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Sunday, 7 April 2019

What a week!

After feeling so great the week before, last week hit me like a ton of bricks! All was going well until a friend arrived to dig out our grey water system and as I helped sort things out, I knew I was pushing myself beyond a reasonable limit.
The friend left and I was left with my perma-garden looking like a battle field, complete with bomb craters and trenches! A long hot bath was needed, but first, the animals had to be fed.

It was still sunny, so I wasn't surprised to see Jerry having a lie down. The others took their places for dinner, but not Jerry! I was instantly alert and called T to give me a hand. Jerry is T's baby and he knew instantly that all was very wrong. He got Jerry to his feet and bless him, Jerry managed to come to me for a cuddle before collapsing again. We pulled him up and T walked him while I called a friend to call the vet. I know I could have managed it myself, if I'd had the time to work out what to say, but I didn't and my mind was shutting down!

We had to abandon the walking as Jerry was in such a bad way that we were worried he would collapse on the road. Luckily, I keep a little paddock seperate for emergencies and we put Jerry there. His buddy Toffee was beside himself with worry and when the vet arrived and began to treat Jerry, I was worried Toffee might have a heart attack he was getting so wild in his agitation.
9 years ago, I lost my wonderful horse Oliver in exactly the same way and he was Toffee's whole world as much as he was mine and I'm sure Toffee knew what was happening.

The vet gave Jerry very strong drugs, including morphine and thankfully, he stopped rolling, which is often the cause of a twisted gut, which is then fatal without surgery.  We sat with Jerry until he fell deeply asleep and then checked on him throughout the night. At midnight we were startled to find him quietly eating a little grass with Toffee nearby watching over the fence.

The next morning, he was well enough to go in with Toffee and eat some soaked hay. Toffee never left his side.

 Jerry (on the left) and Toffee.

Of course, after a weekend like that, I wasn't at all surprised to be hit by a big old fibro flare on Monday!!! It was a pretty wasted week!


Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Glad to be home.

I was so happy to get home to my lovely animals. I'd missed the ponies sooo much and spent a wonderful day in the sun brushing and fussing them. During the winter, Maggie wears her mane in a long plait to stop it turning to dreadlocks. Brushed out it reaches her shoulder <3
Jerry is looking amazing as well considering that we nearly lost him the first winter due to the stress of the move, the awful weather and the others all stealing his food. Unfortunately Saturday night he went down with a terrible colic, but against all the odds, he pulled through and is now back to his normal cheeky self!
This is what happens when you decide to do some drawing in the house instead of the studio!!!
I was playing with ideas for my business logo but got bored and drew a stag! I am so out of practice!!!
I'll have more to say tomorrow, hopefully. I've overdone it this week and am in bed working on my business plans. I'm so tired that I just want to sleep! The cats think that's a great plan ;)

Friday, 29 March 2019

Stranded in England

Some of my posts maybe in all kinds of order as a lot has happened in the last few months and I'll tell you about them as and when I feel like talking about it all. Some things had quite an effect on me and my life, so I have to share them when I can.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was stranded in England! In February, we popped back to the UK for a big party for T and it was lovely seeing everyone but this happened!

I think it was probably one of the slowest crashes I've ever been involved in! It was in a car park and the person just kept driving, I had nowhere to go as he slowly crunched the front and side panel in!

So, anyhoo, he admitted full liability and his insurance company covered everything including a hire car. They said it would take three days. I came home, sorted out the animals and helped my son pack his things to move back to England. I booked the car in and expected to take my son back, have a couple of days with him and his sister, fill the car with tea and horse feed and return home to France.

Well, let me tell you dear friends, when an insurance company tells you something, check it with the garage as often they have no idea how the garage operates. So, long story short, I was stuck waiting for my poor little car to be fixed. I was lonely, homesick and although enjoying being with my children, dreading the day I would drive away again.

As it turned out, leaving them wasn't too awful, I survived, and they promise to visit in the summer.

Leaving Portsmouth easy, peasy. I can't stand city life or even rural life in England anymore!!!

