Two years.

Got to mention it today, two years ago today since my dad died. Balk at mentioning it in a way because I can imagine some going, aah she’s on about it again. But yes, I am, two years ago and it still affects me quite a lot, for various reasons, the most basic of all being, he was my dad. But anyway, we’re ok and we’re going to celebrate his life today, or I am anyway, because as far as I can see, I have two choices, celebrate or descend, I descended a bit last night and now I’m just having a relaxed day with the boys. God bless you dad, I’ll light a candle today and think about things and pray.

It’s also been two years since I saw my daughter who lives in London, she was at my mum’s that week, so it’s quite a long time really. Here’s hoping to see people some time over the next year or two. If it gets to September it’ll be two years since the boys and myself actually went back to England! It also marks two years since I started looking at Catholicism, that started more seriously after my dad died really. I’d been Christian for about 10/11 years before that, but things started changing again after he died and God started taking us on a different journey to what we were used to!

As some will already know, we’ve hatched yet more quail, ten more, to be precise. It’s the first time that one I’ve helped out of it’s shell has been ok. Doesn’t seem to be struggling at the moment. I let it push itself out, I think that’s the most important bit for their leg strength to develop. I try not to help, but it was taking too long and I think it would have died if I hadn’t. They’re very cute and tiny! Seems weird to think that in a few weeks they’ll be looking like adult birds. They’re funny little things, you really have to keep an eye on them when they’re little, I’ve already had to rescue one from the side of the heater in their brooder this morning, it was stuck on it’s back. They can get too cold very quickly at this age and that would kill them. (I was going to upload a photo but the signal isn’t playing at the moment, so you’ll have to do without.)

We also have 9 duck eggs incubating at the moment, I think there’s just under three weeks until they’re due to hatch and I’ve ordered some hens eggs to incubate as well, they should come today, then, I think my incubating for this year will be done… I think….maybe…

The bad point about hatching your own is that if you have too many males you have to deal with that, and as there isn’t really much market for cockerels or whatever the male bird is, there are only really two options which are, keeping male colonies, which would be fairly pointless and expensive but always tempting, or killing them. I don’t like the killing as I ‘ve said before, but, it is the sort of life that we came for, to produce our own meat, or that was one of the aims, so it’s part of it. I’ve chosen duel purpose ducks and chickens (suitable for meat or eggs), so I’m hoping there aren’t many males, but if there are, we will be dispatching them at the right time. As I saw someone write recently, don’t hatch if you can’t dispatch….

The weather’s getting better and it’s fairly warm in the polytunnel, so we’ve planted some seeds – salad mainly. Some of which are germinating already. I love this part of the year, when plants start growing or sprouting new leaves and buds. I’ve also planted some raspberry canes and have 5 redcurrant canes to plant this afternoon. Chris has also planted some Silver Birch seeds and is going to try growing them, which is really interesting, we’ve never grown trees from seed before. Chris has also planted a Copper Beech hedge all the way along the front wall, hopefully they’ll grow well and change the look of the place once again.

It seems weird to be sharing this to facebook but not actually being on facebook until Easter at least (if I hold out), but also sort of cool, that I won’t see anything or any reactions! Hello!

I’ll leave it at that for now. God bless you one and all.

Cathy.

Take my hand now, lead me closer, Lord I need to meet you there.

Take my hand now, lead me closer, Lord I need to meet you there.

I’m just sat in the living room with youTube on in the background. The River, by Brian Doerkson has just been on. I love that song. Take my hand now, lead me closer. Yes please Lord.

I didn’t really get Lent until this week, didn’t really get why it was different to other times of the year, I mean, I got the basics like it equating to Christ spending 40 days in the wilderness fasting and resisting the devil and that the tools spoken about were fasting, praying and giving and that it was preparing for Easter, seriousness and sorrow prior to Jesus crucifixion, almost suffering with Him and then having rejoicing and joy with His resurrection. But somehow, I still didn’t ‘get it’. Perhaps this is due as well to the general view of giving something up for lent and people generally give up sweets or alcohol or social media and all that, stuff that generally isn’t very good for them. But I failed to see how that was anything to do with Jesus in a lot of ways, I guess it isn’t in a lot of people’s lives.

