I'm glad that we moved when the weather was changing to the not quite so pleasant, and we were able to see what life here was going to be like without the rose-tinted viewpoint sunny days provide.
We moved here in October 2012. Within a few short weeks we had experienced severe floods (on our land and around the local area - cutting us off from nearby towns), and an oil shortage and high demand for stocks meaning a delay in receiving oil for our heating. We have also experienced icy roads and snow.
The weather has been harsh, really harsh at times. Severe weather warnings have been a regular occurrence on TV and frequent references to being one of the coldest and/or wettest winters on record were heard on an almost nightly basis.
Not only have we survived the mud and muck, the icy cold winds, the daily rigmarole of wrapping everyone up in numerous layers of clothing just to take the dog for a walk or collect the chicken eggs, and the seemingly dozens of daily laundry loads that accumulates from such layers - we have enjoyed it.
I can't speak for the others as to the extent of their enjoyment, but I for one have loved it.
My days have been spent watching hungry birds hustling and bustling around our bird feeder, lying awake in bed at night listening to the twit-tooing of the local owls, and been awoken each morning by the neighbour's cockerel crowing.
What a far cry from our previous abode where our days were spent distracted by the noise of the gigantic quantity of cars passing by our window daily, being kept awake at night by the unwaning passing traffic and emergency vehicle sirens - not to mention the constant light of the street lamps streaming through the window, and the not-so-pleasant drunken folks passing by our gate and feeling the need to kick or punch the bus-stop shelter. Oh I should also mention being awoken by people being dropped off in cars at said bus stop in the early hours, with the loud banging of doors (always reopened and banged closed again, just in case...), the beeping of horns and the cries of goodbye that is clearly deemed necessary whilst doing so.
I can't begin to really describe what a difference this move has made to our lives. Our family unit appears (certainly feels) to be more contented amongst the quietness that surrounds us, less stressed by the small things and able to cope with the big things better. From a personal perspective, I've loved seeing what the children are gaining from living here. Being able to offer them the freedom of their own space to play and explore, a place to build outside dens, and watch birds making their nests, makes my heart sing. The relationships they are forming with our new animals and the knowledge they are gaining from being around them is heartwarming. I am truly excited to find out what the day has in store for us as my eyes open to greet each morning, which could definitely not be said in our previous location.
Now that the land here is drying up and we no longer have to risk our wellies getting stuck in the mud each time we venture out of the door, there is a real level of anticipation building up within our home. Plans are finally being put into action; vegetable plots are being planned out, fencing ideas are being thrown around, and it finally feels as if we can make a real start on getting done what needs doing. We have already made great progress really, and I must not forget that. Looking at the before and after photographs I really gain a real sense of achievement and dare I say it, pride. I have to remember that we have been so up against it weather-wise, and of course, it is never going to be easy trying to get jobs on the land completed whilst my husband works full-time and I'm home-educating 5 children alongside trying to keep the inside of our home as clean and tidy and possible.
I have to remind myself that I'm not superwoman despite what my head may say and my heart long to tell me.
I can only do my best, and although I want everything done yesterday, I have to be realistic.
This weekend though has been a rather lovely one.
The weather has been much warmer than of late, and we even had sunshine join us on Saturday. I can tell you it was greeted with a first-class welcome. Unfortunately for me, I was not feeling in tip-top form myself. I ended up staying indoors and entertaining Taisia - at one point we both curled up together on the sofa and snoozed. I refuse to feel guilty anymore about taking a nap in afternoon when necessary. I always used to fight it fiercely and think I was the worst mother and wife in the world if I succumbed to a rest in the afternoon. I know now that I have to listen to my body and if it is saying I'm tired, then I am tired. I know the consequences of not having that 20/30/40 minute shut eye on the sofa. I know that if I feel tired and I don't allow myself rest, that failure to listen to my body leads to a day or so of migraine suffering, obviously meaning my family are without me for far longer than the snooze time.
I have to be kind to myself. I am allowed to be kind to myself.
I am learning.
Lee and the rest of the family enjoyed their time out on the land though, and they had a couple of four-legged friends that were pleased to see them out there too....
This is the first time this year that Tiegan has ventured outside in just a t-shirt. You will see that it didn't last for long. Today was a lot cooler. The weather wasn't so bright and cheerful, but it was still a great deal warmer than recent weeks.
I managed to get out on the land today too, and took the opportunity to take a few photos of our goat kids.
This is Rosie...
and this is Pixie...
They are such characters and a real joy to have around whilst we are outside with them. They explore everything, want to be part of whatever you are doing and follow the children around like puppies.
*Psst, you look that way and I'll keep a lookout this way*
*I'm not sure this is very tasty, so I'll just hold it for a while...*
*Hey, is that tasty? Give us a bit!*
(I will just point out they are not actually eating these things, they just like holding them in their mouths and waving them around. I obviously wouldn't deliberately allow them to eat paper).
Taisia has loved being outside too....
As did our other four legged hairy friend...
Callum and Joseph enjoyed doing a bit of 'work' to help us out...
But always found time for a chat...
In other news, the home-hatched chicks are all doing really well. All are eating and drinking happily and with ease - four of them are self-feeding, whilst the fifth is being hand-fed of sorts. She is an independent eater, meaning she is readily eating what is offered and happily pecks at chick crumb from a dish or hand, but she can't walk or balance upright very easily so we hold her to feed and ensure she is gaining enough. She drinks whilst being held too. Tomorrow will be day 4 of her corrective toe treatment and I'm hoping that we may see the slightest sign of improvement. The little chick lady is so bright and healthy in every other way, so very alert, and feeding so easily without force or coercion, I really hope we can overcome the balancing and walking issue with her. All the signs are good so fingers are firmly crossed.
We are now gaining three eggs per day from our chickens, and the quails are laying on average 4 eggs per day. The children are still really enjoying the daily egg-collecting duty, it truly makes my heart sing to see their smiles and listen to their excitement as they tell me of their discovered treasure. Before moving here I envisaged what I wanted for my children, the dream if you like, and it is fast becoming our reality.
How mightily blessed we are.