was. Hello pandemic! Hopefully Goodbye pandemic at some point!

See you soon. God bless you one and all.

Cathy.

Smallholding.

It’s been a gorgeous day today, both sunny and slightly windy, so we’ve made the most of it and have been outside most of the day, the boys playing and running around while I’ve been mowing and planting and weeding. Whilst I was planting onions (it’s a bit late, the weather hasn’t been great), I was thinking. It was a great way to think, down on my knees planting onions, with the sun shining and the wind blowing. The kids were happy too, so it really was nice.

So, I was thinking and I got to thinking about how I’d wanted a smallholding for quite a long time. A memory came to mind of an away day I’d been on with the district nursing team when I first went on the district full time. We were all around a table and we had to tell them something about ourselves they didn’t know, I said I would like a smallholding one day. I also know that I’ve wanted one since I was about 5, there was one in the area I grew up in and I used to walk past with my mum and look at the goat and the chickens and really want that very same thing. It just looked so cosy, to use a really strange word to describe it.

Then I started thinking about how scripture says ‘delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart’, then I started thinking about how we talk about how when we delight ourselves in God He changes our desires in line with His and therefore our desires change, which is often true. But it suddenly dawned on me that it’s not always true, I now have what was the desire of my heart when I was about 5 and I’m very glad I’m not God, because if I was I’d be saying, ‘I’ve given you what you wanted and what do you do? you moan! nothing’s every good enough for you!’ haha. And this has been true at times, the adjustment has been hard sometimes and so has being away from family and friends. I’ve also questioned occasionally whether it was actually God’s will that we came here or whether it was my own selfish ambition (which the bible also warns about). But God doesn’t say that, He just carries on changing me and working in me for His good and is patient and kind. He put desires in me which were good desires even when I didn’t know him. He knew me. Even back then.. We know that’s what the bible says, but when you have real examples of it in your own life and see it, it’s so beautiful. Now to trust Him with the rest of it and do what He tells us.

Some may argue or say, well, you obviously made it happen, you wanted it so much. Whilst there is a degree of truth to this as we did have to do our bit to get here. I would say no, as it wasn’t that long ago I was completely in debt with no way out for what looked like a long time, God dealt with that, He put Chris and myself together, He gave us the kids and the means to do it. His ways really are a mystery but I do know He loves people and life and what happens really is a massive story unfolding, one that we often have no idea about, but He does.

Life with God is exciting and it can be unpredictable and I love that and I never want to forget it. I love being surprised by God.

Cathy.

Update May 2021 (mainly to do with birds!)

I’ve just been looking back over posts and I noticed I haven’t been doing that many and there’s quite a bit that’s changed, so here we are! For those who read it, I’m not sure what the layout is going to look out after today because I’ve renewed the domain but not the wordpress plan and I’m just waiting and seeing what it will be like. I think it means that there may be some ads on the blog, but otherwise I’m not sure.

Well, the ducks are now about ten weeks old, we lost one of them, I went up one morning and it was dead and had a small cut on its neck (I’m wondering whether a mink tried to grab it somehow), so we now have five ducks and I’m still waiting to see whether they’re male or female. There’s two that I don’t even know what breed they are, they were meant to be Ancona, but they aren’t. They’re a paler brown than the three khaki Campbell’s and have orange beaks and legs. They all seem healthy and happy. They’re now kept up on the field within a large square of electric poultry fencing. They have our old bath for a pond and they’ve succeeded very well at making half of their run a muddy watery plane that they seem to love. They love mud and muddy water and are constantly dabbling and foraging in it.

The chickens next! Well we have two Buff Orpington girls (the original ones that we hatched just over a year ago).

I had to dispatch the rooster as he got vicious. But since I last wrote about the chickens, I’ve bought two hybrid birds from a company called freeway poultry (they deliver to drop off points throughout Ireland),

One has just started laying and she is laying blue eggs, which is a nice surprise.

I also bought two ten week old cream legbar hens off a man who hatches them in Longford. He has a really good set up and he showed the kids and myself his chicks in the brooder. He has brooders (where the chicks go when they’re first hatched) set up in his garage rather than brooding them in the house like I have. The leg bars are now about fifteen weeks old and have just been let out with the other four in the main run.

They’re doing ok but the buffs are doing their best to put them in their place. Such are chickens! Pecking order and all that. They’re fine though, no blood shed, just a bit of pecking. They won’t be laying for a little while yet.

Cream Legbars.

