Friday 2nd Mar 2018

Yesterday’s winds ripped the heat away from the house as fast as we were heating it up, and Steve got through pretty much all of today’s logs yesterday afternoon just keeping the boiler temperature up. So, first things first, after getting the fire lit (and gaining a bunch of new scratches and grazes in the process, doesn’t happen very often but today it did) I emptied the overflowing water bucket and ash scuttle, and brought a barrowful of logs in from the shed. (This is only half a barrowful, I’d already unloaded a bit before I decided to take a picture!)

I had on two hats, two pairs of gloves including my heavy work gloves, two pairs of socks including thick woolly ones, and a thick scarf. And the parts of me still warm afterwards? All those bits NOT covered by hats, gloves or boots. I was in my pyjamas and a jumper!!! Took a while for my toes to painfully regain feeling, and my fingers will probably remain a little swollen and stiff all day.

Today’s jobs:

* bread making

* strawberry smoothie making for Charley

* laundry

* chicken for tea

* playing in the snow!

I also spent a while watching the birds after I’d finished my outdoor jobs. There were a few flitting in and out of the garage and pecking around on the floor (a red start, a marsh tit, and a blackbird among others – the blackbird is quite a regular visitor to the garage, I really hope his lady friend isn’t nesting in there) so I hung up a couple of feeder balls next to the garage door for them. ‘Course in my wisdom I went out in sandals….

Smoothie was a huge success, and as per usual the entire punnet of strawberries disappeared almost as soon as I got them out of the fridge. I think we used 4 large strawberries, about a cup and a half milk, and two teaspoons sugar.

Today’s sound for Charley to practise lots of (in fact this week’s sound): st (as in stick) because he CAN make that sound, and it’s getting easier by the day as he practises it, and we can start reminding him to use it in his words.

And we DID play in the snow! I set Sarah and Duck playing for Erika; Charley was playing on Minecraft and had no desire to play in the snow at all; and I said to Ben I’d come out for the length of one episode of Sarah and Duck. Intending just to shovel snow from our driveway. Well, one snowman later I was hypo but we were both happy! Frosty’s looking good tonight. It was a choice between Frosty or Olaf but even though Ben didn’t yell at me to stop when I started singing, we decided he didn’t look like an Olaf anyway!

‘Course it’s carried on snowing all afternoon and you can’t tell where I cleared the snow from earlier!

Erika is not a huge fan of being really cold, nor of snowsuits that render her basically immobile so she watched from indoors. Her squeals of delight when Ben had a snowball “fight” with her through the window were just ours joy though!

Today’s bread has been SUPER successful. Even despite the fact I forgot to add any salt to the dough! I put the tips I’d found yesterday into practise, kneaded the dough between proves, didn’t brush the top with anything before baking, and brushed it with butter after it came out of the oven, and it actually looks – and slices! – like a proper loaf of bread! I’m so happy about this!

I’d much rather buy flour in bulk and store it here and make bread regularly than have to bring a loaf home every other day. Having a tiny freezer compartment is really challenging my thinking when it comes to food storage and preparation. My next big learning thing is going to have to be canning (well, preserving; jars and whatnot).

Dinner was jerk chicken with peppers and onions, and daddy’s fried chicken for those as wanted it. I cooked a proper meal. And I have a bunch of tubs of leftovers in the fridge now too, including chicken carcass pieces for making a stock – I can’t remember the last time I made a stock, it’s been that long.

And the cats are getting less and less twitchy. They spent quite a while in the porch on the high perch we made for them, snuggling together, quite happy for us to be moving around in the kitchen and paying us little attention, preferring to watch the Outside. Then Tiger also came and sat on the printers’ bench by the kitchen window for a while, looking in and watching us get on with stuff. Quite companiable really.

So today has been pretty good. Ben is super happy to have played in the snow with me. Bread and smoothie and dinner were a success. Erika napped, the boys got to play minecraft, Ben learnt some cool new redstone tricks, but Charley is bored out of his skull and is desperate to go out chopping wood with daddy again.

Next week is going to be busy (by my standards anyway). A visit from the home education chap from the Kommune, a phonecall with my diabetes nurse to see how I’ve got on with the sensor, and an early morning dental appointment to take Charley to. I think it may also be shark week so it’ll be interesting to see how my mental health fares with the added pressures. This week has been as close to how I’d like life to muddle along as it has been in I don’t know how long. There has been such a lift in pressure that I’ve been able to bake, and cook dinners, and relax. And a relaxed Me is a Me who can look after her family better.

Now Erika has finally given in to sleep (I hung out all the laundry and did the washing up waiting for her) all that’s left to do is make up a bottle of pancake batter for Steve to cook tomorrow while I go into town by myself to run various errands and breathe some more.

I did spend a while contemplating the front door this afternoon as it continued to snow gently. If we did get snowed in (as unlikely as that’s looking to be honest), we really would be stuck.

The front door opens outwards.

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