Sunday, 25 May 2014

Putting the house back together

I don't want to sound too dramatic with my title but we have had a bit of upheaval at home in the past few weeks.

Welcoming Spring
We started to smell gas when the heating came on, so the gas board cut our gas off for safety.  No heating or hot water while they investigated.

The weather was just getting better so having no heating was too bad and we have a dishwasher and electric shower so we could do the essentials!

The weather turning to Spring
The essential loaf of bread
Then the dishwasher went bang one evening!  So we had to wash up by hand boiling the kettle to get hot water.  A first world problem I know but actually it has been a small blessing in disguise.

As the kitchen is not set up for washing up as a general rule, we don't have a lot of room to drain the clean items and we certainly don't have a draining rack to help create more space.  This has meant that washing up has had to be a family activity, the boys drying up while I wash.  

Two weeks later we now have a new boiler, an empty fireplace, a space in the airing cupboard (where the hot water tank used to be), a new radiator in Jacob's room (who had always had the hot water tank to keep his bedroom warm) and a new dishwasher on order.

The empty fireplace
Having had to empty the utility room while the boiler was fitted, we have taken the opportunity to complete some of the remodelling we had planned for the utility and kitchen (for those who have read the blog for a while these are items on the grand plan spreadsheet!!).

The new boiler waiting for installation
They are all works in progress at the moment but I will share photos soon as we finish off each job.  We both have the next week off work as it is half term holidays for the boys.  So around the tennis tournament duties and supervising revision we will be working on the house.

The Bible passage for this week's inspiration is a reminder to listen and not judge or too quickly pass on our opinion.  We need to understand where those around us are before we can offer the right words.  We are preparing for a year of witness as a church and we will need to remember this as we seek to spread Jesus love: With God's

My dear brothers and sisters, 
take note of this: 
Everyone should be quick to listen, 
slow to speak 
and slow to become angry
James 1 verse 19

Our prayer as a family this week is for those who find themselves without a safe and warm place to call home.  We pray that God's peace will fall on this war ravished earth and people can live safely in the place they call home, free from fear.

With God's blessing from my family to yours,

Jo x

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Garden round up

I know it might be a bit later but......Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from
We celebrated Christ rising from the tomb with a joint Easter Sunday service, followed by a lovely roast lamb lunch.

Easter weekend fell at the end of the school holidays this year and this year the new term brings exams for all us!!  Josh has AS exams this year, Jacob is taking some of his GCSEs a year early and Andy & I are both sitting the first exam for a diploma in Business Analysis.

Apple blossom at Easter weekend
At times, over the holidays, our dining room took on the appearance of an internet café as we all revised for our relevant exams.

However, we also found time to declutter/clean the house and spend time in the garden.  I'll cover some of the house tasks in another blog soon, but this one is all about the garden. garden border
Andy's raised vegetable patch is starting to show promise of goods to come.  We have potatoes, French beans, radishes, beetroot, carrots, broad beans and herbs growing.

Raised vegetable bed
Following the changes to the lounge decoration last year, we have had the old kitchen doors laying around, looking for a new purpose.  When Andy tidied up the garden and moved the roof box, he found that the lid had become brittle, but the bottom was still sound.  Inspiration hit and as we don't yet have a greenhouse, Andy has constructed his own recycled cold frame.

Roof box and doors recycled = cold frame
We have a problem with slugs in the garden and we had hoped the raised bed would deter them, but it would seem a bit of mountaineering is not beyond their talents!  So I found a tip somewhere on the internet that said to put down a plank near the vegetables and then after the slugs had come out at night to feed they would find the plank a comfy, cosy place to hide for the day.  All  we have to do is to turn the plank over in the morning and the slugs are exposed.  Andy wasn't sure, but he dutifully placed the plank down.  The next morning he wandered down to the vegetables and came exclaiming "It worked", there on the plank were lots of slugs ready to be disposed of, or left for the birds to eat (away from the vegetables).

Slug catching plank
One other tip to share with you is our homemade cloches.  We have been using the lids from the seed trays over the seedlings when transplanted out, but we didn't have enough.  This week when I was putting out the plastic recycling Andy noticed that the meat trays were almost the same size as the tray lids.  So we had new cloches to use to protect our seedlings.

Meat tray "cloches"
The Bible passage we are looking at this week is a reminder that God is pleased with us, just as we are, not for what we do. Believe and receive.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, 
because anyone who comes to him 
must believe that he exists 
and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 
Hebrews 11:6 

Our prayer as family this week is for all those who rely on their own grown goods to survive.  We pray that this year's harvest will provide and that those of us with plenty will learn to share in better ways, to pay a fair price and realise the good things we have been given and not to take things for granted.

With God's blessings from my family to yours,

Jo x