Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Summer is finally here, dare I say that out loud?
It is 7.30 in the evening and I'm sat out in what is still a good 25 degrees c listening to the birds singing and the cows grumbling at each other! Bliss! 
It's been a funny few weeks, a huge learning curve and lesson in self discovery. Souls have been searched, hearts broken and tears cried, but overall, relief has been overwhelming.
I have always been one to follow my dreams, but this week I learned that sometimes for dreams to be realised, it is important to realise when they are just dreams.
There is change ahead, good change I think.

Step this way and enjoy the evening's sunshine with me...
 The crops continue to grow and provide us with produce.
I love the crazy hairdo of this Bergamot flower - beautiful and crazy!

The bees enjoy the rather rampant Comfrey.

Now I have a challenge for you.
These are the chicks...aren't they growing fast!
However, at 12 weeks, I am still not totally convinced what we have in regards to cocks and pullets. Today I ringed them, so this is where I'm at. If you disagree, please let me know!

This is 'Red' who I 'think' is a pullet. She is smaller than the two biggest birds and, although s/he appears to have a very pale beginning of a pathetic looking comb, s/he has a lot of fluff growing over it which is resemblant of the females of the Araucana breed. Hmmm...let's keep going...

Right now this is  'White'. Can you see how he (I am CONVINCED this is a cock - he is also pretty bold too) doesn't have the fluff on the top of his head but has a much brighter beginnings to his comb. He also has a flatter kind of head - the only thing I can liken it to is that he looks like he has some pigeon in him (he doesn't obviously, I'm just trying to describe the difference between him and the 'girlies')

'kay, that's 'Green' in the background who has a similar head shape to 'White' but his comb is paler and less dominant, however he is a similar size to 'White'

This is four of them, I 'think' two girls in the back left, possibly 'Mr Green and Mr White' in the foreground. Can you see the difference in head shape or am I imagining it? The very far back left is 'Miss Purple'. She is the only 'without a doubt' femme fatale amongst them. She has absolutely zilch of a comb and is the smallest. Now, she could also be the one that was hatched last, but I guess :-( she 'could' be my only pullet!

This is either 'Red' or 'Blue' - I'm thinking woman, but really unsure!
So...I could await crowing - it may be my only telling factor. I know you are supposed to see tail feathers and more pointed saddles in the males, but..gah, they all have tail feathers - just some are different to others and none of them seem to be uniformed to any of the others. Maybe I have eunachs?

Strawberry jam in the beginnings - luckily strawberries are asexual - not that is a requirement of jam!

New potatoes for dinner tonight from the garden - yum!

Finally...a small glimpse into the changes to come.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

...it's not quite a jaguar!

There is a long running dispute in our house which I will share with you today. It is a ridiculous debate, it makes little sense, it makes us laugh and we banter almost daily until the deed is done. We then rest in harmony for around 3.5 years and then we begin again!

It is an argument that actually goes against anything we believe in or try to maintain here at The Beehive, yet, our materialistic streak (or rather mine...no, his too) leaps out as we bicker about it, laugh about it, deal with it, accept it and move on for another 3.5 years!

It's about our cars!

Ridiculous right? I did warn you!

We have lease cars through Mr Beehive's company and we drive one each. Firstly, we couldn't exist without running two cars, so that is a complete stalemate. I often travel up to 400 miles in a week and Mr Beehive goes in and out of London at least three times a week, so actually reducing our cars is a total no-no.

We then have three children and an au pair and often other people's children to take to cubs or other places, therefore we need something that has 7 seats and the option of a roof box (not for a child you know!)

Then there is the fact we have two dogs who like to get muddy, we have a small barnyard of chickens who eat food by the 25lb bag (every three weeks!) and there is the food required for the six of us in the house...see where I'm going with this.

Short of a transit van...which, I hasten to add, has been mentioned on many an occasion, we are stuck with needing something big.

Oh and we live down the end of a downward sloping country lane, which, when the snow...or rain gets going, we need the opportunity to get out...that's going to worsen in a few years time when I qualify and maybe 'need' to get to a birth or a shift when there's a lot of snow around.

Okay, so let's cut to the chase. We are restricted by 'The List' (of approved cars!), however, where we are both restricted by 'The List', it would appear that I am further restricted by the above criteria and Mr Beehive's tooth-sucking, whereas Mr Beehive...apparently... is not!

I want a Landrover ;-) or something similar...I know, I'm sorry, my carbon boot print is being worn by a giant at this point in time. However, hear me out...it fits the criteria. I have the room for the kids and the animals, the shopping for six won't slide out of the boot when I open the lid (as it does now) because of the angle of the boot, because a landy has a top open and a bottom open for the boot - waaaay cool! It is a 4 wheel drive so will get me to work at any time, it's cool (in a country bumpkin farmer giles kind of a way, but admit it, it IS cool and I don't live in a city or drive my kids 800 yards to school or drive it to the gym and back!). 