 It was sooo windy on the ferry, but I had a lovely walk around the deck and just revelled in the feeling of going home.
 In my cabin, I had wine and a picnic. It was lovely :D
 St Malo was a welcome sight the next morning, it's a beautiful city and maybe one day I'll visit properly, instead of zooming through!
 My beautiful Manchee missed me sooo much. He followed me everywhere for the first day and just couldn't stop staring at me. He's still really cuddly nearly two weeks later. I do love this boy <3

I wasn't intending to tell the long and not very interesting story of being stuck in England, but I suppose I needed to get it out, like squeezing a boil. I still tear up when I think of my children, young adults starting their own life adventures and being stuck away from home and helpless really took it's toll on me. I haven't had black days like that since coming to France.

I'm home now and moving forwards, that's where I need to focus.  The Ormus continues to work and my morning routine of getting up early, doing my stretches and feeding the animals is still working for me. Even my Bursitis is easing and my pains are from working hard with soft, lazy muscles unacustomed to so much hard labour :D

Enjoy your day, friends.x














Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Making Ormus.

I can't guarantee that I'll be posting daily but my new routine has begun, so it's looking positive so far.



This morning I got up, threw on pj bottoms and a jumper, drank my glass of Ormus and ran outside to feed the ponies and chickens. Then it was back inside for more plain water and a 10/12 minute yoga stretching session. In time I hope to build up to a proper yoga session but I'm still adjusting to the new routine.
The old routine was that T would get up first, put the kettle on, feed the cats and let out the chickens while I tried to grab some extra sleep. I could sometimes manage a good half an hour waking just before my tea got cold. Then I would drag my heavy, aching body out of bed to begin the day.

So here's what's changed, and I hope it lasts. I was stuck in England a couple of weeks ago, completely helpless and unable to return home after my car was held up in the garage. I was only expecting to be there a few days only to be told the car could take weeks! After a day of feeling very sorry for myself I decided to put my time to good use. I'd taken my son back as he wanted to get on with his life and it's too quiet and isolated where we live in France, so I managed to spend a lot of time with him and visiting his sister the Moomin who went back before Christmas.

I also wanted to catch up with my dear friend and Reiki master as she had lost her dog in January and was taking it hard and so I wanted to give her a hug in person.  We had a wonderful day talking and drinking coffee and it put peace in my soul. Then she told me about her healing project making Ormus. I've looked at this in the past and was a bit sceptical. Ormus is also known as Manna and has all kinds of health properties and benefits, too many for me to go into now, but I urge you to look into it and draw your own conclusions. So I took my first dose and to be honest felt really quite weird, light headed and a bit spacy. After the first couple of days that wore off and nothing much happened but I carried on taking it during my stay and on my eventual return to France.

Yesterday was exactly two weeks since my first dose and I was up with the lark and raring to go. My body felt light for the first time in years, like I'd been wearing a lead suit and finally took it off!   It was honestly like waking from a very bad dream.  It was the first morning I began the new routine and I managed to keep up quite a pace all day and even stacked the 30 bags of horse feed that were waiting for me when I got back from England! After that I cleaned the house and took the dogs for a walk!

Now, I'm not sure how long this energy will last and last night, every muscle in my body ached, so the pain is still there, and I had my typical cold like symptoms that warn me to slow down but this morning, I was again up, bright and early.

I also managed to do the next part of my Herbalism course, which I'd been delaying because of one difficult question. So it seems that my brain is more alert as well.  Fingers crossed this lasts because it feels great :D










Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Returning.

I hope I can find my way back to blogging as I've suddenly begun to miss putting my thoughts into stories and snippets of my day.
I've been so busy looking after the animals and getting the house together on top of starting my new business that I've literally fallen into bed each night too exhausted to even think about getting up early to blog.  I prefer to blog in the mornings when my brain is still fresh and untroubled by the rest of the world.  However, living here, it's possible to avoid the world outside for good long stretches of time. It's very healing.

