You’ll have to forgive me, dear Reader. Honestly I only crept through the door in the back of the wardrobe for five minutes for a little peace and quiet and next thing I know, spring has sprung and summer was giving us a last hurrah. I didn’t mean to stay in Narnia so long but somehow the longer I stayed away, the more I was able to focus on the most important things or rather people in my life. I’ve been working on a series of new projects at the writing desk and at the farmhouse too so the outside world has been lost to me for a time. Too often I forget to just enjoy the moment. Taking an extended break from the blog was not really part of the plan initially but I think it’s helped me to focus on what I do want to achieve and not worry about dividing myself into thousands of parts in order to get things done. To be honest I wasn’t sure that if the blog was perhaps relevant any more or whether or not it would be missed if it just slipped away quietly. A crisis of confidence shall we say, dear Reader. So this little break has made me have a long hard think about where I’d like to be and how I move forward with my writing. In short it’s been good for me. Before I knew it, the time whooshed past and I’d no idea what or if I’d missed anything important in the land of blogs and social media and magazine columns or life in little Insta squares. So thank you for bearing with me. I promise not to be away again for so long.
I am sure you are wondering what’s been happening at the farmhouse? Well we’ve had a few new arrivals and we reached our first milestone – 1 year at the farmhouse. I still can’t quite believe it but somehow this beautiful little plot and house are ours and although we still have a long way to do in terms of renovating it, we are all so very happy. Oh the things I have to tell you, dear Reader.
Since the ducks arrived, there has been nothing but trouble. They are bonkers and such excellent time wasters. Luckily they are so adorable otherwise I’d envisage crispy duck on the horizon. On the hen front, we lost our lovely Cream Legbar hen Marj and we decided to go in search of another blue egg hen, ending up with Minnie and her husband Winston.
Things didn’t turn out so well with Winston sadly and he began attacking everyone and everything in sight, resulting in drawing blood almost every day from one of us. The children were too terrified to even collect the eggs. So he had to go. With no hope of rehoming him because of his aggression, he ended up in the pot. Not an easy decision but a necessary one. I remain ever in awe of our girls that they aren’t horrified by the idea of animals loved and cared for becoming food for the table. Who would have thought that Margot and Jerry could produce such country folklings?
Then came the geese. Three plump Embden beauties we thought we’d call George, Lucy and Martha. As seems to now be the way of all things Margot and Jerry HQ, we ended popping over to see our log man and leaving the wood yard with more livestock. I seem to be on speed dial for rehoming animals. Turns out that Martha was actually an Arthur and Lucy more of a Luke. So we have renamed them the Three Tenors – Luciano, Placido and Jose. Much more fitting when they offer up a merry honk every time someone appears on the driveway! They are all looking rather less muddy these days and have been a welcome addition to the pond. Although the ducks are rather less keen on their daily raids on the feeder and bolshy teenage gosling antics. We had hoped for the tiny splish of webbed feet when Daisy our most maternal duck sat on her eggs for a week or two. Overnight, she lost them all to a rather cunning rat or stoat. A rather sad end to spring but I’ve come to accept that nature is all part of farmhouse life. We’ve promised Poppy and Primrose an incubator for next year.
The lavender harvest was a wonderful success and I am eternally thankful to all who purchased wreaths and bunches from us this summer. It’s true what they say about small business owners – we do do a little dance every time someone buys something from us. I couldn’t have managed cutting rows and rows all by hand without a lot of help from friends and family and it has made me more determined than ever to see this little farmhouse business idea succeed.
I’ve also formed a lovely partnership with the talented Saskia from Saskia’s Flower Essences and this year, she took some of our lavender to distill into oil and hydrosol to make her wonderful Easy Sleep spray. I’m a great believer in the power of plants and flowers and this has certainly been a hit in our household – think This Works but better. Saskia has a magic touch.
There’ll be a little more before Christmas with some firelighters and a few other bits and bobs but for now, lavender season is well and truly at an end. The four of us have breathed a huge sign of relief not to have to pick, make wreaths or handle lavender for a wee while. Watch this space as we develop a new website for Cricket Lavender next year.
Carrying on the countryside capers, our new kitchen garden has been a stonking success. I’m quite certain that Jerry and I might not have been quite so grumpy about the back breaking work of turning a patch of turf into a vegetable garden if we’d known just how much one small patch could produce. We’ve had enough to feed half the village, dear Reader!
From wonky carrots and mammoth marrows to leaks of another kind and time travel. As the house renovations rumble on, we experienced our usual chaos when the attic was cleared to make way for new insulation. Turns out that all our ancient pipes are in desperate need of replacing and as the attic was cleared, a rather large leak was found that we’re lucky hadn’t brought down the ceilings. Goodness only knows how many years it had been gushing water. Emergency plumber drafted in, I prayed that our attic related calamities might be at an end. However, the farmhouse had other plans, dear Reader. In the space of a few hours, to add to the Cluedo-esque lead piping, we battled with a couple of loose cannon hornets as well as accidentally scooping up two live bumblebee nests. The silver lining? A miraculously intact copy of the Daily Mail from 3rd October 1923 was found, complete with front page story featuring a certain moustached German politician by the name of Hitler alongside another headline about a cow rampaging through a village and injuring three people. A Cow’s Day Out indeed. The paper has been framed and will be hung in the downstairs loo for posterity, joining another find in the form of a yellowing edition of The Sun from July 1980 with the headline Russian Spy Plot. You’ll be pleased to hear that the bumblebees made a great escape too and were collected by a bee man under cover of darkness to be rehomed in a local copse, dear Reader.
In short as you can see, dear Reader, the last few months have been eventful in many ways. As autumn creeps in, I am back at the writing desk and the house is quiet except for dogs snoring. Don’t tell Poppy and Primrose but I do miss them when we are back to our old routines of school and work. However I know that September always brings new adventures, dear Reader and I’m ready for them.
PS – if you’re on Instagram, I’ve started a little hashtag to curate all the mists and mellow fruitfulness of autumn. I’d love you to join in too – just add #usheringautumnin to your post and I’ll choose favourites each week to share on a Friday.