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….. We make
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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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becoming a greener me

Make your own chocolate advent calendar

Now I admit, I probably didn’t approach the issue in the best way. I should have known. It’s not as if I’m particularly new to this parenting lark. I know the rules. Parenting Rule number 537 states that a short sharp, direct approach, out of the blue, will not seamlessly shift offspring on to the next stage of development. Too quick. Too sudden.

No. It requires carefully placed, crafted hints being casually dropped for weeks beforehand. Like a trail of breadcrumbs leading them to their own discovery of the need to move up a level. Preparing the ground. I knew that. I’m not a rookie.

Not that that stopped me. When I look back, I made the classic mistake and I was doomed to fail from the moment I drew breath to speak.

All three offspring were in the kitchen. I seized the moment. I announced, in a nonchalent manner, that everyone was too old for chocolate advent calendars this year. My follow up argument about single use plastic would have won them over, but I played it too late. I felt some of them sway. Alas, by then, the battle had already been lost. Apparently, and this is the moment I knew I was defeated, I was on route to ruining their childhoods forever. (again)

I wonder which page of the childhood manual that gem is printed on.

Anyway, this partly explains why I ended up in the kitchen with my 13 year old, one evening, making chocolate. Continue reading

How to be water wise in the garden

As sure as eggs are eggs, plants need water. The ones I grow in our kitchen garden, are no exception. Some are more greedy than the rest, like cucumbers and squashes. I can’t miss a day watering them if I want a decent crop and my hard work to pay off.
Continue reading

Becoming a greener me in 100 steps – food from garden

overwintering nasturtium

(nasturtium overwintering in greenhouse)

I like to think of myself as living a fairly green life style, but I know I’m not perfect. I also know that out of convenience, or laziness, I’ve dropped a few greener choices, which kind of bothers me.

So I am going to challenge myself. One small change a week, or so, towards a greener lifestyle, until I feel I’m in the right place again. (100 steps not meant literally!) Big changes are unlikely. I need to keep it possible. Either something that I haven’t done for a while or never contemplated in the first place.

It has to be something that fits in with reduce, reuse and recycle. Hopefully it should save money in the long run, but most of all its about peace of mind, for me.


(this week’s vegetable box)

Step 1 -Eat more from the garden

Before we had children, we were pretty self sufficient in terms of vegetables and fruits. Not totally, but we did eat from the garden all through the year. Really, we did! Zero food miles.

Gradually over the years, this has slipped. Especially the last 2 years. Maybe due to the children all being at school now.

TF planting runner beans long shot

(planting the bean house)

 So step 1 is to plan the kitchen garden for the whole year. How am I going to achieve this:

Make a list

Each year I ask the children what they would like to eat from the garden. No point growing something they won’t eat. Then check list to ensure we have enough that will store or harvest for each month of the year.

winter veg

(winter veg from garden)

Many hands make light work

I need to encourage the children to help. In all fairness to them, it really doesn’t take much for them to help in the garden. As an added bonus this year, they each will have their own little corner of the garden, as well as the main kitchen garden. They do love to help, so I need to make the most of it. I need to enthuse them.

digging potato patch 2

(previous year’s digging)

Make it easy

I’m cutting back on the amount of digging and weeding this year. We avoid chemicals in the garden, so all weeding is done by hand. I’m making good use of the recycled plastic netting left by the builders. I’m using it to suppress the weeds. I was going to remove it as I planted, but husband has suggested that I plant through it. Also will use the chickens to tidy up some areas.

weed suppressing

(children helping last weekend)

Feed the soil

My neighbour and I have ordered a truck load of manure from a local farmer. Not organic, but free. If I feed the soil, then I feed the plants. More bountiful harvest, I hope. Although this did back fire one year when moles moved in. Hoping sheer bulk will make the difference. Also I have two compost bins full of kitchen compost (no weed seeds) which I will put in the greenhouse.

water butt on shed

Water butts

I need to check the existing butts, repair and reposition if necessary. We have six water butts, so I need to make the most of these, instead of using the chemically treated water from the tap. Rain water is free after all!

children in greenhouse

(My greenhouse needs serious tidying up!)

Love my greenhouse

I’m down to one greenhouse now. Love to add another one, but first the existing one needs some TLC first. Apart from adding the compost, I need to clean the windows, replace broken panes and check the automatic window opener. I’m sure I’ll get a helper or two with this job.


There is more on my list for the garden, but they really deserve their own “Becoming a greener me” step. When the time is right. Watch this space.

Joining in with the inspirational Fiona over in #CountryKids:
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
Also joining in with a snowy Sara over at MumTurnMom. #ThePrompt

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