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As 2016 Begins…

8 Jan

So in my last post I ended by telling you we finished 2015 with a surprise in the HAF household.

2015 saw:

One of my best friends having her baby in March.

The birth of our first Nephew in June.

Mr S and My first Year of Marriage in July. 

We had an amazing and fruitful first  year at the allotment. 

I got the garden started on its herb & medicinal plant journey. Ooo and started a Herbalist Course. 

It saw the addition of another cat to our Fur Family; Red.  

And 2 Indian Runner Ducks Korma & Tim.  

We had a fantastic holiday to France with Buster, who enjoyed all the sights and good food with us. 

I started a little job walking 2 sweet little dogs.  

I also started a part time job as an Animal Nursing Assistant.

We had our struggles and heartache as well in 2015, My Grandfather who I love so dearly has not had a good year for his health but he has got to 90! and is still fighting on.

Money as always on one income has been tight more so than in previous years mostly because Mr S went from contracting to a permanent job role which had lots of plus sides for us which is why he did it but a drop in wages. Money is not everything so this just meant adapting.

But we were ending the year in a positive direction.

November saw our surprise let me explain …

I suffer from combined autoimmune diseases; SLE Lupus and Sjorgens Syndrome, as well as Fibromyalgia and Coeliacs. So I take medication mostly these days painkillers. While I take this medication we can not try for a baby.

Mr S and I have wanted to start a family but had no success and had now with the start of my new career path put this idea on hold; we both shared the view however lovely it would be sometimes something’s just aren’t meant to be.

The Saturday before my new job began I wanted to start taking my pain medication properly to enable me to work. So as a precaution like hundreds of times previously, I bleary eyed at 4am; as this is when we get up everyday *thanks furry children* took a pregnancy test as standard so no medication mistakes happen… It was an odd reading I showed Mr S and we both agreed it was faulty so I tryed another.

Hang on maybe this ones faulty too they are the same batch and we are both tired … Queue a 6am drive to Tescos and this time Clear Blue test purchased.

To our great Suprise Shock and Joy two very clear lines presented themselves. Yes – I am Pregnant!

And this is how our year ended. I had to stop working after only one week unfortunately as my pregnancy journey began with severe morning sickness and I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, along with all the complications my health brings. I share this news with everybody with great trepidation and worry but that’s another days post.

Christmas was a bit different I couldn’t decorate a tree so we didn’t have one but we did have a lovely quiet Christmas at the in-laws and then with my family and New Year was a Turkey Curry and early night.

So that was the end of 2015.

Hopefully next year will see the healthy birth of our baby and we plan for more developments at the allotment. Mr S is diving head first into our permaculture dream.

Happy New Year from The HAF Household.

Sx

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2016 

8 Jan

Happy New Year! 

Ive been sporadically writing my blog now for 3years and through a combination of my blog/twitter/IG Ive developed some great new hobbies such as Pottery and Snailmail letter writing and developed some wonderful friendships and acquaintances. 

As Ive said before I never started with the intension of taking my blog anywhere or aiming at a set audience. I started it for my own personal development and remembering the good in everyday and for this it has really helped – it’s also why I dip in and out of my blog rather than post regularly. 

Ive realised that I’ve not blogged since the summer 2015 and so I will start with a quick catch up on the later part of the year here in the HAF household. 

AUGUST 

August was a fab month once more at the allotment. 

  
For the whole summer the allotment fed us handsomely and we had an amazingly successful 1st growing season. 

  
My permaculture allotment idea of having the Ducks there didnt come to fuition as apparently Ducks don’t class as Poultry at our allotment infact only Chickens do. So the Ducks are now perminantly a garden fixture much to the distress of the garden. 

The Ducks are amazing though and so cheeky and friendly. Quacking for attention and eating from our hands. They love nothing more than being with you. 

I managed to fit in a new Pilates class and a Yoga class over the summer which I’ve greatly enjoyed. Yoga I’ve done for many a year on and off now but this was the first time I had done Pilates and I’ve loved it! Just the right toning work out I’ve been looking for. 

SEPTEMBER   

Mr S, Buster and I were lucky enough to disappear for 3 weeks traveling and camping in France. 

   
We caught the ferry from Dover to Calasis and travelled down through the Champagne region to the south through Dijon and Lyon we stopped in the Ardeche on the Ceze for a glorious week of sunshine before traveling through the Sunflower and Lavender fields (unfortunately not in season) to Chamonix where we saw a friend of Mr S and dreamed once again of living in France. 

 
We finished our journey back across the country through the Wine regions and stopped in Versailles before returning home. 