I then asked a friend about it and when it was described as (as part of it) a yearly mot, a way of looking and getting rid of any baggage that was getting in the way of your relationship with Christ and living the gospel. Going deeper with Jesus and submitting fully again to Him. Denying yourself in order to be closer to Him and be changed by Him. Being honest about absolutely everything with Him. That the liturgical year is actually a gift from God, guided by the Holy Spirit. Then I got it. I got quite excited about it really and asked God to lead me through it. So I believe He is.

I’m not going to go into the personal aspects, I just want His will in our lives, so I’m submitting basically again, being honest about things that aren’t good in my life (we all have stuff) and trusting Him. And I’m expecting exciting things, I always find some very small things are very exciting, such as when he changes little things/ways in us that aren’t the best and it has a knock on effect of us walking in His ways and His will rather than ours. Change at the very core of ourselves, change that is real. Change that effects other people’s lives too. Change that has eternal consequences.

Cool? I find it all very exciting.

Holy Spirit you are welcome here.

Struggling is not a bad thing.

As a bit of a follow up to the whole no more fair weather christianity, I just want to say, in case you get the impression/opinion that I’m saying ‘you have to be strong! mighty! you have the Lord! Pull yourself together!’ …that wasn’t actually what I was saying.

I’m going to say something now which may or may not sit well, I’ll whisper it, (There’s nothing wrong with feeling like you are struggling in life). Back to normal voice now. No, I positively regard it as a blessing to be honest.

So I’m not talking about other people, I’ll talk about myself. I struggle, quite frequently, with how I feel about myself, my family, my feelings, life, everything, haha. What it does do, as a massive gift, is enable me to know God more. When I don’t even feel like I can pray and I just say, help! Help me! I can’t even pray, I don’t know what to pray, He is there. He works in me and whatever is going on and just draws me into His presence more and more.

A massively brilliant quote from the bible is when Jesus is talking about worry and about being provided for. It says:

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33).

This is something I just want to apply in all circumstances, in every aspect of life, ‘seek first the kingdom of God’.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

God’s hope, God’s presence, God’s power, God’s reassurance, God’s spirit in other words will be given to you. He will change you and your life and your knowledge of Him.

Don’t underestimate God is something I said a couple of weeks ago on a post, but now I’m going to say, don’t underestimate suffering or struggle in life. Take yourself to God, wherever you are and whenever you need him. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or how you feel, even if it’s really bad, just go to Him, cry out, know Him. Take it as the gift that it is. ~Even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Cathy.

We have some quail!

We have quail! Eight out of the twelve quail eggs hatched. They only incubate for about 18 days, so I don’t bother messing about. The eggs go in and are left without disturbance, on my incubator you can add water for humidity every couple of days to an outside reserve. On the 15th day, the temperature gets reduced slightly from 37.5 to 37.2, the humidity gets increased slightly (although I have seen a few people saying that because Ireland is so humid, dry hatches sometimes work even better), turning the eggs is stopped and a hatching mat which stops the chicks slipping when they’re hatched gets added. You then leave the incubator closed until they hatch, you wait until the majority are hatched and dry and then put them into your brooder, which is essentially a box/cage with a heat source to keep them warm, a non slip surface and food and drink. If you open when a chick is hatching, apparently the membranes of the egg can dry out and then make it impossible for the chick to hatch, so I try and avoid that! Although there is conflicting information everywhere when you look. The quail are so small, you have to be careful they can’t drown in any water and that they won’t get cold.

