Africa

 

 

Some readers may have noticed that I always use the name of a song as the title for my blog posts.  This week is no different.  Africa is the song choice for this week … chosen by Son No1 as it’s a song he’s enjoying teaching himself to play on the piano.  It’s also highly applicable as it bears no relevance to anything that’s happened in GGHQ this week … it’s not been a bad week, not at all, but it’s probably best described in this way  …

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Early on in the week while we were out exploring we found these teeny, tiny frogs.  There were so many of them hopping about around our feet and we’re all hoping we made it home without reducing the frog population at all.  The boys managed to catch some and hold them, they were the smallest frogs I think I’ve ever seen.  Son No3 was keen to bring one home as a pet but, thankfully, he realised we don’t have a pond and couldn’t dig one quickly enough so the idea was abandoned … phew!

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The chickens have been on house (run) arrest this week as they were having routine worming treatment.  This meant that they weren’t allowed any treats which did not go down well.  We’ve all been grumbled at and told off by the girls and if we went near them we were pecked.  Thankfully tomorrow is the last day and Monday we’ll be back to normal.  Beryl the Peril however, whilst voicing her dis-satisfaction, has proved that a week without treats has done no harm and produced these two massive eggs for us … I can’t help but think it must hurt!

Garden wise everything is rumbling along nicely, the last of the leeks were planted and we used an improvised tub having run out of proper tubs to use and being too mean to buy any more.  We picked the last of our raspberries and Mr GG added them to some delicious wild raspberries picked by my parents to make some jam.  It is SO good!  We also harvested the peas … which is a fancy way for saying we got half a dozen and rather than going from farm to table it was more a case of farm to mouth!

Our simple living efforts continue and this week I tried semi-drying excess tomatoes we had left over from the veg box we got from a local farm.  Personally they’re not my taste, I prefer tomatoes fresh but Mr GG seems to think they’re delicious and I’ll admit they look nice in the jar. 


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Halfway through the week the Junior GGs mentioned the ‘bored’ word … I’m surprised that they’ve not yet learned how dangerous this word is to use.  I always find something for them to do, somethingIMG_1976 they’d probably not choose … this time I set them to stripping the walls in the living room.  Now, this wasn’t planned.  Not at all.  To be fair, the living room is crying out to be redecorated but decorating is just a bit bigger a job than we’d anticipated at the moment.  However, the boys took on the challenge and we’ve now got paperless walls.  I’d forgotten how much fun stripping walls is so I think Mr GG is hoping they don’t mention the ‘bored’ word again next week or we’ll start stripping the hall. 

IMG_1977I have finally dug out my knitting once again and set to making some more squares for a patchwork throw I’ve been working on for, at least, a couple of years.  It’ll probably never make it to ‘throw’ stage as, the squares are all different sizes and I hate the sewing part … I keep promising myself to start sewing a couple together each week but something more exciting always distracts me.  Nevermind though, I enjoy knitting and feel ridiculously proud of the different patterns that can be made.  I’ll never become so dedicated to simple living that I start knitting jumpers for the boys so they can rest easy on that score.  Little knitting projects are fine for me!  I just seem to have a problem with the finishing part!

So, all is happy in GGHQ, life doesn’t work out as we always anticipate it and we go off on random tangents from time to time but the kettle is always on and we love it when folks drop in for a cuppa … hint hint!

