Our story so far….June 2019…Hello!

Our story at the moment is that we moved from a terraced house in Derbyshire, England to a dormer style cottage in Southern Leitrim in the Republic of Ireland at the beginning of December 2018. The cottage is in a rural area and we have approximately 3 acres to play with as well as the cottage. We are in the process of doing the cottage up and although stressful at times, it is going well so far! You’ll have to read back over old posts for the details if you are interested. It’s changed a lot so far! It’s now dry for a start….

This is where we now live – a little bit different to a terraced house..

‘We’ consists of myself (Cathy), my husband Chris, and two of our children who are almost 2 and 4 (at the moment obviously). We have two other grown up children as well who are still in the UK.

We are Jesus followers who try to listen to Him and follow Him constantly. We feel that He did bring us here, but I get that a lot of people will think that’s not a real thing..(it is).

I do talk about God quite a bit and what we think He is doing in our lives and I will try and persuade you to seek Him for yourself and ask Him if He is there. The reason I do this is because as far as I’m concerned he is the cure for us all. He is who we all need and it would be very selfish of me to not to try and tell you about Him. Also, our lives are completely entwined with Him and it would be impossible to do a blog without talking about Him to be honest.

Jesus saved my life, He saved my husband’s life, He saved a lot of my friend’s lives and He can save your life…give Him a try.

I do also have a sense of humour and it is quite interesting stuff 😀

Mowing the runway.

Welcome, please read, enjoy, ask questions or whatever, I love doing this blog and I do try to be very honest and open. There were various aims of doing it, to give a realistic view of relocating to a different place/country, specifically a small holding, to tell people about Jesus, to give me an outlet (I love writing) and to keep friends and family updated. I’m hoping some people may also just find it plain old interesting!

Toodle pip…

It is good.

I’ve just been looking at the last post to see what’s happened in the week since and there’s a fair few things really. Hello! by the way.

The chicks are now four weeks old, they’ve been outside for a few hours a couple of days this week, not today, because the wind and rain has been horrendous, but they did for the two days prior to this. They loved it, after learning to negotiate the ramp in the coop. They’re still not sure, but they’re getting a bit braver.

The electric chicken netting has arrived and is sort of in place, but not finished yet. We’re hoping to finish that this weekend and aiming for the chicks to be out permanently in about 1 1/2 to two weeks time. They’re getting far to big to be in the cage they’re in, so they’ll love ranging in a much larger space. We’re really hoping we’ve proofed it enough, I guess we will see.

Chris has returned to work this week, so it’s just me and the boys at home during the weekdays now. It feels strange because he is back at work but we are still supposed to be distancing and staying at home whenever possible. It isn’t hard, because the test centres are still shut we still haven’t got a valid test on the car, so I can’t go anywhere anyway (and that’s fine by me). I heard that tests were being extended by four months, but when I checked, it said ours had expired. I think it might be because we’d had it tested and it had failed, Chris took it for a retest when lockdown first happened and found the test centre closed.

Things are growing in the greenhouse! It’s so exciting, I can’t describe how much I love growing things. Every time I go in, I seem to notice something else germinating or that is getting new leaves. We have a line of French beans and two rows of peas, broccoli, cabbage, leek and turnip seedlings, tomato plants, radishes, beetroot seedlings, cucumber and butternut squash.

We are waiting to see if the sweetcorn and carrots germinate, the seeds were a bit older. We also have a load of pots with annuals growing and are waiting for them get big enough to plant out.

It is still strange for me when I contemplate us living here, I’m beginning to realise that it is actually the ideal place for us in a lot of ways. The place and the possibilities are what I’ve wanted since I was a kid. It feels strange too because I ‘ve read a lot of diverse opinions recently, mainly from different Christian camps about gifts and God and abundance and hardship and not expecting anything or expecting loads or if you expect loads are you into the prosperity gospel and therefore ‘bad’ or are you just seeing God how He is, a God of abundance, but! whose plans are not our plans, who sees and knows everything and therefore even if we were to lose everything, we should still have joy because of knowing Him….Trusting Him means trusting Him whatever happens, whatever you have… so yes, I get that, I get trusting Him is more important than anything. but personally I also find it hard then to fully appreciate what we have, that there’s no guilt in having this. I guess I’m a work in progress and that thankfulness and knowing His love and reading His word is key.