Unfortunately, we had a casualty during the night, we came downstairs this morning and J (the nearly 6 year old) yelled ‘one of them is on it’s back’. It had come out from the heat for some reason and was hardly moving, looked very ill and was very cold. So straight down my top it went, it warmed up and started moving more, I gave it some water with a little honey in it, just a very small amount, a bit of chopped egg yolk (which sounds strange, but it is high in protein) and kept it on me for a bit longer, then put it back once it was moving properly. It’s now back under the heat and seems ok at the moment. I guess we’ll see, tonight and tomorrow, whether it is ok. It looks it at the moment.

Last time we hatched some, I bought a spare heat plate just in case we had any that needed separating, so that’s currently in a box heating up just in case we do need to move the quail out and keep it warm. It’s always a good idea to have a spare. I’m keeping them in the living room in their brooder cage because it’s so much warmer than upstairs. It can drop quite low upstairs during the night. The living room is generally warmer and we have the fire on all day, every day at the moment.

I made a few mistakes last time we hatched them, which I’ve learnt from, they need a surface which is non slip at least for the first week or so. I’m putting towels in for the first week this time, changing them daily (they eat their poo if you don’t keep them clean), then I’ll change to shavings. Last time I just used paper towels and shavings and I got one with spraddle legs, which apparently can be cause by dislocating their hip whilst they’re very young from slipping. Also, I think they tend to eat the shavings if you use them in the first few days, which I did. An article I read recently, recommended the grit paper you can get for caged birds (a bit like sand paper), so maybe I’ll try that next time. They were also upstairs, which, as I’ve already mentioned, can get cold during the night.

The feed was also an issue last time, I didn’t have a high enough protein feed. Quail chicks need a high protein starter crumb. You can also use game feed or turkey starter. I’m waiting to see if our local agri store has managed to get any in for us, it’s supposed to be there today and Chris is calling in on its way home. I’m just feeding normal chick crumb at the moment and hard boiled egg yolk (on the advice of someone from a facebook smallholder group). But it will be a lot better if I can get the right feed. It seems really hard to get hold of in Ireland, but also, it’s almost impossible to get certain things from the UK at the moment, so we’re more restricted than we were.

They’re lovely little things, absolutely tiny, but they will grow very quickly. Apparently the females can start laying eggs from about 6-7 weeks, so that could be interesting. Here’s hoping it goes well! I love watching them, there’s also something so special about watching them hatch too.

I need to get a grip though, I’ve been looking at bigger incubators online, it’s soooo tempting!

Over and out!

Cathy.

Everyday miracles.

When I wrote yesterday that God does wondrous things and they can be so small that they’re almost unnoticeable. Part of that is what goes on around us every day. Nature, for a start. In my summing up the other day about the past week or so, I neglected to mention that Chris, again, spent the weekend splitting wood. He’s just about done the lot (until we bring some more up to the house). But a really lovely part of that, one I know Chris enjoyed a lot, was that there were a lot of grubs in the bark of the wood. He kept leaving the bark out like a little plate, with the grubs on, for the birds. We have two robins that are constantly popping up everywhere and they immediately started feeding. This is a pleasure and a wonder in itself. Not as obvious perhaps as a healing or someone coming to know Christ. But still a wonder and a joy.

I need to write!

Right, I feel the urge to write. Specifically, about a paragraph I wrote yesterday, very fleetingly about why as Christians we feel that we ought to have charmed lives. I just want to expand on it a little. I’ve become a bit conscious of what people think recently and I think that sometimes affects what I write, so I’ll attempt to write it as I feel is necessary.

What I really meant was, (my opinion, in addition to reading the bible and being spoken to through it) is that our reactions to things that go wrong and therefore our relationship with God, is often out of kilter. If you are a believer, you are a believer. Whether things are good, bad or indifferent. If you believe that God sent Jesus to die for you then you follow him and believe in Him, no matter what.

I feel from experience and from observation, particularly over the past year, that there can be tendency to only expect good things to happen when you belong to God. And shock when the good things (according to ourselves) don’t happen. It is very obvious on reading the bible and surveying the lives of Christians that have gone before us, that actually, that is just not the way it is.

