Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summertime...and the livin' is getting easier!

It's that time again. The school bell has finally rung for the final time on this year and they're out for the summer!


No, honestly, hooray!

Whilst I love what they get from school, I have always fought myself as to whether or not we should have continued to home educate; whether school for 6/7 hours a day is/was the best choice; whether life would be less rushed and more present if we didn't have to hurry to school each morning and then sit and do homework for hours afterwards; or whether where they are is best and they are happier that way.  I'd like a pensieve or crystal ball to see our parallel universe...did they turn out okay this way or better that way...but then, wouldn't everyone !

Still, at least we get six weeks now to kick back and relax. The mornings are lazier, the evenings longer and more chilled, there's no homework, there is the music practice, but then there isn't the haranguing to get it done in the only spare 10 minutes of the day.

And then there's the adventures...who doesn't love a warm summer for adventures? The eldest Beehive has just returned from his first lone venture abroad without us. No, of course this mama wasn't nervous or worried or missing him...of course she was chilled and relaxed...ahem...(well I think I did well for my first time!) He has just had a wonderful 10 days with his district of the explorer scouts at a jamboree in Iceland. Yes! Iceland! I know! The best I got in the guides was digging a moat around our waterlogged tent in Exning. How times change!
It has been a wonderful few days by all accounts, so much so that he's actually only surfaced for around five hours today, I think he's making the most of having a proper bed and some darkness to catch up on his sleep!

 Then there is the allotment and the joy in cancelling the veg box for a few months whilst we 'try' to live off the produce and see if we can really do this.  I'm using the word 'try' in the loosest sense here as we've had a mixed set of results this year on our first attempt on the allotment. The carrots have been a disaster what with trying to grow them in a rock bed to start with, then them having eel worm in them, they have, however, helped the compost along! Beetroot has been fantastic, so pickles, roasted, grated in salads...we're beeting all the way here. Beans are starting, corn is coming, broad beans have been amazing and some are frozen for later in the year. Potatoes despite being disheartening from the surface, have actually given a good yield, cabbage was a waste of time...dinner for slugs and caterpillars only (despite covering!), pumpkins are on their way, leeks seem happy, onions are doing well, raspberries and cucumbers were/are fantastic, courgettes are, oddly, slow this year and all the tomatoes will ripen when we're away!

The honey is well underway with us having added a second set of supers to our hives. I hope we'll be extracting in the early autumn.

 Birthdays! Who doesn't enjoy a sunny summer birthday? This not-so-little man turned 12 recently and, as befalls him every year, having a birthday towards the end of term means that his birthday  tends to be broken into parts: the early part with those remaining school pals who haven't already gone away, the 'on the day' part with us and then, this year the 'celebrate with the cousin' part in France in a week or so's time...three birthdays, three cakes...I think that's a win-win situation!!
A trip to see 'Wicked' after spending a night in hospital with a nasty stomach virus and dehydration...that wasn't the intended plan for the start of summer, but the trip to the theatre (a Christmas present finally used!) certainly compensated for the poorly girl earlier in the week.

 Walks in the park whilst my owner tries to figure out how to do a dog/mama selfie and fails miserably!
Plays in the park at the super cool woodland rope course!

And then scrabble. No summer is ever complete without copious games of scrabble in the fresh air (not to mention the sulks and arguments that go hand in hand!)

Soon we're off to France for a couple of weeks. It's always a bit more of a hassle to go away now we have the homestead set up here. I have to rely heavily on friends housesitting and/or neighbours popping round to feed the chickens and ducks or water the crops. However, we have booked a farmhouse with my sister, her family and my folks so we can basically do nothing for a fortnight except swim, canoe, relax in the sun, read some books, drink some wine, explore some mountains, eat some cheese, dream about living there permanently and hang out together (hopefully without too many arguments or falling outs - yes, did I mention the downside to the summer holidays and siblings in close quarters for too long?) so I raise a glass (or two!) to my wonderful friends and neighbours who will hold the fort for us until we return.

Bonnes vacances mes amis xx

No comments: