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 πŸ˜€

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…

5 months!

I’ve just realised we’ve now been here 5 months. Seriously, it’s going so quickly it’s ridiculous.

So what have we learnt in the last 5 months and what has changed?

    God is good, Chris got a job actually in Leitrim in spite of it being thought to be unlikely and there’s been countless other blessings.
    When you feel like you can’t go on, you can.
    We’ve gone from having a dirty, dusty, coaly house to one that just has normal dust and gales no longer blow actually through the house.
    Electricians are difficult to pin down…
    Most of the Irish services we’ve had have been brilliant and turned up on time and done the work excellently. Despite being told by a few people before we came, we would have to constantly be on people’s backs to get stuff done.
    Children love being outside and will always find something to play with.
    I’m less lazy than I was. It’s just harder work than where we lived before. Even getting a wash involves planning!
    It doesn’t matter where you live. Material belongings or eating and drinking don’t satisfy us or make us happy. Only God does and that means we can be anywhere and be content if we live with Him and submit to Him. Put it this way, if you’re not happy in Chesterfield, you probably still won’t be happy in Ireland. Environment matters, but only to a certain extent.
    I’m learning (or trying to) that I can’t have everything immediately). Also, to try and be in the moment I’m in instead of constantly thinking of what I still have to do… I find this difficult.. The house drives me nuts when I let it..
    I can no longer flush anything or wash anything down the drain without thinking. Our water goes straight into the land and the toilet goes into a septic tank..I feel slightly more responsible ‘adult’ now. Fat gets scraped off, food either gets eaten or goes for composting, Bleach generally does not get used…etc etc.. still not queen of the green, but better than I was.
    It is a beautiful place and I am very thankful.
    God has plans for us that we don’t yet know about. I have a real sense of anticipation again. It’s exciting.
  • Oh and that thing we hear about kids no longer bouncing off walls if they get enough time outside… it’s not true..they still bounce off walls and the furniture and the window ledges and anything else you care to mention πŸ˜‚.
  • Au revoir!
  • We’re going out for dinner at a local cafe today. Should be fun!
  • Cathy
  • Here lies the body of…

    only joking! (As Chris would say).

    It’s our outside fire that Chris has made for us. It’s great, the tombstone makes sure the smoke doesn’t go everywhere. Hoping to cook on it sometimes this summer.

    New bed dug today, only a small one. J said he wanted to grow carrots, so I dug one and the seeds are in. I’m not sure whether they’ll work, the seeds are from last year and I’ve never had much success with carrots, but I guess we will soon see. The sticks mark the rows.

    I gave J his own little bit of garden today (he chose it), mainly because he kept running on and digging in the bits I’ve planted. In the photo he is using my early birthday present. He’s really good with it too. It’s a Wolf Garten set, they have interchangeable heads and the ones I chose are a tiller and a weeder. J has also sown some sunflower seeds too today. He seems to really like gardening. Maybe we should start a family business πŸ˜†.

    Month 4 in the Shepherd house!…

    It feels like longer than 4 months strangely.

    So this morning I went to get the headlights focused on the car so it’ll pass the NCT to be told it’s better to have it done just before as a slight bump can affect them…how silly is that? That it can fail because you go over a bump..anyway! We’re going back next week to have them done.

    We’ve also been outside again, I’ve done a bit of digging, J has been using the loppers (he really enjoys it) and littlest has been playing. Chris hasn’t been very well at all and has been off work and in bed, he has a sickness bug we think. He must be ill, he’s refused nearly all food and drink apart from water 😢

    It’s a lovely day, it’s meant to be cloudy but it isn’t. It was a shame to come in. In fact J is creating because I’ve just brought them in…

    starting a little bit of an experiment outdoors, nothing major but I’ll see how it goes! (see above circle). more to come…I’m still deciding on the exact plan..

    The soil is majorly wet on the back of the veg plot so I’ve tried to cut a bit of drainage into the bed I’ve dug. It’ll hopefully dry out again over the next few days.

    it’s so strange what you find when you’re digging, today it was a little clear bottle and some cutlery.

    and before anyone says it, no I don’t think the cutlery is worth anything.

    The bottle is a lot smaller and cuter then it looks there.

    I’ve decided I need to start painting the walls soon…I may start with our bedroom (as soon as it becomes a bedroom and I’m not going to step on a plane…)

    really need to get a shed sorted!..

    Project veg plot

    I have a project! The area of raised ground behind the house is just about dry enough to sort out for our veg plot (with a few flowers thrown in for good measure). So I’ve started edging and digging the beds and planning it out. I love doing it. Especially planning and deciding where to put the paths and beds and what will go where.

    A before (ish) photo, not quite the same view as the next:

    and a current photo:

    It is so satisfying, just doing a bit at a time. It has to be a bit really, I have to wait for littlest’s nap time, then I try to do the digging. The top bit in front of the shed is where I’m at at the moment:

    still about half a bed to dig, there’s some big stones in there. When I can get them out they get thrown down the bank, there’s one so far that I can’t shift, so I think I’ll stick another on top and leave it there so I can see where it is and don’t do a clang a spade down on it thing and reverberate. I’m hoping to get potatoes in here over the next week but it’s still fairly claggy, so we’ll see.

    This is the other side:

    To the far left as you look at the raised area we are hoping to put up a poly tunnel. Either this year or next, we aren’t sure yet. There’s so many roots and branches to clear, but it’s good fun.

    I’ve felt a bit low recently and being outside, being active and gardening are things I really enjoy and they charge me up. I asked God what to do about how I was feeling earlier in the week and amongst other things I felt he said to get outside. He also gave me this verse:

    Matthew 6:25

    Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 

    I need to trust him.

    also, we have pots everywhere! I love it! Seeds are germinating all over the house 😍

    these are cornflowers, blackball and blue ball. Hopefully we’ll pick the right spot for them once they’re a bit bigger and they’ll flourish!

    What’s happening at the moment? Jobs…!

    So what are we doing at the moment? It’s quite a busy time really. We’ve agreed to have our windows and door replaced, they should arrive for fitting over the next 4 weeks. The range and a new fire are being installed in just over a week (all being well) and an electrician is visiting tonight to check out the electrics (I am so thankful that he is coming).

    Chris is currently strimming the field, all 3 acres – he has bought a steel brushcutter blade for the strimmer and it’s getting through it a lot better than the grass cutter blade. It’s very hard work and he’s building a shed today as a bit of break from it. (The future plan is to possibly get a little tractor and use that and to probably get a few goats). The shed will be great to temporarily store all our boxes that we aren’t unpacking yet and will allow us to do up the cottage more easily. I’ve decided I need to re-box a few things to give us more room, it makes more sense than winding our way through stuff we don’t yet have storage for in the house.

    There’s a little plantation right next to our cottage which you can see on the above photograph. Eventually, the spruces are going to be chopped down as they’re very tall and quite close to the house and we’re hopefully going to have some native trees there instead. There are a couple of birch already in there but struggling and a lot of holly.

    I knew there were some bottles in the wood, but this week I started investigating a little further and there are what looks like hundreds! I’ve started excavating them and am going to keep on doing so. It was suggested that we do a bottle wall, I’d love to in some ways but with everything we have to do now and over the next few years it is currently unlikely – so bottle bank here I come!

    So I (Cathy) am watching Brexit and the UK and Irish responses to it with interest and I have to say, since we’ve been here we’ve met with nothing but friendliness and have been welcomed in general but Brexit particularly online seems to be stirring up a lot of anti English comments, I don’t know if that is because of the certain type of people who comment on online posts or if it is a general feeling, but I have to say the English or the UK don’t exactly help themselves sometimes. Whoever started the petition to get the Republic to join the UK is a little bit assumptive or taking the mickey methinks.

    So anyway, back to the old homestead….I’m getting hatching egg fever again, I think I’m going to go for the breed Cream Legbar if possible as they are autosexing, you can tell if they’re male or female as soon as they hatch, which is helpful. I’m REALLY looking forward to hatching them, I just need to find a supplier over here. Cream Legbars have green/blue eggs and are bred mainly as laying hens, not for meat.

    last year’s chicks 🐣

    I’m also going to start reading up on goat keeping as I mentioned earlier, I think we have probably decided on goats as the main/first animal we will keep. Only a few as we only have 3 acres but we will see, there is no rush, as we also have to get the premises ready, as if you have livestock, you have to be registered with the Department of Agriculture as a goat/sheep keeper and be approved. We don’t know if it will be this year or next, but it will probably happen at some point.

    Bye for now. May God bless you one and all with the knowledge of Him.

    Cathy.

    Big difference in a short space of time…

    I’ve been thinking…not always good news, but this is pretty positive. What I’ve been thinking about is how much our little house has changed in a short space of time and how much you can forget or take for granted in a short space of time.

    When we first arrived on the Friday evening on the 7th December, so nearly two whole months ago! I know I said it was warmer than we expected, and it was, but! we could see our breath whilst indoors, the walls upstairs in the bedrooms and also the bathroom were actually wet and the floor in the kitchen leading from the wall inwards was wet as well, it was really wet. Remarkably, as soon as we started putting heat into the building it all started drying out, but only after a week of not looking forward to going to bed (really not looking forward to it) because the bedding and the air upstairs actually felt wet as well. We’ve since realised we put a lot of heat in and that probably initially caused more damp, as we then didn’t realise a window needed to be opened a crack as well for ventilation (and it’s essential when cooking).

    One of our jobs in a morning is to go around drying the insides of the windows and it has gradually improved – it has to be said this was Chris who initiated this. The dehumidifier has been a majorly good investment too in improving the dampness. On looking at photographs I’ve also remembered we took the flooring up in the dining room and bathroom so it could dry out.

    We’ve learnt a lot about old buildings since moving in (especially in Ireland) and what to do with them and we’ve read up a bit about damp. Apparently, a lot of what surveyers tell you about damp is not right, it’s about looking at the causes, not treating with injectable damp proof courses etc. The main issues with this place was the lack of drainage around the building and having it all cleared and gullies dug out to drain all the water away from the building was the best thing that could have been done. Thank you God for our friend with his digger who was recommended and came to do all that work. There’s more to be done but that was a remarkable thing to have done within a very short time of being here. Also, he knew what he was doing and we didn’t! Chris also fixed the gutters and made sure the water wasn’t running onto the building.

    Before and after photographs above… Gravel has also been put down since on the back to make a drive. The front gardens are going to be flower beds, conditions permitting.

    I also watched Terry Waite speaking on a BBC clip tonight and he was speaking about when he was imprisoned and a major factor in surviving was actually living! Each day he was imprisoned, “that was his life” he wasn’t waiting for a life, he didn’t know if he would survive or when or if he would be released. But each day is our life, every minute of every day and while he was imprisoned he wrote poetry, he wrote his first book in his head! I have to admit, I’ve been a little sorry for myself at times recently and this really spoke to me. It is something I normally do believe in, living for that day, but it is so easy to lose perspective.

    Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34)

    Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com