Sunday, 16 March 2014

It's amazing what you can do when you set your heart on something!

I love the spring,The countryside comes alive and there are lambs in the field behind the house now.This morning as I went walking I spotted a moor hen in the rushes.It was too quick for me to take out my camera!

It's been a busy weekend. We spent yesterday tidying the Mill Lane Garden. There is still lots to do. The base has been laid for the patio which will be laid next week before a base is prepared for artificial grass and chippings to go under the special disability swing. My son stained the arch ways.

My friend's daughter concentrated on planting planters

and my friend and I brushed paths and weeded borders. Friday sees an open garden event to thank all those who have helped so far and to show how far we've come.

The apprentices, in a few short weeks have raised over £1000 and procured donations of resources and time worth several thousands more. No mean feat!

If you haven't yet visited and liked their facebook page please do.Nine young apprentices have achieved a great deal and can be proud of themselves.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Gardening in our home education

Well we had an early start this morning as we are off to paint tyres to make garden planters in the Mill lane garden.It has been an exciting time building this garden.A time of highs and lows,of extreme stress,worrying about whether it will be ready for judging, and even more importantly not wanting to let the day care users and their parents down , but also a vibrant example of people coming together,combining talents and working towards a goal.We've had paint and tyres donated and all we've given is our time.

From a personal perspective it has renewed my desire to create a beautiful wild garden space out of our one and a half acre plot at home and I have already been clearing brambles this week, they grow so rapidly when spring arrives.

I have obtained free wild flower seeds, seed potatoes and even rescued a washed up tyre from the high tide at the weekend and my daughter rolled it back through the village.

 I've also joined a lovely facebook community called The Friendly Gardeners who have so many ideas and are full of encouragement..The project has shown me that it is possible to garden on a shoe sting budget even to the point of making a green house or cold frame out of plastic bottles if you put your mind to it.After all that's what true cottage gardening is all about.

We have always used our wild space for home education.We have found dunnocks and blackbirds nests,stumbled across a pheasant's nest, rescued wood pigeons and magpies.Watched slugs and a mole as it buried itself into the soil and there has been many a time when the children had to shepherd springy lambs back into the field behind us.

The twins are thirteen now and my son is less inclined to go into the garden,particularly to 'learn' anything but I realise that in fact he understands the food chain because he sees it in his daily life, he has lived with chickens for the last four years and was there when we collected them,built the coop and their enclosure and he knows exactly how to encourage them with pellets to come home if they decide to go on a recce round the village.There's nothing funnier than watching a hen scurrying back to its coop alongside a little boy who is going to feed it.

He has stood in the field watching lambs being born,called the farmer when a sheep had a difficult birth and witnessed the sadness of a still born lamb , (all part of the circle of life) but it is something than many children never have the opportunity to experience and he and his siblings are exceptionally lucky to live where they do. The daffodils in the garden are just coming into bud and the lambs in the village are due next week so I guess that spring is here.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Taking ownership of our education

I've been out for a walk today. I needed the break. It feels like I have been battling the system for a week now. My son went to college on Tuesday as he had an exam. When he got there his training provider had failed to enter him despite the college reminding them.

It wasn't until that point that I realised that we were losing control of his education, three layers of bureaucracy from his immediate employers , our local council who in turn contract out training to a company who don't do motor vehicle maintenance and who have therefore subcontracted my son's training still further.

The delays and mistakes made through lack of communication have in fact put my son's training back by about 4 months. It's a learning curve and it's not all doom and gloom, my son is on the point of being able to drive, has thrived in the working environment and has seen how the local authority works because he's been at the sharp end and it's shown him how budget cuts, lack of staffing ,disagreements about which departments pay for what leads to an inefficient oiling of the system. For me with a background in the private sector it has been an eye opener. What should be an establishment of opportunity and self advancement (which in fact it sets itself up to be)  in fact has a culture of disillusionment and mistrust which is getting in the way of those who want to succeed.

Any way we are on the case now and our aim is to get my son's education back on track. He had no intention of finishing his education at 18  but it's one of those situations where someone has dumped an unwelcome and unnecessary mountain in the way and we are going to have to circumnavigate it.

Fortunately home education has given us the necessary qualifications we need and we are beginning to lop off the diseased branches impeding my son's path to personal success. Buffalo coming through.......Watch this space!