However, Mr Beehive (the number cruncher, gah!) isn't going to 'let me'! Yes, I can hear you all nodding along with him, it's not efficient on fuel, it's expensive, it's big, it's bigger than the spaces in the car park often...and you're right.

So people carrier it will be once again. I am back to what I already have with the boot that spits out my shopping all over the driveway (apparently I can have the velcro bags to put the shopping in...yeah, thanks, I DO have those, only everytime you drive my car, you take them out and fail to put them back, so they're never IN there when I go shopping!),

  • That needs a push to get it through the snow and therefore requires me carrying carpet in my boot through the winter and a spade! 
  • That doesn't have a coin holder where you need a coin holder, instead has a dog-vomit catcher...obviously where you need one of those; 
  • That doesn't have a place to put your drink, instead has a place to store Barbie's shoes, DS games and petrified bananas all at the same time; 
  • That has glove compartment that closes rather than one that will burst open spilling the contents that includes Calpol, tissues, cables...cables...cables, CD's without cases from monotonous story tellers that add fire to the 8 hour journey, doll's hats, children's hats,  spare undies for a 4 year old, even though your 4 year old is now nearly 8 and they've been in there for the entire lease, window wash that has leaked blue onto the knickers giving them an odd, scary-blue radioactive glow in the dark , odd bits of playmobil, odd bits of car seat that have fallen off over the years, dog treats, chicken treats, kid treats, 8 pairs of sunglasses because you always lose your sunglasses so you put them in the glove compartment so you DON'T lose them...then forget; 
  • That screams 'mummy-with-lots-of-kids-mobile' yes, yes, I know I AM and that's okaaaay, it's just...not...cool :-(

Not asking for a lot really!

So how does this look from Mr Beehive's perspective? Is he going to follow suite and go for a small, efficient car? A cheaper car for his child-animal-shopping-free trips? Er...apparently it's only the BMW series 1 or a Golf or an Audi that floats his boat? 
How is THAT fair? 
Mmm I feel a large helping of double standards, still, I will keep on at him until we change cars...I will keep on at him until my new people carrier is on the drive.
Then, I will drive it without taking umbrage...I will no longer fornicate over other landrovers or say 'nice car' in the style of Louis Balfour everytime we are passed by one on the M40....there are a LOT of landys on the M40 ;-). 

Life will continue once again and I will continue to drive the house on wheels whilst he swans around in his. 


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Photo session

Last term Master Beehive the younger won the achievement cup for his development in reading, jumping not just one NC level, but two in two terms! From a child who worried me because he loved to be read TO, just wouldn't read himself, he has become a nine year old with the reading age of a thirteen year old.

This doesn't only gently remind me that all children learn when they are ready and at their own speed, it also reminds me of his character. He is a child who, right from the word go, chose his own pace in life. He was ten days overdue when I was waiting for him...but when he decided it was time to come and meet us, he literally flew out in less than two hours!
For many years, many of you who remember him, know he used to suck his two fingers. We bought nasty tasting nail-stop, special plastic finger protectors, we bribed, we pleaded, we coerced...Nothing!
One day, when he was around 5, he came downstairs to announce he 'wasn't wanting to suck his fingers anymore'...and that, quite simply, was that.
His learning has been much down the same path. Learning, to him, is a means to the next thing. When he feels he needs to know how to do something because he realises that it opens a door to something more exciting, then he will learn it. If it has no purpose, it can wait.

I think he can teach us all a lesson or two at times.

So, yesterday, whilst I was at work, he had some fun with his sister and our au pair taking some photos of his award before it needed to be returned to school for the next lucky achiever!
Be warned, early morning photo shoots in this house, always end in laughter and silliness!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The start of something good...

As with all things we receive from the earth, we have to give back in return. No, I am not religious as in led by a bible, but I do feel, spiritually, much like native American Indians, that we should give have an awareness, a respect even, for the fact that life takes away as much as life gives. That, when we work with things in nature, we need to understand that we cannot control them, however much we feel we can.

This last feeling for me has become particularly heightened working in midwifery. As I have blogged before, we can do everything within our power to ensure that birth stays on the path of normality, the path that exists symbiotically, with nature, we can avoid continually monitoring women, unnecessarily inducing women before their time or breaking their waters to speed things up when there really is no clinical need. As midwives we can encourage women to remain mobile, to stay home (for birth if possible, but if not, for as long as possible), to eat well through their pregnancies, the list is endless. However, what we cannot do is control what nature decides to do, so some reverence for it's power and enormity should, I feel, be part of my family's daily life.

