Saturday 27 September 2014

Project 365 week 39 21st - 27th September

Been a nice week weather wise again. Been out for a few geocaching walks, and non geocaching walks, having fun with the grandchildren and getting to know my new phone as it is now active and the old one is no more.


The woman next door has a lizard who eats meal worms but the ones that are left she normally feeds to the garden birds, but the last few times she has handed them into us, the chickens love them. They just about fight amongst themselves for them.

fighting over the meal worm


Decided to take a walk somewhere different, we have had little rain here now for weeks and weeks, and so we decided to walk along the river. So OH and I drove to Failford, pulled on our wellies and walked up stream as far as we could get, before the edging ran out too walk on and it was too deep for wellies. We then scrambled up the banking and walked back along the footpath to the car. It passed away ninety minutes on a warm calm evening. 

the view upstream


We were busy during the day, time we got tea it was a bit dark for a walk up river or round an unlit country estate, so we walked round the village instead. Have to say the memorial looks very nice all lit up blue. 

the revamped local memorial


We decided to go up to Darvel and finish off one of the series of caches that is there. Managed to find all nine that we looked for, just one in the series of eighteen has beat us, but maybe go back for a look over the winter when the undergrowth has died down. Again was a beautiful afternoon for a five mile walk.

As usual on a Wednesday Daughter No1 comes round with the twins for a while. Minky decided there was more fun to be had with his head in the box than out of it. He could see a toy behind the box but could not work out how to reach it. Not the clearest picture but his antics made me laugh. 

Minky in his toy box. 


As per normal now on a Thursday the older two were round, I say the older two, Fifi stayed long enough to eat her tea and came back in time to get ready for bed. Bob and I had fun with a science project set before tea, he then went out the front to play on his scooter for a while and we played dominoes before bedtime. As is normal for him inhalers and meds must be taken, takes quite a while to take them all so we spread it out and do it while he is playing. 

Dominoes and inhalers 


Another busy day. The chickens so far are allowed too be free range at times of the day, but as there is no fence between us and next door we cant tell them to stay out of next doors garden and therefore they only get out when we can watch them. So as this will not be practical in the winter oh is building them a run so a lot of today has been helping out cut wood etc. 

After tea we decided to go and pick up  one geocache. This was the view over hazy Ayr from just past the cache. No we didn't manage to find it despite my scrambling through blackberry bushes into a ditch. But the two mile walk was very pleasant regardless. 

the sun shines through the haze. 


The frame for the first side of the chicken run is made and painted, needs to dry now before the wire can be stapled on. |Three more sides and a roof and the girls will think it is Christmas. 

3 more sides and a roof at it will be finished.

fun as a gran
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Thursday 25 September 2014

Making Math and English fun.

Education does not have to appear educational, in my book the best form of education is best achieved without it seeming like work. Much more beneficial if it seems like fun. When I was asked to review some Math and English books I looked at the website and then said yes please. 

The books are produced by a company called Skips 

Skips are working with our partners in education and industry to dramatically change the landscape of education in the UK. Empowering parents, teachers and children to embrace the wonder of English literacy and Mathematics numeracy in line with the National Curriculum and in support of classroom lessons.
Skips have combined playing and learning in a series of crossword and math puzzles that are aligned with the National Curriculum and designed to reinforce what children learn in the classroom in a fun and enjoyable way.

Like any form of fun, it is much more enjoyable for the children if their parents get involved with them. These books are designed to encourage that.


The Skips CrossWord Puzzles book actively encourages parent-child interaction, which builds your child’s self-esteem and confidence and allows you to learn together and highlight where your child may need more support.

CrossMaths is a truly enjoyable way to learn about Maths and helps pupils to develop methods that actually mean something to them, forming a lifelong relationship with numbers. By cracking the colour codes they will have so much fun trying to solve the Skips Challenges at the end of each CrossMaths.

Both the children have been using these for a while now and really like them. I think the biggest thing they like is us sitting down and doing them together. It helps to improve their spelling. Bob is home educated and they are a fab resource to add to his portfolio 

Bob filling in the words 
Fifi uses them to reinforce what she is learning in school. I think it is fun to sit down with her and do the maths puzzles together. Be that synonyms or algebra. 

The books are bright and colourful. We found them well set out, easy to understand and interesting to interact with. Once the crosswords have been completed they all have fun boxes at the bottom of the page to transfer your letters or numbers into that provides some interesting facts. They are A4 size and I like the shiny colourful paper they are printed on. They also have the answers in the back in case you are stuck. 

I have found the children set their own pace. This was Bobs first introduction to crosswords but he liked the fact that like every crossword one answer will not fit if you have another answer incorrect. It offers problems in a slightly different format to being written out just as a sum in a straight line, or words in a column, making them appear easier but actually reinforcing what they have been taught previously. 