I know God works through doubts and worries and he expects us to grieve at times as well as rejoice and have human emotions (we are human) and He works all things for the good, if you love him and are called by Him and He does give amazing gifts. But what I am feeling more and more is that there should be no more fair weather Christianity. We follow Him, we love Him, we do as He asks, we pursue Him and He speaks to us and works through us.

No matter what is going on, He is there, He loves you and He knows best.

I’m not going to go into detail, I don’t have the theological knowledge, but what I do have is a life that has been and is being transformed by Him in His time. I have a passion for Him and whilst I have not, especially since being here, always been a very good witness to His name. He is still there, He never leaves, changing us, changing things, inspiring, calling our names. God is good, but that does not mean good things will always happen. But always expect wondrous feats and miracles, they can be minute (almost unnoticeable) and they can be huge. Just trust, be up for whatever comes your way and that’s it.

I realise that I should probably put a load of bible verses up to substantiate my claims, but there’s so many. I actually recommend that you read the bible yourself. Always a good thing. I’m exploring it more again at the moment. It’s good! try it 😀

Amen!

A list.

I’ve been thinking, over the afternoon today, thinking about blogging and wondering and trying to remember what’s happened here over the last week or so. Here’s the findings.

I’ve cut my hair off. Well, when I say cut, I mean clipped, on number eight. I got very sick of the hair. If you don’t know me, it’s usually long and curly (and silver), but due to lockdowns and having children with me every day, it hasn’t been cut for about a year (I think), so it was getting a bit 80’s haha. So off it went. It feels lovely and I actually do really like it. I know what a hairdresser will say though, when I eventually get to one and I don’t think it will be very positive. Chris came home from work when I’d done most of it and helped me tidy it up, it’s surprisingly difficult to get it all even, even with the clippers. It’s good for now, anyway!

We saw a large fox strolling down Chris’s runway a couple of weeks ago, slightly worrying because it was about ten metres away from where we keep the chickens. But we did know there was one or two about, so not a total surprise. It was actually really lovely to see him walking right across the field. As long as he doesn’t get our chickens it’ll stay really lovely.

It snowed again, yes! Only for a short while, but we were able to enjoy it and we noticed some interesting footprints around the chicken pen (again) and on the field. Some I know were hares, but I’m unsure about others. See photo’s. I love stuff like this.

I’ve been reading my bible more again (new testament mainly at the moment), and I’m really, really wondering why we all expect to live charmed lives when we’re christians? I’m also wondering whether we have ever actually read our bibles properly haha. I’ll leave that there (I mean me as well).

I’ve been taking the kids outside more again, it definitely calms them down and is very good for them. It’s funny, the age where I have to put an application in to TUSLA for homeschooling is coming up (it’s six in Ireland) and I’d got a bit uptight about what we were doing and it definitely defeated the idea of homeschooling and learning through play at this young age. I’d started being a bit too rigid and worrying about what we were doing, it’s definitely not funny what worry does to you and those around you. We’ve relaxed a bit again now.

I reacted badly to something on Sunday and did reactive posting. So if you know what I’m talking about…sorry…

The quail chicks are due to hatch around about Friday-Sunday ish, may take longer (if they hatch), so that’s exciting. If they don’t, we’ll just have to try again. If they do, photo’s will be forthcoming.

One of our two Buff Orpington girls (chickens) laid their first ever egg yesterday, It was very exciting. Hopefully, there’ll be a lot more to come. I’m also hoping the rooster settles down a bit, he’s been a bit jumpy with our boys lately. I’m hoping it’s just his age, but if he starts getting irate and attacking the boys, he’ll have to go. We’re going to get more hens when it warms up slightly, February or March will probably be the time, if we can.

There’s probably a lot more, but I can’t remember anything else at this moment. So I’ll say hello and goodbye!

Cathy.

So I’m sat here again…

I am, I’m sat on a chair that I’ve just moved out of the dining room into the kitchen (so I can clean the dining room floor), I’m looking out of the window.

