We have had some good news, no, some wonderful news. Shell is expecting again, and the over whelming emotion is excitement and hope, at least for the grown up members in the Furmston clan. When the girls were told, on an exciting trip up to the smoke to see cousins and the best of friends, the reaction was unexpected and turned the mood. Choice extracts from the reaction include uncontrollable sobbing, shouts of 'Prove It!', 'Be UN pregnant!', 'I wished you'd never told us' and subsequently whenever their mum eats, 'I suppose that's for the baby' before huffing off. Anyway - after a tirade of abuse, hysterics and uncontrolled crying, they whimpered themselves to sleep and we just don't really talk about it. It turns out that they like it the way it is. Bet and Daisy really are great mates, and they, incredibly quickly worked out that this unexpected happening (believe me it was unexpected) was going to change stuff. The baby is going to take up our time, mess up and try to eat their toys, and just change the balance of the relationships. They're right of course, but its amazing how raw and honest and quick the thinking was. We can learn a lot from the honesty of small children it seems.
It makes you reflect, this sort of news. Luckily for us its a nice, exciting bit of news, but we need to start getting systems in place to cope with a new arrival. All of a sudden there's an urgency to getting the larder finished, so that the space is utilised better (the amount of stuff a baby needs is NOT FUNNY!), the kitchen gets its subsequent makeover and I can preserve and ferment away in relative peace, making the most of any garden harvest. The fruit trees have been planted, and now Blackcurrant 'Ebony' and Redcurrant 'Rovada' go in alongside them. It doesn't look like much now, but we build in layers.
The beginnings of a food forest - 2 layers in.
The weather has stopped me getting the shack up and running, but I am on high alert for any dry weather. This feels like the most wishful of thinking at the moment, but the shack is key, for storage, growing, a work space, and an escape (especially if its ANOTHER girl!)
The house is big enough to take students for the next year or so, which has been an essential part of our finances for the past few years, so we will try to maximise this on the lead up to our new arrival. This is possibly the most time sensitive aspect of our financial design, and I always liked doing it because the largest expense we have ( the house) has a chance to pay us back.
We have been trying to pay off our credit cards to the detriment of holidays and treats. We will redouble those efforts in an attempt to rid ourselves of this debt by the due date. The less pressure there is on finances the better.
And a new kid, one that is bound to wake up in the middle of the night is going to be tiring. I have decided to do more fitness work, as well as the on going pursuit of a healthier diet that gives me more energy. Its hard waking in the night and then putting in a physical day so this is an important plank of the design.
In many ways, the pregnancy has come at a good time, the period of time it takes to 'cook' the bubba means we are not going on any crazy jaunts, and the nesting instinct goes naturally hand in hand with our designs for the house, garden and life.
So just as we put in systems and tools to help with the onset of Spring, where experience tells us its going to be busy, we need to do the same with our 'invisible systems'. There will be increased pressure on resources, energy and time, and in this calm before the storm, it makes sense to use time and energy to get ahead of the game. We put in frames to stop the Broad beans (Aqualdulce Claudia since you asked) from flopping, and we do so using hazel coppice from mere metres away. Using available resources whenever possible is paramount to permaculture design.
We improve and protect the soil now, just as we aim to get fitter and healthier to cope with increased stress. Improving resilience.
We prune back hard to cope with Winter and prepare for Spring, just as we minimise our financial exposure to shelter us from hard times and give us a means to invest and grow when the time comes.
And in this crazy, surprising, and very often, beautiful world it's nice to have something to look forward to, with trepidation, hope, and most of all happiness. Whether the kids agree with me or not!