So, if it's at all possible, I will be writing a proper blog post with pictures and updates on the animals and all that we've been doing.  The ground floor of the house is almost finished, so there will be lots of lovely pictures to share and an update on where the 'no poo' and other hair stories has led me :D

Soon, dear friends.x

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Veganuary!

Where has the time gone? I can't say I'm sorry to see the back of January for so many reasons! Only 2 more days and hopefully they'll be kind ones.

The weather has been so mild and I foolishly put up a youtube about how wonderful it's all been and a couple of weeks later the cold hit us. The really bad weather just happened to hit on the day we ran out of oil, so an early fire was lit and the oil man came out to top up the tank. I love the services here, people work hard and we've rarely had any problems at all with poor quality, although I've heard of those who have been kept waiting for builders and roofers. Our oilman could probably be classed as one of our emergency services and he acts that way too!

So for many reasons, I decided to tackle Veganuary. I've bashed vegans many times for their closed minded attitudes to animal farming and although I agree with them on so many points regarding poor farming practices, I can't agree with their forceful attitude that everyone who eats meat is wrong. We all eat too much meat and modern farming is in so many ways a broken system that sereiously needs an overhaul. I struggle with how the animal is treated at the abbatoir, that system needs the biggest adjustment. You can give an animal a very decent life, but if at the last it's a horror show, then I would rather not eat meat.

That was one reason that led me to Veganuary, the thought of animals at their last moments, but also I've been having terrible digestive issues due to the FM and the drugs I take. I did a little research, ordered some supplements and grains online and off I went.

Luckily, we still had plenty of fresh salads and a few veggies in the veg garden. Even looking a bit wilted the lettuces were great.
 A typical lunch was a wrap filled with houmous and salad. I made different types of houmous and a few bean pastes, but the traditional chickpea is still my favourite. I also sprouted a lot of seeds for lunches and garnishes to add extra proten.

Evening meals were easy as I've always eaten a lot of plant based foods, so I just had to remove any cheese or eggs. I already have soya milk, so sauces were dairy free and I figured out a white sauce using oil and flour to make the roux, it was a bit bland so I added lots of herbs. I'm not sure why I didn't take any pictures, but I made bean burgers, vegetable chilli, puy lentil moussaka, sweet potato curry and lots of pasta dishes with garlic and olive oil. 

It was great until after about 10days when the headaches started. I just felt sick and hungover until I'd had some breakfast and then the pains would go for an hour or so only to come back mid-morning. I discovered that I was probably not eating enough calories, so I made some date and nut truffles and included a spoonful of peanut butter with my breakfast cereal. I should have made some biscuits or granola, but I honestly didn't have the time on top of the winter feed routine. I did manage to keep up with the bread making and that helped a lot to stave off the hunger pains. However, I began waking up in the early hours absolutely starving and unable to get back to sleep. This impacted on the FM and I just felt thoroughly rotten. I began dreaming of eggs!!! By the second weekend, I just had to have some eggs on toast. I was disappointed with myself but the headaches began to ease and this enabled me to carry on for another week after which I once again had eggs as a treat. After all, our hens are well loved and cared for and one of the Vegan issues is to do with the exploitation of animals, which just doesn't happen in our little farm.

So was the experiment a failure or success? Well, it helped me to deal with my issues regarding animals and how they're farmed, it showed me some huge issues with my diet and digestion and the outcome is that I'm eating far more vegetables etc.. I only intend to eat meat that has been ethically produced. We have a friend nearby who grows their own meat for the table and who slaughters their animals humanely in a barn behind the house. No stress at all for the animals and a product that I'm happy to eat.












Sunday, 16 December 2018

Bouncing back.