It hit me last night as well, living simply is not wrong. I think I get the impression sometimes that everyone seems to think you can’t live simply any more and that makes me feel like I have to ‘accomplish’ things or race through life impressing people. The thing is, I don’t, I can live simply and well with the family, growing veg, being with our family, putting them first, praying simple prayers that have powerful impact and as God said when He made everything ‘it is good’.

Oh and we made scones today 😊

Chickaversary!

I had to update today, it’s the chick’s three week anniversary. Look at them!

They’re brilliant, still don’t know the sex though. Chris has been busy sorting out the large cage this week. Trying to find any gaps in the wire and mend them, so we hopefully won’t get rats in as well as any other animals. Once the birds are off heat and fully feathered, they should be able to go out. We’ve ordered a roll of electrified chicken netting to go round the grassed area so they can range a lot further than just in the coop. We daren’t leave them free ranging without electric fencing because we know we have foxes and we’ve been told there are mink around. We have paving slabs down because it gets so wet, we don’t want to have any problems with mud and the birds getting soaking wet in the winter, because that would make them get too cold.

Lastly, it was my birthday this week, happy birthday to me! It’s a strange week because Chris may be going back to work next week, we don’t know for certain yet, so it’s all going to change again. But many people know what that feels like. What has got to me a little bit recently, is that I’ve realised we won’t really be able to visit our friends and family in Derbyshire for quite a long time, probably not this year and that makes me a little sad. Kids grow up so quickly and that means last time we visited J would have been 4 1/2 and he’ll more than likely be 6, when we next come over in person. Ah well, it is what it is, at least there’s loads of ways of keeping in touch. So, love to all of you.

This is our field, it’s starting to look a lot more meadow like now, rather than a rush filled bog 🙂

Bye for now.

Cathy.

Changes.

Where to start? I can remember reading about the stressors of life when I was doing my nurse training, a list that puts life events in order of stressful impact… I’m not sure how relevant that is in life now to be honest… we just have to change and adapt and little things can be massive and build up and we can take big things in our stride.. odd, life, isn’t it? How we cope and respond is also very individual.

I have to admit, I love to admit it really, not just have to… God is the reason I cope in a much better way now. At one point I would have just drunk my way through any problems that were going on and that would not have worked well, it would have hurt me and everyone around me. He is everything and yet I’m still unfaithful to Him quite frequently. By that, on the whole I mean act in wrongful ways and forget to fully trust in Him.

We are human and He is God, I have to remember that sometimes, that doesn’t mean to excuse purposeful sin, because that is wrong, but to remember that when we hurt and feel and slip up, there is grace for us because as I read in a facebook post this morning, before He chose us He factored in our stupidity. I find that very reassuring.

I feel God has been speaking a lot recently on just trusting Him. Not so much on our identity as His children even, but on focusing on Him. Our God who is loving and kind and slow to anger, the God who saves, the God who does not want anyone to perish.

What I find is, when you focus on who God is, the God who created the world and everything in it, including you, the God who is in charge, who is sovereign, who is present everywhere, all the time, who shows us the right way to go, who we can trust, partly because life is so much more than what we see at this present moment. The God who has already defeated Satan because Jesus died and was resurrected, therefore giving us life with Him. The God who you will stand before at some point, then our attitude starts to change.

Life is not about us, it’s about Him and his will, it’s also so much better than anything we can come up with…. Scripture says we love because He loved us first and that is so right. There’s a lot of gumph spoken about forgiveness, we can only know true forgiveness I think and therefore forgive others and be saved from a lifetime of bitterness and resentment when we look at what Jesus did.

