Not the catchiest title for a blog post but there is so much to report from the last few weeks that I needed a catch-all phrase! This time of year is when I traditionally get moving – on projects, in the garden, around the house, etc. After the cold short days of winter the arrival of sun, longer days and a garden popping with growth is just good for the soul.
Which means that over the last couple of weeks we have been away camping, I have painted my son’s bedroom (finally) and our garden is full of beautiful blooms and green-ness! Our camping trip was only for three nights, but we were at our traditional spring campground, right on the beachfront and it was just what we all needed. We had two other families with us which meant that all the kids were busy and entertained, and the adults got to relax, catch up with each other and take turns watching children. My parents joined us for two nights which was an added bonus (especially because I left my favourite teas at home and they kindly delivered them for me, avoiding a major first world catastrophe!)
From our tent we could watch the waves, and were very excited on our last morning to be able to watch a mother and juvenile whale breaching and playing right in front of us – my daughter described it as doing back-flips as the baby jumped out of the water and landed on it’s back over and over again. The day before we had seen dolphins in closer and a whale further out but this was a new level of wonder!
We arrived home vowing to book for longer next time – and hopefully with the same group of friends as it worked so well. In the three days we were gone the garden had really started to blossom – literally! And the warm weather hasn’t just brought me and the flowers out into the garden – the lizards are appearing to sun themselves. As long as the snakes don’t join them we are fine!
The most exciting spring news, however, is that at least 7 of our sheep are pregnant, and judging from their size, the size of their udders (who knew I would become an expert on sheep udders?) and the date that ‘Gordon Ramsey’ was introduced to the flock I think we will start to see lambs arriving from next weekend. I am excited but nervous about this development – hoping that nothing goes wrong, and that all the babies and mothers are healthy. Yesterday my boy and my father and I constructed a shade shelter/wind break from shade cloth and an old trailer cage frame – I love being able to repurpose in all areas of our life! I also plan to make another one with some pallets and corrugated iron. I had hoped to finally get to repurpose the swing set frame that I had originally planned to use for a chicken coop, but have accepted my father’s sensible advise about a different plan (for now!!)
We had a livestock issue of another kind last week when my boy spotted a mouse in his room. Because I am such a chicken I quickly went and asked my parents (who aren’t scared of mice) to help – and while they cornered, capture and dispatched the mouse I delivered the famous ‘I told you so’ speech to my son about eating in his bedroom, not tidying up his mess etc. Of course, as a result of the mouse he then wouldn’t set foot in the room, insisted on sleeping in my room, on us fetching his clothes, etc. I hoped that it would pass with time but when, after returning from camping, he was still resident in my room it was time for drastic action! My parents kindly agreed to take all three children for a visit to their other grandparents, leaving the middle child there for a week, and overnighting with the other two. That gave me the chance to tackle his room – which I had been planning to get to for some months now that his aggressive behaviour has reduced significantly and the walls aren’t being damaged anymore. The before and after photos show what an improvement a simple coat of paint can achieve! I also cleaned out his wardrobe, sorted his toys and steam cleaned his carpet and he is once more happily back in his own room, and working hard to keep it tidy! Success! I bored everyone with my progress on facebook and Instagram, and one friend asked whether I had ruined the surprise by doing so. I explained that that surprising my boy is not a good option. To help him cope with any change he needs to be given lots of warning, to take part in the decision making, and to understand the process. Before I started painting I discussed it with him, and asked whether it would help him go back in there, and whether the change in colours (which he has been resisting for more than a year) would be a good idea. Luckily he embraced the idea and was delighted with the result! Autism parenting requires a whole different mind set!
During all of that time I didn’t get much ‘making’ done. But it did give me time to think and plan. There is something very meditative about painting walls! I have my first market stall in three weeks time after a three year break, so thinking about what I need to prepare, what stock I need, what branding is required, etc is a shift in thinking. After years of supporting other designers to hold stalls at one of the best markets in the country I am starting small, with a primary school fair, but my nerves might be bigger than when I last was involved as a stallholder! I will let you know how I go with getting organised!
In the meantime it is a long weekend here, the sun is out, and I have piles of washing to attend to! I hope that you are having a great week, with some achievements of your own!