I have to admit that lately my mojo has well and truly gone. However, it is returning slowly. Although the day had been looming for some time, taking my sweet Moomin back to the UK hit me far harder than I thought and the stress of the journey with her and then returning by myself has knocked me back more than a bit. However, just before we left, I managed to squeeze in a Christmas market. It was my first in France and it was a very quiet affair, aimed at building my confidence and quietly putting our name out there for future courses.
I was astonished at the warmth of the welcome and at the popularity of my paintings. I can see that the horses are of great interest to people here and the pictures were very popular. I sold several prints and some felted items. Most importantly though, I made some great contacts for next year including a very nice lady with sheep for sale (oops, don't tell T!). So all in all, a far more successful day than I was expecting :D
Yesterday and today was spent dealing with some pheasants and a couple of partridges that T's Dad got for us in England. They travelled on the ferry in a cool box and I was very grateful not to have my car searched! 8 birds in the freezer is a good feeling.
I don't just love birds, I adore them all and I saved many of the beautiful feathers and felt a little tearful when I had to take off the wings and feet. It was almost a push towards becoming a vegetarian!!!
However, I know full well that when I sit down to eat, my faithless heart will forget the guilt and I'll enjoy every mouthful!!! I hope I don't offend anyone, but what can I say? I'm so weak!

A different approach.

Wow! Two posts in as many days, I must have found my voice again! 
Since my post last night about going chemical free, I can report that my skin is still lush and my hair is ok, not great, just ok. I'm going to do more research over the coming weeks and make my own shampoo. I've made soap so I have an idea of what I'm doing.

I need to eliminate chemicals as much as possible from our lives. This is for our health, but also the health of our veg garden. We decided to install a grey water soak away system so that in the summer we'll have water running directly to the potager and herb garden without having to use a hose or buckets from the water butts. The plants that will sit in the first water garden will deal with the waste that's in our water, so of course, they won't be happy dealing with toxic elements. A little soap is ok and if it's homemade, then even better, but I want to remove all harsh chemicals completely. I'll share progress pictures when we get started. Right now it's all bogland outside!!!

My journey with herbs started when I was a teenager. I was given a herbal directory and it just fascinated me. Ever since, I've dipped in and out of herbalism for all reasons, medicinal and culinary. Some herbs and especially essential oils can be extremely toxic in their own right and are not always good for everyone who takes them, so I've begun studying an online course in Herbalism to be sure I get it right.

The horses have been on herbal supplements since our last trip to the UK and the results have been great. Jerry and Merlin were suffering with constant sinus issues, so I put them on an Echinacea blend and they're hugely improved, despite the awful weather.  I brought back for myself a whole medicine chest of supplements that I'm using to find the right balance for my health.  I've also invested in a large amount of seeds so that I can grow everything I need right here in my garden. There are next to no herbal outlets here in our corner of France and I can see a great market for it.

Just by luck, I found a lady called Chanchal Cabrera on Youtube who managed to eliminate the majority of her Fibromyalgia symptoms through herbs and lifestyle change. She says that she's cured, but I'm not sure how possible that is, however, I'm willing to give it a go. I've already changed my life to one that suits me better, so that's step 1 sorted. Her book about Fibromyalgia is pretty good too and I tracked it down second hand on Amazon, but there's probably a link to it on her website.
Here is her website Chanchal Cabrera.  I recommend checking her out.

Sometime ago I read a blog about herbs and remedies. The lady blogger makes all her own creams etc....  I just can't find that blog now, so if anyone knows her or if she herself should drop by, please give me a shout as I really enjoyed reading the recipes :D





Saturday, 15 December 2018

No poo!

I tried this about four years ago. The no poo approach to hair care, that is. The name comes from ditching the shampoo. I managed to last about 2 weeks, no more! My hair was like straw and I felt no benefit at all. I guess I tried it because it was all the rage at the time.

I'm trying it now because I'm having a major reaction to all chemicals and I feel like I have a colony of fire ants living inside my clothes and hair! Nights are the worst because I can't distract myself from the fire and itching. I'm thinking this is a hormone thing as I'm at that wonderful age when my body loves to cause havoc by repeatedly dodging my attempts to live a normal life.

