FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Friday, 30 March 2018

March Roundup

As March draws to a close I'm reflecting on how the first quarter of 2018 has been.

The Sun rising over the mountains, bringing with it new light and opportunities
For us we've spent it mostly picking up the pieces after the accident and doing everything in our power to ensure that Diane made a quick and full recovery. The great news is that she is out of the collar, walking around and able to do most things on her own and has really made a miraculous recovery, hopefully with physiotherapy 3 times a week she will be able to regain full use of her hands and mobility in her neck. The bad news is that whilst we were busy trying to hold everything together we have inevitably neglected a whole host of other areas in our lives. For example we've fallen behind with our planting this year, we have almost nothing growing yet so will now be playing catch up trying to get things established and in the ground for this growing season. We also fell behind with the holistic remedies we use on the chickens and suspect they may have a might infestation in the coop now. The blog has been woefully neglected and I haven't been able to get around and visit all the amazing people whose blogs I normally follow. Training the dogs took a back seat too so now they are not where I want them to be yet with their obedience etc. All these things we're now trying to catch up with, so now that we are returning to a semi-normal routine there is plenty for us to do!

I don't want to focus on the negatives, so many amazing things have also happened this year that we can give thanks for. We're all still alive which is the greatest blessing of all! We also finally got the green light from the town hall to commence building our dream home on our 5 acre almond orchard so that is incredibly exciting. As you've probably seen on the blog, since I've been spending  lot more time indoors than I usually would I've been able to focus on developing or improving skills to make more crafty things which I've really been enjoying. Despite not being able to spend so much time on them as we would have liked the businesses have been doing well and we've been making some beautiful items for people all around the world. As you may already know, my wife Carly creates some incredible handmade, made to measure swimwear and lingerie for her shop Lucky Sew and Sew, but I don't think I've mentioned her painting?

Carly painting a custom jacket commission
For about a year now Carly has been taking custom jacket commissions and painting them all by hand. Many of them are being used as Bridal jackets and helping people put their own stamp on one of the most magical days of their life, others have empowering quotes and designs on the back that really stand out from the crowd. This is a design Carly painted this week for a bridal jacket:

hand painted bridal jacket

If you like the things Carly paints she has a separate instagram account just for the painting projects: @PaintedbyLucky

One of the dogs took a very small bite out of my San Pedro cactus, I had hoped it would heal the wound but over the last few months it must have become infected as it was discoloured and spreading much larger than the original injury. I decided the best course of action would be to cut the cactus and try to re-root it to try and save it, interestingly the pattern revealed inside the cactus is almost identical to the shape of the house we are building :)

Inside a San Pedro Cactus
Last year we were roasting some store bought chestnuts and I held back a handful to stick in some small pots of soil and leave outside over winter. Chestnuts have a famously low germination rate and are even harder to graft, so much so that many nurseries have stopped selling them because they are not financially viable. I am delighted to say that out of 6 chestnuts I planted last year we now have 3 beautiful little saplings!

Chestnut Sapling
Despite all odds these little saplings have totally surprised me and although it will be many years before they ever bear fruit they are a symbol of hope that anything is possible, and I don't think I will ever regret planting too many trees!


Thanks again for stopping by for Five on Friday, for those that celebrate it I hope you have the most amazing Easter weekend :)

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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



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Friday, 23 March 2018

Ostara

Ostara Blessings to all!
Image result for ostara
Goddess Ostara
This week we celebrated Ostara, also known as Eostre or the Spring Equinox. It is a time to welcome back the spring, the life in the soil and fertility in things all around. this is not limited to the traditional sense of fertility, it can also relate to a fertile mind! We marked the occasion with plenty of good homemade food, drink, music and of course chocolate eggs and hares :)

Henhouse Crew Haul
Even the chickens got into the spirit of things by deciding to start up full egg production again, with the almond blossoms on the trees there is the definite feel of spring in the air for us now.




What better way to celebrate such a nature based festival than to get outdoors and walk on the wild side! I feel very blessed that I no longer have to work a 9-5 job and get to spend so much time with my family doing all the things that children ought to be doing, like getting stuck in trees and scraping holes in their jeans.



