Mud & Mischief

Just our way of home educating our three girls; assisted by an allotment, a Land Rover and a heap of ingenuity.

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Location: South Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Friday, June 24, 2005


By the blogring, would you believe? Switched the computer on to print off the packing list (yes, I keep a master copy in excel format), and just thought I'd have a quick look at Jax's camping list.

Ho hum - it was only when I clicked 'next' and landed on my own blog that I realised I'd got a little off-target.

So shall now switch computer off and go pack something. Not sure what, as the caravan is still in storage and we still haven't decided which ruddy truck I'm taking. Was the green one last I heard. It's like a damned used car lot out there.

Oh, and half way through shopping, Myf asked me why people had to die. That made me stop in my tracks. A dozen possible answers kind of flitted through my head, but in the middle of a supermarket I took the coward's way out and asked her what made her say that? She replied that Grandma wasn't getting better and did that mean she was going to die? and if so, she really didn't want her to.

What do you say at moments like that? Mid-shop, trolley full of camping supplies, lunch a little overdue, Piglet pulling Tea's hair... I'm ashamed to admit that I gave her a hug and mumbled something inane before changing the subject rapidly and scolding Piglet. Just wasn't prepared for that in any way, shape or form.

Am going to go pack now. Honest.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Bit of a lightbulb moment

Actually, several lightbulb moments so far today and it's not quite 11am.

First, getting up earlier really does make a huge difference to my day. Yeah, I know, not exactly rocket science, but the past few months I've really struggled to get moving before 8am. A combination of not getting to bed before midnight, being woken anything up to 5 times a night and then having the alarm go off at 6.15 for James. Doesn't really make for a restful night's sleep, so when I do doze off after he's left for work at about 7am, I'm forcibly woken up by leaping children at 8am and feel all the worse for it.

So this morning, I was up and dressed by the time James left for work. Mainly because I wanted to take some Voltarol and needed to eat before taking it (it's not pleasant if you don't). So my morning went as follows:

7-7.30 - bring laundry in, put more on line, load machine, eat breakfast, take tablet
7.30-8 - feed and dress children, blog, check email
8-9 - do half a mountain of ironing whilst chidren play (dismantle) bedroom, start interesting conversation with Myf on the Second World War, prompted by an advert on Classic FM for the Victory celebrations on July 10th (her birthday)
9-10 - child-initiated hour-long WWII fest, reading Horrible Histories of Woeful World War Two, in depth study of wall map following invasions etc as laid out in Horrible Histories, talked of rationing, why oranges weren't in the shops, why there were no supermarkets (oh to go back in time), how much butter you would have been allowed per week, etc
10-10.45 - more ironing, Myf pairing socks, Tea and Piglet dismantling the other bedroom, then nappies out on the line, and another load of washing put in

Am dead impressed with myself. Seems the drugs are working! Not too impressed with the state of the kitchen though. I'm not daft enough to try and empty the bin, which desperately needs doing, but I need to sweep and mop the kitchen floor, clear off the counters, then go outside and move the two tables and all the plants thereon down to the greenhouse, plant the remaining tomatoes, chilis and eggplants into the growbags or the greenhouse soil and see if James has sharpened the lawn mower blades yet.

That's all on top of the normal 'find living room floor, dining room floor, top of dining table, computer desk etc' routine that I should do anyhow but never seem to get round to.

Oh, and the Kessingland packing.

Fingers crossed

that this morning isn't so bad. It's not even half past seven, and I'm up, dressed and even breakfasted. Pretty amazing. However, there is method in my madness. Somehow, I have contrived to do something unpleasant to my back. After suffering for the past 5 days or so, I've given in and dug out the voltarol/diclofenac I was given last year when I hurt my shoulder. I loathe taking tablets (having lived on ibuprofen for years after college), so only took the bare minimum. Which means there's plenty left for an emergency like this.

And yes, I do classify it as an emergency - I leave for Kessingland in a little over 48 hours. And James has invited a couple of friends round for a BBQ tonight. And I'm supposed to be going on a girls night out on Friday (first time in ages and ages), and that's after a trip to the chiropractor as Friday afternoon was the first possible spot they could squeeze me in. And yes, it is as bad as all that, I'm afraid.

