Boozy planning


J has been planning.  He picked up some demijohns from Freecycle (when it existed, it now appears to have morphed and we have a local Freegle) and is planning to embark on making wine, or more specifically ‘country’ wine, as although we have vines, they aren’t producing grapes (or are even in the ground yet…)  So I ordered him “Booze”, by John Wright, the twelfth book in the River Cottage Handbook Series.

Of course I had to have a read of it myself.  I’ve made various infusions/liqueurs/ratafias in the past, but not anything ‘from scratch’, so it’s an interesting read (and has given me a giggle in a few places so far).  Lots of inspiration to be had and I’m rather excited that potentially in about a year’s time we may have some of our own home-made wine.

Also on the table is “The Story of Plants” by John Hutchinson and Ronald Melville.  It dates back to 1948 and in the back is the library card from when it was part of the San Mateo Junior College Library.  I first saw this book when 5 Orange Potatoes shared a photo of it online and in a herbal group I’m a member of and it looked so interesting I thought I’d try and find a copy for us as well.  I was lucky and managed to find one for a few pounds and was really pleased when it arrived.  It’s a lovely old book.  Originally written for children, so very approachable, without ‘dumbing down’ the information and Moo and I have been steadily working through it.  It has some wonderful fold out ‘family trees’ of plants:


We we will be using it for inspiration for further learning in the weeks to come.

The swirl ball is finished.  The actual knitting part of it, a little while ago, but it took longer to get around to stuffing and sewing it up (I’m not a great fan of having to sew a seam).  It was a quick and simple knit and interesting in how it knitted up with the short rows  (not that short rows are inherently interesting, rather how they worked together to make the swirl effect).  I am now on to baby knitting for friends’ babies, as there’s been a few born all around Arty’s age (and all boys, with one still to come in the next couple of weeks). I was struggling to get basic things done for a while after Arty was born, let alone manage to knit anything for friends, so I’m now catching up (albeit slowly).

Joining in with Keep Calm and Craft On and Yarn Along.




I’ve been feeling a creeping dissatisfaction of late, a feeling of restlessness, a nostalgia for something that I’m not quite sure existed any where but in my memory.  I miss a (perceived) community that seems to have been squeezed out.  We are now supposedly more networked than ever, yet I feel an emptiness in this and that something, somewhere has been lost.  Not that I’m not thankful for the internet, I am, it’s a boon in so many ways, but I miss the ‘earlier’ days where bulletin boards and blogs were the order of the day. I felt I got to ‘know’ people more.  I’m considering leaving FB, carving out a bit more time in the week to get back to blog reading and ‘talking’ to people on a more one-to-one basis.  I’ve even been turning over the idea of a letter-writing (snail mail) circle over and over I  my mind…

In the meantime I’m reading about food and gardening (always favourite things). Mark Diacono is currently my new favourite person – although I now have about five double A4 pages written up full of plants I want in the garden (bearing in mind that, at the moment, I can barely snatch ten minutes out there).  And, of course, the wonderful Nourished Kitchen, inspiring my meal planning.  Also a more unusual hearkening  back to a past interest in anthroposophy in “Machines and the Human Spirit” (maybe more than a little inspired by my recent feelings towards social media).

Inspired by Spiralling the Seasons, I’m knitting a ball for Arty (who wants to chew everything that he can).

Joining in with Nicole’s Keep Calm and Craft On and Ginny’s Yarnalong

DNweekeND 2015



Moo was attending DNweekeND as a ‘Young Leader’ (as a Sea Cadets Junior), so whilst she was busy, Ted, Minnie, Arty and I went for a walk around town to see what we could find.

Outside the Frenchgate centre we met Same Difference and their rather long periscope.  Ted had great fun aligning the periscope so that he could see from a different (much higher) perspective.  We also enjoyed street performances of juggling and fire eating from Beyond a Joke (one of whom we know from Moo’s art classes at The Point – very amusing for her to see one of her art teachers performing live in the street).

There was a climbing wall as part of the Young Leaders display (with the Army cadets) and Ted and Moo had a lot of fun climbing it.  Various bands played on the band stand and inside Cast theatre Minnie and Ted had the opportunity to contribute to a collage of a mermaid made from discarded wrappers with Bowler Hat Creatives (top photo).

We also enjoyed various other street performers and exhibits, including Dr D’Cleyre’s Imaginarium of Wonder, Wyrdness and Curious Tales (and a blog post from one of the artists is here) – and Ted is clearly a candidate for No Fit State Circus with his pole climbing skills (he was straight up with little problem!)  We had a fabulous time and are already looking forward to next year!


30 Days Wild :: Day 18


The bees love this bush – I even managed to catch one in flight (top right).  Unfortunately I have no idea what sort of bush it is (or the sort of bees).