Last but not least, the three light Sussex that we hatched are now outside in our old coop which has a little run on it and they’re alongside the other chickens so they’ll be slightly used to each other once the time comes to let them into the main run. That’ll probably be in about six weeks I think, or possibly before if they get very large.

So to sum up, at the moment we have six hens roaming in the main run together, there’s three more waiting until they’re big enough and I’m going to try hatching one more time and then I think we’ll have enough. The eggs that I’m waiting for are for Silver Laced Wyandottes. They’re very nice looking birds and again like the sussex and the Buffs they’re dual purpose, so are good for meat or eggs.

The light sussex.

The quail are all outside in their run, I’ve had to remove most of the males this week. There were too many of them and the females were starting to look a bit bedraggled. They’re a lot happier since then and are laying really well. I’m keeping them outside on the grass unlike a lot of other set ups I’ve seen and they seem to really like it. I think we now have eleven girls and one boy. Trivia fact! A group of quail is called a covey.

Some people may wonder what I’ve done with the males, I processed them and they’re in the freezer to eat at a later date. I don’t like killing the birds (I think I’d be a bit weird if I did), but I do like that they’re healthy, happy birds that have been kept well and that’s a bonus to a meat eater. We have also noticed that since we’ve processed a few of our own birds we are more picky and actually have more of a thankful attitude about the food we eat whether it’s ours or shop bought. I suppose you just become more aware of the work that goes in, in a lot of ways.

There’s also a lot of growing etc going on at the moment, it’s the growing time of year I suppose, but I won’t write much more as this is fairly hefty as it is. I do looooooove the growing though. We have a lot growing at the moment. I’ve tried to be a bit selective this year, to minimise wastage, so to me, the greenhouse looks a bit bare, it isn’t – everything is just spaced properly for once. Haha.

Anyway, see ya! Oh yes and apparently we can register for our vaccinations at some point this week. Not sure how long you have to wait, but it’s definitely a step forward. Bring it on!

Cathy.

Hello.

Sooo, it’s a God one. There’s just two short tales I have to tell. They’re beautiful and brilliant, mainly because God is. I wasn’t sure whether to tell them, but after listening to a preach today, I decided to.

Number one – I was sat on my settee a couple of weeks ago maybe, at night, feeling pretty low. I call what I was feeling ‘the horrors’ and I was literally sat thinking and had this massive awareness of evil in the world and bad things that can happen or could happen to people I love or people in general. It’s difficult to describe how it felt. I was sort of slumped on the settee with my hoody up, just sat there feeling horrified and really low. I did speak to God, I think I basically said, so I’m here and I’m feeling like this and that was that really. Can’t remember if I said anything else. Then I got up to let the dog out and I went outside and just started singing. It wasn’t worked up, I hadn’t been listening to this song, I wasn’t in one of my ‘got to deal with this and worship modes’. I was just there, with God and I believe He just gave me this song. The song goes ‘you unravel me, with a melody, you surround me with a song, of deliverance from my enemies til all my fears have gone’. (That’s from memory, hope the lyrics are right, the song is called ‘no longer slaves’ if you want to YouTube it..) So I was just stood outside our front door, in the dark, singing this song, then I was absolutely ok. It was a lovely moment. God really does care and acts on it. He can change things in a minute, when it’s right.

The second thing was, not long after, the same week I think, I suddenly became very aware, a sudden realisation of ‘I have a good life, we have a good life!’ This may sound a bit basic but it was a bit of a game changer really. We all like to think we have it a bit rough, to have a bit of a moan, I’m no exception either, but I really did have this exclamation moment of ‘I have a good life! And thinking or knowing that, changes your perspective somewhat. So that was great. Hearing from and being changed by God is really quite something and I really do believe that all you need is a willing, open heart towards Him and He’ll do the rest.

Anyway! Thankyou for reading and good night!

Cathy.

A quick update on the birds.

Hi, just wanted to update people, we now have six 3 week old ducklings and 3 Light Sussex chicks (about a weekish old) in the house, the ducks will hopefully go outside at around 6 ish weeks, but maybe before that during the day if we manage to get the electric fence up soon. Here they are:

With the ducks, we have 4 Khaki Campbell and 2 Ancona’s, I’m hoping and praying that they’re girls! Unlikely, but you never know. They’re so messy, we have a huge drinker in with them, so they can get their beaks in, and even with a drinker they manage to fling water about everywhere. They’re worth it though.