Man waved off to work. Breakfast eaten. Tablet taken - bleargh. Kids still asleep. Better go water the hanging baskets and tomatoes (as he was a little busy last night).

Oh, and did I mention one of the friends coming round for the BBQ is a bit of a neat freak? Bugger.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Crap morning

Being grumpy mommy. An hour behind schedule (ha, yeah, right, what schedule???) Being beastly to the three little urchins who would rather run around in the sunshine outside than get dressed, pick up trail of books and toys, find hairbrush and bands, locate shoes etc etc

Have also managed to hurt my back again. I've suffered with my back (or more accurately pelvis) for years and years, but recently, since having Piglet, it's been pretty good. So now it's hurting again, I'm having to relearn how to live with it. It's been 5 days now, and it's also getting worse. The most annoying thing is, I don't know how I've done it. It's not like I've had a major digging session at the allotment (although I really should do at some point) or rearranged the furniture or anything specific.

Suppose breakfast might be a good idea.

And you know what I really hate? Nasty cheap supermarket ham, the kind which when you take the last slice out of the packet, it's wet. Not just damp, but wring-out-and-hang-on-the-line sopping wet. It's revolting. Why do they have to add water to everything? I know it ups the weight and therefore the price and therefore the bottom line profit, but must everything be sacrified for profit? Flavour seems to be an optional extra these days. And if you want that, you have to add it in with something that begins 'E'.

One small comfort, though - I haven't bought fruit, veg or meat from a supermarket in over a month. :) Just my small stand for small, local producers and suppliers, but I get fruit and veg either from the little veggie stall in the village or from an organic vegebox supplier, and my meat either from the local butcher in the village or direct from the best farm shop ever. They raise and slaughter their own free-range, corn-fed chickens - no added water, no cross contamination in processing (did you know that organic chickens are processed on the same line as bog standard ones? with no cleaning in between batches?), no burnt hocks or black meat or birds spending their last remaining days with less room than the area of a sheet of A4 paper sat in ammonia filled barns...

Rant over. Going to try and get out of the house, over an hour late. :::sigh:::

Monday, June 20, 2005


and the kids are still asleep.

Amazing, eh? I guess the fact we didn't get home last night until midnight might have something to do with it. Spent the weekend at Eastnor Castle, just below Malvern, at a Land Rover show. Got sidetracked on the way home at Mom's and didn't leave there until gone 9pm. Had to stop at the services to retrieve Bunny and various blankets and snugglies and the like from the caravan, and then again on the A42 to remove said snugglies from under the front seats of the truck and replace back in the arms of squawking children. I also tucked them all up in a large fleecy blanket whilst I was at it. Two miles later and they were all fast asleep.

Now I've got a million and one things to do before Bradway group this afternoon, so I'd better switch this device off.

Oh - and picked my first courgettes this morning whilst wandering around the garden at 7.30. :) Might have a rootle round under the potato haulm and see if there's anything big enough for dinner. I noted there were also a few broad beans that might be big enough to pick, and a few pea pods (although they tend to get eaten raw in the garden - I don't think any have made it into the kitchen yet this year.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Little surprise

Back in March, we got a couple of bunnies from one of Myf's cousins in Wakefield. They were quite small, and we chose a black one and a brown one. Daddy named them Guiness and Tetley. Suitable names for a couple of boy bunnies.

Tetley, however is not a boy.

I was checking on them yesterday (it's Myf's job to feed and water them every day, but I check in every so often just to make sure) and when I opened the sleeping compartment, to see if they needed cleaning out, I saw a large pile of pale brown fur in the corner. Thinking they'd been fighting, I reached out to touch it - lovely soft, warm bunny fur. Absolutely gorgeous.

When it jumped and started squeaking, however, I had to reassess the situation. Underneath their soft coverlet of down were four little blind, naked baby bunnies, no more than 3 inches long. Eyes tightly closed, soft velvety skin all wriggling and smooth. Three black and one brown.

Bearing in mind that our guinea pig is expecting, probably due at the end of July, it seems our menagerie is growing slightly quicker than planned. Espcially as I'm supposed to be getting some chickens sometime in July too...