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Daydream believer

Hello folks!  Another week over and a new one beginning … just like that!I’ve been pondering what to write this week.  Not much has happened for me to report about home education … we’ve just been enjoying time in the sun and making the most of holidays … well, some of us have … to be fair on Mr GG, he’s been working hard as usual but this past week he was working from home which we all love.    IMG_1785One of the things I’ve noticed lately is how easy it is for us all to slip into an attitude of entitlement … I’ve been trying to foster a sense of thankfulness and gratitude in myself as well as trying to encourage the boys.  A wee while ago I shamelessly stole this idea from a friend on Facebook … 30 days of gratitude.  Most evenings, as we eat our meal, we’ll discuss what we’re grateful for for that day.  There have been some interesting ideas and it’s fair to say that Son No1 nearly spontaneously combusted when he was tasked with naming just one piece of technology that he was thankful for!  At new year I set myself the challenge of recording something I was thankful for each day … I’m pleased to say that we’re now more than halfway through the year and I’ve not run out of thankfulness!Mr GG and I have set ourselves a challenge to reduce our spending each month as well as reducing our electricity/gas bill.  I’m enjoying the challenge although it seems that ‘living simply’ seems to make for much more work! Naturally one of the first ‘cut backs’ has been to dry our laundry outside rather than use the dryer.  For several years I’ve opted to give washing dried outside a wee blast in the dryer as it seemed to help with Son No2’s hayfever.  For many years he struggled so badly each year, ending up with eye infections and, sometimes, eyes that were so swollen they couldn’t open.  It was awful.  However, ditching the dryer this year doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact on him so it appears his susceptibility to hayfever has reduced as he’s got older.  Something to be thankful for! Simple living means I’ve been baking more which I’m enjoying.  I’ve always loved baking but tend to get caught up in life and fall into the trap of just buying biscuits etc.  One of the main things I bake is chocolate brownies … it’s a favourite of all three boys (well, four if you count Mr GG) and something I’ve baked with the boys so often that two in particular can make themselves with little intervention from me.  We also discovered lately that gluten free brownies are even more tasty that ordinary ones! IMG_1810In the middle of the week I discovered a full packet of Lotus Biscoff which were going out of date soon.  Rather than waste the biscuits I made fifteens which, in turn, left me with half a tin of condensed milk I didn’t want to waste.  A wee google led me to this recipe … chocolate chip cookies … they are awesome!  I’ve never managed to make cookies that had the right crispy/gooey ratio.  These do!  And, even better, the cookie dough stores in the fridge for a week so I’ve been able just to make as many as I need at a time to keep the boys happy.  Win win!  I feel virtuous that I’ve not wasted anything and the boys are delighted with an almost daily supply of cookies.Bread has also been something that I’ve been making more often.  We have a breadmaker but I don’t really like using it … it’s bulky and takes forever to use.  I found an easy bread recipe which I’ve been trying out and the results have been delicious.  Previously when I’ve made bread I’ve been able to set the dough on the dryer to prove but that’s no longer an option so I’ve taken advantage of the sunny weather to set it on the windowsill of our front room.  Mr GG assures me that our neighbours already think we’re a bit quirky (chickens do that!) so they’ll not really be surprised by us!IMG_1811We’ve already enjoyed some of the rewards of our garden in the past few days.  We have a lone blackcurrant bush (well, technically there are two but one is in the chicken run and only has two wee leaves left at the top … chickens do that too!) which has excelled itself this year.  While Mr GG loves blackcurrants, I can’t stand them so we weren’t too sure what to do with them … eventually we decided on jam … maybe seen as a bit of a waste of effort as this was the result, but Mr GG is enjoying it so that’s good enough for me (to be fair, he made the jam himself anyway).

 In this sunny weather I’ve been experimenting with infused waters rather than fizzy drinks or diluting juice.  Some have been successful, some not so much.  I’m enjoying gathering herbs and some fruits from the garden to try out and one of my favourites so far has been lemon, raspberry & rosemary.Our faltering attempts at making our garden pay are beginning to show results.  Some of the potatoes are nearly ready for digging up and we have a steady supply of herbs, lettuce and salad leaves.  Not everything is working out though … the tomatoes are stubbornly refusing to perform and have, so far, only produced one manky looking tomato.  The mystery veg that we planted looks like it’s possibly peppers … no fruit appearing but I’m fairly chuffed that we’ve managed to identify it.   The peas we planted are mostly doing well and I can see some pods appearing … few, if any, of them will make it to the table for, in a nod to a happy days spent with my Grandad ‘helping’ in his garden, I’m likely to sit outside and eat them all. IMG_1720Beryl, Ivy & Minnie continue to delight all five of the GG clan and have completely won over Mr GG who was adamant he didn’t want them.  They’re all laying pretty much every day and are ever so patient with me hopping about outside the coop waiting for eggs so that I can bake.  I have dreams of one day having meat chicks, and quail and maybe a pond for ducks, as well as an orchard with a bee hive or two, and a field with pigs, sheep and maybe a couple of cows (for Mr GG).  I can see me working in the fields in my wellies (pink of course, in a houseful of male-ness there needs to be some pink) and scooting about in my land rover.  But, for now, I’m content … I’m already seeing some of my dreams come true … home educating my awesome boys and chooks in the garden … truly living the dream!IMG_0016