Monday, 19 May 2014

One Day at a Time! (or Living in the Moment)

Yesterday I stopped in the meadow to study the daisies. I'd never realised before just how purply pink the tips of the petals are before they unfurl for the day. As I stood in the still and the sunshine I heard my first cuckoo. I haven't heard one in this valley before,my last one was up the Duddon valley.It made me  realise how important it is to just stop and absorb the moment sometimes and appreciate what we have around us.

I've spent some time in the garden over the last few days. Yesterday I planted two new clematis.I love them at this time of year.The rhododendrons are spectacular too. Whilst my rhododendron and azalea  collections are slowly growing and maturing,I wanted to add  clematis and rambling roses to the mix.

My salad leaves have flourished, I picked my first leaves yesterday for my sandwich, the free potatoes are growing in their sacks and there are signs of spring onions peeping through.My tomato plants (for the time being at least are thriving),my half price fuchsias and geranium are almost ready to be potted outside and the world is currently a  colourful and beautiful place outside.

Every year I promise myself that this year will be the one when I will really get down to it but really the wilderness of my garden is part of it's charm. the wild poppies, violets and forget-me- nots,the cowslips, bluebells and the primroses and of course the wild life that goes with it. The challenge will be to keep the balance.

The garden is a safe haven for my son too. He can trampoline, play with the dogs and make dens.I still have to watch the unfilled hole when he built a trench to Australia a couple of years ago.

I remind my self that no matter what his problems and disinclination to go out and socialise, he is lucky to have been brought up around hens and sheep, herons , buzzards and red kites.

I've been asked twice this week what my hopes and plans are for his future. My answer- I have none, we live in the moment and look at what he can deal with now. He has no need for GCSE's at the moment but he is looking at what he might do to make a living when he is older, computer programming, the stock market- things that interest him.

It's not a short sighted approach, it's a holistic approach. It's no use having a long term goal and feeling a failure at the first hurdle.My son has shown that he can do things if he wants them enough.His desire seems to override his anxiety,so we shall just have to take a day at a time and see where we end up!

(apologies for the lack of photos due to a technical hitch which hopefully will soon be remedied )

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Aspergers and Achievment

My daughter's own sign at Lowick to spur her on!

So often people concentrate on what people with Autism 'can't do'. Over the years I have been home educating my son I have moved further and further away from the conventional forms of 'achievement' such as good GCSE'S  or well paid jobs and have been amazed at what our children can achieve if we facilitate them.

Yesterday I took part in the Coniston to Barrow walk., a twenty three miles walk along the east side of Coniston lake, over Kirkby fells and past Furness abbey into Barrow. I together ,with my daughter were raising money for the National Autistic Society Furness Branch

My daughter at the start in Coniston.


Nearly at Horrace!

In our team were two young people on the Autistic spectrum,the youngest is still in primary school and the older a young man of eighteen. They both face their own challenges.Anxiety gets in the way of so many things that we take for granted,like joining clubs, going to parties and socialising. Even walking to school can be hard.

Yesterday both of these young people came across the finish line.The eighteen year old in a magnificent time of just over 5 hours (put my 6 hours 43 minutes to shame). The little boy, who looked so small when we started out at Coniston had the biggest brightest smile at the end as he stood with his proud mum to have his picture taken with his medals.

To both mums, and all the members of our team,these two young people have made us SO proud and shown others that there is NO obstacle that can't be overcome.Well done guys!

You can still sponsor them both here.Two pounds will make a fantastic difference!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Old before my time !


Today I bought my first Wainwright , the cover states that it is 'written primarily for old age pensioners and others who can no longer climb high fells but can still,within reason,potter about on the short and easy slopes and summits of the foothils. "

Mmmm ....... at the ripe old age of fifty one the walks described seemed just the sort I enjoy, the ambling along,tiddley pom,something to photograph round every corner, tiddley pom, sort of walk.

NOT the huffing and puffing, nearly falling off your perch on the way up sort of walk.

I recognised some of the walks as I'd already done  one of two. I learned that the tarn I'd photographed the other weekend was Burney Tarn and that the flat topped mountain I see every morning when I look towards the Lakeland Fells is Walna Scar followed by Buck Pike and Dow Crag.

Burney Tarn

One walk entitled 'Potter Fell' described perfectly my walking preference.

I'm at that point where I need to refocus.My Autistic son is in teenage mode and trying to make him learn is like pulling teeth so I take the view that if I learn things for myself some of it might rub off.

After this Coniston to Barrow walk is over at the weekend I'm considering a new challenge.Perhaps learning to run for a 10k sponsored run.There I've said it,committed my thoughts to paper.It would have to be a fairly realistic distance, after all,at my age and with my fitness level a girl has to be careful,but maybe,just maybe I can do it.After all I managed 23 miles last year and I could hardly climb  a few feet uphill without getting puffed out when I started.

I have started a new Facebook project with a friend too - a frugal sharing page where we can share our surplus produce and safe money and resources. We're really excited about that. So that's a few goals to get me started!

Buck Pike and Dow Crag

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Living on a Budget!

I've been talking to a friend about frugal living. It's something I've been thinking about for a good few years now. In some ways I've achieved it- in others not.We are by no means self sufficient and we don't skimp on things but we do like bargains and like good quality.

We don't have a big house - in fact some would say it is too small for a family of five but for us it was the right decision. We bought two small ones instead, one to live in and one to rent. We DO have a large garden (an acre and a half) although we don't really put it to the most productive use at the moment. I hope to change that in the future. I've thought about sharing some of our land with people who want to grow their own food but don't have the space, or to use it as a form of therapy for people with mental health problems but I haven't reached a decision on that one yet.

Most of the furniture we buy is old and rustic (mainly because we prefer it as it's generally better made than the modern stuff you can buy nowadays)

Today I've bought five woden garden chairs for £20.They need a good sand and a varnish but they're hard wood and should last when they're protected from the weather.I will post pictures of the finished objects and you can judge for yourself.

I love flowers round the house too. The kitchen is filled with the smell of lilac at the moment which I brought in from the garden for free.

and the other day I found a bargain for a pound! The flowers were beginning to wilt but the scent of hyacinths was amazing and I got a free bucket too!

Whilst the children choose to go to the gym to keep healthy, living in the country can provide loads of free exercise and fresh air. I enjoy  walking boat whilst my daughter prefers to cycle. We are lucky we can escape straight out the garden into open countryside. So whilst I'm not yet The Prudent Homemaker I'm working on it!