Here you can see Logan contemplating whatever it is 5 year old boys contemplate, whilst sitting on the roof of an ancient cave, it used to serve as a retreat for the miners at the edge of a long forgotten small quarry. We often visit this place as it is full of natural beauty and has the advantage of us being able to hide out in the caves if it starts to rain! I do hope the children remember all of the magical times we have had when they grow up and keep their adventurers spirit alive.

Runa by T. MacCor

Speaking of magic, since it is the time of year for awakening and growth, I decided to buy Runa by T.MacCor , a short Ebook to help me deepen my understanding of the Norse Runes. I'm very much looking forward to reading it, especially since I also treated myself to a new set of runes, carved in tigers eye gemstones, I can't wait to share photos of them with you once they arrive!


I hope everyone has had a fantastic week and I wish you all an even better weekend, Thanks for visiting for Five on Friday, Ostara Blessings!

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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



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Friday, 16 March 2018

Forward Momentum

It has been very slow progress since we bought the land up until this point, but from now on things will start to mover very quickly!



We had a meeting with out architects this week, we've submitted all plans to the town hall and college of architects, paid the appropriate taxes and been granted all the permissions and licenses we need to be able to build our dream home on our land!

Today I am going back to the land to clear the ground ready for us to start marking out the foundations and then it is all systems go, we will be starting the build after easter!

I'm so excited to finally be able to get a shovel in the ground and start turning our dreams into a reality :)

In other news I have once again had a very Viking themed week when it comes to the things I have been crafting.



A couple of weeks ago I showed you the Second Viking Box I was working on, here is the latest photo of my work in progress. Whilst I was burning the wood the tip of my pyrography pen snapped! I just about managed to finish the details with the broken tip, it wasn't ideal but all I need to do now is decide what stain I'd like to use and put the velvet lining into the inside of the box.

I also made this little leather coin purse to use as a prop in photos along with some replica viking coins I bought this week, I'm really pleased with how it came out, especially the wooden toggle with the runes on.

Leather Coin Purse and Replica Viking Coins

My next project is very fitting to share in the week leading up to the equinox. After I posted the photo of the wooden weapons last week on my Instagram account I was contacted by someone asking if they could commission me to make them an Athame. (an Athame is a Pagan ritual tool, most commonly a black handled knife) It's not something I have tried before, but I thought that since someone was willing to put their faith in me to produce on of the most important items on their altar I had better do them proud!

I had pretty much free control over the shape and design so I went for the image that is in my mind when I think of an Athame but put my own spin on it. I cut the basic shape out of some reclaimed wood that I had, carved and sanded it to the finish I was looking to achieve, pyrographed the clients selection of runes down the blade, stained the whole thing and then to add some finishing touches I decided to inlay some Tigers Eye into the handle, wrapped the grip with black leather and added a few decorative swirls to the cross piece and hilt.

Handmade Norse Pagan Athame
I have to admit that I love it so much that it will sadden me a little to let it go to it's new home! I suppose that is always the danger when you put so much of yourself into designing something like this. I'd love to make more like it in the future.


Last but not least, very soon I will be taking part in a HUGE viking themed giveaway over on Instagram. Myself and several other makers are getting together to host a "Heathen Horde" giveaway full of viking goodies. my IG account is @thorsthreads and I will be throwing in everything in the photo for the giveaway and I know some of the other guys are putting in hand forged knives, jewellery, leather goods etc




Keep your eyes peeled and good luck if you decide to take part!

Thanks again for taking part in Five on Friday, I hope you have the best weekend EVER!

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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



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Friday, 9 March 2018

Five on Friday Catch Up

Hi Guys and Gals,
Welcome back for another Five on Friday.

Since yesterday was International Women's Day I'll kick things off with a recent photo of the two most important women in my life, my wife and my daughter

Carly and Aurora

Rori is growing up so fast, It seems like if I take my eye off her for a second shes another year older!