We also have about 13 quail running about in a separate run inside the chicken run. We can’t put the quail out and about in the main run because they’d just fly off. They aren’t laying yet, hopefully soon will. They’re really funny. It was sunny yesterday for the first time in a while, it was gorgeous, and when they’re relaxing they lay outstretched with their legs sticking out like they’re reclining. If I hadn’t read about it I would have thought they were dead a few times by now, because that’s what it can look like.

Yesterday afternoon.

Now, just a word of warning for readers, I got some abuse on my last post from one person, just one person, perhaps obviously about my daring to say that God is good and that He saves us from our sin and frees us. I attempted replying but it was no use, so I ended up deleting the whole thing and blocking them. So comments that are helpful and inquiries that are genuine are welcome, but anything that is hurtful, disrespectful or intended for harm will not receive a reply and will be deleted.

Thankyou.

Cathy.

I’ve been thinking a lot..

I have been thinking a lot over the past couple of weeks, well, the past couple of years really. But a couple of things have happened recently that’s made me think again. I’ve been taking part in Church in the Peak online meetings since covid first arrived on the scene really, I briefly stopped when I came off facebook for Lent, but I rapidly decided to go back on, just on a Sunday for the meeting. It’s open to all, by the way, no matter where you are in the world physically or spiritually. The facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/ChurchInThePeak. But stemming from that and a conversation with one of the elders, I’ve started meeting up virtually with the small group we used to be part of (a smaller group that usually meets up in someone’s home during the week). I’ve only met up with them once so far, but it was lovely just to see them and hear them and actually talk about God with others. It was wonderful. It also broke my, ‘I’m not going on zoom or anything like it’ fear! It also broke my, I’ve left therefore I don’t belong thing…that’s rubbish, I do.

But anyway, stemming from this and talking to God, I just wanted to lay out part of what’s been on my heart for a long time. Just briefly. And share a word/brief picture that God gave me when we were first here. I don’t think I’ve ever said it, partly because I’ve been a little afraid to (who is she to say that sort of thing, which is not right).

Firstly, the word.

As anybody who’s looked at any of our posts knows, it is a beautiful place. Ireland is a very beautiful place. But in the first months we were here, I was driving back along the road to our house, I glanced briefly at the hills and fields and for a moment, they were black and almost burnt, it looked like a battlefield, it was barren and horrible and then it went back to normal. I felt God said in that moment that it may look lush and green but the picture He showed me was what it was really like underneath in so many ways. A broken place. He then said ‘but I can restore it and bring it to how it looks, I can make it green and lush’.

I’ve thought about this from time to time and prayed sometimes, but I’m going to make this a prayer now, because if he has said this, we need to partner with Him and do it His way. To do and be what he wants us to do and be.

My vision for people in this country is that people, no matter whether they’re Catholic or Protestant or anything else, I don’t care. They will know God, they will know His freedom and His love, they will know life through Jesus. Eternal life which starts now. A turning around of their lives and this country and the UK (I will always have a heart for the UK). More than anything they will be born again worshippers of Jesus and know the love of God and turn to Him and be changed. There will be forgiveness and freedom from sin and shame and both a turning back to Him and restoration and new life of people born again.

Have a good day!

Cathy.

Happy Sunday!(have some ducklings to look at)

Hi, here’s a video to make you happy, our little ducklings running about and eating and drinking and things! It’s not the best filming in the world, but it’s a lovely sight!

They’re between 3 and 5 days old. They are mucky, but I did clean them out this morning. they LOVE the water!

We’ve had to put them in our old bath because two of them escaped through the gaps in the bars of the cage we had them in last night. J found them curled up in a corner this morning. They all seem very happy and healthy. The last one to hatch had a curled up left foot and I was a bit worried about him, it curled right under. Then I read up a little bit and read that they sometimes uncurl and come right on their own during the first day. So I left it and it has uncurled and he/she (don’t know yet) is now walking properly and seems really well. Praise God! They’re already eating peas and running about and playing. Even Chris loves them.

Happy Sunday! May God bless you to know Him and the hope and love and meaning that only He gives. He even gave life to and cares for these little ducks! But He cares for you so much more (see Matthew 6:26).

Ta ra!

Cathy.

Social?

I’ve come off facebook for lent, mainly as I knew it was getting to be a bit of a problem with how often I log on and scroll and a distraction and a bad habit… but I’ve still been surprised at the effect coming off it has had really. I find myself wanting to log on, but I also find myself hating it, because to be quite honest, it does not do much for me in terms of producing good things. It puts me on edge, it makes me uptight, I find myself checking it over and over and over again, scrolling for absolutely no good reason and it’s very easy for me to react to things without thinking as well, none of which is good. So I think it’s good to have a rest for a bit.