Buster adored his holiday with us and the freedom he got in France we would love to travel again with him. 

 
OCTOBER

As you do on holiday you talk about your day to day life, dreams and aspirations… And on my return I decided it was time to look at getting a little job; as most know I look after our home and have not worked for about 4years now, it was a choice Mr S and I have been lucky to have based also on my health etc. 

Anyway I started a job search. I started locally and in what I’ve known best for years which is often available to part time – Dispensing/Pharmacy Technician. 

I dragged my heels so much and felt myself feeling sick with the thought of it again – I love the work I just wasn’t in a good place with my health when I left being a Pharmacy Tech for University and really wasn’t enjoying reliving those feelings. 

As if by magic an answer appeared my PERFECT job ! Animal Nursing Assistant part time, evening work which fitted with Buster care, 5 minutes from home, good pay and something I really got excited about. 

I got very nervous before the interview and then doubted wanting to work, I mean who wants to give up total freedom for the world of work… Long and the short I got the job and started my training  in November!! I enjoyed every moment of it and finally felt I have found my career in life. 

The allotment continue to flourish giving wonderful Autumn Harvest. 

   
 
And our Giant Pumpkin planted by niece R back in March, although not Giant was a good carving size. 

The girls came over for an official harvesting session. 

  
NOVEMBER 

I started my training at the beginning of November for my new Job and was extremely excited. 

I continued with my pottery when the term recommenced for the Autumn and once again throughly enjoying this crafty outlet.   

 
But we were about to get a surprise in November and with this I will finish my 2015 round up in another blog post. 

Sx 

The 5 Day Flower Challenge 

7 Jan

Wow 161 days ago I wrote this post and never posted … 

I was Challenged by AnneeApple over on Instagram to take part in the #flowerchallenge. 

The challenge is to post a flower photo a day for 5 days and nominate a person to take part each day. 

I thought I would share my 5 days & some of our garden here with you also.

Day 1: Blue Borage. 

  
Due to our multipet, garden munching household & my love of holistic aromatherapy our garden is a medical edible garden in progress. 

I have been researching tradtional english herbs and medicinal plants as well as edible flowers suitable for our garden. A lot of these plants also have the added bonus of being butterfly & bee friendly. 

We have extending some of this planting at the HAF Allotment. 

This is a snippet of one of the sunnier garden boarders.

  
In this picture there is Blue Hyssop, Broad Leaf Sage, Blue Borage, Hidcote Lavender, Oregano, White Violas, Creeping Thyme & Golden Lemon Thyme. 

I have a Pinterest board dedicated to the on going sourcing of the garden if you are also interested in developing such a garden. 

Day 2: Sunflower. 

  
The Sunflowers at the Allotment are around 5ft Tall now, which is amazing considering the journey these shining beauties have been on.

They have come back from being leggy twisted stemed juveniles, who provided the local slugs with a tasty meal and got battered by the strong winds, to produce magnificent yellow shiny faces the size of tea plates. 

Day 3: Viola. 

  
Amongst the herbs and medicinal plants in our garden are also edible flowers. I like to decorate cakes and afternoon tea with these beautiful Violas. They are also a favourite of the Ducks! 

Day 4: Calendula. 

  
I have planted Calendula all over the place at home and at the allotment. Once it’s bright cheerful flowers are over I will dry them and use them in my natural remedies and soap making. 

Day 5: Flower Seeds 

  
These where a wonderful bargain in Wilcos today at 60p for the lot in the charity clearance area. 

I plan for these to be planted at the allotment next year as I felt we didn’t quiet have enough flowers and bee attractors at the allotment. 

For some reason my Sarah Raven Wildflower mix totally failed. We did however have beautiful Sunflowers, Calendula, Borage and Sweet Peas. 

  
And that’s my 5 day #flowerchallenge complete. 

Sx 

 

It’s Quackers At Hundred Acre Farm 

22 Jul

We have wanted Chickens for ages but having felt we didn’t want them in the garden it wasn’t possible, but when we got the Allotment back in February it was a consideration again. 

After a lot of thought we made the sensible plan of establishing the Allotment for a Year then in Spring 2016 getting Buff Orpington Growers; the breed we feel would most suit us with their friendly personalities and willingness to embrace other pets; namely a very excitable over enthusatic Boxer. 

         And this was the plan until a week ago when we attended a BBQ at our friends house. 

This friend is a work colleagues of Mr S and we know he and his partner are also a bit animal eccentric like ourselves. Amongst their clan they keep Indian Runner Ducks. This Year they added to their Duck Flock by rearing the eggs from their own IR’s. 