And of course this weekend is mothers day for the UK too so I'd like to wish a happy mothers day to all the awesome mamas out there including my own, who I havent seen for far too long and miss immensely.

This week I was sent a photo of the toggle I  mentioned in my last post, the customer commissioned me to carve it for the bag of his Tafl set.

Tafl Toggle
Tafl, or Hnefatafl, is an ancient strategic board game that hails from Scandinavia and can be found all over the world in practically any place the vikings traveled to. I love getting customer photos of my items in their new homes, it makes me so happy to know that people all around the world get enjoyment from the things I create.

Speaking of people enjoying things I make, this week I tried my hand at something new - Wooden weapons:

Wooden Viking Weapons

I had a few hours spare so it was all a bit spur of the moment and rushed but I managed to roughly draw out on an old pallet plank this axe and sword, cut them out, stain the handles, spray the blade and axe head with some old silver paint I had lying around and wrap the sword handle with a scrap of leather. To finish off I pyrographed my sons name down the blade of the sword and Voila! Wooden toy weapons fit for a Viking kid. Needless to say Logan has fallen in love with them and will hopefully get endless hours of imagination play with them. I've already had a few people commission me to make a set for their kids after seeing the photos of Logan's set! Next time I'll spend a bit more time drawing out the shape and getting the finish right instead of rushing and they should look really cool :)

Natural Drinking Horns
On the subject of Vikings here's a snap of one of the gorgeous drinking horns I have in stock at the moment, They're so beautiful I just want to keep them all!

Lastly, We've been at it again, making more things out of pallets. I wanted to get one of those mini greenhouse thingys to raise our seedlings in this year so I didn't have to fill every windowsill in the house again but thought that rather than spend £60 on a flimsy one from the garden centre it would be better for us to give making one out of pallets a go. Here is the end result

Pallet Propagator
For the princely sum of  2 pallets and £5 worth of screws and plastic we now have an incredibly sturdy place to keep our baby plants in until they are big enough to go in the ground. I'm very happy with the end result and can't wait to share photos of it when it is full of green new life :)


I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend, thanks for stopping by once again for Five on Friday

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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



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Friday, 2 March 2018

Good News

Two months after suffering a broken neck, last week the mother in law was able to remove her neck brace! WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOO!

There's still quite a way to go on the road to recovery but we are very hopeful that with physiotherapy she will make a full recovery with no permanent damage, thank the gods!


In other news our two tiny Rescue Puppies are now 7 months old and not so tiny any more!

Sacha and Astrid
They are such a massive part of the family now I honestly can't imagine life without them any more.

Walking the dogs in the rain
I've been just a little envious of all the snow that folks are getting back home in the UK, all we have had is clouds and a bit of rain. I never thought I'd miss the British weather!

Being out and about with the dogs does have it's advantages. A few months ago whilst walking in the mountains I came across a gift from the gods, a wild boar that had fallen from the rocks and died. It was in a secluded spot so I was patient, I let nature do it's thing and today I claimed the jawbone for myself. Since the boar is a symbol of the viking god Freyr I will incorporate it into a fittin project to honour him.

The Jawbone of a Wild Boar
I'm not sure what I will do with it yet. perhaps I'll pull the teeth and craft them into a ceremonial necklace or maybe I'll use half of the jaw as the handle for a ritual knife, or perhaps some other inspiration will strike me.

Recently I was commissioned to carve a wooden toggle for a Tafl set with the runes for TAFL burnt in to it, here's a snap of it on top of the decorative box I made recently:

Tafl toggle on top of my decorative box
 Speaking of boxes, I liked the first one I did so much that I have started a slightly more intricate one. So far I've put a couple of hours into it but I'm already very happy with how it's going.

Second attempt at a viking trinket box
Once the knotwork is finished I'll put some sort of symbol and slogan in the middle, stain the whole thing and probably line the inside with velvet again.  So as you can see I'm keeping myself busy while the weather is not so great!


Thanks for stopping by once again for Five on Friday, We hope your weekend is as amazing as you are!

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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML



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Etsy

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