In bed ponderings….

It is way past 11 pm.

I have just returned from my evening routine of checking the animals and putting the goat kids in their overnight pen, locked away from their mum for a few hours, so that I can milk her early tomorrow morning, before reuniting them. Mum seems to enjoy the peace and the kids sleep.

It is a clear, still night.

The gusty wind, that has blown hard all day long, has finally put itself to bed, leaving behind a silky silence, draped seductively beneath a velvet night sky.  It is deliciously beautiful and I absorb the chill stillness before heading inside.

I am tired. But as I lay in bed,  pondering my life here at Riverside now, I realise how happily tired I am. Exhausted even..but it is a good exhausted ..if that makes any sense?

My life once consisted of doing school runs, doing lunch, doing make-up and hair, choosing the most flattering clothes or trendiest/sexiest shoes, texting boyfriends/ girlfriends to arrange dates or nights out, worrying if my home was tidy enough for visitors, worrying about my weight, my height, my stretchmarks, my wobbly tummy, my grey hairs…Just worrying about things that truly do not matter, not in the grand scale of things!

I worried and fretted a lot. I tried hard to be something I wasn’t and it WAS exhausting but not a good exhausting. Not at all.

I grew tired of it, of trying to fit in, of trying to be accepted, or desired … It bored me.

I spent my spare time working in schools, watching rubbish TV, straightening the tassels on rugs, plumping cushions, hoovering floors, listening to chart music (eek!) …and shopping! Shopping for crap that I didn’t ‘need’ but that temporarily filled a void in my life.

This all seems such a long time ago.. and thank goodness!

Throughout my life right back to my childhood, the common thread that has made me feel extremely happy ( apart from my three beautiful children) has always been animals/ wildlife/ the countryside/nature, but even so, there have been extended periods in my life when those things played a lesser role.. due to peer pressure, marriage / divorce, child-rearing, low self-esteem, health scares and being single for the first time in yonks and not knowing how to handle it.  Amongst others.

I look back now and realise that it was all essential to me getting to where I am now. It was part of the process of me getting to know myself (as cheesy as that sounds) and of becoming confident enough to follow a path in life, a path that is  far less trodden.

Of becoming ME rather than just a mum, wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister etc.

I gained an identity that was not linked to a relationship with anyone. It was just about who I was.

I think the trials and tribulations of a rollercoaster life, of the ups and downs, be they health related, relationship related, money related …..or all three!…can help us to grow as individuals…… and in comparison a life lacking, in these often hard and painful life lessons, can be one lacking in personal growth, ambition or adventure. It is often one lacking in empathy too.

The safe path is easy. It is secure. You know what to expect each day.

But is it REALLY all you want from life? Truly?  Does hair and fashion really matter THAT much? Will people truly like you less if you do not own the newest TV/ car/ phone etc?  I can now look back and see that at the time these things did matter.. but why?  I still haven’t  totally figured that out. I think I needed to be liked and by fitting in with social expectations, I thought I’d be liked more. Daft huh! After all people who only like you because you have nice clothes or money to lend them, tend not to be true friends!

I have made many, many mistakes in my life.

Some of the mistakes I made were relationships that failed..and some failed because of me not  because of them. I have met some wonderful people, who, through no fault of their own, were just wrong for me and my, by now, growing plans for my future……. and I have met some not so wonderful people, who hurt me badly, but who I have forgiven totally. They too were probably lost and finding their way and simply hadn’t got to where they needed to be, when I met them. I was part of their journey and hurting me was possibly their way of showing that they were struggling with their own issues. Or maybe they were just jerks haha! Either way, I have forgiven them.

So I have made mistakes, fallen down, messed up again.. and finally learnt from it!< That last bit is the important bit. Then I brushed myself down and started again. Stronger! Although I certainly didn’t feel stronger during those hard times.

My family was wonderful! They supported me when I was an emotional wreck and kept me going when things got really tough. They even let me live with them, when I had no place to go.

Now, aged 45, I am back to being me. After a few years here n there, lost and searching for my place in this Earth I seem to have found it… and once you have found it, THEN you can look back and laugh at yourself.

I realise now that I didn’t need someone new in my life to make me feel whole and happy.

I needed to re-find myself and get back to my roots. Grey ones at that! 😉  ha!

So here I am.. I no longer need new shoes, holidays, phones or even much money to be happy.

As long as I can get by and pay the bills, then that’ll do for me. I have my wonderful children, my health and a whopping big bag of optimism. Would you like some?

I may not own much, in the traditional sense,  but I have time. Time to do things I love. Time to teach and to learn. Time to read. Time to be with my family. To nurture my children. To offer caring homes to animals. To write. To help people. To take photographs and to paint. To work. To make things. To grow food. To forage. ……To blog haha!

……Time is valuable! It is priceless, I am rich!

Yes…This ‘simple’ sustainable life IS tiring. It is physical and involves hard graft and long hours… but it is that ‘good’ tired feeling again.

I have my family, my animals, my tiny rented cottage, no need for a TV, or car….no holidays, no new clothes, no fancy gadgets like dishwashers or microwaves or smartphones …….Just a very simple life…….A life connected to nature.

Simple it may be…..

…………….but it was a darn complicated journey getting here! 😉

Here is to all you lost souls.

May your journey be shorter and faster than mine. Never give up hope. Keep your eye on the destination. For you too can one day lay happily exhausted in bed, looking out of your window at a velvety night sky.

(Take that whichever way you wish lol)

Alarm set for 5:45 am..