Also managed to (finally) pick some elderflower to make the first elderflower cordial of the year.  Some is used for drinking, some for sorbet and some for flavouring in other dishes.  It smells divine – a real smell of summer – I always freeze some to save to bring out in the depths of winter to remind myself of the promise of summer to come.TWT-30-Days-Wild_countdown_18-150x150

Home Education March and April 2015

March and April have had to be much quieter months.  As I got larger and closer to due date I ended up needing to use crutches and I felt rather fed up missing out a bit on the latest flowers (etc) to bloom – no nature walks for us.

The following are some of the things we have got up to over the past month.  I break them down into rough “subject areas”, although we approach learning in a more holistic fashion.

Art & Craft and Early Years

clay work

A spot of clay work

Nin and Stinkers did a spot of clay work, amongst their usual activities of drawing, colouring and painting (typically watercolours).

Art, History and Sociology

We watched “Secret Knowledge: The Private Life of a Dolls’ House“, exploring the history of dolls houses, but also Lauren Child’s passion for them.  Lauren Child is a favourite in our house and the programme also discussed how she draws inspiration from the miniature and how she puts together some of her illustrations and artworks (predominantly mixed media and, we learnt, often three dimensional and then photographed to be used in books).

Astronomy, Science

We watched The Total Solar Eclipse on LiveStream and discussed what causes a solar and lunar eclipse.

History, PSHE, Sociology and Politics

Sunday March 8th was International Women’s Day and following up on this we explored and discussed the experiences of women and girls across the world.  We also watched “Suffragettes Forever! The Story of Women and Power” a three part series on BBC IPlayer exploring the following (amongst other things):

  • the Levellers
  • law/punishment
  • Woolenstencraft
  • Hannah Moore
  • Women’s Society lobbying against the Slave Trade (boycotting sugar)
  • Peterloo
  • Great Reform Act
  • Sheffield Female Political Society.
  • Josephine Butler – campaigning regarding the treatment of prostitutes and the Contagious Diseases Act
  • Bicycles
  • The Primrose League
  • Women’s Liberal Federation
  • The matchgirls – horrific treatment – striked and allowed to form a trade union – one of the actions that led to the Labour Party
  • The Women’s Social and Political Union – NUWSS – the Suffragettes.

Further to this we also discussed issues surrounding poverty and how some people in some places may be refused medical care due to lack of money.


We’ve also been watching a series called “Back in Time for Dinner”  following a family eating meals listed on the National Food Survey from the 1950s (and rationing) through to the 1990s, which led to interesting discussions about food, but also family dynamics and relationships.

Biology, History, Science and Zoology

Crufts was on at the beginning of March and we enjoyed watching the highlights from the various classes and discussing dogs in general (including learning something about working dogs and how breeds have developed over the many years that dogs have been associated with humans).  We also learnt how dogs ‘see’ with their noses by watching: “How Do Dogs See With Their Noses” on TED Ed.

Early Years Education and Science

A bit of fun exploring colour with the little Stinkers.  Nin already understands what happens when various colours of mixed, but it was an exciting activity for a 2 year old!

Biology, Geography, History, Mythology, Natural Sciences, Science, Religious Education and Zoology

Nin has been learning about native species of snakes using a number of sources, including: “BBC Nature: Adders“; exploring their habitat, diet, classification, etc.

To expand on this we began looking at the symbolism of snakes, starting with their use as the symbol of the British Medical Association, the “staff of Asclepius”. We also looked at the Hippocratic Oath (and who Hippocrates was) and the Oath of Maimonides as an alternative to it.

We then expanding upon this to explore some of the stories surrounding the various deities in the family tree of Asclepius (Apollo, Artemis, Panacea, Hygieia, etc), plus a general overview of the Greek deities.  We also learnt about the gorgons.

Biology, Conservation, Gardening, Environmental Sciences, Natural Sciences, Zoology

Nin has been planning bee and wildlife friendly areas to the garden.  Some of the sites she has used are:

And more!


Nin continues using Conquer Maths, working through their programme of lessons, specifically on the following:


  • Equivalent Fractions
  • Simplifying Fractions
  • Mixed Numbers to Improper Fractions
  • Improper Fractions to Mixed Numbers
  • Fractions to Decimals I&II
  • Decimals to Fractions
  • Fractions and Decimals to Percentages
  • Percentages to Fractions
  • Percentages to Decimals
  • Comparing Numbers as Decimals


  • Angles – Types and Labelling
  • Measuring Angles
  • Shapes
  • Rotational Symmetry
  • Parts of a circle
  • Types of Triangles
  • Angle Sum of a Triangle

Of course there is also plenty of incidental maths to be had in day-to-day activities.

Foreign Language

Nin continues to use Duo Lingo to practice French and German.


With a bit of a break over the Easter holidays, Nin has continued with guitar, recorder group and choir.


Sea Cadets twice a week, including her swimming with a buoyancy aid test (needed for her to be allowed to go on boating activities).


There was probably more.  I’m chalking it up as an achievement I made a note of as much as is written above!  I have left out the gardening, because that’s for another post – there have been some home education specific gardening-based activities and also some other deliveries, which I’ll catch up with later.