I really liked these books and feel they are a worthwhile investment. The children both get a great sense of achievement from completing the puzzles, a great boost to self confidence. 

Disclaimer - we were provided with a few books but the opinions and findings are not influenced by that. 

From tree to table via fun and laughs

Last week when we had the children over we decided to go and harvest some of what nature offers for free at this time of the year, blackberries and apples. We know where there is plenty of both, and so we set off for picking and fun.

Granddad leads the way
Now we were blackberry picking at this stage, and yes there were plenty at ground level, but Fif saw some juicy bunches that had grown up at tree height, and so had to go after them.  She took the snips we had and snipped them down, granddad handles them with a thornproof glove and tossed them across to Bob

who held them down with his foot and picked the berries off and popped them in the tubs. This for him was more satisfying because he has visual problems he finds it hard to see berries on the bush too well and gets quite frustrated as his tub does not fill too quick. I have also got sneaky here to save this being an issue, every time they get some in the tub we transfer them to a bigger tub so as they dont drop them if they trip - well at least that is what I tell them. 

Bob holds them still with his foot

Granddad and Fifi wandered off doing their own thing and enjoying each others company. Have to say we did not need to go far before our big tub was filled, took us just over an hour. We collected three and a half pounds of them. 

Fifi and granddad found some big bushes 

So the tub was filled, our next harvest was to be apples to go with them. Somebody had been along picking the ground level ones as there was a distinct lack of reachable fruit, so Fifi decided to climb higher up and drop them down to us. We ended up with just over eight pounds of apples.

To keep Bob amused we gave him the very important job of looking after granddads walking stick, very useful for bashing down nettles.  He kept the stick busy and took it for a walk.

After the harvesting was over it was time for some fun. Fun today meant tree climbing, as young ladies of nearly twelve do. Have to say I spent a lot of my childhood climbing trees. 

Granndad gives Fifi a punt up

while Bob pulls himself up on a lower bit. 

and the two of them worked round each other 

It was started to get dull now so we headed home for tea, but by then it was too late to start baking time I would have peeled and chopped apples etc. So they came back after school on Friday to do some baking. By which time I had pre cooked the apples and the blackberries had had a few minutes as well. We had three mixes, blackberries and apples on their own and a mixed batch of the two together.

They had decided the night before what they each wanted to ake so I made sure I had the right ingredients in to make it.

Bob made

blackberry muffins

and blackberry and apple crumble

Fifi made blackberry and apple pies for me

apple pies for herself 

and then blackberry and apple crumble for each of us, but theses were still in the oven when I took them back down the road.

Great fun was had by all of us, and its nice to teach them about food.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Saturday 20 September 2014

Just add imagination

The schools are back and the nights are starting to draw in, in but a few short weeks time Fifi gets home from school it is going to be dark. So we are making the most of the light nights at getting out and about when we can.

So as we didn't make it as far as Drongan last week we set off there this week along with E one of Fifi's friends. We gathered up butterfly nets and a bug viewer and set off. One of the attractions of this park is the wooden exercise equipment that a lot of parks have these days

The two girls tell me they have been here with the school to do cross country.

off down the path

playing on the pieces of equipment 

Various pieces added to wonderful imaginative pastimes, and they were all training for the Olympics. 

on the balance beams 

We spent over twenty minutes here just on this one piece of equipment. The walked, the balanced, they attempted to handstand on them, to cart wheel across them, They pretending to do triple back somersaults and goodness all knows what else. They were very entertaining I have to say. They even adopted the pose once they had landed.

landing with all the grace of a baby elephant. 

front twirls round the bar

Before we moved on and they stopped for a snack. A wee bit protein never harmed anyone.

foraging for a snack
Of course a walk in the country is not complete without climbing a tree. E does not like climbing trees soshe stayed on the ground with me. Bob followed her up.

how high can I get? 

Our next stop was the pond. Have to say it did not look overly fresh, was rather scummy but the spent some time "fishing" to see what they could find. Fifi found a water leech but that was about it apart from weeds and mud.

seeing what they can find. 

Then this is where they became truly imaginative, working as a team to sort out a problem and keeping me highly entertained. E found a green hollow tube, the ones that they place round saplings to give them a chance to grow and she decided to launch it and call it The Ellietanic. Fifi gave it a push out with her net to see if the passengers could sail off to America in it.

launching "The Ellitanic" 

But sadly it did not get far until all the passengers were in mortal danger, "The Ellitanic" started to sink, this is where the name was brought in, and so they set about rescuing the passengers.

oh dear we are sinking

So they went off to see what "life rafts" they could find to send in to save them all. Hunting high and low and trying various objects some that floated, some that sunk straight to the bottom.