This morning we lost a chicken. I had isolated her from the rest of the girls in case she was contagious. I don't think she was, but just to be safe. She had stopped laying a few weeks back and appeared broody, sitting all day on the eggs. I had moved her out, fed her, encouraged her to drink and this she seemed to do without any problems. Then she began to 'look' sick. Nothing I could lay my finger on and treat, but the colour was fading from her comb and around her eyes. The iridescence of her plumage had gone. I picked her up and she was bones, yet she was eating and drinking and off the nest. She wasn't herself though, she wasn't running around with the girls like she used to protesting her need for corn everytime the back door handle was touched. I hand fed her mashed potato yesterday and used a syringe to drop water into her mouth, but I think I knew she was on her way out. This morning, she has been returned to the earth where she will continue her journey in the circle of life.

And then the earth gives...

Our first, early crop of harvested fruit and veg from the garden...thank you!

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Trolley Revolution...

That's it!
I have done it!
I have finally reached the point from which there is no return.
At the weekend I went into town with the boys.
We went to the market.
We went unprepared.
I bought a trolley.
That's right...
with wheels
with a handle
in blue check
it probably smells of wee,
or lavender
or talcum powder.
Or maybe I do,
It probably has a special pocket to stash my cash...
not my phone...
or my iPod
There is probably a velcro tab where I can attach my stick,
or a pull out seat for when I need a sit down
but I bought it and
happily put my shopping in it.
I took it home.
My boys ran ahead
Afraid of the plaid or
Afraid of the woman their mother has become?
My husband said...
Why did I not buy it in purple?

Sunday, July 01, 2012

You can do anything as long as you can dream it!

I am not going to lie, it's been a hard year. At times it's caused tears and upset and doubt, and at other times, joy, laughter and reassurance. It's coming to an end this year. Already! It has been a year of change, both for me, for Master Beehive the elder, for the younger Beehives and the Beehive itself as it's found its groove slowly with my hours and study and the fact I am no longer at home during most days.

Master Beehive has begun to spread his wings. I know at times I have watched him sit on the perch, unsure whether to take the leap to spread them and fly. He has found new friends, a new school, a new place and a new direction quite challenging, but, spread his wings he has. He has achieved a level seven in his maths...in year seven! I am so proud of him because he has had some catching up to do with his learning over the last 12 years following a rainbow curriculum and not the standard UK curriculum as every other year seven has done. But, my goodness, the colours that now shine from him. He is doing fantastically at all he puts his hand too. He has moments when he realises that he won't ever achieve 'man of the match' and he has grown to accept that it is about team spirit so he just dives in and plays regardless of anything else. He has moments when he realises that a friend isn't quite the friend he thought they were, but he opens his heart to forgive and move on.
The younger Beehives, not forgotten, have also grown so much this year. They have had to contend with less of 'mummy'. Master Beehive the younger has played for just about every team game going at his school and always smiles if he comes last with the comment 'well, someone has to'. He has achieved the 'most improved pupil' cup this term for his development in reading - a child whom I worried because he never read a book is now reading at the level of a thirteen year old! He has gone on cub camps, ridden his bike for miles with our au pair and his dad. He has the heart of a lion, always bringing his siblings things home from his adventures, always looking out for others.
Then there is the littlest hobo - she shines as a bright star. She continues to always be happy, regardless of whether mama can't spend time with her as she is revising, regardless of the fact mama has to do a long night shift and won't be there to blow away the bad dreams, regardless of the fact that she may fall and hurt herself. She smiles, always smiles, that girl can teach and adult a thing or two about spreading happiness. She has been asked to sing the opening lines at the end of school concert this year. She is year two! In front of all the school, all the parents and the staff, she is going to sing like the nightingale she is. This mama bear is proud; Proud of the obvious achievements, but proud more that her family are so strong and that as a family we can handle the hours, the time apart from each other, the fact that assemblies have been missed over the year...hell, buses have been missed this year; the fact that despite all this, the seeds were truly sown and now these little bees are blossoming and turning into wonderful people. They truly are only loaned to us and we cannot force them to be what they are not, but we can nurture them to find their way and flourish and I hope this is what these baby bees are doing.

As for the biggest of the Bees, he has also hung onto this crazy dream of mine. He has listened to me rant, forgiven my outbursts, mopped my tears and screams of despondency or exhaustion. He has worked from home to help as much as he can, he has changed his flights and work plans, put on laundry, taken kids out when I need to sleep, read through essays that probably bore him to death (and been relatively nice about them!) and, most importantly of all, kept me on track.

He also built me a pergola this weekend...I really feel truly blessed today.

Bring on year two!