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….. We make
….. We explore
….. We nuture

Three children *** One big, grey dog *** Two parents *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging, about everyday happenings that bring us joy, since January 2010.

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Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”


Thank you….

  • Merlinda Little The riddles game reminds me of that Tom Hanks film called Da Vinci Code! Its so awesome and sadly I am not very good with... 25 Feb
  • Louisa Your code wheels sound like great fun. My daughter is also fond of riddles and is always testing me with them. I enjoy the thought... 24 Feb
  • Craft Mother Absolutely. It ticks so many boxes but, most importantly, captures their imagination and creativity. Hope your son enjoys it in the future. 24 Feb
  • Craft Mother Never easy, but worth the effort. I need to keep reminding myself. 24 Feb
  • Christy I love the idea of riddle solving and hidden messages. Creative and gets them thinking! I'll definitely be using this when my son is older.... 24 Feb
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make own potions

Gardening Journal: Start seed sowing

Joining in with Ginny‘s Saturday garden journal. I usually keep a written version that peters out at some point, but it would be good to compare one year to the next.

Saturday 10th March

Greenhouse: Now clear. Chickens have been using it as a dust bath this week.

Kitchen garden: clear, but borders need redefining after the chickens and children using it as a digging area over the winter!

Salad garden: almost clear. Debris cleared, but a few overwintering plants need lifting.

Activity: I sowed mini peppers, basil, sweet peas, baby tomatoes and cucumbers in pots, which are now sitting on a kitchen window sill in propagators, where needed. Checked my seed list and only runner beans to buy.

Notes: (Chickens could not help joining me in the greenhouse.) Remembered that almost as important as getting seeds in pots, is a recovery kit for use after gardening.

This evening, along with a cup of mint tea, I made lavender bath salts (right) and a tub of herby sugar hand rub (left) (Seasamamb, via Totally Tutorials). The hand rub shifted the dirt and left my hands feeling pampered. I used lavender and rosemary from the garden. This rub has earned its place by the sink, for the gardening season.

Happy moments:

BL loved my felted hairslide so much that she decided to make her own, using buttons that Father Christmas gave her. As I worked in the greenhouse, the children played in the garden. I know she loves her hairslide as she kept it in while running around the garden and climbing trees, instead of her usual wild look.

So what are you doing in the garden? I’d love to know how you revive yourself after gardening.

Sharing the creative vibe

One of my lists completed! Yeah! The bath bomb workshop has been run and it was fun. It went well, although it turns out that the 100 bath bombs was an ambitious target. This was a positive experience. I like to think that I learn something with each experience and this event was no exception. I think this is a really fun activity to do as a workshop at an event, for children and adults.

May sound obvious, but having them wear an apron and sitting the children down, to make the bath bombs, was a great way to ensure they concentrated on the task.  All the children took it very seriously. There was no messing around. (Phew!) No spillage! We had a pot of the dry ingredients ready to show the younger ones how a bath bomb fizzes in water. Although one or two of them changed their minds about making them for their mothers and wanted to keep them from themselves. Can you blame them?

All in all it was a good experience, which I hope the children and the helpers enjoyed as well! AJ helped and she was brilliant. At nine years old, she could have run the whole thing by herself!

As a displacement activity, I finished my felt from Friday and am half way through converting it into Christmas presents. One from my secret list, so I’ll leave it at that.

We took the children to see “Arthur Christmas” on Sunday. We told them that I needed to get a new battery for my car before the shops closed. It wasn’t until we stood in the popcorn queue that they rumbled that the trip had nothing to do with car batteries! Not sure we will be able to take them on mundane shopping trips again, without them expecting something fun instead!

Fun weekend with a Christmasy theme. Although my car sadly still needs a new battery. Hmm….Dear Father Christmas, I have been very good this year…..

PS If anyone is interested in running a similar bath bomb school activity or birthday party, I’ll post it all up in more detail.

Elderberries and others

Both Casey and Angelina asked what elderberries look like. I could describe them as being like small black pellets that hang down in clusters of about fifty.  No, far better to wander into the garden and take a photo.

So I did.

On the way, to the elder, I found a whole lot more fallen apples. I gathered them. Then I found more blackberries. I spent time picking them. Back in the kitchen, I set them all aside for a crumble.

Camera in hand, I headed out again.

Out again in the garden, I couldn’t help thinking about all the goodness I harvest from our garden. Apart from the obvious kitchen garden plants. The garden provides such diversity and, on the whole, I spend no time carefully nuturing it. So long as I don’t cut it down, it grows. There are so many plants, I do nothing with, which flourish. Most I have not identified, but they are all growing in my garden. I photographed four of them, that I could be using. They are (clockwise from top left) nettle, rose hip, haw and fat hen. Any fat hen, that I do find, usually is given to the hens. All these plants have lots of uses, but I just let them grow.

We also have plenty of fungi, which again I do not pick. I used to pick lots of field mushrooms and shaggy ink caps. I would cook them and eat. I used to go mushroom picking with a french friend and collect mushrooms that I only ever knew the french names for (so have now forgotten!) Then, one day, I went on a day course at a local university, to learn how to identify mushrooms. Hoping to identifying more interesting varietes to eat. By the end of the day, I was terrified of picking any fungi, let alone feeding them to anyone. My confidence gone, I have never collected mushrooms since.

Finally, after a few distractions, I reached the elderberries. They are beginning to go over now, so they are not hanging down in clusters. The black berries have a diameter of about 1/4th of an inch (0.5 cm). They have a tiny pip, the size of a grape pip, which is supposed to be bitter (I’m going to skip testing this fact). All sorts of medical claims are made for elderberries. Most seem to suggest that it strengthens your immune system to fight off a cold. Having tasted the syrup, I can imagine that it would be very soothing for a sore throat. Who knows. Maybe I’ll be enthused to make double next year.

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