I can’t really write all my thoughts down, they are varied and many, as I sit here. Looking and thinking. Most of my thoughts are usually intertwined with thinking about what God’s doing at the moment, where we are, things I need to do, testimonies about God fill my head, for some reason, I’m always thinking how I can tell what God has done and is doing. As if I’m telling someone else in my head. Haha. It’s good to tell yourself true stories. Ones that are good.

Anyway, I’ll clean the floor in a minute. There’s a few updates with the place. I’ve got some quail eggs incubating again, I don’t know if they’ll be ok because the electric to the incubator was ‘accidentally’ turned off the other day, but I guess we’ll see. They only incubate for about 18 days, so not long to wait. I thought we’d try them again and hope they all survive this time, unlike last time which just left us with one psycho male.

Chris had a lovely week or so off at Christmas and of course is now back at work. We’re on lockdown, pretty much like the uk I think, the schools etc are off now too. So the kids and I are here as usual. To be honest it confuses me when people think we can’t do much because we’re on lockdown. There’s always stuff to do here, I don’t think I’ve ever actually been bored. Stressed yes, but not bored. It is a really good thing for us to be here I think. We do have a good life. I’m realising this more at the moment.

I can also smell spring, I let the dog out this morning and could hear birds singing, it was lovely. We have snow forecast (I’m really hoping it comes) but Spring is definitely in the air! I’ve ordered our veg seeds and onions and potatoes, which is very exciting.

Anyway, enough rambling. Good day to you!

Cathy.

Ooh that’s a cliche..

I was thinking the other morning about trends and cliches. It made me smile to myself. In particular the way some things are in ‘fashion’ for a while, then something else comes in.

I’m not really actually talking about fashion, it’s more about things we say or are expected to say.

A couple of examples from my own life are when I was doing an access to nursing course, on the uni applications a common one at the time on your supporting statement was along the lines of ‘I like to keep healthy, as I firmly believe a healthy body means a healthy mind’. Even if it wasn’t true, you were expected to put something like it.

Another example is when I’d just finished my district nursing degree and we were going for interviews, when we were asked what sort of leader we were, we were expected to say ‘transformational!’ And go on to say why we were ‘transformational!’ Well, that sort of thing and expectation Just gets on my nerves to be frank. So I just refused to say the word transformational and said I was democratic. To which the response was ‘so you’ll let them walk all over you then?’ To which I answered a firm ‘no’.

Don’t we all talk rubbish sometimes, saying what people expect or want us to say because that’s the current buzz word or because we want to be accepted or whatever. It stops us talking truth sometimes. Saying it on its own means nothing. Doing it, fair enough,but saying it or being expected to say it just for the sake of it. Just no.

I got the job anyway. Quite a while ago now, but I did.

There are two sides to this for me, I both hate it and feel amused by it. This thing where you’re expected to say things just to tick a box, whether for getting a job or in everyday life. In other people’s assessment of you. Or also in our own assessment of other people I suppose.

We’re all different, we’re all unique, we’re all made by God and for God. We’re made to come to God and be changed by Him. From the inside out.

I’d love to just stop with the pretences we all seem to do in life and just accept and be accepted and just be free to be us and therefore be able to actually innovate and encourage rather than tick boxes. We might actually have some original ideas if we weren’t rigidly expected to fit norms.

I also firmly believe that the only true way to do this is to know and follow Jesus. That’s the only way we can actually get rid of the rubbish and masks and be free to be. And I don’t mean free to be as being as we like. Like rude or ignorant, or following ways that aren’t right. I mean being our best selves, the selves that God made us to be in the first place. With confidence because we know He made us and freedom because we know His love and forgiveness and the life that only He gives.

Anyway! Toodle pip. Bit random today, but interesting! My mind’s actually still working at this. Thinking about it.