I’ve recently been focusing more on the individual moments of Jesus life, particularly the journey from Gethsemane onwards, each stage a different part. It makes a big difference to you when you see again what it was that He did. I’m not going to go into most of it but a brief summary is: praying in the garden of Gethsemane, the arrest, the decision to crucify Him, the scourging and crown of thorns and the journey with the cross to Golgotha (where Jesus was crucified), the crucifixion, the burial and then the resurrection and ascension. Forgive me, if I’ve left out any part. When you read it, if you read it (and I challenge you to do so), you can be left in no doubt as to the indescribable extremity of what He and those around Him went through and all for the joy set before Him (the joy is us). If you ever feel that God doesn’t know what you’re going through, or blame Him for anything, think on this.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18).

That glory will be worth everything, keep running.

It’s May!

I love May, I think it’s partly because it’s my birth month (and my eldest’s), but it always seems to be the start of major growing time, flowers starting to bloom, veg growing time, birds swooping and singing, light nights. Even sat here, on looking out of the window, I can see an orange tip butterfly darting about, there’s a swallow sat on the telegraph wire and there’s lambs in the surrounding fields. The swallows have been chattering and swooping in and out of the barn today, I think they’re looking for nest sites. It’s very beautiful, but I do also think, wherever you are, there is always some sort of beauty to be found.

The polytunnel/greenhouse is up and running, we have our tomato plants in and some seeds planted, we’re really hoping we can catch up, but there seems to be quite a long growing period here, so we should be ok. It’s been a little bit of a battle, persuading the boys that the watering can doesn’t need to be permanently filled and then tipped out or that the soil doesn’t need digging or raking all the time, but we’re getting there (hopefully). When we start producing food, it should be really interesting for them.

The chicks are growing fast too and are now two weeks old. They’re definitely starting to look more chicken like, although we can’t tell yet whether they’re hens or cockerels.

The weather’s been a real mixed bag this week, it’s been gorgeous and really quite hot today, there’s been a couple of days of quite strong wind and rain but then it’s turned nice again. The cat’s been enjoying it anyway!

God is so kind, He is here with us, He never leaves and all is well because He is with us. It may sound a bit of a cliche, but Christian or not Christian, you need to know and believe that He is good. That He is in charge, that we need Him.

I love this Psalm, I had this as my prayer of the year about 7 years ago and it’s one that I repeatedly return to.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
    teach me your paths.
 Lead me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all the day long.

(Psalm 25:4-5).

He is glorious!

The last day of April.

Since the last post, the little chick that I helped hatch, has died, which I found very sad, but the other five are still healthy and getting a little bigger and more little feathers on their wings. They’re a week old now. I now have a spare heater too, in case we need it, so that’s good (I ordered one for the sick chick).

Chris has nearly got the polytunnel/greenhouse up, I helped him a couple of days ago to put the sheeting over it and hold it down whilst he fastened it down. It looks great, it’s really exciting too, it will extend the growing time for veg etc and we should be able to germinate the flowers in there. In fact, it’s so wet and windy here a lot of the time that we will be able to grow things that we otherwise couldn’t. I’ve ordered some seeds today, we’ve got a few but we ‘needed’ some more. We’re a bit behind again in relation to growing things, but we should catch up.

I’ve finished digging the front garden too, there’s some plants growing already, that have self seeded from last year, the borage that’s self seeded is ridiculous, but then we’re growing quite a few others from seed too. I’ve added in some perennials (Achillea Cerise Queen), to help fill it up when it’s out of season for the annuals and we’ll keep adding as we go along. We tend to grow from seed because it’s so much cheaper and we actually love seeing them grow too.

J has also found some tadpoles which he is currently keeping outside in a box and he’s loving helping Chris and myself with all the jobs. He’s loving Chris being at home, I also have to admit it’s really nice.