Goodnight  world xx

The heart of a home. Love and a log fire.

Well my daughter and I are finally over the nasty virus that laid us up for almost a fortnight. Thank you for all the lovely get well wishes. I have caught up with all my jobs…..at last. Hurrah! Happy me.

Hannah is back on track and is starting a new entomology project, so please feel free to link to any useful resources that may be of use to an insect mad ten-year old 🙂

My heavily pregnant goat, Tansy, is now settled in her newly washed out and disinfected kidding pen. Her sister, Marigold, is settled in the pen next door, so they can still see each other. I have the kidding kit ready by the back door. It includes a bright torch, lamb reviver (they don’t seem to do one specifically for goat kids), emergency colostrum/ milk replacer, bottle, syringe and tube, lambing ropes, lubricant, iodine, towels etc……and a hip flask with a small drop of whisky in…….but that’s for me! 😉

Fingers crossed when the time comes it all goes smoothly. This is her first kidding . I am currently doing a late night check on her and her sister, who is not due to kid until June, every evening, before I go to bed. I remove Tansy’s water bucket overnight,  just in case she manages to drop a kid in it, even though it is raised in a bucket holder. Better safe than sorry. Then I check her again at 1:00 am, again at 4:30 am, then again first thing in the morning. I drag myself out of bed on hearing my alarm go off, put on a thick towelling robe over  the top of my jim-jams and push on my old faithful welly boots and  sleepily plod across the garden to the girl’s sheds, torch in hand, to quietly peek in and see if anything is happening.  Then I head straight back to bed (removing the wellies first!) and set the alarm for 3 hrs time. I must say that I love my sleep and getting up in the middle of the night is not my idea of fun…….but somehow when you have animals due to give birth it doesn’t bother you at all.

Her ‘official’ due date is March 6th but they can kid a week either side of that date. Hence me being prepared 🙂

You can click on any photo on my blog to enlarge it.

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The girls, Marigold and Tansy.

On a less bright note:

I have had a bit of upset with a ‘neighbour’ that lives in the next lane in the village.  She arrived at my door in a foul mood and promptly went about telling me in a very abrupt manner, how my geese were on HER land and she wasn’t putting up with them or their poop on her property.

I must add that my tiny property here is bordered by a river along one boundary and my three geese are indeed loose on this river all day as I cannot afford to fence the entire river off  and they had managed to get across to the other side of the river, climb up the steep riverbank and onto the farmland that this lady owns and had then travelled through her farmyard onto the lane where this lady lives.  She was VERY angry with me. I apologised profusely.
What she hadn’t waited to hear, before getting cross  with me, was that I had been out looking for them all day. Even though they live semi wild here on the river, I do in fact feed them every single day in my garden. I missed them  instantly that morning as they never arrived for their breakfast and after hours looking for them I had come to the conclusion that they had been either stolen or being caught by a fox.  I had no idea they had travelled so far!
I would never intentionally allow my geese on another person’s property. I felt awful. I do not cope at all well with confrontation and it really upset me.
This lady then insisted that they had to be put in her neighbours paddock with her geese as that was PROPERLY fenced in 😦   So it appeared that I had inadvertently lost my beloved geese.  I cried my eyes out when she left.

However my son then arrived to collect his dog Chester (I look after Chester a few days each week ) and my son insisted that we go find the geese and get them back and that he would help me construct an escape proof run for them to prevent further problems.  So off he went and back we  all came some time later carrying three full-grown Embden and Pilgrim geese in a huge crate!  They were VERY heavy!

My son is my hero!

But I am incredibly sad that this means they are no longer allowed to swim on the river. It seems such a shame. They loved it  so much. If they seem unhappy I will have to consider re-homing them 😦

The geese on the river..click to enlarge photos

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The week has since got a bit better.

Our new rescue dog, Peaches, has finally mastered walking on the lead. She used to just collapse and lay on her back when we put a lead on her. She didn’t seem to have a clue what she was supposed to do. But she  has learnt very quickly! The other dogs helped loads and she eventually followed them and got to grips with the whole going for a walk thing.  She also had some fun ‘off lead’ time with the other dogs in a nearby field and she had great recall! I am thrilled with her progress. She is gaining more and more confidence each day. She fits in here perfectly.  She is so willing to learn and so well-behaved. We love her to bits already. The other dogs seem to love her too x

SAM_3409A pile of pooches

On another high note:

My chimney has FINALLY been rebuilt, after many difficulties fitting the chimney liner. My wood stove has been reconnected to the chimney, a new chimney stack has been built up on the roof and a new cowling fitted on the pot at the top. I have heat and hot water once again! It feels like home again. Hurrah! A real fire really is the heart of my home.

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It really has been a lovely week ( despite the earlier upset) My daughter received a surprise parcel in the post from a lovely friend of mine this week  and one of the items was a beautiful apron. I love it so much.  My daughter  plans to wear it when she bakes shortbread this week. I want one in my size 😉

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I am so grateful for all the wonderful things in my life and for the ability to ride the waves when things get tough (which they inevitably seem to do) and I am so thankful for all my amazing friends and my fabulous family, who love and support me  and accept my eccentricities 😉

Thank you all xxxx

SAM_3461Bumblebee says “Hello”

…..and right on cue to top the evening off with yet more loveliness the sky painted a beautiful picture for me tonight. I took a photo. Enjoy! xx

Red sky at night……..Goatkeeper’s delight 😉

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Goodnight x