Peace: one of the ways we feel peace is when we are able to come to someone and just be accepted, not judged, but loved. And that’s what we can do with God. He is the only person I know who I can be totally myself with, because He knows me inside out anyway and just loves me anyway. There’s no pretence with God. He loves me so much that this love drives me to say sorry for things I do wrong too. It’s an amazing love, unlike anything else we will ever know.

Really saying bye now! Bye!

Cathy.

A couple of things to say…;)

Like the title says, I have a couple of things to say today, then I may go back to nice, smallholding/cottagey type posts, or I may not hahahaaaaaa.

Anyway, I don’t have a clue how people are feeling about the lockdown in the UK, we live in a cottage in Ireland with a field behind it, so I’m somewhat far away from the reality that is lockdown for a lot of people. All I see are the articles on facebook really. We are also locked down by the way. But to be honest, my lifestyle hasn’t really changed much since March anyway.

Also, the homeschooling thing, I actually really like homeschooling and it’s fairly relaxed, especially since they’re only nearly six and three. It may be a homeschooling cliche, but kids or anybody really, really do learn wherever and whatever they’re doing. However, whenever I get tempted to start going ‘what are they all complaining about??’ ‘I LOVE my kids being at home (which I do generally), we have a day like today, which for a large part was pretty awful, involved some screaming kids, a yelling parent (not naming anybody…ha) and watching YouTube at dinnertime because otherwise I was going to go mad.

It was quite interesting, there were some American kids who were digging a 10 ft bunker in their backyard to ‘play’ in. I then got slightly nervous at how interested J was and wondered if I was going to find a massive hole after he had played out this afternoon. I didn’t. Half relieved, half disappointed. It got better when I got off my bottom and did some stuff with them. I generally find play dough works wonders with the youngest at least. So yeah, no high horse about home schooling today, also, I don’t think I’d like prescribed work from a school very much, because it is so very, very different to how most home edders/schoolers do things (I’m not fussy about the terms used).

The second thing I just want to mention is… and I know I needn’t mention this and some may feel it’s unnecessary, but I want to… I know some people probably don’t like that we’re becoming Catholic. Some have been very supportive, but I get the feeling (and my feelings quite often lead in the right direction) that quite a few don’t like it and I’m sorry about that. The thing is, we are, and we’re very happy about it.

Catholicism is so rich and beautiful when you start looking into it and reading and listening and learning. It really is. Believe me. I’ve learnt so much. Feel free to ask questions, I’ll remain friendly (now)…! But, as a part of that also, we are all connected in Christ if we believe that Jesus is Lord, God and Saviour and that he died and was resurrected. From this when you come to Him, he forgives your sins and gives you both new life now and eternal life with Him. I know that’s a bit of a mouthful, but honestly, if anyone reading this is not a believer, Jesus really does completely change your life. Simplistically, if you believe the apostles creed then you believe. (Catholic actually means universal, by the way). The Apostles’ Creed – Prayers – Catholic Online

If we believe, we believe, we are not separate, we are His church. I keep thinking of different things I could add or put, but no, I don’t want to get all complicated.

I am so, so grateful for the time I spent as part of Church in the Peak, Matlock, it was about ten years. I just can’t describe in a paragraph how life changed as a result of knowing God and being part of that family. I was born again in that church and learnt so much from just being there. Especially in prayer meetings, I must say. I used to love just being there and soaking it all in, learning, from people and from God, learning to sit in God’s presence, to want Him more than anything else, to worship. And again, over the lockdown period I’ve taken part in the online services, watched, listened, commented occasionally :). We are not separate because we live in Ireland, or because we’re becoming Catholic. If someone is a believer, no matter where they are or what kind of church they are part of, then we are linked to them through God and it is beautiful. Such a big family.

And! If I ever manage to get back and actually see our families and friends in the UK, Church in the Peak, I’m a coming to see you!!!!! It would be wonderful. For me, anyway!

Anyway, back to digging holes…haha. I’d quite like to build a bunker, introverts r us! Mind, I’m a bit of a mix, I don’t really know what I am apart from a woman.

Bye!

Cathy.