Anyone want a new pet? ;)

Monday, June 13, 2005

Found another quiz

You scored as Paganism. Your beliefs are most closely
aligned with those of paganism, Wicca, or a similar
earth-based religion. You may also follow a
Native American religion.



















Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with

Sunday, June 12, 2005

BBQ weekend

Had a lovely day yesterday - BBQ for Piglet's second birthday. After a brief moment of consternation when it rained (for all of 5 minutes), it turned out all right in the end.

Barbara, Kirsty and Nikki all came round with offspring, plus two other local friends with their children , so there were 12 small people tearing around the garden. We charcoaled sausages and burgers and the kids ate twice what I expected them to - which was great!

At about 5ish, the first batch of merrymakers started to wend their way home and the second wave of guests arrived - more children, slightlyolder this time, and more stuff to BBQ, with cake and other niceties.

Needless to say, was a late night - gone midnight and several glasses of wine consumed. Tea and Myf went to bed about 10pm, so they were exhausted. I'd whisked Piglet upstairs for a bath at 8pm, and the poor thing could barely keep her eyes open by the end of it.

Her excema is bad though. The rosehip seed oil which was recommended to me had started to work really well, but it seems to have lost its efficacy. I'm not sure if it's something she's eaten - I've cut oranges and tomatoes out of her diet, much to her absolute disgust. But the last couple of days the red patches in the flexures of her arms and legs have grown and now look angrier than ever. I wondered if it could be dairy, as someone suggested, but she's had barely any milk (apart from the stuff on her breakfast) and it's no better. :( Poorly Piglet. Anyone any suggestions? I tried some calendula cream from Sarah, but that didn't help either.

And today - we finally moved the greenhouse. Should really blog that over in the Muddy Musings blog, but I haven't updated that one in months. Ho hum, guess that's what happens when real life comes along and interupts a perfectly good blog. :P Had the first potatoes and carrots with dinner tonight though. Very, very good. As was the rib of beef from a local farm.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Busy day - again

Had a car-ed day - seemed to spend half of it on the road anyhow. First to Kirsty's to drop off her laminator, (borrowed via Jax), then whizz into Sheffield to see Barbara for an hour. They were going to Bradway though, so we left them at lunchtime and headed to Chesterfield to visit with Sarah & co.

Would have liked to go to Bradway, as they were making sock puppets, but we're still in self-imposed quarantine due to chicken pox. Actually, we're a day or so in the clear now, as the particular strain we were exposed to makes itself known 14 days after contamination, but we thought we'd err on the safe side, especially with Kessingland coming up.

However, there are no spots visible yet, so it seems we've escaped the pox yet again. Must be the third exposure since February, and Tea and Piglet still haven't caught them. Myf had them when she was 10 months old, so fingers crossed will be immune.

At least we're clear for Thursday - it's Doncaster's first Home Ed meeting, at the Point. 12.30 to 3.30, for those who want to know. Guess I'd better post it on a few lists.

Borrowed a set of 'Bob' reading books from Barbara. See if that gets Myf reading. Especially as Barbara's E sat and read the first book to me, with Myf looking on in astonishment. Hmm - wonder if I've awakened a competitive streak in her. Or if she'll just sulk and pout that E can do it and not her. :::sigh:::

Sunday, June 05, 2005


We just made home grown popcorn. And no, that's not a typo. :)

Last year I grew a variety of Amish corn called Purple Popcorn. And what do you know - but it is! I put an entire ear of dried corn into the microwave, turned it on and stood well back. After a couple of minutes, it began to jump around and fluffy white popcorn appeared. The kernels were smaller than commercial popcorn, and a little chewier, but the girls didn't complain. Drizzle on a little melted butter and they were fighting over it.

Home grown popcorn. Am I pleased with myself or what? And to add to the brag, I have peas and courgettes barely days away from harvest, my spinach is overflowing the square foot bed (having had three good dinners and numerous salads out of it already), and I think that any day now I could start rootling around under lush foliage for the first new potatoes.

Wonder if it's too late to sow some corn direct into the soil.