The night sweats were the worst symptom and started over a year ago. I would throw off the covers to cool down and then my muscles would cramp in the cold because Fibro hates the cold and damp. I started on HRT and the last year has been great as I began to feel like myself again. However, recently I developed a reaction to the glue on the patches and I was soon covered in little round burn marks on my butt where the patches had been. I started a course of herbal remedies to replace the patches and after a week, I'd stopped using them in favour of Red Clover, sage and Dong Quai, among others. I'm back to having night sweats, but they're nowhere near as bad as before.

My skin, though, is reacting to everything I use. Our skin is our largest external organ and covers around 20 square feet!! That boggles my mind! When our body is struggling, the skin is our greatest indicator. If we have acne, dry skin, oily skin, it's often due to something going on inside. So while I'm trying to tackle the reactions to my skin externally, I also need to address what might be going on with my overall health.

I have no quick answers here, I'm just going to try different remedies and herbs and keep a note to share with you all here.

Tonights bath was an Epsom salt bath to detox my skin. It was a bit drying, but I thought it would be so I took a pan of oatmeal water with me (cook oats in a muslin bag and keep the water). I washed my hair with a raw egg, which wasn't as gross as it sounds. I then used a vinegar and essential oil rinse for conditioner and soaked my skin in the oatmeal water.

My hair feels incredibly soft but my shoulders are still a bit itchy. My skin feels nice, but I doubt that will last as I have terribly dry skin.  I need to not shower tomorrow and will have a shallow bath instead. That's my compromise as it's suggested on several sites that you only bathe once a week!!! I don't think so!!!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Making myself do it!

Walk that is! After planning my route around the lake, everything around me held me back from actually getting out to build up some strength. Yesterday I made myself go. I took the dogs and the Moomin who is back from the UK for a few months before leaving for good. It's been a difficult time, facing that empty nest but the work around our little farm has kept me from dwelling on it too much.

The canal is a great place to start building my muscles as it's the only really flat place to walk around here. We did a usual route at quite a pace and I felt so much better after.
Today I'm going to tackle a more hilly walk and will be taking the dogs alone. It's too strenuous for young legs, apparently! She had her birthday last week and I can't believe she's now 20! Where did all those years go?
I'm not getting maudlin, I'm getting the dogs and heading out the door :D

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Outlander capelets.

Autumn evenings are for lighting the fire and watching old episodes of Outlander.The first season was my favourite and I adore the knitwear so much. I'm feeling very inspired to make some lovely items for the Christmas fair next month. I'm not sure what people will think! I love the colours in the wool used here, so I'm going to have a go at spinning something similar.
I have a lot of Teeswater Texel fleece that has a delightful crimp and curl. I accidentally felted some when washing it but didn't mind as I thought I would use it for felted animal hair. Then I watched the episode that introduced us to Geillis Duncan and fell in love with her little capelet. The curly locks would be perfect along the edge of this, so I threw a bundle in the dye pot and played with food dye.
The colours are sooo yummy. I used food dye on wool many years ago and it's still bright and perfect now, so I'm not worried about it fading too much. Once it's felted it should be set in it's colour.
All week I've been working on these little Christmas trees for the fair. I don't mind if I sell them or not, they're really just to make my table look festive :D
The walking hasn't gone well this week as I've been rushing around with the horses. They had a big hay delivery, so the pallets had to be cleaned and the old hay moved or put in their field.
This morning as I pulled the tarp back, this little fellow plopped out. He's sooo adorable, I think I'm in love <3

He's only tiny, about 2.5 inches, but I'll keep an eye out for him as I sort the hay, I wouldn't want to step on him! I'm struggling to think of a name for him but I'm sure one will come to me. I already have Trevor and Neville who live under the Studio;  maybe I'll find more inspiration in Harry Potter. We're working our way through the movies again. I never tire of them.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Rough.

This is the route I plan to take next year.
The weather has been stormy, wet and windy lately. It's caused a few problems with my muscles but mostly it's good to lay in bed and listen to it raging outside!
Tonight however, I have a nasty, sore throat and a blocked nose. It's probably nothing, just the warning sign I sometimes get to slow down and take it easy.