The quail is in that chicken house at the moment, I’ve ordered a little ark for him to have and the chicks are going to be inside the coop in the picture, inside a much bigger enclosure. That’s the next job! to get the enclosure ready and fox proof. God is good and we will make the most of whatever we are given.

God bless you and bye!

Cathy.

Chicks and things.

A few things happening again at the moment, Chris is definitely keeping himself busy. He’s moved all the trees that he chopped down from the side of the field, to the bonfire at the top of the field, it took quite a while. Apparently we can have a bonfire on the 23rd June, otherwise it’s illegal, for any reason, so we’ve been told and on looking into it, it seems to be so… The 23rd of June, Irish bonfire night, or St John’s Eve, or Midsummer, whatever you would like to call it really is when people have them. Here’s an article I found about it, I don’t endorse some of the views, (especially the burning of protestant bones, we’ll just be burning wood) but it’s an interesting overview of the celebration. http://www.castlebar.ie/Nostalgia_and_History/Bonfire-Night-in-the-West-of-Ireland.shtml

Then, yesterday, he started getting the greenhouse ready, doing some welding to repair and make the joints stronger and painting the reinforcements he added to the frame to make it stronger (to protect them from rust). It gets very windy and wet here and so needs to be as weather proof as possible.

We had five Buff Orpington chicks that hatched last week and appear to be very healthy, they’re already getting bigger and even have signs of feathering already, on their wings. There was a sixth one that I helped hatch, I didn’t want to, as I already know it can cause problems, but it wasn’t progressing, it had broken the shell (pipped) in the wrong place and had got stuck. I left it and left it (over 24 hours) and then took the decision to help it. It was completely ready to hatch and wasn’t attached to the shell, it just didn’t get the chance to push out and it isn’t walking. I’m trying to treat it, I’ve read up and learnt about what to do, but I’m still not sure whether it will survive. It’s very sweet and I’ll do my best, but I still don’t know. I’m waiting for another heater to come, so the chick is mainly spending it’s time on me, for heat, at the moment. ‘Helping’ it is just one of those decisions you make and have to be prepared to take the consequences really. I’m just glad the other five are so healthy and well and hatched without any problems.

In relation to life and God and everything… I’m feeling we’re in some sort of transition/change period, not completely sure what yet, I just know the feeling. Nothing radical like moving again or anything, (as far as we know anyway haha) just something. I guess we’ll see! I’ve felt this before and things have generally happened, so I’ll just trust God with it! Cryptic…

See you soon!

Cathy.

Spring.

It’s so beautiful at the moment isn’t it? Round here (Leitrim), the primroses are starting to flower on the verges, celandine and various other wild flowers are flowering and growing, the gorse is bright yellow and gorgeous and the cuckoo and swallows have returned over the last week. There doesn’t seem to be as many swallows as last year, but maybe it’s still a bit early.

Listen and you can hear the cuckoo or two.

Having said Chris’s next job was the greenhouse, it’s been a little too windy for him to do what he needs to do, so he’s been dragging all the trees and branches he cut off earlier in the year at the side of the field, to make a bonfire, but also separating out a load for chipping for the paths between the fruit trees in the front garden. It’s been hard work and his arms were covered in scratches but he seemed happy at the end of the day to have got at least some of it done. We’ve had some gorgeous days, but it’s still quite windy where we are.

Finally, for today, we’ve had some chicken eggs in the incubator for the last three weeks and they’ve started hatching today, we only have one chick so far and it looks really healthy, there’s five more eggs and we’re hoping that they hatch, I don’t know whether they are all viable because I didn’t candle them, I just left them in the incubator this time and tried not to disturb them. We’d love for all six to hatch, but that doesn’t usually happen, it seems really unpredictable. So we’re waiting at the moment, the brooder is all set up and ready for tomorrow, so I guess we’ll have an update then. I could hear the one that’s hatched, chirping from inside it’s shell this morning, it was a lovely sound.