Slow Living :: October and November 2014

Doubling up on the months as I’ve been in a bit of a fug – the turn of the weather has caused me to hunker down and retreat somewhat.

Thanks to TEND magazine I learnt that when Americans say apple cider they actually mean apple juice.  I have no idea why this little snippet of information had eluded me for so long, after all I’ve read the Little House on the Prairie series of books enough times and noted they drank cider in that and did think it was a bit strange bearing in mind their attitude to alcohol, but for some reason the penny never dropped.  Anyway the reason for this revelation was the recipe in the Autumn edition for Apple Chicken (which was so delicious we made it twice – the second time as a request for Nin’s birthday dinner).




‘Tis the season for making woolly warm things.  As soon as there’s a nip in the air, I seem to reach for a hook or knitting needles.  I’ve been busy crocheting a ripple blanket and have also been working on the Sea Urchin hat as part of the TEND magazine KAL, plus some mittens for Stinkers (who also needs a hat which I hope to cast on this evening) as she’s not particularly fond of her brother’s balaclava (which is too small for him, but a perfect fit for her).


This is her, “Seriously, mummy, I want my own hat knitted especially for me,” face.  AKA “I’m not best impressed with this malarkey and I’m only tolerating it because it’s cold…”


Hanging out with home ed friends on a bowling trip.


I’ve not posted much about gardening over the past year, mostly this has been because I haven’t been able to as we were taking part in a TV series for BBC Two: Big Dreams, Small Spaces and weren’t able to discuss what we were doing.  It has finally aired (a few weeks ago) and I’m now free to post up some photos of the past year of gardening (which I will hopefully do so in the next post or so).

It’s been rather quiet on the physically gardening front these past few months – partly due to trying to get various bits done on the house, but also because I’ve not been 100%.  The tomatoes have now all gone over and been pulled out and composted, as have the cucumbers.  The peppers in the conservatory are still going strong, however, and reddening on the plant as I type.



There’s always so much to learn.  We’ve been busy doing some work on the house (decorating, etc) and have been building quite a bit of flat pack furniture – these sorts of life skills are full of learning opportunities for children, from basic motor skills practice for the very young, to calculating the amount of paint needed to cover the walls of a room (for those who can do more than count to 10).

A couple of music groups are currently running at The Point (organised by Doncaster Music Education Hub and funded by DMBC) for local home educators and we have been joining in with percussion sessions and Nin has been attending guitar lessons.  Stinkers tries very hard to join in (although sometimes we have to go and have an apple juice in the cafe when recording is taking place).

Ted also found an juvenile hedgehog, which we brought in to weigh.  It was underweight and therefore we phoned The British Hedgehog Preservation Society for advice.



Not quite as much getting out and about with the weather – Nin needed new walking boots and me a coat (you can’t go traipsing out and about in the woods, etc, without decent boots), so things had to wait a little – although I have to admit the rain and cold has been a factor too.

The field of sweetcorn/maize that had grown so high has been harvested and the field looks so bare now.




We celebrated two birthdays this month, my eldest son’s and Nin’s.  I didn’t get a decent photo of R blowing his candles out, but at least his cake was homemade.  Nin’s met with an ‘unfortunate accident’ (it fell to pieces *sob*) and we ended up having an emergency run to the shop for a substitute, because there just wasn’t the time to make another.

Wholesome home-cooking fail! (Although the main course itself was lovely).

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Slow Living :: September 2014



September is certainly the month for preserving.  My little dehydrator has been doing overtime, drying tomatoes, beetroot, courgettes and more fruit and vegetables to be stored for use over the winter.  I’ve also been drying calendula to make a soothing oil for skin and various herbs.


Having a little stock of crochet motifs handy is useful for patching trousers when children tear them in rollerskating accidents.  We’ve also been drawing and painting inspired by the colours of autumn.


We’re still visiting the Yorkshire Wildlife Park regularly.  What has surprised me is that there are a few new babies to be seen (I didn’t think it would be the time of year for it!)

We’ve seen a wallaby joey and some very adorable meerkat kits.

Pesky planes might just be birds of prey...

I assume this is mum, who ran over when a plane flew overhead.  It must bear some resemblance to a bird of prey, because all the adults stopped to watch it very carefully – you may take the meerkats out of the wild, but you clearly can’t take all of the wild out of the meerkats…



The leaves have been starting to turn and we’ve been exploring the autumn landscape, both as a family and with friends.



September brings the celebration of the Not Back to School Picnic.  Sadly I didn’t manage to get any decent pictures (mostly too busy talking!) The picnic is an annual public celebration of home education, where a large group gathers at the Peace Gardens in Sheffield for food, some fun in the fountains and to show that not all children go to school.  It’s a public example of the busy social life that many home educators have (contrary to what many might believe) and a reminder that school is not compulsory.

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