They floated a comb across, they were using the net to create a current to move them across the surface of the water. They also found a M&M packet that floated and travelled on the current.

they also found a bottle cap

Then the best rescue boat of all, we found a log, that we managed to send in the direction of the stricken vessel. It picked up the stranded passengers and they all sailed off to America safely.

By now the sun was starting to go down so we wandered on.

 Next they came across a log graveyard and went across but they were really quite rotten and breaking under foot so I called them back.Two and a half hours of fun was had, all for the price of a bit of petrol.

While we were out walking tonight Fifi asked could she be buried in the back garden along with Dipsy cat, failing that could she be cremated an scattered on top of her. I told her I am sure you have a long time to worry about where you are going to be scattered when you are dead, to which she replied I did not know that. The strange conversations we have sometime.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Project 365 week 38 14th - 20th September


Was off work last weekend and so we decided to go and join in with a geocaching event. The idea was to walk the Clyde causeway in Glasgow, across to an island in the middle of the water, walk to some of the towers and back again before the tide came in. We had been advised it may be a bit muddy for the start of the actual Clyde part of it and that you may want to wear wellies though they were sure hiking boots should be ok, We decided to take wellies.

So we all met at the car park, wandered through the woods, across the path in the middle of the golf course, down to the side of the river. Here there were a "few small divets" some of them big enough to put a child in. So we got down to the water edge and started walking across the sand. Muddy was an understatement!! But we  were told it was only for the first part of the walk so I carried on.

At about a hundred feet into the walk my wellies started to get bogged down. You know what it is like, you stand on one to pull the other out and this makes your second foot sink deeper. So you get the second foot out and the first foot sinks again (you get the picture?). By this time it was taking longer and longer to get unstuck. I was getting no where fast. So I decided I was turning back, a couple of the others in front had decided it was not getting any less boggy and we probably still had ten normal minutes of walking to get to the middle so some others also turned back.

At this point I could get neither wellie out, so I abandoned the wellies and stood in the mud with my socks and went to get my wellies. One came out the other would not budge. Have to say at this point despite the fact this was the first time I had worn them I toyed with the idea of abandoning them, but I needed them to walk the twenty five mins back along stoney roads and through woods,

So at this point OH came to get my welly out, well he pulled and pulled and pulled ( think enormous turnip book) until finally the welly came out.......and OH landed on his bum in the mud,  his trousers were covered, his jumper was covered, his hands were covered.

So we walked back to shore,me carrying my wellies, to try and clean up best we could. I helped pull another lassie out as we headed back. That put an end to the day as we could not go anywhere looking like we did.

Turns out the "guide" who was suppose to be guiding us says we were at the wrong bit to cross and the easier bit was further down.

my wellies and my muddy soggy socks


Bob is getting use to the chickens, and happily picks them up. They on the other hand are not getting use to Bob and struggle to get away

Bob and Gerty


A beautiful afternoon and so Bob and I took Minky and Dinky to the park. Quite difficult to try and get two of them smiling at the same time. You can see his teeth in this pic, he has five through with more on the way, she does not have a single one.

They wave bye bye now if you wave and say bye bye, I think it is cute.

Had to try not to laugh at Minky. He stands confidently next top any piece of furniture and went to touch the remote control that I had put on the coffee table. I do not and will not move anything out of the way of any child.  He gets told "ah ah" so he knows not to touch. The other day he turned round with a great big grin on his face and said "ah ah" back to me. To him it is just a noise that he was copying. Wee monkey.

Dinky and Minky.


Hunted these out  ready to play my part in the history of my country tomorrow.

a piece of history that is now in the loft


Fifi was not going to come out with us, she was going to go and play with her friends. But mum has grounded her cos her room in not done. So she had the choice to tidy her room or come stay with us, she chose the latter.

We decided to go blackberry and apple picking. There were hundreds off them up the estate. They are going to come back tomorrow night and do some baking.

We had voted in the morning.

Fifi up a tree collecting blackberries 


Woke and 4am and went down for a pee ( yes we have a downstairs bathroom) flicked on the tv to see how the results were going. At that point it was 49% yes, 51% no, so I went back to bed but could not sleep so got back up again to watch it unfold on the television.

A lot of interesting conversations going on in the studios in between the results being declared. But come the final vote as you all now know it didn't happen. Have to say I voted yes. For all I am saddened it did not happen I have to say it truly was what the people of Scotland wanted, with just under 90% of eligible voters voting,which is a huge turnout.

Only time will tell if the current government keep any of their promises they made if No actually won. In my opinion anything they do for Scotland they do for each of the countries in the UK, after all we are all still one.

despite the result the sun still rose over the Scottish flag. 


The girls just love to get out of their coop and run free round the garden, Here they are enjoying a dust bath. The ground here is very dry, we have even had the sprinklers out watering the lawn as it starting to suffer.

a dust bath

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