Born at the end of May we got to meet these feathered friends at said BBQ. But alas 2 of the ducklings were being picked on for unknown reasons by the flock. 

Queue Hundred Acre Farm. 

A week on and we spent our 1st Wedding Anniversary building a pen for the imminent arrival of our new feathered friends, of whom actually joined the farm on Our First Wedding Anniversary. 

(Maybe instead of the traditional 1st Anniversary = Paper, 2nd = Cotton etc. Mr S and I should have our own. 1st Anniversary = A Pair of Ducks, 2nd = A Donkey) 

So meet Korma & Tim….  

 
We know that Korma is a little girl as she is slightly older and is Quacking. 

Lesson 1: Female Ducks Quack, Male Ducks are quieter in the noise they extrude.

All the original ducklings were named by our friends sons after curries, Tim however developed a bad leg due to being picked on and then adopted the name Tiny Tim. 

Lesson Two: Runner Ducks are good for organic permaculture. Hunting out bugs and slugs without damaging crops.

The Ducks are currently living in our garden while we gain permission to move them to the allotment. 

In this time I hope to clicker train the Ducks and bond with them. Then when they are ready to go to the allotment they will be given free range of our plot during the day and tucked up safely at night. 

Lesson Three: Ducks Grow Quickly !! Quicker than Chickens.

This is Korma at the end of May when she was born. The photo was taken by her ‘hatching family’.

  

 

And as for Tim… 

  

This is his fluffy self the weekend we met him. 

Now look at them both. This is only a week later from the above picture of Tim. 

 

Lesson Four: Not all Ducks are Messy & Quack all the time. 

Ive become fond of the Ducks very quickly and Im so shocked at how quiet they are, they rarely quack or meep in Tims case and they seem to be non destructive – I may live to regret saying this when they eat our greens and not the slugs at the allotment.

I’m sure I will share our new feathered babies with you again soon as they grow and we learn together. 

Sx 

Hello June 

25 Jun

Hello Hello 

Despite my New Year best intentions my blogging has been slow. 

My poor blog has taken the brunt of lots of aspects of #HAFLife. 

So let’s have a catch up!

FEBRUARY 

The beginning of February saw Mr S’s Father’s 70th birthday celebrations. 

Friday 13th was lucky for us as we got our fantastic Allotment Plot 11A and the clearing & planning started. #HAFLottie

  
At the end of the month we had my friends book themed baby shower. 

MARCH 

My friend had her gorgeous little baby boy, he is a total heartbreaker. I adore him. 

The Allotment saw lots of progress. We cleared all the weeds, redesigned the beds, built a fence, sorted all the rubbish and generally tidied the plot. 

It also saw the start of our growing trials and trepidations. The learning curve began. 

We struggled with space and light starting off our seedlings which resulted in leggy unsavalvageable plants which we had to replant. Along the way we have learnt lots of lessons for next year. 

  
It was the middle Nieces birthday so we had a little party day for her at ours as she loves the animals. R also planted 3 Giant Pumpkin Seeds 1 for her and each of her sisters. 

APRIL

A Birthday month.. We have lots of family birthdays in April including my own.

For my own we had a lovely day out in Dedham & Flatford with The Dog in toe, having a wonderful Cream Tea at La Maison Talbooth with good enough weather to sit outside. 

  
Another April Birthday is my Great Aunt, she was 90 this year. We had a lovely family celebration and I turned my hand to some flower arranging. 

MAY

We saw May in with May Day Celebrations at Kentwell Hall enjoying traditional Tudor May Merry Making!! 

It also saw the first of our allotment Harvest! with the Rhubarb which we enjoyed not only stewed but in the marvelous discovery of ‘Rhubarb Champagne’.

The #HAFLottie started to get exciting too as the fruit bushes came to life and we started to plant our seedlings now little plug plants out. 

  
In more #HAFLife we had a spontaneous family date night at the drive in cinema at Alexandera Palace The Dog really was happy to be with us and he was very interested in the big people on the screen. 

Finally the Craft Room was painted and the process of reorganisation & clearing out has started.

For the second Bank Holiday my #postcircle #goose buddy aka the little grey girl knitter & blogger came to stay. It was Fab as always to catch up with her and we popped along to the Cambridge Beer Festival. 

On the Sunday we had a day “mucking about on the river” with my Brother, His Girlfriend & of course Our Bestest Boy! 

  
And to finish off the month Our Nieces popped over and we planted their Giant Pumpkin Plants; started off in March.

