Thurs 19th Apr 2018

“It’s what we’ve always done: we’ve found the plants that are growing near us, and found a way of turning them into something useful.”

I’ve started allowing myself to dream about what I want to do with myself in the future, on our land. (Partly because there’s so much I want to be doing, but there’s always something – different each time – in the way, some prep that needs doing first, or some tool missing; and as well as the “am I good enough?” thoughts, I’m an expert procrastinator anyway.)

Looking around at what’s already growing, and wondering what I can use it for so that when we prune the trees to encourage fruiting there’s less wastage, so that the nettle that is growing everywhere can be – well, not exactly tamed, but at least managed and kept out of easy reach of inquisitive barefoot kids, so that the woodland can breathe again – we’re already starting to find a lot of 1-3yo saplings in the areas we’ve started tidying up which is encouraging, there are patches of wood anemones opening up in the light, and the undergrowth is all budding. Hopefully the deer that wander through will find the woodland flora more suited to them than my veggie garden once I’ve got that up and running! Fully expect to have to fence off our garden though – firstly to stop the deer getting in, and secondly to stop the future goats getting out!

But. What can I make, from what is already here? I can make baskets, there’s a lot of overgrown bramble vines I can use, there’s fruit trees that will always need managing, there’s grasses and nettles I can learn to spin yarn from the fibres, and of course when harvest seasons come around there will be fruit to fill those baskets with. I suppose I’d better get basketing.

There are some beautiful long straight pieces of branch to make curtain poles from, that I don’t need any new tools for; and the possibility of Steve creating a non-electric lathe for me to play with to turn things from the offcuts of branches;

Even if I stopped the regular delivery of advertisements into our mailbox there would still be an abundance of paper waste, which I already know how to recycle into sheets of handmade paper, and could also turn the pulp into pots for gardening;

And when I can find the power cord for my sewing machine again there are curtains and cushions to sew and clothes to mend.

Eventually of course I hope to have our goats, but before they become a real possibility I need to learn about spinning and dyeing. I need to be setting my foundations now while it’s all (sort of) play time, prep time, experimenting time.

(Top to bottom: playing on the re-stabilised climbing frame; testing the hosepipe for rope-bridge strength; sitting on the swing keeping Steve company before school; the first of the tulips; sunset behind Skanderborg station)

It’s been a weird day. I’ve been desperate to DO something but there’s always been something stopping me from actually getting on and doing it. Maybe there’s just too many things swirling around and I need to step back and take stock, but in doing that I risk stopping working on the immediate stuff like digging up the docks. But I got to have coffee in the sunshine with Steve this morning, the laundry has its place in the sunshine, and we looked at the various structures together and chatted about what could potentially be fixed up with what’s already lying around the place, where the (future) chickens and goats could roam.

Anyway. Even if I wasn’t Doing much, Steve was Doing. He re-fixed the climbing frame so it’s not wobbly, and made a start on a rope-bridge from the top of the climbing frame to the adjacent tree. And he was up before everyone, splitting the rest of the logs he cut up yesterday. I have to remember we’re not out of the frost-risk time just yet even if temperatures have been low 20s in the shade today, and it would be sensible not to stop bringing in firewood as and when we’re able, so we have a just-in-case stock.

I had school today though and managed to at least get myself together enough to get out on time, packing a jacket and scarf just in case the temperature should drop below 20C. I realised at school that I never really think about what I did at the weekend or what I’m going to do at the weekend and even though the question appears every single week I’m never prepared for “hvad skal du om weekenden?” so I decided to consciously think about it more, and try and write it down. I guess my spelling and grammar will improve over time! I’ve also realised that it IS possible for me to separate “my work” from “my every day” so I’ve made a start on that as well (in danish, as it’s for my module test) too and will post it as well when I’ve done a draft that I’m happy enough with (as in, at least got all the information in, even if the grammar and syntax and word choices need tweaking).

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