Taisia’s favourite colour is orange. She wants to wear it, colour with it, make things with it. She loves it. It’s a new favourite.
Our life is full of new things at the moment. New routines. New challenges. New budgets!
The teens are both at college full time now. Chelsea is studying Psychology, Sociology, and English Literature. Joseph is doing an NVQ Plumbing course. Their timetable is dictating our days, each of them needing to be at college on different days and different times. Living where we are in the beautiful Devon countryside this means plenty of ‘taxi’ service driving for me – driving the 9 miles to college, or a 4 mile walk for the teens to the bus stop.
This is huge.
Huge in the sense of life-changing – not just car fuel bill huge (although the car fuel bill is now huge too!)
Since moving here in 2012 I’ve become pretty reclusive. Not in a weird and strange lady of the neighbourhood way, but in a I’m very content living here and have everything I need sort of way. There was so much that needed to be done in order to fulfill the dream of having animals and vegetable growing, that all my time was taken up clearing nettles, cutting down brambles, and securing fencing. At times it appeared never-ending, but I loved it so and didn’t mind the hard work and effort at all.
What this did mean though was that I lacked the time (and let’s face it, the inclination) to explore and build new friendships in the area. I was happily content with my lot. We would visit the occasional home-education group, have friends over to visit from time to time, and drive to a few of the towns for shopping needs sometimes, but the majority of our days was spent pottering around home, wandering around on nature walks and learning as we lived. I was content and fulfilled, the children were happy and blossoming and I saw no need to change what was clearly working.
Then college days beckoned and a new chapter was forced upon us. Of course it goes without saying I’m so proud of my children wanting to further their education in this way and make their mark in the world, but it is going to take some getting used to.
For eleven years I have danced to my very own tune. We haven’t had to schedule in term times and holidays, work around drop offs and pick up times, or ensure that people have been delivered to an educational establishment on time each day. The teens have helped around our smallholding -tending to our animals, vegetable nurturing, and field maintaining. It’s been great to have the children assist with the chores and learn a great deal along the way. Now I am left to find my own way of doing things, assisted by the younger ones – including a baby under one. That juggling act will be fun, but we will once again find a routine that works and incorporates life, animals, self-sufficiency (in a small way), and home-education.
I can’t wait.
Today was a prime example of what may beckon for us in the future to come. We dropped Chelsea off at college for her English study and continued on to Tiverton Canal. We took a small bucket of mixed corn feed (a bonus of keeping poultry), and headed off in search of ducks, coots, and moorhens. It was only seconds into our stroll that we found some – or rather they found us – and the feeding frenzy began, with birds flying in from all directions wanting in on the feast.
We chatted as we wandered.
It was a beautiful day with blue skies overhead and sunshine glistening through the leafy trees, showing nature’s bounty at it’s very best. Hawthorn berries literally dripped from their thin bindings, blackberries hugged each other in numerous clusters, and the bushes that proudly give birth to their rosehip fruits displayed their pinky red wares in abundance.
We smiled and chattered to passers by, pointed out beautiful butterflies as they danced with joyous abandon around our heads, and made sure that this rather large fella had a safe passage across our path…
We believe it to be our first real-life encounter with an Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar. You can find out more about them here.
Two hours later we were back at the car and packing up ready to pick up Chelsea, before heading to a nearby store to stock up on jam jars and goodies for making delicious ‘stuff’ over the weekend – we plan to be foraging lots!