JUNE

Mr S took a week off and we had an Ikea trip for *squeel* craft room furniture & organisation. Followed by 5 days away; 1 in The Lake District & 4 in Kirkcudbright, Scotland. 

  

The Sunshine and Showers have been miserable for me but GREAT for the garden & #HAF Lottie (minus the stupidly high winds). 

The #HAFLottie is really coming to life everything is now in with some successes and some less so, but we will see as time goes on. 

We have had spinach and strawberries this month, with the peas, gooseberries, redcurrant’s & blackcurrants not far behind. 

In 2 weeks we have had 6kg of Strawberries which is making us very popular with family. 

  

And some how we find ourselves at the end of June the longest day past and still no sign of the summer sun staying. 

I’ve not been crafting much although I’m really into my porcelain pottery at the moment. Im just finding my feet with it and can’t wait each week for my class. 

  

My time consuming passion this year has been the #HAFLottie which I look forward to sharing its seasonal progression. 

I’m still 4 weekly menu planning using my Filofax and we are now on the start of the Summer Menus. This has been one of the best changes, most time effective and money saving, I can’t recommend it enough. 

I haven’t been as active within the social media side of life but there is deffinatly lots of #HAFLife going on @HundredAcreFarm. 

  

I do miss catching up with you all! I mostly can be caught hanging around on Instagram these days; Serotiny_Haf So I hope to see you there… 

Let’s not leave it another 6 months. 

Sx

 

Word Of The Week

14 Feb

Week 7: 8th February – 14th February 2015

My word of the week this week is Allotment.

Hundred Acre Farm is expanding to plot 11a as of Friday 13th February 2015.

I’ve wanted an Allotment for a while and enquired when we first moved in but heard nothing back and with this and that I thought it best not to follow it up.

But late last year; as we decided we wouldn’t be moving just yet, the thought popped into my head again.

Of late, with our main meals for £20 a week, we have been eating lots of vegetables so my rusty brain cogs started turning and I contacted the local allotment group again this time I had mild success in that they replied and put me on the 2 year waiting list.
I promptly forgot all about it.

Then out of the blue this week the chair of the allotment committee rings and announces there are a few plots up for rent would I still be interested.
We set up a meeting to view plots the very next day (I put the phone down and got very over excited; dreaming, planning and anticipating).

I had a couple of little niggles though
A) I had to be realistic in what we could managed; Mr S works long hours, we have very busy weekends as it is and my energy levels & body are not always compliant.
And
B) Money !!! I started to tot up all the bits we would possibly want and then narrowed it down to need. I had a good evening looking on Free Cycle and Gumtree. This is not a scheduled expense at the moment in keeping with plans, so I have not got lots of money to spend.

Sleeping on things I began to worry.

Never or less I meet the chairman after lunch the next day and had a pleasant chat as he showed me around.

Lots of plots had recently been vacated; 6 full plots & 1 half plot.
(These are not national size plots- yes there is a ‘standard plot’ measurement I am learning lots already)
The local plots are half plots & quarter plots on the national standard.

Once I had seen the sizes I opted for a full size as I think we would soon out grow a half plot.

There were lots of lovely plots with good and bad points but as soon as I saw our plot I knew it was for us.

IMG_4298

The previous plot holders had obviously cared for this plot and invested time and money – on top of this they had kindly left numerous fruit canes & bushes along with a shed, bench etc and a few tools.

My previous nights worries started to fade.

I think I shocked the chairman as I was quick in making my choice and within 10 minutes had signed the papers & paid in full £30 for the year. He was a little taken aback I acted so quickly but I was sure this was our plot and felt so lucky given the circumstances the previous people had helped by leaving so much.

So let me give you a brief tour of Plot 11a HAF Lottie.

IMG_4317

We have a Bench, Water Butt (the bin) and Compost heap at the back of the plot. Also left were lots of handy pots and pieces of wood.

IMG_4328

Our shed and a fab little fire pit.
(We moved the bench and placed it on paving slabs to stop the feet rotting and placed the fire pit of slabs too)

IMG_4323

Our Strawberry beds and at the back is a Rhubarb crown.

IMG_4430

Inside out shed, they left us tools and a few other handy bits and bobs.

IMG_4429

Here we have Raspberry canes, Gooseberry bushes and Redcurrant bushes.
We also inherited 3 small trees which we can only guess at what they are currently Im guessing 2 plum trees and an apple.

And that is The HAF Lottie: Plot 11a.

We mind is now whizzing with plans and Im dying to get on as if we are quick we can catch up before its time to start planting out.

That’s my word of the week: Allotment.
I look forward to sharing the developments with you.

Sx

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