It’s the ultimate comparing yourself to others type site really (almost without realising). and that drags you down. I’m not who I should be or doing what I should be if I’m getting distracted all the time and I think it is one of the ultimate distractions.. I’ve also realised that I’d quite like proper friendships and relationships and again, not often to be had on facebook. It’s a deceptive place, with it’s ease of commenting (or not commenting)/reacting and likes and loves and hates and hugs and sad faces and algorithms and friending and unfriending and reading things into things and blah, blah, blah…… I think I probably will go back on at Easter but not as much, I’m not quite sure how I’ll actually do that yet, but I’m sure it will come clear.

I really like blogging and I also really like not seeing the facebook reactions in a way, it’s good for me, for a while anyway. Hello to people who do react though and thankyou! (this isn’t meant to be insulting towards you, it’s more about me). I’ve thought about stopping everything for a bit, but the blog stays.

Again though, it’s funny (but not really), I came off facebook and then immediately went overboard on Instagram, I then stopped Instagram too and then went onto Twitter (I don’t really post much on Twitter, just blog links), now I’m stopping scrolling Twitter too. I stop one and start to compensate with another. YouTube is a different matter, I’m still thinking that one through. I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that scrolling though social media and seeing whole heaps of opinions is bad for me (and my family).

The personal stuff that we see on Facebook relating to people we know and love is really lovely and I also love posting things for people back home who can’t see us at all at the moment, partly because we live away and partly because of the pandemic, but for the nice stuff, there’s a whole heap of the nasties and distractions to occupy my mind and thoughts when there’s no need for it.

And no, I’m not having a meltdown 😀 or a breakdown, cutting my hair off and isolating myself, it’s anything but that really. I’ve just decided like I mentioned earlier, I’d quite like some proper relationships, not just facebook ones. I’d like to go outside or do things without thinking about posting, just be outside. Also, really, really need some space to be with Jesus. Just to be with Him and also to read my bible, I have bouts of reading and then bouts where I don’t, mainly, again, because I get distracted. Also, my eyesight isn’t as good as it was a year ago, so I’m reading via an app mainly at the moment aaaaaaagh, growing older…! so hello to YouVersion friends too :D. (I prefer the paper version.)

I’m still thinking about this and surrendering it to God, I sort of think it shouldn’t really be a big deal all this and if it is, what does that say? I also don’t want my kids completely obsessed and on phones constantly when they get older…so yes…surrendering.

Good bye for now.

Cathy.

Down to earth with a bump :D (and ducklings!)

So, after I wrote yesterday about the ‘perfect’ day haha, Littlest stuffed his trousers down the toilet when I wasn’t looking. I then nipped up to the chickens and quail late afternoon, whilst I was up there I realised the quails bedding was soaking, so I was quickly replacing that in the wind and the rain with the quails trying to jump out of their house at the same time. I then got broadsided by the cockerel (well he tried) whilst trying to fetch some fresh sawdust, I then realised the dog had run off and disappeared and on swearing my way back to the house was met by J who informed me that I (the youngest) had flooded the dining room. It turns out he’d upended the dehumidifer in a fit of rage because J wouldn’t make a triangle for him with the magnets. It was quite good actually, there’s an multi extension lead on the floor and somehow the water had missed that… the dog had firmly disappeared.

Anyway, Chris got home around six, went to look for the dog and found him prancing around in someone’s field, thankfully a field without sheep, so all was well in the end. Testing times for my temper..! I find I still have one…

Also! the ducks have started hatching, they’re so beautiful. They’re a lot cuter than chicks. I was a bit nervous about the hatching because I’d read they can be trickier than hens because the hatching time is about a week longer and they need a slightly more humid environment, but they seem to be hatching well so far. Today is actually the official hatching day, four hatched yesterday, one more today and one more is in the process of hatching. There’s three eggs that so far do not look like they’re hatching, but we’ll see. Very excited about having ducklings! Our house may be a bit mad for a bit, we’ve still got young quail in a cage in the dining room, I need to get or make an outdoor run for them, they’re not quite ready to go out. We’ve got a large cage for the ducklings and some chickens are due to hatch in about a week too…I love it most of the time, Chris thinks it’s like a pet shop but seems quite enamoured of the ducklings :D.